Thursday, October 17, 2013

Many Colors, One Race: 10 Nice Things You Can Tell Your Children About Other Races

Note: We are launching this book on Friday Oct. 25 , 3 pm at Zubedy. If interested, pls contact Hidayah at Below is the foreword/introduction segment of the book.


A man kills a deer and takes it home to cook it for dinner. Both him and his wife decide that they won't tell the kids what kind of meat it is, but will give them a clue and let them guess. The kids are eager to know what that meat on their plates is, so they beg their father for a clue. The father says, "Well, it's what mummy calls me sometimes.” The little girl yells to her brother, "Don't eat it! It’s a MONKEY!

As parents and adults, what we do and say is imitated by the young. What we say to our children and what we speak among ourselves will be transferred to our children. Sometimes we adults, without even realizing and or having the slightest intent to be malicious, say things about other races that may not be in good light.  Already our children are separated by the schools they go to, the places they live in, as well as the places they play at. Because of this they do not have many chances to get to know and engage with each other.

When I was young, I got to engage with a lot of people from different backgrounds, hence this book is mostly based on my own experiences with the Malays, Chinese, Indians, and Eurasians. My business and travels have taken me across Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak thus widening my circle of friends to include native Sabahans and Sarawakians. I have chosen to write about the Kadazans and the Ibans as they are the biggest native groups from Sabah and Sarawak respectively. However, I have had some help from friends and did some research when writing about the Ibans, Kadazans, and Orang Aslis as I did not personally spend enough time with them to really get to know them better. But the idea is, when you grow up among other races you get to learn about their good aspects as well as the bad. And my experiences have shown that the good always outweighs the bad.   

By writing this small and easy book, it is my hope that parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and caregivers will buy and read this book with their children. As children enjoy being read to, it is critical that we acquaint them with the best of other races. From there on we can introduce nice things about others to our children.
The best way to read this book with your children is to combine the old and the new. Read this book with your computers or tablets at hand so you can Google for more information, pictures, and/or videos whenever you come across a reference you need to explain to your children. For example, when you read the story about Indians in page 55, you will come across ‘Kolattam’, a popular Indian dance. You can find videos of Kolattam dances on the Youtube and you can watch them together with your children.

I would like to apologise for some generalisations which you will come across in this book that are unavoidable. For instance, when I say the Chinese is hard working, I am not saying the opposite about the others and when I say the Malays are nice, I am not saying others are not. It is just that I see a certain cultural pattern emerging from the different races where we can see that some seem to have more of these qualities than others. This book is also a chance to share with your children that many of us have shared values which are alike.

When you read through the pages, you will see that this book actually talks about one’s ethnicity instead of race. The two are similar in many ways yet distinct to one another. When we talk about one’s ethnicity, we talk about their cultural behaviours, traditions, and practices. Ethnicity is usually shaped by someone’s race but it is not solely dependent on it. Ethnicity can be changed through one’s life choices, beliefs, and experiences. On the other hand, race indicates our biological ancestry. It is inherited in our blood. As this book is to be read by parents and children together, I have decided to use the term ‘race’ to include all dimensions of race and ethnicity because ‘race’ is a simpler word which all of us can understand.

This book has been organised in such a way that every narrative is followed by some reflection about each race. I have included blank pages after each reflection. These blank pages are intended for you and your children to spend time together discussing additional nice things to say about other races based on their experiences with their friends both in school and at home. I have also arranged the book content in an alphabetical order, so it will start with the Chinese, the Eurasians, the Ibans, the Indians, the Kadazans, the Malays, and it ends with the Orang Aslis.  This is because I want to stress that there is no one race superior than the other.

I want to thank everyone who has had a part in writing this book. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Hidayah Mazlan who helped me with the narrative section of each race, Nur Intan Dayana who worked on the design and illustrations in the book, and Nur Syuhada Zakaria who worked on the front and back covers. I would also like to thank Beelie Kong who worked with me in coming up with the Many Colors One Race logo and M Prakash Dass for editing the book.

Let’s be responsible towards the next generation. Let’s start with ourselves to make things better. Let’s make our children love each other better. We want them to be friends, not foes.  

He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings. (Buddhism. The Tripitika)

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity (Christianity. Psalms 133:1)

All within the four seas are brothers (Confucianism. Analects. Chapter 12)
Let your aims be common, and your hearts of one accord, and all of you be of one mind, so you may live well together. (Hinduism. Rig Veda 10.191.2-4)

And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know (Islam. Quran 30:22)

many colors one race,

anas zubedy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like your nobel intention!