How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

1Malaysia? Not when the unfair system of discrimination is still in place

The letter by an anonymous Malay and a reply to it by an anonymous Chinese as published in The Malaysian Insider describe with clarity how an innocent mind felt about the institutionalised racial discrimination in Malaysia. Sometimes, too much of  favoured treatment can be uncomfortable to some beneficiaries.

The powers that be can deny all they want but the reality is still out there, affecting innocent youths through no fault of their own. But nature has its ways of levelling unfairness. Looking back, most non-Malays felt it was a blessing in disguise that they were put through difficulties in life and came out achieving much more.

A Malay’s dilemma — An Anonymous Malay

"I am Malay. I went to national schools since Primary One to Form Five. I graduated from a public university.
Being a product of the national education system, I grew up believing the Malaysian ideal: a multicultural society of various races and religions, all living harmoniously despite their differences.

I remember feeling content and blessed that I was born in Malaysia, because we did not have racial wars or anything like that. My family and I would visit our non-Malay friends when they celebrate their festivities such as Chinese New Year or Deepavali, and they would visit us during Raya. In school I could talk and mingle and play with non-Malay friends.

Because of that, I thought the Malaysian Formula obviously worked. I accepted the explanation that to maintain this harmony, affirmative action for Bumiputras is necessary. I believed that we were the best example of a multi-cultural society.

But that belief began ebbing away after my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results came out. You see, my friends and I were excited with our results. We were excited to start pursuing the bright future our parents had hoped for us.

Yet at the same time the subject of our next step to a bright future became an awkward conversation point.
“Where are you going to further your studies?”

That question was a must back then, whether from friends, family members, teachers or the auntie from the school canteen. When talking to another Malay/Bumiputra friend or in company of just Malays and Bumiputras, answering it is not a problem. In fact, it’s a nice thing to be discussing because the future seemed so full of possibilities and we were on the verge of actually pursuing our dreams.

However, with mixed company in terms of race, things became awkward. I was accepted into a government matriculation college. But some of my Chinese and Indian friends were not. And since our results were comparable, and in some cases they did better than I did, we were acutely aware that this is due to the quota in place back then.

So that’s the whole source of the awkwardness and unease. Was I supposed to feel superior to those friends because I got in and they did not, when all that separated us may have just been our respective races?

At the same time I wonder, did they feel some resentment because of this? That they are perhaps denied the same chance I got just because of their ancestry, which they could not do anything about?

Since then I have never spoken to those friends without feeling shameful and a little apologetic inside.
Yes, special rights and aid to Malays are enshrined in the Constitution. I am thankful for the doors it has opened for me because today I have a university degree, a stable job, and a relatively comfortable life. I imagine many other Malays can and will say the same.

Yes, we are grateful. But deep down the feeling of unease remains..."


A reply to Anonymous Malay — An Anonymous Cina

"I am a Cina. Like Anonymous Malay, I went through the public education system since primary one all the way until tertiary level. I too, graduated from a public university.

Coming from a small pekan, a combination of small township and villages, I had the privilege of growing up with a mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Sikh kids. I never knew what a ‘Malaysian Ideal' was back then for it never occurred to me as a kid that it could be any other way than what we had been enjoying. We cycled around the kampungs visiting friends and teachers on Hari Raya, Chinese Lunar New Year and Deepavali. Best of all, it was not for all the formalities and pretence we adults so consciously put effort in today. We were just a bunch of kids having fun. For me, it was the muruku and the dodol. We boys taught each other swear words in our native tongue. I learned guitar from a Malay boy near my house.

If we want to find the answer to what is wrong in our society today, we only need to look at our children. They say if we adults look carefully, there are many valuable lessons we can learn from kids. The naivety that we as kid was enjoying back then soon gave way to the demands of life and reality of adulthood. Things began to change as we progressed closer to SPM. Our Malay schoolmates began to slowly drift away from us. After each Friday prayer, they were hauled into Bilik Bimbingan dan Kaunseling (counselling room) and would spend hours inside while the rest of us would enjoy the long break before the start of the evening sessions.

Little did I know the horror that was taking place in those counselling sessions until a close Malay friend whispered it to me. My Malay classmates were being asked to beware of kids from other races - that they are merely pendatangs (immigrants) and if not careful, the pendatangs will take away all their lands and richness. Hammered into the young skulls of my Malay schoolmates back then were also ways at which they should dominate all aspects of life over people of other colours and faiths. Therefore, when the news about the brainwashing within BTN broke out, it came as hardly any surprise to me at all. They have been breaking up this lovely nation of a harmonious and united people for generations now. And they start young.

After SPM, my Malay schoolmates simply vanished. Most did not even say goodbye. Those with results far behind some of us continued on to matriculations and ADPs (American Degree Program). I was bitter about it - asking why some of us with far much better results need to be slogging through the uncertainty that was STPM. Words can't describe the disappointment of a desperate pekan kid of 17 years old when faced with such unjust world. I had only skimmed the tip of the iceberg that is the monstrous hidden beast called Institutionalized Racism. Welcome to reality..."

"I came from a poor family. Even by the standard of the small pekan, my family was poor. But instead of being bitter my whole life about the unfair treatment and lack of smoother path, I am actually thankful to the hardship that was bestowed upon me in my younger days. They say it is often loss that teaches us about the worth of things. The absence of meritocracy in the public education system taught me the value of hard work. The lack of opportunity and options forced me to focus on what is at hand and make the best out of whatever scarce resources available..."

"It is heart-warming really, to read those words coming from a Malay - that he/she is feeling uneasy about the institutionalised racism that has been plaguing our nation for generations now. However, the more worrying and relevant question now is where we are heading towards as a broken nation made up of a multi-racial people that is consistently threatening to burn and kill each other (metaphorically)? What is a Bangsa Malaysia? Can it be achieved only by eradicating every aspect of other differing cultures and having everyone speaking only a common tongue and nothing else? For 55 years, the leaders of this nation think so.

Anonymous Malay, never for once have I doubted your ability or that of your people for I do not subscribe to the believe system of Hitler's Aryan racial superiority. You are merely the victim of a system that does not permit you to hold your head high and claim the merits of your success. Perhaps one day, we can all stand on the same levelled platform and congratulate each other for a job well done. But I worry we may not see that day in this lifetime. While we are waiting, perhaps one of the small ways you can help is by embracing back your childhood pendatang friends. I sure am hoping that one day, I will get a message in my Facebook or email saying,"Bro, are you Anonymous Cina? We used to hangout after school - Anonymous Malay"



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