Love Will Keep Us Alive

This article by Petra Gimbad reflects the honesty and sincerity of all right-thinking Bangsa Malaysia and is worth a second read. It appeared in the Merdeka edition of The Sun last year and The People’s Parliament blog.

Work is certainly catching up on me and I apologise to all visitors if the going gets slow and wish to thank them for all their continued support. I leave with a quote from Tunku below:

“All people must feel that there is room for them in our country and that we can all live in peace with one another, provided of course that we respect one another’s rights, and provided, too, that we realize we owe duties to one another for the good and well-being, the progress and happiness of our country, Malaysia.”

Tunku Abdul Rahman

 msia-first.jpg    By Petra Gimbad

I personally believe that love is the most important thing we can have in this life. I would also like to point out that it is an intangible. It is in this seemingly transient but powerful force that I place my faith in envisioning a future for Malaysia.

For all our criticisms that Malaysians lack the ability to think or the desire to learn, each Malaysian instinctively knows at heart what is lacking in this country. This, to me, reflects honesty and intelligence. You find it in conversations with cab drivers, at the mamaks, in conversations between friends, between parents and their children. Where Malaysia ends up is a fate that genuinely touches and concerns us all.

We say that Malaysians lack original spark, which is why everyone gets excited over Michelle Yeoh, Jimmy Choo or the last kid who made it to Oxford. These are people who inspire us because we know how Malaysian society, like any other culture, teaches us to make choices according to what is accepted. We want to know their life stories, because they give us hope that we too may one day rise above our circumstances to be everything we were meant to be. No human being deserves any less.

I would like to state that perhaps it is also our Malaysian society that has enabled so many to go so far. Nobody can deny there is much that needs fixing. Still, perhaps we need to acknowledge when we get it right, and support those who get it right in spite of everything that works against them.
Racial and religious issues concern everyone in this country. I need not go into detail what all of us feel, because words cannot do justice to all of our despairs and hopes.

I am proud to be an interracial child – Kadazan and Chinese. I am saddened that poor bumiputeras have so much against them. I am shamed as a bumiputera when someone tells me that someone’s rich son or daughter earned a scholarship because of his or her race and not because of his or her efforts.

However, I am angry when I see the absence of the poor Chinese in the papers. I am horrified even though I understand the anger of students who work so hard and feel like they have not been given just opportunity.

No one, bumiputera, Chinese or other non-bumiputera wants a handout. We just want the dignity that comes with having equal opportunities and freedom to pursue the life we are entitled to. There is no need for violence unless one is desperate. Malaysians in general are a peaceful lot or we would not have tolerated our imperfect society in spite of the undercurrents of our differences.

We must stop making jokes about how Indians are more dangerous than snakes. We must realise that crooks and angels exist within each race. We must acknowledge that even if I go to a Catholic church, the lessons I have learnt from my Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu friends are part of who I am. I am proud that I can stand tall because of them and I would not change a thing.

We must protect our right to practice our faith hand-in-hand with protecting the rights of others to practice faiths that are different in name, but actually similar to our own. We should admit that the major faiths practiced in our country teach love and compassion and forgiveness, and that any person who sanctions hate or violence in the name of God is not to be accused of being the typical evil and immoral Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu/Christian.

I write this from a Western country, where many people believe that Islam is synonymous with terrorism. They are surprised when I tell them most Muslims are moderate and peaceful. They are more surprised when they see that I defend this while wearing the cross of Christ. This is because I am Malaysian, and I would have it no other way.

In the end, it is not a system that defines a country’s direction. We do. The law is written in our hearts, and how we choose to live our lives and learn to see each other as individuals instead of by gender, religion or race will decide the sort of world our next generation will live in. For they will know the world by the lessons we will teach them together, as Malaysians.


2 Responses to Love Will Keep Us Alive

  1. QuaChee says:

    hi there

    this is a very interesting post – rather enlightening i fact.

    btw, im publishing a book on malaysia and would like to have an interview with you – would that be possible?

  2. Greg Lopez says:

    Hi there Petra,

    Wonderful article.


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