I have many non Malay friends, and I even had one Chinese friend from Kedah whom my parents have taken him to be their adopted son. This was because my father was the person who had circumcised him when he was a student in Kuala Lumpur many years ago. Our relationship with him and his family has always been one of an extended family and even during his moments of death, he would not fail to call to convinced us that he is alright.
Being older than me, I would call him brother and every time I get to Kedah, my itinerary includes a call on him and his family. My wife would normally prepare some cookies that he loved very much, and the moment we meet, his first words to me would be, “Macam mana Mak Chik”, referring it to my mother, and speaking in a heavy Kedah accent.
Now that he is gone and so is his loving wife, there is nobody else to fill the lost of my Chinese adopted brother and the only thing that can remind me of him is his phone number that is still listed in my hand phone.
Very early in my postings, I have also written about some of my Indian neighbours whom I had befriended during my formative years and are all within reach of me till today. Some had even brought their aging parents to visit me, and what an excitement I get when their parents would start to remimisce about my childhood days that I could hardly remember. I am fully aware of their 'taboo' when I comes to serving them food. Beef is strictly forbidden; just like pork to a Muslim. And even if I have Indian visitors to my home whom I am not too familiar with, I would tell them what to eat and what not to eat.
Having been raised in a multi racial environnment, I am extremely sensitive to the taboo of my non Malay friends. I feel that I will betray their trust if I were to play ignorant of their racial and religious sensitivities. Likewise, I do not expect them to be ignorant of my sensitivities too. And this has always been my strict observance of the sensitivities of my many non Malay friends.
But of late, we notice that there is a growing disregard for the sensitivity of one race by another, and a good illustration would be the recent Shah Alam 'Kepala Lembu' incident, where even Ministers and some 'rumble rousing' politicians have come forward to claim that what the protesters did was not wrong, and they did it without malice. My spontaneous reaction to this is that they are talking rubbish, and if only my father was alive, he would call them 'Gobblok'. That's been my father's way of venting his anger; though mild but it hurts one's ego.
Clearly, today's politicians have not contributed enough to strengthening racial harmony and tolerance that our founding fathers had hoped to inculcate in the people of this nation. Leaders of today would say one thing, but do otherwise, just out of fear of losing popular support, position and power. They do not care much about what will be the consequence of their words and action, but would say or do anything that will boost their popularity. I suppose what really matters to them is the financial gains that they will harvest by towing the line of their masters.
An incident like the Kepala Lembu must not be allowed to happen ever again, because it it does, the consequences would be beyond rapproach. And to my many Indian friends, the ugly incident at Shah Alam is viewed with utter disgust by the vast majority of Malays who profess that the Quran clearly forbids them from ridiculing people of other faith.
And in this holy month of Ramadan, my only hope is for my many Indians friends who have been grievously hurt by the incident, to forgive the protesters for their ignorance and stupidity, and to allow the law to take its course.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION