Funnily being away from home for almost 4.5 years now along with my perpetual nomadic lifestyle has raised my sensitivity in my identity crisis’s issues. Over and over I’ve yet to explain to my fellow travel companions and acquaintances of what being a Malaysian and a Malay means. Being said, I was in Beijing for 7 months and that didn’t make things easier. I’ve had to explain of what being a Malaysian and a Chinese means.
“Nah li lai?” (Where do you come from?) asked the Chinese cab driver.
“Mah lai si ya” (Malaysia).
“!#$@$&%??? NAH LI?…” (Where?)
“Thai guo ni zhi dau?” (Do you know Thailand?)
“Ohhhhh… Shi shi.. Wo yi wei ni shi Yue Nan ren. (Yes yes I thought you are a Vietnamese)
“So, what language do you speak?” the taxi driver puzzled.
These people from the Middle Kingdom don’t seem to acknowledge Malaysians, well just like Indians or any other Africans.
And the process repeats like a broken record wherever I go.
I’d try to brush away any questions regarding my origin. I’d affirm my identity as a Malaysian avoiding any further complexity. I speak Malay and English. Many times, I’d try to avoid racial issue as much as I could. Sometimes, as much as I hate to admit it, I dislike being associated with any Chinese genealogy. I can’t help to feel disconnected to my own generic specie.
For seven months, I struggle to discover the beauty of my environment, the people, the system, and culture through an open mind and spirit but instead of capturing the best I’ve noticed the flaws and faults. The more I tried the more anxious I was trying to get out of the bubble. My mind was fighting but my body and soul are rejecting the environment.
My lungs were crying help after 7 months of toxic inhaling fumes, my body was surrendering to catch the goodness of the sun and my eyes are tearing for a glimpse of greenery.
Here am I feeling the presence of a human being again, not a human race.
I was feeling it all once again when I was soaking the sun the Perhentian Island, when I was swimming with giant turtles and coral reefs. The goodness of fresh food, beautiful and friendly people which were all used to be part of my entity seems to reemerge again.
Imagine this; I have the honor to call our fellow waitress and waiters “Hey Boss, Beauty, or Handsome instead of Hey Servant!
Wow, back to civilization!
This seems to be more prominent now that I’m in an organic farm of New Zealand’s South Island. The landscape, scenery, people and greenness seems to be surreal. The natural energies that present, the happy and loving community that reverberates around us are not only nourishing and reinvigorating our body, mind and soul but serves as a reminder of simplicity of alternative lifestyle can deliver such fulfillment…
New Zealand is truly something!