Home TA Online How strangers in Rawang renewed an injured 80-year-old’s dream of ‘bangsa Malaysia’

How strangers in Rawang renewed an injured 80-year-old’s dream of ‘bangsa Malaysia’

Helping hands rise above ethnic and religious divide

Welman Road in Rawang today is bustling with activity - BENEDICT LOPEZ

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Assisting another human being makes an individual feel good and enhances his or her self-esteem.

Surprisingly, making a difference in someone’s life often does not demand much. Sometimes it entails just a little good deed and our time.

Frequently, a good deed may not involve any monetary resources. On the contrary, it reveals our true character.

A helping hand can assist and support any human being, irrespective of race and religion. The helping hand can assist not just friends, colleagues, neighbours, clients and family members but anyone who spontaneously needs it.

Monthly visits to Rawang

For nostalgic reasons, my friends and I make it a point to drive up to Rawang at least once a month. Usually, a flimsy excuse is enough for us to take this monthly trip – like getting a shirt or pants tailored or changing our spectacles at the optician. Also on our itinerary is lunch at our favourite Chinese restaurant.

People like my friend Peter and I are sentimental about Rawang, having served in this once tiny town. In the past, it was eclipsed, apart from travellers passing through on journeys further up north.

This despite Rawang past prominence during the halcyon days of the tin mining industry. Even then, most vacationers knew this town as a stopover town for a quick meal and refreshments.

Peter always has many things to do in Rawang, like buying his favourite coffee powder or welding some of his equipment, as carpentry is one of his hobbies. Every trip to Rawang is a fruitful and productive one for Peter, and his shoulder bag is always fully loaded after the visit.

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Just the other day, Peter, another friend Gana and I visited Rawang again. But this visit was more nostalgic as it epitomised the true Malaysian spirit that makes us feel proud to be Malaysians despite the constant negativity we read about our country.

Upon reaching Rawang, I dropped Peter in front of the hardware shop in Welman Road in Rawang and told him I would drive ahead and find a parking space nearby. After parking my car nearby, I went into a shop to buy something.

As I was returning to my car, I received a call from Peter to pick him up about half a kilometre away, near the Petronas station along the road to Serendah.

Without asking any questions and despite my curiosity over how Peter had gone quite a distance, I made my way to pick him up.

Peter’s memorable experience

Peter then related a heartwarming story to me which I think will move most of us. Here is his story in his own words:

It was at the junction of the road just after Rawang going towards Serendah that I, 80 years of age, tripped and fell right in the middle of the road as I was crossing it. My glasses and my mobile phone flew, and I landed heavily on my right shoulder. I was in severe pain.

For a moment, I was knocked off my senses. I thought the lorry heading towards me was going to run over me.

Fortunately, the traffic came to a stop. Out of nowhere, a Malay gentleman in his mid-forties and a Malay lady rushed over and lifted me up, and took me across the road, calming me down. What touched me most in the midst of the excruciating pain was his prayer to Allah for saving me from a nasty accident.

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He was genuinely concerned about my wellbeing and so was his wife, who repeatedly asked me if I was OK. In that brief moment, I became an ‘uncle’ to them.

They handed me over to two young Indian boys who took me to their shophouse, seated me down and offered me a drink. They took my phone and called my friend, Ben, who was waiting for me at another part of the town and sent him my location.

Sitting in my friend’s car, I thanked God for keeping me in such a beautiful country, filled with caring Malaysians who rushed to help an unfortunate old man without caring for race or kind.

That is Malaysia for you.

‘Bangsa Malaysia’ can be a reality

The moral of Peter’s story is that many people of all ethnic groups and religions in Malaysia, irrespective of their station in life, will cross the ethnic and religious divide whenever the occasion warrants it.

Our politicians, who constantly seek political expediency and mileage, often create a chasm between the people, unlike the ordinary kind and humane folk we come across every day. But it is these ordinary folk who at every opportune time always tower over the politicians.

Peter’s experience burnishes my hope and desire that one day we can truly have a bangsa Malaysia – a country where we can identify ourselves only as Malaysians and not by our race, a country we can all proudly call our home. We need to leave this legacy for posterity. We owe it to future generations!

It is surely not a far-fetched dream that I hope will be realised in my lifetime. We have to work hard to realise this vision. It is definitely not an impossible dream – if there is a concerted effort and will among the people.

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God bless Malaysia and its people always.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one he hopes will be realised in his lifetime
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13 Oct 2023 9.58am

Are u the ‘ Ben’ in the story?

12 Oct 2023 10.07pm

There is love in the world and warmth everywhere 。i love melaysia

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