“Hoi! Berdosa lah kalau kau sambut Tahun Baru Cina!”
“Ha’ah! Nanti masuk Neraka!”
“Eiii!! Duit ang pow to haram tau!”
“Kau ni kafir lah!”
These are some of the responses I received from my Malay classmates when I was in primary school back in Johor Bahru a gazillion years ago. I was confused. I had grown up celebrating Chinese New Year every year with my family. I enjoyed collecting ang pows and also playing fireworks.
And the food! Oh my god! The food during the new year was amazing! The kuih kapit Cina container would be under my armpit the whole day. On the morning of the first day, my Aunty Poh Poh Swee Lan would make the best fatt choy in the world (it’s a vegetarian dish… before you all start calling JAKIM on me!)!
Chinese New Year in my family is a pretty unique affair. At least four different languages would be spoken at any one time and the colour of our skin… well, who cares! These are people dear to my heart and celebrating with them is something I treasure. And it made me totally confused when these kids would say such things to me.
I’m glad I wasn’t offended. If it’s one thing I learned early in life is to feel pity for those who are more ignorant than me, rather than to feel anger. What can we do if they have pea-sized brains, right?
This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri as well. I would wake up early and follow my father and my two brothers to the mosque on the first day. And when we got home, a huge spread consisting of Laksa Johor, lontong and rendang (of which my Poh Poh Swee Poh was the goddess creator!) would be waiting on the dining table for us. Heaven after a month of fasting!
And then all the relatives would start arriving at our house. It would begin as a trickle at first, but would end in a huge tsunami wave! And the atmosphere would be exactly the same as Chinese New Year. At least four different languages would be spoken at any one time and the colour of our skin… well, who cares!
In my birth certificate, I am stated as being a Malay. But sometimes, I wonder how that conclusion could have been made since I have Chinese blood. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]