Love is patient, love is kind

It’s 10pm, I just got back home, I haven’t had my dinner, and truth be told, I am so damn hungry I could eat an entire damn factory of dim sum. But here’s something that has been bothering me since before Christmas, and today, the most.

A few days ago, thanks to the power of the ‘share button’, we all got to know of a website that had a guideline for Muslims who want to celebrate festivals with non-Muslims. It caused a minimal wave of dissatisfaction (I think because most of us were too busy settling last-minute Xmas presents and dinner invitations), and a lot of disbelief on things that were publicized on said website, e.g. no Christmas trees, no dressing like a fat old man in a red suit, no saying Merry Christmas, etc. Then today, my Facebook timeline showed shares of KJ’s (you know, the Minister of Sports, a lot of people think he’s hot but I don’t think so) note in which he basically told of his childhood in a Catholic school in Japan that provided him with a great experience, and ended with saying how if your belief is strong, nothing/no one can make you lose your faith.

Now, on the surface his note meant well (I could bring up points to counter it, e.g. he should have written it in Bahasa Malaysia if he really practiced what he preached, because English-speaking, culturally-opened, urban Muslims and non-Muslims all know what it takes to live in a multi-religious society – it’s the non-English-speaking ones who need to broaden their mindsets*) – but what bothered me the most was going through the comments made by some Muslim Malaysians in said note which were frankly extremely shocking and maddening for me.

There are comments like:

(a reply to a comment in which a girl expressed her gratitude to a non-Muslim housemate who used to wake her up for subuh prayers):Β better introduce her about muslim.. hidup dan mati kerana Allah. Tugas didunia sebagai khalifah, jangan lupa. Wallahualam

( a reply to a comment in which someone said it’s weird that Muslims can’t wish or say Merry Christmas to non-Muslims):Β Β mmg tak boleh wish..kalau ko wish maknanya ko setuju yang jesus tu anak tuhan n lahir pada 25 dicember..kalu nk wish gk ganti dengan happy holiday..

Why on earth need to translate the Bible? Use English lah! Malay Bible for whom? Target to murtad Muslim Malay right? Good KJ have strong faith, how about weaker faith?

And there are TONS of comments from religious bigots in KJ’s note.

It’s sickening and saddening to know that in a multi-racial and multi-religious country, some people still think they can condemn others freely, that they have the right to. Religion is between you and God, and no one else. It is about your heart, your actions, how you live your life on earth. It’s not about pointing fingers and bringing other people down, disrespecting other people, inciting hate and spreading fear and animosity among countrymen. What have you done to ensure a waiting list in heaven? Have you helped the needy, do you have compassion, have you tried to have a pure heart and kind intentions? Because judging by the comments, you have not.

You, and you alone are responsible for your life. You, and you alone have a relationship with your religion. You have no right to enforce your beliefs upon other people, acting as if you are God’s mouthpiece and Public Relations person, when you have done nothing to help those in need or who are underprivileged.

I have two very dear friends, Aida and Yaty, who are also my team members (we started off on a rough note but our history is a story itself for another day…). I have been asking Aida to don the hijab on me for ages, purely out of curiosity how she does her stylish and beautiful hijabs, and today I bugged her so much that she did it for me.


This is a picture of me, styled by Aida.

This is not a proof that I’ve converted, or that I’m the next Felixia Yeap.

This is me, who was born in, and spent 13 years of my life in KK, Sabah, and embraced all religions and races. I can be dressed in this way or that, I can be in a temple or a church, I can be in a Malaysian kampung or a European city, I am still me and I still have my own personal beliefs.

