Sunday, October 23, 2011

Diversity

Picture of an article written by a guy from Kajang about Sabah being the exemplary state for the "1Malaysia" idea circulating on Facebook inspired me to share this with you. Firstly, I have my own understanding of what 1Malaysia is. And this dude's letter comes close to mine.



I find it difficult to remove it from our system the feeling of pride when you're from a place where you were born and bred from, it's like you're institutionalized. Going out from the place means you'd have to compare it to the place you're from. Well we pride ourselves from wherever we are, Borneo, sames goes to Thailand, same goes to Penang, same goes to China. No matter where you are from, once a mention of your place, surely you felt that there is a need to address it, correct where wrong and attest where right.

I disagree with the idea "wrong" and "right" about a place, because a place should be about a person's (individual) experience, not her friends', not from other blogs not from television.

Diversity in Sabah is like no other. You can go to so many places, but you will almost never find a place that embraces individuality and ethnic-ism like Sabah.With it's 32 main ethnic groups, and at least four other sub-ethnic groups, including non-ethnic races like Chinese (different dialects), India and Malays, we are talking about a total of nearly a thousand mesh of cultures living and breathing on the same soil - we cannot afford any form of disrespect to anyone's culture and religion.

My immediate and second-link families consist of Christians, Muslims, Indian-muslims, Chinese-Kadazan, Chinese-Murut, Muslim Murut... there is no end to the list.

One of the reason why Sabahans are so proud of the idea that we are the true unity and diversity is the fact we "don't just have friends from other races", much like some Malaysians argue their way about embracing unity we grew up and live doing what the other race does, with them. Having friends of other races is an amazing attribute but come on, it doesn't actually translate to being respectful and diversified you know that.

Our friend from Kajang here spoke nothing but the actual about living in Sabah. Muslims and Chinese both work and sell in the same shop, using own's utensils, using own's ingredients catering to each's customers. Most of us sit on the same table as well. You could barely find anyone speaking their dialect around the mass, they only speak say, Chinese among their family members or themselves while most of the time we speak in our Sabah lingo. Which has tons of Bahs :)

So much that I'm trying to say is that the diversity here is admirable beyond words. I can't even describe the feeling I have when I'm surrounded by my family members who are literally of all kinds of background, race and religion. I forgot about it while I stayed both in KL and Australia. We speak the same ideology of peace, respect and appreciating oneself's religion. Major races and politicians in West Malaysia have been trying to argue with each other over which idea or who is "smarter", when we all know race is never the problem. Competitiveness, yes but in a commonly ruled environment we are supposed to be knowledgable thanks to ourselves. If we are curious, then great. If not, then it's our loss. For public demonstration of race A to put down race B subtlety or not, and the other way around - will never get votes from Sabahans or East Malaysians. It's spot a mile a way. It should always be about the Wakil Rakyat, not which party he or she's from.

Another reason why I figured why Sabahans are just golden as they are is that, while some first world countries experience "less racism", among it is because of Education. And through learning the idea of accepting different cultures and races from frequent travelling and basically loads of movies and reading. Quite the opposite for us because we have adapted this lifestyle since we were a kid, and no books nor theory visuals could be the actual or possible reason that educated us this way of life. Simply put while education is key, it wasn't the main point why we were living with other as such and in peace (God bless us for now).

Most places had only RTM 1 and RTM 2, some were not even accessible to books and television, so it must be the living. Must be the actual meet and greet, hellos and business that we actually enjoyed without being advised to.

Isn't it so cool? We should all get rid of TOO MUCH pride of our own race! :D

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

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