Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Racial Issues: We Should Always Use A Mirror - Part 02

Continued from Racial Issues: We Should Always Use A Mirror - Part 01.

Eventually, someone replied upon viewing my comments:

MalaysianIAm wrote:

buluhitam,

Good comments, but I beg to differ on your opinions.

If the NEP has been there for 20 years, and it still fails to achieve its intended objective, then maybe:
1) it's not working
2) it only works for the elite

Regardless of what the reason for its failure is, it is a failure. like i've always insisted, no national policy should be targetted only to a certain race. people should wake up and progress with time. all poor people should receive assistance from the government. Quoting you,

"And the Malays/Bumiputras will only give up these rights when they feel that they have reached the stage of being able to play on a level playing field in the economic, social and education arenas as the other races."

When will that be?

Also, when you blame the chinese for being rich towkay, i almost wanted to laugh. in all of the world, everyone is chasing prosperity. Calculative as the Chinese are, I think anyone good enough to work in a Chinese company, will.

About Malaysian Indians, I don't think they're on a 'level playing' field too. Would you support the view that we should have a NEP for them too?

Also, language. You are saying Chinese should stop using their own language. Why not think about it the other way; i.e. perhaps we could all learn each other's language. I mean, I learned the national language. How much more Malaysian do you want me to be??? Abandon my own heritage? No way!

As much as I like to be in Malaysia, because it is my home, it is mindsets like yours that drive everyone away from Malaysia!

And heck, some Malays (I said some) always think we're not patriotic. Hey, FYI, I haven't even been to China before. It's like, I've been staying in Malaysia all my life, then someone tells me I am loyal only to China. Hey, SAYA ORANG MALAYSIA YANG TAK PERNAH PERGI KE CHINA!

And by the way, from Sagaladoola's comments, we know that everyone is to blame. Again, I reiterate, what we should do now, is to be real Malaysians. Have policies that are non-discriminative. Be fair to everyone. Only then can we really be on a level playing field. Then we'll see where we can go from there.

08/05 15:15:54

------------------------------------

This is a common problem in Malaysia. Typically Malaysia is still burdened by racialist thinking in various areas (seriously in social, economy and politics).

Racialism has divided Malaysians. This is the reason why our country is not able to ascend into the First World category. Every race has a suspicion towards the other.

I pray hard that someone like Martin Luther King from the USA would appear in Malaysia at the most opportune moment and wake everybody up.

Differences have to be set aside and non-advantageous policies have to be removed. The poor and downtrodden has to be 'saved' using other means that will not endanger Malaysia's economy.

If the economy goes down, no one will be safe. Malaysia will be bankrupt and everyone regardless of race can sit together along the streets begging for food !

The elite bumiputras and richer non-bumiputras (particularly Chinese) have to be more compassionate towards the poor bumiputras as well. The race factor has to go.

Sadly, I do not see that happening anytime soon. I am trying to convince myself that the government may do something fruitful but it is tremendously tough. I mean, seriously, can you really convince yourself to depend your life on "Pak Lah's government"? The man who was said to be sleeping in meetings and absent (holidaying somewhere) when natural catastrophe struck Johor?

Trust Pak Lah and his administration?

Now, that's me repeating what Raja Petra said earlier:

NO WAY, JOSE !!!

P.S. I would rather give a chance to Keadilan, DAP or PAS in the next general election. Even Dr. M, disregarding his tyrannical approach towards the media in the past, was a better Prime Minister.

Regards.....

10 comments:

kok said...

Read it all. In Mahathir's Malaysia, over 40% of the population lives under constitutionally mandated and perpetual state sanctioned racism. It is verging on illegality to even bring up the subject - even in parliament.

Non-malays live under widespread and considerable electoral, educational, economic and even religious restrictions and also have to live with the risk of racially motivated stirring from malay politicians who could put one nation to shame. And don't ask about illegal aliens, they are safely locked up in detention centres.

Unsurprisingly, some malay policies have played upon resultant fears of racial tensions and the difficulties non-malays face in creating their own political voice to shore up a captive vote in the ethnic electorate.

