Sunday, May 19, 2013

Road to reconciliation...is it?

RECONCILIATION.

Remember that word. Understand its meaning. For it is the catchphrase of postGE13. I don't want to say much, but would like to insert some pages of the "13th May - Tragedy Offical Report" by National Operations Council published on 9th October 1969. Click here to download (I've highlighted essential points, read especially from chapter 8 onwards).

After more than 50 years, this nation has never been so divided. 

Digressing a bit: prior to 2010 - I was apolitical. Yes, as written in this blog, I admitted that I fancied the politics, I am keeping tabs with the latest development. In 1998, I was one of 2-3 (the minority am sure) of 15 or so members of my class in high school that did not sympathise with Anwar Ibrahim's sacking. I was still very sure Dr. M did what he thought was best. Of course my minority views was looked down by my friends. I remember vividly, some of my friends were gathering in one corner of our class - talking about the political situations then - mostly demonising Dr. M. 

I remember saying to them lot that I don't believe Dr. M was a bad person yet am not saying Anwar was bad either. I said, this is politics. You can never trust the players. However, I do remember that grandfatherly image of Dr. M walking by himself, alone, on the pavement just outside of One Utama shopping complex and I walked across him. I was starstruck to see him there, and he just smiled at me and continued walking. This was before the sacking. 

Secondary mates from Form Four - friends until today: Fellow SMPSA 

I also remember well back then, my class teacher, reminded us to study hard and work hard for our future for our future (Malaysia) she reckons will be like Singapore. Sooner or later this precious land of the Malays will no longer be in our hands. She reminded us those privileges enshrined in the Constitution can be taken away in due time with concerted efforts from those who wished to do so. This was right after the sacking. 

Of course being just 16 years of age, I don't quite follow all these talks about Malay nationalism or patriotism. I was not the ultra Malays (those who supported Anwar was thought of being the 'ultra' Malays). I do remember some good non-Malay friends I used to have, my table mates in SRKKT - clara loh, or Fiona leong, or Elsie Ooi (and still keep the lovely sunflowers crafted from paper she gave me till this day), or how bad ass Nicholas Soo was those times yet I still like talking with him, or even one guy who was sitting in front of me, Chong Chee Jen (and boy how I used to have crush over him...he's that nerdy, smarty pants Chinese boy). I remember I and bunch of SRKKT mates walked to a crematorium in PJ close to the school to pay the last respect for our dear friend, Nicky Woo Liu Jin. I remember I cried seeing his blued-puffed up face (he died pneumonia believing to suffered that from the active swimming he done, he was the school swimmer). I remember how I used to be good friends with them that they taught me some Chinese and how I would love to watch chinese drama on tv (you know the evening shows every weekdays after school). 

Primary school mates : 3 Melati at SRKKT 

BUT that was all in primary school. High school came. Went to the very famous now, clustered girl school - SMP Sri Aman. Somehow I don't quite recall having Chinese friends that I was close with. Of course there were nonMalays but never got to mingled with them much, except some few faces. Then, in Form 3 - I got in one of the four 'A' class - where most of the school brainy bunch were. BUT my table mates was Azah Najwa before she left for Germany. The one sitting in front was brainy Jasmina Mokthar. Of course one of my classmate in Form 3 now the famous Selangor strategist - Tricia Yeoh. Then I remember the very nice girl, Chiu Chin.

Secondary school mates : 3 Cekap SMP Sri Aman
Soon after SPM, came adulthood. I went to UIA. although not race centric, but it's Muslim centric. There are a few international students, but majority are still Malays/Muslims. I took Bachelor of English (Minor Humanities). Was still apolitical and oblivious of my surroundings. At this point of my life,was 'fighting with self - I learnt to wear the hijab as requirements of the University. I remember I was rebellious. First time had to stay in campus, I would always defy that and come crawling back home even if I had to pay fines. Circa 2000 in UIA, my good mates was Lyza Razak, Nordiana Azlinda and some other Bachelor of Arab Studies mates. I was having "enlightenment" conflicts - on one hand, want to resist all this "islamization" on me - the wearing of hijabs, learning Arabic and being that "hip" English student. but on the other hand, I find studying in UIA made my parents proud. Hence, was struggling to be a modern Muslimah yet very "international" by the virtue of being "proficient in English" and a product of an international uni. Of course, my days at UIA did not last. I chose UiTM. 

