Sunday, September 1, 2013

MEN: The closer, the better by By Zuhaila Sedek-De Booi - New Straits Times

Unity advocate Anas Zubedy tells Zuhaila Sedek-De Booij that now is the time for us to get to know each other better

GROWING up in Penang, unity advocate Anas Zubedy’s family was the only one in a Chinese kampung. But it was not an issue because he made friends with many Chinese boys there. A few kilometres from this village was a Malay kampung. After playing with his Chinese friends, he went to the Malay kampung for religious studies. There, he developed another set of friends comprising Malay boys. At 10 years old, Anas found another good friend, an Indian. Soon, one Indian friend turned to many more Indian friends.
Because of his friendship with kids from all races, he grew closer to their cultures and because of this, Anas understood the beauty of being Malaysian. From understanding, comes respect. Now as an adult, this is what he holds on to.
On Merdeka, 49-year-old Anas feels it is time for Malaysians to take a step back and get to know each other better, especially when many have been hurt by political differences.
After launching a social campaign called Lets #SaySomethingNice last Aug 29, the managing director of his own  company, Zubedy,  hopes to share his positive outlook for an ideal unity for Malaysia with his fellow countrymen.


“When I was a child, although I have made friends with everyone, I noticed that they were not together. They were all in different places. At that time, I told myself that I have to unite everyone when I’m older, hence my job now as a unity advocate,” says Anas.
His work to unite people is made possible with his company. Based in Kuala Lumpur, the company’s main business is human development which emphasises unity.
“Unity is the key. For Malaysians, I think our unity level is quite super. It’s fantastic actually,” says Anas, the youngest of four siblings.
“Once, I had clients from Germany. They were very impressed with us. For them, livingin harmony with people of different races is not something they can see all the time in other parts of the world. They were also taken aback that Malaysians still have big celebration on Independence Day. In their country, they don’t have that,” he adds.
To him, the idyllic unity is when everyone empathises with each other. “Preferably we want Malays who have Chinese and Indian hearts, Chinese who have Malay and Indian hearts and Indians with Malay and Chinese hearts. This is unity at its best,” says Anas.

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