Time to say no to racism

– Bob Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
October 04, 2013

My Malay buddy texted me: “Would you comment as a non-Malay, in particular Chinese, how you see future of non-Malays, especially Chinese, with the likes of Perkasa, Jati, Jimm around and even Umno becoming more rightist. Also with country appearing to becoming more Malay as well as Malay population increasing while non-Malay population decreasing? Will not name you, of course.”

He’s a columnist just like me and he needed my response to help him put together a piece on the sorry state of race relations in the country. So I rang him up and offered him my opinion.

“Must be a hard time you Chinese are facing eh?” he said before assuring me he would not use my name in his column.

“Why not?” I asked. “Because the other non-Malay friends I asked would only speak on condition they remain anonymous.” I reminded him my principle is that if I have an opinion I would say it upfront without the need to remain nameless. Otherwise I have no opinions to offer. “But that will look funny because yours will be the only opinion with a name, the rest would remain anonymous,” he protested.

Not intending to sound quixotic, I told him if one feels strongly about expressing an opinion, he or she should put his or her name to it. Otherwise, it’s better not to say anything. The only exception is that if by doing so endangers someone else’s life. Freedom of expression comes with a price. If it doesn’t command a price then it’s just cheap talk. Only fools do that.

The problem is not with the Malays. They have never been a problem. I have always lived in a mixed neighbourhood since young counting Malays as friends. When I was in Form Five, my good friend was a Malay who lived in Kampung Baru. Surely you can’t find anyone more Malay than that. When I entered university on the first day of the May 13 riots, my room-mate was a Malay. During Ramadan, I attempted to fast with him but I didn’t last the distance. Chinese just can’t fast as well as Malays can.

But make no mistakes about it. There are Malay racists in this country. You see them in the news every day. Though they seem to be growing more and more through the years, there’s no empirical evidence for me to say Malays are becoming increasingly racist. My experience is that there are more Malays who would likely to be for me than against me. Likewise, there are also non-Malay racists. You see them in the news too.

So we have to live with this problem of perception. Is there a solution? Some say we may as well pack up and leave. I did just that more than twenty over years ago. But we came back from Australia after our only daughter graduated and started working. There’s no place like home. And Malaysia is home. One can’t leave home forever. The prodigal son returns someday. Migration, after all, is an elitist proposition. Only the professionals with skills to offer or those rich enough qualify for migration. The rest remain behind for better or for worse. But they still have a choice – to be at peace or at war with their Malay neighbours.

Non-Malays have suffered tremendously because of racist policies. Malays too have suffered if not more from such flawed policies based solely on race. The injustice seems only crueler to them simply because they are supposed to the beneficiaries of such policies.

Racism has produced a distorted economy that will continue to drag Malaysia down to the ranks of among the failed states. More racist policies will not benefit anyone, least of all the Malays. We are all stakeholders. Time to say no to racism. – mysinchew.com, October 4, 2013.

  1. #1 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 11:48 am

    Ok. Strip the issue down to bare bones.

    Imagine. If all non-malays in the country had gone. Yes. Migrated. Left the country for somewhere else. And only malays are now left behind. Malaysia would be a country of pure malays – homogeneous race (just an assumption).

    What would happen, then?

    Would all the Tan Sri Kroni bin Umnos share their wealth with the rest of the malays? Joe Ahmads will continue to be joes and Tan Sri Kroni will continue to be cronies, albeit of the larger (maybe hungrier) variety.

    • #2 by cemerlang on Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 9:50 pm

      No two heads think the same. Therefore no two Malays will think the same. Just like asking a person with a chinese name whether he is a chinese and when he said he is a chinese, he is asked if he speaks chinese. Come on lah. Have Malaysians gone this far or just plain … ? You will find at least one person of a totally different racial group in one country. Do you think there is at least 1 Malay in the North Pole ? And what would do the Eskimos or Inuits think of him ? And what would they say about him ? You will find chineses all over the world. Even if they do not know about their own language, they are still chinese. Similarly, there is no 1 pute Malay race in Malaysia should one day all non Malays disappeared. You will have non Malays of the Islam faith. It is not right to make them forget their real heritage.

  2. #3 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 11:59 am

    “the injustice seems crueler to them” – this is convoluted reasoning – if its chicken blame the egg, if its egg, blame the chicken? You can’t blame other people when you are in charge. It makes no sense and more importantly such convoluted reasoning leads to no solution.

    The future is already absolutely clear if you have half a smart – UMNO/BN corruption, abuse of power with their excuses and lies is no different than profligacy and apathy that has led many nations to ruins. For a very big portion of the population, too big a portion, the future is bleak and they or their children will have no stake in the future under UMNO/BN..

    • #4 by cemerlang on Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 9:56 pm

      When you are the in charge, you will have to swallow everything. The good and the bad. The in charge is like a driver in a car. How do you drive ? Where do you want to drive to ? When do you want to drive ? Why do you think you need to drive to that destination ? Which passenger would you bring along ?

  3. #5 by Di Shi Jiu on Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 8:50 pm

    Without racism, there would be no more UMNO Baru.

    • #6 by cemerlang on Saturday, 5 October 2013 - 9:58 pm

      There will be another team under the same party; this time for those with the Islamic faith but of a different race. You cannot put race and religion together. You are a chinese. You are of the Islamic faith.

  4. #7 by Noble House on Sunday, 6 October 2013 - 3:07 am

    In the end more than they wanted freedom to entitlements, they wanted security. When the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior, when the privileged majority finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Malaysia ceased to be a democracy.

    The dreams of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.

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