A Message From A Brother…

When I was born, people from Malaysia laughed at my parents for naming me ‘Omar Mukhtar’. According to them, it was a backdated name. They said, “You live in England, why would you give him a name like that?”. The funny thing is that living in England, none of the local people who lived here ever made fun of my name, even at school, students and teachers alike. My parents call me by my full name ‘Omar Mukhtar’, or ‘Mukhtar’ for short. I did choose to be called ‘Mukhtar’ at school too, because ‘Omar’ is also my father’s name and it could get confusing. Even though my friends and teachers found it hard in the beginning to pronounce the name ‘Mukhtar’, they didn’t choose to call me ‘Omar’ just because it was easier for them. They all respected my decision and tried their best to pronounce it. They never call me anything I didn’t want to be called.

I love how my parents named all three of us – Omar Mukhtar, Fatimah and Ali. They didn’t simply just say, “Ooh, ‘Omar Mukhtar’ sounds like a nice name, I’m going to call my son that” no, they named us after the owners of the names, hoping that one day, we might become as great a person as they are – Omar Mukhtar, after the famous Lion Of The Desert; Fatimah, after the beloved Prophet’s daughter; and Ali, after the 4th Khalifa in Islam. Our parents always reminded us how important our names are and that we must live up to them. They also told us to be proud of our names and never be ashamed of them, even though some people say they are old-school.

Whenever we go out and people ask all three of our names, they praise our parents for giving us such great names. There is even a teacher from my school who, whenever I pass him, tells me how much he loves my name. He tells me this on a daily basis without fail!

Now, the same thing that happened to me is happening to Fatimah too. People called her ‘Timoh’ and made fun of her name. It made her really upset! She gets annoyed whenever people call her anything other than her full name because at home and at school, everyone always calls her Fatimah. Sadly, the only people who make fun of our names are Malaysian. Some people simply label those who call Fatimah as ‘Timoh’ only from Kelantan or Terengganu. They’re not! They’re actually from all over Malaysia, which has spread to Singapore and Brunei too!

My parents have been telling people for years to call Fatimah properly but they never stopped calling her ‘Timoh’ until my aunt decided that she too has had enough with all this name calling, so she wrote a post about why we called her Fatimah. After this was posted, we received floods of messages from people who went through the same experience as us. It was truly shocking reading their stories and thinking about what effect it must have had on their lives! But sadly, after that, still, there were many who kept on calling her ‘Timoh’ because they say it’s ‘cute and funny’. How rude!

Name-calling is an act of insult and is a form of bullying. I’m surprised how with all this anti-bullying awareness around the world, people still don’t realise that name-calling is an act of bullying! Don’t take name-calling lightly because it’s a very serious matter! It can affect the person really badly on the inside, even though you can’t see it. They may lose their confidence, for example, and that may affect their life in the long run.

They may blame themselves for their problems, which can also lead to loss of confidence. I could go on and on with this list of effects.

As the Head Boy of my school, if anything like this happened, I would strongly go against it as bullying cannot be tolerated in any situation whatsoever! I would also plead to parents and teachers out there to take this matter seriously and do as much as they can to play their role and prevent things like this from repeatedly happening!

Imagine that every day for a week, you went up to a mirror and called yourself something you don’t like being called. It wouldn’t make you feel too good about yourself, would it? That’s exactly how Fatimah feels when she’s called ‘Timoh’, and how I felt when people made fun of my name. Sure, some people don’t do it intentionally, but we’ve been telling them how to call Fatimah correctly, and still, when she’s now already 4 years old, they continue to mock her name!

Honestly, I’m curious why some Malaysians, who are from the same religion as us, mock our names, whereas people from different religions praise them.

So all in all, name-calling? It’s an act of bullying. It’s something that needs to be stopped and together, we can make that happen. Let us build a world where we can feel safe and happy, a world where bullying is a thing of the past! I am an 11-year-old boy in Year 6 whose sister has experienced bad name-calling, so I’m speaking for her and for those who have suffered and are still suffering from the same issue. If we all act as one then maybe, just maybe TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

p/s: STOP calling my sister TIMOH. Her name is FATIMAH! She has me on her right and Ali on her left. As for me, I’m not bothered if you don’t like my name because I am OMAR MUKHTAR THE PAWSOME LION!

