Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How I Met Your Daughter

Last month Brother Zhang Farish had visited Thailand and sent me this photo via whatsapp. Something that caught my attention was the name that carved on tomb stone, 黄業海 (Husband) and Ramin Binti Randah (Wife). Every chinese tomb stone tells the family name, ethnic and background of deceased, the deceased chinese male has the same surname as mine, 黄(Yellow), from Hai Nan Island and passed away at 1985 years. While his wife is intentionally left blank on the date of deceased, most probaly she is still alive.

“Where did you take the photo?” I asked Zhang Farish in whatsapp.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the buddhist temple I visit in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.”

Ramin Binti Randah doesn’t sounds like Muslim, most probably from Indonesia.” Sometimes I do get confused with the bin/binti as middle name, later on I found out that certain non-muslim using that as cultural inheritance and it doesn't related with religions. Moreover Islam is a minority faith in Thailand, unlike Malaysia, that Non Muslim who wants to get married with Muslim have to register their new faith as “Islam”. The compulsory rule to be obeyed in Muslim interracial marriage.

Back in 2005 years, I studied computer course in one of the government institute in Malaysia. Whereby majority of the students are Malay, only 3 Chinese and 5 Indian students among hundreds of students. I still remember there was a discussion when my friends “Fun”, also two malay students Anne and Normah and I assigned into assignment group, we were sitting at the cafeteria and working on a presentation regarding the future of IT.

“Hey, I heard that you have a malay girlfriend… right?” Anne asked me
“Well… not really girlfriend, but just my best friend I guess.”

“Actually, I have a chinese fiance that live at Penang right now. His name is Jason, but he told me that he prefer to be called as Jabri recently. He is keen on study Islam and I think that you should chat with him one day, inshaAllah.”
“But I don’t get it, you said that he prefer to be called as Jabri? His family has no problem with his name?”

“Alhamdulillah (All praises to Allah SWT), his family have no problem at all with his decision of picking the Muslim name and embraced Islam. He is a very kind person that show lots of interest in learning Islam, what I love him the most is he never smoking and attend any night club. It would be such a miracle for me to meet with a guy like that in my life.”
“Oh come on… Don’t listen to her, you will be going to chop off your ‘little brother’ after embraced Islam. Also no more Bak Kut Teh for you.” Fun interrupted our conversation.

I remained silent and thinking about what Anne told me.

I had a hard time to think about interracial marriage and the decendants, especially convert into a religion that I had no idea about except terrorism and chaos. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Islam at the age of 20, especially the 911 tragedy scare most of the Non Muslim away from knowing the brief information about Islam. ‘I won’t accept any religions in my life, unless God convince me into it.’

Eat That Frog! Literally...

“Hey Ng, have you ever tried Frog Soup before? It’s very tasty and good for your skin too! By the way… I would like to ask Anne, do Muslim permissible to eat frogs?” I felt uncomfortable when Fun started to talk about ridiculous matters again.
“Of course not! Muslim are forbidden to eat any amphibious creature and pork!” Anne and Normah shouted out loud.

“You really should try to eat some frogs cuisine one day, it's really tasty.” I freaked out as Fun whispering to me in Chinese language.My memory flashed back the butcher who selling frogs at market, slit a bit at frog's throat, then peel off its skin like taking off your hand gloves. It's believed to be traditional medicine in Chinese community.

I know Emma since 2004 years. We were study Form 6 together in Secondary School together. For some unknown reason, I fell in love with her and she seems to be different from typical Malay girls. Sometimes I love to talk about philosophy articles I read before with Emma, also questioning the origin of human beings and free wills. But when our conversation went into Islam topic, I would become uncomfortable and trying not to think about it. There was too many negative news I read from newspaper and media, nothing interested in the religions of Islam. Like snatching corpse, change name, can’t follow certain rituals, etc…

“What do you think about this name, ‘IKHWAN’?”
“一罐? =.= " It sounds like ‘One tin’ in chinese.”

“Yup, Ikhwan... That name is so nice and I love it very much. Who knows one day you will be embraced Islam, you may just take that as your Muslim Name.”
“Oh come on… I told you that I don’t like to talk about Islam.”

I spent one year only to finish my IT course in institute, most of the time I was observing my Muslim friends perform their Sholat in mosque or hostel rooms. Every morning I woke up by the sounds of knocking doors, “It’s Fajr prayer times, everyone wake up and go to the mosque!” Most of the students went to perform their prayer, while I was looking at my roomate who continue to sleep in his bed. Alright, 95% muslim students perform their prayer on time except this dude.

Fun and I always wandering outside of the mosque around 7pm. We as “Non Muslim” had too much free time during Maghrib and Isyak prayer time. Bunch of Muslim students were walking into mosque and listen to lectures from Ustaz. I just can’t hear anything from outside of the mosque anyway.

“They dressed like a white ghost, look at their long white clothes.. Woooooo….” Fun was teasing at the female students again, while I just stood still and looking at them. Male students were wearing colorful clothes that cover their thigh, wearing a Kopiah and long pants. Female students were wearing Telekung, white praying-veil that used by them. I understand that Muslim prays 5 times a day but none of them tell me to whom they pray?

Few years after graduated from the Institute, I decided to embrace Islam. Believe it or not, I didn’t know much about Islam from Muslim students except Anne and Normah that I mentioned before. It seems like no one really cares if I am interested to know what Islam about. Most of the time I self study Islam based on my curiosity and effort. While Emma is the one who be with me all the time, gives me support and tells me to make a right choice in my life. I do know a lots of friends who have an interracial relationship, but most of them separated due to the pressure of convert into Islam. I could understand that.

Loving someone interracially and convert into Islam is two different matters.
Both of them are very challenging and most probaly may get disowned from family.

Eventually, I get married with Emma at 2008 years. The only Muslim girl who being so patient with me for ages. Bearing my hot tempers, strange character, silent and stubborn. Therefore I got the name “Ikhwan” from her, as the remembrance of our sweet moments. I asked her why she didn’t tell me earlier that Islam is the straight path?

“I told you many times but you never listen!”

Thank God that she is such a talkative girl that never stops talking, finally I have heard what she said.
And I will listen to her for the rest of my life.


  1. Great story there!!

    Appreciate your wife more as you are lucky to have her to not only guide you but walk with you for your life.

    1. Thanks for reading.. yup I appreaciate to have her along with my faith journey :)

  2. alhamdulillah .....Dia yang maha pemurah lagi maha mengasihani

  3. ramin binti randah? mungkin dia orang cham dari champa.

  4. Hey bro. Im a muslim malay n a girl. I feel embarrassed to be sharing this with you but i feel like i need someone relatable to talk to. My one of many wishes is to have a chinese husband. But im in a malay majority institute, hardly find any chinese. I think its just hard to find a chinese man for myself. N im not that pretty, i hv a decent look. Do u perhaps have any advice that u wanna share with me? Sorry to bother u. N thanks for telling ur story.

  5. @Anonymous November 26, 2017

    Start learning the Chinese language. Many Caucasians are already doing that.

    And if you do well in learning Chinese, it is your gateway to Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. If you're really good, you can also learn Cantonese (very useful in KL, Klang valley, Ipoh and Hong Kong)

    Unless you were born deformed... there's no such thing as an ugly girl... just a lazy one.

    The major stumbling block for a Chinese-Malay marriage has always been religion. Personally, I don't believe in any of the Abrahamic religions, and I refuse to give up pork for religion. Unless the Malay girl is quite liberal/tolerant, it is unlikely I will want to marry one. I won't forbid her from wearing the headscarf, doing umrah, Friday prayers, fasting on Ramadan etc.


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