It’s unbelievably gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to think that there are people in this country who act as if they were so religious, but in reality they’re being utterly selfish, intolerant and dangerous. These are the kind of people who should be charged for sedition, for ruining the peace among all. You know what’s peace about? It’s about acceptance and respect. It’s the people in East Malaysia who celebrate all festivities with each other, without judgements and restrictions. It’s people like Aida, Yaty and I, who have different beliefs on paper and who have different lifestyles but are still friends, and still grow together. Aida would now and then share what she’s read about Islam and Christianity, about the Holy Quran, and I’d try to answer whatever questions she has about Christian ways or traditions (although I’m not so well versed in that either). I drink, I party, I dress up in whatever I wanna wear, and Aida would be in her tudung – does that make us enemies? Does that mean we shouldn’t be friends?

If everything that is allegedly ‘not Muslim friendly’ is detrimental to Islam, does that mean Aida, Yaty and I shouldn’t be hanging out? That Malaysian Muslims shouldn’t be anywhere near non-Muslims? Why should external things be blamed if someone is unsure about his or her faith? Why is a fat man in a suit supposedly more dangerous than unwanted teenaged pregnancies, incest, rape, forced teenage marriages, low level of education, theft? Why can’t you let people of different races and religions be happy living in a respectful society?

We are all human beings in the end, and no matter what religion you practice, what’s on paper, whether or not you believe in heaven and hell – we only have one life. It is for us to grow, to be better, to gain wonderful and memorable experiences, to be stronger through ups and downs, to be kind and compassionate, and to try to be the best version we could be.

Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and every religion is beautiful. It is unfortunate that narrow-minded people ruin everything and make it ugly and hateful.

The three

Me, Aida, Yaty. Different-different but still the same. Same love, same friends.

*sigh. So a few people have shared this post around, and some weren’t satisfied that I wrote ‘It’s the non-English-speaking people who need to broaden their mindsets.’ This is an observation from the comments on KJ’s FB note that had made me write this post in the first place. I don’t feel like I want to dissect every single sentence I’ve written, after all this is not a thesis on social-cultural differences between urban and non-urban Malaysians. Generally, those who are not culturally opened, do not mix with other races, do not converse with ‘outsiders’, who do not speak or understand English that well, are the ones who are posting bigoted comments when it comes to topics of Muslim Malays and other non-Muslims. I am not looking down on non-urban dwellers – hell, I’m a kampung girl myself and spent half of my life with my grandparents in both Kinarut and Kuala Penyu, Sabah, and my grandparents mostly spoke Bahasa Malaysia and Kadazan/Dusun, although they understood English, too. But then again, Borneons (whether or not they are English-speaking), are widely accepting and tolerant when it comes to racial and religious matters.

If you want to be upset about that sentence and take it at face value instead of thinking about the bigger problem that’s facing and dividing our country – that is entirely up to you.


73 thoughts on “Love is patient, love is kind

  1. Dixon says:

    One love


  2. Tim says:

    Keep it up. I think along the same line n its refreshing to know that I am not alone.

  3. Mohd Rafick says:

    Dear sis
    I had a hard time trying to figure out your name and as such end up calling you sis. Your appearance suggest that I should be calling you “daughter instead of sis” . Anyway, I read and fully concurred with what you wrote. I have expressed my views in FB several days ago. (!/drrafick) under the heading “Eat your hearts out Zakir Naik”

    I am glad that there are young people like yourself that see religion from a wider perspective. The problems that we face in this country is that many are blindly following popular “commercial ustaz” and accepting what this people said as gospel truth without further analysis

    I believe what all Muslims need to do is learn comparative religion ie understanding islam/christianity and other religions and figure out why and which religion that makes sense to them

    Good luck and happy writing.

    • paul says:

      where is the ‘like’ button?

    • Brandon says:

      Segregation of races is the main problem. When we don’t integrate, misconceptions form. People still ask me whether I bathe in the morning. One way to make major strides is to abolish vernacular schools. Of course it will be difficult, but that’s the way to go!

      • Vernacular school is not at fault says:

        Get your facts right. Vernacular schools never close their doors to any races, it’s the malay-only elite schools that refuse the entry of non-Malays. Vernacular school system was never the reason of racial segregation, hence abolishing it will not help with racial harmony. Abolishing affirmative action is the way to go, whether you like to admit it or not.

