Yesterday was a low point for any peace loving Sarawakian. While the decision of the court in regards to several apostasy case was expected, and the case has been reverted back to the Syariah Court, what transpired after the whole verdict was a sad reflection of Sarawak and Sarawakians which take pride of being united as Sarawakians regardless of race and religion.
I don’t want to dwell so much on the case, but as a Sarawakian, I am called to put forward my thoughts on what does it mean to be Sarawakian, and hence this post.
For me, one of the most important things about being a Sarawakian is that you are able to respect the religious choices made by an individual, although you may not agree with it. It’s the heart of being Sarawakian. Yes, we may grumble about the decisions, but a true Sarawakian doesn’t judge and doesn’t act on personal decisions made by another. They let it slide, and accept the fact that everyone is different.
This virtue works wonders and is key to why Sarawakians have little to say publicly when it comes to religious issues, with many taking the stance “What you do is between you and God, and we should’t judge“. I remember the late Tok Nan also reminding Sarawakians about this in his many speeches when he was the Chief Minister, saying also that non-Muslims have no problem using the word Allah as long as it is used in a respectful manner, and that it shouldn’t be an issue in Sarawak.
Aside from that, as far as I can remember, Sarawakians do not show that one religion is better than another, preferring to work hand in hand for the greater Sarawak in achieving peace and harmony.
The word ‘respect’ again plays a crucial role here with Sarawakians choosing to respect every religion, making them careful whenever they navigate into any religious events or place of worship. This is so prominent that any event is carefully crafted to ensure no one is offended, and that everyone can enjoy a good day.
Being a Sarawakian also means that you think about Sarawak first, ahead of your ethnic group and religion because you want Sarawak to prosper and bring benefit to the community, and not just one portion of the many different ethnic groups. Belittling another Sarawakian, or another Sarawak community, or even a Sarawak related product is a huge no-no because we Sarawakians treat each other as brothers and sisters, regardless of our background.
Last but not least, being Sarawakian also means you are patient, and perhaps the main reason why we Sarawakians have waited for so long for the Pan Borneo Highway, some hospital projects etc., which were promised ages ago. But putting those projects aside, you can see how well mannered Sarawakians are on the road with honking, likely being the last resort during any situation, especially traffic jams.
Well, I know, those of you reading this perhaps would have more ideas to point out about being Sarawakian, but this is what I could come up within the few minutes I had today.
If you have more to add, the comment section is yours, but please bear in mind, any comments I deem inappropriate (which can cause arguments) will not be published.
Til then, Sarawak first, always.