Remembering May The 13

When they went riot in KL, I was just a little boy; trying to find out what the old people were talking about. As I remember it, we never went into hiding or ran into the jungle or anything like that. The kampong was safe and sound; and I went about as usual to buy my favorite ice cream from kedai ah seng, as I recall it vividly. I grew up without any bad connotation of the May 13, as perceived by some of my uncles and aunties. I never knew the differences among us only people with different names and attitudes. I had a Chinese headmaster with his fat daughter, Chinese and Indian English teachers that got drunk every other day and an awesome Sikh friend named Balbir Singh. They were all people around me during my primary school(SIS(2), Pasir Mas, Kelantan,1972) which was not that far from May 13 1969. I guess in Kelantan race has never been an issue just because we are simple folks living a simple life.

But now I know life is not that simple anymore. Differences do divide us apart; among kampong folks, local community, larger society and even a nation. In America, the society has been deeply segregated for decades and the struggle towards equality between races had exclaimed with assassinations and intimidations. “I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream ……” shouted Martin L King to kick off civil right movement that gave birth to new America. I think it is the best manifestation of “dream” to represent constant struggle that draws a path for the future generations. Can we dream for a peaceful Malaysia? Can we dream as well to see the Malays united under one flag? Can we dream of UMNO and PAS to unite for the survival of the Malays? … or is it too far from reality ? I guess they are trying but it’s like a sand castle that is washed away every time the wave comes to shore. Well maybe the sand castle has not been built yet and both parties have already talked about the windows and the kitchen cabinet . From my less than 2sen thought, both sides are lacking honesty. You can’t pretend to be honest and ask the other party to come and join your dinner. The history has been so bitter that any move, from both sides, deems to have hidden agenda. But politics make life even more complicated; that’s why I keep myself away from politics. Politics is about doing things your way; not the right way. You defend your principles and want things to run your agenda but that’s not necessarily the right way.

I dream for a society that values tolerance and understanding. I don’t want to give up my lifestyle for the sake of harmony; neither do you or anybody else. You keep your things and I keep mine. But we need to understand each other and when things crossed, we tolerate. That’s not hard , isn’t it?

When I was abroad during my study, people were very skeptical about me as I come from Malaysia. They heard stories about the Chinese being deprived of their rights and the Malays getting all the bounties. So it was hard as these people were our own lecturers and international students’ officers. But we managed and survived with the help of our own Malay brothers and sisters to attend our needs. When we experience such difficulties due to our nature of being a Malay; then the hostility began to emerge and gave birth to a deep sense of hatred. I pray to Allah for such senses to go away and out of my life.

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