Starting up a company or even purchasing land and property is harder and more expensive for non-malays. The only way to alleviate their permanent designation as a second-class citizen is to convert to Islam and thus enjoy partial legal acceptance as a bumi.

This Malaysia, a land where racism is used to justify racism, is Mahathir's creation and if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, then I need a new palette.

Perhaps you may have heard of the axiom making its rounds among the Malaysian bloggers:

"If it is a malay issue, it is a national issue. If it is an Indian issue, it is not an issue. If it is a Chinese issue, it is a racial issue."

That is the problem with Malaysia. The Indians and Chinese are made to feel as if Malaysia is for the malays, and not for the citizens of Malaysia. Even the textbooks are often written as if addressing the malays instead of Malaysians, with references to Islam and other malay cultural aspects.

Just look at Singapore. In spite of their being a multiracial society completely lacking in national resources, they are now a developed country. Why?

Because the people there are united. There is no presumption that the average citizen is a Chinese or any serious programme giving a particular race special rights.

The presumption that greed, dishonesty and betrayal are innate qualities of a Chinese is simply as abhorrent as the presumption by some Chinese that malays smell bad, are lazy and are extremely religious to the point of martyrdom. Such stereotyping accomplishes nothing.

If Chinese kids won't die for Malaysia, we should not jump to the conclusion that Chinese cannot be trusted. Instead, we should consider it equally among other possibilities, such as the government's policies creating a feeling of unfair treatment despite the premise that we are all equal as citizens of Malaysia.

We know what the original intentions of the malay special privileges provision in the Merdeka Constitution were, but to maintain that it is a carte blanche for all manner of discrimination based on the bumi/non-bumi divide is certainly straining credibility.

Now that the commanding heights of the Malaysia economy have fallen into the hands of malay capitalists 50 years after independence, is it wrong to appeal for a new consensus based on social sector and need instead of race?

From the above, it is clear that the question of the constitutionality of the quota system as it has been practised since 1971 especially in totally malay institutions has never been tested.

Because the government imposes racial quota in government departments and education, therefore Singapore and other countries take fortune at the tide. For years, there has been brain drain to our neighbour.

I called my newfound friend earlier who works in Singapore. Somehow, the conversation ended up on Malaysians holding top positions in Singapore.

Well, I have a good friend who is currently working with a top-notch investment company in Singapore. When my new friend found out, immediately said, "No wonder that Pak Lah person was mentioning about the brain drain in Malaysia!"

Well, I know a lot of scientists and doctors are working overseas. A number of my school alumni are actually working overseas and not in Malaysia. Some are doing well in London, Boston, to name a few. It is even funnier to hear stories of some of my school alumni to accidentally meet each other when they are overseas. Yes, my school is guilty for contributing to the brain drain……….

Closer to home, I wonder if Pak Lah knows about our own Malaysian companies that are also contributing to the brain drain. No name mentioned, but I know of one company, due to the change in business process has forced a number of the disgruntled staff to leave the company.

The worse thing, these staff left and joined the competitors that are not Malaysian owned. And even worse, some staff actually decided to leave Malaysia and work at greener pastures.

They could have stayed in Malaysia, but no company in Malaysia could afford to pay the expected salary due to the staff being former scholars and studied overseas during the economic crisis.

Sad really. Now wonder why Pak Lah has an uphill task.

Clearly, there has always been movement of highly skilled people in and out of a country. If there is brain drain from a particular country, it can scarcely develop. On the other hand, if it can keep its talents and successfully attract its skilled citizens to return as well as foreign talents to come, it will prosper.

shinwee said...

I was studied in Melbourne for 2 years, I met a lot of Malaysians who had emigrated to the country, some of them are work in big company such as NEC, Nissan etc, some of them open restaurants (there are Malaysian restaurants everywhere in Australia), and their life is fairly and good treated by the locals.

