Racism, Bigotry and the Indian Diaspora in Malaysia


Warning: This post might make you heave your lunch/breakfast/anything you gorged on the past hour or so, if you have gastrointestinal issues, please go look at cat pictures or something.

OK here we go. As you probably guessed, this post has something to do with the antics of that misguided  person hitherto known as Presana Narayanan. Whether she still dares to come out as herself after this is a moot point considering how she has deactivated her Facebook and deleted most of her pictures online.

For the uninitiated, Presana Narayanan, who will from this point on will be referred to as Tart With Attitude (TWaT), was engaged this past week in a vituperative tirade against Tamils in her Internet communications. Details of which was generously chronicled by machas here and here.

For me to further continue a rant against her would be like flogging a dead horse, so I took a step back and looked at the issue in a bigger way.

I’m a Malaysian girl of Indian ancestry, specifically, Tamil. My grandpa came here from Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu more than a 100 years and like most of my Tamil brethren here, I grew up with similar growing pains that a child of the diaspora would.

Being a minority, I was faced with all kinds of different setbacks, and doesn’t help that I’m a female. The good part is that minorities in a big world generally assimilate and adopt new ways to thrive. In my case, my melting pot surroundings made my languages stronger.

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Throughout my growing and adult years, I noticed something. There is that casual racism that comes with one dark person in a sea of fair-skinned folks. So I was used to refrains of “anak keling” and “kiling kia”. No probs. I grew a thick skin and at some point started getting respect for my other accomplishments.

But while these refrains faded somewhat, the subtler racism/bigotry practiced within the diaspora continued unabated. I thank my parents for raising me without the poison that is caste/race awareness. I found my roots through my own reading, as a young adult and while I am comfortable being who I am, I can’t help but be appalled that the continued intra-racism that exists.

Firstly there is the Dravidian/Aryan divide. I first encountered it (very subtle though) at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Kampung Kasipilay (off Jalan Ipoh). This temple was built and run by Malaysians of the Northern Indian (probably Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi/Bengali/Gujerati-speaking folks). There was a language divide there so I can understand if most of the Southern Indian diaspora folks don’t go there. It was just looks…but those looks were not very welcoming.

Part 2 is among the Southern Indians and the Sri Lanka-originated Tamils. By this I mean the Malayalees,  Telugus, Tamils and you guessed it, the Ceylonese Tamils.I won’t include the Tulu-speaking Karnataka folks…cos I’ve yet to meet one.

Again the subtle divisions. Some Pillais, Raos, Reddys, Menons, Nairs as well as the Ratnams/Lingams/Singams and the Iyer/Iyengars will take pains to distinguish themselves from the great unwashed they consider us. This can be experienced at certain temples and cultural centres in the urban centres (KL, Penang and major towns). If you do not have a certain look/distinguishing trait that confuses them (I’m saying this cos I confuse them all the bloody time), you may find doors closed to you.

I had a friend being refused by the temple committee when she asked to rent a hall at a major temple in KL. She was asking rates on her soon-to-be married friend’s behalf and upon hearing both her name and her friend’s, she was told “you can have your function here but not your friend.”

Yes, when I first heard it …this was what i wanted to do.
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Luckily, dark thoughts rarely escape my cranial fortress. Otherwise I’d be famous today as a serial arsonist. V could not hold a dynamite to me….hehehe.

But I digress.
The third layer of racists/bigots lie within the Tamil community. The caste/sub caste differentiation, the trade classes and the socio-economic classes (this one is simpler – the haves and the have nots). This antara dua darjat divide is universal la…so I would not discuss it.
The ones I find more irritating are the “I am a Mudaliar/Chetti/Kaunder/Pedayachi/ Vellalar” badges. Dei…we speak the same bloody language la. At least the TWAT was right when she said she doesn’t need to speak Tamil, cos she ain’t Tamil. She’s technically correct, even if she’s a virulent racist.

At the end of the day macha/machi…the Perkasa/Umno types still lump you under that glorious “keling” title la…remember that.

Like Martin Luther King, I also have a dream…that one day our children can play together without such derogatory words like keling and all making it into their vocabulary. But if we Yindians can’t even get our acts together, how do we take that bigger step towards unity?

