My Mildly Mellow Patriotic SideThursday, February 11, 2010
Malaysia is my home country, a place where various cultures intermingle and share with one another a mixture of unique diversity that comes from different kinds of lifestyles, foods, languages, and more. For me, the thing that makes me feel like a true Malaysian is the peace that comes about from the tolerance shared by the people of diverse cultures, and religious/spiritual beliefs.
So, when a demonstration triggered by some people who were possessive of the use of the word “Allah” broke out in the city center, I rolled my eyes, my head and sighed. I did not burst out in anger about the whole thing, well not at that very second, not yet. Not until a little much later, after a series of senseless attacks against the churches were reported. By then, ridiculousness became borderline intolerance. And that my friend, is just not right.
Meanwhile, over seas and skies, far away from the drama that was happening in the country, Amirah Ali, an amazing songwriter decided to share with the world, her feelings toward the intolerance that had just taken place back in her home country, through the haunting poetic song, written and sung by herself.
Let me just share with you, the wonderful song that she has written. It’s called “Katakanlah” which is in the Malaysian language that translates as “Tell Me.” The link to her video clip is available here. As a lover of the written poetical words, I was moved by the profound contents of her lyrics. My favorite part would be when she hits the chorus singing:
Ugamaku dan bangsaku,
Akalku, buatanku, niatku..?
Here’s the English translation:
Am I but a name?
Mere color of my skin?
Am I just my faith, beholden to my race?
Am I tradition, blood of a nation?
Am I thought, an act, intention..?
I believe that to breed genuine tolerance is the most difficult part, in a country that is still fraught with the idea of superiority/exclusivity of a particular race, religion or culture. It does not matter, really what the fight is all about because at the end of the day, it's either we learn to walk together, and be as one, or succumb to the diseased states of I-am-always-right-you-are-wrong or I-am-the-chosen-one-you're-uh-nah.
Before I start running my mouth, let me just end this post with a quote by Friedrich Nietzche that speaks volumes: "You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."