2 Weddings and 1 Funeral

A year ago, a friend got married. The weeks before, she had spent hunting us down at an event, making sure that the wedding cards reached each of our hands, safe and sound. That weekend, I took the LRT down with a male Malay friend to the wedding, and we entered the hotel together. I’m pretty sure the khalwat crew would have had fits if we’d have gone up to the hotel room to see the bride, but we decided to chillax at the cafe instead.

We saw another couple when we went back to the ballroom entrance. They still had the flush of “new couple” around them, though it was great to see the guy getting bullied by the girl. Did I mention that they were a cute mixed couple? Awesome as they were, what was even more awesome was that soon the rest of our friends started arriving. And we were a palette of colours.

As we signed in, there was a chorus of cries as we “complained” that we had all be shunted off into a room by ourselves. Considering our noise levels, I think that was a good point. Certainly no one could complain when we decided to dispense with the normal, “Yam Seng” cheer with another. Lead by Fazri and Victor, I think, we sang this instead (yes, sing):

I don’t wanna close my eyes
I don’t wanna fall asleep
Cause I miss your babe
And I don’t wanna miss a thing!

Which of course, nearly shattered the glass doors. :D Then we made the groom sing a song to his bride, all in the name of turning traditions upside down. He sang Mazinger Z’s opening song, I believe, to everyone’s delight. As we dispersed (after throwing the groom into the air, no mean feat, I tell you), everyone walked in one big group to the carpark. We hugged, talked and divided ourselves according to who was going where to go home, and then we promised to meet at the next gathering.

Two years ago, my cousin sister got married. The main thing I remembered about her wedding was standing up and seeing a sea of Chinese faces. That terrified me to no end. The only-non Chinese people I could see was my dad, aunt, my bro and me. My mother’s family doesn’t really trust non-Chinese, which is why the fact that I’m here writing to you on this blog is nothing short of a tiny miracle.

Three years ago, a good friend passed away. He did it in a way only he could; leaving us the day after his birthday.

I still remember the way everyone rushed up to go to Penang for his funeral. The way we all poured into a friend’s house in PJ to plan (very very quickly) the transportation details for the next day. The way we all rushed home after that to grab our clothes. The shock and sorrow I felt at losing him. The memorial we had, online and offline, for him. Hearing stories from friends who attended the funeral, especially from his parents who were surprised that their son had made so many friends. That we all gathered, regardless of colour, to mourn the passing of a guy who really didn’t care about colour.

I didn’t understand how May 13 could have happened from an emotional viewpoint until I went for my cousin sister’s wedding. I realised just how much we’ve moved on since then though, because of the celebrations I’ve attended since then. I’ve come to realise the debate and the reasons behind May 13 isn’t racial. It never was.

It is, always has, and always will be, about class. It was about the poor of one community being told to blame the poor of another community, because the rich of the first community was stealing from the poor and wanted to hoodwink them.

That is all.

3 Responses

  1. Jha May 13, 2010 / 6:18 PM

    Class is tightly tied to race in Malaysia, unfortunately, which leads people to judge by skin colour instead of the sometimes less obvious class. But I’m interested: how did you come to realize it’s about class, not race?

    • Naoko Kensaku May 13, 2010 / 10:56 PM

      The NEP, actually. May 13 is tied closely to the NEP, aka the idea of giving the poor a helping hand. May 13 was not really about one race hating the other. It was the poor of one race being told that the reason why they were poor was because someone else was stealing from them. In this case, the poor Malays were being told that the Chinese were stealing from them. Race was merely an easy identifier on whom to vent their anger on.

      This may or may not have been influenced by the article I was reading on Malaysia Today about May 13.

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