  4. Phylis says:

    A religion that is being politicised by a bunch of narrow-minded people, I sincerely hope this will bring impact. It’s sad when you need a guidelines to practise your own faith. I’m a Chinese and has a lot of Muslim friends. We mingled harmoniously and recently wished everyone a Merry Christmas (I’m not a Christian) but they still practise their faith religiously everyday. How funny a simply greeting can sway you away from a faith you have been brought up to.

    May your God bless you and wish you had a great Christmas!

  5. Christine says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t see any logic in the fact that if you wish a friend ‘Merry Christmas’, you are acknowledging the birth of Jesus and that it may make you a Christian. It is sad that these people have such weak faith that they are easily swayed by others who use their profound knowledge in a religion to create more doubts in others. Thank you for this article.

    • ivy says:

      To the muslims Jesus is Nabi Isa so what’s the big deal .

      • just dropping by says:

        lemme correct you a bit on that: for muslims, we believe that nabi isa wasn’t crucified, that he was, uh, how do i say this yeah, lifted to the heaven by God before he got crucified πŸ™‚
        but i am getting tired of all these so-called religious muslim groups who have this holier-than-thou attitude. relax la…don’t understand why malaysian muslims just have to make the religion so freakin complicated.
        if they wanna kecoh so much about what is haram and halal, then there’s so many things within the malay culture itself that is outright blasphemous. ie tepung tawar during wedding ceremonies, cukur jambul for newborns, majlis tahlil for the dead, and so many more. people just make it acceptable because it’s been practiced in the malay tradition for ages (which stems a lot from hinduism traditions, too). why aren’t they kecoh-ing about these things? oh yea, because all the makciks and pakciks are doing it so therefore it is ok.


  6. serenadez says:

    You have written a great blog article. Thanks for sharing your experiences and having the courage to speak out. Ignore the haters and believe in yourself. You have definitely done the right thing of spreading peace and understanding. πŸ™‚

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  7. DAlias says:

    MY SENTIMENT EXACTLY! but you have written it in BETTER way. Thanks

  8. Stephanie says:

    Very well said n i agree with u, girl.

  9. […] # […]

  10. Aldy Lee says:

    Just out of curiosity, how do you actually eat a whole factory of dim sum? Just the dim sums or the factory too?

    Anyway, it’s sad that policy makers in Malaysia lack the insight that you and the more level headed among us have. Malaysia is a beautiful country,I love KK but arseholes like those that you have aptly described in your well written piece above are ruining the country for the rest of us. Speak up, speak up louder to be heard and hopefully your version of religious relationship with understanding, tolerance and acceptance will be the version that the still deluded majority macai subscribe to rather than the narrow-minded version presented by those Butt-Nicking arseholes in the government.

  11. Jasni Ramli says:

    Very well said and agreed to your article, as a Melanau Catholic from Sarawak with familly members married to Melanau, Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Chinese, Bisaya, Kedayan, Lun Bawang/Murut, Kenyah, Kayan, Bajau, BabaNyonya Melaka, Jawa, KadazanDusun, Penan, Berawan, Indian, American(white), Orang Asli Pahang, orang Johor, orang Kelantan, orang Terengganu, orang utara(Kedah, Perlis, Penang), Pakistani, orang Siam, American(black) pun ada & many more, the 1Malaysia concept is nothing new to us, we accept, tolerate and respect each other & every opportunities to gather every now and then, we celebrate wholeheartedly each & every custom & festivities that come with the new family members. TQ

  12. nangoi says:

    i hope Ibrahim Ali and his fellow species will read this. Thanks for such a beautiful writing. Proud to be Sabahan.

  13. Ivan Ho says:

    Good job. not many people dare to share something like this…

  14. Iszma says:

    very well said.. should suggest those narrow minded people to live in borneo and see how multiraces community actually live because i think we set the best example here..

