Some using identity to highlight cultural heritage

PETALING JAYA: Those who see themselves as belonging to a racial group or another state are only saying how proud they are of their cultural heritage and where they come from.

Napsiah Wan Salleh, who thinks herself as Malay in Malaysia and a Malaysian when abroad, said a person usually “had to wear many hats”.

“Not to be labelled as a hypocrite, but it is how interactions have to take place so as to maintain harmony and balance.

So, the use of identity in accordance with race, ethnic groups and as a citizen of a nation should not be deemed in a negative light,” she said in a two-day survey on The Star Online’s Facebook page.

Lim Khai Tock said he called himself a “Hokkien Malaysian” while Janet Lee is proud of her Peranakan, Dutch and northern Chinese ancestry.

However, if given a choice, Lee said she would choose to be Chinese.

John Richard Stephens said he identified himself as Sabahan first while studying in Britain.

“Ask any Sabahan or Sarawakian and they will put their state before the rest. We are like the Irish – always there, but enduring,” he added.

Sebastian Joseph said he only identified himself as Malaysian first because most of his countrymen “don’t even know what Bidayuh is” while Yienlim Wong thinks herself as Sarawakian first because she is proud of her home town.

A street poll by The Star Online showed that Sabahans and Sarawakians were more partial to identifying themselves by their state of origin.

Roseanne Chee, a dentist, said she identified with her home state of Sabah while studying in Penang.

“Many people ask me where I’m from, and I usually say I’m Sabahan.

“That’s how people know me,” she said, adding that Sabahans in her college were close and identify themselves the same way.

Related story:

Why the obsession over our race? We’re Malaysians

Sabahan first, then a Malaysian

Race first? It’s not racism

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