Actress-model-tv host Lisa Surihani recently voiced out that diversity and harmony should be taught to children while they are still young. She was shocked when her Christmas greetings, posted on her social media page, received backlash from Malaysians, some lecturing her on not being a good Muslim.
Apparently, by simply greeting her friends on their day of celebration, she had crossed an unseen line and disrespected her own faith.
Lisa is a household name in Malaysia, having acted in Ombak Rindu, I’m Not Single and Cicak Man 3 besides various modeling and hosting gigs. She was awarded the Best Actress award at the 23rd Malaysian Film Festival as well as Most Popular Film Actress at Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian. She’s married to director-singer-actor Yusry Halim and the couple have an 11 month old daughter.
“I come from a diverse background and have family and friends who celebrate Christmas,” says Lisa who has continued to post greetings on social media for all festivities celebrated by Malaysians including Chinese New Year and Deepavali, adding a disclaimer that she is doing so out of respect as concession to her detractors.
She believes that our current education system has a long way to go in instilling harmony in our children. Because Malaysia gives the option of public school and vernacular school, many children are not exposed to people of different race and religion. Some may even grow up monolingual.
Lisa herself attended an international school where she had friends of many different races, where they had no problems respecting each other’s beliefs.
“Children should be allowed to mix freely from young. How are they to do that in racially segregated schools? Knowingly or unknowingly, we have allowed such schools to be established and when the children are all grown up, we complain about their intolerance for other races,” she concludes.
Wise words indeed from a popular Malaysian talent.
Quotes from www.thestar.com.my