Malaysia means ALL OF US, TOGETHERâ€¦
For the lack of a better word, Malaysia has been obsessed with the interests and concerns of the 3 main ethnicities that reside within our borders.
The Malays, Chinese and Indians.
Most often enough, other ethnic groups that equally coexist and contribute to the nationâ€™s colourful identity are usually cast aside and classified as the â€˜Dan Lain-Lainâ€™ or â€˜othersâ€™.
With that rather depressing realization in mind, one group is working valiantly to open the nationâ€™s eye to these forgotten and overlooked identities.
#RojakNation is a movement advocated by THE ROJAK PROJEK, a social enterprise centred around promoting national unity through cultural and diversity awareness.
The project aims to bridge the gaps that exist within Malaysian society by encouraging every one of us to take the bold initiative and get to know our fellow countrymen who are grossly underrepresented.
â€œOur current segregated system is an outdated colonial-era relic that has caused us to be very self-centered and ignorant despite our nationâ€™s establishment and geographical integration.â€
â€œWe say that this is one of the leading factors preventing a truly unified Malaysia.â€Faye Lim, Co-Founder of THE ROJAK PROJEK
To realize this mission, the founders of the project took a journey to understand, appreciate, recognize and acknowledge the vast cultural identities and differences that makes Malaysia, Malaysia.
From their curiosity, what started out as simple â€˜rojak partiesâ€™ where friends and guests gathered together eating well-loved Malaysian delicacies and turning captured portraits into works of art â€“ made from said dishes.
The idea soon evolved into a movement to unravel and discover the vast identities and cultural heritage of the Malaysians who fell between the cracks of our society.
Over the years, THE ROJAK PROJEK has produced some 550 pieces artworks, each made from a variety of Malaysian food to form exquisite portraits of local inhabitants showcasing the unique multiplicity of our beautiful nation.
Through the project, 10 pieces of artworks of Orang Asli were also created with soil and different plants that make up the native peopleâ€™s daily life and tradition.
The project also worked on exhibiting a name list with more than 250 names comprising a combination of ethnic and sub-ethnic groups in Malaysia, that is yet to be completed.
â€œWe only think about ourselves and it isnâ€™t our fault. Thatâ€™s why I am thankful to try and push the boundaries to ask what is lain-lain? Who are the lain-lain and then how many are out thereâ€¦ They are our family too.â€Faye Lim
The projectâ€™s founders travelled all across Malaysia, stayed in peoples homes, ate their food and lend their ears to the stories, trials, and tribulations of the many ethnic groups in Malaysia.
â€œMalaysian means ALL OF US, TOGETHER. If we can name three races in Malaysia, why canâ€™t we name them all?â€
â€œWe believe it is time for our generation to take it to the next level in rediscovering and understanding our Malaysian people better.â€
â€œFor us, putting the names out there is to say that there is no excuse to act as if others do not exist. For us, the ultimate aim is to overcome ignorance and help our nation to know each other better.â€Faye Lim
If you are interested in checking out the good work that THE ROJAK PROJEK is doing, you can do so by visiting their official webpage, here.
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