It is always hard to talk about national loyalty without stepping on some toes. Harder still to maintain one's cool when trying to assess the situation when everyone has an opinion ether way and wants to be heard. Harder yet when the people whose toes you are likely to step on (either way) are prone to bouts of paranoia, assuming the badge of a matyred pariah as justification for any knee-jerk reaction tinged with personal agenda (just for clarification, "knee-jerk" does not mean the knee is a jerk; at this rate Malaysia will soon be giving the States a run for their Politically Correct money).
The parties involved in this racial mess are made up of more than just a 3-way street and by that I don't mean Ali, Ah Chong and Muthusamy (goodness, no!). For the purposes of trying to pick through the emotional pulp of points have been hammered so often, too loudly and without any intention of actually resolving the issue that they all look the same to me, I choose rather to divide the relationship by way of role, function and effect as follows:-
If the above suggestion sounds at best annoyingly simple or at worst blasphemous (I mean, who knows these days?), then perhaps a brief psychological analysis of Political History should be added as an additional component in our History paper. I am not claiming to know every reason why certain policies were implemented and/or failed and/or succeeded (I am NOT singling out the NEP or NDP specifically but if you know what they stand for I know you thought I was) neither am I going to shred them or propagate them or even attempt to analyse their intricacies. I am simply drawing my own layman observations in the life I have led, what I have seen with my own eyes, news the Media has told me or made me to believe and the reaction of the Ruling party(s) and other layman citizens in Malaysia.
The best place to root my observations would be to state my fact-based position in this matter, things that unless changed by suitable authority will remain unchanged. For consideration, I have listed the priority of the following facts according to importance.
Being Christian does not mean those who are not Christians are less than I am. Loving Jesus and knowing Him means I want for everyone to love Him and know Him too but that is a decision each will take in their own journey from cradle to grave. I do not believe that a person is a Christian or loves Jesus or has rejected his current beliefs, whatever they may be, by virtue of him sitting in a church pew or listening to a sermon or hearing another friend talk about Jesus. Religion may accede to that but a relationship really doesn't work that way folks.
As it stands, our Constitution reads that all Malays are by default, Muslim. I haven't read the subsequent clauses to it but I would like to know if the defiition only refers to current Malay citizens of Malaysia or Malays at large, the latter being a ridiculous notion. Imagine if I had a 3rd generation Malay friend living in another country who is a non-Muslim. How can it be possible that he will have to change his religion the moment he sets foot on Malaysian soil by virtue of the law that all Malays are Muslim?
I am not challenging any Muslim rights, doctrine or the like, rather I am questioning if Malay rights have been given as much priority as presupposed just because it has always been assumed that all Malays are Muslim. "You are therefore you are" does not allow for any discernment or practice of human will; the subject is confined by sanction and individuality removed by this forced merge of 2 separate identities. The subject in this case has been limited to one race alone. Imagine if a ruling were passed that all Chinese were constitutionally Buddhist. There is certainly some food for thought there. Have compassion before you jump the gun.
Being female is self-explanatory. I have a running series of the same alphabet.
I am a Sarawakian. I am proud of our Rajah Brooke Heritage, headhunters, sago worms and birds' nest. I love our open house days which incidentally I believe is actually a Malay culture (correct me if I'm wrong). I grew up listening to Bujang Senang stories (giant, man-eating, local crocodile myth(?) that lived in the Rajang River) and all his relatives Bujang so-and-so. Where else are you going to find Foochow food on a regular basis? What would you do without kompia, kampua, mee sua and hu ngang? I still think Ibu Pertiwiku (state song) is too long but it means the prefects in school don't have to raise the flag so quickly! I love that mixed marriages are perfectly normal. I love tempoyak, terung dayak and terung pipit. Dabai rocks something awesome!!! We even filed Geographical Indication for it. I am grateful that we're further away from the tension in the Federal Territory. I didn't even sniff racism till I went to KL. I love that there are over 40 indigenous tribes in Sarawak (even though none of them are affiliated with horses :( for that I have to go to Sabah). See why I get irked by television commercials which (overly) try to claim racial harmony when they only feature Ali, Ah Chong and Muthusamy?
Sarawak has truly been blessed with abundant biodiversity, undiscovered natural resources and old-as-rain general revelation painted in by our Maker. We are Malaysia's primary source of petroleum, natural gas, pepper and unfortunately, timber. It is one thing for the Federal Territory to deny the state the true value of resources that have been drained out of it, although I wouldn't speculate what happens behind closed doors. It is another to bite the hand that feeds you and Sarawak has been incredibly generous. Just look at the Twin Towers.
