In a time of tension and uncertainty, it’s incredibly amazing when a member of one of the royal families shares their heartfelt thoughts.
Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah honoured her maternal Chinese grandmother with a beautiful Facebook post titled “Love sees no colour”, reported The Star.
The post was shared on The Royal Johor official Facebook page on Monday (19th August).
Her Majesty wrote that upon turning 60 years old recently, the presents she received from her eldest son, Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, were pictures of his three children along with their palm prints and footprints adorning the pictures.
She added that the gifts were wonderful reminders that she is now a grandmother of three grandchildren, and she feels blessed.
Her Majesty said that the pictures are displayed on some shelves, along with the photos of the rest of her family.
“One of these photographs include one of Tunku Mahkota as a baby, being held in the arms of my own maternal grandmother. She was a Peranakan Chinese. Her late brother was Tan Sri Chang Min Tat, a Malaysian Federal Court judge,” she added in her post.
Her Majesty wrote that her maternal grandmother rarely visited them in Johor Baru. Her family would only meet her grandmother at her mother’s house each time they were in Ipoh to celebrate Hari Raya with her Perak family.
“Children are actually – if left to their own pure and innocent thoughts, and their own understanding of the world – oblivious about racial differences. It is us – as parents – who consciously, or unconsciously, make them aware about these differences,” she wrote.
Her Majesty added that as a parent, she ensured her children were fully aware that her maternal grandmother was Chinese and to be accepting, like how they know that their own paternal grandmother was English.
“I hoped that they would learn to be proud of the blood that flows through their veins, and to understand that it does not make them any less Malay,” Her Majesty said.
“Growing up, I was used to seeing my grandmother in her embroidered Nyonya kebayas and Batik sarongs. She always had a handkerchief tucked into the silver belt that held up her sarong.”
“When she became older, and her hands started being unsteady at pinning the brooches onto the kebayas, she stopped wearing them and wore buttoned-up kebaya-like tunics and sarongs instead,” she wrote.
The Permaisuri Johor shared that her maternal grandmother passed away when her children were at a very young age. She made sure to show them pictures of her grandmother so that they would always remember her.
“When I see that photograph of her cradling my eldest son, I wish that I can tell her that he now has children of his own!”
Her Majesty also said that her son still remembers her and thinks of her as “Nenek”. She added that even at the age of sixty, she has realised that there’s a lot more to learn.
“One thing I do know for sure, however, is that my Chinese grandmother was as Malaysian as I am myself. I know too that my children – even with their mixed-blood heritage – are also as Malaysian as I am,” Her Majesty said.
Well said, Permaisuri!
At the end of the day, regardless of our mixed heritage, we are all Malaysians! We should have each others’ backs and live harmoniously together.