1. When I hear a Tamil song playing in the background and it doesn’t strike me that it’s a language I don’t understand until much later. It’s so familiar; I hear it spoken every day in multi-ethnic Malaysia — it IS life as I know it in my own backyard.
2. When I walk into Hai Peng coffee shop in Kemaman and see that it’s a trend for Malays, Chinese and Indians to be laughing and chatting over a meal — at the same table. I also saw a Chinese woman treating a Malay couple to a seafood dinner at Tong Juan Restoran which serves the best stuffed crabs in Kemaman. Does this only happen in Kemaman?
3. When one wholeheartedly embraces cultures other than their own. Kinda like Mavin Khoo and Ramli Ibrahim. None of that “Indian dance meant for Indians only lah” crap.
4. When more than 200,000 Malaysians of all races unite to protest the mega tower project. So rakyat-oriented. So nice!
5. When the Chinese enjoy eating with their hands and the Indians and Malays have no problems eating with chopsticks and bowls.
6. When Malaysians acknowledge their neighbours and start practising the long-forgotten ritual of sending a specially cooked dish across the fence for no reason other than the spirit of goodwill, friendship and semangat muhibbah.
7. When I have relatives who have married Malays, Indians, Chinese and Mat sallehs and their children are so rojak, it’s just so much easier and more inclusive when I call them Malaysians rather than try to do a breakdown of their race.
8. When non-Chinese students study in Chinese schools because their parents encourage it — not because it’s a novelty or because they are feeling kiasu, but because they think it’s a great idea, so why not? And, also very importantly, because the Chinese school administrators have willingly embraced these non-Chinese into their midst.
9. When there is no need for distinction of race or religion in application forms; all one needs to do is check the box marked “Malaysian” or “non-Malaysian”.
10. When principals refrain from setting a bad example by making derogatory racist remarks and sowing seeds of discord among young minds. Think, what will the country become in 10 years’ time?
11. When the government actually does something and takes action against such principals and school heads instead of talking about it till the cows come home (and still wind up not doing anything at all, or just giving them a mere slap on the wrist). Speaking of cows… now that is a whole, umm, kettle of cattle? Cattle of lembu? altogether, specially when cowheads are involved. Go ask the not-so-1Malaysia people.
12. When you’re proud to sound like a Malaysian, nevermind how many donkey-years you’ve spent studying abroad. Some inflection in the speech is fine, but a total revamp in the accent?? Hello? I know when you ‘masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang kerbau menguak’, but when you balik to your own kandang, why wanna mengembek or menguak?
13. When the word 1Malaysia stops sounding like a catchphrase and becomes a way of life.