With thanks to Asmawi Yusof for use of this image.
Yesterday I received an email that disturbed me. It disturbed me because of the venom that it spewed on me. It said that as a Malay I am a disgrace to my race. That I deserved to be put in ‘neraka’ (hell) for advocating that the Malays no longer should be with UMNO. Do I not know that the orang Cina, India and ‘others’ together with DAP want to take over this country - that it is not ‘keadilan dan demokrasi’ that they want. What they want is the Political Power that now is in the hands of the Malays.
Then I am reminded of the screaming newspaper headlines that I see in the “National” Malay newspapers.
1. “Ketuanan Melayu Tercabar”
2. “Jangan Persoal - Ketuanan Melayu bukan jenaka yang boleh
3. “Bangkitlah Melayu - Bersatu hadapi tuntutan kaum lain yangmakin keterlaluan”
We are the Malays! Are you not a Malay …they ask me?
To those that understand Bahasa there is no need for me to translate. To those that do not I will not translate lest I am accused of inciting racial discord.
This is not the first time that I have received emails of this nature. In the past I have patiently read through what they send them and try to understand where they were coming from. We are all entitled to out point of view and it is not only the Malays that have these ‘ultras’ so do the Chinese, the Indians and others.
So why did I linger over this particular email? Something clicked in my head. Why not try to reason with this person and bring him to my way of thinking? Not possible. A face to face meeting would probably result in me being verbally abused at best or physically abused at worst. Two things I dislike – rejection and pain! And meeting him will probably expose me to both.
I made a cup of green tea and went back to the email and I decided to write this.
In the beginning my first conscious memory of this racial thing was when I was around six years old living in Pendang in Kedah. I remember clearly that our house was beside the road that the Chinese Funeral procession will take on their way to the cemetery. I remember the wailings and the long processions – sometimes with a band. And I remember that the Malays did not say “Cina mati” …but “Cina mampus” – a derogatory term of death not use by the Malays unless it is to denote disgust for the dead. That memory has stayed with me until now that I am 63 - but only the memory for many years ago I stopped using the term ‘mampus’ to describe the Chinese who have died.
Is it not natural that those who have been bought up to dislike – or even to hate another race for whatever reason – that this dislike, this hate will stay with him or her for a very long time? So what will change them? It cannot come from within them. It must come from without. For me the beginning was my education at MCKK. This was an all-Malay boarding school in Kuala Kangsar but we had wonderful teachers of all races. Race was never an issue. I left MCKK completely at ease with being amongst the ‘others’ around me. And after MCKK I never looked back to those Pendang days.
Now I am even more aware what we Malays need to do to achieve our own level of comfort amongst the others in Malaysia. But it is my own personal goal wherever I am. I always want to better myself whether I am in London, Bombay, Adelaide or Kuala Lumpur. Race has got nothing to do with it. We must each educate our children of this. How we tell our children to see others will make the difference between the Malaysia that we see now and the Malaysia that we want. It will take one or two generations to make that change but it starts with us and it starts with the right education.
Then we will know that in the time to come our children will not be receiving the kind of emails that I got this morning – an email that is a sad commentary of what UMNO has made some Malays into. A Malay obsessed with Ketuanan Melayu. A Malay haunted with the worry that PAS and Anwar will give DAP ‘kuasa politik Melayu’ and control over the Government in this country. A Malay unable to understand that for the ‘others’ to love Malaysia they must be given equal opportunity and Justice in all things Malaysian because to do otherwise would not be ‘adil’ to those that call Malaysia “HOME”.