| Opinion | Malaysia | 15 Aug 2017 | Asia Samachar |
By Sukhbir Cheema
Darshan Singh recently posed the above question at the end of his opinion piece titled, Mixed marriage dilemma.
It’s a valid question and I certainly cannot possibly answer for the several practising Sikhs who of late have been marrying people of different races, religion and background.
But I can, somewhat, provide a tiny glimpse as to how it happens based on my own personal experience.
Darshan, 31-years-ago, my brother and I were born. I was born healthy and normal but my twin brother was diagnosed with jaundice.
His jaundice was so severe that the doctors decided to conduct a blood transfusion. Now, you must remember these were the 80’s. Blood banks were scarce so the doctors had to provide a mix of blood in order for him to continue living. The price he had to pay to continue living was a life-time of cerebral palsy and autism.
My parents were devout Sikhs, but they were so desperate to see him cured that they began seeking all sorts of treatments, from doctors to divine assistance from different faiths.
My entire childhood was spent traveling from one Hindu temple to a Catholic church to a mosque to a Buddhist monastery, all in a desperate pursuit to find a cure for my brother.
SEE ALSO: I’m not sorry my Mom was a Chinese
SEE ALSO: Mixed marriages in gurduaras
I remember well our own relatives labelling us as apostates. But make no mistake, my mother is still a staunch Sikh, even till today.
I can’t say so about myself since I was exposed to various faiths at such a young age, I now consider myself a free thinker. I did grow up attending the various prayers at the gurdwara in Seremban and joining the Miri Piri classes every Saturdays and Sundays, but, just like your Guru, Nanak, I was seeking for the Truth.
I’m a Punjabi and Sikh by birth and I’m now married to my wife, who is a Chindian. We are blessed with an adorable little angel who, fortunately, looks a little Chinese and Punjabi and thankfully, very much human.
I met my wife when the both of us were journalists at a media organisation in Malaysia. After a year of being together, we got married, much to my mother’s disappointment. My mother was of the view that since I’m a Sikh, I should be marrying a Sikh.
I am of the view that if you’ve fallen in love with someone, their background especially their race and religion, should never ever get in the way of the unification of two souls. Call me idealistic, but John Lennon is not the only dreamer around.
My mother did not attend my marriage. My wife, on the other hand, tried her best to accommodate her antics. There would be times when my mother was rude to her. There was even once, when my wife was pregnant, we had to live in a budget hotel because my mother did not allow her in. All because she was not a Sikh.
In March 2016, just a month short from her delivery, the news organisation my wife was with back then closed shop following a month long ban on its website.
Things became a lot harder because I had to travel to my wife’s hometown in Ipoh to meet her. It was a tough time because not only were we financially strapped, we also had my mother who was not at all supportive of our relationship.
I admit, it would have been a lot easier if she was understanding enough to allow my wife to stay in Seremban to deliver. That would have saved us a lot of money, energy and time.
But she claims to be a staunch Sikh and does not believe in mixed marriages. And so we, the apostates, had to live with this fact.
I was freelancing back then because I lost my faith in the manner in which journalism was being practised in Malaysia. To save up money for my daughter’s birth, I sold copies of my artworks and comics.
I thank my Chinese, Indian, Malay — no, Malaysian — friends who banked in money to us to survive that dark but extremely memorable period of our lives.
Darshan, to answer your question on what drives mixed marriages, my answer is a simple one. It’s love. And there is nothing wrong with it.
I aim to educate my child on Sikhism and its Gurus. I also aim to ensure that she understands the fundamental knowledge of every religion as well and that is; being a good human being.
I am equally looking forward to reading to her about the adventures of Prince Rama in the Hindu epic Ramayana, the triumph of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata, the philosophy behind the Chinese epics; Journey to the West and Water Margin.
But most importantly, Nanak’s quest for the Truth.
I just want her to know that beyond the colours of her skin and the numerous labels we associate to it, we are ultimately, one and the same.
I personally feel every culture and every tradition should not only be preserved and cherished, but also celebrated.
I hope by revealing to you the root cause of mixed marriages through my own direct experience makes you an enlightened Sikh.
I certainly hope and pray, that regardless of your stance, just don’t be like my mother. That said, I still love her very much.
Things are better for my wife and I now. We’re juggling parenthood and full time jobs and are managing an art-centric content website together. We’re also saving up money and hopefully get to purchase a house nearby my mother’s house in Seremban so that she gets to spend time with her granddaughter. My mother has taken quite a liking to Sitarey.
This is how it should be.
Sukhbir Cheema is a Malaysian cartoonist, writer and co-editor of Eksentrika, an art-centric content website.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
I’m not sorry my Mom was a Chinese (Asia Samachar, 13 Aug 2017)
Mixed marriages: We can’t stop them anymore (Asia Samachar, 11 Aug 2017)
Sikhi doesn’t belong to Punjabis only (Asia Samachar, 10 Aug 2017)
Mixed marriage dilemma (Asia Samachar, 8 Aug 2017)
Gurdwaras must adopt changes, marriage counselling badly needed, Ipoh Sikh seminar told (Asia Samachar, 23 July 2017)
Mixed faith marriages should be banned in UK gurdwaras (Asia Samachar, 16 Sept 2016)
Mixed marriages in gurduaras (Asia Samachar, 31 Aug 2015)