Friday, May 23, 2008

What is The Threat to The Malay Race That it Requires Protection?

This whole making a mountain out of a mole hill seems to assume a number of things about the Malay race. Or is there really such a thing as the Malay race? I have to wonder. Or like Hitler did, turned Germans into Nazi's so that you could seperate Nazi's from the ordinary Germans, you now have the political cult "Malays", who you can seperate from the ordinary Malay.

There is this presumption of a unique race who call themselves Malay now that they have moved to live in a land once called Malaya. Khir Toyo's father was an Indonesian in Indonesia at the end of the second World War. Khir Toyo is now a Malay. How many more who were born Indonesians now pass off as Malays?

My grandfather was Indian when he first came to Malaya before the first World War. My parents were both born in Malaya between the two wars. They obtained their citizenship papers post Merdeka. Today I am still Indian.

Whilst I, and I should add, my fellow Malaysian Chinese, are quite certain and confident of ourselves, our race, religions etc, and therefore, are not so much concerned about needing our cultures or our faiths protected like the Malays seem to need, it is amazing that as UMNO would have us all believe, the Malays need protection despite they being the majority, the ones controlling the purse strings, the ones with all the power and the authority and access to all the resources of the land. A bigger wonder is despite knowing all these there seems to be sizable proportion of the Malay race out there who seem only too willing to submit to the fears thrust upon them by their leaders.

UMNO and Malay NGOs repeat like a mantra the need for their protection. The need to thrust their language upon everyone and looking at it as something sacred. I know of Chinese and Indians who are quite happy despite not knowing, speaking or writing the language of their race. Of course MCA and MIC claim to be the protectors of the Chinese and Indian race respectively. For this purpose, even more than any efforts in the lands we have come from, MCA and MIC can, I believe, claim to be the greatest champions of our respective races anywhere in the world. Like as if we need it.

Of course being Indian or a Chinese for that matter, we are in a way stopped from denying our culture, race, religion etc. Therefore, when another of our race stands on a platform purportedly claiming to defend and/or represent our "very much needed" protection, rights etc, we find ourselves unable to say anything against that person as he appears to have a more righteous cause than I could ever express. So what has happened is that even within a race we find instead of greater unity, greater disparity. I cannot change the fact that my children's ability to speak or communicate in the language of their mother or their father is minimal or non-existent. Only the colour of our skin places us within a racial set that is the making of politicians and we are counted as part of that statistic. And UMNO presumes that I am sufficiently represented by my race based leaders.

And what have my children's race based leaders bargained for them?

Well, they have got the Indian/Chinese quota, what ever that means. They have got the Chinese and the Tamil schools that they can happily attend. And oh, does not matter that they are Christians, but they have got an extra day holiday for Thaipusam now. But, hey, my kids don't speak either language.

Their first and only language at home is English. No doubt I am not English, but my politicians have robbed off my children's rights to access education in a language they use and need.

The position taken that there are Tamil Schools for Indians and Chinese schools for the Chinese is a bit of a fallacy as everyone knows that the Punjabi or the Malayalee or the Telugu or the Hindi speaking Indian has not got a school that he can send his children to. My former Hinanese neighbour who only spoke Hainanese was not properly represented either by MCA as the Mandarin thought in our Chinese schools were as alien to him as they are to me. A Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien or Teo Chew cannot claim Mandarin is their mother tongue. And what about the Kadazans, Ibans, Dukuns and Negritos and whoever else.

Why is it that English education as we all knew it before Mahathir became Education Minister is anathema to everyone. It would seem so even to Anwar and Pakatan too very sadly.

But this separation of races and the provision of Chinese and Tamil schools provides a convenient separation of the races rendering greater weight to the notion that each race, by the differences in their race, language and religion, have opposing goals which requiire opposing representation and defence of positions gained.

There is obviously the danger that English schools would nullify the clear seperation created by all these visuals the present system has created. It would seem like Pakatan too is on the same road as Anwar has promised to remove the teaching of Maths and Science in English and have it reverted to the language of the respective school. Why this presumption that there is no demand for the English type schools of the pre-1980s?

It is often a joke to hear our racist leaders sound out why it is important to nurse our individual cultures and languages. Of course UMNO, by its policies and the thrust to push everything Malay on us in the 1980s found this defeated by the greater popularity for Tamil and Chinese schools. Indeed if only they had left well alone, we would have seen, like in Singapore, the demise of the Chinese and Tamil schools. The only reason I can provide for why this change in the fortunes of the vernacular schools in Malaysia is the complete rejection of the Natioanl Education provided by National schools. It is not just the education but also the rejection of the type of teachers who were teaching in these schools. The Chinese and Tamils in large numbers moved out to the Chinese and Tamil schools, voting with their feet.

But this is good for UMNO. And this was good for MCA. It was all good for the race based politics to continue into the future as the educational system stood as the icon of the race based politics to be defended and protected into the future. MIC could never explain what happens to the Indian after he finishes his primary education in the Tamil school. Sure a handful finish secondary and university and prosper. What about the majority?

By letting each dominant race have as its icon something to fight for the UMNO elite are assured that there will always be more than enough Malays out there who will secure for them their leadership positions without the threat of the Chinese and Indians making it difficult for them. It is quite alright too for all the advantage they have as leaders of UMNO to share part of the power and the loot with submissive MCA and MIC leaders.

Iconically too, these different language schools stand as symbols of opposing interests that each race can look upon. Thus giving truth to UMNO's message that "ketuanan Melayu" needs to be protected. The Malay rights and interest have to be defended and fought for. There is the demonic enemy who is always there in the culture of the chinese and the Indians.

Bareft of anything really useful, MCA and MIC have also made themselves seem relevant placing themselves as the saviours of our races. Problem with Pakatan is that they too seem to have fallen for this trap into thinking problems like poverty and homelessness is race based and individual racial leaders are best to deal with their constituents.

It is all a question of who is going to share the loot. To share in that loot they got to first hold power. Leadership by fear and threats is convenient and easy. Better still religion has provided a lot of deterrent to secure the submissiveness of its members, so use that to the maximum as well.

The propagation of the threat to the Malay race has been very successful for over 50 years in keeping them in check. They of course have the opportunity to make use of UMNO for their own ends. But the psychological conditioning of the Malay race has been so successful that threat to that success is what seems now to be the greatest worry for UMNO's leaders.

Therefore, we see, Mahathir assuming as such and once again worries out loud his concern for ketuanan Melayu. He worries about the non-Malays questioning UMNO. He is so convincing that Malays need protection and that only his UMNO can do that for them. He makes it sound like UMNO under Badawi is not doing that and have opened a gaping hole for the "enemies" of the Malays to threaten their "rights". He is so sure that Anwar is going to sell the Malays to the Jews, if not to Paul Wolfowitz.

But really!!!