"akak ni melayu ke inggeris??"
seriously, i ws speechless tht moment.
for what tht lil' 8 y/o girl knew ws only a thg abt uia students, thr r two categories of 'em.
1st> malay (whc i supposed she meant e m'sian citizens studying here n majority of 'em r malays)
2nd> foreigners who go to her mother stall n speak in english (and i can surely say here none of 'em r english).
but how shld i make ths lil' girl to understnd that thg??? after all i am neither a malay nor an english. i ws struggling to answer her q.
first thg tht came into my mind when a malay person ask me tht kinda q is e experience i had for e past 15 years.
it wasn't a good experience. an experience tht i bet will keep taking place repeatedly in my life by time to time till e end, unless i leave this country.
started at kindergarten then to primary school to secondary to national service programme to cfs n till now here in uia kuantan.
Malay friends asked me whenever they came to know that i speak languages whc r uncommon among 'em (i.e. urdhu n tamil) qs asked> "ayah masuk islam ke mak?" or, "bila masuk islam?" or, "sambut tak deepavali?" or, many thgs for whc i felt so much irritated to hear it, wht more in answering it??
i will answer each of their question n was seriously tired to explain them my history. but, i hv to do it in order to defend my origin!! till at one point, e subject sejarah i took during my secondary school came into help 1st time in life. the history of how Islam spread into Tanah Melayu (k.k.a. malaysia). Acc to e history>
"Islam dibawa ke Tanah Melayu dan disebarkan melalui perdagangan oleh saudagar2 Islam dari negara Arab, India dan China"
It helped me to come out with a point. Then, when in cfs pj, people there raised e same q again, i explained to 'em e history n told 'em that my ancestors embraced Islam long before theirs. That ws my saviour.
And, now, i am here, in uia kuantan. Colleagues here r 20 years ++ but their mentality, ya rabbi, i don't know what to say. Again e same question raised. This time, i really got fed up with their thinking n questions, so i just gave a yes or no answer. I don't know till when i have to face this dilemma.
why can't they understand a simple clear thing??? Islam is wide n universal. It is not that if someone is a Muslim, he/she must be a Malay (i'm talking about situation in Malaysia).
"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and nation and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." [Quran, 49:13, Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation]
so, what is e big deal here??? Indian, Chinese, american, Japanese, e Burma-s etc. can all be born as Muslims and have ancestors being Muslims for centuries!!!
this verse doesn't state that Allah has created only one tribe n all Muslims belong to tht tribe, no!!! never!!!! even the Arabs didn't claim that Islam is theirs n they never asked e non-Arab Muslims whether their mother or father embraced Islam or when they embraced Islam or are they celebrating any other religions' festival..no, they don't!!!
so, why are some Malaysian Malay Muslims are asking those questions to non-Malay Muslims in M'sia?? I'm wondering n confused....
hey, okay2.. back to the story.
after her question,a simple but complicated answer i gave her.
"akak bukan melayu, akak bukan inggeris"
then she asked again "akak ni melayu ke inggeris??" n i replied e same.
then i told her i speak malay bcos i studied in a malay-based school but i'm not a malay. i'm fret that if i told her that i'm an Indian, she'll misunderstood it as my adult Malay colleagues did. so, i just smiled at her.
then out of sudden, i don't know wht came to her mind, she asked me "akak india ke?"
i was relieved bcos she answered tht question whc i struggled to answer. but at e same time, i was worried that she'll asked me those annoying n irritating questions. since "big" people can raise those low-mentality questions, it'll not be a surprise for a small kid to ask it.
but for my surprise, she asked me somethg whc ws out of my expectation.
"akak, cakap bahasa india"
she requested me to speak tamil. subahanallah, what a maturity she has which her adults don't. then i spoke two pieces of sentences to her, n translated it. she tried to imitate it but it doesn't work. then she was laughing in excitement. may be she never heard anyone speaking tamil to her before. her joyful face that time is still fresh in my memory.
then, i left that place n went inside the cafe. i was smiling thinking of her. may be she didn't think tht matter too complex as her adults did. for her, may be everyone is human being with just variation in languages. only Allah know what she is thinking of.
anyway, i am proud to say that i am an Indian Muslim, originating from a village in India, born in Malaysia n i do speak my mother tongue (Urdu) and father tongue (Tamil) in front of e public without any hesitation !