History and genetics tell us that we are all related, and that our differences are indeed overwhelmed by our similarities.
As Malaysians, we have so many identity markers to navigate — race, religion, politics — that we do not need more reasons to cleave our society, but instead, we should work together on addressing social conflict.
A netizen commented on Twitter on how language can be a barrier that impacts the Malaysian spirit of togetherness.
One thing I detest: when Chinese Msians speak to each other in Mandarin/Cantonese in d presence of other races who don't ustand d language.
I've seen it in professional settings, team lunches, etc.
It's just cringy, unbelievably rude & makes others feel vry excluded. Stop it!
— Lim Wei Jiet (@limweijiet) May 10, 2019
The message was indeed loud and clear – calling for a stop to exclude others through language.
Netizens who responded to the tweet were in support of the message posted by the netizen. Someone quoted the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad on the matter.
“Our prophet Muhammad taught us not to do this. He said, if there’s a group of three, then let not two of them be in conversation to the exclusion of the third.”
Another spoke of her experience witnessing the same incident.
Another began responding to his boss’s Cantonese in Bahasa Malaysia in respect of his Malay colleagues.
“My boss speaks in Cantonese in the presence of Malay staff, but I always reply him in BM, out of respect to my Malay colleagues. Career shortening move don’t you think?”
The netizen felt encouraged by the response he received and wrote a follow-up tweet:
And then there’s an issue of finding a balance: If non-Malays aren’t supposed to speak their mother tongues, do they need to sacrifice their own culture for the sake of being truly Malaysian?
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