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Ronan's report


Thursday 20th November, 2014

A fortnight ago I wrote something controversial on wildlife conservation in this part of the world but I decided to chuck it out at the last minute. Paul had to work harder than usual, covering my FP for the past two weeks. Being critical in this part of the world could be easily misconstrued as being seditious and could land you in jail. Someone from some never heard of organization might report me for being a racist or religious extremist with a slightest provocation. Unlike Paul, I am too poor to travel out of my home country every six months in a year so I am stuck here to endure the pain of being prosecuted all the time for being born with a particular race or having a religion. I never consider myself belonged to a particular race and I think religion is bad for health. That was even more depressing, as I feel like being prosecuted all the time for something that I didn't even have or do. So after a night in a neighbourhood pub yesterday I decided to write another FP. To be precise, I went to a German pub owned by an Indian (Indian as from India) that had bar tender of a Bidayuh-Chinese parentage. The Bidayuh is an aborigine tribe native to the Borneo Island. I knew the bar tender because he used to work in another pub nearby. There were two more customers who looked like Indian lawyers, dressed in black and white. I could tell all of them were Malaysian as they were communicating in Manglish, the highly efficient version of English widely spoken here.

I ordered an Erdinger and enjoyed watching a rerun of another Liverpool bashing match while waiting for my friend. The pub owner approached me and tried to start a conversation. He introduced himself and I immediately could tell that he is Christian of Indian descent because he had two first name. I introduced myself and he looked surprised. He said he thought I was a Malay. Well, I was not surprised that he was surprised. This was not the first time I was mistakenly identified as Malay Malaysian. I have thick eyebrows, thick lips and a goatee. I am tanned most of the time and I speak good Malay. He then apologized for the mistake although I said he didn't have too because I was actually quite used to being racially mistaken and it didn't bothered me a bit. He cut short the conversation and went back to his lawyer customers. I thought he was a bit embarrassed by the incident. Or so did I thought.

Moments later when I ordered my second drinks, the bar tender told me his boss was checking if I was a Muslim. Although it was not legally defined it was widely accepted that by default a Malay has to be a Muslim. Just a few days ago, Muslim religious officer raided that pub and the bar tender had a hard time to explain he was not a Muslim because he had a Malay name which is quite common in the Borneo Island. All these happened in a German pub and there were no Germans there. That's Malaysian diversity.

Mr. T


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