Thursday, May 09, 2013

Malaysian Unity

(For more images, please view them in my facebook)

It's not about politics. It's about standing up for what is right. It's about values we want to pass down to our next generation. It's about honesty, integrity, accountability, fairness and justice. Today as a Singaporean residing in Malaysia for the last 10 years, I witnessed Malaysians' unity. We (I am a Malaysia resident who pays tax to the government too) gather and unite for the same cause, which is standing up for what is right!

Malaysians have lived with corruption all these years, and at many times corruption offering as an "avenue of convenience" to escape being "punished" by the law when they break it. But now, it seems that Malaysians finally had enough of what the government has to offer. Many values have been integrated into the society for years, like "paying unofficial taxes" in businesses and etc.

Just a brief outline of what living in Malaysia is all about:
Like many who opt for private schools (many ministers did the same for their children), I send my son who is a Malaysian to a private home school schooling program instead of a government school. Why? The Malaysians will know the reason.

I have worked with NGOs and witnessed the Orang Asli people (original native people of Malaysia) being marginalized as well as injustice in many other areas. Having lived here for 10 years now, I have personally experienced my images being stolen and used for commercial purposes, my name being defamed by an unreasonable client whom I refused to refund the deposit for a last minute cancellation of job. I have also witnessed good friends who worked hard for a so-called established and award-winning wedding photographer but never get paid till today, amounting up to more than RM30K. All these people never get punished. That was when I started to think, is there a different culture in this country I must learn to accept and live with? (Coming from a law-abiding country like Singapore, you should know what I mean)

At the same time, I am also very proud of fellow Malaysian friends who don't throw their rubbish everywhere, pick up a tissue if they drop one, keep all their rubbish in their car instead of unwinding their car windows and dump them out there. They don't spit on the floor, they don't usually beat red lights unless "necessary" :p, they don't bribe the police when the police stop them and hint for "coffee money"... They are the same good friends who "counsel" me when I keep biting on some issues like I have been mistreated by someone somewhere, suffering injustice. They are the same friends who buy me coffee and food when I don't have money, "poisoned" me with more cameras and bicycles for hobby.

I have never felt so much warmth and sincerity when I was in Singapore. Maybe I was just unlucky, or maybe most Singaporeans are just too stressed up to be warm and sincere. It is in Malaysia where people really mean it when they call you up for teh tarik/yum cha (tea time). In my ex-job as a Singapore Airlines flight steward, it was the contrary. The common sentence you would hear after each flight was "Thanks for the flight! Keep in touch ya?" But it never happened. Till now, I still miss some of my ex-colleagues (if you read it, send me a message), but it somehow just isn't the culture in Singapore to "keep-in-touch". I am guilty of it too.

It hasn't been easy living in Malaysia for the past 10 years, but it's my Malaysian friends who have helped me most in adapting here. They include different races, so it's not just Chinese. Najib made the most irresponsible statement calling the recent election results "Chinese Tsunami". It's far from what I saw tonight.

I have not written my thoughts and feelings for a long long time. But this time, I must thank my Malaysian friends for showing me what's unity and a sense of belonging to a country means. May justice prevails in Malaysia!