Have I only just seen the light?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I just read a post which got me thinking... (read it here) I don't recall ever having being very interested in politics, but it really gets me to question what our leaders are doing. I also finally understand why my father spends hours and hours reading alternative news sources (like Malaysiakini). It also causes me to ask myself, what does it mean to be Malaysian? I suppose I will embark on yet another (possibly) controversial post, so please try to be a little open minded.

I grew up in Malaysia, and attended a national school from primary 1 all the way to form 5 (Upper secondary) after which I got a scholarship to study in Singapore. Even though I am Chinese, I am more proficient in English and Malay than my own mother tongue (Which many find appalling). I mixed with Malay, Chinese and Indian students in school, and we didn't have a race problem. I came from a pretty problematic school, with constant fights between rival gangs, each consisting largely of one particular race. However this did not affect the way I treated others of a different race. When I was young, I mixed around with everyone, but we were young and ignorant of racial differences. Everyday, I'd go out in the evening to play at the playground (or when we didn't have one nearby, on the road in front of my house) and I mixed with Malay and Indian kids too. We played Galah Panjang, football, rounders and even Kabadi together. I like Malay food, Indian food and Chinese food. Whenever people ask me where I'm from, and I tell them I'm from Malaysia, not Singapore, not China. I'm proud to call myself a Malaysian, but it's really sad when I read about things like this.

It amazes me how some people can be so blinded by personal pride that they can't bother to consider that perhaps what another person says might have *some* merit. I visited the article posted from Wikipedia (read it here) which happened to be the featured article today. I'm not about to blame our founding fathers of anything, because I understand why they made those decisions back then. However, there might just be a hint of truth to what Lee Kuan Yew was so concerned about back then. We can't change the past, but what we can do is to perhaps address the problems which plague the nation now. What I'm getting at is that even our founding fathers agreed that Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia should be reviewed some years later, but it hasn't been... and more than 40 years after independence there isn't even a consideration to 'perhaps' consider that this might be the best course of action.

Now before anyone starts hurling abuse and shouts of racism I would just like to point out one thing. If what the government has been doing for the past 40 years have failed to produce the results that they ought to (namely the NEP), isn't it only right that we might want to rethink the policies that are already in place now? I'm not advocating the removal of the special rights that the Bumiputeras have, but undoubtedly the way it is implemented is detrimental not only to the Bumiputeras but also the non-Bumiputeras. Even former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asked that the Bumiputeras stopped relying on the system to help them through. It is obvious that he too sees that many of the Bumiputeras are abusing the system, resulting in a lackadaisal generation which lacks the spirit of excellence. If this can be overcome, then there is no problem really, because the system would be functioning as it ought to. This is unfortunately not quite the case. I say this only for the benefit of the Bumiputeras, because from my point of view, it is they who have the most to lose. By creating an environment where they are so taken care of, they don't see the need to go beyond the bare minimal. For the non-Bumiputeras, all the odds are stacked against them, and that is a very competitive environment which breeds excellence. Of course, the thing that matters most is the way each individual sees the situation. The question I pose then, is that in general (since government policies should reflect the good of the majority), do these individuals see it in the way I described? When the system fails to meet the target set (in this case for the Malays have a 30% equity share of the economy), is it the right thing to impose even more 'rights' so that they become even more laid back? I really feel the crux of the matter is summed up here.

Meanwhile, whenever there is a failure of economic, social and educational policies, you come back and say, oh, these wicked Chinese, Indian and others opposing Malay rights. They don't oppose Malay rights. They, the Malay, have the right as Malaysian citizens to go up to the level of training and education that the more competitive societies, the non-Malay society, has produced. That is what must be done, isn't it? Not to feed them with this obscurantist doctrine that all they have got to do is to get Malay rights for the few special Malays and their problem has been resolved.

I'm not going to say that Malaysia sux. I still love my country, and I want the best for it. If only more people start seeing the bigger picture which will benefit everyone, then perhaps there will be a lot more hope for Malaysia.

Edit: A little something I stumbled across... evidently this affected other Malaysians too... Here's the link: Clickey

(Note: This article is a personal opinion which reflects my feelings on the matter. It is in no way a means of which to spread discord or incite racial or political hatred.)

Posted by Gerald at 1/18/2006 09:19:00 PM