Checklist For Becoming Melayu

Following in the footsteps of Jeane Abdullah, the Portuguese-Eurasian wife of Abdullah Badawi, and other non-Malays who have masuk melayu and in the spirit of trying to figure out if what we consider racial identity is just a little bit bullshit, I’m going to see if I can become Malay.

“Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and –

  • (a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or was on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or
  • (b) is the issue of such a person;

No. 1: Professes the Religion of Islam

I’m practically straight-edge so I don’t drink alcohol or take any other haram intoxicants. I’m vegan so I don’t eat pigs. When I was a baby I kept getting infections and the easiest solution was circumcision. I can say “لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله” any time I want.

No. 2: Habitually Speaks the Malay Language

Tunggu lah! Kenapa tak sabar? Sikit-sikit lama-lama jadi bukit.

No. 3: Conforms to Malay Custom

I can play caklempong. I lepak at mamak restaurants late at night. I have at least two tablespoons of sugar with my tea. I don’t use toilet paper. I can sing along to Yuna’s Dan Sebenarnya, yet claim to not like Yuna’s music. I can grow one of those little beards, not too long though. I have really weird sleeping patterns that mean I spend most of my waking hours during the night. When I’m meant to meet my friends I tell them I’m already on the way, just before I have a shower, before I get changed, before I have something to eat, before I read a book, before I leave the house to catch the train which usually takes about half an hour. Lah.

No. 4 (a): was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or was on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or

No, but….

No. 4 (b): is the issue of such a person

I don’t really know what that means, I’m not very good at legalspeak. But could I just get adopted by some old Malaysian people?

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