Title/Author: Found in Malaysia Vol. 2/The Nut Graph
In a nutshell
Publisher: Zi Publications
ISBN 13: 978-9675-26622-5
In a nutshell
Found In Malaysia Vol. 2 consists of 50 interviews. This volume is divided into 7 sections – 1930’s right up to the 1980’s and an ‘Exclusive’ (never-before published interviews) section which include personalities such as Lillian too, Asha Gill, Khairy Jamaluddin and Baru Bian.
Throughout these pages, you’ll find Malaysian celebrities like Patrick Teoh, Daphne Iking, Mano Maniam and Harith Iskander; and politicians such as Lim Kit Siang, Ibrahim Ali and Teresa Kok sharing their stories and experiences, while comparing the then and now, and their hopes for Malaysia’s future.
What I liked
I definitely enjoyed reading the first volume more than the second because I didn’t know what to expect in the first and was pleasantly surprised by what it offered. Volume 2 shares the same concept and idea, but it has more well-known public figures as compared to the first, giving me the opportunity to know them better, in the context of ‘being Malaysian’ as opposed to being ‘famous’ or being ‘a celebrity’.
Issues that were commonly brought up in these interviews were the issue of brain drain, race and religion, and our education system. And I’d like to highlight one that is tearing us apart – race.
Once upon a time (yes, a long long time ago :P), when I used to speak fluent Bahasa Malaysia, people used to ask me, ‘You Cina ke Melayu?’ One, because I speak fluent Malay; two, because of my name, which sounded Malay too; three, my looks. My close friends were mostly Malays too. Did it bother me? Nope! Not at all. I loved them and am still keeping in touch with them now. At one point, I even tried learning Jawi from them 🙂
So, I believe when Mano Maniam said, “It is true when people say that we grew up in a time when it (race) didn’t matter one bit.”
But today, a child as young as 7 years old can tell me, “Teacher, I don’t want to work with him.” When I asked him why, he answered, to my horror, “He’s Malay.” Appaling, isn’t it? He’s only a kid, and already he’s telling me this? What would become of him later when he’s older? Would dislike turn to hatred? What would happen then? I shudder at this thought.
I enjoyed reading a couple of interviews such as those with Datuk Dr. Dionysius Sharma, Reza Salleh and Datin Mina Cheah-Foong. I thought they were frank and weren’t afraid to speak their mind.
Datuk Dr. Dionysius Sharma reminisced those days when race didn’t matter, when children then, put wealth, race, culture and religion aside. A friend of mine shared me a story of a 7 year old child, who told his mom (who worked really hard to get him into a private school) not to drop him off in front of his school because it’d embarrass him as his friends’ parents all drive luxurious cars, and his mom only drives a Proton.
Reza Salleh spoke disapprovingly of how we contradict ourselves when “We talk about losing touch with our culture and heritage, but we tear down heritage sites and our forests”, about how ridiculous it is to ban animated movies about Moses just because we think the people’s faith will be shaken and how disappointing it is to see religion being used as a tool to control and judge people.
Datin Mina Cheah-Foong had a slightly different take on the kind of Malaysia she wants to see for herself and future generations. She wants us to be comfortable saying who we are – Indian, Chinese, Malay or Dan Lain-Lain, and ‘not to be all hung up about it’. She wants a Malaysia where its people are able to acknowledge our differences and to accept them.
While Chong Ton Sin on the other hand said, “I think it’s not about not emphasising ‘I’m Chinese’ or ‘I’m Malay’. We all have our traditions and beliefs, it’s true. I think the younger generation knows this. But there are politicians, especially from the Barisan Nasional and Umno, who use politik perkauman to influence young people still. Otherwise, our young people would be happy living together.”
Different views and opinions aside, I think at the end of the day, we all want peace and equality. Easier said than done, isn’t it? But I do know of many Malaysians who care, who walk the talk and do their part to make this country a better place to live in. To you, I thank.
I highly recommend this if you haven’t yet bought Volume 1. If not, get Volume 2 and own its complete series.