Question My Patriotism, Not? (Part 2)
Muhibbah Pays II
I advanced through the ranks pretty fast. The seniors who were all Malays & a Chinese treated me so well. I became a Patrol Leader a year after that, & advanced to the 3rd most powerful rank in the Troop as the Troop Secretary 2 years after joining. During that time, my senior, me, my younger brother & 4 of his friends were the only Chinese scouters in a 60+ strong scout troop which was dominated by Malays.
During my form five (17 years old), I was nominated by my scoutmaster, Cikgu Fairuz (a Kedahan) to run for office as a Troop Leader. The selection process was executed in an anonymous ‘election’ style where our printed names in a list was distributed to all members. Members will then choose the names by ticking the candidates who seem suitable to run for post & re-submit them back to the troop office that was handled by the scoutmasters. It was a tough competition as my chances was only 5%. Why 5%? Because there were 18 Malays & an Indian name nominated to run for office at that time!!
Imagine that you are an MCA candidate in a constituency which was a PAS/UMNO stronghold? That is the situation I am in at that time. I was indeed very lucky because my junior-ranking committee members supported me all the way. They were the Assistant Treasurer, Commander, Auditor, Special Task & Quartermasters who backed me up all the way, & yes they were all Malays. When the result was announced, I was officially the troop leader for 1994-1995. The largest factor that contributed to my success actually also have to do with the way I mingle around with my low-rank juniors regardless of what their rank is. I was always there for them when they face difficulties, I visited their tents & counsel them, motivate them & have brotherly talks with them regardless of what race they are. I was so inspired with this ‘pemimpin berjiwa rakyat’ (leaders with the minds of subordinates) principle that it does help me alot in winning their hearts & minds that leads to the position of where I am at that time.
My Chinese teachers couldn’t say much but respected me because as a Chinese, I single-handedly command the whole troop which was dominated by Malays under a just & firm command. Of course I couldn’t do it myself if it is not through the support of my Malay juniors. Mr.Chong, who was my English teacher once told me during a school sports day, ‘Wow, can’t believe that you can handle your troop well even though you were a Chinese! Thumbs up to you lah!’. Well, it was indeed one of my sweetest years in secondary school.
As muhibbah as it gets, I was involved heavily in scouting activities every weekend that brought me to kampungs & estates. I was a familiar face there in the kampungs as I regularly cycled to my fellow scouters house during Raya festivities or kenduri, or just hanging out in their dad’s durian orchard in a group. I was so tanned that time that the folks greeted me with a ‘salam’, & not to make myself distinguishable, I answered their ‘salam’ with a grin. They were surprised & broke into laughter when my pals identified me as an ‘anak Cina’ (Chinese kid).
At times being too muhibbah does bear some consequences of being misunderstood. I remembered when I joined my troop participating in district or state levels activities, fellow scouters from Chinese schools always think I was the weird type, ‘caplang’ (hybrid) or whatever labels or pseudos that they could think of will be branded for me. It does have to do with my language difficulty I admit as most of them are Mandarin speakers while I am a banana still struggling to find my own identity. Breakdown in communication was the distinctive barrier at that time that deters me in socialising further with them. It doesn’t worry me as I always have the attention of the leaders because of my Malay proficiency & enthusiasm. Above all is the fun & trill that I was seeking, & perhaps they are just envious that I am able to mingle well with Malays & Indians.
During my college days as well, my gang was the most muhibbah bunch of all as I have Rizal, Taqiuddin, Timmy See, Saravana & Sargunan as my room mates. We will hangout together in mamaks having briani, or went for late night movies or just wondering around Ipoh shopping for CDs or just merely lepaking. I was stereotyped once again for being strange by my fellow Chinese peers. I was well prepared that time, as I was immune with those accusations in the past. It doesn’t hurt me a single bit even it reoccur again once more.
In my Uni days in UK my muhibbahness venture up to another heights & level where this ‘skill’ equipped me well in my social endeavours with people made up of mixed nationalities, race & religion. I had Spanish, German, Korean, mainland Chinese, Hongkong, African, Arabs, Kurdish, Syrian, South American, Bruneian, Indonesian friends whatever you call it. I have been mingling with them with no difficulties whatsoever as a result of the muhibbah pride that I have instilled all the way within me. As also a keen political & world affairs observer, my knowledge in geography & politics is an added bonus where it makes it so much easier for me to understand a person when I have done some ‘homework’.
I dare to say that muhibbahness is an excellent survival skill that all Malaysians should practice & possess. It provides you readiness to face social challenges in life that you will never expect & foresee, thus benefit from them in a long run & building stronger friendships that will eventually last forever.
Muhibbah is one of he best lessons in life that describes what merdeka have sowed in our hearts & souls. Let this be something special that Malaysians can always brag proudly of it.
Viva la Malaysia. Happy Merdeka Day Malaysia.
Related link: Question My Patriotism, Not? (Part 1)