Friday, November 7, 2008


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at on November 6, 2008 2:37 PM


1. I would like to share with all the visitors to my blog my open house experience this raya.

2. All are heart warming and belies the popular belief that the races in Malaysia are antagonistic towards each other. From the large number of Chinese and Indians attending the raya open houses, I think most people are wrong aout how they dislike or even hated the Malays.

3. My sister-in-law Saleha number many Chinese and Indians among her family friends. On Saturday October 4th she held her open house just as she had done every year since...I don't know when.

4. What struck me was the friendliness and love they all showed her. She knew them all and the women often give her a kiss on the cheeks. Some of her non-Malay friends I had seen during her previous open house and when they visited her at the hospital. The friendship is clearly very sincere, some of which started when they were very young.

5. The same afternoon I attended an open house hosted by Encik Rizatuddin for residents of Cyberjaya. Again there were many Chinese and Indian friends. I enjoyed the Chinese Koey Teow and gladly posed for snaps with almost everyone of the guests.

6. October 5th was my open house. I had announced on my blog I would be holding the open house at my house at the Mines. I had also informed the Press and issued a notice in my Facebook page. I anticipated a big crowd and wondered if I could stand for hours greeting my guests as in the past.

7. At 10am there was already a small crowd of people lining up under the tents heading to the main big tents where we had ordered food for 10,000 guests.

8. It was hot but my visitors seemed not to mind. They came in droves, wishing us Selamat Hari Raya. There were so many of them that the ushers had to disallow picture taking.

9. I remember during my early open houses the Chinese and Indian children and sometimes their parents did not know how to "salam". They would stretch out their left hand and would wish us Happy New Year, even Happy Birthday!

10. But nowadays parents of the little children had coached them to say "Selamat Hari Raya" and to stretch out the right hand to salam. Many adults and children now place their right hand over their hearts after shaking hands with me. The Malay form of greeting has become Malaysian. When my wife and I attend Chinese New Year open house and Indian Deepavali open house we make the appropriate Chinese or Indian greetings. We would wear red shirts and dresses for the Chinese New Year. I don't know whether this kind of joint celebrations take place in other countries or not.

11. Another thing I noticed was the large number of Chinese women wearing beautiful kebaya and sarong. They had obviously gone to the trouble of buying a new Malay dress for the Raya. They all greeted me and Hasmah with a perfect "Selamat Hari Raya". Some said other nice things to us. They really made our day.

12. Despite all the talks about racial antagonism in this country, I believe there is still substantial reservoir of goodwill between the races.