There was a time in my life during the early 70's and 80's when my views, thoughts and understanding of what was out there in Bolehland was formed on the following premise:
- The May 13th Incident happened because the Chinese won some seats in Parliament. They got carried away and started parading the streets telling the Malays to "balek kampong". Dato Harun Idris took matters into his own hands, got a few Malays together and they all went out to kill a few Chinese. The Army and the Police did their part in putting the fear of God into the Chinese and pretty soon the Malays were back in control of all things Malaysian. Tunku was put to pasture and Tun Razak became PM. And to many Malays Dato Harun is a hero!
- Malaysia belong to the Malays. The government were run by the Malays, the civil servants dominated by Malays, the Army and the Police too were staffed and run by the Malays - hell we Malays could do anything we want and the Chinese and Indians could do nothing about it.
- Now what Umno had to do is to make Malaysia a country for the Malays! Hence Ketuanan Melayu - or as we knew then - Bumiputra status, trumps every one and every thing else that matters in education, work, business opportunities....in fact in LIFE
Religion...or Islam was not remotely on the horizon. At best the politicians idea of being a good Muslim was attending Friday Prayers at Masjid Negara, marching at Prophet Mohammad birthday and the obligatory visit to mecca to get the Haji title to his Datoship or Tan Sri tittle.
I was so sure, so confident and so smug about the position of my race in Malaysia that it never occurred to me that things might change...that I might change.
So what changed?
When I went into business I found myself competing with Pernas for business.
Connections - who you know - not business acumen decided on what business you can do and what business you can secure.
I started to have to pay bribes to Malay politicians to secure tenders from the government.
In doing business, as well connected as I was, bribes was the order of the day. While we worked our butt of to make a decent living the Malay politicians in Umno were making money by the truckloads sitting on their arse. Everything we do they wanted a share of.
You have completed your construction project according to specs but you still have to get payments which, for whatever reasons was being delayed - who do you call?
If you know the Minister, you call the minister. If you do not know the monster...err I mean the minister, you find out who in his bahagian has his ears. Is it the ketua pemuda, a relative or maybe his brother. Whoever can get the minster on your case becomes your "friend". With this "friend" you discuss things over tea in a five star hotel. In the evening you have dinner in a five star hotel and after dinner the real entertaining starts. Karaoke, the spa and a massage or just take him to one of the messes in town and buy him sex. Within a few days your contact in JKR tells you payment will be made within a week.
I am stopped by a Malay policeman for a minor traffic infringement. He wants money to selesai. I never pay. And I will get away with it because I still know how to put fear into these mata mata, the Inspectors and even a superintendent or two. One time in IPK Selangor commercial crime division I went to make a police report about my office manager taking company's money for himself. An ASP attended to me and started telling me how hard it will be for me to prove theft blah blah blah. I took out my hand phone and dialed his Director and handed the phone over to him to tell his boss what he was telling me. The look on his face was priceless when he found out who was on the other side of the line.Of course they pulled in that manager that afternoon and I got my money back soon after.
Increasingly I came to realize how corrupt the BN government was and I realized that what I was doing only made it worse. And so I left Malaysia when I had the opportunity.
Today the Malays are told to boycott the Chinese shops and teach the Chinese a lesson for charging the Malays more than they would charge their own.
The Chinese are stoic in their determination to overcome whatever obstacles are put in their way to succeed in life by the Malays through the good education of their children, grit, hard work and a commitment to succeed in business and in life. They send their children overseas for studies and when they finish their studies they stay on in that country, get their PR and later take citizenship and bring their parents over.
The Indians take care of their own for are not all the others against them? And they take sides with whoever promises to do what is best for the Indians. Promises that are never kept but the Indians are gluttons for punishment. When all fails - puasa sampai mati!
For the Sabahans and Sarawakians the semenanjung people have been and will always be outsiders. They, not the federal government control entry into Sabah and Sarawak.
The Muslim look down upon other religion while imposing Islamic jurisprudence oblivious of the fact that others too have their own faith and beliefs.
The Christians know that if only they can get their message across to the Malays, they will leave Islam and be a Christian.
The Kelantanese will put up with PAS. They will endure everything just as long as that other Malay party, Umno, never ever rule Kelanatn again.
The Malay led Federal government will not give the Malays in Kelantan their dues from Petronas Royalties.
The Sultan of Johore sells prime Johore land to the Chinese.