In Melbourne, a lot of Malaysians (99% Chinese) live in a suburbs, most of them send their kids to local school, and all have no problem on their nationality and race because besides Malaysians, there are also a lot of Japanese, Singaporeans, Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesians, etc. They can learn their own language without any restriction from the authorities. And everyone is compete on level playing field, everything is based on merit.

The living environment there is very nice, clean air and water (water can directly drink from tap), nicely built roads and residential area, almost perfect mass transit system (although I feel that Singapore is better) where you can live and travel easily without own car. Living cost there is relatively cheaper compare to Kuala Lumpur (dollar to dollar).

The main reason for this migration is that some of them felt that they were second-class citizens (the Chinese) and third-class citizens (the Indians) in the country that they were born in. The high cost of living and non-support from the Malaysia government have also resulted in smaller families among the non-malays.

For those who ran away or are thinking about running, my best wishes to you. But for the others who stand and fight, my respect for you.

molisa said...

Malaysia being in such a sad state, I can only see decline for decades to come.

May be even for centuries.

May be the rise of China can give the bright sparks of Malaysia some leverage to change society, but I doubt whether the ingrained culture of failure can be reversed.

Not the UK, not the US, not in most parts of the world, the culture of failure always reproduced itself generation after generation.

Change has to come from external influence and not from the inside.

ruyom said...

In very recent times, the starting date for the study of Malaysia history in the schools has been conveniently fixed around 1400 CE. It probably coincides with the founding of the Sultanate of Malacca by Parameswara.

Today, Malaysia school children only learn a little bit about the early Proto malays and then are conveniently taken on a historical quantum leap to the founding of Malacca.

Early Indian works speak of a fantastically wealthy place called Savarnadvipa, which meant "land of gold". This mystical place was said to lie far away, and legend holds that this was probably the most valid reason why the first Indians ventured across the Bay of Bengal and arrived in Kedah around 100 BC.

Apart from trade, the early Indians brought a pervasive culture, with Hinduism and Buddhism sweeping through the Indo-Chinese and malay archipelago lands bringing temples and Indian cultural traditions. The local chiefs began to refer to themselves as "rajahs" and also integrated what they considered the best of Indian governmental traditions with the existing structure.

I learnt Malaysia history in the 1950s and taught it in the 1960s and 1970s in secondary schools. All the history textbooks at the time had the early Indian connection specifically mentioned in them. Teachers of that period taught about the early Indianised kingdoms of Langkasuka, Srivijaya and Majapahit that existed from as early as 100 CE.

Anyone can see that Parameswara, the founder of Malacca, has a clearly give away name that points to the Indian/Hindu influence. No one can deny this, and all our children need to know about this. They have the fundamental right to learn about this aspect of our history too.

Why don't our children learn about these early Indian connections today? It needs mention here that this early Indian connection has nothing to do with the much later cheap Indian "coolie" labour influx that the British brought over to man the railways and plantations of Malaysia from the late 19th century onwards.

The malay language as we know it today is already fully impregnated and enriched with many foreign words. This is good. Malay therefore has been a bahasa rojak from early times itself.

Rojak itself (and also cendul) is a Malaysia food developed by an Indian Malayalee Muslim community known as the Malabaris who hailed from Kerala. They were also referred to as kakas. We now wrongly credit the Penang mamaks for this great food.

The very word "Melayu" itself is most probably of Indian origin from the words "Malai Ur", which means land of mountains in Tamil. Singapur, Nagapur and Indrapur are very common Indian names that have similar backgrounds.

The early Indians were probably inspired by the main mountain range that looks like a backbone for the malay peninsula and thus named it Malaiur. The word "Malai" is undoubtedly Indian in origin as is the case with the word Himalayas and we all know where it is situated.

Many malay words, from describing malay royalty (Seri, Raja, Maha, etc) and common everyday terms (suami, kerana, dunia, cuma, bakti), all have Indian connections. The undeniable Indian connection in the word Indonesia is also reflected in the name itself.

The Indian factor that influences even the prevailing malay culture in terms of music, food, dress and certain other everyday practices like betel chewing and bersanding is another thing over which a loud hush prevails. Why?

