“Mother of 3, previous Minister of National Unity and Social Development, Chairman of Global Peace Festival Malaysia, compassionate leader”
We generally define “diversity” as people from different races, nationalities, religions and sexes to coming together to form a group. This is definitely a general perception of any organization or community in acceptance and understanding of each other. Tan Sri Zaleha opened our eyes to a new angle of what is diversity truly.
“We don’t even look at it as ‘diversity’; we always look at it as ‘unity’,” she giggled.
Growing up in Malaysia, no matter where you live, you would always be able to get in touch with people of different races. From the Chinese man who ran the groceries shop, the Indian lady who sold food downs the street and the Malay Mak Cik who sells kuih every evening. To Tan Sri Zaleha, the diversity in Malaysia is not something that people have to always emphasize, but was always there in reality.
The harmony between the different races in Malaysia is a natural environment of this country, since Tan Sri Zaleha was little Zaleha. She went to school with children of different races as most Malaysian children still do today.
Growing up, playing with other children was never a problem to her when she was younger. Children are pure, they do not judge one another by race or religion. If we were able to mingle when we were younger, why would there be problem when we grow up?
“To me, it is not about “diversity”, we are all Malaysians even we have different religions,” – Tan Sri Zaleha.
As the chairman of Global Peace Foundation Malaysia, she values the vision of “One Family Under God”. For Tan Sri Zaleha herself as a Muslim, she believes in her God. She taught us to respect other religions even when you have our own belief.
“To others, they have there own God in different name, with the vision of “One Family Under God”, it brings us to have interfaith, create good relationship and cooperation with each other, “ Tan Sri Zaleha elaborated.
“God created us in this way, I believe God purposely created us in different races, different areas, religious, customs etcetera. God aims to teach us to work together. If you were able to work together, then only it become meaningful to live. God has created the world, created us, not only for one races, one religious or one group, otherwise He would not created all of us.”
Status and position has never been an motive of Tan Sri Zaleha. From a radio jockey at Radio Malaya when she was only 15 years old, to playing as a lead in a radio play to being selected as one of the 20 youth leader in South-East Asia for a youth leadership programme at the States. She then became the Minister of National Unity and Social Development in year 1995. From then, until now, she values “unity” much more. By having “unity” in the society, it could brings us peace which will help us progress forward.
The world is for us to share. As Tan Sri Zaleha has shared to us, that if only we cooperate with each other and work together, we would be able to achieve great things. Otherwise, if all the races keep fighting with each other, there would have no peace between us, although we may live in the same country.
Ultimately, Tan Sri Zaleha has opened our hearts and mind to the definition of true humanity in her eyes. True humanity is when we accept the differences we have amongst us, understand and appreciate the differences, without conditions of any kind.
We Are One Family
This was a kaleidoscope of Tan Sri Dr. Zaleha Ismail, a Mandela, of how she embraces diversity in her own charm.
So, how are you harmonizing diversity in your own charm?
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