Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tolerance is the path to unity

I refer to the letter written by Nga Ko-Lyn from Sitiawan, Perak on “Path To True Unity” published on 5th September. If the author is adamant to blame racial politics on the power structure of Barisan Nasional, the author should also examine the racial structure in Pakatan Rakyat where DAP is predominantly Chinese and both PKR and PAS are strongly Malay-based.

Malaysians of all walks of life know the global boundaries have disappeared. However, it doesn’t mean free trade is fair to small and under developed countries. It doesn’t mean the US will not charge tariffs on imported steel from Japan if it means having 180,000 Americans out of job in Pittsburgh. Globalization is widely accepted to many but is also scrutinized and regulated.

Ko-Lyn also said that “the European Union is a force to reckon with”, failing to recognize that the British have failed to increase their economy. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) predicted the UK to be in recession by end of the year, shrinking by 0.4% by year end. The European Union system heavily subsidizes the unemployed and it encourages more people to be out of job. In 2002, the combined unemployment rate of EU was at a staggering 8%. The taxation is high at 40% and more Europeans are flooding the Asian job market because of the high salary and low taxation from local governments. The North Sea sector has probably hit oil peak and industrial leaders are eyeing elsewhere for investments. The EU alone imports 82% of its oil for consumption. China is already the market leader in manufacturing (manufacturing 6.5million cars last year with 120 car makers in the country) and India in IT. Google, Microsoft, Coke and other major global brands are investing heavily in Asia, not Europe. He should recognize that Asia is “The” force to be reckoned with, not Europe. I do agree that our politicians should just govern, instead of being embroiled in local politics, before Vietnam surpasses our GDP. The general election has been over for 6 months.

Ko-Lyn also said that “the only way to absolute and true unity is when we stop thinking as different races”. There is no demerit thinking as different races. This is the basis of cultures and cultures are what identify people with a sense of belonging. The Malays are proud to brandish the keris, not just during political assemblies but as part of the uniform and a symbol of the Malay culture, likewise the Chinese with their mighty Lion Dance. America has been independent for more than a century, yet the non-Caucasians are still categorized as Latin Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans. Tolerance is still king and will continue to play the most important racial in racial unity and ‘integration’. In the end, we are all Malaysians with the same passport and identification cards.

On education, if Ko-Lyn thinks that “policies prevent many of our smart students from completing their education in a higher institution”, what about primary and secondary schools? If he is such an advocate of unity, he should be advocating a streamlined system, instead of having SRJK Cina and Tamil. That to me is the root cause of the intolerance we have today. He should also study the education system at institutions such as the Royal Military College, where the military system has been found successful in promoting tolerance and integration in the multi-racial environment. RMC was deemed an important element in nation building after Independence to churn future leaders in the military and public sector, so important that even the then Prime Minister chaired the Board of Governors meetings.

13 comments:

JP said...

You are having a great essay here !

I'd add a link to your site in my blog
Malaysia party

Welcome to do so in your blog to add my link~..~

From,
JP
[ the 3rdPARTY ]
[ Malaysia party ]

P/S:by the way, I'm tend to email you for this exchanging link idea but can't get your email add. I think you forgot to publish your email . (Reminder)

Kervin said...

A good essay here. I believe the main thrust is not that we should use our differences to achieve greater heights and not as a divisive force. Be it Malays, Chinese, Indians, etc. each and individual has their own merit. While not denying that there are still remnants of racial division, it must be noted that Chinese schools does not have restrictions on anyone studying there and many chinese schools today boast a mix race composition albeit small where pragmatic parents acknowledge the higher learning standards and the usefulness of multilingual language skills. In addition take a comparison to this when the proposal of Uitm inject 10% non-bumi talents was met with vehement protests.

Likewise while DAP is predominantly Chinese and PAS predominantly Malay, we can still see non chinese in DAP while PKR is of mixed racial composition. Can we say the same for UMNO, MCA and MIC? Times are changing and harping on racial division should be outmoded.

Another note while the Keris is a Malay regalia it is not the symbolism of it that people question its the use and brandishing of it in a political gathering with connotations of being besieged by non-malays that should be frowned upon. Sikhs also brandish their daggers and no one has ever had issues with that. On that note, lion dance and keris wielding are like comparing apples and oranges. Plus while Americans are still racially divided can we say that Malaysia will foresee a rise of a Malaysian to the prime minister spot as Obama is currently heading the Democratic ticket? While Palin is going for vice president. The nearest parallel in local politics would be Wan Azizah as head of Pakatan.