Such knowledge of the roots of this great country, be they Indian, Chinese, Arab or whatever, can indeed very strongly facilitate the ongoing efforts of the government to make our children think of themselves as Bangsa Malaysia more readily and more easily.

aston said...

If you were prime minister of Malaysia…………I will make:

1. Abolish malay special rights
2. Abolish racial quotas in the country
3. Abolish the ISA
4. Bring back power to the people
5. Downsize the civil service
6. Establish a true meritocracy system for education
7. Heavier punishment for corruption, drug, rape
8. Revive English as the medium of administration and education
9. Revive true freedom of speech
10. Sack all the corrupted officers and politicians

romsam said...

50 years after independence, the people of Malaysia are still searching for an identity. Are they Malays or Muslims first; are they Chinese, Indians or Malaysians first?

This identity crisis is a result of the failure of the BN government, which has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957, later as the expanded Barisan Nasional.

The truth is that the malays of this country partly owe their independence to the non-malays. The reason was that the British refused to give independence without an agreement from the non-malays.

Another argument put forth by the pro malay special rights group is that, they made a compromise by giving the non-malays their citizenship and in exchange the malays must be given their special privileges.

This argument is the most ridiculous I have heard thus far but in their ignorance some Malaysians still think that citizenship is for a certain race to give. This logic would mean that the minorities will always be seen as foreigners who will never be equal to the malays.

'The Chinese and Indians must accept they are immigrants and they were given citizenships in 1957 on the agreement that the malays are given special rights and privileges.'

Stretching your logic a bit further, are you also suggesting that in America, the Negroes continue to be slaves to the whites, otherwise they give up US citizenship and go back to Africa?

This is stupid idiotic logic. Even if the so-called contract was valid, it was so only in the 50s and 60s.

We are nearly 50 years after independence and all Chinese and Indians have begun citizens. They are no more bound by the so-called social contract which enslaved their ancestors.

Umno is afraid to give up Ketuanan Melayu because it is bankrupt of ideas in competing with others in this 21st century democracy.

Umno's warped logic is that, it is better for country to be backward so long as malays benefit than for country to prosper, where malays are marginalized.

This warped logic is in fact the beginning of the end of the malays who will never progress and compete with others on equal footing and level playing field, so long as they subscribe to Ketuanan Melayu and have crutch mentality in forever relying on special privileges.

Malays will crumble from internal weaknesses and disappear in era of globalization - no need for others to colonize them as Mahathir had constantly raised this bogey.

There can never be equal footing - not even among people of the same race.

It saddens me to see the country I was born in and raised stagnating in so many ways - ideologically, sociologically and technologically.

My dad is a racist; so is my mom. Similarly racists are my brother, sister and relatives. All the Malaysian friends I now have are, and those I had were or at the least had been, racists too. Well, perhaps thanks to all these people, I have become and remain a racist as well.

You see, we are the members of a much larger community: Malaysia - the racist nation!

The term community is somewhat misleading. We are not united as such as a nation should be. We are only united by the fact that all of us - at one time or other - had been are or will become, racists……….

All of us formally became racists in the year of 1971, when racism was institutionalised in Malaysia. Not that racism didn't exist before: it did; it lurked underneath, which as everyone knows - erupted as the May 13 ethnic riots.

Hence came the New Economic Policy, set up to divert the winds off the sails of racism. Ballasting the boat, and listing it in favour of the economically disadvantaged malay Malaysians may lead to Malaysians seeing each other as equals, it was thought.

Then came the 80s, which also gave Dr Mahathir.

Still, racism remained somewhat otherworldly to me. All of us practiced racism, on the streets, in shops, in schools and in the house, but racism was never blatant - at least in my life. That changed as the 80s came to a close.

............

Please tell me, can anyone even imagine a multi-cultural Malaysia nation - where no one discriminates the other on the basis of race, where everyone treats the other as a brother or sister - being run by the same racist parties that exist now? Is such a future even conceptually possible?

It is time for me to descend to earth and crawl back into my racist carapace, and be a realist again. And heap praises on our nation and on the ideals that are so central to its psyche: long live, racism! Long live, racist Malaysia - the model racist nation!

