Today: Wednesday, May 13, 2008, marks the 39th anniversary of a black day in Malaysia’s young history as a sovereign nation.
Have we come a long way to distance ourselves from the bloody nightmare of 1969? I believe that we have. Why? Because on March 8, Malaysians took a bold step away from the status quo.
Reverberations from what local pundits love to to call a political tsunami are still being heard. The full compendium of effects is yet, i’m sure, to be seen.
The balance of political power is rather precarious right now. However, this has not translated into the angst among a certain race or another.
Malaysians are gradually stepping beyond racial and religious demarcation and towards common ground. I see this a lot. The only ones who are left behind are the race-based political parties and the petri dish of segregation that the civil service (with its largely Malay population).
Lessons learnt? We have to embrace each other as Malaysians. We have to learn about each other’s norms and sensitivities. Learn to respect these differences. It is usually the minorities that learn these things in order to assimilate and survive.
Maybe it is time that the majority learnt to, as well.
Last night I talked to my Malay housemate B about respecting another’s sensitivities. I told her that my other housemate AL and me made a point of not having pork or other non halal stuff in the house so that she (B) can cook and eat with us.
I said she could return the understanding by not cooking beef in the house, which I don’t touch. She didn’t know these stuff. I told her and she took it very well.
Maybe our eventual cohesion as Bangsa Malaysia may not come as easily….but it will have to start with mutual understanding and respect.
But I have great hopes.
And for those who gave their lives in the May 13 bloodbath, may their souls rest in peace.