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Wednesday, September 06, 2006
You Reap What You Sow

An avalanche of approximately 3000 readers poured in the past 3 days from Kenny Sia's blog. The post in question was my Merdeka post aptly titled, "We Are 49 Years Old Now And What Have We Achieved?", basically questioning our achievement as a nation as we celebrate our independence again.

Some of these readers left me with really intelligent comments, which reflects the many sentiments among the Malaysian young. Here are some of them and my response to their comments.

  • MicHiyo said...
    i'm a fresh grad from a local public university. just wanna point out that although about 20 others surpassed his results, this guy is getting the Chancellor award because of wat else.. we are so damn pissed off.

    Otto said...
    Take heart in knowing that the working world is different from the uni lifestyle you had led thus far. Whilst it is true that quotas still exist in the private sector, the Malays suffer from disrespect from the general public.

    There is a flipside to the whole story. Malays who work in the private sector need to work harder to prove to the rest that they earned their place through sheer hardwork and intelligence and not because their government gave them the positions. And there are many who work very hard to disproof the non-bumis' assumption that they were given the position out of race privilege and not merit.

    I don't know about you but I think that is quite a toughie as well.

    Respect does not see neither color nor religion. You cannot buy it with money. You cannot put a quota on it. Respect has to be earned the old fashion way - by justice, fairness, compassion and admirable qualities.

  • Anonymous 4:40 AM said...
    Okay, I think it'S great to have a critical mentality of Malaysia because that's the only way a country will progress.

    Yes, on one hand it is necessary to compare Malaysia to places like London, America.

    But on the other, I think the way you are looking at London is quite naive. I was brought up in London, and yes, there is an incredible amount of racism thrown at Indians (not just in the rest of England but in london too), Chinese, Blacks, and everyone else. I'm glad that you think that you've managed to fit in in London with the wonderful people there.. but to dismiss or ignore the terrible oppression that happens in the UK would just be insulting to US, the ethinic minorities who live there.
    Japan suffers from TERRIBLE racism towards non-Japanese.
    The US did not go to the moon in 10 years, they were founded in the 1770s, the moon landing was a culmination of 200 years of hard work, peace, and slave labour.

    In my opinion, it's just as necessary to look at other countries critically and realistically as it is our own.

    Otto said...
    never said that I did not face discrimination in London, now did I? The fact is racial discrimination and racist comments are inevitable wherever you are. They rise from the fact that mankind feel a kindred spirit with those who shares similar expriences with them. Equally they feel uncomfortable when confronted with a culture/person that is totally alien to them. The difference causes discomfort and uncertainty, which subconsciously threatens their identity.

    Again, please refer to my comments on the comparison to the US & its moon project. I refered to it as a point of reference to what humankind can do within a short period of time. The US were not the first to launch something to the moon. When the US realised that they were behind the Russians in the race to the moon, they bucked up and determined to be the first to land a man on the moon and to return him back safely to earth.

    The JFK quote was at the point when the US determined to organise themselves, so as to achieve the objective ---> be the first to land a man on the moon. And they did it, from naught to actual landing within the decade.

    You raised strong points about the Japanese being racist towards non-Japanese. I shall try and find time to pen down my thoughts on this issue.

    Thank you.

  • pokemon said...
    In 2-3 years time, when it is time for us to buang the undi, we will do it right.

    Maybe they can, and have been conning our parents and grandparents for donkey years with the promise of "development".

    Maybe our parents and grandparents have seen worse times. But that is no excuse for anyone to perpetuate a divisive and destructive system.

    I will be voting for a Malaysian Malaysia.

    Otto said...
    Ahhhh a smart person you are! One of the first changes we can all participate in is to make full use of our voting rights! So please ladies and gentlemen, register yourself at the nearest polling station when you turn 21.

    All of us should exercise our rights to voice our opinions and to decide for our future as a nation. While we cannot do it on our own, we can collectively voice our views and help our future politicians in their choices when administering the country.

