Johor—The Queen of Johor, Raja Zarith Idris, wrote a thoughtful Facebook post recently, just after she celebrated her 60th birthday. In particular, she wrote about her grandmother, a Pernakan Chinese, to show that even if one has family members from different races, “it does not make them any less Malay.”
The Queen started her post, entitled “Love sees no colour”, by writing about how delighted she was to have received her birthday gift from her eldest son, the Crown Prince of Johor, —mementos of his little children, which served to remind her that she is “now a grandmother of three! Alhamdulillah, I am blessed!”
She displayed those photos along with other family pictures, including one of her maternal grandmother holding the Crown Prince in his arms as a baby. “She was a Peranakan Chinese. Her late brother was Tan Sri Chang Min Tat, a Malaysian Federal Court judge.”
The Queen went on to write about how innocent children are when it comes to racial differences, and that she wanted her own children to accept their Chinese great-grandmother, as well as their English paternal grandmother.
“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.
As a parent, I was determined to let my children know that my grandmother was Chinese, and to accept it in the same way that they know that their own paternal grandmother was English.”
The Queen also said that she hoped that her children would be proud of their heritage and genealogy.
“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.”
Although her grandmother died when the Queen’s children were young, she always told them about the woman they knew as “Nenek,” and showed them her pictures so that they would never forget her.
She added that she wished her grandmother could see the achievements that the baby she once held in her arms has accomplished, what kind of man he, now with three children himself, has grown up to be.
As she ended her post she wrote,
“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.
My son is hoping to perform Hajj next year, InShaaAllah. If Allah accepts him as His guest in the Holy Land, I will ask him to pray, not just for us, his parents, but for our family too. And I will remind him not to forget his ‘Nenek’.”
Netizens expressed their gratitude and praise for the Queen’s gracious words.