    • Gin says:

      Dont even think to let them get to borneo. Otherwise we will be infected with their narrowmindedness and bigotry. Some of us already are infected with this diseases of racism, bigotry and narrowmindedness.

  15. ichbingenie says:

    agreed! I am a muslim myself, and I condone these people who were too shallow minded and really need to broaden their mindsets


    Proud of your inking your views, if the people in power will open their eyes and ears to what the down to earth Malaysians feel and think. As a Malaysian Indian from Selangor, married and living in the Borneo region, I will give you this idea to think and brood about.

    My wife is Chinese Sabahan, my son & daughter both born and grew up in Labuan. My son is married to a lovely & beautiful lady of Kadazan / Sikh parentage. My Daughter is married to good guy of Islamic faith (Malay). We all celebrate all the communal functions and religeous faiths respecting each and every one.

    My son-in-law, his parents, his sister and her family AND my family (Christians) sat together and had a grand CHRISTMAS DINNER and we all had a great time.

    You all should come to Sabah / Sarawak to learn about 1MALAYSIA and what it means not just preach about it and have no intention af achieveing it.


  17. Elron says:

    Well said kaibigan! Have a blessed Christmas n happy new year 2014 in advance. God bless.

  18. chris says:

    love this article! spread love~

  19. Muslim brother says:

    Thanks for posting this post. As a Muslim in Malaysia, I am sorry for the actions of my muslim brothers and sisters (those that ignorance). The problem of muslim society in Malaysia is that they always want to blame and hate others. Although the majority is not like that but you can see lots of hateful comments from them (the minority). This is really wrong as the religion itself is base on love. Instead of looking others’ wrongdoing, in my opinion, lots of Muslim in Malaysia should purify themselves, seeking for Islamic knowledges or guidance from various “real” Islamic scholars in this world and not just rely on “commercial ustaz” or school-based knowledge because it is not enough and some are meaningless. Lots of Muslim are too lazy and busy with this world and does not/less concern on the “next” world. If everyone is sincere in their religion, Insha’Allah (If Allah wills), the society would be better than now and nothing could bring harm to their belief. Amin

  20. rezajj says:

    i’m melanau muslim….. i totally agree with you….. even my family mix with chinese, malay, melanau, iban, dusun, and many more…. even we all have different religion… my family still can be together in whatever festive we have…. ‘i really love sabahan and sarawakian…. we are much more understanding about our life and culture, compare to semenanjung (sorry to say)….

  21. GasDr says:

    It’s amazing how good it feels to hear truth spoken out loud. And funnily enough it’s your picture in disguise that drew me to read on. I grew up in Borneo and had similar experience of uncomplicated, simple and beautiful friendships without racial boundaries. I’ve left the country for nearly 8 years now and it hurts to see Malaysia appearing now and again in international news things I’m not proud of.

  22. Rosalind says:

    I pray so that God blesses you abundantly, for your courage and wisdom. Well written, well conveyed.

  23. Lydia Lim says:

    Since you said that it’s the non-English speaking people that need to broaden their minds, shouldn’t you be writing this in Malay so that we can share this out to the narrow minded people? I’m not bashing you because I admit this is a really good writing but yeah…should’ve written it in Malay.

    • dreizig says:

      Hi Lydia,

      If I can write in Bahasa Malaysia, I would have. I left Malaysia when I was 13 and came back five years ago. I am fluent in English, German, had six years of French but my BM is restricted to a very rojak Sabahan-English sort of BM. If you can translate it for me, I would take up on your offer. I unfortunately do not have KJ’s or any other minister’s resources hiring a translator.

