Down memory lane for unity by Shahanaaz Habib - The STAR
Tales of yesteryear: Harris started the Facebook page with the hope of rekindling rich experiences of the past to make people see how united they used to be.
A Facebook page revives images of the past to remind Malaysians of the good old days when more things seemed to unite and bind us rather than separate and divide.
WHATEVER happened to the good old days when people of different races, religions and cultures would sit, talk, play, joke and laugh together?
Retiree Harris Abdullah, 56, who grew up in a generation where people of all races mixed around easily, feels “the present generation is split”.
“A lot of people say they are not racist but they actually are. You can see that from the people they interact with,” he says.
“The Malays keep to themselves, the Chinese stick with the Chinese and the Indians mix with their own.
“You get that on Facebook too. People hardly have friends of a different race. And we call ourselves a multi-racial country? It is very sad.”
In July last year, the father-of-four started the Down Memory Lane (DML) Facebook page with the hope of rekindling rich experiences of the past to make people see how united they used to be and how much they actually have in common.
Reminders of the past: This old iron came up for discussion on the DML facebook page.
But there is one basic but important rule – absolutely no talk on race, religion or politics! If this rule is flouted, any one of the five Facebook page administrators would delete the comment or even remove the post.
“I’ve seen on my personal Facebook that whenever I put up jokes or comments on politics or religion, there is endless debate and even people arguing. It gets nowhere,” Harris says.
“I want people to come to the DML page to have fun, laugh and be happy, so let’s keep race, religion and politics out.”
And people seem to relish the idea. In just six months, 10,200 people have joined the DML group.
Harris was expecting only about 800 people to join and was surprised that it had attracted 2,000 people, including Malaysians overseas, in the first week.
The idea of creating DML came to Harris after he posted on his personal Facebook page an old photo of an ais kacang seller, and “suddenly people of all races started talking about their past experiences.”