Almost all the political parties in Malaysia owes their existence to race, some to religion and some to both race and religion.
And so it goes on. Day and day out. In the various states, in state assemblies, in parliament, in churches, , in mosque in temples...across all the divide that we have in this beloved country of ours...many many Malaysian work towards taking care of their own race, their own religion, their own political inclinations, their own wants and passions....never that of our national interest, never that of our national needs, never concerning themselves with national aspirations never considering what all this would mean to the future of the generations that comes after us.
What will our children inherit from our time in this world?
Maybe our present circumstance leaves us with not much time to do anything else but eke out a living....and a tenuous one at that!
Maybe we believe that the state of our nation is past recovery, beyond hope of saving and all we can do is to try and take what we can for our selves and damm others and the future.
Maybe all we can think of doing is how to get ourselves and our family out of the mess that Malaysia has somehow sinked into - and the only way is to leave a sinking ship. Who would want to be stupid or brave enough to work with those battling to save it? And there are many who are battling to save the sinking ship but for the wrong reasons. They know if the gravy boat sinks the goose that lays the golden eggs sinks with it. So they are battling to save their own skin not ours.
Day in and day out we are tearing down what binds us all together. There is animosity where there should be understanding, hate where there should be love, contempt for the religion, culture and way of life of others when there should be acceptance and the understanding that in diversity unity should prevail.
It is madness because each day we move closer to the precipice, nearer to the tipping point that will result in chaos and destruction, Armageddon and death of everything that we hold dear and the values we revered. And when that happens everyone loses...even those who think that these are the circumstance that will allow them to hold on to political power.
We accentuate the division and eliminate the ties that binds us all together.
It is not enough that we adults are already at each others throat...we are teaching our kids to do the same thing!
Will sanity and common sense prevail? Or are we too far down the road of hate, fear and loathing that racial prejudice and religious extremism drives so many others before us to destroy what has taken so many years to build and even kill those that dare to be different from them?
If you stop to think of the situation that our country is in today and look around you at the mess that we are now in - the corruption, the racial hate and religious fervor that causes division and prosecution of those who are not Muslim, the general malaise that allows for the rich to walk over the poor,the powerful to take advantage of the weak...all this indicates that Malaysia is a nation in crisis. A people at war with each other.
And we wonder why our country is going to the dogs.
This is what many many Malaysian have been reduced to....being a racist, religious fanatic unable to accept tolerate any other religion.
Let me tell you how I live my life.
Religion, race, color, language, gender, age, young or old,...I do not see anybody through these prism. I treat people the same way they treat me and if it is the first time that we meet- then I will behave in a manner that I expect him to behave towards me. Then if we do get to know each other I will then start to see him/her for what they are and adjust myself to the react and response to the person that he really is.
If I am stopped for a traffic infringement - I will get fined. No ifs no buts no pleading for mercy.
When I came back to Australia over six years ago my PR had already expired because I stayed away too long. I went to the Australian Embassy in KL and a Chinese lady attended to me - long story short - she told me that she cannot renew my PR. Whether she was being a racist or because it was the law is not for me to say. Anyway I bought a one way ticket to Adelaide to join my son and my wife and hope that things can be worked out with the Australian immigration authorities.
I went to immigration and I was told to apply for PR it again. Three weeks after I have submitted a new application I received a call from the immigration department to tell me that they have already agreed to give me back my PR. No dramas!
In all the time that my wife and kids have been living in KL I have been trying to get PR status for them - even a letter from Pak Lah's office (he was foreign minster then) did not help. Why? Because I refuse to pay them any bloody ringgit. And so my wife and children never ever got PR.
And you wonder why I call Australia home?
These are the rantings of someone who knows what the non-Malays have gone through, are going through and will be going through for as long as they stay in Malaysia. Will things change? You ask yourself if they will and I know you will answer an emphatic "NO" because you and I know that the stranglehold Umno has on Malaysia is terminal. Terminal for Umno and terminal for the non-Malays. The Malays are already f**ked! So this nation of ours is going nowhere pretty fast!
Maybe over time the Malays will find out who they really are and what they want for themselves. The time for that to happen will not be in my lifetime. In the end, whatever happens, what matters is how you take care of yourself and those you loved. Think and do what you think is right. To each his own. I am living that life now. No regrets. No sorrow in leaving a country I once loved. Life will go on.