Diploma mates: Mass Comm UiTM
Now, end of circa 2000, I began my journey in UiTM. I took on mass communications studies. Again, so-called "hip" course. BUT I was still oblivious with my surroundings and apolitical. To me, being in UiTM was that "liberation" I seek - no more conforming to be pious and be in the dorm early every Thursday night to recite Surah Al-Mulk. No need to endure the prejudices of some "Muslim extremists" in UIA that "hunt" girls who do not appear to be "islamic" enough ie. not covering enough etc. It also means that I am studying a course that is close to my heart - as my dad was a RTM veteran, growing up always following him to his   lecture session/outstation work, so I know pretty much what I was getting myself into (read: broadcasting realm). And partly of course because I was coaxed by then the boyfriend. Some of my bestest mates were: Hanis Harun, Fidzah Safri, Idir Nahwari, Fiqrie Dahlan, Haza Hamdan, Rais Ramzidi, Lizawati Yaakob, Ija Azahari (just to name a few).

bachelor degree group mates (prior Japan): broadcasting, UiTM
Then, came 2003. I broke off with that schmuck. Obviously entangled with drowsy, manipulating, monkey love - I did not study hard enough. BUT, I did not do so bad either. So like everyone else who studied diploma course in UiTM, one is expected to further to a bachelor degree. Was torn in between choosing Journalism or Broacasting and finally I chose the latter. Was still apolitical but was gradually maturing. I know then life has more to offer (lesson learnt after the split with that schmuck).I put myself together, I tried studying (although first sem was still hard, still bearing the "scars" and trying to move on). Second semester came, I had my first break - was selected to go to Japan. At this point of life, I already befriending a new guy (now hubby). Of course never did like him much because he was not that perfect, ideal guy I envisioned but he was a friend to me. He helped with (financially) my dreams of Japan and was very supportive too. And I was off to Tokyo on 31 August 2004. My best mates during bachelor was Haza Hamdan, Albar, Safuan, Hani. of course still retain close friendships with friends during dip years - Hanis and Fidza.


international mates: BGU Tokyo
Japan, was the best times of my life. First time away from family, friends. First time away from homeland. First time living as 'foreigner'. This time, was still apolitical but I was very much patriotic. And I wear Malaysia proudly on my sleeves. I make friends, I exchange my Malay cultures - I taught my new both Minnesotians, Japanese and Indonesian friends Malay words and folks songs. I remember in one of my "elective" course - Japanese politics/ International Politics - I went to see my sensei - Okamoto Ito (phD) and he related to me that he admires Malaysia's leader - Dr. M. (at this time, the PM was PakLah). I asked him "what about my recent PM?" My sensei face went clueless. "Ah, gomen nasai." (that means I am sorry in Japanese). I was proud that he speaks highly of Dr. M. I remember during both Eid, I went to the Malaysian Embassy - excitement was in the air, food was abundance - of course mostly malay/muslim students were there, but there were others too. I remember there were no Malays/Chinese/Indian - all was Malaysian and talks in BM and Japanese (not English). The fact is everyone was carrying that Malaysian spirit high if not missing home as much. Of course, essentially I make some good malay/Malaysian friends there: namely Paklan (zulhairi), Erin Adnan, Janna, Sofea. And we would hang out together/ shop together. There were also some Indonesian friends (one of which was a brainy phD student of engineering in Tokyo Uni) - who turned out to be my "consistent" Halal chicken supplier.Then, there was the "fling fling" I had with oh so kacak dan gantang (tak boleh tulis english kut kut dia baca mana tau, nanti dia perasan haha) kawan mat salleh Muslim dari negara Uncle Sam yang rapat dengan saya (sampai balik sini dia pernah "visit" saya dua kali dan ajak kahwin..ha ha http://nurulaishahabraman.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-that-gotscrewed-at.html).Point being: while in Japan, I found the patriotism in me - I had mini Jalur Gemilang on my table (given by my mates when they send me off at the airport as it was the eve of Merdeka), and I come to appreciates Malay food/ my hometown Kelana Jaya or maybe i was just homesick. Either way, I was simply known as "Mareshia-jin" (malaysian in Japanese) yet I was a 'gaijin' (an alien). 


