GEMPAmelayu

Icon

memores acti prudentes futuri

Of petai & not being Malay enough…

I called him up and challenged him to define what ‘being Malay’ was all about. I asked him if he’d like to debate me on that! He never took up the challenge but kept hounding me for my ‘Mat Salleh’ ways and even called me Mr. Chopin–Choping for liking classical music. Little did he know about Chopin or classical music.

I recently received a forward email on the goodness and virtues of eating petai (parkia speciosa). Well I have nothing against petai, and maybe some of the things espoused are true. But I do not go out of my way seeking petai and I never eat them raw. I only like them in sambal tumis udang.

Two months ago I was invited to my Canadian colleagues’ house for dinner. And surprise, surprise – for the main course, which was fillet of cod in caramelised sauce, the cook had used sautéed petai beans as the accompanying vegetables. Fascinating and not altogether unappealing. Apparently Marilyn had found the petai in some exotic vegetables outlet in one of the upmarket stores here and decided to use them for her menu. Fancy that.

Years ago, when I was just starting my career, a colleague once hung a string of petai on my office door with a loud written message “eat more of this so you’ll be more Malay”! I was more amused than indignant, and thought how pathetic the chap who did it was. I knew he and a few of my colleagues had perceived me to be rather western, just because I like classic music, read English novels, go to the British Council and the Alliance Francais for movies, and by coincidence had just came back after a year’s course in England.

I called him up and challenged him to define what ‘being Malay’ was all about. I asked him if he’d like to debate me on that! He never took up the challenge but kept hounding me for my ‘Mat Salleh’ ways and even called me Mr. Chopin–Choping for liking classical music. Little did he know about Chopin or classical music.

Well all that did not deter me from pursuing the things I like and being myself. And no harm done either. Over the years that colleague and I went on to pursue our careers and a number of times, we even took over from each other at various assignments. We became supportive of each other, especially after I took over one extremely challenging assignment in which he suffered a great tragedy, and survived, and he paved for me to take over the assignment more comfortably. And I think he finally saw me as I am – like the lines in S. Samad Said’s poem beautifully voiced by Sharifah Aini in her 1980 “Suara Hati’ album,

” aku tak pernah barat di tengah-tengah Timur….. dan aku tetap manusia timur di tengah-tengah Barat! ”.

(I am never too western in an eastern environment. And I am still an easterner in a western environment.

And I have always had and am still getting the very best of both worlds. Alhamdulillah!

Article from Roem’s Airmata Emas

GM: I know it is an exotic veggie from the far east…It does make me more a Malay after few hours of consuming it…Believe me you will feel and taste more Malay, but please not ..RAW!!

Filed under: Being Malay,

One Response

  1. adib says:

    ..hehe saya mmg makan petai ..time tuh dlm darjah 5(11 tahun) lepas start pandai makan sambal belacan;p ..sebab tgok abang saya makan n dia cakap manis,hehe kene tipu tapi hmm lekat kat jiwa pastuh

    salam hormat =]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Archives

'Sireh Pulang ke Ganggang'

  • 64,442 helai daun sireh
%d bloggers like this: