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Sunday, March 26, 2006

a bowl of rotten rojak, part 1

The NST published a very interesting article the other day filled with statistics of all sorts. They commissioned an opinion poll on ethnic relations where 1113 people above the age of 20 were surveyed.

The 'good' statistics:
92% enjoy Malaysia's multi-racial nature
90% are proud to be Malaysian
78% have friends of other races
76% say government policies help integration
61% say ethnic relations are good
55% say Chinese and Indians are not second-class citizens

The 'bad' statistics:
42% don't consider themselves Malaysian first
46% say ethnicity is important in voting
55% blame politicians for racial problems
70% would help their own ethnic group first




I chose to present the statistics to you in that manner, without any comments under them because I wished for you to read them with an open mind, unbiased by my comments, and let your opinions be forged by your mentality in which you grew up in and your experiences that moulded your interpretation of those statistics. I think it a travesty that the NST did not actually disect the rather interesting bits of that survey, although it was probably for a reason that we all understand. Nevertheless, we all have our own stand on it...and this is mine.

On the 'good' statistics...

I have two main critisisms here.

78% have friends of other races

It pretty much depends on how you define a 'friend'. If a friend is someone you know at school or at work, then unless you are a hermit, anybody who has spent their whole life in Malaysia would invariably have friends of other races. Everybody has friends of different races. Question would be....how close? Someone you hang out with everyday? Your best friend? Your mamak kakis? Unfortunately, the occurance of such a strong bond between two different races is very rare.

55% say Chinese and Indians are not second-class citizens

I digress here - a figure of 55% is far too low to be considered a 'good' statistic. It would mean that 45% of people consider themselves 2nd class, and surely that is not a good statistic for racial harmony? I remember Mahathir being asked once on a live interview on BBC by a Malaysian Chinese woman saying that she felt like a second class citizen in Malaysia because of our policies. His response was simple, yet powerful. "Ask the Malay driver who drives his Chinese boss around whether he feels like a second class citizen". I reckon that point holds true in many areas. You will NOT find a single Chinese driver, not a single Chinese road sweeper or garbage collector, and you will be hard pressed to find a Chinese rubber tapper. Being second-class is really nothing more than a matter of perspective. That said, if an Indian did complain about being second-class, I wouldn't brush that away as easily.


On the 'bad' statistics...

42% don't consider themselves Malaysian first

This is a problem I have been nitpicking at for ages. We are probably one of the few people in the world who respond to the question of "What are you?" with our race and not our nationality. I know of many people who get offended when foreigners refer to them as Malays (as they assume that people from Malaysia are called Malays just as people from Germany are called Germans). In actual fact, the non-existance of a Bangsa Malaysia is something that I believe the government should take the brunt of the blame.

46% say ethnicity is important in voting
55% blame politicians for racial problems

I find these two statistics contradicting each other. How can we blame politicians for playing racial politics when we vote people based on the colour of their skin? Many a Chinese has complained that we will NEVER see a Chinese Prime Minister, but is that not as racist to demand that you want to see a Prime Minister's skin colour when in fact you should be looking at the man's capability instead?

70% would help their own ethnic group first

This is perhaps the most worrying of the statistics, although I would say that it is not surprising. Many a time you hear of a Chinese or Indian complaining that they have no chance of making it big in a Malay company. However, I personally know of Chinese bosses who immediately bin any job application by a Malay. Perhaps it is a form of retribution, or perhaps they feel they are equalling the chances. I have a better explaination for that.

I will no doubt be considered naive by many people who claim to have eaten salt all their lives, but this is my stand and one which I believe is true. I have already established the fact that most people do in fact hang out with members of the same race - be it at work or socially. It is also human nature to help someone you are friends with. It may be called croynism, but I do not believe for one moment that any of us would prefer to help an acquiantance over a friend if the situation permits us (for example if they are of equal capability), And it is for that reason, since the head honcho of a Malay company would be a Malay, then he would feel happier to promote his early morning nasi lemak buddy. And of course, the same would apply to a Chinese company.




Someone the other asked me what I consider a racist behaviour. Someone else asked me whether I considered myself one. Honestly, I don't know the answer to either of the questions. What I do know is I TRY to keep an open mind about things. When people tell me not to work for a Malay company because I 'can't get far', I brush it off. I TRY to be less suspicious of other races. I TRY to see things from the perspective of the Malays (and the Indians) and I TRY to understand their actions. And that, my friends, is good enough for me.

Labels:


Ramblings:
No, you're naive because you avoid the real issue totally.

You cover up your lack of comprehension of the cancer that is eating this country and focused on the racial issue caused by decades of divide and conquer politics.

You avoided the corruption and cronyism issues because you have an interest in that circle.

You son of MCA party member, try harder. Stop trying to divert the real issue away (Corruption, cronyism/nepotism) and make everything into a racial issue.

 



tee hee
 



"How can we blame politicians for playing racial politics when we vote people based on the colour of their skin?"

Try getting a job in the civil service and then tell us how far you can go in there.

 



And try buying a house and see your Rich Malay friend earning more than you get 15 percent discount.
 



Ya ya, and try going into a local U with results better than a Malay but he gets in and you don't.

OOpps!!! We forgot Vincey boy here got his educayshun from the UK.

He probably never had to deal with local university entry discrimination, or else he wouldn't be so smug and talking trash about the man on the street.

Daddy had a lot of moolah to send him to UK for 3 years... Awwww.. what does a rich kid , or a son of some politician who sold out the Chinese know about what the man in the street is going through ?

Come on, we only see vincey here criticizing everyone else but the government. He's either a fucking coward or part of the rotten fishheads.

 



teehee. i get your point. no need to use different nicks if you are the same person.
 



This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 



A more detailed analysis of this little poll can be found at:-

http://www.malaysia-today.net/Blog-e/2006/03/racial-distrust-persists-in-malaysia.htm

In case you guys haven't read it yet.

Whereas for me. Malaysia's multi-culturism only extends as far as the food and holidays are concerned. Blame the lack of integration on the education system.

"70% would help their own ethnic group" first

Seriously if people would just help each other as 'human beings'. Race would be a non-issue. I find it very narrowminded to look at a person's race before you decide to help them.

 



cynical : I have the other statistics ready for part 2.
 



I reckon racial integration begins in the bedroom; know what I mean?

Besides, all human bodies function in the same way, irrespective of colour or creed.

 



As far as the job thing goes, due to racial issues, it is rather true lar. I'm refering to the
"dont apply there, sure u wont get far"

I have heard that a lot.. whenever i say I'm a fresh graduate applyin for job.

 



The thing i hear most often bout working in a Malay company is that, "Skandal banyak".
 



I have a confession. I think i am racist.. haha. Well..let's just say that I am of race A. Most of my friends are of race B. In fact, i can say that my only acquaintances of race A are relatives. I don't have any friends of race A.

However, if i see a stranger of race A and a stranger of race B in trouble, and assuming i can only help one of them, i would much rather help the one of race A. I don't know why this is so. Perhaps it is because I feel that no one else will help my fellow countryman if i don't.

However, i do not approve of charities that are racially biased, for example an orphanage that only takes indians, or one that only takes malays. i would much rather give my money to a charity that is open to all races and that doesn't force a particular religion onto you. whilst i accept that religion is necessary in the upbringing of a young child (but i personally am not religious at all), it should never be forced.

i don't really know the point of what i am saying. at times i wonder if i am indeed racist for preferring to help someone of my own race. but then again, all my friends are of a different race and i would do anything for them. in fact, i do not make friends with most people of my race because i find them irritating.

so now i have 3 situations here :

1. i am racist towards other races for preferring to help my own race

2. i am not racist because i like to give to non-racist charities

3. i am racist towards my own race

i guess what i am trying to say is that whether or not you are racist is not a yes/no question. it is sort of a grey area. it goes much deeper than that. there are many more things to consider.

this of course does not apply to hardcore KKK members who are definitely racist. it is more for ordinary people, and being human beings we are all imperfect and, well, surely will have some sort of bias.

please don't criticise me for just giving 1 example to justify my conclusions. i could have given many many more examples. but it is just that the text above me says Leave your comment, not write a thesis.

 



iiii : I have many friends who are of Race A too but have friends of Race B or C only and you remind me of them...alot of them. So I guess you're pretty much normal.
 



Vincent: Sorry mate. Didn't mean to giveaway your Part 2. But as usual, i would still like to read your take on it. Cheers
 



iii : I can in a way relate to some of the things you said. A thesis, if you are willing to write one which is sensible and logical, is very welcomed indeed - more welcome than many that you have read above.

cynical : No worries

 



I didn't read the article to know if more statistical information was provided in the report. So pardon me if i'm asking questions that were clearly stated in the article.

I think the demography of the sample may play a part in skewing the result, as we know that different races in Malaysia do have different views on many things in this country. Any idea what was the racial compoistion of the poll? If it didn't reflect the population structure of Malaysia (e.g. majority of the survey participants were Chinese), then the statistics may not be a true reflection of the situation in Malaysia.

And on your view about "55% say Chinese and Indians are not second-class citizens", you wrote that "it would mean that 45% of people consider themselves 2nd class". Did the report indicate the races of the 55% and how the question was worded? If not, then you kinda assumed that this particular statisics was referring to self-perception. It may not be. Let's say the majority of the 55% were Chinese and Indians, it may mean that the 45% you mentioned were not self-perception but the view of Malays on the two other races.

 



Hell , this reminds me of one article in Reader's Digest , as they pointed out that small kids are "naturally racist" as they just mix with other kids with same skin untill they grow out of it......or they won't .

I never like the poll IMO , too few people participate in the pool .

 



pinpin : I shall take some snapshots of the article as the link to the NST is now dead. I shall check it later, but as far as I can remember, the racial composition was not mentioned which led me to assume that it would be the natural average ratio of 60-30-5-5 Malays Chinese Indians Others. Your last point does in fact hold water, and the 45% might be Malays and MAYBE 100% of the Chinese interview rated themselves as 2nd class...we can't know.

yungjie : Kids are a funny character. Too many studies have been done pertaining to kids and racism, many of which contradict one another.

 



Sometimes we tend to forget the significance of history. Many things became the way it is due to specific historical, cultural context. We blame things for the way it is without taking into account the reason why it has become the way it is.
 



Sometimes history can be damn skewed man. What we study from those dumb text are not really true. Some of them.
 



BN MP gets 'ultimatum' from Umno Youth
Beh Lih Yi
www.malaysiakini.com
Mar 28, 06 5:21pm


A MCA parliamentarian’s scathing speech on religion and history in the
Dewan Rakyat two weeks ago has prompted an unannounced visit by Umno Youth
members bearing a protest letter.

On March 15, Kelana Jaya MP Loh Seng Kok had complained in the House about
the ‘imbalance’ in the history textbook syllabus, Muslim prayer recital
guidelines and the problems faced by non-Muslims in relation to places of
worship.

One of his peers had warned him then about the potential hazards of
speaking his mind and about his choice of words.

It is learnt that, six days later, some 50 Umno Youth members, led by
Kelana Jaya division chief Abdul Halim Samad, paid him a visit. Their
sudden arrival at about 9.30pm took those at the office by surprise.

Loh was handed a protest letter. It is learnt that Abdul Halim told him,
“We don’t want to hear any explanation now; this is our letter, you read
and answer it.”

The MP was also purportedly told that Umno Youth would “take action” if he
failed to respond to the letter within several days. Some in the group had
brought along video cameras to record the brief meeting.

It is learnt that the Youth wing has rejected Loh’s proposal to set up a
religious development department on the grounds that this would undermine
the position of Islam as the official religion.

The Kelana Jaya division had apparently held a meeting to discuss the
speech and concluded that Loh’s proposal had hurt the feelings of Malay
Malaysians, who make up the majority of voters in the parliamentary
constituency of the same name.

It is also learnt that a copy of the letter to Loh has been sent to Umno
leaders at the national, state and divisional levels, as well as to
Malay-based non-governmental organisations.

‘Sensitive matter’

Contacted today, Abdul Halim confirmed that he had submitted a protest
letter to Loh but declined to comment on the contents.

Asked for the reasons behind the division’s discontent, he replied: “There
are two or three grounds but I cannot tell you over the phone now.”

On whether the division had gone to the MP’s office to teach him a lesson,
he refused to comment, saying that it was a “sensitive” matter.

Meanwhile, Loh when met at Parliament, said he is willing to meet with anyone.

“I don’t deny that there are people who have visited me. I am willing to
explain to anyone the context of my speech,” said the first-term MP and
former aide to ex-MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik.

It is learnt that a dialogue will be held this week between the Umno Youth
Kelana Jaya division and Loh.

Selangor Umno deputy chief Muhammad Muhd Taib is said to have been informed
of the matter, but could not be reached for comment.

 



Nobody's questioning Islam.

Even trying to defend what's left of your rights to religion, you will be branded as trying to attack/insult Islam.

Anything that isn't in favor of Islam is against Islam.

So Vincent, any comments ?

 



This is unfair and biased reporting by MalaysianKini (what else is new, eh?). I decline to comment until I have read the contents of his speech which had caused all that 'problem' and quite frankly, I don't really bother about stuffs like that because it is nothing new. The actions of a few 'fanatics' should not and do not reflect the view of the government.
 



Vince, that's where you're wrong. We're not talking about few fanatics who're insignificant. These are fanatics with considerable political influence.

Whatever peaceful view you have about other races will be moot if these few powerful fanatics succeed in stirring hatred against you in the people of other race you try to respect and live together peacefully.

I would say they've done a damn good job over the years at divide and rule and they will continue to do so when the economy pie gets smaller.

You should attack racial problems at the source of the root, which is these so called fanatics you described.

Most ordinary Malaysians aren't very racist towards each other if not because of these so called fanatical few.

 



Everyone in the world is racist, why bother debating something so futile.

Humans by nature fear/dislike/mistrust what is different, that includes different colour, different accent, different religious belief, different nationality etc..

The biggest difference of course being race.

Everyone is racist to some degree, some positively, some negatively (you can get a job in UK if you are from an 'ethnic minority' even if there is a more qualified white person also applying, because they have to fill in the 'ethnic minority employement quota'.

Race is like religion, nothing will change.

 



ST : On a side note, isn't that called 'Affirmative Action'? And isn't it very much like the NEP in many aspects?
 



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