(I sent the link of my blog on part 1 of this entry to Arielle. Just now, after her Account tuition, she asked me when is part 2 going to be written. So here goes)
So I mentioned in part 1 how listening to the recital of the Holy Quranic verses made me feel safe as a child during those pitch black nights especially when the weather was scary. And my eldest brother, the one now known as Fr Wilfred through his profession as a Catholic priest commented that he was in full agreement with me. He even added that he can still recite the 'azan' and 'takbir raya' very well to this day. It's obvious that both he and I had developed a high level of religious tolerance via the same process. It so happened that we both attended SBPL (now known as Sekolah Sains Labuan) when we were in form 4 & form 5.
Back to the story... my childhood experience was mainly sensory in nature. I heard the Quranic verses recitation and I felt safe and protected. Upon entering high school, the environment further played an important role in shaping my tolerance.
In form 1 at SMK Mat Salleh, Ranau, I had my first experience of having an ustaz teaching in my class. This particular ustaz came from West Malaysia. He told us all, Muslims and non-muslims to greet him with 'asalamualaikum' each time he came to our class. I didn't find that weird at all, and I am very sure others felt the same too. Life went on peacefully for us all.
After we finished our form 3 exam, (known as SRP), there wasn't that many exciting things to do at school. So we spent most days doing 'gotong-royong' and that included carrying bricks for the school's 'surau' building. Again we did it cheerfully, Muslims & non-Muslims, without any negative feelings.
Form 4 came and both my brother and I ended up in SBPL. There, we immersed in yet another new environment which reinforced our high level of tolerance.
(And that is part 2...tbc 😃)