At home I am Ssein, Dad or Tok depending on who is addressing me. To my friends I am sometimes Seein, sometimes brother and sometimes just “woi Melayu!”. To my acquaintances Hussein. At different times I am also Abang, Pak Chik or even Encik or Sir as some insists on addressing me because of my age (and I will accept that age does confer upon me some privileges however undeserved). There have also been times when strangers I know not have chosen to address me as ‘haramenjadah’ or bangsat – terms those familiar with the Malay language would know are not used in polite company….and they do so because of what I write.
When all these names, nicknames and honorific tittles have been exhausted by friends and foes I might then be asked where I come from? And always the answer is Malaysia! And seldom…very seldom am I asked if I am Malay. In 2013 and to the best of my recollection neither in 2012 or the few years preceding that year was I ever asked about my religious inclinations by anybody – not even by the people from Anglicare, Salvation army or ST Vincent de Paul to whom I went for assistance in times of want.
I am sure most of you would have had the same experience as me – in our life race and religion are seldom the concern of others with whom we meet …and yet what has become a issue for this UMNO led Barisan Nasional government, Perkasa, JAIS and those who cannot mind their own business is precisely that which so many of us are not concerned about with others that we mix with – race and religion! How is this possible?
To this BN government race and religion are the first criteria they consider in education, in employment opportunities, business opportunities, when you buy a house, …in every facet of life that we encounter in Malaysia on a day to day basis race and religion is an issue! Think! If race and religion is also that important to you then is it not time that you start to think different to bring yourself at par with others?
Is it not time that you start to change you own thinking to reflect the reality around you? Race and religion are personal. It may be important to you but it is of no consequence to other people. Let us keep it that way and I can assure you that the world would be a better place for you and for me.