My name is Hazidi Abdul Hamid. I teach for a living. In the real world, I teach at the Open University Malaysia, Faculty of Education and Languages. it's not hard to find, Just got to Kuala Lumpur and look for the National Bank then follow the signs from there. Rather than bore you with the details of my academic background and teaching experience, let me tell you a little about myself in a different way.
I am interested in to two things: languages and culture. Why? You might ask. To answer that question, I have to go back a couple of generations. My paternal grandparents came from East Java. According to the family legend, my great grandfather brought his family away from the place because he was involved in some sort of uprising against the Dutch colonialist government. They first settled in Singapore but they were found by the Dutch and had to move again to Melaka. They settled there and later the Independence happened. This side of my family then adopted the Malay language and culture so they could blend into the predominantly Malay community. My grandfather then broke with the traditions of the place and sent his children to the English school. So effectively, the family changed its "main language" from Javanese, to Malay, to English. When I was young, I noticed that when my family members spoke, we didn't really sound like our neighbours. There were sound combinations that we sometimes used that was different from others. The food we ate and made, especially, at celebrations weere a little different from our neighbours. These little differences were intriguing to me but I was puzzled that most of the people around me did not see them. Then I went to university and learnt how to study language.
In Malaysia, we live in a multicultural community that is struggling with the erosion ofd borders that it had put up between the cultures. Some are struggling to keep these walls up while others are working hard to tear them down. It is a race and the future of this country is at stake. What are really struggling with is the many forms of communication that can and should happen between cultures. This struggle, I later observed, is not restricted to this country nor this community. It is our struggle, regardless of where we are, regardless of who we are.