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Malaysian Alien


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Monday, October 31, 2005
I Blame Myself

My nomadic lifestyle affords me some interesting observations about the differing perceptions of culture and religion. For example, there were many oriental girls adopted into Danish and Swedish households in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Their family members and friends treat them as Swedes/Danes. Never for one second, would they think of these young Asian girls as being different despite them having long, jet black hair and dark brown eyes while the rest of the family had eyes as blue as the skies above.

If you ever to ask any of these girls, adopted from South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, "What are you?" their firm reply will be, "I am a Swede/Dane." Neither they or anyone else thought otherwise.

Naturally the question of WHO I AM arises whenever I strike a conversation with a new friend. When I say I am a Malaysian, many asked me how it was for me to be a Muslim in Malaysia. If I were to reply that I was Chinese, people will ask me about the political climate in China. For many, you are your citizenship.

Ethnic is in question in Malaysia because of the original right of the Malays. If it was not for the original rights of the Malays, we will never be segregated and divide by our bloodlines, ethnics and religious beliefs. We will simply be known as Malaysians and everyone else who is not a Malaysian, is listed as "Non citizen".

Malaysia was born a free country, of people who loved and defended its nation, its land and its people from the Colonial occupiers. I would like to think that Malaysia was born where every Malaysian is equal, with equal rights and comes under the protection of the nation and the supremecy of the head of state.

(Before I get lambasted for no logical reason, I must mention that I have deep convictions and thoughts on this issue. I must point out that I agree that the Malays should be granted special privileges. I also believe that for Malaysia to compete internationally, we have to prepare for the eventual end of the special privileges, with meritocracy being the preferred choice. Probably should write about this on a later date.)

We, Malaysians are reminded of WHO WE WERE ETHNICALLY each time we fill up an official form. And how is it possible to be otherwise?

The government condones racial discrimination. I say it condones racial discrimination because most of its official forms make it compulsory for us to list our race. As such, it discriminates one Malaysian from another based on race/ethnic and by doing so, it condones. But the government has no other possible choice.

How else are the property developers going to give special discounts to bumiputras to purchase houses, as per instructed by the government? How else are the banks going to grant special soft loans for small farmers to expand/improve their lot in life? How are our local universities going to allocate spaces for the bumis and the non-bumis if we were not segregated and compartmentalized into tiny boxes, “Malay”, “Chinese”, “Indian” and “Dan lain-lain”?

In many other countries, one had to choose from two boxes, namely “Citizen of the country” or “Non citizen”.

And this is sad.

But who are we to blame? Are we going to blame the Malays for pushing the rest of the nation into “Cina”, “India” and “Dan lain-lain” boxes? I personally do not blame the Malays at all.

I respect the Malays because they fought for their political rights. Whoever gains political rights will eventually control the government, who then create laws and regulations. While the rest were caught up trying to buy the latest mobile phone, the fastest car coming out of Europe and the most prestigious address in KL, the Malays are diligently protecting and defending their political rights.

If I can’t blame others, who else can I blame?

I say I have no one else to blame but myself. I blame myself for not protesting when a political figure elected into the Parliament, used a racial remark against another person of a differing race. I blame myself for electing politicians who only looked down to the ground and did not protest against such remarks, especially in a place representing the country, ie. the Parliament.

I am ashamed of myself.

I respect the Malays because they defend and protect what they believe is their rights. They are quick to correct any racial remark was made against a Malay or a Muslim. They will voice their displeasure and discomfort and protect what they feel is right. They constantly raise awareness for issues concerning their race. They have put in their efforts and they reap their rewards accordingly.

I blame myself for not voicing my displeasure at certain remarks made by a small fraction of society. I blame myself for not doing more to share "semangat muhibah" among my friends. I blame myself for not protesting against discriminating and inflamatory articles written by a few people who sowed seeds of dishormony among the people. I blame myself for not sharing with my readers, that this is not about religion or race. I blame myself for not championing good ethics, good faith and respect. I blame myself for not doing more than I am doing.

I blame myself for not protesting against certain educational institution that “encouraged” non-muslims to wear the Baju Kurung to school or the tudung for convocations. I blame myself for not highlighting my displeasure to the authorities, letting them know that I am not happy that certain people are “encouraging” non-muslims to wear the tudung and the Baju Kurung. I blame myself for not suggesting that these educational institution to “encourage” everyone (Malaysians, immaterial of race or creed) to wear the Punjabi suit on Mondays, the Cheongsam on Tuesdays, the Sari on Wednesdays, the Iban costume on Thursdays and the Baju Kurung on Fridays. I blame myself for not encouraging a Malaysian spirit among those close to my heart.

I blame myself for not protesting when a non-Christian was elected to be the principal of my high school, which is a mission school whose very foundations are built on Christian values. This is not a question of religion, but HISTORY and IDENTITY of the school. Slowly the very things that made this school special - its tradition and values - are eroded but where is my voice?

What will happen if a non-Muslim was elected as a principal as of a Muslim boarding school? Suffice to say, the day is unlikely to come to pass and the Muslims are right in protecting and promoting what is right for them. I blame myself for not sacrificing a small portion of my time to write a letter to education department to voice my displeasure and discomfort that all the little monuments that made my high school unique and different from the other public schools are slowly being taken down. Now my school, which had a long history for producing bright and wholesome students is no different from any other public schools. Where was my voice?

I blame myself for not making my voice count. I blame myself for not starting a campaign to educate Malaysians to elect a political party that protects the rights of Malaysians - not the Malays, not the Chinese, not the Indians, not the “dan lain-lain” but Malaysians. I blame myself for not finding like-minded people, whose aspirations are for a better Malaysia, for a country that is truly Asian, truly Malaysian, to promote love and respect among its people. I blame myself for not spending time talking to the young and telling them that each of us, Malaysian, have a part to play in building a great nation.

I blame myself for not doing more than I am. I blame myself for not being more Malaysian than I am.

I blame myself.

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thought-provoking..however, these are just words..words of regret that are never too late to correct..and your words have reminded me, a 17 yr old malaysian that I have a role to play.

11:19 am  

I wrote this piece, with the hope of inspiring all of us, young Malaysians to rise up and think - immaterial of race or creed.

When I turned 21, I raced myself to register for my voting right and I have been exercising it since. Malaysians, both young and old, need to make their voice count and amount for something. If we want to compete on the international level, we have much to face and resolve certain issues.

I am thankful that we Malaysians, currently have a wonderful Prime Minister, whom I believe is the suitable and honourable man to lead Malaysia at the moment.

You might be surprised when I say this: I honestly believe that our ex-PM was suitable for his time and our current is suitable for this present time. Malaysia is growing and changing and its people are changing and maturing. Our choice for a PM reflects our maturity as a nation.

2:05 pm  

utopian society will never be achieved in our lifetime, just look at india / pakistan, they are the same people divided by religion. Even if we have 100% mix marriage in mesia, we will never be completely harmonious, look at what happened in indonesia (sulawesi island), same people different religions, the children got beheaded for what! all points out to politics, politics borne out of economics, economic means whether you and i have enough on the table, lets just smoke grass and foget for a while

2:18 pm  

Anon: "lets just smoke grass and foget for a while"

You crack me up... Sadly I do not smoke ciggies or grass, not in real life and not as a character in my book. I can't write what I have not experienced, I guess.

However you are right to point that political stablity comes with economic growth. Sweden, a country that has not been in any "WAR" for many many years is reconized as one of the richer countries in the EU. Stockholm was listed at Top Ten Best Cities to live some years ago (based on crime rate, education, economic, physical facilities etc etc) with Oslo being the first.

3:09 pm  

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