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I Missed Being Malay…

Coupla times, a few mainland Chinese girls came up to me, speaking Mandarin and I’d have to go, “Sorry, I don’t speak Chinese.”

I thought to myself, “Gosh, where do I belong here?”

Being the only Malay there meant that I didn’t have the comfort zone to get back in and mumble things no one else can make sense of. I realized how small the ‘rumpun’ Melayu really is.

And I missed speaking Malay, I really did.

FEBRUARY 10, 2009 You know, being one in a three-hundred crowd can be pretty daunting.

Especially if you come there not knowing a soul. And everyone is pretty much a stranger.

When I’m anxious like that, I cross my right hand over my left and rub my arm, over and over again. Then I circle the room a couple of times searching for a friendly, familiar place all the while feeling a little nervous and a little overwhelmed at the same time.

With the right group of people, it could turn into a pretty great bonding experience. I met a few I’ve enjoyed conversing with, and were deemed ‘Facebook Friend’-worthy.

But if you meet a bunch of strangers you have nothing in common with, and you find yourself desperately trying to fill in the awkward silence, it can be an excruciatingly painful social experience.

That was how it was when I was at the conference this past weekend.

I honestly envy those who can stay up till four in the morning working the social network and grooving till their feet hurt on the dance floor, but I’m not one of those people.

I like my conversations intense. I like my crowd tiny. I get very sleepy by 2 in the morning. And every couple of hours or so, I retreat to my own personal space, and take a breather.

And when it gets a little boring in front, or I’m just not in the mood to socialize, I stay silent. Stare into space for a bit. And jot my random thoughts in my notebook.

By the third day, when everyone started searching for people from their home country to speak their respective mothertongue, I felt a little lost. Nobody guessed that I was Malay. Not even a few fellow Malaysians. Non-Malaysians thought I was Chinese, a few others thought I was Chindian (??), and the rest believed me to be Thai. Coupla times, a few mainland Chinese girls came up to me, speaking Mandarin and I’d have to go, “Sorry, I don’t speak Chinese.”

I thought to myself, “Gosh, where do I belong here?”

Being the only Malay there meant that I didn’t have the comfort zone to get back in and mumble things no one else can make sense of. I realized how small the ‘rumpun’ Melayu really is.

And I missed speaking Malay, I really did.

GM: One piece of advise for anak Melayu di perantauan ” Jalan di tepi-tepi, benang arang orang jangan dipijak” Take  good care of your mannerism n behaviour especially when you are at foreign lands.

 

 

This article was published on Feb 18 2009 at Gempamelayu.

 

 

1 Comment

  • Well, you can always speak Malay with me. I speak bahasa pasar at home and Bushism english in the mind. Both ways, my sentence structures barely understood.

    Cheers!!

    peacebuy

From an article by Midori Memoirs: Life-in-the-making

Link http://midorimemoirs.wordpress.com

GM posted a comment on the article and a letter of support to miss ‘midori’ , somehow she reminds me of myself 20 years ago…

Hi Midori!!

Stumbled on your blog moments ago.  Leave a little comment there. You really don’t look like a typical Malay girl frankly speaking.  Not just your physical feature but more  the way you write, think and evolved.  My long term goal for GEMPAmelayu is actually to produce nuevo Malay, i.e. generation x.  Congratulation! you passed the test.  But do get connected with other malay all over the world. Be deeprooted in your origin and iman, surely you will go far.  Best of luck!!
peacebuy
gempamelayu
____________________________
 
show details 9:36 PM (23 hours ago)
Reply
 

Hi,
Thanks for the comment, and did check out the site. It’s an interesting platform to post articles and going-ons relating to simply being Malay. I think it’s great what you’re pursuing; to encourage Malays to evolve and I’ve always been passionate about this, just that it’s the kind of thing I share with my family, never with others. It’s actually hard to find other Malays who feels just as passionate about this issue; because more often, they prefer to remain mute on such issues. I would love to share ideas and read thoughts of other Malays who shares my ambition for Malays too…not in the political aspect, I’m a little low in current affairs knowledge, but more so on how Malays generally behave and think.🙂
Best of luck with the site🙂
My real name’s N………H………, btw.

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