      • Yobuk says:

        Bah cari lah translator BM. I’m sure ramai yang willing tu πŸ˜‰

      • MJ says:

        My sabahan sister, well said!! I’m proud to be Sabahan ba.
        Sia kasi translate untuk ko la. kalau ko inda kisa la.. hehehe

      • vonwilhelm says:

        Well said! May I reblog this post? Also, I’m a freelance translator and I really don’t mind translating this post into BM for you. It’s just that I haven’t been using BM a lot lately and it’s getting really rusty. I might missed out the finer points of your post or, even worse, offend other parties due to my incompetent translation. If you don’t mind though, I could try and translate this and let some of my Malay friends to proofread it before sending it back to you, just in case.

        Oh also I’m new to wordpress, so I haven’t got everything set up properly (i.e., live chat plugin), so if you’re interested, you could reach me at πŸ™‚ Cheers, and wishing you a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! -William

  24. Paulin says:

    Good job on this piece. To reflect your sentiment, why not translate it into the Malay language?

    • dreizig says:

      Hi Paulin,

      If I were fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, I would have taken the time to translate this post. I left Malaysia when I was 13 and came back five years ago. I am fluent in English, German, had six years of French, but my BM is restricted to a very rojak Sabahan-English. If you can translate this for me, then I would certainly consider it. I don’t have KJ’s or any minister’s resources of hiring translators.

  25. Cyril says:

    Nice one, thumbs up πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘
    this is what should we have here as a Malaysian..

  26. alice chew says:

    Well said girl I agree with you

  27. Anter says:

    One word for you!! “Respect” I love how you express your words and feelings and I just hope EVERYONE have the same mindsets, doesn’t matter if you’re a Muslim, Indian, Chinese, or Christian.. I, myself is a Kadazan Christian living in KK.. They who really hate each other really need to broaden their mind.. Love you!! ^_^

  28. True indeed. Good artical.

  29. Emeric Teo says:

    Agree that most of the discourse today is preaching to the converted. Perhaps you could start doing what you suggest others should do. All the best, merry christmas and happy new year.

  30. Leslie Jane says:

    Awesome!!! Well said girl!!!

  31. John Reginald Mau says:

    As a Malaysian we should all respect on others beliefs and cultures. You should never condemn ones beliefs. There’s absolutely no benefits from condeming one’s beliefs. Why do you have to bring down something just to feel better?
    A comment from a Sabahan Teenager

  32. L says:

    love this. yes, its us, religions are to teach us to be good and compassionate but most human uses it to judge.

  33. Alex says:

    After reading…….Eeemmmhhhh, Sabahan tetap tetap BOLEH. Really proud of you.
    Gong Xi Fatt Cai.

  34. chiiruyo says:

    I think you’ve written a great article but there are a few things which I wish to comment about. Actually, Islam is not just a relationship between man and Allah. Islam governs the entire Muslim sphere and their lifestyle as a community. Which is why Muslims tend to intervene in other Muslims’ life. An example would be the authorities busting hotels and other private areas to penalize those who are committing khalwat. Yes, it may be infringing other’s privacy but it is their duty as Muslims to ensure their brothers and sisters do not sin. I hope my input is helpful and perhaps you can read up to gain more insight. Peace. πŸ™‚

  35. Rosie Kenson says:

    Thumbs-up to all who have stated their comments. IF MORE PEOPLE HAVE DO COURAGE TO 4GIVE, IT WOULD MAKE OUR WORLD A BETTER PLACE

  36. Brandon says:

    Wonderful piece of writing! As a Sabahan myself, I have soooooo many happy memories with my friends of various races. Growing up, I even had a Muslim friend defend my right to eat pork lol. He said that it’s my food and that it even smells good hahaha! Seriously, W. Malaysians need to “look East”. If I were the minister of tourism and culture, the first thing I would do is really highlight the culture of Borneo.

  37. Ivan foo says:

    Hi! I am glad that you wrote what you wanted to say from the very depths of your heart. Great article and I wish you and your friends many more years of wonderful friendship. God bless you as you and your friends be a constant cheer and blessing to many people out there.