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The King and I

Growing up, I used to wonder why my parents really insisted on me speaking in Kelantanese dialect, even when I didn’t want to. Their reason was because the language was their mother tongue and they made it their responsibility to preserve it. They continuously persuaded me to speak and also taught my younger brother and sister, who can now speak the dialect fluently. I quote what my parents said:

“We would be proud to have a child that goes back to their home country and confidently speaks to the local people in their dialect. It would be rude to say ‘Oh sorry, love. I was born and bred in England and I can’t understand a word that you are saying or speak your language.’ And that, my child, is very disrespectful!”

Despite the endless support which was given by my parents, I used to hate meeting other Malaysians in the UK. They made fun of me when I spoke Malay because I was speaking in Kelantanese dialect. I am not talking about kids, I am talking about adults. Most of them had children the same age as me or even older. They laughed at each and every word that came out of my mouth. As a result of that, my confidence to continue speaking Malay was killed and that added to my refusal to speak the language. I questioned a lot, “Why did people make fun of Kelantanese dialect?” but the answer remained a mystery.

Time passed and now I am 10 years old. My parents didn’t stop telling me stories about Malaysia. One day, I heard my parents talking about His Majesty, the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V. He sounded like an extremely humble, down-to-earth person. I heard many captivating stories about him and his virtuous qualities. He behaves like a common man and prefers to go out without any bodyguards. When a big flood hit Kelantan in 2014, His Majesty rushed out in his truck without anyone accompanying him and aided those in need. He is also occasionally seen voluntarily digging graves with common people. This marvellous Sultan regularly visits mosque and doesn’t claim a special place for himself in the front line. Sometimes, he even leads the prayer himself. He loves his people and wants to be close to their heart, especially on religious occasions. So for the last 10 nights of Ramadan, he opens his palace to the public to let people pray and read Quran all night long. And on Eid ul-Adha, he performs the slaughtering duties himself. To add to his brilliance, he changed the King’s regal salutation from ‘Daulat Tuanku’ (Long Live the King) to ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) as he is a religious man and strongly upholds his religion. He really is a modest, meek ruler who doesn’t mind to get his hands dirty and is caring about his people.

Finding out that he did all of these wonderful things made me adore him even more. I soon found out that His Majesty was going to be coronated as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (the King of Malaysia) and that made me look up to him even more! I was motivated and started to regain my confidence in speaking Malay. If the King of Malaysia can speak in Kelantanese dialect, then why can’t I? Thank you for inspiring me, Your Majesty, a boy in a foreign land! You are one in a million! So let His Majesty be an example to all of us! Be gratified of who you are, never be ashamed of your roots and your dialect but always remember to remain humble so that Together We Can Change The World! NOW I CAN SAY THAT MY NAME IS OMAR MUKHTAR BIN OMAR MUKHLIS AND I AM A PROUD KELANTANESE FROM MALAYSIA!

Written by The Pawsome Lion on 24/04/2017 in conjunction with the coronation of the country’s sovereign, Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

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Happy Teh Tarik Day!!!

Selamat Datang! Apa Khabar?

When I came back from school today, my brain was on a rollercoaster ride thinking about what to write because I didn’t want to bore you with another story from school. Then, Mrs Mom turned around and said “Hey, you know what is trending on Twitter today? International Tea Day!” Then, as quick as lightning, my thinking bulb turned on! Then, I turned to Mrs Mom and said “Let’s celebrate!!”

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International Tea Day!

Happy International Tea Day!!! International Tea Day falls on 15th December of every year. People have celebrated International Tea Day since 2005. The first people to start celebrating it were the people in New Delhi, India. International Tea Day makes the public realise the tea production problems around the world. This festival is usually celebrated in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania. I’m surprised to know that England is not listed as one of the countries that celebrate Tea Day! If anyone would celebrate a Tea Day, it should be the English because they are famous for their cuppa tea! 

