Hey Ehs why you always hang out with Chinese gang ah?

Bro you always play volleyball with Malay friends ah?

Wah!!! You got Indian friend already leh Ehs.


I’m not sure how many of you can relate to this kind of questions. But trust me I get this almost all the time. Why, you may ask? That’s why you have to continue reading.

From a very young age, I’ve always told to make friends and talk to everyone. Well, parents do get serious sometimes when you start to talk to people who they think will influence you into bad things. But for me that’s not the case. I always find people different and unique from each other. This made me explore more and more about people around me. Some give nasty racism remarks like “Hey Bro, I can’t see you, someone switch on the light before Ehs completely disappears!! HaHaHaHa!!” But not all of them are the same. People tend to comment on things that’s peculiar to them, so sometimes I’ll just shake it off.

Fast forward to primary school, I was surrounded mostly by Malay friends where I get all my ‘duit raya’. ‘Duit Raya’ is the money we get in green envelope from parents of the Muslim friends we are visiting during Eid Adha. So, I started speaking Malay language fluently and learn most of their culture throughout my primary. Only during this time I’ve realized and start understanding how Malaysia is a diverse country.

Then, we get to secondary school. Time to rebel and break the rules, right? Kind of yes, but not for me. I was bombarded with huge amount of Chinese and Indian students from national Chinese and Tamil school. I joined the Red Crescent Society in my school and what’s funny is that I’m the only active Indian guy there, rest were Chinese. Here goes another journey. I started learning Mandarin language from them. We celebrate Chinese New Year, of course the ‘ang pows’ and briyani during Deepavali with Malay friends too. I did bring in few Malay and Indian students into the society to embark diversity. Besides serving as first aider, I was also the Red Crescent Youth Leaders Council for the district. When I think that’s all I need to know about Malaysia, there comes university.

Got enrolled in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), I was shocked because I’ve never had friends from Sabah or Sarawak. They are so much different from those friends I met earlier. Their own language, new culture and traditional food. Talking about language we cannot forget the popular states with their own dialect like Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang and many more. Singing ‘Original Sabahan’ to dancing for Indian Induction Camp, so many experiences made my inner Malaysian spirit stronger and stronger day by day.

I hope all of us can accept our differences and live together as one, not divided by colour of our skin, the language we speak or our culture for a better Malaysia.