I am writing this post after finally finding the time to read one of my favourite blogs... virtually visiting the mind of another maverick...
www.mediha.blogspot.com specifically, the Melting Pot Bubbling Over post.
It’s been a while since I’ve visited Kak Diha virtually so this is going to be lengthy :-)
The tree of racism and societal divide is slow to come out of the ground but once allowed to grow...it devours everything in its path.
To understand this growing trend i think we must go back a little into history.
Pre Merdeka our country was pretty much segregated thanks to the orang puteh. The Malays were mostly agriculturally inclined but a few elite groups were absorbed into the running of the government (the British recognising that they needed inside men within the majority racial group to quell any potential unrest). The Chinese were businessmen, having come from (at that time) economically booming and British Empire trading,
Years go by; the divide solidifies and becomes even more pronounced...
Enter the people who had the vision of an independent nation. Couple that with the
For a long while our grandparents and parents lived in a world that the different races were solidified by nationalism and the lessons of colonialism. We forgot for a time that we were different races because we shared a common goal and a common enemy (the Empire) The Bumiputera policy at that time sounded feasible and even fair to the Founding Fathers of Malaysia due to the socioeconomic background of each race. I can only lament that the Indians were not more strongly supported. but i guess that we had little or no political capital at that time. But i digress...
Basically, we blended together under these circumstances because we were innocent, trusting, and sad to say a little naive. We had little or no idea what would happen 50 years down the line.
Currently... the average Malaysian has no idea what the colonial times was about.. we are reaping the seeds that we have sown. Things like racially segregative school systems... The Chung Hwas, The San Yuks, The Tamil Schools, The Sekolah Berasrama Penuh, The Sekolah Menengah Agama...Things like the NEP and the Bumiputera policy only reaching the rich and politically connected individuals... Events like May 13th and Kampung Medan events that happened but were not openly discussed only leading to more speculation and unfounded rumours.
People fear and shun what they don't understand...and understanding comes from exposure and education and honest discussion. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions helped
Contributing factors like these slowly but surely eroded our nationalistic spirit. Parents of non Malays slowly became more and more disenfranchised and disillusioned by the Malay ruling elite and the parents of the Malays, secure in their created bubble of political advantage became more and more closed off from the other races.
All of us have become xenophobic gradually because of a combination of all these factors
Therefore, if a little girl turns up her nose at her pork eating schoolmate, she is only mimicking what she has seen other people around her do…maybe not her parents or siblings…but her friends and teachers and neighbours.
Xenophobia is not genetic...it’s a virus that is contracted.
I think our country has to seriously ask itself some very hard questions before we can become truly Malaysian. Don't get me wrong... I am a supporter of the Bumiputera policy, even if I do not receive its benefits... but i think that proper implementation, transparency, and accountability of how the policy has been administered is paramount to combat the mounting distrust and disillusionment the non Bumiputeras' feel. I have all confidence that the non Bumiputeras' will be able to understand the simple logic of providing special consideration for the largely economically inferior majority in the country. One only has to look to countries where a minority group became too economically advantaged over another to see how dangerous this trend can be (read civil war and riots).
Affirmative action makes sense...but only if implemented in a transparent and fair manner. Otherwise it breeds too much resentment. Malaysia makes sense...but only when these issues and societal divides are tackled in a long term and positive manner.Malaysia Boleh? Only if ALL of us Boleh together...