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Ugly Malaysians

Posted in malaysians can, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2008 by hermanc

I read Raja Petra Kamruddin’s ” The Ugly Malaysian” with interest and asked myself, am I a racist?

I think I am, and so are most of you fellow Malaysians out there. I think as long as we still think of ourselves as Malay, Chinese, Indian dan lain-lain, we will always have racial issues. I think it’s part of our up-bringing to want to preserve and protect our family traditions and culture. And as long as we feel we’re being mistreated or discriminated, we will forever be on the defensive when it comes to racial issues.

And I quote RPK

Malaysians, just like Americans, are racists; there is no doubt about that. But while Americans will accept the fact that they are racists, Malaysians will deny it and instead will claim to be very tolerant of the other race or races.

You can always tell when a person is a racist from the opening statement when a Chinese says “I have a lot of Indian friends”, or a Malay says “I used to mix with Chinese at school”, or an Indian says “Actually, Malays in the kampong are very nice people”, and so on. This is the Malay, Chinese and Indian way of giving their ‘stamp of approval’ to the other race. Why do you need to emphasis the word ‘Malay’, ‘Chinese’ or ‘Indian’? Is this your way of showing tolerance? Does the emphasis on race mean you are ‘tolerant’ of those not of your race? Is this to give an appearance of magnanimity or generosity on your part? See what a great guy I am. I tolerate the other races. Sheesh… if I need anyone to ‘tolerate’ me.”

I disagree with RPK about ‘tolerance’, I think they key to unity is being tolerant and UNDERSTANDING. The idea of a truly successful multi-racial society in which tolerance is not a part of is only possible if there is no differences amongst all races, which is impossible. His argument of predetermining if someone is a racist by their remarks like “I have a lot of Indian friends” or “I used to mix with Chinese at school” or “Actually, Malays in the Kampong are very nice people” is based on his assumptions that the speaker is trying to project a magnanimous and generous appearance. I’d say that they may be guilty of trying to project that image but by no means are they to be categorized as a racist.

To fully understand why statements like these invoke such response one must consider the racial atmosphere here in our country. With our government feeding us citizens with such institutionalized racist policies like the NEP and their practice of double standards for the past 40 odd years, it’s no great wonder that the ethnic minorities feel oppressed and discriminated against. When there is such imbalance in social and economic issues, it’s not hard to imagine certain groups feeling less welcomed and slighted, thus promoting dissent and disharmony amongst Malaysians of different ethnicity. So we sometimes make such statements as positive signs of tolerance.

So I view those statements as positive and necessary steps on our road to a strong National Identity. I hope my children will be proud to be Malaysians and that they will have EQUAL opportunities in a country that they can truly call home. And they shall laugh at such statements like “I have many Indian friends”.

Herman C