It never occurred to me that having a unique name (as I would like to define my name) could cause a total confusion especially to those who are not familiar with my situation. I think it is not only because of my name, I think it’s partly because of my race and the look that I have. Well, as you read this I may not be making any sense right? Let me tell you in the simplest way that I can simplify this.
I went to update my so-called smart card name tag in the USM student hall today, and of course the officer in charge has to scan my card and check my details on the computer. When he saw my details, I can see the bewildered look on his face which I can most of the time see when I came to a situation like this. Then he asked, “Dari Sabah ye?” I was like – “Duh! Can’t you see it? It’s all in the database in front of you”. But I just replied with a smile, “Yes”. Well, I might seem to be doing a shallow judgment on a situation like this but this is not the first time I was in this kind of situation. Sometimes people even asked why I have the ‘BINTI’ in my name and I am not Malay. And even in some case they even asked “You convert ke?” Another one is when they saw my name and say “Kenapa nama macam Melayu tapi muka cina?”Aiyo! Hello??? JOAN VIVIENNE is not a Malay name ok…It is just the existence of the BINTI there made me look Malay (by name only la).Why la people are so shallow? The BINTI have existed there because of the stupid policy that Sabah Government had during the 80’s but I am curious also why some of my friends doesn’t have the BIN or BINTI- and all my sisters don’t have also. I have been planning to remove the BINTI all this while but hasn’t got the time to do it.
Another case is that I have been always being mistaken to be a Chinese. Well, anyway I can’t blame those people because they might be deceived by the looks. I am not totally a non-Chinese anyway. By mathematical calculation (heheheh) I am ¼ Chinese and the rest is the mixture of Dusun and Dusun Lotud.(there might be Kadazan also somewhere but I just don’t care because KDM somehow share the same root). But almost half of my lifetime I have been made to believe that I am ½ Chinese (But that one is another story) and since now I am not living in my hometown I am still defining myself as half Chinese since it is easier to explain to people like that. Not too mention having one of the rarest surname is also another problem. Wu (meaning witch or doctor) when pronounced in Hakka is Moo. It is just recently I know how to write my own family name (forgot to mention here- I am not Chinese educated and I didn’t grow up in an environment that I can learn to speak and write Chinese). And I guess this should be enough to explain why I can’t converse in Chinese when one started asking questions.
These are only the “surface” stories of my undefined identity. There have been a lot of incidents that made people to question my name, my looks, my race, my language, my dialect, and the list goes on. I do not need people to understand me especially my identity because each and every one of us is of course unique and we should respect and tolerate each other for that especially in our country that has a plural society. But please la…do not ask people “Dari Sabah ye?” as if Sabah is not part of Malaysia. Segregation is not good.