Diversity holds Malaysians together — Head of StateInstead of being put off by fear of differences among people or in celebration of different festivals, Malaysians enjoy and understand the meaning of relationship among various races even though they have been born Muslims, Christians, Buddhists or Hindus.
Yang Dipertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said this kind of life had put into minds in a different setting, that instead of being puzzled, the people enjoyed themselves being part of the festival — they had a sense of participation.
He said every time there was a Chinese New Year or Christmas or Hari Raya celebration, the people could all reflect the feeling of enjoying themselves in celebrating each other’s festival.
“Initially, it may not be important but you can imagine yourself being warmly welcomed when we visit a Christian house during Christmas, a Chinese house during Chinese New Year and of course a Muslim house during Hari Raya Aidilfitri,” he said in his Christmas and New Year message issued by the Astana Negeri here yesterday.
“The feeling will grow more and more, as we get more exposed to each other in schools, in places of work and in our social life because we mix much more in various places. This makes our life more colorful and enjoyable,” he added.
He said the whole thing started when other races and the Malays started to invade houses of Muslims during Hari Raya way back in the 50s, and it picked up in the 60s and now it has become part and parcel of people’s way of celebrating Hari Raya.
“This is what makes Sarawak so special that it can give the feeling of being welcomed even to foreigners, who come for visits. Sometimes, certain people feel that they are more welcomed in Sarawak than in their own country.
“We should all feel proud that we have been able to establish a way of life that awakens people’s feeling of being able to enjoy in the midst of the company of people of different races and different religions.
Taib said this was the greatest gift that we could give to the new generations and to the future of the country in efforts to build a united Malaysia, where people could learn to understand each other and appreciate more the feeling of equality in spite of our differences.
“We can feel and realise how much we become more and more Malaysians every year without sacrificing our feelings of being Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Bidayuhs, Orang Ulu. That does not rob us in any way of our love for our own tribes or own sub — ethnic groups. In fact, it will make us realise how much it means to become Malaysians in multi-racial population,” he added.
He said it was during this period that the people should reflect how much they had become Malaysians and also to thank God that they had been able to enjoy peace and prosperity in the true sense of the words.
“We have been able to experience this feeling, I would say increasingly from year to year if not everywhere, at least in Sarawak,” he said. Taib further wishes all Malaysians, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Source : @ Bernama Online