  • Anonymous 4:01PM said...
    Off all the PM , Tunku Abdul Rahman is the one i truly loved. He has the vision of all Malaysian regardless of race live harmoniusly and progress as a nation. However a majority of power hungry malay do not share his views and create unfairness in the society by the name of " trying to correct the socio economic imbalance". By 2020 perhaps our oil will starts to trickle dry where are we going to find money to subsidize the malay? The Malays are getting more secular by the day. They forgot the teachings of Islam on tolerance and fairness. As any one of them do they think that Malaysia is a fair country. Just ask yourselvesif they truly want to be fair at least the scholarship awarded should follow the population quota of the respective races. No matter how we plead Malaysia will never change cos some politicians will use the threat of riots to intimidate the non Malays. I believe in distibution but to distribute one must first grow the pie. Why dont let those who are capable grow the pie before we distribute the pie. No point robnbing A to feed B. Its a zero sum game.

    Otto said...
    I think generally everyone accepts that society (that means you and me) has a responsiblity to help the poor and needy. A sum of our tax money should be spent to equip the poor with skills to help them survive. Allocation should be made for the NEEDY to receive support in terms of books, facilities and healthcare.

    However many of us have a problem when it is the same people who benefit from society's generosity. Kindness should never be abused by a small fraction of society. So whilst in paper, the special privileges were created for the poor kampung folks but in practice, it is the few exclusive families who benefitted from this privileges - from government contracts to favoured business deals.

    The politicians should realise that the younger generation is not easily intimidated by "threats of violence and disturbance if you elect some other XYZ political party". Personally I think it more of a self-fulling prophesy than real substance. The more we concentrate and fear this, the more it is going to happen.

    It is also quite obvious to the government that capable young people are moving away to foreign lands because of unfavourable working conditions in Malaysia. This trend will continue until the government is willing to address the issue at hand - which is rewarding employees based on good work and innovative minds. so as long as the government continues to impose special privileges in both public and private sectors, the best minds in Malaysia will not return to serve the country.

    It is simple logic - would you want to serve a master who does not recognize you for your worth? There are not many who blindly serve a rotten master these days. Such environment will dampen even the smartest person and reduce him to an average employee at best.

  • adrian said...
    Its just the matter of time things like this happens. without the death of macolm x, US might not be what it is today..

    people need to go through something significant to improve, or grow up, or realise something. same as a nation, like japan.

    Dr.M days was good, but ignored public morale, its time to change the perception towards our own nation now. theres a reason y we vote once a four years!

    well writen post!

    Otto said...
    Again the issue of casting vote and exercising our rights as a citizen in Malaysia. You are absolutely right. We should bring this up more often and encourage the young to sign up at the nearest polling station and when the time comes, to vote appropriately!

    The only problem we have as voters is, there isn't much of a choice! The last election, my choice was between PAS and BN. I did not want to vote for either of them! I want to vote for a party that represents a smart and modern Malaysia, not some race or some religion.

    So on top of teaching our young to vote, we have to start sowing seeds in our even younger people. Hopefully we would have some people with the right leadership quality and adequate knowledge to administer the country properly. They must have proper knowledge in each ministry they are serving. But above all, they must have passion and love for our nation.

    Do you know someone who would represent the spirit of Malaysia?

  • luzzio said...

    sounds angry, this post.

    racial differences are everywhere, whether england or malaysia, its all the same. there'll always be those that can mix with different people, and those that cant.

    i suppose you're saying the goverment should instead post propaganda and repeat the May 13 Incident then, instead of trying to promote racial harmony?

    Otto said...
    My question is why are people so afraid of the May 13th incident? Why are you so afraid to the point that you are not willing to take a chance to better your future?

    There is always an element of danger everywhere. Just because it has happened in the past does not represent that it will happen in the future.

    We will not prevent another May 13 by threatening that it will happen again. We prevent another May 13 from happening by staring it hard in the face. To deny our children from learning about it will directly cause another May 13.

