After living in Australia for a while I’ve picked up quite a few malaysian chinese friends, some of whom I’m quite close to, and one especially precious malaysian friend whom I eventually married.
Now that I’m back in Singapore working I find that there are many malaysians working in singapore and I thoroughly enjoy their company.
Couple of reasons why:
1. They complain much less about their problems than singaporeans. rather than wallow in self pity they go about finding ways and means to overcome any obstacles in their way.
2. They don’t judge or categorise me by what school I went to the way other singaporeans do.
3. The things that singaporeans most desire and show off (houses and cars) don’t impress malaysians as much.
But that could easily describe any group of people who I could meet and befriend who aren’t Singaporean.
This is why there’s also a list of similarities:
1. We’re all chinese and essentially from the same stock. All of our ancestors originated from china and so we have a common history.
2. Being chinese we are culturally similar so a lot of social customs and norms are familiar and make us immediately familiar with one another.
3. Our countries are neighbours so more often than not we’ve visited each others countries as tourists before. I was already quite familiar with Penang before I met my wife so there’s an immediate connection to the place. Likewise for my wife who visited Singapore as a child.
There are many more similarities and differences.
However one if the greatest reasons for my deep friendships with my friends is because we share the greatest bond of unity in Christ. That’s the best way to tear down any barriers to our friendships and build bridges.
Really Christ came to tear down racial and class differences so that there would no longer be Jew or gentile, rich or poor and dare I say, Malaysian and Singaporean? And I can enjoy the fruits of his work through the friendships I’ve cultivated with my multi-cultural group of friends from all over the world who all bow their knee to the Lord.
So in as much as this little piece is why I like malaysians, its real message is why I love the Lord and the things he has done in bringing about understanding and unity between people of such different backgrounds.
Thank you Lord for creating differences between people so that Your ability to break them down and unite can be so wonderfully displayed!