Friday, March 27, 2009

More on P

Last Wednesday Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim came to INTI to give a one hour talk. I usually don't give much attention to INTI's guest speaker series and it's no different this time. It was until he told me that he wanted to go that I found out. I did not even know of the topic of his talk until Dr Lim told us in class that it would be on 'Integration in Malaysia after 51 years of Independence'. So okay I went. I did expect it to be packed, but seriously I was not expecting to see so many familiar faces of JPA students, non JPA students, local, international, seniors, juniors, lecturers and staff members to the point that they have to add additional rows of chairs at the back of the lecture theater.

I think Datuk Zaid did a very good job in presenting the real situation in Malaysia and of his ideas and opinions too. Even though I have to admit that some of the things he said are known to the public for a while now, it was he who was brave enough to say it out loud. I liked it that he even praised INTI for being brave as an education institution to call him to give a speech after all that he had said for the past few months.

As I mentioned, all of us Malaysians are well aware of what we are currently going through. We do live side by side with each other but we are never really together (except when there's food involved ie kenduri). I myself am embarrassed with some of the people that I know of that are so racist I feel like drowning them. Yes, race we cannot change. We're born into one race and not another. Then why is it that we have to discriminate each other based on the condition we were born into? It's not that fair, is it. I have to ask is it really true that all Chinese are smart and that all Malays are kaki ampu? I honestly don't think so. Those are qualities that we acquired as we live our lives, and certainly not traits that are written in our DNAs. But the mentality that we have, discriminating the people of our own country based on the color of our skin, unfortunately is seeping into the minds of our next generation at a high rate. So don't complain if 51 years from now we are not any different.

Datuk Zaid mentioned that it is understandable for the government to provide aids - safety nets - to those who need them most but with a condition: do not do so base on race. But when certain sides say that we cannot question the contract that was written many years ago for Malays to get all the special privileges, aren't we not undermining our own people's intelligence? Why can't we question? Why not we improve? When we were young we were taught to ask questions in class; why is it any different now? Datuk Zaid recalled that years back it is okay for Malays and Chinese and Indians to sit at a round table and discuss. That was how we reached an agreement called the NEP. But now, we do not dare mention it out loud for fear of the 'sensitiveness' of it. Why?

I don't know about you but for me, that is why I don't mind TM calling me names, asking me about the difference on Melayu moden and Melayu tradisional, trying to be all Islamic, and most of all I don't mind him asking for his satay Kajang still. I have respect for him because as a Malaysian, he talks in Bahasa Malaysia with me. At first I did find it weird but now because of that I really see him as another Malaysian, not just a Chinese. Yet I am sad when he said once, "Kau la masuk politik ubah negara kita. Aku tak boleh, aku Cina." Why must he think that way? The same thing applies to why do Malays feel they HAVE to have special rights on certain things such as scholarships? Why must some Malays feel like they cannot compete?

I am currently not for or against any political party. I don't see much light in any of the parties we have right now. I want to support one side, but I see the fate of many America's failed parties written in their stars too. Malaysia is a young country. Just barely half a century old. America was 'born' in 1776. Even as the greatest democracy in the world right now, in 1827, 51 years after their independence, they too are struggling for the perfect two-party system. My point is, be patient dear countrymen. We will reach there one day, insyAllah. And I certainly will not side with the people at the other end for I will never conform to their political principles. So where do I stand?

I don't like to think myself as being in the middle. It sounds like I do not have any principles. I do. And that principle is justice. That's it. I know that sounds impossible in the world of politics - which I'm doomed to be involved in one day - but I still have faith maybe not in Malaysia today, but in the Malaysia of tomorrow. I see it in the eyes of our students. I see it in the fire and the debates they have with each other. Their openness to talk is refreshing.

However, I do have one complaint. Just because you are doing a degree in science does not make you any better than those who are doing a degree in arts. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE STUDYING THE ART OF HUMAN BEINGS. Moreover, just because you have a degree, period, does not make you any better than a student. When you do not, or will not, plan to dedicate a large portion of your life to the world of politics, it is more than probable that your judgement will be biased. When you have other things to attend to, you do not take the time to sit back and read the opinions of both sides. And if you do, you just let them fall on deaf ears. It is okay to talk on politics but do not talk based on your emotions for no one will respect those who smirk and shake their heads AND do not allow others to share their opinions too. Just try to not embarrass yourself.


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