Why can’t we celebrate our differences as something that enriches the Malaysian experience, instead of using it as a wedge to divide us further from our fellows?

Like this

Many many Tamils are dark. So? Seal is dark, I think he’s hot. Idris Elba is dark…he bloody awesome. If you readers chose to examine history, you might know that recent humans have one mother and she came from Africa. Check it out here. 

But that’s taking the higher view. On a more pragmatic level, let me tell you this. The Indian community in Malaysia is barely more than 7% of the national population, and birth rates are falling. In short, we are a shrinking community.

Can we afford to be divided by ultimately petty concerns, or should we cast it aside and help our less fortunate brothers and sisters into self-sufficiency and out of the socio-economic boondocks they are trapped in?

You pray? Ask your God which way to go.
You don’t pray? Ask your Conscience.

You will get one answer whoever you ask. Provided your head is screwed on right.

So what’s it gonna be macha?

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Wanna wake up or persist in your delusion of superiority?

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93 thoughts on “Racism, Bigotry and the Indian Diaspora in Malaysia

  1. Nice article but naive, very naive. Have you thought about what is the root cause of all this caste and community divide? Doesn’t it have a lot to do with the religion?

    What do you expect the North Indians to think of the South Indians when in Ramayana, some in the South are depicted as Monkeys?

    If all religious teachings, the Vedas, the Manu Sastera, Bagvad Gita, refer to the 4 varnas, who will want to be a Sudra?

    Education is supposed to get us to think of and treat all our brethren as equals. Ask all your graduate friends or those in the Universities. Everyone knows his caste. The Gounders, Mudaliars, Padayatchis, the Brahmins are proud of their caste. If you are a Pariyah would you be proud?

    Until those who masquerade as Suamis, Gurus and religious leaders summon up enough courage to denounce all references to caste in the scriptures, there is really no hope.

    • Mine is supposed to be an imploring post. I’d like to see the way ahead. Whether you like it or not, many Indian parents themselves have raised their children reminding them of caste and color, thereby continuing the poison injection into the next generation. Now I don’t have a child, but if i did, I would stem this tide of discrimination. Just like my parents taught me to treat everyone equally.

      It will take a while to get out of this quagmire of hate and suspicion, but we have to at least try.

      I may sound naive, but at least I have hope.

      • Good respond. Using religion and God-fear as excuses is lame. God has created everyone with brain and conscience, which is more than enough for us to differentiate right from wrong.

    • Question of yours: “If you are a Pariyah would you be proud?”
      They are also human dude and they eat rice like you too. Just because u r not, doesnt mean that u r perfect… People like you should not exist at all…

    • I see, your pointer is towards the hindu religion? First of all you have to know why it started and how it all started. Most of you guys pointing fingers jump around the internet space by projecting only 10% of the picture. 90% isnt projected, cause , it doesnt suit your agenda! So Here we go:
      1. We hindus believe in karma, and no caste can be decided based on janma(birth). Until the racist Manusmriti was composed, which believes in Janma(birth) and not karma. The karma went into its full fleged school of thought in the form of Buddhism.
      2. The Ramayana, veda and gita were composed by your so called lower castes of the soceity; Veda Vyas and Valmiki et al. Do you expect that these lower castes would project their own community as inferior?
      3. vedic period never said or mentioned anywhere that Shudras or any one for that matter are inferior or superior. Nanda Dynasty was a Shudra Dynasty, one of the most powerful dynasties of India during 321 BC, Alexander was scared to fight these guys! How come inferior Shudras ruled 60% of Casteist hindu India?
      4. Ashoka’s Grandfather, i.e chandragupta maurya was of shudra origins as well. Ashoka’s mother was a Brahmin of the Vaidiki Brahmins i.e. Telugu Brahmin caste. How come Bindusara a shudra married a brahmin woman?