The contrast is clear to see.

opcharlie said...

kervin, you said
> "proposal of Uitm inject 10% non-bumi talents was met with vehement protests".

please read my article on AUKU and study my stand on this. If the universities want to be opened up for the non-Malays, the private institutions should be made 'affordable' to non-Chinese. the fact is that Malays in general cannot afford to purchase education from private institutions.

> you said "Likewise while DAP is predominantly Chinese and PAS predominantly Malay, we can still see non chinese in DAP while PKR is of mixed racial composition. Can we say the same for UMNO, MCA and MIC?"

UMNO has non-Malay members from Sabah and Sarawak. of course they are bumiputra, but the party is called United Malay National Org. The power structure is 62 years old. A revamp requires mandate from the Supreme Council, backed by members. Anything is possible. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that we are harping on racial division. One or two voices don't represent the majority.

> you said "On that note, lion dance and keris wielding are like comparing apples and oranges".

I am simply pointing out the different traditions we attach to our cultures. I do know what an orange and apple look like, but they are both fruits. If you are against the keris, then tell that to the Agung, who happens to wear it as part of his ceremonial dress. I paraded a ceremonial sword at my graduation which is 3 times the length of the keris!

The labelling of "SRJK Cina" or "Sekolah Menengah Agama" is already racial divisive connotations. I am for streamlining all and to be called "Sekolah Kebangsaan".

>you said "can we say that Malaysia will foresee a rise of a Malaysian to the prime minister spot as Obama is currently heading the Democratic ticket?"

Maybe (what you're really saying is could a Chinese or Indian become Prime Minister, of course, as long as the majority wants it), but look at the year Obama was elected and the year US gained their independence and compare the sum of maturity of Americans to Malaysians. We can't even drive properly.

opcharlie said...
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bats said...

while Vietnam is racing past us, Ahmad Ismail is tearing down photo's of BN component party leaders and threatening other Malaysians.

so what does the prime minister think of this? here we are trying to move forward as a nation and this racist is frothing at the mouth under the PMs watch.

why hasn't the PM condemned this? DPM? they should not be apologizing on behalf of this f*ckwit. they're not the ones saying it. but really, as leaders, they should lead. stop the rot and make an example out of this racist, if they really mean it when they talk about Malaysia and unity. if they don't, it only leaves room for more sepculation on why this racist is running wild, untouched.

so what's all this talk about unity again? i'm obviously missing something here.

Stupe said...

Dude...i don't think your entry is a "good essay". I don't think you are doing this for some SPM English paper, no?

I guess Racial and Religion is hard to be separated in this country. You are right, tolerant is the key word, but to tolerate could also meant "i don't like you, but i have to bow to you because you are the majority race" to "I like you, you are my brother".

The thing is, we, the "middle group", ie the not so old that we can actually come to our senses and understand that your fahter and my father were brought up in the same mindset that religion and race is just another card in the pack. I am sure we both know that the older generation has less prejudice against each other.

But come the late 60's and then the early 70's, after "that" incident, everyone are very much suspicious of each other.

And i guess that was when trouble starts.

The key word here is trust. And like it or not, there is non here nowadays.

Again, we, that is stuck in the middle, aren't that young not to be able to understand or influenced by how things are swaying, but again, we, the middle ones, are the one that will shape the country to what we want it to be for our childrens.

Please be aware that i do want my kids to be playing with yours with no prejudices.

There are too many outside there that think they know what is happening. Too many that thinks they are an expert. Too many that feel they deserves more than what they already have. And just about that, those too many are the one that will bring the country down, crippling her, and most probably set her into some civil war.

We are not much different from the animals that eats their own youngs if we think they aren't ours.

Arip said...

i think the sore point about the keris for most chinese who remember is the 'kita akan mandikan keris ini dengan darah orang cina' banner/statement, purportedly by the present DPM himself, which preceded the Ops Lalang crackdown back in the 80s. I doubt very much my chinese friends take offence with us in our wedding uniform with the keris, as the context is wholly peaceful (and there is even an old saying that the groom should not unsheath it, lest he 'mati pucuk'
when pusch comes to shove), but in the hands of some leaders against a backdrop of Malay nationalism, i can see where they're coming from.

on UMNO, you know where i stand. in theory, everything is very much doable, with the Supreme Council and the 2500-odd delegates working hand in hand for the betterment of the party, the Malays and Malaysians of all stripes. the reality is less rosy, and say what you will, there is no democracy when a leader is elected by only 2500 people out of a membership of 3 million. the call for change has been led by no less than serving vice presidents and council members, even an ex-president, but the status quo juggernaught has come out tops yet again. ces't la vie....