It is no wonder our civil participation is as backward as it is.

Do you have any idea why Singapore is almost the first world country or 30 years better than Malaysia?

One could argue every country has its own laws and policies that place prejudice on certain parties - yes, that is true, but none so shamefully as (Malaysia) those who not only boast about it, take the credit for the successes of these people whom they slam their discriminatory abuses on, and have no intention to change it (and that said with a smug look on the face).

Bangsa Malaysia? Bah, humbug!

vovo said...

The facts:

(1) Negritos are the first inhabitants in this land

(2) Proto malays came from Yunan in China

(3) Deutro malays came from Indonesia

(4) Malays are Hindus/Buddhists for 2000 years

(5) Harun and Razak plot the 1969 riot

(6) Social contract rewriting after 1969 riot

(7) Bumis term never exist before 1969 riot

(8) lie - Blame Chinese control economic 70%

(9) lie - Blame Chinese/Tamil schools for national disunity

(0) lie - Blame Singapore government suppress malays

(Many more.)

fargowin said...

Emigration and migration of human beings is a pre-requisite of human development and progress. Without migration, human beings would be doomed to an existence worse than that of animals. Even animals migrate to seek a better habitat.

Patriotism is not a one-way thing, it is a two-way commitment. If one finds that one's loyalty and patriotism is not reciprocated as having to live with a corrupt government, discriminatory policies, inhumane and repressive laws etc, one has a right to review one's commitment and patriotism if one so chooses.

Why would people stay if their talents are not recognised in their own country and they do not have the opportunities to develop their potential? Why remain when they can have these opportunities in another country?

Indeed, it is very fortunate that we all live in this day and age of globalisation where we are free to live and work anywhere in the world as long as we have the skill and talent.

There is much less reason now to put up with bad governments, or corrupt, oppressive and racist regimes, anywhere in the world.

Of course the grass is never greener on the other side. You still need the same energy, enterprise and sometimes luck to make it. But there is no doubt in my mind and in those who have worked here and overseas - the playing field is more level abroad.

Whilst, I may add that most lower, middle-class Malaysian citizens and professionals are the main bulk of immigrants to countries abroad. They need to get settled first and have a few contacts to start life anew.

To expect them to be millionaires in businesses will take a generation or more and we are beginning to see that now. If they had not emigrated, they would have been hard pressed to send their children abroad and everybody knows the quota system for universities, jobs, job opportunities and promotions back home.

In Canada, we experience the best there is in life. Every citizen has equal rights. They have done well in every aspect of life.

In the US, anyone whether black, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Mexican etc, has the right to run for president. There are no restrictions, one only needs to secure the votes.

Nobody should operate under the assumption that migration is a bed of sweet, smelling roses. Roses have thorns.

Certainly, migration is not a dirty word. In fact, migration is the reason for this multiethnic paradise I call home today. The question is, can Malaysia retain its talents?

We are simply losing good people to the more developed countries, and this problem is also faced by other countries such as China and India.

Singapore has been absorbing our talents regardless of the medium of instruction they have been taught in.

Perhaps the biggest slap on our face is the fact that thousands and thousands of Malaysians have been recruited to bloom in the Lion City's workforce, while our own industry leaders have done nothing to help the government keep these investments from going abroad.

Many people leave the country for a variety of reasons. Some leave for economic reason, some for better education, some over concerns for the climate of democracy in their home country.

There is no reason to deride any migrant for their choices in life. Every human being is entitled to the right of physical, social and geographical mobility - you seek your place on earth and call it home.

So leave if you must, go while you can, but don't give up on the march. That is a worthy sacrifice that requires courage.

Congratulations to those who have found a better future in life.

yuking said...

We have the tallest, longest, largest, greatest, grandest, biggest, everything; and now some record breaking events, falling, collapsing, cracking, bursting, break-downing incidents in new buildings. It is only the beginning.

San said...

