Over 6400 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur, on a quiet Christmas morning, in the living room of my apartment in Melbourne......I am still reminded that I am a Malay. The News Anchor on ABC was Fauziah Ibrahim. A Malay from Singapore but nevertheless a Malay! Previously with Al Jazeera..now with ABC Australia.
And this afternoon again when I listened to the news at 5 on NINE....there was news of 14 dead in a bus crash in Muar Johor.
- A Malaysia Fire and Rescue Department photo shows the scene of bus crash that killed 14 people and injured 17 in Muar, Johor, Malaysia (MALAYSIA FIRE AND RESCUE)An interstate bus in Malaysia carrying passengers from Singapore and Myanmar careered off a highway early Saturday, killing 14 people and injuring 16 others, officials said.
24 Dec 2016 - 5:54 PM UPDATED YESTERDAY 5:54 PM
The bus, heading from southern Johor state to the capital Kuala Lumpur, went off the road in the wet before rolling over and ending up in a deep ditch, said Mohammad Yusof Mohammad Gunnos, deputy director of the fire and rescue department.
The incident happened in the early hours in Johor state. Details of those killed were not immediately known, he said, adding that the injured were being treated in the Muar district public hospital.
"This pre-Christmas tragedy is so far the most horrific accident in Johor state for 2016," he told AFP.
Deadly road accidents are common in Malaysia despite efforts to crack down on poor driving, especially during festive seasons when people return to their home towns.
For many of us who chose to leave Malaysia and set up home elsewhere, thoughts of home, families and the life that we have left behind always invade the space we now call home. Some of us resent this intrusion for it brings back unpleasant memories of the Malaysia we left behind. Some of us seek out any links and any memories of those life and those times because our ties with "home" and "tanah tumpahnya darah ku" can never and will never be severed. And still there are some of us who care not what happens anymore in Malaysia for Malaysia to them is history.......for them life and life opportunities are now elsewhere.
I can only speak for myself.
Many times I am tempted to close the KL chapter of my life. Forget the two brothers and sister that I have not seen for over two decades. Forget that my parents lie buried in the Muslim Cemetery in Jalan Ampang. Forget the many dozens of first cousins, my uncles and aunties that I have left behind when I finally made the break from KL about a decade ago.
Easier said than done!
All these are not distant memories of a life left behind in KL....all this are realities I live with each day....time has deaden and numb the emotional ties with the people that I know but time itself is also the enemy as "absence makes the heart grow fonder". .....and so we do what most of you do when nostalgia hits us.....think of those that we have left behind, think of the good times and sadly, think of what could have been if our leaders were men of integrity, responsibility, accountability and are men of enough courage to make Malaysia a home for every one of us.