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Old 13-12-2010, 05:13 PM
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We’re not racists. Really?
December 13, 2010

DEC 13 — By now, I’m sure you’ve heard how an SPM examiner on duty went on a racial tirade after a bunch of students wouldn’t shut up in the exam hall. Why is it that the Chinese and Indian students are always the ones who get blamed for making the most noise?

I honestly don’t get it, since our Malay populous can get just as rowdy. Take a look at Parliament and tell me differently.

Why are people racists?

And I’m not just talking about those who go about posting job ads saying “Tamil-speaking” or “Chinese-speaking” only. And by the way, there’s no such thing as Chinese-speaking, whoever those morons are.

I happen to know the two most-spoken dialects in this nation of ours are Mandarin and Cantonese. China itself has hundreds, if not thousands, of dialects spoken by its citizenry. See how much you can learn from a FedEx ad?

The Malays take a different approach particularly when it comes to subletting a room. I wonder why there is a need for the “Muslim” only. And, of course, there will always be the group that insists we should be proud to be Melayu. Bangga Melayu, as they coin it.

And if that were to be translated by our brilliant subtitle crew in the movie industry, one can surely bet the bottom dollar that it would be raised in Parliament should that be wrongly translated as “be proud to wilt.”

The government is not helping. You can have multi-billion ringgit campaigns that are worthless without a change in the education system.

How can you preach acceptance and diversity when you have teachers in school who think a racial tirade is fine during school assemblies or to get students to shut up? How can you preach a united Malaysia regardless of race when I can still see Kancils and Kelisas still bearing the “UiTM hak Bumiputera” sticker?

Considering the intake of foreign nationals in these universities to meet international standards, how can you even boast of yourself as such? While our de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has come out stating that he’s Malaysian first and Malay second, it is of further disappointment that nobody else on the Cabinet sees themselves as such, Malay, Chinese or even Indian.

When our government states that we should be proud to be Malaysian, and then continuously bring up issues of racial turmoil that is also caused by members within the government itself, how do you justify your stance?

When you have a government that states we should liberalise our economy, why are vetting processes for contracts and tenders still giving priority to Bumiputera-owned companies? And seriously, to certain MPs who state they are not racist because they have “friends” from other races, just how many of those friends are there just to lobby for you and vice versa?

The truth is we are still a nation of racists from the grassroots all the way to the top. From people refusing to share a home with those of different cultures, to our leaders up top who would go about their daily lives promoting racial leanings in order to ensure that they can stay in office and in power, we are racists.

Perhaps even now, with the campaign by the government and certain NGOs telling people to call themselves Malaysians first and their racial identity second, Umno continuously preaches that we should be known as Malay Malaysians.

Ironically, we are actually reaching the same racial impasse that the United States faced in the 1900s.

In the United States at the turn of the 20th century, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt stated clearly that any Irish-American or German-American should stop referring to themselves as such, coining the phrase “hyphenated” Americans. In fact, he said the only flag that they should be patriotic to is the American flag, and no other comes a close second.

I mention this because judging by our government’s stance on the Orang Asli, they seem to be following his lead when he said this about the native Indians: “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of 10 are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

We pride ourselves on our races, cultures and, oddly enough, religious values. And you would have thought pride of our religious values and enforcing it upon others would have been sinful to begin with, but no.

If anything, Malaysia right now, from government to grassroots, needs to take a bite of humble pie or a plate of humble nasi campur because Malaysia in its supposed “racially diverse and harmonious” status quo will not benefit anyone in the long term.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.
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