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Archive for July 26th, 2012

Do you still remember the “1Malaysia” badges my children’s school forces them to buy and wear for the whole month of August as a way to show love and pride for the country?

This is not the only issue I am having with their school. Wait till you hear this one. My daughter came home yesterday evening with an even bigger joke.

Daughter: Mom, I’ve another piece of news for you, this time you will surely get mad!

Mom: What’s it, this time?

Daughter: Our school principal said August 13th 2012 will be chosen as the day for the school to celebrate our independence day.

Mom: So?

Daughter: Our principal said on that day, all students, from Remove up to Form Five, boys and girls alike, are required to wear traditional costumes of their respective races to school, you know, baju kurung, cheongsam, sari or baju melayu and etc.

Mom: Why?

Daughter: Our principal said this is a way to show our spirit of “Muhibbah.” And she said every student must conform to this ruling. We’ll be penalized if we disobey her orders.

Mom: Your cheongsam is too tight for you. I bought it when you’re about eight or nine years-old. It won’t fit you anymore. So what are you going to wear?

Daughter: I don’t know. Our principal said all parents must get these costumes by hook or by crook, buy them or borrow from friends or relatives. It is just for one day only.

Mom: I’m not going to purposely buy you a new cheongsam which is not cheap, just to wear for a day only. Anyway, you’re not going to wear a cheongsam on ordinary days. It’s a waste of your parent’s hard-earned money.

Daughter: Can we borrow from friends or relatives?

Mom: Look my dear, we don’t have any friends or relatives with cheongsams of your size!

Daughter: My form teacher said that if we can’t get a traditional costume of our own choice, she is willing to lend her baju kurung to any female students. She has plenty of them at home.

Mom: You’re just a skinny little girl and she is a fat 40 plus lady. Don’t be silly. You’ll end up looking like the Makcik selling nasi lemak on the roadside if you were to wear her baju kurung. It won’t fit at all.

Son: Don’t count me in. I’ll wear my usual school uniform on that day! End of story! (like most teenagers, he is very much into Justin Bieber and you can’t make him dress up like Wong Fei Hung!)

Daughter: So, what should we do, Mom?

Mom: I say, it’s best you both stay away from school that day. August 13 is the International Day for Left-handers. Why don’t we stay at home on that day and have a small feast since you are a left-hander too? Let’s celebrate your left-handerness!

Daughter: Yeah, that’s a good idea. We cook our favorite food, we listen to our favorite songs and we play some computer games on that day!

Mom: By the way, the real independence day for our country is September 16, that’s Malaysia Day!

That’s the trouble having a mom who do not conform blindly! It’s not that I do not support the spirit of “Muhibbah.” It’s just that I felt whatever the government are doing now is so very fake! When supports from adults are getting thinner each day, they turned to schools, principals, teachers and students because they knew this group is very vulnerable, that they can’t say no. But they have forgotten that at the end of the equation, they have to deal with some parents like me who do not take their nonsense so timidly.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Note: In case you are wondering what is “Muhibbah” it is a Malay word for goodwill among the various races. The one and only time I felt this spirit in my entire life was during the Bersih 3.0 rally on 428 in KL where people of all races got together to demand for a clean and fair election and got gassed badly for doing so. An elderly Malay lady squatting next to me saw that my own salt supply had run out and offered me some as my eyes stung from the smoke, “Nah, ambil garam ini, dik!” – that for me, is Muhibbah, and not wearing some costumes just  to show I am Chinese, she is Malay and he is Indian!

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