      5. All this bogus system you see now in its present form is the result of the Manusmritis, which was composed after the entry of Islamic Invaders into India. There are legends in my family which were told to me by my Grand mother that, Islamic Sword was placed on the throats of the Brahmins of the Somnath temple(Gujrat) and Martandeya Temple(Kashmir), and they were asked to compose a text which will suit the conversion agenda’s of these Ghaznis. Some Brahmins refused, and their heads were chopped. Other’s wives and daughters were molested. And some other fled to South of India( including my ancestry). But blame it on us Brahmins for not being able to defend the vedic culture and soon the Indian soceity was trapped in a blasphemous/ racist/ male chauvanistic text called Manusmriti composed under the sword of Islam. Blame it equally on the Kshatriyas who under their political ego kept fighting amongst themselves and parting their sides with the invaders. Blame it on Shudras who provided the services to the invading armies with logistic et al. blame it on the vysyas for providing groceries and resources to these invading armies.
      You see I am not blaming Muslims/invaders entirely for the corruption of the system. But we are equally responsible. But some of you guys would blame on the Brahmins for everything. Those guys were not allowed to possess any lands itself. They had to other job that the spiritual guidance. But then alas, some othese guys were seduced by the darkside of the world i.e, material riches and power. The same genes which provide intelligence to the human mind are equally responsible for our lust and urge for power, money and control. I would like to rite a blog someday on these issues. may be today is that day!

  2. A finely written article rant on the very same questions which bothered me for so long. I remember the caste system among the Hindus were so disgusting at one point of my own timeline, i thought to myself that the Hindus will never likely to achieve what others had. So what with their sick caste obsession? Just here in Malaysia, we are still considered 2nd class pendatang regardless of our caste. Well written piece, galadriel.

    • exactly! So why don’t we come together as one. There is much to do, so many people to help, a community to empower, and yet we persist in petty things like race and colour.

  3. This is a simple yet an articulate article. All the best to you. I will share your article in my facebook wall, thank you.

  4. Spot on. So we Indians can tag our problem as “1 Malaysia-Banyak India”.
    Can you imagine MIC having to select their (losing) candidates (pun intended) for the upcoming election based on whether the candidate is a Tamil (and further subdivided as Mukkulothor (ie devar, kallar and pallar then Gownder and the rest), Malayalee or Telugu may be sikh too in the running. I do not know whether Umno and MCA have the same problem like a javanese having an edge over a minangkabau or a hokkien having an edge over a hakka or khek. Then when you hear the forbiddeen “P” word all of us get worked out. Aiyah susah jadi Indialah baik masuk melayu.

    • Even within MIC the caste politics is alive and thriving. Even non-players need to get their caste credentials right to get anywhere at all. If we were to change this, we ourselves need to change the game. Do it like Ambiga, for a cause that transcends race. Now that woman is a game changer.

  5. Thanks for an enlightening article. I’m mid-aged and a slightly fair skinned Indian but don’t use it to undermine our other brethren. I have ticked off people (indians or otherwise) who at some point or other pointed out the lighter side of my skin or are you ceylonese, malayalee etc and just would respond with an edge of sarcasm….’I’m pariah!’. Yes, Indians should learn how to live as one regardless of their origins or ethnicity… learn from the Chinese as its evident that their language clearly unites them whether their features are round or squint eye, pointed of flat nose, sharp or flat looks….Cheers

  6. I believe the writer is a parachee, therefore have abstained from revealing it in her story. FYI it will be active for another 1000 years, besides it is very active and creative nowadays The truth is it is inherited even before we step foot in Malaya. Just that it is equal or even worse than in India. You want to know how the Indians are divided into tiny sects, just visit any Indian matrimonial sites.

  7. Well written, I m going to share this on my Facebook with permission :). Regards and keep it up.

  8. It is a good article, I am a Punjabi and I know how they look down on other Indians and I have told my son who is only 6 years old to never use the word Kxxxxxxing on anyone and instead refer to them as Indians. We need to really grow up

  9. A well articulated piece on a popular subject that seem to have eluded a solution till now. I think the divisions among the Indians were initiated by the British colonialists who brought in the workforce to Malaya. Different sects of people were brought in for different functions. The authorities kept a strict control on these functions then in order to emphasize the differences and prevent them from uniting as a race or force. These practices were found to be favorable to certain sects/groups and even certain organizations / political parties who have made it a point to perpetuate the divisions for their own benefits.

