For the millions of ethnic Chinese in Malaysia, Chinese New Year is a huge occasion – hundreds or even thousands of ringgit are set aside for angpao, house decorations and reunion dinners.
It is a celebration deeply rooted in culture and tradition – one that Muhammad Shamel Mirza Lam Abdullah looks forward to each year. Shamel is a 40-year-old MalaysianChinese Muslim convert, a mualaf.
“My parents were supportive of my decision to embrace Islam. Growing up, I had more Malay friends, and I was more drawn to their religion and culture. I spoke Bahasa Malaysia as though it were my mother tongue. People were very confused about my ethnicity – I was often asked if I am a Malay or Chinese.
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