Thursday, April 2, 2009


Green is the Colour (GITC) by Lloyd Fernando was written based on the racial issue occurred on the 13Th May 1969. He used this issue because; he wanted to make Malaysian aware about the importance of unity. There were many people killed and chaos took over the calm and peace of Malaysia during that black day. The blood shed happened due to lack of unity and poor communication between Malays and Chinese. He wrote the story precisely to make the Malaysian aware about the issue and to inculcate them that Malaysia could be a harmonious country if Malaysian is willing to accept each other. Lloyd Fernando actually makes the readers feel how exactly the condition during the hard time. One of the comments received by Lloyd for his novel from Koh Buck Song, The Straits Times, July 10 1993, “ A sensitive novel about racial and religious tolerance set against the shadow of the 1969 racial riots in Kuala Lumpur”, by this comment it is clearly that the main two issues of this novel are racial and religious tolerance.

Most of the MLIE writers play around the similar issue which used by Lloyd to write their piece of work. Perhaps it is because the bad experiences they went through in their childhood and they do not want the future generation to encounter it again. Perhaps they also hoping that through their works, they could make Malaysian become open to accept other races in Malaysia and be tolerate enough to shape the peaceful Malaysia and the better place to live in. In this novel, Lloyd used the relationship between Sara and Yun Ming and also the bond between Gita and Dahlan who finally became husband and wife to set an example that Malaysia could be a harmonious country if everyone is practicing mutual acceptance.

Besides racial issue, religious issue is another common issue used by MLIE writers to flavour their story. As in GITC, Lloyd used the religious issue among Malays as portray by Sara’s husband, Omar. Omar literally wanted to take Sara to begin totally new life in Jerangau where Tok Guru Bahaudin claimed will lead them to more pure life surrounded by Islamic teachings. Sara who used to live in a modern society and her way of thinking is a bit westernized make her feels reluctant to leave her present life and to start a new life in a rural area. Omar is so fervour to set life there just because he went there few times and he is so mesmerized by how the community there lives a simple life. Omar is fed up with what he deems the decadence of Western ways which tarnished the race and that makes him seek to find spiritual peace with Islamic way of life. The way Tok Guru Bahaudin gives talk makes Omar believe in him and decided to set a new life in Jerangau but Sara realized the mistake she made and she went away from the nothingness as her father, Lebai Hanafiah has passed away.

Even though the 13th May 1969 now is a history, but the possibility for the chaos to revisit Malaysia is still there. If government did not take brilliant action, we cannot afford to have what we have today. Problems related with political and religion always crop up in multi-racial country like Malaysia. Neelambigai alias Fatimah binti Abdullah whose her body neither be claimed by her family or Religious Department because her family considered her as an outsider because of her traversing of religious and as for Religious Department, there is no proof of the conversion for them to bury her body. This case is an example of intolerance of religion and unwillingness to adapt with multi-culture of Malaysian.

MLIE writers are very concern about the certain issues raised by certain race. They used these issues to write their story and at the same time they used this issue to make Malaysian think how these issues could influence and give negative impact on the integrity of Malaysian. Since Malaysia is a multi-racial country where each race has it own customs and beliefs. Each race seems like want to show that their race is the best and always want to be on top in each aspect. This issue once discussed by Yun Ming and Panglima. Yun Ming said that Chinese and Indians had to forget where they came from and they must follow one way of live. What he tries to say is, they should refer themselves as Malaysian and follow all the rules issued by Malaysian Government. If they could instill this in their mind, no more riots, no more demonstrations, no more “13th May” would happen.

Even though MLIE writers use English as a medium to convey their creative works and perhaps it appeals to some that they are not totally ‘Malaysian’, but the messages contain in their works is essential. English is getting accepted by Malaysian but does not mean Bahasa Malaysia will be less used. One thing to remember is that, Bahasa Malaysia is the tool used to integrate Malay, Chinese and Indian to form Malaysia as what we are now despite the predicament and sensitive issues raised during the process of unity.