The Malaysian tradition of having open houses is important and should be practised more. Do you agree?
Give reasons to support your view.

- by Brian Shu Pui Hong
SMK Sungai Maong,
Kuching, Sarawak

Having open houses is a tradition much common among Malaysians since decades ago. It speaks volumes about our hospitality. Usually held when there are festivals going around, it not only signifies the Malaysian culture but also brings us a lot of benefits. Therefore, I am of the opinion that the tradition is vital and should be practised more. Stated below are the reasons to support my stand.

Firstly, the open house tradition is of paramount importance to foster close relationship among neighbours. In today's dog-eat-dog world, it has become a form of luxury if one has the time to chatter away in his neighbour's house as he only keeps his nose to the grindstone pursuing his career. As a result, the bond among neighbours is sacrificed. Worry not, the open house is here to save the day! Whenever an open house is held, all of those living in close proximity are welcome. It is a golden opportunity to get to know even the most reclusive of neighbours. Chit-chatting and having fun together strengthen ties. New friendships are also bound to form. A strong neighbourhood spirit is important as neighbours are the ones who live closer to us than most of our relatives. Should any untoward incidents crop up, they are the first ones to be able to offer us a helping hand. Therefore, it is crystal clear that the open house plays a prominent role in forging strong ties with neighbours.

The open house promotes harmony among races. As the saying goes, “one man's meat is another man's poison”. This is very true in our nation where different ethnic groups co-exist with cultures of their own. Understanding, respect and tolerance is the key to harmony. The open house enables us to better understand the traditions and culture of a particular race, such as their beliefs, off-limits and rules to abide by as well as their traditional food and dance. Through such understanding, we are able to live by the golden rule of respecting and tolerating the discrepancy in beliefs and culture and boost harmony.

Apart from that, the open house also brings unity among races. Whenever a family decides to organise an open house, other families rush to help regardless of race, beliefs and culture. Bigotry and racism are reduced to a minimum and we strive as one towards a common goal - a better Malaysia!

Last but not least, the open house tradition benefits our tourism industry. Tourists visiting Malaysia during festivals will indubitably be curious and attracted to an open house. Naturally, many of them will visit the house to experience the jubilation and savour our traditional dishes. Upon returning to their homeland, they tend to spread the word about our unique tradition and most likely bring more visitors to our nation.

All in all, it is obvious that our tradition of having open houses is important as it holds significant values. It contributes towards racial harmony and unity. Just as the adage goes, ‘united we stand, divided we fall.’ In addition, it also promotes tourism, which strengthens our economy. Thus, I believe it is an essential tradition that should not only be upheld but also practised more.