We will see each others’ culture as an added value to our identity whether as Indian, Chinese, Kadazan, Iban, or Malay. (Photo by Hussein Shaharuddin/The Mole)
Why does the notion of one culture being preeminent bring out wariness in many Malaysians?
One of the main reasons why people respond defensively - or at the very least - cautiously, is because in this country, the Malay culture is tied so closely with religion. When we talk about Malay culture, it is perceived as Muslim culture. When we say we should integrate Malay culture, it is perceived as having a Muslim agenda. People feel the need to defend their race and religion from being compromised.
In other words, we have not brought enough awareness to the universal, non-religious aspects of Malay culture. One can practice Malay culture without having to adopt Islamic practices as they are two separate things. There are many universal elements in budaya Melayu, such as language, attire, traditional games, crafts, music and arts that all Malaysians can integrate regardless of ethnicity, religion, locality or background. These are the elements that if adopted, will not take away anything but be an added value to one’s own ethnic culture.
Read more HERE.