St. John Catholic Church

Recently I had a great exposure on catholic in Malaysia. My housemate is a Melaka Tochew, where almost all in her community are Catholics. She represents the different kind of ‘Chinese’, because she can’t speak Cantonese, unlike the majority of KLites, she was national schooled, mandarin was seldom used in her household, even I can speak better mandarin than her. She’s totally against any Chinese folk religion or Buddhism, to her Christianity is the way to go. And her kampung is considered poor; the toilet is still outside her family wooden house. Funny thing in Malaysia is, we are so used to labeling that if you are Chinese, you are either the rich urban Christian Chinese that wants to be mat salleh, or the Jinjang folk religious Chinese who speaks only Chinese dialects. If Malays, either you are the rich urban corrupted Malays that love to show off their wealth or you are the poor rural Malays that constantly need government help. Then for Indians, either ur the typical tamil majority than adore Bollywood and religious festival and anything gold, or ur the ‘other’ Indians (Ceylonese, Malayalam, Punjabi…) that want to stay away from being associated with the lesser tamil indians. If ur the ‘dan lain-lain’ group, u can be anything that is not above. And politicians care nothing about these groups, fuck them.

Yeah, labeling, it’s totally rude and misinformed about who we are. Oh please, stop all the categorizing what we should be.To all Malaysians, relax lah, just be yourself, be UNIQUELY yourself.

Anyway, on that Sunday morning, I was so eager to see how true the Al-Islam journalists reported regarding the murtad issue. It turned out, those journalists were perhaps a bit paranoid, maybe bacause their boss were pushing them to sell more copies, maybe their magazine was feeling a bit of the recession heat on that particular month. It was very enlighten to see so many people at the St John Cathedral. I was expecting Malaysians, but what I saw was an explosion of people from different backgrounds, there were blacks, whites, Malaysians, Burmese, Pilipino, Vietnamese and dan lain-lain. Interestingly, The Pilipino dominated the choir group; they really had the best voices, very melodious. It was an enjoyable discovery, my friend explained to me the reason for consuming the communion. It’s a sacred act, you have to fast a few hours before consuming it, it’s meant for believers to be in union with god. And yes, it’s just a simple wafer, no ‘magical’ ingredients in it, sorry for the Al-Islam journalists, their expectation were fell short.

I met several interesting people there. I talked to a South African guy sitting next to me. Unexpectedly, he told he studied in UIA. I was like ‘wow!’, now that’s the Malaysian spirit I’m looking for. He said, even though he’s a catholic, UIA received him as any other foreign students. I also met a few Burmese. I never knew there were quite a number of Catholic communities in Myanmar. They told me, the Karen and Chin communities are mostly Catholics. I felt ashamed as I’m about to go to Myanmar soon, but I missed such important facts. The Myanmar guy actually wore a sorong, he said it’s their cultural dress. Now that’s interesting. I have always speculated that the Malay culture that we are so proud of is really a SOUTH EAST ASIAN culture. Like batik, or baju kurung or kebaya or songkok or gamelan, or whatever malay dances; other South East Asian countries also have their version of the exact same things. Even as far as in Yunnan, China. Being a Malay is all about appreciating the rich cultural heritage of South East Asia. And ALL MALAYSIANS SHOULD BE PROUND MALAYS. Regardless of origins. Oh and, what about the narrow definition of ‘malay’ in our constitution? Well,I think it should be toilet wipes for our ass.

We are 1Malaysia, isn’t it?