BY THE ROJAK PROJEK,
MALAYSIANS & PEOPLE
WHO LOVE MALAYSIA
PRESS STATEMENT '19
If you need more info or photos from The Rojak Projek, please drop us a line at
ABOUT THE ROJAK PROJEK:
THE ROJAK PROJEK, an initiative by TRP CREATIVES, a social enterprise centred on promoting unity through cultural and diversity awareness has just launched #RojakNation, a movement that advocates Malaysia's multicultural identity and seeks to bring together everything that makes Malaysia, Malaysia.
“We believe our generation has its part to play in bridging the gaps that exist within our Malaysian society. Thus, the purpose of the movement is to inspire and encourage Malaysians to take the initiative to mix around and collaborate with each other in ways that lend a voice to unheard, underrepresented fellow Malaysians. It is our hope that #RojakNation will one day evolve into a larger, national scale nation-building movement.” - Faye Lim, Co-Founder of The Rojak Projek.
*Rojak is a savoury mixed fruit salad, well-loved by Malaysians everywhere. The term is usually used as a local slang to mean ‘mixed’ and is often used to describe the multi-ethnic character of the Malaysian society. The word “Nation” represents our desire for all Malaysians to partake in this endeavour, every step of the way.
RECENT MERDEKA EVENT:
THE ROJAK PROJEK collaborated with RIUH to showcase 10 artwork of Orang Asli (Native people) at the #AnakAnakMalaysia Campaign in Eco Ardence, Setia Alam over the weekend. These artworks made from soil and local plants, demonstrated the culture of the Orang Asli, as well as the connection they have to their land:
A list of 250 ethnic and sub-ethnic groups were also on display at the exhibition. It bears mention that this information does not include all of Malaysia yet:
For those who are unfamiliar with Malaysian governing system, we have four categories to fit our identity; 'Malay', ‘Chinese' 'Indian' and 'Lain-lain’ (Others).
“Our current segregated system is an outdated colonial-era relic that has caused us to be very self-centered and ignorant despite our nation's establishment and geographical integration. We say that this is one of the leading factors preventing a truly unified Malaysia,” says Faye Lim, Co-Founder of The Rojak Projek.
She also added that, “For THE ROJAK PROJEK, being Malaysian means ALL OF US, TOGETHER. If we can name three races in Malaysia, why can’t we name them all (including those who are of mixed race)? We believe it is time for our generation to take it to the next level in rediscovering and understanding our Malaysian people better. For us, putting the names out there is to say that there is no excuse to act as if others do not exist. For us, the ultimate aim is to overcome ignorance and help our nation to know each other better.”
For the longest time, we Malaysians have invested little care in pursuing national unity. We hope that by sharing this information, more will come to appreciate, recognize and acknowledge these identities because this journey belongs to all Malaysians.
We believe it's time to just embrace ourselves as Malaysian, while acknowledging and appreciating all of our differences. For we are one, we are many, and we are Malaysians.
SHARING SOME SOLUTIONS:
“... as we face the problem of development and progress in all spheres of life in Malaysia, we must constantly bear in mind that both our present and our future depends, in very large measure, on the youth of our young nation.” - Tunku Abdul Rahman, 23rd May 1964. Collection of Speeches, Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial
Here are some ideas on what we can do to gradually bridge the gap:
Let’s start by taking the initiative to ask about other people’s food culture. More likely than not, people are happy to share. By staying humble, open-minded and proactive, we will learn far more.
Explore, hunt down and try more food in Malaysia! This is a great way for beginners to experience other cultures Malaysia has to offer, not to mention that it is super rewarding and enjoyable.
Consider participating in cultural celebrations or festivities alongside others. There are opportunities aplenty to interact with people of said culture which will allow us to learn to appreciate cultural history, our cultural similarities and differences altogether.
Speak up when necessary. Words have the power to change hearts, minds, and eventually a nation. We can be that positive influence in our social circle and champion the cause of national unity, online and offline.
Hold space for those who are culturally different. Help, include and involve those who are culturally different, not just with words but with action.
Engage in national organisations and initiatives. Not only will this broaden our horizons, but it allows us to be part of the larger rhetoric that is still being written in this chapter of Malaysian history.
Volunteer time and effort to help disadvantaged, marginalised groups.
But let's be real, we know that not everyone has the money to travel and/or experience different cultures around Malaysia. Therefore:
We would love to see/collaborate with those who have expertise in the creation of solid, content-rich videos of around 2-3 minutes per tribe to showcase each ethnic and subethnic culture and tradition. The bite-sized videos should ideally be capped at an ideal length to fully capture the attention span of our younger audiences.
For example; who are the Kelabits? Who are the Tatana’s?
Simple, easy-to-follow introductory videos to the different ethnicities and people groups in Malaysia, in order to educate viewers who may not have been exposed to this side of Malaysia previously. We pray these videos strike a chord with our Malaysian viewers, who will hopefully see a part of themselves reflected in the lives of those belonging to a distinct cultural group.
The media carries the mandate of getting the word out. We hope that news outlets and media portals can take on the task of churning out weekly columns about each ethnic or sub-ethnic group, be it from the angle of food, culture or traditional attire etc.
We look forward to seeing the initiatives from the Malaysian Tourism Board marketed towards fellow Malaysians in order to boost local travel and encourage our Malaysian residents to venture out into other states within Malaysia.
And if Malaysia can invest, we definitely should:
Invest in creating an app that shares the fun side to Malaysia’s food culture in relation to the ethnic and sub-ethnic groups in each state, and one that enables us to locate them easily. We think this is a fun way to explore Malaysia and grow more aware of all the different cultures we have in Malaysia.
Produce our very own cultural exchange reality show or Amazing Race-style game show. We would love to see young people travel, exchange cultures within Malaysia, and find out what life is like on the other side. Similar shows that have come before prove to us that as much as we all think we are different, we share so many similarities with one another. We think Malaysia would be no different!
We need to redefine what Malaysia is all about:
What is our Malaysian identity?
Are we really just a 'Malay, Chinese, Indian' society? What is 'lain-lain' (others)?
The only way to know what we’re all about is to experiment and work new things together to take it to the next level.
So, is food the only cultural gateway? No. For Malaysia, it’s the best lah! Ask yourself in areas like our Malaysian diversity, people, culture, language, music, arts... What are they?
Why not be a nation that encourages many languages? Woah! Our children will be excellent in communication and business in the future. Well, are we not like not like any other country in this world? At that rate, no one can ‘bad mouth’ anybody! The point is you don’t lose from learning new things.
The most important thing is to bridge that gap in our country NEVER allowing others to stop our friendship and love for one another and know that there is SO MUCH STRENGTH in being Malaysian when we work together.
THE ROJAK PROJEK
(Malaysia tak sama, kalau kita tak bersama)
Malaysia is never the same if we are not together
ENGAGE W US!
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