This country is going through a massive cultural change.
A Malay friend introduced her American husband to members of her family. Her closest aunt shook his hand, only after she had completely swathed her hand in a scarf to avoid touching him.
That friend was lucky. Another Malay friend whose husband is Jewish was snubbed, when her relatives refused to shake hands with him.
They said that on hindsight, there were little give-aways during their trips home, in the late 80s. Portraits and paintings of people, were replaced with Islamic calligraphy. Families who once kept dogs, did not have them as pets anymore. Figurines collected from holidays abroad, were ditched. Even Barbie dolls, were thrown out. Islam does not allow idol-worship, they said.
A number of non-Malay friends said their Malay friends had also changed. They were neighbours, grew up together, went to the same school, and shared many teenage secrets, like trying to get 4-D numbers at the Chinese graveyard or sneaking into Ipoh’s Jubilee Park to watch Rose Chan.
During school, the non-Malay friends would wait for their Malay friends outside the surau whilst they performed their Friday prayers, then afterwards all would go to the hawker stalls for makan. The Malays did not object to their non-Malay friends eating pork.
Today, the friendships still exist, but the closeness has gone. One friend said that his Malay friend would bring his children to visit at Christmas, but the teenagers would refuse to shake his hand, or consume anything that was offered, even if the drink was from a can. His friend claimed that his children’s school had fuelled the intolerance.
Another friend relocated from Shah Alam, because she feared for her pet dogs.
In the past, transgender people did not fear for their safety, or their lives. Today, they do.
What progress can our leaders claim to have made, when after 63 years, many Malays have developed a fear of dogs, pigs, Chinese, the DAP, communists, the crucifix, speaking English, lanterns, books, liberals and rational thinking?
How can some Malays believe an ulama, who says that drinking or eating from a vessel which was used by a non-Malay, is going to make his body “impure?
Why do some Malays believe an ulama who says that a Muslim cannot extend good wishes for Christmas or Ponggal? Why believe the word of a non-Malaysian radical Muslim preacher who cares nothing about multicultural Malaysia?
What makes some Malays agree with Malay leaders who condone corruption because “finally a Malay gets to “enjoy” what it is like to be rich”?
Don’t some Malays think it is wrong and immoral that Malays are rarely censured when they insult non-Malays and non-Muslims, but action is swift against non-Malays and non-Muslims who do the same?
So, how did we become such an intolerant nation?
Please share your thoughts.