I wish to point out that the Orang Asli, not the malays, are the original inhabitants of Malaysia. Most of the malay Malaysians came from Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia. They only migrated here much earlier than the Chinese and Indian Malaysians. It does not mean they deserve privileges or rights just because they were the pioneer immigrants.

It is true that there have been abuses under the name of malay special rights and it is the duty of the malays in particular, and all Malaysians in general, to stop it so that the rightful malays get their rights, and the non-malays get their rights as citizens of this country.

It is a sad thing to say, but I do believe the main thing that is holding back malays is not the Chinese or the Indians, but the malays themselves. That is why Badawi and Mahathir have been quoted as telling to throw away crutches and work hard to face the challenges of globalisation.

The malay and others of the same mind should learn to stand on their own feet rather than claim for special privileges and rights. The world is becoming globalised and if they don't change their attitude, they will only become beggars in their own country.

As for the malays who insist on hiding behind the veil of malay special rights - you have lost the respect of non-malays a long time ago.

We also suspect that the current situation will, unfortunately, get worse if no action is taken now. Why? Because our kids in school hardly mix with each other. They will grow up with little understanding of their fellow Malaysians, and with the suspicions that exist, it will be worse.

The truth of the matter is that polarisation in Malaysia is caused by the discriminatory practises of the government - especially after the NEP - rather than vernacular education.

The NEP is upheld for the rich and not the poor in Malaysia.

Whether we admit it or not, the problem is that the special privileges and rights given have now resulted in only a selected few malays getting richer and richer. The bulk of the malays, especially in the rural areas are not benefiting from the system.

Poor people are poor people, rich people are rich people - no matter which race they come from.

The poor in Malaysia must be served but I am sure all taxpayers feel that this should be done in a manner which is blind to age, ethnicity, gender and religion.

What is wrong with extending help to all deserving citizens based on merits and needs regardless of race?

The Malaysia problem is that rich do become richer. And because of the political system, the players are the same.

Out of control - this is all I can say about any type of enforcement and the level of corruption in Malaysia. No idea what Badawi has done in his four years in office but judging from the ground, I guess nothing much.

If you have ever heard of the simple saying, "Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime." you will realise that many non-malays have learned how to fish but the government is still handing out fishes to the malays. One day the fish will run out.

If you want to say discrimination is here in the US, yes, of course it is. Can you name a country where it doesn't happen? But let me tell you one thing - if you go looking for it, you will find it. But in Malaysia, you don't have to go look for it because it seeks you out, slaps you in your face every which way you turn, and is sanctioned by law!

Official figures have more than one million Chinese Malaysians emigrating over the past 25 years. Why did they emigrate? I am sure the government knows.

For most professionals, living abroad has its own ups and downs. But you get dignity, fair treatment and respect for your ability. You get a voice too. And ears to hear you.

Brain drain by the tank-loads is what we get. Every single year, Malaysia loses people who could potentially contribute to the country immensely.

So malay, you may keep your rights and perpetuate them. Such things are archaic. Who loses in the end? Your country, which should have been a first world one by today.

I sympathize with those that have benefited from the NEP, but the bad news is that the price he pays for his progress is much higher than what he pays for his benefit.

These special privileges and rights were once a necessity for them to move forward. Today, after many decades, they find themselves still standing in the same place.

It is a shame that our history has been constantly twisted so that our younger generation has no understanding of Malaysia's foundation and its true aspiration.

It is arguable that if not for the contributions of the Chinese and Indian Malaysians who helped in the development of this country tremendously, Malaysia would probably be in same category like Indonesia or the Philippines, if not worst.

To improve the malays lot, more have to be made to work in private companies where competition is real and what count is your ability. If special rights only help malays to become government servants, then all the more reason not to invoke special rights.

But of course, the present ruling elite drunken with wealth, will continue to fight this dream to ensure that Malaysia is kept divided so that BN can continue to rule.

Alternatively, Malaysians may begin to realise the dream of a new Malaysia.

The bitter truth is that the majority of this nation don't see the need to change things yet and until then, we can do little about it.

The bottom line with present day globalisation is this: compete on a level-playing field or you will lose. Plain and simple.