Friday, 21 November 2008

Remember May 13?

Kamal, Kamal, Kamal!
You posted the comment "Remember May 13" to me?

THANK YOU Kamal for reminding me of May 13th.

It's been a long, LONG time. I did forget all the goodness that came out of May 13.

In remembering that day (thanks again Kamal), I now remember my old neighbours.

At that time, we were living in an area - right in the heart of KL, where many Malay & Indians lived in 4 rows of lovely linked government houses.
This side road lead off from the Main Road & another side lane from it lead to 3 rows of prewar houses occupied mainly by Chinese.

Contrary to what many may think. In my days, the educated ones were the government workers. Most of those Chinese in the prewar houses were illiterate traders. I think only 6 of those families had the head of their household who were educated .

I remember the warm smiles & the free rambutans, my 1st taste of a great curry puff, my Xmas fruit cake & my 1st Rendang.
I remember the friendship of the ladies, giving each other tips from cooking to pregnancy. Even small loans to tie each other over. I remember more than 10 of us kids sharing comics & drinking from 1 bottle of warm F&N.

How did I ever forget?

When May 13th happened, all the Malay, Indian & Chinese Pak Ciks & uncles I knew (& MANY I didn't know) - came together to ensure safety, & food for everyone.
They formed a sentry - made up of Malay & Chinese guarding 24/7. IF any malay trouble makers came, our Pak Ciks would come out to tell them "Melayu tinggal sini sa'ja" & vise versa for the Chinese.

Oh. Yes. And you ask me. What did our Indian neighbours do? The 3 Indian families helped by going out to buy food - since they were the "neutral" race.

Big & small, young & old, male & female, our Indian neighbours dragged back heavy baskets of food to bring to all of us. Shopping for nearly 50 families is no joke.

Before May 13th, it was not as Muhibah as I have made it sound - because for our menfolks who were out of the house a lot, were only on nodding acquitance with each other. Funny how women & kids can make friends more easily than men.

When May 13th came, the men finally got to know each other.

Now looking back, I also see May 13th as achieving something that nearly 10 years of living together did not & that is -

It showed the implicit trust that fellow men have in each other because didn't these men trust their neighbours to safeguard their, & their family's lives?
The very same races out there killing each other

More importantly, that event reminds me that
The men in the street had MUCH more Courage than cowards armed with parangs

It reminds me that decent citizens were willing to die defending the other "dangerous" race.

So for me, that greatest shameful event of our nation that I have ever witnessed- showed me - that instead of breaking us up, it actually brought all of us together

And men - the common men in the streets are Decent.

They do not hide under cloaks of greed, fear & distrust in others

They do right by others

They do not kill people because someone is from a different race & belief

So Kamal. Thank you very much for reminding me of May 13. I shall not forget again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a heartfelt and beautiful post, Sister!!

More Malaysians should remember moments such as these instead of the worst times that were orchestrated anyway.

Take care and I am waiting for your next post!