  10. Good rant. If nothing changes, then just become the best you can be in whatever you do. Then when you have the opportunity to help, help everyone regardless of who they are or what their name is. I am being like that. Love to you, dear girl.

  11. The Dravidians were there long before the Aryans came to India…that was the centre of the Universe. I am proud of being a Tamil…..history starts with us Tamils…everything else is mere details

    • Now there is a train of discussion I don’t wanna pursue, because then it would lead to one-upmanship and that has been the seed of some ugliness in history.

      yes, Dravidians have a long history and civilisation. I don’t deny that. But then so does the Chinese. Are u sure you wanna go that way mate?

  12. “The ones I find more irritating are the “I am a Mudaliar/Chetti/Kaunder/Pedayachi/ Vellalar” badges. Dei…we speak the same bloody language la. At least the TWAT was right when she said she doesn’t need to speak Tamil, cos she ain’t Tamil. She’s technically correct, even if she’s a virulent racist.”

    What is your problem if someone calls himself/herself a Mudaliar, Chetti etc? Tamils have several clans. Each clans have its own list of titular surnames. Hence you see all the Kaunders, Padayache, Pillais, Thevars, Nadars etc.

    The real problem is people like you who do not understand roots and simply talk rubbish for the sake of talking rubbish.

    Why bother other people’s titles? Are you ashamed of your own roots till you think if you dont have titles like Mudaliar, others must not have to????

    This is called dengki in Malay. Go get a life!!!

    • I have no problems with people calling themselves anything they want. Datuk Seri Count Jacob Sigamoney of Inter Data Technologies bought himself a place in Europe and got a title with it. He’s a Count and his wife a countess. So be it.

      But there is a danger with this caste clan identification that in turn becomes an exclusive club that further divides the populace. I am not dengki mate. And for you to assume I don’t know my roots is plain presumptuous.

      Samuel L Jackson said, “if you make and assumption, you make an ass of you and umption.”
      You can live however you please, it is if you, this far away and forging a new identity as a second and third generation Indian in Malaysia (a country where you are still derided as pendatang by the folks that ruled this country for 55 yrs) go on to assume superiority over those who don’t belong to your club…now that is the irritating part. If you don’t, then there is no sense getting ants in yer pants about my post. thank you.

      • exactly… it will start as “being proud of my roots/ancestry”… then it will go on to excessive pride and one-upmanship…. might turn into bigotry….. seen enough…

  13. I agree with what you have written. I just have an issue with some commentators blaming Hindu Dharma for the caste / varna system. I would suggest everyone read more on this however, to put the issue in perspective: The caste system is rightly a class system. It is division of labour long before Adam Smith came up with the idea. It was not supposed to signify certain Indian sub-ethnic groups as lower ‘caste’ than others. It was supposed to signify the profession in which a person worked. The only reason it came to be associated with ethnicity or family name is due to the fact traditionally sons take on the job of the father. A labourer’s son becomes a labourer. You have fair-skinned labourers mind you. By the same logic the priest’s son becomes a priest. The priestly class (Brahmins) barred non-Brahmins from entering temples and learning scriptures. This perpetuated the divide. The business community (vyasas) had some respect due to their wealth. Over generations, with each generation carrying on the work of their forefathers, family name got attached to work/profession. With this, came other segregations – marriage could not take place between families of different professions.

    The world has changed today; India has to play a key role in dismantling the caste system which is an abuse of Hinduism. A person may carry a particular family name / caste which may categorise him as low caste / backward caste in india but through education or business achievement he may be outstanding. Would society dare not respect him? I least expect this caste nonsense to prevail in Malaysia.

    And remember, you are a ‘brahmin’ not by birth but by action. Likewise a pariah. The arya samaj states that only upon reaching the age of at least 14 years old can a person be determined a brahmin or not.

    • I may not be too well informed about the religion of the Indians. But from what I read, there is a class of people in India which is called dalits or untouchables (there are millions of them in India). They are considered dirty and are thus outcasts of the community. Can you tell us why are treated as unclean humans?

