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Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:32

And as Mahathir goes on with his tiresome Chinese-Malay-Indian bla-bla-bla, MICHELLE YOON shares a poignant story of her grandmother. It's a simple point to remember - This Is My Home.

All things considered, this seismic Chinese-Malay-Indian-danlainlain talk is getting old, Dr M sir. The Malaysian Insider also answers with an editorial here



Grandma Kam. Pic / Michelle Yoon


“… The special position of the Malays in this country has always been recognized because Malays have no other home except here.”

This is what our Tunku said during his speech in the Federal Legislative Council on 14th March 1956, not too long after he returned from the Merdeka Mission to London.

Do I begrudge him for saying what he did? Do I hold him responsible for wanting to put the Malays in a “special position”, hence indirectly positioning my grandparents and parents to that of a non-special position?


Grandma Kam used to tell me stories of her childhood, when I was still a child and she was still very much lucid. She’s become rather weak now, as is what happens to most old people, and more often than not she would not remember what she had just said 5 minutes ago.


But back in those days when we were still living in that papan house of ours in New Village, she would often balance a heavy photo album on her lap, have me sit next to her on the rattan chair, and happily point out to me distant relatives I have never met, and quite frankly, never knew I had.

They were her family, her uncles and aunts, her cousins and second-cousins, her nephews and nieces. And they all lived in China.


But Grandma Kam was not born in China. She was born in Malaysia. She grew up chasing chickens and climbing trees. She dug for tapioca during the Japanese Occupation. She got married in her 20’s. She learnt to sew and got her children to help out during their school holidays. Her children grew up; some became successful people, some not so, but they all loved her still the same. Some made quite a bit of money, and Grandma Kam got to make annual trips to China.


Grandma Kam hardly speaks a word of Malay. The most you would get out of her might be “Tak mau,” or “makan”. Her family, the one in those photos she used to show me when I was a child, is still in China. They never left China to come here. And though Grandma Kam used to go to China yearly, sometimes to visit them, sometimes just to travel, she always came back to us, here in Malaysia.

For her, this is where her heart is. For her, this is home.


She has been here all her life. Her childhood, her marriage, her adulthood. All her memories are here. Her children are here. Her grandchildren are here. This was where she was born. She has no other home except here.

In 1956, Tunku said:


“… The special position of the Malays in this country has always been recognized because Malays have no other home except here.”


Maybe, and I say this with much reservation, maybe if Grandma Kam was to have been asked to leave Malaya upon Merdeka, she might have had a “home” to go back to. Maybe those relatives in China might have taken her in, despite never having grown up together.


So maybe the Tunku was right when he made that statement. Maybe some people did have other places they could call “home”. But that is a big maybe, with a lot of consequences riding on it. And what might have been right then may no longer be right today.


Grandma Kam no longer has any other place she can call home. Malaysia is the only home she knows.

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harry porter |2010-11-07 20:59:59
It was the time when malaysia was formed and our so call brother nation Indonesia under Sukarno ws against the formation of malaysia. He wanted to crushed Malaysia using Controntation. I was very young and my step brother who was born in China told us that the Mindef has a call up. Able bodied men were required to report to Manpower Mindef in case the war will start. At that time, Pommies, Kiwis and aussies are helping us. Of course Indonesia dropped paratroopers over Labis and landed soldiers in Pontian. Why those born in china has to report to Malaysia Mindef?

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