Daily Archives: February 27, 2012

No boundaries


Nothing beats a random act of kindness at the end of long day at work

I walked back to my car at the end of yet another working day and found the following paper, wet from the recent thunderstorm and stuck against my front windscreen. It says “WATCH OUT FOR A HOLE BEHIND, DO NOT REVERSE!” with a cute little exclamation mark drawn inside a triangle and huge CAUTION word beside it. I don’t know about you, but that Caution sign alone looked like it took quite a bit of effort to draw – more than just your quick scribbles on your way out from work.

It made me smiled to myself. And naturally, I had to walk around and peered behind my car to look at the hole that I had just been warned about. One of the metal grilles that covers the monsoon drain appeared to be missing and it would have gotten myself into quite a lot of trouble if I had accidentally reversed back into it.

Random act of kindness always amazes me. Perhaps my karma has been good lately. This kind stranger surely had not expected anything in return when he/she left me that little warning. And that is what I love most about random acts of kindness, the very fact that it is done without expecting anything in return, and often so without taking into account a person’s creed, race or religion.

The topic of race and religion has been something of a frequently visited subject of conversation for me in the recent months. I had a conversation with someone who is of both a different religion and racial background from myself. At half past midnight we were driving around aimlessly through the alleys of Kuala Lumpur, and somewhere in the area of Setapak and Kampung Semarak, we chanced upon a sign right about the time the lights turned red. I had to snort (yes, charming indeed) when I read it out loud. “Bumi Expo – Property and Lifestyle” . Somehow I can’t help but wonder what would happen if an All-White only Property and Lifestyle exhibition was held right smack in the middle of New York. Oh the chaos that would ensue..

Bumiputera stands for ‘sons of the soil’, which really means the natives of Malaya. To blog about the history and origin of this term calls for an whole entire essay, one that I think Wikipedia has succinctly achieved to do so right here [Bumiputera (Malaysia)]. I hate to touch on ideas revolving around religion and racial background mainly because to coherently and successfully depict my point of view would involve more than just a few sentences in a blog. It’s a complex subject, and very highly sensitive one at that. But I am a strong believer that one should be allowed the freedom of belief. And although you cannot change your skin color, or the race in which you were born into, I do think being excessively loyal to ones own race borders strongly on the side of racism. The only race that one should ever stand to fight for, I believe, is the human race.

I so often wish, John Lennon’s ideal world that he sang about actually exists (no not the heaven and hell part, but the brotherhood and sharing all the world part).

I remembered a couple of years ago when a good friend of mine broke up with his then girl friend. They were high school sweethearts and stayed together all throughout University and across long distances (one remained in Kuala Lumpur while the other chose to study in England). 5 years into it, they called it off. Well OK, one of them called it off, rarely ever are these things usually mutual is it? Their 5 year relationship had to dissolve due to religious differences. Anyway he wasn’t in the best of shape for the next few months to come. Once he told me, “I wish John Lennon’s world really existed”.

And that is dating for you in Malaysia. Like as if human nature in itself, and trying to bring two very different lives together is not complicated enough, there is race and religion thrown into the pot too. Recently, a Chinese guy who expressed interest towards me apparently had a conversation with his eldest sister on the likelihood of him dating a Malay girl. Her response was somewhere along the lines of:

Don’t be crazy lah you! Your mother will chop you into a million pieces if she finds out!!

But we went out for dinner anyway. And a movie. We shared  a number of very interesting, engaging conversations about organic food, career and god-knows what else. And we took a drive through the alleys of Kuala Lumpur late one Saturday night. That’s when we saw that billboard by the traffic light. And somehow it occurred to me that life could be a little bit easier without all these racial differences amongst us.

If kindness can transcend creed, race and religion, then why can’t love? Ah, if only it is as easy.