Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Leave the Old Malaysia Behind Us

From Chin Peng to Utusan's recent editorial attack on non-Malays, we have to acknowledge a reality in Malaysia - some segments of the society are still caught in a time warp. Many societies and countries that were more divided than ours had moved on and left their division behind.

South Africa had ended 'apartheid' and implemented a much needed national healing for their racially divided society. The Berlin wall had crumbled. Communism in its purest form had ended and the world's biggest communist country, China, is anything but practicing hardcore communism. It had embraced capitalism since two decades ago.

More than three decades ago, there was no free access to China. Today, Prime Minister Najib's visit to China is played up by our local media as an important foreign affair move by the government to bolster relationship with the East Asian giant.

It is a fact that the world has changed and is still changing almost daily. Hence, it is a huge disappointment to note that our political rhetoric still remain the same. Recalcitrant politicians and editors are still calling non-Malay Malaysians, especially Chinese Malaysians, 'pendatang' or migrants.

Malaysians, born and bred in this country, are still being told to feel grateful for their citizenship. A political party is still boasting about its post-colonial credentials.

A bunch of ignorant bloggers are still putting the blame on Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools for causing disunity in the country. The emergence of both China and India as important regional geopolitical and economic powers has made the learning of both languages a smart decision.

Interestingly, they blamed these vernacular schools for creating generations of non-Malays who are not able to communicate in perfect Bahasa Melayu. To be frank, how many Malays speak perfect Bahasa Baku (formal Malay)?

I was at the Midvalley GSC cinema and a counter sales person who attended to me, Alif, actually spoke to me in Mandarin. This is a new Malaysia where multiracial Malaysians no longer seek a purist position for their race or language. For Alif to speak to me in Mandarin was a plus point for him. I am sure he will do well for being multilingual, a skill which should be applauded and not frown upon.

Hence, my fear for a part of Malaysia which is not able to move forward to embrace a new world. That is why we are still living and compromising with an outdated political system which is race centric. We are still putting up with a post colonial mindset which is unable to accept that citizenship with equality is a birth right of all Malaysians.

We are still tolerating a concept which believes that listening to patriotic songs, corny slogans and speaking the same language is a key to unity.

If this is the case, we are worse than the socialists. We are no different from the North Koreans whose government has been beaming and transmitting patriotic songs, slogans and messages to its people almost daily. I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to visit the border which separated a free and liberal South Korea from the socialist North Korea. The contrast was evident. It was easy to decide which society lives a better life.

Malaysia, this is a serious matter. Only you, your family and friends can decide which kind of Malaysia you wanted. This country is at a crossroads. Its future direction is dependent on the kind of Malaysia we wanted this country to take. It is not for UMNO, Utusan Melayu, 1Sekolah proponents and other parochial groups to decide.

These voices are the minority unless we help to magnify them through our support, endorsement and votes.

It is time we leave the old, haggard and divisive Malaysia behind. Only you can make this happen.


Anonymous said...

let's face the fact. due to the internet, umno got a deserved beating on 308.

and you want umno to leave the old malaysia behind us? then i'm afraid there wouldn't be any umno member left!

it is for the new malaysia to vote out the old malaysia in the next ge!

you talk about bahasa baku. don't you realise that utusan is using bahasa pasar? look at the tatabahasa that is used publicly. a student who uses such newspapers as a learning tool will fail miserably in exams.

most important, like you said, only we can make it happen; to leave the old, haggard and divisive malaysia behind.

let's send the remnants of umno to jurassic park after ge13!

--freddy toh--

Anonymous said...

i hope barisan nasional and its lapdogs (mca,mic,gerakan etc..., macc,police,judiciary,ag chambers etc..., heads of govt depts etc..., umno controlled msm etc...) will continue with their "actions / stories".

pls, umno, pls keep the flame burning within me...

i'll wipe u off the face of the earth come PRU13.


Anonymous said...

Utusan will eventually live on BN propaganda money to stay afloat because no malaysians wants to have anything to do with them anymore or buy their papers anymore. Their insecurity had colonized malaysian for years and continued to entombed themselves in the new century. Utusan will die a natural death.

Web Sutera said...


Nice thought, really. Cheers!

-- Web Sutera

Tiger said...