Bachelor degree mates (second batch, after returning from Japan)


Came back in March 2005 but to bad news and challenges at UiTM. Much to my dismayed I had to repeat a semester. prior to Tokyo, was assured that I did not have to (because of the "transition" of studies I can "transfer credits"). BUT that wasn't the case when I got back home. Devastated I was in the dark. The thoughts of going through a whole semester again akin to being "demoted" and joining my "juniors" whom I knew none - was scary. Also there was that part where my transportation to class was being compromised. Prior to Japan, I had the privilege to car-pool with my classmates either Safuan or Fariza (an ancient friend from primary & secondary days). Then suddenly I find myself struggling to go to class. Dad could not send me as he had to go back to work (after retiring) due to unforeseen circumstances. And so, that old 'boifen tinggal' I - now husband, came to the rescue. Always there, loyal for me, waiting. He did the most sweetest and surprising thing for me. He gave up his only car for my convenience and bought himself a scooter instead. 

Of course fresh from Tokyo with a prospect of a mat salleh wooing me instead of Kulim born guy, I was not convince to take up his gestures. Ha ha. mak ngada2 lah sapa taknak mat salleh kan. BUT at the same time I have no options. So I just took his offer knowing well that he wanted more - wants to get serious with me. It was not until an incident happened and largely persuasion from my sisters that kept pestering me to get serious with him because of his sincerity - I remember Along said "Dik, mana ada lelaki sanggup susah-payah gitu, dia berhujan berpanas pergi kerja untuk kasik kau pakai kereta" and I remember I would retaliate "but dia tak hensem aar...dia tak kelakar...dia tak itu ini etc." Soon I gave in to the idea, and give this guy a chance. Cut long story short, at end of 2005 with the blessings and excitement of my family pushing my now husband to make the move - we got engaged. Ha ha. I remember my 2nd sister - Kak Teh was super excited. She woke me up on the day I had my final exams to tell me that she have thought of the color theme - purple! I remember I did not do much, everything was done by my sis and mom. And I went to choose my ring. The ring was really nice though and quite expensive.


work mates: TV9 news
Then after degree, I got to work with TV9. My first serious job. I was lucky though that I secured that job even before I finish my final exams! I started work right after my final paper was over. Did not have any rest. 1 December 2006 - 30 June 2010. The best times too in my life. Many things happen no doubt. Many challenges. On a personal level, my engagement then was "rocky" soon after I started work. Ha ha. BUT after 3 years, I finally tied the knot on 7 March 2008. Yeap, just one day before polling day. This time, with maturity, and experiences working as journo - the exposure one gets to current issues - I found my nationalism and patriotism increased. BUT I wasn't such Ultra Malay or UMNO die hard fans. In fact I remember debating with my boss back then on the first political assignment I did - the Ijok by-election 2010 whereby TS Khalid Ibrahim (PKR) vs K. Parthiban (MIC), I had to do a stand-upper. I remember vividly with my yellowy t-shirt I said my lines something along the following:

"Thus it is up to the voters here at Ijok to choose their future - either BN or PKR, the choice is yours of whom you should vote to bring development and deliver their promises and choose wisely"

Although this clip was not live, but my boss did not actually see the videos (although I wrote in the script thus they should have known and opposed when they could), it went on-air. And I remember my bosses then were slapping their foreheads and my deputy in chief (then) came to have a talk with me. I stood on my convictions that I did not say anything bad. I debated that what I said was "neutral" and "fair" the way a journalist should be (or shouldn't they?). Anyway, my boss then talked about the concept of media ownership etc. and asked me to not repeat such lines again. 

