…And never let your hatred of people who would bar you from the Inviolable House of Worship lead you into the sin of aggression; but rather help one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity; and remain conscious of God; for, behold, God is severe in retribution!

AL – MA’IDAH (2)  



So much of us is shaped by the culture we grow up in and with, and the heritage we inherit!

This can be something as unassuming as family culture  or peer culture, or somethings more definitive in the culture of our community and our people. We internalise the many facets of this culture and it becomes part of our psyche and our souls! It directs our lives and influences our thinking, conduct and behaviour. We embrace it as it grounds us and gives us a sense of identity and belonging! 

Rites and rituals apart, the influences of culture are most of the time unseen and unheard. They are subtle and intangible. They are there in our midst  in our home and community among the people we are closest to.  Much as we want to resist and escape their clutches we are in the end a part of  them. They become our heritage and the basis of our lives. And we consciously and unconsciously perpetuate them!

Amidst new exposures and experiences, a part of us will  advertantly or inadvertantly display the  myriad manifestations  of our culture and heritage in  our faiths and beliefs,  manners and mannerisms, dress and decor, cuisine and cullinary skills, nurturing and mothering;  each one  underscored by the all-embracing, all-pervading, all-encompassing values, customs and traditions!

Last night there was a reunion of sorts with my KGV cronies of a truly mixed Malaysian heritage! 4 Chinese, 2 Indians and 2 Malays – which was roughly the ratio of the urban English school population of the 60s. There were fewer Malays in the Sixth Form Arts and Science classes that we were a part of in KGV Seremban. Many of them would have dropped out after LCE or MCE in the smaller town schools or schools in the rural areas. They would not have made it!

 The KGV cronies talked about this and that! Personal and national issues! All was bared and no holds barred as the 8 old school friends  laid out  their almost 50 years of experience! Almost as old as Merdeka! We laughed at infidelities and lamented disloyalties. We were delirious with the joy of friendship but were sad at the chasms of  national disunity and disparity!

But one thing was certain! We had not changed from the teenagers and young adults that we were despite the passing years! Each of us has remained true to ourselves, our personality and character, our hopes and dreams, our faiths and beliefs, our family values and traditions!

All the more I’m convinced that culture and heritage shape us more than we would care to admit!


1 Response to “”

  1. 1 James Sundram
    May 23, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Dear Halimah,

    How rich our heritage is. We have all brought to this society our own cultural heritage and in so doing has enriched our society. Even though we have differences of opinions on our privileges or lack of it the fact that we can talk about it is great. I agree with you that in the 60s the Malays were very pooly represented in the elite schools. It is great that today the situation has changed and your and Nik’s Children bear ample testimony to this. It is sad however that many non Malays even though they are enjoying a life beeter than that of their parents insist that life is better in the west. I hope that in time this fear of being left behind can be dispelled.
    We have to meet again soon and hopefully this time Hardeep and Phillip will not let us down.
    The photos are lovely and on behalf of the Sundrams a big thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

May 2009
« Apr   Jun »



%d bloggers like this: