Corlus, from Kuala Penyu in Sabah, said: “Back home, it is a common sight for everyone to eat together at any restaurant. And the parking areas for a mosque and an adjacent church are open for people of all faiths.”
“But it’s different here in the peninsula,” said the 31-year-old, who works as a conveyancing clerk.
According to her, Muslims eating at a place run by non-Muslims here would sometimes be viewed differently.
Malaysians, she said, need to open their minds and accept the ways and values of others.
Felicity Mosuting, 37, from Ranau, concurred, using the adage that “seeing is believing”.
“People need to open their hearts and minds and visit Sabah and Sarawak to see for themselves,” she said.
She said many Malaysians know little about the life, food and culture of Sabahans and Sarawakians.
Flordaria Bobi, 31, also found that many Malaysians here had no idea about the uniqueness of Sabah and Sarawak.
“Malaysia is more than just the three main races. There are many other unique communities, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
“We need festivities and celebrations for all of us to come together. This would be the best time for Malaysians to know better about each other,” she added.
Mother-of-three Lucy Stewart Wan, from Miri, Sarawak, said she was proud of her family’s role in fostering closer ties between Sabahans, Sarawakians and those in the peninsula.
“We have been living in the Klang Valley for over two decades now. My children attend vernacular primary schools and government secondary schools. They often encountered racist remarks and misunderstanding.
“I taught my children to explain to their friends about who we really are. Now that their friends understand, they are able to mingle and expand their circle of friends,” said Wan, 44.
Her 15-year-old son Franklin Stanly said the best way to foster unity and greater racial integration is by celebrating festive seasons together with his schoolmates from different races.
“I make it a point to invite my friends over for our family’s Christmas gathering.
“They get to see how we celebrate. They look forward to joining me again,” he said, adding that he also learnt about his friends’ culture by celebrating with them.
Evelyn Ding, 30, who is also from Miri, said the togetherness among races could strengthen understanding and unity.
“When we are together and united, we are like brothers and sisters who do not feel left out or don’t belong.
“The point is that we must open ourselves up and be willing to learn about others,” she added.
Just like the previous year, the group of friends and some 20 other Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak will once again turn heads during the annual #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2019 that will be held on Merdeka Day.
The group members are dressing up in their best ethnic costumes for the walk and have called on Malaysians to join them.
“It is our way of sharing our culture with our fellow Malaysians. It will be a colourful time. Let’s come out in great numbers and showcase our Malaysian identity,” they said.
The #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2019 is a collaboration between Malaysia’s well-known property developer Eco World Development Group Bhd and Star Media Group.
The main sponsors are Panasonic (silver sponsor) and DRB-HICOM (car sponsor).
The registration fee is RM50 (adult) / RM20 (child) / RM120 (family package: two adults, two kids), and RM40 (corporate), and the closing date is on Aug 16.
The #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2019 will be held on Aug 31, starting at 4.30pm at the Eco Ardence Sales Gallery, Persiaran Setia Alam in Setia Alam, Shah Alam.
For more details, go to bit.ly/aamwalk2019.
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