Young, Malay and Female

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Mandarin-speaking Noorhasyilah Rosli relates her experience growing up in a multicultural society, exploring her identity at the same time.

In the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, all Malays are born Muslim. However, Merdeka Centre polling has shown that they tend to identify themselves by religion first rather than by ethnicity or nationality. This tendency has in fact been growing – those who see themselves as Malay first have fallen from 11% to 6%.1 What does this all mean to be a Malay woman, and how does a Malay woman reconcile one with the other? To choose which to identify with first is purely up to the individual – there is no right or wrong about it. But what does this all mean ...


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