Last night I met up with some Malaysian over dinner at the house of one of them...to be more precise with the exception of one Singaporean Malay, the others were all MACOBA (Malay College Old Boys) - which was the reason I was there - the first time I have ever gone to a Malay house ever in my 30 years in Australia! And I stress a "Malay" house.
Delicious Laksa Johore (I had seconds and only good manners prevented me from asking for some to be tapau for my wife) was the main dish with curry puff on the side and a durian dessert. You cannot get more Malaysian than that! After dinner we started our cakap cakap.
After the usual formalities we tentatively started on "the situation back home". I was the oldest, but (and I declare this with candor) not neccessary the wisest amongst them, but age does allow one to play whatever role one chooses and I decided that I would play the devils advocate...but that was to come later.
We went through the usual gauntlet of politics and the personalities involve in politics - each of us contributing our two cents worth of our thoughts from Anwar to Najib and anyone else in between that was of interest to us and all in all we were pretty much in agreement on things. If there was any deviation from our agreement it was more a matter of degree rather than of substance. We all wanted what was best for Malaysia!
I could not detect any die hard BN or PR bias. Steady as she goes...or were we still not that comfortable with each other to go hard left or right - even down South or up North? I could not really say for sure but I think it was a reflection of our MACOBA inclination to talk things through in a rational and even handed way giving praise where praise was due and criticism when deserved.
It was then that I decided to play "the devils advocate".
I started by saying that "WE MALAYS" should do a few things to reflect the realities in Malaysia. Why go on with the charade of Ketuanan Melayu or that the Malays are the first amongst equals when we have control of everything? In business we control the Banks, the giving out of licenses and permits and everything else that we need to "take" the business from the Chinese. So why don't we all just do it! Anyway, I said, when it comes to the nutty gritty, the non-Malays will look after their own and so will the Malays....and I went on in that vein.
To their credit no one came on to my side for the Malays. In fact one of them who had just migrated to Australia was firm on one thing : That things are changing in Malaysia. There are genuine attempts by all Malaysian to want to live with each other, to work with each other and to want what is best for Malaysia.
I persisted with my argument that all Malays should come together and work towards making Malaysia for Malays. And again no one came to bat for me and that guy who quietly but earnestly insisted that things are changing persisted with his argument that the non Malays were as committed to Malaysia as the Malays were. This from a Malay who has left Malaysia for Australia! He did not leave Malaysia because he was anti anything - not the government, not any Malaysians - he just wanted a better life that he thought he could have in Australia.
I know when to quit and I did...and the conversation went to to more pleasant matters - a Malay Food Festival taking place on the morrow and where the best nasi lemak can be found in Melbourne - somewhere around the Junction of Springvale Road Street and Canterbury Road...I think.
I went home that night smiling at the thought that there are indeed many Malays who think as I do - that Malaysia is for everyone that calls it home. And not only do they think so but they were prepared to tell other Malays what their thoughts are and are prepared to do so amongst other Malays in a Malay house! and I am sure there are also non Malays doing the same things amongst their own kind in their own houses - all of them doing so with with sincerity and the belief that what they are advocating is the only way forward for our nation. Let us all say Amen to that!