TEACHER, ARE YOU CHINESE OR MALAY? by Nur Aliya Yeoh

Cikgu Nur Aliya Yeoh

“Teacher, do you understand Tamil?” asked Revathi.

I was with a small group of Indian students,on relief duty for an absent teacher.

“No, I don’t understand Tamil,” I smiled. I knew they just wanted an assurance that I would not eavesdrop on their conversation.
” Would you understand if I speak Chinese?” I asked.
Revathi’s turn to smile.
“Teacher, you can speak Chinese?”
“Teacher is Chinese la,” Ramanan answered for me.
“Really? I thought you’re a Malay.”
“I am a Chinese,” my smile grew wider.
She looked puzzled.
“But… you are wearing tudung?’
“I am a Chinese Muslim… born in Malaysia. I grew up as a Chinese and later..”
“You converted?” Shanti chipped in.
“That’s right. I wear the tudung because I am a Muslim woman. But I am still a Chinese and I can speak and understand Chinese.” I explained slowly.
“Ohhh…” Revathi nodded slowly.

Ahhh… I’ve been in the school since 2010.
Taught the same students two years ago and strangely, they had not realise that I am a Chinese lady. The reason? I am wearing a hijab, or tudung.
Students, like most Malaysians, associate this garb with Islam and Malay. In many minds, if you wear a tudung, then you must be a Malay.
And in their minds, if you happen to wear a long tudung, then you must be specially religious Malay.  [ see how they associate our clothing to religion]
Tudung = religious Malay woman = Islam

It’s bad enough that Muslim and non-Muslim students are always separated during religious activities.
It’d be a havoc among other nonMuslim teachers if a nonMuslim student were to sit in the hall with other Muslim students, listening to a ceramah by an ustaz.
So I can’t blame them for their lack of understanding of Islam.
They don’t know much because we, the Muslims, don’t do much. Sometimes we, the adults are not allowed to.
Students learn best when they mix with their own friends. Which is why our teenagers need to be exposed to doing Islamic dakwah work, and not be scolded nor discouraged just because they ‘lack knowledge’.
I won’t be surprised if the nonMuslim students think that China is made up of only Buddhist people. I used to think that way too, when in reality there are more Chinese Muslims in China than there are Malay Muslims in Malaysia.
I was told [in whispers] that there’s a Chinese student who is interested in Islam. The ustazah doesn’t know what to do. Till today, I’m still waiting for her to approach me.

It’s always fun watching how Chinese students react when I speak Chinese dialects or Mandarin to them.
One day when I scolded a sleepy Chinese lad in his mother-tongue, Hokkien, and he was so surprised that he actually sat up straight.
And the Malay students?
They might suddenly realise that it’s a fact that there are other Muslims in this country who are not Malay or Mamak. That there are other once-kafir people who have embraced Islam and are now their brothers and sisters in Islam. Because I’m a living and walking proof among them.

“So teacher, are you a Malay or a Chinese now?”
“I am a Chinese.. and my religion is Islam.There are more than 60 thousand Chinese Muslims in Malaysia today, do you know? ”
Ahhh, life is never boring as a Chinese Muslim.

Xie xie, wa ai ni, Allah.

1 comments:

    nice as always…

    susah gak kdg2 bila memikirkan org mengaitkan agama dgn bangsa.. sedangkan agama itu anutan, cara hidup dan bangsa itu pula hanyalah sekadar kelahiran…

    Source: http://pukullima.blogspot.com/2012/04/are-you-chinese-or-malay.html

Malaysian Muslims Dilemma

Today Malaysia’s 14th Supreme King was officially installed as the nation’s Constitutional Monarch. The King is also by Law regarded as the ‘Head of the Islamic Faith’ here in this so called Muslim nation.

Quite a contradiction really when we all know that the country isn’t ruled exactly according to the Syariah Laws of the Al Quran or according to the enjoinments of the authentic Hadiths of the Blessed Messenger of Allah!

What we have is more of a facade of Islamic superiority when in actuality it is the Constitution of Malaysia which are based upon the British Secular Laws which still prevail over the Kingdoms of Malaysia.

Yes, you read me right! Kingdoms! 9 Malay Sultanates taking turns to rule as the Yang Di Pertuan Agong @ Supreme King every 5 years on a rotation cycle.

On paper, it all looks very smurfy but in reality, the King is just a constitutional monarch. The real power is wielded by the Executive. Namely an elected Prime Minister who heads the ruling coalition of political parties who won in the General Elections. Funny isn’t it?

For all the pomp and the pageantry that goes hand in hand with the royalty sitting in state, the real deal is that it is the PM who calls the shots!

Now, here in Malaysia, Muslims are finding it tough to get someone to speak up for their faith or to clear up any misconceptions that involves the religion of Islam. The enemies of Islam here in Malaysia are having a field day wreaking havoc every now and then by making inroads into the sanctity of Islam and raise endless issues after issue just to make life miserable for the Believers!

Not one leader or ruler has the guts or the spine so to speak to champion the cause of Ad Deenul Islam! Not one Supreme King of Malaysia has been on record to have actually exercised his powers to stamp out the menace of Islamophobic rabblerousers out there amongst this nation’s political circus!

I for one don’t see this scenario changing for the better with the installation of the latest ‘Head of Islam’! I’m a bit more interested to see what the Deputy Head of Islam of Malaysia @ the Sultan of Kelantan is going to do when he takes over as the 15th Supreme King of Malaysia for he is reported to be religiously inclined?

In the meantime, its every Muslim for him or herself! Just stick to the dictates of our True Faith as commanded by Allah the Almighty and enjoined by His Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam!

Malaysian Muslims Dilemma is that we have no one amongst the so called ruling elite whom we can depend on at the moment!

Sheeesh….