    We can prevent the incident from reoccuring by learning a lesson from it. We need to teach our young to respect and love one another, immaterial of age, race, ethnic or religion. We need to talk about this and feel free to discuss this among the school going children, so our future generation know what happens when we are selfish for our own community.

    May 13 can serve a positive role, as a reminder to us of what will happen when we use race to differentiate friends.

  • Anonymous said...
    I don't see why we should use Japan as a model for Malaysia. Japan is very VERY far from an ideal society. Yes, they might be rich BUT: Lack of democracy, right-wing, mono-ethnic, rife teenage prostitution (and widely accepted), incredibly high suicide rate, saturated economy, TERRIBLE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, monopoly companies, seller's market, CRAZY PRICES. Just because Japan happens to be trendy at the moment, and we like their dramas/stars/technology doesn't mean we should look at it through rose tinted glasses, although obviously there are good points about it.


    Otto said...
    Again I must clarify that the reference to Japan was specifically made as an example of what mankind can achieve in short period of time. It was used as an illustration to show the courage and strength that mankind possess in times of adversity and devastation.

    The Malays has the special privileges in place because they claimed that they are marginalized within our society. In order to create a sense of balance, our forefathers agreed to create this special privileges TO HELP THE MALAYS TO ACHIEVE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE and to stand in society on equal footing (with the rest of the nation).

    49 years have passed and they still need the privileges? 49 years safely means 2 generations have passed and what have they achieved? Do you not think that there is something wrong when the privileges is STILL NEEDED?

    Are the Malays so pathetic that they still require the privileges? The Americans determined to organize themselves to be the first men on the moon and did so within 10 years. The Japanese, devastated by war and TWO ATOMIC bombs managed to rise up and compete internationally within the same time frame of 50 years.

    What have the Malays done within that period? What has the rest of the nation achieved? Have we achieved our aims after 49 years?


  • orangy strawberry said...

    i truly agree with this post, very well written!

    that's why i admire lee kuan yew, i'm amazed at how singapore is able to transform from a once-squalid, war-battered seaport to a thriving metropolis in a single generation

    you might say singapore is small and thus easier to handle, well what about japan?

    singapore did so because they have a very efficient government, everything is systematic and most important of all they advocate meritocracy, it's by now obvious that competition brings out the best of a person

    if only malaysia took singapore's path right from the start, we could be very different by now

    and luzzio wth are you talking? her article is about steps that can be taken to improve our nation, what you said is completely irrelevant

    oh well, let's hope for a better Malaysia, my country after all

    Otto said...
    Good tree bears good fruits. Bad tree will never bear good fruits.

    Our forefathers sowed seeds along the racial lines and now we are reaping the fruits. Many citizens are frustrated and dissatisfied with the current system, where special privileges are awarded to a certain race.

    I shall take a managing a company as an illustration.
    Good employees are unwilling to serve the country because they feel they will never be recognized for their good work. Instead they have moved on to other companies that would reward them for their intelligence and good work.

    When bad employees are rewarded even when they do not deserve the reward, it sends a clear signal to the rest that the company is unfair. Efficiency and productivity will drop as a result and as the years roll by, the company will be left behind because the employees are not encouraged to be competitive and innovative.

    A country runs similarly.

  • n.emator said...
    A lot of high-minded talk in the comments, but what I do know is this:

    If there is an UMNO, MCA and MIC, they will never be a truly united Malaysia. People have ignored this, at our long term peril.

    It's ridiculous. These groups polarize the races. There should be groups that a citizen of any race can join.

    Fine, have groups of different political ideals, but not race. That is true harmony. Having these groups based on race just means that we are NOT ready to be harmonious yet.

    Otto said...
    We share similar sentiments here. It is about the right time for a new political party to be born. One that serves the concerns of a Malaysian society, not just of one particular race.

    Acknowledging this fact is not enough. We need to work hard and find among ourselves, people with a passion for the nation, who would serve the country in a just and fair way. That is the challenge for those born between the 1960s to the 1980s. These are the people who would make ideal politicians due to their age range vs life experience.

