I've always known East Malaysia is the embodiment of the much touted '1Malaysia' concept, even eons before it was packaged and promoted as a gimmick to win votes by our honorable leaders.
However, I didn't quite know how this has changed, or adulterated, by the influx of West Malaysian ideology and brainwashing over the years since UMNO took over the state's administration.
Apparently, I need not have worried.
During my father's funeral proceedings, I witnessed shining examples of this unity and harmony amongst races, not just from the older generations who would be more resilient to the constant bombardment of West Malaysian ideology of 'race & religion first, fellow Malaysians second', but also from young adults who grew up under UMNO administration.
My father's Requiem Mass was held in a Roman Catholic Church; one of the oldest institutions in the world. And it brought tears to my eyes (apart from the tears I shed for my dearly departed father) to see Muslim friends amongst the attendees, some in their tudung(head scarf). They sat through the whole mass, and even stood when we stood for prayers.
This is something I highly doubt you'd see in Peninsular Malaysia, where Bibles printed in the Malay language has been seized by authorities because they were considered a 'threat to national security'. More info HERE.
It was also speculated that the government(i.e. UMNOputras) is worried that Muslims might be influenced and seek conversion to Christianity if they should get their hands on the Malay Language Bible. *roll eyes profusely*
Meanwhile, in harmonious Sabah...
After the funeral rites following the mass, we adjourned to my residence for a thanksgiving luncheon. In true Sabahan style, we prepared something for the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims. Pork dishes were put on one side of the table while non-pork dishes on the other side; but all still on the same table.
Our Muslim guests were informed which are the non-pork dishes, and they tucked in, without a word about if the chicken and fish came from a halal supplier, and if the dishes were cooked by a Muslim using utensils never used to cook non-halal dishes previously.
THIS, is 1Malaysia, my friends, not the propaganda and lip service exploited by the government, while promoting racial segregation and tolerating racial hatred by their cronies.
Another shining example was witnessed when I attended the official opening of a shop owned by two friends; a Christian and a Muslim.
When it came time to officially unveil the shop's signboard, which was previously covered by a piece of red cloth(a traditional Chinese practice), both proprietors, who are both in their 20s, said a goodwill prayer. The Christian partner made the sign of the cross and said his prayer, while the Muslim partner held up his hands and recited versus from the Qur'an. And they did this in unison, without any prior discussion or consultation with each other.
THIS, is 1Malaysia, my friend.
Sabah has it. In droves.
(for the uninitiated, the deliberate use of 'has' instead of 'have' is reference to a popular internet meme)