Friday, September 11, 2009

Letter from a Malay Singaporean and a strange dream

Go this from Teresa Kok's blog ...

Letter to The Straits Times
SEPT 3, 2009

I am a Malay Singaporean and I am proud of it though the label “Malay Singaporean” often seems to make little sense to people outside of South-east Asia.

In my travels to other countries and in my current place of residence in the United States, I am often quizzed as to the meaning of this label.

“You mean, you are Malaysian?” I am asked. Or: “I thought Malays are Malaysians?”

My answer, each time, is “no”. Regardless of how often I have to repeat myself, I try, each time, to explain the differences between Malay Singaporeans and Malay Malaysians.

I say that history had united us and then separated us. Political leaderships and national policies have made us very distinct from one another.

This was not always the case. For many years after Separation, the racial and religious identities of Malay Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore took precedence over their national identities.

However, things have changed drastically over the past few decades and much of that has to do with how politics shaped the two communities.

I first realised how different I am from Malay Malaysians when I stayed in a kampung in Negri Sembilan for a week. I was there for a mini research project with some students a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian Singaporeans, plus a few foreigners. We stayed with host families in a Malay village.

After the first four days in the village, I felt something was amiss. I could not put a finger on what it was. It was only when I was hanging out at a roadside stall and saw a Chinese man that it dawned on me what I was missing: I had not seen a single non-Malay person (outside of my student group) for four whole days!

The Chinese in the area lived in a separate village across the street while the Indians lived in yet another village near some plantations. In Seremban, I saw a building for a Chinese leisure club and another for Malay games or social activities.

Click HERE to read the rest of the letter. Worth your time.

Okay, here's the strange dream .... literally a dream I had last night ...

I woke up about 4 AM this morning at after having this dream. I though it strange and then went back to sleep. Then I got up at 7.00 AM and I remembered the dream. Normally after I go aback to sleep I remember I dreamed something but the details are all fuzzy.

I am not saying it is prophetic dream or a dream from God etc. Probably due to a mixture of my thinking and praying for Malaysia and catching 30 minutes of the final episode of what I thought was a really dumb reality show (Who wants to be a superhero!)

Okay, need to go off on a tangent for a while (it is related) before I get back to the dream ... In my defense, I saw like 5 minutes of the show when it first came out and decided not to watch it again, but since last night was the last episode, my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to find out how the show would end and what exactly it was all about. Really cheesy but it was a Stan Lee thing and in the show, Stan was interviewing his three finalists and I was impressed that his criteria he was looking for was the old fashion superhero attributes - honesty, integrity, courage, selflessness, grit ... the make the world a better place thing. Which was why in the final three was a really ridiculous "superhero" .... a woman who went by the super identity "Hygenia" (Cleans up both dirt and crime! :-) ) Well, whatever her super power was it rhymed ...

Anyway ... back to the dream. ...

In my dream there were a group of I think twelve (can't recall but somehow twelve seemed to be the number in my mind ... which probably relates to my recent reading of the book of Revelation!!), all wearing really fancy jackets that in my mind were a cross between Malaysian batik and the royal regalia that Malaysian sultans / rulers wear. But they were not the rulers as they were not all Malays. I saw them as Malaysians in my dream.

On each of these jackets were pieces of red gems (rubies) - shiny but clearly parts of a huge gem/ crystal. It's the kind that is super large (bigger than a human being kind that you only see in comic books cause they do not exist in our reality) ... Anyway ... in this dream the 12 are talking and in my mind it was clear that these 12 are rulers of some kind who control the power that allows them to rule over the Malaysian people. But there was a crisis. The country was falling apart and chaos was beginning to show in different parts of society. (In the dream it was more dramatic- reality was unravelling ... comic book cosmic crisis style!). So all twelve were gathered to attempting to solve the problem and standing around a kind of machine where a bright light was emanating from it. The source of the light was not clearly identified in my dream but it seemed to me that it was a higher being of intelligence. (Hey I believe in the God of the Bible and not an impersonal force - I am just describing my dream). And basically the message was clear. The broken shards of the red gem that each of the twelve shared gave each of them real power. But the gem had been in pieces for too long and the pieces needed to be reunited in order that the danger of the reality collapse might be averted. But for that to happen, they had to give up their power as individual rulers and surrender their rulers' jackets (in which the gems have been embedded) and place it in the light so that the gem could be made whole again.

In my dream there is a hesitation among the twelve as the shards of the gems gave them a lot of power. Many argued against giving it up. It was too big a sacrifice. Some argued that they could handle the reality breakdown as they had enough of the pieces of the gem to be personally protected and even protect their particular part of the realm. Basically, let the other parts of the realm perish, as long as mine is secure. Some were quiet but could be seen (in my dream) to be considering how to take advantage of the situation.

Then one of the twelve, who seems to be the most powerful one, who I think has the most pieces of the broken gem on his jacket does the unexpected (or expected depending on how optimistic you are about life). He removes his costume (more like jacket) and places it in the light. There is a bright flash of light as the broken pieces of gems begin to reform. But in the scene, this is not enough and so he turns to the others to see if they would follow suit ... and as my dream ends / fades, I see a few seemingly moving to remove their jackets but others seem unmoved, with looks on their faces that seem to say "you're an idiot to think I will give up my power!!".

That's all folks!!


  1. Z, yup, I think the letter speaks powerfully! A long time ago, when I was a young boy, I had a taste of that Singapore in Malaysia.

  2. haha, i meant your dream but yes, the letter is powerful too--i read it last week but never publicized it. :(

    sigh. trying not to let politics bring me down. having dinner with a couple of friends tonight. NO MORE COOKING FOR ME! the other two are making pasta and salad and i will just buy dessert. cooking for my prof-friend this sun lunch though, since she is walking me through half a chapter in a philosophical book.

    hope your weekend goes well!