  • J.C said...
    you shouldn't compare Japan with M'sia. Theres only 1 race in Japan while there are tons in M'sia. Taking them as an example just doesn't quite fit in. S'pore would be a better example of a 'triving developed multi cultural country'
    Btw, I'm a JPA sponsored student in Japan, so the list is sorta incorrect(I'm a Chinese)

    Otto said...
    This is not something about race. It is about citizenship, that if you are a citizen of Malaysia, there are some things that you do as a MALAYSIAN. So far, we are so attached to our various race & culture, that we have not formed an identity for ourselves as a Malaysians.

    How many celebrations/festivals are there that ALL MALAYSIA celebrate? Not many, huh? So perhaps we should start thinking in terms of how we can do something together as MALAYSIANS... not about Chinese celebrate CNY, Malays celebrate Hari Raya and Indians celebrate Diwali....

    A good example would be the Mid Summer celebration in Sweden. That one weekend where the WHOLE OF SWEDEN stops functioning, cities are deserted and everyone's in their little summer houses with friends and families, dancing, singing and having fun... celebrating the Mid Summer, of course. It has nothing to do with their race or colour or religion. It's just what they do because they are Swedish.

    Now what do we have?

  • saifulrizan said...
    Well written entry.

    I've been to several places for business purpose and met a lots of people from all races.

    You're lucky because you (perhaps) dont see racism towards other races. You know, some white people tend to degrade asian (as a whole) and that made me realized Malaysia is not the country that have racism society (as everyone would agree after reading your entry).

    The education subsidy, yes, it was (and perhaps still) the talk of the town when 1 student scored like.. A for all subjects and didn;t manage to get the sponsorship. I mean, education is important, and no one should be denied for facilities to continue their studies.. as they're Malaysian too.. and keep MyKad in their wallet.

    I might be wrong here (in my comment) so please anyone enlighten me with something more intelligent and factual.

    Best regards to otto and bloggers.

    Otto said...
    Students who scored straight A-s should be admitted into their choice of university and their choice of course. I am sure that the universities are not full to the brim that they cannot admit TOP students.

    If they did acknowledge these students, perhaps we won't have the issue of UM's standards dropping nor the fancy UPM student body case?

    You reap what you sow.

  • Anonymous 3:07 PM said...
    i think its obvious that the malays are making the country worse and worse
    dont believe me?
    simple just take for example indonesia and singapore.
    indonesia-run by indonesians(malays came from indo)
    singapore-predominantly chinese.
    which country is well known? well run?rich?safe?clean?
    which country is smelly?dirty?ugly?fucked up?terror prone?

    Otto said...
    I understand your frustrations, which clearly shows itself in your writing. However I would like to suggest that perhaps the way you are channelling your energy is wrong(?). Fighting injustice with insults is not the way to win the respect of the people.

    You can only do so by offering opinions in a dignified manner. Lead discussions and write about this topic. Be passionate about it and let others share your ideas.

    You might then ask me, "What happens if they won't listen?".

    My answer is, "then they have to suffer they sow".

    You will be welcomed somewhere on earth, just as long as you are a good citizen - meaning you have a skill that is useful in the country, you are able to serve your local community etc etc.

There is no straight answer here and the solution is still quite far away. We can however pave the way towards a better Malaysia by talking and discussing the issues raised.



"A good example would be the Mid Summer celebration in Sweden. That one weekend where the WHOLE OF SWEDEN stops functioning, cities are deserted and everyone's in their little summer houses with friends and families, dancing, singing and having fun... celebrating the Mid Summer, of course. It has nothing to do with their race or colour or religion. It's just what they do because they are Swedish.

Now what do we have?"

We have Hari Kebangsaan that a number of our rakyat hardly or refuses to celebrate. By looking at our racist policies back at home, I wonder which particular race are being marginalized by the modern day apartheid regime the most.

8:05 pm  

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