The winds of change started blowing in the past few years. We're evolving, perhaps not at the desired pace, but still moving. One big bang happened in March last year, another one will happen in 2013.
Happy to see Malaysia maturing as a whole. Of course, you'll have mini pockets of idiots who are against other races, but they'll be a very small minority.

Cruzeiro said...

While most of what you said may be true, you definitely have a problem with your perception, where the importance of language is concerned!
For your information, language determines your thought process, and consequently everything else under the sun where civilisation is concerned, mate. If that doesn't contribute to social cohesion, I don't know what else can do a better job. To call those who believe that fact ignorant, does only highlight yours!

While vernacular schools may not be solely to blame for the polarisation, are u suggesting that they contribute in a positive manner towards social integration/cohesion?
If so, I'd like to hear your opinion how that has come to be.
As far as I can see, these vernacular schools pay scant respect to the need for proficiency in languages other than Mandarin - which in no way contribute towards seeking "common ground".

BTW - I much congratulate u for being able to find one Alif who could speak Mandarin, and in your opinion represents the "new Malaysia". That is a good joke, mate!!
Ever thought of being stand-up comedian?

clearwater said...

Excellent post. My sentiments too but it is impossible to change mindsets sunk in BN concrete. The youth in this country will have to do it for the old and entrenched will not. Get the young registered as voters first and take it from there. If we don't change, Malaysia will entomb their future given the state we are in.

Anonymous said...

GE13 .... I be there.

Anonymous said...

I think, deep inside this blogger heart, is anti malay. Whatever she wrote, its more to bang malay. What she did not realize, almost all the topic she wrote, more to chinese, not malaysian....she is chauvanist...

Khoo Kay Peng said...

Dear Cruzeiro,

For someone who put such a high priority on language proficiency, you are acting very mischievious.

Let me ask you a simple question. Can you understand a person speaking broken Malay or a loghat different from yours? If the motive is to communicate, its the perception and sincerity that counts.

My late dad speaks fluent Bahasa pasar but his Malay friends had no problem socializing with him everyday over a cuppa.

Blaming me for being ignorant does not help to strengthen your argument or that of 1Sekolah proponents. I suggest you visit their website and read the content of their language since you said that language contributes to social cohesion. Tell us which part of their message help to contribute to social cohesion?

Second, from your statement it is proven that a good command of language does not help to enhance common sense. When I said don't blame vernacular primary schools for seeding polarisation, I did not mean that they helped to enhance social cohesion. Those who see the schools as a tool of social cohesion are missing an important point.

Schools should be used to enhance knowledge, acquire language skills and facilitate learning.

The more important tool to facilitate social cohesion is public policy and governance. What is the point of creating a single school system if ruling elites (esp. those from race based parties) are still preoccupied with race affirmative policy? What is the use of unity in schools if those who graduated from the schools are thrown into a race-based system which envelopes the whole nation? And newspapers which are filled with racial slurs in their editorials?

Get real mate...

I support a common system for all but not the kind of language of blame used by the proponents of 1Sekolah. I would like to urge the government to strive making national schools the first choice among Malaysians. You guys should compete ..and not eliminate your competitors. Let the law of natural survival help to eliminate your competitors.

As far as you can see is hardly far enough to see the truth. Mate, name me a place, date and time. I will get a Chinese educated graduate to debate you in Malay since you said that these schools did not pay an attention to other languages apart from Mandarin. Dare you?

Yes, Alif represents a new Malaysia which is truly Asia and not mono lingual and not purist.

Stand-up comedians such as Jay Leno and David Letterman can run silly around you and make you their butt of joke. Show more respect mate.

Anonymous said...



Malaysian Heart said...

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

(Bold emphases are mine)

Our education system should be based on these principles, instead of trying to eradicate the culture & languages of our fellow Malaysians (like deminegara's SSUS wants to do).

Anonymous said...

come on malaysian, lets get real, we r to be blame, our own very self, cos d majority vote for bn { but stupid voter} that is democracy. dun blame anyone else but our own self. but dun worry come GE 13 we shall wipe them out and no more blaming ourself again. lets get real, keep the momentium going. dun stop here we must keep on going and CHANGE.kita anak malaysia bukan pendatang faham.

Anonymous said...

But Khoo, many Malaysians did say " Enough is Enough". We all did that when we voted during the last GE and the many subsequent by elections. The problem is that the politicians are the one do does not stop, to listen.Lets all sent a louder message one the next time around, shout and swear if we need to.