Today, I got my first ever “Communist” comment on social media. Thankfully, it wasn’t directed towards me (or so I hope). Mr Daus (I’m guessing Firdaus?) was calling my grandfather a communist.
To be fair, (let’s assume) Firdaus knows no better. My yeyeh was a PAP/DAP Member of Parliament (MP) and Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN), eons ago in 1969. That’s him on the mic, questioning or saying things I can only try and imagine today.
I’m not entirely sure how many terms yeyeh ran for, but I know it wasn’t for long. His version of the story is that BN was constantly trying to buy him over with promises of land, a big house & other luxuries. He had no interest in any of it.
His retelling was that he saw the amount of corruption and red tape to make good changes or progress, got extremely disheartened and ended up quitting politics altogether for a simpler life with small pension and no luxuries, and less heartache.
It’s crossed my mind that perhaps yeyeh just did not have the stamina or tenacity for a game so rigged, which is ironic considering how ridiculously stubborn this man remained for the rest of his life. We remain a middle, working-class family to this day.
You see, I now can say we come from a very modern and somewhat Westernized family, but at the same time many of us have also remained rather conservative. Some of my family members see themselves as Chinese first, while others vow they will always be Malaysian first.
I struggled with this identity for many years. But as I grew older and matured I finally came to a stand that I identify with being Malaysian Chinese. But always, always, always, Malaysian first. Granted, being born Malaysian was never my choice, but choosing what is dearest to my heart, being Malaysian, is. Which probably explains my despair at what has transpired in our homeland over the past 10 days.
My political views are simple : Equality. Across the board. Need-based aid, not race-based. Freedom of religion, which includes freedom FROM religion. Quality secular education accessible to all. I could really care less about what races run the country as long as they run it fair and just. Of course, this is a far-fetched dream for the next generation, although that’s not to say that I won’t be doing my part in fighting the many battles it’ll take for us to get there.
I don’t expect overnight changes. But the saddest thing, to me, is that I’ve been overthinking how I responded to this comment. I read and re-read, and can find so many ways in which I could’ve been kinder. I could’ve called him by his name, I should’ve wished him all the best with his properties(?), judging by the little on his bio that I understood. I could’ve been more personal and warmer. But my command of Bahasa Malaysia is shamefully poor, from years of believing I was too good for the language. I start to wonder if my reply may be coming off as arrogant or condescending, although that was never my intention.
But dear Mr Firdaus, a 22yo man so misled by blind racial hatred imprinted by over 60 years of racial politics, will likely never once even consider if his words or actions may cause unnecessary hurt towards others. That, is what saddens me most. Because to be Malay, inciting hate on the Chinese and non-Malays, is some sick form of “mempertahankan agama & bangsa”. There is no consequence on these people. The consequences on the non-Malays, however, are dire. Of course, such behavior is not exclusive to the Malays only, but that is a story for another day.
I can only foolishly hope dear brother Firdaus grows out of this, and starts to form a thinking mind of his own. I hope he achieves the riches and success he aspires to have. I hope he’ll be the odd one out to expose and educate others when he does.
I wish you all the best, Firdaus. There is a whole world out there and I hope you make the choice to see it all.
*edit* I’ve gotten a few messages asking where you can find this comment/Instagram post. It’s actually an old post on my IG account, posted two years ago in May 2018. I’m guessing Firdaus went searching up hashtags to leave unsavoury comments, which if I may add, must’ve taken quite a bit of time and effort.