When you’re born into a religion based on your race, one of two things can happen in your life.
- You accept everything that you have including the mountains of privilages and the small downside of worshiping God the way you’re told to.
- You walk away from the privilages and spend the rest of your life doing the best you can to make your own choices while other peopel tell your own kind should run his life.
You know, it just so happened I chose the second option and I guess no one told me about the price that comes with making your own choices in life against the norm. Not that there are no benefits on the road where I walk, it’s just that the trouble that it comes with makes you wish that some days you’d resigned to the herd mentality of your culture and stop dealing with all this crap that you have to constantly endure with over and over again.
Like it or not, being a “Bumiputra”, more so a Malaysian Malay does have a lot of catches. Sure, you get the privilages of having your positions in universities or jobs assured for within the country, but at what price? What you’re left with is breeding a whole new generation of people who’d only take things for granted without the knowledge of skills needed to work hard to earn something you can keep for the future.
Is that the kind of life I’d like to be in? If I knew nothing more than that, if I knew nothing about the world that I keep trying to understand, I would say that kind of life would be enough for me and I would resign myself to live in what reality. Maybe it is fortunate that I grew up with the curiosity and the oportunities to have the options that I have taken. In retrospect, if I chose to live the life of privilage with the options that I knew now, it wouldn’t be so bad. At least it was a choice and I took it upon my own self to make that choice. Whatever consequences that follow those choices were mine to bear, quite like the consequences that I have to bear now with the choices that I have made.
Living with the not having the privilages of being born into a race isn’t what bothers me. My life wasn’t built on being spoonfed and I don’t intend to start anytime soon. Living with other races not trusting or associating themselves with you because you belong to a class of people that subvert and take for granted the positions in which they were offered is my problem. That is the consequence of my choice and none more obvious when it comes to the relationships you have with the people you care for.
Throughout my life, it bothered me that there were always those whispers behind my back by my peers that I was a Malay, a Muslim, that I couldn’t do this or that, that I could get the things they worked hard to get without lifting a finger at all. The glares of envy and silent hatred that eventually places myself in a position where I wasn’t just disliked for how I think, but for the blood that runs through my veins. It bothered me that no one else was giving a chance to prove my worth for who I am because people spent more time looking at what’s skin deep. Things like that have costs me friends and more often the relationships I want.
Nothing hurts more than having your significant other forced to make a choice between you and her parents that see only the stereotyped self. Nothing hurts more than that and knowing that some things can’t be fought no matter how much you try simply because it boils down to a genetic level and human stupidity which is universal on both counts.
At this point though, it isn’t so bad. I know where my friends are. I know they aren’t the parochial people that are as trapped in stereotypes as they are believing in them. I definitely know Mel doesn’t care, but I know her parents does to an extent. The odd thing is why am I more nervous and worried about the matter than her? Habit? Expectations of a learnt past? My worrywart self? Probably all of it. Of course, she does have a way of putting things into perspective.
Mel: You look worried.
Me: Maybe cause I am.
Mel: Think of it this way, you’re dating me, not my parents.
Me: It doesn’t stop them from thinking that way.
Mel: Well, worse come worse, they are too far away to do anything.
Me: So we live things one day at a time?
Mel: You catch on fast.
Me: Of course. I’ve got a good teacher.
You know what? I do have a good teacher…and twistedly cute to boot too.