  38. ron says:

    East Malaysia is the place where u can see people from different race and religion sit under the 1 table..Kudos

  39. Mohd Nazri says:

    Great words my beloved Malaysian. we need more positive person like you.
    recently we are being driven too much of the nonsense around us till it clouds our judgement. this in fact due to the hatred spread. Spread by wild fire because faced with daily challenges mainly money. when asked to pour in effort not many would strive and do the extra to earn..
    well i guess urbanization
    have bred more selfish thoughts in individuals nowadays. Always too extreme without considerations of others. As i read your write, it gave me utter satisfaction that we still have heroes among us who can think and do things right. focusing on the positive things and that proves how rich you are in belief, knowledge and humanity. I look forward to share more of your ideas and opinions as it fuels inspiration to many and together in hope to reduce negativity in peoples’ mind.

  40. Nadya says:

    Well said. Totally agree with you β€οΈπŸ‘ im my geng of friends, chinese indian, foreigners and malay, im the only one with hijab and no one question it. Accept me and each other as we are..

  41. Ida da Ingko says:

    boleh bah kalau kau. thumbs up! love ya

  42. During my school days I used to play around with shakespeare’s ” some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness trusted upon them.” and changed it to ” some are born stupid, some achieve stupidity and some have stupidity trusted upon them”… well now I can see the facts in it as well! Welldone sister.

  43. anyi wan aran says:

    if all malaysian have the same mindset like all of you, malaysia will be the best place to live.

  44. Vigan says:

    A very smart and sensitive post.

  45. Rapunzel says:

    Well done.. I am impressed =)

  46. msaudreyc says:

    Dude, love it. You wrote what I feel.

  47. just dropping by says:

    i think the reason why people in east malaysia are so tolerant towards one another is due to history itself. peninsular malaysians were segregated by race when the british was in power, while those in borneo weren’t. it probably will take us a long, long time to reach a perfect equilibrium in our level of tolerance, but that mindset has got to change starting from now.

    maybe by not having political parties that are differentiated by major races? i’m not sure what implications it might have down the line….but maybe, just maybe, it might help. such a shame that we always pride ourselves as a multicultural society that lives peacefully under one roof when the truth is far from that.

  48. Sh3r says:

    Very well said… Long before the ” 1 Malaysia” concept being introduce , we in Borneo have been practicing this.. Sense of equality out of our cultural diversity… God Bless, One peace, One Love

  49. Ambtoshe says:

    Good Article! Try to add in “Money” into your article and all will become very different. πŸ™‚

  50. DNAS says:

    So beautifully written. Made me miss the 80s and 90s when life was a lot simpler and Malaysians were happier.

  51. anonymous says:

    well said =) i’m a sabahan muslim and my family consists of a mixture of religion, beliefs and races.. and i don’t see why we muslims shouldn’t mix with non-muslims because of the differences in religion.. me myself have a lot of non-muslim friends yet we still can sit together in one table, sharing happy moments together..
    the main key here is respect. respect those people that have different religions. that will eventually create an understanding for each different religion.
    it’s true that Islam is not just a religion, it is the way of life..
    but i know that Islam teaches me to be respectful to other people, despite their religion
    i think those narrow-minded people should study back the history of Islam
    because as far as i remembered there is no such thing as “segregation based on religion”

  52. Invader says:

    I totally agree with you young lady. Religion should be about love, patience, understanding, goodwill, respect, tolerance and so forth. I hope Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Nordin will read your article and learn something from it for the good of mainkind. Very true,…some people think they can condemn others freely…..! Maybe they’re doing just that for their worldly selfish agenda and not for other reason.

  53. necessarilyepyc says:

    Reblogged this on epycnecessary and commented:
    Religion is between you and God, and no one else. It is about your heart, your actions, how you live your life on earth. It’s not about pointing fingers and bringing other people down, disrespecting other people, inciting hate and spreading fear and animosity among countrymen.
    – Well said words. Kudos to the writer

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