Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Happy Independence Day, Malaysia.

We are the outlandish statements made by those in power. We are the keyboard warriors, denouncing perceived wrongs, airing our grievances and sprouting our two cents worth. We are the rallies protesting against the injustice in our country. We cry foul about our allegedly corrupt politicians but are dependable benefactors of duit kopi.

We are the fluctuating petrol prices. We are the unexpected potholes. We are the double-parkers and weavers in traffic. We slow down out of curiosity when there is an accident on the highway. We are unnecessary traffic jams. We are the gangs of mat rempits.

We are of delayed trains and missing planes.

We are always on the way. Tidak apa.

We are the late night patrons at the mamak, indulging in the camaraderie of football matches and teh tarik.

We are the rojak language.

We are the streets, peppered with the homeless, pasar malam and pasar pagi, and food stalls.

We are fiercely proud of our culinary heritage.  We are the feasts of durians, roti canai and nasi lemak. We love street food but we enjoy frittering away at upscale cafés and if the opportunity presents itself, we dine with the stars.  We use food to celebrate joyous occasions and to muddle through grief.

We are the joyful revellers during the festive season. We are the mourners for those killed on the road, thanks to the balik kampung exodus from the city.

We are of caves, mountains and idyllic beaches but we are the crowds in shopping malls because it is too hot outside. We have evolved from hunting for food to bargain hunters. We are now a case of ‘what’s your best price?’

We are the illegal advertisements for ah longs and ubat kuat lelaki.

We welcome workers from other countries, in the name of development but view them as a threat to our safety. We fear snatch thieves and armed robbers. We are the imported security guards and boomgates in residential areas.

We are the purveyors of modernisation but we believe in the power of mediums. We seek ‘help’ for winning 4D numbers. We suspect mischief has been caused by toyols. We have a list of dos and don'ts to govern our behaviour during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

We are the unspeakable vices in the dark seedy shadows of the city and plantations but we are also the brightly lit Twin Towers and KL Tower.

We are perplexing. We are many things at once.

We are a nation of contradictions.


We are Malaysia.
Inspired by: Open Letter To The Average 20-Something in KL and Open Letter to a 50 Year Old Country.

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