Thursday, April 2, 2009

FROM THE EYES OF A SOCIOLOGIST

Green is the colour is such a great piece written by Lloyd Fernando. It is his second novel after Scorpion Orchid that left a big impact to he readers. Lloyd Fernando is known as a daring writer who speaks his mind clearly in his very own way. As an overseas graduate, he had learnt to express his ideas through writings very well. Though the issues he brought up were sensitive, yet they are right. Green is the colour is very special novel. The reason is, Lloyd Fernando took almost two decades to finish it after his first novel. I might say he is very particular in this novel due to the sensitive issues and story lines that be the back bone in the novel. However, his guts to write about the issues, precisely on political and religion issues at that era through the novel should be praised since not many writers would dare to write such issues. Furthermore Malaysia was still be haunted by the bloodshed happened in May 1969.

Lloyd Fernando was born in Sri Lanka before his family emigrated to Singapore and had his early education in Singapore. Unfortunately he had a hard life when his education was interrupted due to the war. He was raised in Sri Lanka for few years and he had exposed to the great fight between Singhalese and Tamils. In Malaysia, Lloyd experienced the same thing too. He witnessed the chaotic situation due to the inequality among races and as he witnessed, he got the idea to convey his thought and opinion in his writings. During the 13th of May 1969 tragedy, no one expected such riot would happen. Nevertheless it was bound to happen and was waiting to happen. Why I say so? It is because; the racial tension had started since in the British colonialism and communist era and continued until several tragic episodes in all over Malaya and caused few murders that raised the anger among races. The break and rules system introduced by British is the beginning of the crack. The three races were divided that led to the unsatisfaction due to the inequality. Chinese enjoyed the most privileges living in the town while Malays and Indians were living in suffer. Slowly, the unity had broken and the revenge was paid in the tragic tragedy of 13th May 1969. In the Green is The Colour, Lloyd Fernando included three main races living in Malaysia, precisely Malay, Chinese and Indian. Basically, the vary characters show that Malaysia is a multiracial country with many conflicts. As I said earlier, Lloyd Fernando was raised in Sri Lanka and experienced a great fight between Singhalese and Tamils. Later on in Malaysia, when the bloodshed happened he had gathered many experiences and starts to write. His background helped him a lot in writings, especially his personal experiences. The difficulties he encountered in his early age tauht him to be strong and tough. As saying goes, when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going.he used his experienced very well and came out with a great piece.

As the racial tension is caused by the inequality and the dissatisfaction among the races, Lloyd shows it clearly in the novel. He uses many settings such as in the village, in the town, and not forgotten to mention the two types of Malaysians that is educated people and uneducated people that moves the plot thorugh out the novel. Though the issues are on political and religious isues, Lloyd states clearly how the conflicts occurred. The time setting of the novel is after the 13th May 1969 tragedy. Although the tragedy was over the tension was still in the air. It can be shown in the characters of Sara and Yun Ming. Lloyd tries to portray that even they are different races with different political of view and religion, but there is still have another aspect that could unite them, which is love. In short, the brilliant Lloyd wants to convey his thought that through love, problems can be solved. Are not that lovely?

The tragic tragedy had changed citizens of Malaysia. Each races, regardless what race they are, are very prejudice to each other. Malays had negative perceptions on Chinese by saying they are immigrant who tries to conquer Malaysia. On the other hand, Chinese are under estimate Malays due to the low economical status resulted to the break and rules system introduced by the British. Not forgotten the Indians are felt marginalized and many others complain. In an article titled ‘The tragedy of 13th May 1969’ states that Chinese called Malays with names and Malays were burst out. They, too, taunted the Malays with insults, using similar words that had been hurled by the previous day’s demonstrators, such as: “Melayu balik kampung, kita sudah berkuasa sekarang” (“Malays, return to your villages, we are now in power”) and “Hey Sakai bolih balik ke hutan” (“Hey Sakai, you can return to the jungle”).

The prejudices and the bias are portrayed in the novel while Yun Ming is not equally treated just because he is a Chinese even though he is not racist. The same thing goes in religious issues. During the tragedy of 13th May 1969, people were insulting each other religious. The society was so out of control and the conflicts and tension lead Lloyd Fernando to write. Speaking his mind in the novel of Green is the colour, Lloyd developed the plot very well with several dramatic incidents. As a young generation, we have no clear picture of the tragedy. We are very fortunate because through the novel, we are able to borrow his experiences and put our shoes in the past generations to feel the tense and hurt. It was not easy, and how I pray the tragedy will not repeating. God bless Malaysia.

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