UNDERSTANDING MY OWN CULTURE
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious and Merciful. If you notice from the recited words you will know that I am a Muslim and let me introduce myself as Nor Laila Binti Hassan. This story begins from 19th century, whereby my ancestor who is of a Siamese ethnic came from Siam or now known as Thailand to settle down in Kedah (one of the state in North Malaysia) and married one of the locals. During that time Kedah was started to be influenced by Islamic religion and culture and my ancestors with all their descendants were all Muslims. They were known among the villagers as to come from a religious family. My great grandfather is what they called as the learned elders a.k.a Tok Guru. Tok Guru spreads the teachings of Islam and a religious teacher and everyone in the village really respected him. His name is Tuan Haji Yaacob bin Sibar. He had a daughter and a son. His daughter’s name was Aminah and his son’s name was Mohamad Zain. My family root started when one of Aminah’s son i.e- Hassan married with his cousin i.e Mohamed Zain’s daughter by the name of Latifah and both of them are my beloved parents. Normally, old folks at the material time prefer inter-related marriage for their children in order to preserve the dignity and the wealth of a family from leaking to the outsiders.
During that time, Islam influences almost every aspects of life among the Malays and is the foundation for Malay cultural solidarity inclusive of the practice of polygamous marriage. Some of the villagers prefer to married off their daughters to a Tok Guru as either the second or third wife as they believed that Tok Guru will guide their daughter well. I still remembered when my late father Allahyarham Ustadz Hassan Bin Mohamed Yasin still alive, he told me that my grandfather had four wives and my grandmother was his second wife. He also said that my grandfather was also known as Tok Guru and migrated to Mecca to deepen his knowledge and died there. During the demise of my grandfather, my grandmother was still his wife whereas all the other wives had either been divorced or predeceased my grandfather. On my mother side, she had four siblings and she was the only daughter in the family. My mother is a very intelligent person and good with memories and numbers. However being a girl she had only been allowed to finish her school up to standard six because my grandmother believed that high learning opportunity should not be given to a girl. Malay’s mothers also prefer their son to further their studies into higher level of education. My late father is given the opportunity to study in Mecca specifically in Arabic or Quran Language. This shows that the discrimination of gender is also dominant among the Malay’s family in terms of learning opportunity.
My parent had been married for 49 years and they have been blessed with six children, three boys and three girls. I am their fifth children and I have been taught or educated about my own Malay cultures, my parents, family, and grandparents and also from my Malay friends. These peoples actually influenced me on how I view the world and relates with others at home and at the workplace. I am 34 years old now and I consider some of the values and ethics that my parent taught me or descended to me are very much valuable and important and insya Allah I will try to pass the same values to my children. Therefore, in this essay I will like to talk more about the Malays values that my family practices in our daily life.
Symbol in Malays Culture
In Malays culture, we have many symbols that represent our ethnic such as by their local costume and dressing. For example, Malay’s men normally wear songkok or ketayap when they want to go to mosque or during Hari Raya. Malays also prefer to wear sarong which for men they called it as kain pelekat whereas for women it is called as kain batik. I still remembered last month I did...
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