  14. Well discussed galadriel! all this caste diffrences has made the indians life miserable i would say… wat i shall say about my caste?? i came from multiculture and multirace background!! my mom is not malaysian not a indian! and my dad … i dono i heard my relatives talking once dat they are pillai”s or muthuraja or wat ever! I DONO!! wat i know is im a human race… my parents never ever brought me up n other siblings with this caste distinguishes. but i ended up feeling miserable cerze of the caste issues dat i face ever since i went sekolah rendah till my college!! some parents will jus feed the innocent heart of their children with caste superiorty… ! i was asked about my caste wen i was standard 3 by 1 girl… and the reason was her parents wont allow me to come to their hse if i were something else!!!! on dat age i was puzzled BIG TIME!! DAT GOES ON UNTILL I WAS IN MY COLLEGE. I WAS ASKED REPEATEDLY ABOUT MY CASTE… AND I END UP HAVE A CASTE DAT WAS GIVEN BY THOSE ” BRILLIANT PPL” AS PARIAH!! THE REASON: CERZE I WAS FROM MULTIRACE AND MULTICULTURE BACKGROUND! how sad..!! I jus wish all this miseries shud end… moreover we r in malaysia la. the other races will only see us as one.. INDIAN!!

    p/s : the worst remark i have ever received is dat i was called as “INDIA PUTIH” at my workplace. wat dat suppose to mean.?? @_@

  15. Hey there, great post. I always wondered what Indians and Malays thought about race and such issues.

    Whoa, is ‘keling kia’ discriminatory? Isn’t it just like ‘cina’? I think I really should go and make some Indian/Malay friends. It’s odd that I don’t have any.

  16. The tamils only have themselves to blame as they want to segregate themselves from the other indians. I have seen many mails articles written by tamils even in the MIClub, where they sign off as “a tamilian’. The choose to be different from the other indians. Many tamils I know don’t refer to themselves as indians but as Tamilians. The sad thing is they seem to think so great about themselves and look down on other indians even the north indians. So don’t blame the other indians. The tamils must first learn to consider themselves as indians and respect other indians before they expect other indians to respect them.

    I won’t be surprised if now all the tamils here start hitting out at me just because they cannot accept the truth. But go look as many tamils who keep harping on the word tamilian instead of indian.

    • What is there to be ashamed of in being Tamil?
      Can we, as Malaysians rightly claim to be Indians, as that would denote nationality…doesn’t it?
      I’m Tamil, with Indian antecedents but of Malaysian nationality.
      The Malayalees and the Ceylonese Tamils don’t do the same? Why single out Tamils? Isn’t this rather myopic of you?

  17. There is no India language,Indian food and Indian culture. India did not exist until 1947. All you who come to Malaysia after 1947 are Indian before that you idiots were British subject under British Indian Company. Why are you still hanging to Indian tag? If you still want to be called Indian.Balik India lah!
    I think the author of Interlok is correct. Those who came to Malaysia are mainly Kalar,Palar,Maraver along with Nairs,Naidu who were in the estates. Lots of Nair,Naidu too were rubber tappers. So why do Malayalees and telugu think they are different. Go to Kampung Benggali and in Sentul, most of the Sikh are living like in estates.A lot of the Sikhs like Gill were bus drivers and lorry driver in 1970s and 1980s.All of them used to sit in a toddy shop and drink together.Now little bit improvement, all the buggers making noise as they belong to Royals.Bodah! Bodah!

    • Dear naren,In sentul pre ytl days, there were only a handful of sikhs and by count less than 30 household.There were about 7 sikh family at the railway quarters and abt 4 familes at the milka singh kampung and about 4 families at jln, bahagia apartments and 3 families at kg.ratnapillai .2 families at the police quarters and currently there is a family where the husband is a sikh and wife a ceylonese staying at sri kelantan flats. also a family at the gian singh quarters.Most of the sikh children from sentul are now top notch professionals..So, there is no kg.benggali in sentul.
      About drinking sessions at the sentul toddy shop, a whole lot races drink there not since rice,mice lice took over the lives of people and there was never an estate in sentul.
      Sentul was a railway town and allied business like provision shops.
      Nowadays most guys dont go to the toddy shop but to Tangavel pub next to dynasty hotel.Hahaha
      Its been a long time since i visited sentul.Sweet memories !!!!
      I sure do hope that you will do your bit to decrease your froth.

