I have now lived in Australia for close to 30 years. I speak English like a Malay speak English – no slang, no aussie twang, no use of that aussie favourite word “mate”. Speak English just as I use to speak English when I was in KL. My name is still Hussein…not Ssein, not Housein or Saint…just Hussein. My Son Zack does speak with a slight Aussie accent but that is because he has born here and lived almost all his life in Australia. My daughter Terrina speaks Malay and English like any other Malay complete with her Ok Lah, Tidak Apa lah and all the nuances that makes one a Malaysian – she was born at Assunta Hospital and grew up mostly in Bangsar amongst Malaysians. My wife is Greek and has lived all her adult life in Australia – so she is Greek Australian and the only Malaysian part of her is the fact that she likes Popiah and can make a mean goreng pisang – but no Nasi Lemak, no Nasi Dagang (my two favourites!).
What I am trying to say here is that we are all a product of the life we have lived….and even if we come into contact with others, it is really up to us to be who we want to be. I am comfortable being Malay who calls Australia home.
I can remember a time in the 60’s in London at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park and there was this Indian asking the West Indians around him to “Go Home – go back to your country – we British do not want you here!”. The image of that Indian asking the West Indians to go home has never left me – it was comical and yet sad. It was also ironic having one Black man asking another Black man to go back from where he came from – and I can still see the indulgent smiles of everyone around me. But to all intents and purposes that Indian was lost in his sense of importance! He wanted to keep Britain White and the fact that he was Black and an immigrant himself escaped him totally.
And now I see the same situation in this guy Ridhuan Tee. Somewhere in all the zeal of becoming a Muslim he mistook being a Muslim and being Malay as one and the same thing! Why? Where does it say that a Muslim must be Malay? There are White Americans who are Muslims. There are Black Americans who are Muslims. There are Arabs, Burmese, Africans, Chinese, Indians and Russians who are are Muslims. Why can’t Ridhuan remain a Chinese and be a Muslim at the same time? Are there any Malays out there who want Ridhuan to be Malay? Or is it Ridhuan himself who became a Muslim to be Malay? Does he think he has been a Muslim long enough to qualify himself to be a Malay? What is it with this Chinese? How or when did be became confused that a Malay must be a Muslim and so a Muslim must be a Malay?
And how come Jawi has not told this Ridhuan that he can be a Chinese and a Muslim at the same time?
This Ridhuan is indeed a very confused Chinese who is a Muslim or is he a very confused Muslim who is a Chinese and wanting to be Malay? Did somebody told him that he is now ‘almost a Malay’ now that he is a Muslim? Whatever it is I think it is time Jawi or some UMNO bigwig make him an honorary Malay and end his agony of wanting to be a Malay so much that he is embarrassing himself with his grovelling! Arise Ridhuan…you are now a Malay!