I am not concerned whether or not Sarawak could have generated enough revenue from her own shores to declare her independence from Malaysia; all we ask is to be treated fairly and equally. I digress for a moment and refer to our Constitution. Whilst it is a stalwart non-issue that a Malay is by default a Muslim, there has been talk (for the benefit of our leaders I will consider it a rumour although by virtue of knowing the people's sentiments, the leaders should be put on notice) that the foundations of the formation of Malaysia may be compromised at the expense of Sarawak and her inhabitants. This is the double standard hypocrisy I spit at.
However, I also believe in being proactive. Just because Sarawak is by nature laid back, generally satisfied with less and due to geographical advantage, is less pressured by the social strain that inflicts Malaya, I would say that Sarawak could do a little more in standing up for herself to prevent being bullied by the 'mean girls' at school who are more insecure than she is.
In the name of development, a dam the size of Singapore had initially been planned in the heartland of Sarawak. There is no need to detail the irreplaceable and incomparable devastation that would have occurred. Although the dam was since scaled down, there are working plans for a further 5 dams to be built in the state. My stand is that this is unacceptable in all its possible terms, despite all its alleged benefits.
I love Sarawak and all her people. My question to those in charge of building and/or funding these mega projects far away from their hedged backyards, and more importantly to the world at large is this, should the dams burst, or should anything 'unnatural' (unnatural does not mean unforseeable) occur due to the start or abandonment of these projects, who will be charged for the multiple counts of genocide that will almost certainly occur especially in the case of the former situation?
Or does nobody care anymore?
A sinister and disturbing thought indeed, and one which I speak of, not to incite any "knee-jerk" reactions to the here and now but necessary in forming forward-looking resolutions and forging the preservation of this land.
Malaysia, tanah tumpahnya darahku. I think we Malaysians need to be smarter in the way we deal with issues thrown our way. In school we were always told, "Don't just work hard; work smart." What do we do when newspapers report that Indians and Chinese are fighting over ABC in XYZ? What is our reaction when people speak of burning the Malaysian flag? How did we handle the fire-bombing of places of worship? Do we let the Media dictate our thoughts or do we find out facts for ourselves?
The unfortunate advantage of having been spoonfed at School is that we are masters of regurgitation. We hear some news and we regurgitate it to whoever will listen, whether or not the facts are proven to be true. The newspaper provides a great source of entertainment for me, especially those with catchy headlines where specific words are coloured red for added emphasis. For example, 2 guys have a personal-not-related-to-race-at-all quarrel which ends up in a fight. One happens to be Malay and one is Chinese. The headline will read "Malay man stabs Chinese."
My personal opinion on the burning of religious places is that the people who did it were either grossly misinformed, hooligans who took advantage of a sensitive situation or one-off fanatics who do not represent the views of Malaysians as a whole. I actually believe the Media, for whatever motive it may hold, has played a direct part in attempting to and/or inciting this mess. There is reporting and there is reporting. Don't let the Media get to you. Don't let fear flare when there is nothing to be afraid of. But then again truth is always stranger than fiction.
Hate leads us nowhere.
People who go overseas and then slag Malaysia without doing anything about it, I have two words for you. "Shut Up."
I am a Banana. Calling me penumpang does nothing to me. On the other hand it does something for me. It makes me laugh at you and reveals the accuser's ignorance.
As I see it, the real tension going on between races is not a result of being diverse in race nor does it have anything fundamentally to do with religion. It lies in a very human combination of factors. The wave of effect from a Top-Down level rides on unchecked corruption, imbalanced policies, uncertain duration, poor execution and stale rigidity. Corruption will never be too far away from power and their aim should not be to merely theoreticize about the 'bigger picture' of 'corruption free' but to ensure that enforcement does what the edict says. However complicated leaders are, the Bottom-Up citizens who look to them for guidance also contribute with their wave of inflated expectations, passive grumbling, back-stabbing and irresponsible demonstrations that reek of disrespect not just against the leaders they are upset with but also against their own country and body.
All these issues manifest in all of us, whatever our skin colour, blood type, weight, height, sexual orientation, language, aspirations, allergies, age or religion. People who hop on the bandwagon but leave their brains at home should be given the "Whatever Minger" sign and sent to coventry :)
Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. Now I can go enjoy my holiday :p