Anyway, wow what a digression from the first paragraph. Point being? Point am trying to convey is this: look at the pattern of my life. from primary, was so integrated with other races that I did not think of others of being "other races" you know. to me they were all my friends and I liked them all. Then came high school, my integration with the "others" slightly decreases - even more so throughout 2 final years of my high school life - in Form 4 & 5 - only one nonMalay in my class - Kiranjit. There rest were Malays. My integration decreases further yet I still did not think of "others" being "others". 

Then came UiTM. dip years was monkey years basically. No "others" of others - just me and boifee that time. yes in dreamy land. So dip years does not count. 

Then deg years - revelations. maturity. a bit...starting to feel the "Malayness". BUT still apolitcal.

Then Tokyo times - feeling international, finding patriotism. Starting to appreciate Malaysia. 

Then working life in a Malay newsroom. 100% malay. with 100% supporting govt. beginning to not be apolitical BUT am still not understanding the need to "support" Malay.

Then...oh boy then came postgrad studies. In all honesty, I find my "malay" revelations during these past 3 years of MA studies. I had to do a lot of malaysian political readings and Malaysian historical backgrounds. I learn about the constitution, i read about 13 May - from all angles possibly mind you. And I become nationalistic! My revelations shaped my political opinions - the historical readings of pre-merdeka and early merdeka shaped my opinions and not current blogs/ online media. If anything the blogs and online media today just helps to reaffirms the fact that what written and predicted in the books - of Malay losing the political power one day. I am not saying that all chinese are bad, again as written before and would reiterate again - only the DAP is bad and will always be. And those Chinese who voted for DAP without being a formal member of the party - are not at faults in entirety. They voted what they believed in and they voted DAP because of the blatant lies DAP has been spewing, indoctrinating them all these years about the other parties, especially the ruling coalition - that Malays are bad, UMNO is shit. I agree that GE13 was a Chinese Tsunami but I also subscribed to the idea that it was equally an urban Tsunami. and this is what I fret about - the "urban" class - the ones exposed to "truths", online media - voted for DAP be it Malays or naturally Chinese.  "truths" these days are only "perceptions" made easily available to many disseminated by reckless, irresponsible hate-mongers online.

And why do Malays would want to vote DAP? and this is what making my heart sinks. Even my brother is accepting DAP - accepting the lies that Kit Siang is the good guy and Dr. M the evil one. As I said before, if Malays want to vote PAS it's fine but to vote PAS because of advancing ISLAMIC values within the PR coalition? like seriously?  refer to last post I don't know. However, I do know that while UMNO is not perfect, UMNO is the choice for now - simply because the alternatives are not convincing enough. And UMNO should, MUST reform. but then again, seeing the new cabinet line-up, there isn't much excitement there to begin with. Same ol faces are there, some credible (KJ although i don't think he should be the Youth Minister), but many are rather a disappointment. that hindraf leader for example. and why no Wanita UMNO representation in the cabinet?? come on lah PM, the women are the backbone of UMNO, look who's fighting your battle during campaign trails? it's not PEMUDA, it's the Wanita. the kaum Ibu2. tackle the women, tackle them wisely. It's time to give back for all those long years of loyalty. 

Am not too sure about the reconciliation though. Too much animosity. And don't arrest Anwar although he very much wants that attention. don't give him that, let him rant, let him scream. sooner or later he'll tire out just as the crowd of most rational PR supporters in general are beginning to feel and he knows this. that's why he's instigating to anwarinas for a possible arrest. Anwar, you only lived once of that powerful support in 1998. it ain't gonna happen again, and the thing of asking the US to come intervene? That wasn't slick dude. that wasn't sexy. that was a big whoop.

Alas, I don't know. PostGE13 is more confusing than before. Thought making a decision of whom to vote is hard, but this...continuing to live while the politicians remain adamant in their bickering, playing my words against yours game...I don't know. It's tiring. perhaps it is time to let article 153 go? perhaps it is time to let UMNO/MCA/MIC open to all races? perhaps it is time to really take that 1 malaysia slogan to the heart? Perhaps it is time to have that 10% nonMalay in UiTM? (although there are nonMalays (Sabah & Sarawakians particularly so I dont see the fuss). Let's all wait and see. 

1 comment:

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Reconciliation