Katakanlah

“The beauty of differences gives birth to the masterpieces of love, and through the masterpieces of love lies the freedom to both worlds.”

When a friend informed me about the desecration of churches and mosques in Malaysia on January 7th 2010, I felt extremely angry, disappointed and worst of all, helpless. I had been reading about the Kalimah Allah issue for a few days while juggling my university assignments at graduate school overseas. The shock and anger from the news made me forget about the horrible freezing winter. As I started to think about my beloved Tanahair, I asked to myself, “God, why?”

To me, Malaysia is like a beautiful hidden treasure in the deep sea. It has so much potential. It has so much richness and opportunity, but is also filled with many “eggshells” that one must carefully tread around, especially on religion and race. Growing up in Malaysia, I wondered why I did not feel at home despite living my entire life there.

As a child, I was convinced that something was wrong with me. I could not talk to anyone about my thoughts. When I sought guidance from my teachers, I was scolded for asking certain questions and expressing certain opinions. However, as an adult at graduate school overseas, I discovered there are many people that shared my thoughts and ideas. The same questions I was discouraged from asking in Tanahair are commonly discussed as part of university courses where students were expected to answer by thinking critically. For the first time in my life, I felt I was normal. It was then I realized the answer; it was because I could not be myself in Malaysia.

As I learned more on the desecration of houses of worship in Tanahair, I felt a big urge to do something about it. I did not want to feel helpless anymore. I wanted to express my emotions and thoughts about the issue, although it was a difficult thing for me to do as a quiet and private person. I thought of writing something but nothing sounded right. I felt like giving up many times.

Yet I asked myself: why is this happening, what does this mean, do words define God, do words define who I am … are words how people define themselves? As I thought about the Creator’s beautiful creations, I felt a sudden feeling of calmness. I started composing a song in Malay. In the song I asked the questions that I felt were on the minds of the Malaysian people.

After finishing it a few minutes later, I recorded it and wondered how I could share this song with other Malaysians. I did not have a Youtube account at that time and realizing that Youtube only accepted videos, I felt nervous at the thought that everybody would be able to see my face. I asked myself, “If expressing my thoughts and opinions on this issue would ruin my songwriting career, a career that I am trying so hard to do, a career that has barely started, would I still do this?” The answer was a resounding “Yes”. I went ahead and uploaded the video to share the song with my friends and family.

A few days later Bernama TV News called at 2:00 am to interview me about the song. To my surprise many people supported the message of my song. I also found out from a friend that Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, the daughter of Malaysia’s ex-Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, mentioned the song in her article written for The Star newspaper. For the first time, I did not feel alone anymore knowing that many other Malaysians shared similar thoughts with me.

My aspiration for Malaysia is for all Malaysians to have freedom – freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the freedom as an adult to marry whomever they love. Most of all, I aspire for each Malaysian to have equal rights regardless of one’s race whether it is Indian, Kadazan, Chinese, Malay, Dayak or mixed-parentage like me.

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World Pop singer-songwriter from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Posted on 6 January 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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5 Responses to Katakanlah

  1. This world is much developed and is run by technology. For this we should be able to understand this advances technology. To understand technology we need to be educated and there is no other way around.

  2. david

    My aspiration for Malaysia is for all Malaysians to have freedom – freedom of religion, freedom of speech
    summer camps and organizations

  3. ayllim

    English translation:

    TELL ME

    Day after day I seek
    And yet still I doubt.
    For a thousand nights I dream
    And still I do not understand.

    Chorus
    Am I but my name
    Or the colour of my skin?
    Am I just my faith, just my race?
    Am I just my traditions, my nationality?
    My thoughts, my actions, my intentions?

    Oh my God
    Do tell me
    Oh my God
    Do tell me

    Day after day I see
    This beautiful earth revealed.
    For a thousand nights I count
    The stars that capture my heart.

    Chorus
    All the world is contained
    Within a grain of sand.
    And life's smallest specks
    Can encompass the firmament.

    Chorus
    Deep beneath the oceans
    Secrets still abide.
    An ancient heritage endures
    Perilous yet ever fair.

  4. ayllim

    Lyrics as follows:
    KATAKANLAH
    Amirah Ali

    Hari ke hari ku cari
    Tapiku tidak pasti
    Seribu malam ku mimpi
    Tapi ku belum fahami

    Chorus
    Adakahkanku namaku
    Adakahkanku kulitku
    Ugamaku dan bangsaku
    Tradisiku, negaraku
    Akalku, buatanku, niatku

    Oh Ya Allah
    Katakanlah
    Ya Allah
    Katakanlah

    Hari ke hari ku pandang
    Tayangan hias bumi
    Seribu malam ku kira
    Bintang-bintang menawan hati

    Chorus
    Seluruh dunia di dalam
    Sebutir tanah pasir
    Kecil-kecilan hidupan
    Merangkumi semua angkasa

    Chorus
    Jauh di dalam lautan
    Rahsia anak ikan
    Pusaka lama disimpan
    Cantik lagi bahaya

  5. Joseph

    Nice song! Why did this happen in Malaysia? Because the powers that be let it happen. Because certain segments of society are being led by their elected leaders who, in their own narrow perceptions, to believe that such actions are correct, in line with their religous beliefs. Because they are led to believe that they are being slighted, by mere words and thoughts of others who are born and raised in this beautiful country. Because in the 21st century, there are certain segments of society who hang on to the exact archaic wording and interpretation of their religion. Because there are segments of society who belief that their religion is almightier than that of their friends and neighbours. And i do believe that the lack of decisive action by the authorities only serve to embolden these "zealots" in their future religous endeavours!