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Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter

Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter

Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan, 24

“Both my parents are Malay. My mum’s heritage includes Chinese, Thai and Arab, while my dad is Minangkabau. Due to my skin colour, I am often mistaken for a chinese.

I’m happy that I don’t have the typical Malay look but I do get annoyed when people call me Ah Moi or ask me straight up “Are you Chinese or Malay”

Like, why does it matter? Before I used to answer “Malay” but now I’m trying to consciously answer Malaysian instead.

There’s this incident from primary school that I remember till today. Someone told me that I will be called last during Judgement Day because I don’t have a Muslim name. Of course, I was scared then but now that I’m older, I realise that a name is just a name. It doesn’t define you as a good or bad person and there is definitely no such thing as a Muslim name. You can be named Rashid or ALI and still be a Christian.

I’ve heard of the 1Malaysia concept, but I think we don’t need to be told to be united. We’ve come such a long way that it should already be embedded in our hearts and minds that we are united. Unfortunately, you can still see racial discrimination and polarisation. There is still this ethno-centric view that the Malays are the dominant group and their rights must be protected, and non Malays are forever the outsiders.

For the concept to succeed, I think the government should stop with the race politics. It’s tiring, really. We grew up with application forms asking us to tick our race. We should stop painting a negative image of the other races, stop thinking about ‘us’ and ‘them’ and focus on ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘Malaysians’.

No one should be made uncomfortable in their own home. A dear Chinese friend of mine said to me once, “I don’t feel patriotic because I am not made to feel like Malaysia is my home, and I don’t feel an affinity to China because I have never lived there.

I know some baby Nyonya friends who can trace their lineage back hundreds of years. I’m a fourth generation Malaysian. If I am Bumiputra, why can’t they be, too? Clearly I have issues with the term.
I think the main reason why we still can’t achieve total unity is because of this ‘Malay rights’ concept. I’d rather ‘Malay rights’ be replaced by human rights. So unless we get rid of this Bumiputra status, or reform our views and policies on rights, we will never achieve unity.

For my merdeka wish, I’d like for Malaysians to have more voice, to be respected and heard. I wish that the government would uphold the true essence of parliamentary democracy. I wish for the people to no longer fear and discriminate against each other, to see that we are one and the same.

I wish that Malaysia would truly live up to the tourism spin of Malaysia truly Asia. Malaysians to lead – whatever their ethnic background.

Choose whatever religion one is comfortable with.

“His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity, in families that know new opportunity, in children who know education’s promise, and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just — including myself.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA, on Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

4 Responses to “Tunku Abdul Rahman’s great granddaughter”

  1. My Name is Glenn, I’m Malaysian living in Australia at the moment. Well, I have, for the past 5 years living in different countries like England, Singapore and Australia. I have come a long way to realize the cruel fact that the racial inequalities in Malaysia have generally been accepted for many generations. I have read your letter about the “1 Malaysia, 1 nationality” and i am truly impressed. I hope more and more Malaysian would have the same mentality like you because that’s the only way for unity and successful integration in our country. I see racial diversity in Malaysia as a bonus rather than deprivation or challenge to the sacred “special right” of the majority race. Protectionism in Malaysia, as indisputably proven for the past few decades, will only sprout more cronyism and corruptions in the country. Globalization is the reality of the world and every country is going through it at the moment. If Malaysia could not embrace Malaysian (non-bumi) itself with sincerity and open heart, how could it open up to the world for competitions?
    Thank you Sharyn for your thoughtful letter and I am truly proud of you as a Malaysian. I wish you all the best in your future.

  2. Well written article… as a dweller of this blessed land, how I wish that one we will all identify ourselves as Malaysian…. sadly due to certain irresponsible politicians…that dream will remain just a dream. Nevertheless, we must continue to speak out against racism.

  3. Hi ,Sharyn first of all you have earned a firm salute for the great write up, well as I could see is that the true Malaysia spirit runs in your blood and I am proud of what you have brought up to the public and hopefully the message will give an eyes breaking to the younger generation and hopefully they wil be able to form an true Malaysian concept, May god bless your future undertakings and we are there to support you all the way, cool do keep up the good work.

  4. What you seek is indeed what the PM is trying to achieve, but it is a mistake to ignore the reason those measures were first enacted, and naive to imagine that they can be removed suddenly and without great difficulty in a complex democracy such as Malaysia. Perhaps in time you will acquire some of the wisdom of your great-grandfather, and follow in his footsteps where you can contribute to the transition.

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