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My Tea Family!!

Unlike other families, my big family enjoy drinking various types of tea. Having a unique combination of different ethnical backgrounds, I could sum up that we drink all types of tea from around the world. Mr Dad is a heavy tea drinker. He wakes up to a cuppa tea every morning and won’t go to bed unless he had his bedtime dose of English tea! Mrs Mom and her bestie Evelina will make a date every week for their weekly ‘Belly Dancing’ Tea Session. Hold your horses! What I mean by that is Mint Tea! 😛 Dadajee and Uncle Pawsome share the same love for Chai. Khun Yai Thi Rak Khong Phom will stick with her beloved Cha while Auntie Kawaii and her famous Green Tea. Then, there’s Mr OCD Uncle who is mad about Fruity Tea. According to him, the fruity aroma of the tea is so relaxing and makes his mind de-stress. I quote him “Fruity Tea is a remedy for my soul!” Atuk and Anek are also tea lovers. They both love Kelantanese Honey Milk Tea and Fragrant Jasmine Tea.

Now, since everyone is a tea drinker, Dr Auntie, who is not a tea lover, has forced herself to explore the world of tea. She finally found something that suits her tastebuds which are… Sugar-free and Milk-free Chinese Tea and Chamomile Tea! Bravo Dr Auntie! You are finally part of our tea family! 😀 Last but not least, my pawsome self! I tried hard not to be left with those Kawaii babies drinking Tea-free milk! So, I finally found my own tea-dentity which is Bubble Tea! At the end of the day, no matter what tea we drink, we can all sit around the table and enjoy our all time favourite, TEH TARIK!!!

Teh Tarik?

Teh Tarik is a type of Malaysian beverage that means “pulled tea”. It is found almost everywhere in Malaysia. It is obvious that this drink got its name from the way it was prepared. Teh Tarik is made by mixing all the required ingredients together and literally pulling it in mid-air! When a cup of Teh Tarik is ready to drink, it will be much more frothier and creamier than a normal cup of tea. It is hot milk tea made from black tea and condensed milk. It is considered the national drink of Malaysia!

Since colonial times, Teh Tarik has been a popular drink in Malaysian Indian cuisine for most of the people in Malaya. Teh Tarik originally linked to the Indian Muslim migrants in the Malay Peninsula. They set up drink stalls at the entrance of rubber plantations after World War II to serve the workers there. Traditionally, Teh Tarik has been served with Roti Canai, a type of Malaysian flatbread, which has become popular until today. Another tasty partner for Teh tarik would be Nasi Lemak which is a Malaysian rice dish. Nowadays, Teh Tarik is known by the whole world. Even if you’re in the UK, you can easily walk into any Malaysian restaurants and order your cuppa Teh Tarik!

The preparation of Teh Tarik involves an element of showmanship. The skills of Teh Tarik brewers have attracted both locals and also tourists. They find it really entertaining. Every year in Malaysia, there will be competitions for Teh Tarik brewers to gather and show their amusing novelty skills. Obviously, they will be judged by their ability to drag a long stream of tea above their heads  and other sets of talents without spilling them. I would say that the Teh Tarik expertise is definitely a work of art!

Malaysia VS England!!!

Now, I shall bid you farewell as the smell of Teh Tarik is tingling my nose and the sight of the beautiful Victoria Sponge Cake is prickling my eyes. Without a doubt, this is definitely a piece of writing worthy of my time because of the delightful combination of treats from Malaysia and England! Chin chin Mrs Mom!!!

p/s: Thank God no one in the family likes Lapsang Souchong! Otherwise, it would be a terrible tongue twister!! 🙂

*Media Source: Google Images*

APPENDIX

How to make Teh Tarik: https://youtu.be//MpnkS1MNPpU

Teh Tarik Competition: https://youtu.be//ij20GFJKJbU