  18. “Kelingga” is used to be the “ID”of the people of south India which was then known as KALINGGA NADU .The early chinese traders who visited south India have written records of it.The chinese who migrated from China to Malaya naturally called us,south indians, Kalinggas.There is nothing derogatory about it.In fact we should be proud of being called Kelinggas.This is our true Roots.Till today we call the chinese “SADAIYAN” because the early chinese who visited south India were sporting long “pigtails” (long hair braided) This is plain historical truth.People who dont know History tend to allow their brain and thoughts to be manipulated by ignorant people !

    • sure about the “Kalinga Nadu”….? never heard before…. There is a state of Kalinga in present day India, and maybe an empire based on that area…. but they dont speak tamil, and are far from Tamil Nadu/Madras state sphere of influence… hmmm

  19. Excellent writing Galadriel! On the plus side, by experiancing such racism, such caste devide nonsense, by having a dark skin and being called a keling has made you this intelligent and amazing human being that you are today. Such wisdom in your writing skills, such depth. I am a fan and will keep an eye out and look forward to reading more of your articles.Wish you well.

  20. It always sickens me when i hear/read about the Indian caste system. I would have thought that it only happens in some remote part of India and only among the uneducated or ignorant. But to hear that it also applies here in multiracial M’sia is disappointing indeed. Is it not enough that Indians are marginalized and ostracized that you have to have to start doing it to your own kind?

  21. Excellent article, I too grew up never knowing any race divisions. Only learnt about it during university days and I was certainly appalled by it. I don’t teach my kids to be racist and to teeat everyone with the respect no matter whom. I hope all parents will do the same at least from our generation onwards. It’s time we did something to change the mistakes of our ancestors.

  22. Well few things..

    firstly, just because you do not understand the shastra well dont blame it (goes to Sukumaran).

    And India did not exist before 1947? Thats like the most absurb thing ive heard in a long long time…

  23. I am guessing u r in ur mid twenties and hence u wouldn’t hv the benefit of being awakened. I am a patron of the white power lakshmi narayanan lot u sweepingly say tit-stared you..? Hmmmmm.. Ok.. So..? When I go to a “Tamil temple” (gosh thanks for making me make up words so to drive home a point), anyways when I go to a Tamil temple, I get cock stared the entire time.. Like non stop staring. That doesn’t mean I think the stare is out of line. People look, malaysians for sure gawk a helluvalot.. Sooo..? So if we (ooooh, we “Aryan Indians”.. Oooooo) stare, it’s simply coz u r right. We don’t have that many Tamils praying, but when they do and there has been many, they are treated a lil more special. Ask any one and they will tell u that. Btw, the hall downstairs, 9 out of 10 weddings is used by guess who..? Yeap, Tamils.. So now how..? So next time, when people say hey u are so bloody gifted la in ur writting abilities, don’t believe em.. Think for urself.. Don’t think what others think. That’s hearthoughts akin, to hearsay.. Pointless..

    • Mid twenties? Assumption number one – wrong btw.
      Tit Stared? Assumption number two – wrong again. wasn’t wearing anything meriting that sorta stare. Did you btw?
      I did not just get stares. I got comments…which translated by the dude with me.
      You say they use the halls? very nice. Things have come a long way then. I used to be there as part of my job, and people have asked me if i was invited. I told them why i was there and they told me “this is a closed sindhi function.” Then I told them who I was and the reception radically changed from frosty to eternal warmth. Dude, I know something abt objectivity, do not patronise me.

  24. I fled from the rubber trees of Kamuning Estate (Sg Siput) and the Malaysian style racism to my Motherland – AUSTRALIA, where my ancient ancestors the ATHI DRAVIDIANS drifted into AUSTRALIS and now called ABORIGINES. I look like them, probably have same GENES or close to it.
    I do not see people on vertical scale, but on a horizontal spectrum as HUMAN BEINGS and all the characteristics of HUMAN RACE.