Stupe said...

Bats - i saw that pic too...but how come KSK's pic is still up there in UMNO building?

the guy that tore it up looked indian to me.

opcharlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bats said...

haha, stupe meant KTK (Koh Tsu Koon) la. the buggers photo got torn up by some racist fellas la.

that's the funny thing la stupe, because of that indian looking fella, there's some SMS circulating again asking penangites to boycott nasi kandar stalls la.

fun and games mate. fun and freakin games.

opcharlie said...

oh stupe, guess you meant KTK? Well, the guy might be DSAI's kaki in charge of wrecking havoc in UMNO. Yes, he shld be suspended or fired. What troubles me is how media is trying to add fuel to the fire. We should move on to bigger issues. Not to say this is not, simply saying there is a country to govern and 26 million people to be fed. The election has been over for 5 months. Don't think majority even care about this guy.
PM shld drop him and move on.

> Arip, you said "i think the sore point about the keris for most chinese who remember is the 'kita akan mandikan keris ini dengan darah orang cina'".

I think it might have been taken out of context a little. Don't think he meant we shld all go out and slaughter everyone. Having said that, the Chinese should remember that Lim Kit Siang pissed on the Malaysian flag in that same year. Why isn't anyone talking about that?

> You said "the call for change has been led by no less than serving vice presidents and council members, even an ex-president, but the status quo juggernaught has come out tops yet again."

Agreed. It is a monumental task. Us small farts on the ground can't even move a pebble in the monstrous stream of UMNO power. We were hoping you wld lead the charge.

Arip said...

as far as LKS goes, i have never had any love lost for the guy. while i dig my DAP MP in Segambut, and have all the respect in the world for ppl like Tony Pua, Jeff Ooi and Guan Eng, I can't wait for the old guard including Karpal and LKS to retire or die off. They represent an era that brought out the worst in people, and I truly believe you can't teach an old dog new tricks, much less unlearn his old ones.

On reforming UMNO, I truly believe that it cannot be done without a strong and resolute leader who happens to be honest and competent. As it is, I don't think any of the current crop of people are strong enough, or even interested enough to do it.

In order of priority, they need to clean the membership list so that 'ahli bunian' will no longer be a potent weapon for local warlords; they need to remove all quota requirements bar the minimum proposer and seconder so that nominations can no longer be bought or sold; thirdly, to institute voting at branch level for divisional posts, and to institute voting at divisional level for national posts, so that buying votes becomes so expensive that it no longer is a viable option and will give proper weightage to larger divisions as opposed to the tiny Putrajaya division (2000 members at best?) having the same number of votes for supreme councillors/president as super divisions like Kalabakan (upwards of 25,000).

orang bukan tak tau what needs to be done, tapi it's like the fox voting to install barbed wire fencing for the chicken coop. after seeing for myself the kind of money that exchanges hands during party elections, i don't believe the delegates will change the constitution in such a way. but that's just me la. i suppose sometimes you have to see it to believe it. i won't stand in your way, but don't get your hopes up.

Stupe said...

Charlie - you missing some points la. When the present DPM says that he will bath the keris with chinese blood, that was in many ways more impactful than when LKS pissed on Malaysia flag.

If you look at how the country flags are treated...with those ppl happily draping it over their cars assuming that is some show of partiotism, or when some fail to keep the flag the way they should (ie away from rain and the elements)...how come no action were taken?

like i say, it depends on who does what...and sad to say, the majority could not agree more when it was done by the minority race, it is deemed as cari pasal and "threatening that May 13" will happen again.

"kalau tak suka, kamu boleh keluar" i am sure you remember that phrase.

or how some chinese student was rapped over his rap about negarakuku.

now, compare that to bathing the keris with chinese blood (in banner) and imagine what it would had been if the minority says "bathing the chinese broadsword with malay blood" or the indian saying "parang sama lu melayu".

get my drift? :P