(Dear Ahmad Ismail), I am a Malaysian
The Jalur Gemilang on the wall in my room during my days studying in Australia, in this photo taken in 2000. A few years before, the very same flag was hung up in my oldest sister’s room while she was studying in New Zealand.
I am a Malaysian.
My father, however, was a British citizen growing up because, well, there was no Malaysia – or Malaya then. My grandfather died before Merdeka, and his father, my Ng Kong Cho, even had a British passport (he never travelled though). After Merdeka, he (like my dad) became Malaysians by operation of law.
That’s four generations of Malaysians – three of whom where born in the British Colony of Malacca. The two generations before Ng Kong Cho were also born in Malacca.
The two generations before them – father (Cheong Soo Keng) and son (Cheong Koh Boon) – were born in China and arrived in Malacca as a family in the late 1700s. Along the way, their descendents -ending with my grandfather – married Nyonyas (and who knows how far back that family tree goes on tha side).
The last migrant in the Cheong line of my family died in the late 1800s – that was over 200 years ago. The first of the Malacca-born Cheongs (my my ancestoral line, that is) was alsoÂ born in the 19th century – the same century that the the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 and the Pangkor Treaty 1874 was signed; Before the formation of the Federated Malay States; Before the Japanese arrived; Before Merdeka. And before Malaysia was born in 1963.
My birth certificate states that I am a Malaysian.
I hold a Malaysian passport, and carry a MyKad with me everywhere I go.
I drive a Malaysian-made car, using a Malaysian driver’s license.
I studied for my degree in Australia as a Malaysian foreign student.
I pay taxes like all other Malaysian citizens.
No one in my family were ever squatters – not pre-Merdeka and definitely not after, and after six generations of Malacca-borns, we are definitely not migrants.
I was born in Petaling Jaya, Selangor and grew up in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur where I still live. I speak the national language, Bahasa Malaysia. Negaraku is my national song.
The Jalur Gemilang is my national flag.
I am a Malaysian.
1.55pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)