  25. Indians from the mainland have moved on, it is just us malaysian indians stuck in this crap. Our ancestors came on banana boats, quarantined in port klang, pulau jerejak, disinfected and sent to the estates in truck loads. Today, thanks to MIC and the quota many of us have some basic degree and think we made it in life. We all have this ego and want to represent ourselves as naidu, nair etc. So we start making comments and have opinion on every damn thing and have this denial clause, ‘my parents brought us to treat everyone equal.’ I always ask someone interesting if he was malayalee or punjabi being tamil myself. This is because generally malayalees n punjabis are more chilled species n i enjoy their company. On the other, if the person was boring, i care a damn if he was human or ape. This day and age this is a topic for discussion. Move on guys, lets safe the ozone layer, get africa on its feet and forget our gods and ancient roots. This little malay peninsular is not the end of the world, it might not last another tsunami

    • …….today ,thanks to mic and the quota …..?????..

      What you talking about thambi ?…thanks to mic that we are in this shit condition, Why do you think samy velu was given a golden buttshake to india with a post equivalent to a ministers status and perks? its for him to have prostituted the indians and keeping mum and dumb to all matters concerning malaysian indians.
      How much of financial allocations for the indians dripped down to the masses? Why is the sale of maica holdings soooooooo veryyyyy low?What happened to sampoorna holdings? What happened to land alotted to tamil schools?
      Quota? What quota? Most of the indian students were given screwed up courses not what they rightfully deserve by results.
      How many indian students got into the critical courses? Why was medical uni from russia not accepted by medical council and why was LLB external UL not accepted by gov? How many law, medical, accounts, engineering students in IPTA today and how many this year???? How many JPA scholarships were given to indian students with very good results??? Who were they ??What connection they have with mic top leaders???
      How many gov,/PSC jobs were offered to indians in the last 20 years and what type of jobs were it? buruk ,peon,driver, gardener,sweeper,etc Im not saying none but one two here and there ,i scratch your back and you mine to related applicants to mic inner circle. Faham thambi? How many in decision making posts? How many indians above rank of dsp,acp, how many directors? How many indians above rank of majors, lt.kol, brig gen?
      How are their promotion ‘chances’ A day before retirement ke?
      To cut the story short , mic since 1980 took care of ‘inner circle only’
      The state of affairs of the indians despair in malaysia is directly due to mic.
      If at all ,the indians graduated from uni is not of any aid from mic but more so to the effort,scarifice and pain of their parents and ptptn loan.No free lunch were they given. Oh ! The graduate will have to be in debt for at least 20 years at 3 or 4 % per year ‘intrests’ or cummingly known as Adim.charges.
      What is vel paris qualification or experience that he was appointed ceo of maica? He presented a madza RX8 to his girlfriend ,where did it come from ?
      Sapu buta ye?
      No right thinking indian will vote for mic or bn come ge13.
      WE ,malaysian indians had been had during our parents time, now, its your time to correct the wrong done onto the indians.Seeing that you are on the net, sure lah you got some IQ ,use it wisely to vote and tell yourself and your relatives and friends and foes alike that enough is enough.
      The future is in your hands not mic .
      Now, this part is for the business minded .
      Why is is that a non bumi company must give ,officially 30% but for approval of permit 40% minimum of the shares to bumi partners But a bumi company need not have non bumi partners to obtain approval.
      Think lah oh son of kunti ,think ! and come ge13 you decide what is the right thing to do.
      FYI ive got one leg on/in the pyre/grave already and its up to the younger generation to correct the wrongs done.
      mic=mostly incest couples.

      • Thiru. Rajan, vanakkam.

        I detest folks calling another ‘thambi’ during a discussion. Being an ancient rock, you sure should know that the term, if used wrongly, is derogatory and racially charged.

        The vast majority of Malaysians of Indian descent do not have good opinion of the Malaysian Indian Congress (“MIC”). It is a damaged brand — thanks, of course, to Datuk Seri S. Sami Vellu. Nonetheless, I doubt our folks would go PR in 2012, as they did in GE12. For the PR is yet to propose anything concrete to date (Buku Jingga including) to address many of the concerns and grievances you’ve listed.

