From time to time my Malay friends have sent me emails and make comments on my blog on events, issues and matters that has happened in our past. They remind me of the struggles that generations of Malays before me have gone through so that we Malays can live in our ‘own’ country, governed by our own leaders and be the Tuan’s of our own nation. They ask that I do not forget the struggles of these Malays for it is because of them that we Malays are where we are now. We are in government and we are in control of our own destiny. Jangan jadi bodoh lah Melayu…they remind me.
I am fully aware of the fact that the Chinese and Indians were brought into Malaya by the British and I know the purposes there were brought here for. I know too about what Chin Peng and the communist did before the war, during the war and after the war.
I also know what the Malays did during the May 13th incident, what the Army did and what the Police did. And of course we all know too what the politicians did.
And between May 13th 1969 until today I know too what has been done by UMNO and its coalition partners for themselves. I know too what they have done to our country, to our people and more disturbing to our future.
What our country and our people have gone through is no different from what other countries have gone through in their journey to Independence and after Independence, their journey to finding themselves. History is full of tales of sacrifices that the people of each nation have had to make and the battles every nation have had to fight in their journey towards meeting the aspirations of their people or their leaders. Some are still in the process of getting there, some have reached there and many are still lost in the process of getting there.
So please do not tell me of the sacrifices of our past generations, of our fathers and of our political leaders. Do not also tell me of what could have been if we had had leaders like those of Singapore – we do not. Do not remind me too that this Barisan Nasional government has squandered, pillage and plunder our nation wealth to enrich themselves to the point of bankrupting our Nation.
All that is history.
What is important is that we learn from history so that we will not repeat the same mistakes that the people who came before us have made. If we can do that than we are the better for it for we can then go forward with our life to a better place then where we are now and take our nation towards a better future that what it has now.
And this is what we have to do, need to do and must do for ourselves and we have to do this ourselve. Do not dwell on the mistakes of the past or the atrocities and abuses of those who came before us. Remember them but we must constantly move forward and take all our people towards that better place.
This is why I move to Australia. I want a better place and a better future for my family. There are many reasons why I choose to do so but in the end the overriding consideration is ‘a better place’ – what that better place is has to be subjective to every individual. It can be to live in a place where nobody is bothered about your previous life because that life is not too good. It can be a place where your abilities will define your life – not who your father is and what race or religion you profess. Many reasons …and only you know them for sure.
Today too many Malaysian have migrated. If they want to leave Malaysia they usually can because the skills and the money they have would be welcomed by any country.
We need to ask ourselves why this is happening. Why are so many non-Malays and even some Malays doing this?
Is it because they are not loyal to Malaysia?
Is it because they are persecuted because of their religion?
Persecuted because of their race?
Are they being deprived of business and work related opportunities because they are not Malays?
We know that those are usually the reasons why people leave Malaysia.
But let me tell you this - none of those will be the reason for Australians to leave Australia. Nobody can be discriminated against in Australia because of race, religion or gender – and if they are discriminated against, the law of the land allows then to seek redress.
In the times that we now live in, race, religion or gender should never be a factor in depriving anyone of the opportunity to be treated in the same way as anybody else.
Proper education and an opportunity to observe how others live and prefer to live can make you understand why race, religion and gender are no longer acceptable reasons to discriminate against some one in a civilized society.
As I have said before we must learn lessons from our history but the lessons learned should not tie us down to the past. It should not allow us to think of revenge or burden us with hatred for any race or religion because each generation is different. Each generation can forgive and forget the atrocity of their past, live in the present with grace and build a future that will bury the unpleasant past and allow them to live a life unencumbered by the mistakes and hatred from the past. This we must do if we are to live a decent and productive life.
It is not easy for me to forget the past but forget it I must if I am to be useful to the generation that I am now part of in order to build a future for the generation that is to come after me.
This is why the Malays must try to forget and forgive the British for bringing in the Chinese and Indians into OUR country. We can remember what Chin Peng and the communist tried to do after the end of the Second World War but these are lessons learnt. The Chinese that we have today in Malaysia are far removed from the Chinese of that era. By the same token the Chinese and the Indians will not forget the May 13th incident but they must forgive and move on with life.
What is important is that we move forward together. Move together as Chinese, Indians, Malays, Ibans, Kadazans and with any others that call Malaysia their home. Always unity in diversity. If we can do this with sincerity and good faith than there is still hope for our future.
So friends stop reminding me of our past. I want to move forward from the present to the future. This is a future with no racial, religious or gender inequality. There is only the acceptance that we are one people living together in one country with one future. We forget this at our own peril because we are part of the solution to bring change to our country. And change must come now – if not now then when else?