I was in a car passing by a school area. On my left side was a Tamil vernacular school and on my right side was a Chinese vernacular school and within that residential area, there is a Malay language medium school.
Then, I was sitting on a stool with a Chinese family in front of me. The mother was scolding her son in their mother tongue. Right next to me was an Indian father and his son silently talking with eah other in Tamil. I watched them and I watched my own family who are talking in Malay.
I am working and I often interact with people of different race. Sometimes people of different race will talk to each other in their mother tongue before they talk to me in Malay and it frustrates me knowing we are all Malaysian yet I cannot understand them.
Then, I’d have a Chinese from mainland China who cannot speak both Malay nor English and we had to call our Chinese neighbour to translate for us.
One time I had an Indian from India who was also uncapable of communicating with the locals. He struggled with his poorly pronounced English words. Around three other customers had tried to help us yet we cannot understand him. Thanfully an Indian lady was right there and she helped.
I had to tune in Chinese and Indian based radio to listen to songs released by their people in Malaysia. I watched the Malay movies and dramas and barely see other races casted. Each races; Chinese, Indian, and Malay seems to have their own entertainment industry within Malaysia.
Poems written in language other than Malay such as English or Tamil are categorized under sectional literature instead of national literature simply because they are not written in the national language. It means many great poems are inaccessible to other cultures unless they are multilanguage.
I work at a place called pasar malam ‘night market’ and my neighbours are always of different race.
I am sitting here right now with an Indonesian brothers on my left, a Chinese couple in front and an old Indian couple on my right. We always talk to each other help whenever necessary and sometimes even teased one another.
Saying that Malaysia is not one is not exactly accurate but having one-stream medium where all races can mingle in one space might help strengthen the unity among the races and ethnics.
This is my opinion.