What makes Malaysia Malaysia is our racial, religious and cultural diversity unseen (almost) anywhere else in the world.
While other coutries may also be diverse (USA and UK to some extent), some distinctions have to be noted.
One, immigrations into these countries are relatively new. So fresh in fact that the first generation of the immigrants may still be alive.
Second, the pressure to assimilate is strong in these countries that the second generation of immigrants have likely transitioned to speak in English as the primary language. By the third generation, the ability to converse in mother tongue has likely deteriorated significantly.
Malaysia experiences immigrations in waves and waves upon centuries. Archeological evidences have shown that the old Malay state of Kedah saw it exporting irons for over ~2500 years, proven through excavation of merchant ships and smelting plants in Sungai Batu, Kedah.
For thousands of years, we have traders all over the world setting foot. European, Arabian, Indian, Chinese, boatloads of us stepping ashore on top of natural immigration from neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.
Instead of diminishing, the cultures in Malaysia flourished and evolved with new inputs. Ask any mainland Chinese (from China I mean) of their thoughts on the Chinese culture in Malaysia, I guarantee you will be surprised to hear that these mainland Chinese consider our celebration of Chinese traditions and customs are much more elaborate.
Evolution of the Indian culture in Malaysia is no less dissimilar from those of Chinese Malaysians. Our celebrations of Hinduism is as elaborate, as festive, and as intricate as those in India. The second tallest statue of Lord Murugan in the world stands proudly in our country.
What makes Malaysia unique is two fold.
As a start, cultures of our past generations are not lost. Traditions and beliefs of our forefathers are still strongly observed and actively, diligently kept alive with our own unique flavors.
Next, century-long interactions between the races in Malaysia have resulted in numerous products. We learned to infuse recipes with new ingredients & techniques, we intermingled and created offsprings with stronger DNAs, we grew our vocabulary and created new lingos, we learn to be one.
This diversity should be celebrated and upheld.
Being multi-cultural is a great strategic advantage to the country as a whole; it puts us on a great economic path globally. Thus efforts to discount, diminish or worse demonise other cultures must not be allowed to happen in Malaysia.
Malaysians when together in a room are able to speak languages and dialects of the Nusantara, Southern India and Eastern China. Collectively these are languages spoken by over half of the world population.
A Malaysian company filled with a Chinese, an Indian and a Malay could be exporting their services & products to billions of potential customers by working together, riding on each other’s strength.
We have the right ingredients, now its up to the new government to cook up a recipe for it. 🇲🇾