Wednesday, January 30, 2008

ACL3: Its a Malaysian Thing

Background:

This is speech no 3 from the Advance manual, The Entertaining Speaker (Make them laugh). It was well received and was relatively funny at certain juncture. It was presented during the Joint meeting with DU Advanced on 13th December 2007.

Actual Speech:

My grandmother is a RACIST! Yes, she is a sweet old lady and everyone who has met her loves her. And despite having 5 daughters in laws who were Chinese, she is racist to the core. Let me tell you why. I was in the first year of college and brought back a college mate home to do an assignment together. She happened to be a female. Now, this was a big thing because it was the first time the youngest grandson brought home a female friend. My grandmother was obviously quite excited because here was a potential granddaughter in law. So, when the fateful evening arrived, I introduced my good friend Shanti to my grandmother. My grandmother went silent, her face changed and then abruptly she turned around to my mum and shouted really loudly in Tamil… “Daughter, she is not CHINESE!” ….

Good evening ladies and gentlemen…

As a second generation kopi campur Burmist susu (in translation Coffee plus Burmist Milk), I had my fair share or racial complications. I remember as early as 7, I was the center of a starving confusion. It was puasa month and my Malay brothers were fasting… Out of respect we ate only in the canteen… However, first few days after the fasting period started, I noticed something wrong. Older malay kids were pointing at me and were always whispering in my direction… In retaliation, I waved my doughnut at them and went [head up] “APA?”. Big mistake, shortly after, my discipline teacher showed up and she was furious. I was immediately pulled by the ear and dragged to the discipline room. Luckily the cane was spared but a warning was issued. I never ate again all throughout the week. But I had a weak stomach and chubby cheeks and on a Friday, I couldn’t take it anymore and went to see my class teacher and told her my problem. Suffice to say she was shocked and we went to see my discipline teacher again. The teachers talked and 1 minute later, my discipline teacher came out, looked at me and said “Kenapa tak cakap kamu bukan melayu”… I looked up at her and said “Takut cikgu!”…

Now Depavali in my house has always been a Chinese affair. Largely due to the fact that about 70% of my relatives are Chinese and the other 30% is Muslim. The Indians are actually a minority. Anyway, 5 years ago when I started working, I invited my work mates to come over and the dress code was ethnic Indian. Being cool and hip Malaysians, they bought the Punjabi costumes and sarees and headed over to my place. On that Deepavali morning, I got a call from my friend and he was asking me to repeat the address of my place. I repeated my address and then he gave me a confused “erm… Are you sure that’s your address?”. I asked why and he said that they were at the address but the house was celebrating Chinese New Year.

You know it is great to live in a multiracial country where we have food from different races to enjoy. You got Roti Canais, Nasi lemak… Fried Kuey Teow. They taste different and are very unique. But one thing all Malaysian food has in common is that they are all designed to grow this and make you look like Sammo Hung.

Because of that, its no wonder that to maintain our Amber Chia figures, fitness centers have started popping up. You know the type… Fitness First, Celebrity Fitness, True Fitness. How many of you been to celebrity fitness? Well, I have… No less than 10 times. All free passes one. In all that time, I have never seen Amber Chia. Its Celeb fitness right? and on the posters, there is always images of Amber Chia doing cycling, weights and her pouting her lips. But when I get there, she is never around… only Makciks with big hips.

Another place I can’t understand is True Fitness. I think the LE should take this name into serious consideration. What do they mean by True Fitness anyway? I didn’t know fitness can be true or false. Do they mean to say that there are some people in the pasar malam selling false fitness???

It was all very confusing to me until I stumbled upon a gym near my place. This was a classic gym. It was on the top floor of a shop lot. The gym was called “Mr.Toh’s Fitness Center”. It had a very nice banner where it showcased this guy with washboard abs and an awesome chest. When I saw that, I was thinking Mr. Toh sure looked ripped. I went in for a look and there was this muscular Chinese guy at the counter which I assume was Mr. Toh. I said “Wow! You must be Mr. Toh”. And he said “Ah! Me not Mr. Toh, he over there…”. So I looked in that direction and guess who I saw… Sammo Hung! This is false fitness ladies and gentlemen.

I will like to end my speech by saying that time sure have changed. From my grandmother’s time to now. Despite the changes though, as Malaysians there will be 2 things that never change: 1 - we will always be multiracial and 2 – we will always try our best to look like Amber Chia even though in reality most of us look more like Sammo Hung!

Thank you!

By, Vijay Balasegaram