        As this post isn’t concerned with politics, I’ll stop here.

  26. A– , You have stirred the honets nests together with the ants nests.This subject will be interesting to read as more readers jam in the topic.
    Ok Will all the indians now take a stand to “back up” Dato Ambiga in her current situation.Yes We must .
    We have been called KELING, PARIAH DOGS, and were told to balik india by umno,perkasa and our kids in school have been told to study the book ‘intelok’ as to understand that the indians are subservient to umno.If you reject this book VOTE PR .Those who want to be known as only INDIANS dont vote for bn and lets send mic to outer space cos mic did not stand up to defend the dignity and self respect of indians when being called PARIAH, KELING.
    Im sure the owner of this blog as a wordsmith will take the effort to start a call to rally support from the malaysian indians for dato ambiga to show that WE will stand by her in her time of need and morally support her ,with malaysian indian crowd ,if necessary.
    In all this talk of oneness, lets take the first step to stand as one with dato ambiga.
    Lets spread the word of this oneness across all means of communications in order for umno-perkasa to take notice and to treat indians with respect and dignity.

    Ps. Im a ceylonese married to an indian thevar and my son got a malayee pillay girlfriend while my daughter has a chetty boyfriend and both their wedding will be held on the same day. HaHaHaHa HeHEHe serious !!!!!!!
    Any comments ?

    • One helluva melting pot your family is. mine too, mr rajan. on a serious note, I must say that the Pakatan folks too have a rather sketchy record as far as fighting the marginalised Indians’ cause is concerned. This could be why Uthayakumar continues to be seen as the champion of this group of people. Us middle class people seem to distance ourselves from them. Ask Xavier Jeyakumar, better still observe his record. But maybe in his instance, it was a case of “tak biasa with administration”.

      Maybe the tide of public opinion might turn this country’s future to Pakatan’s hands, since BN is excelling at digging its own grave, but as far as the Indians in this country are concerned, only unity can ensure our effectiveness as a pressure group that could trigger a change in the plight of the marginalised Indians.

      We have to remember one other thing. Ours is not the only marginalised group in Malaysia. Look at the Orang Asli as well as the Sabah & Sarawak folks.

      • Well, im not too sure about the vision and mission of uthayakumar but what i know is that he is surely strecthing his cause too far and too thin.He must surely know that hindraf on its own cant do much but with cooperating with like minded parties,he could at least get half a loaf which is better than none on his own for the indians in general.He must not be so rigid in his demands like a spoiled brat.
        My friends and i ,being business owners, do not in the least trust his judgements and demands and equally so with the other spinoffs of hindraf.
        If i was pakatan, i would do the same, ignore him if the demands are not realistic.If like minded parties wishes to achieve their mission, there must be give and take efforts and no pre-qualifying demands.
        Just visit the ‘malaysian human rights party’s website and the first thing you would notice is that comments are barred.Why is this so?
        Anyway,i dont pay much attention to their rantings.
        Hrp must work with the only viable alternative that is PR .Not Pas, dap or pkr individually but collectively with PR.
        Malaysians have only one chance to have a change of government come ge13, lets not screw it up by being divided.
        I believe that uthayakumar was asking for the sky in terms of the number of seats he demanded. If he contests solo, im sure deposits will be lost and its going to be a sunset situation of no return.
        Jeyakumar is doing a wonderful job and speaks what is fair and just. Charles santiago is servicing klang very well and reports his performance in his blog.He is a team player.Manikavasagam is strong though being targeted by the indon mb, Gopala made an ass of himself.Surendran is a rising star ,hope success does not go to his head,sivarasah must be more outspoken ,thats what that brings the votes in,Pity there is no visible indian ladies in PR and as such i would suggest this blog owner to make some effort in this direction huh YB A–, serious! !
        The moronic imbecile club is deaf and dumb,so, no point talking and if at all we hear about them is when they tell us how heavy the balls of umno is.
        Just the simple case of the putrajaya incident will tell us a whole lot of thing about them.If surendran wants to meet the pm regarding indians with IC problems, Good at least someone is trying to do some good but here we have a bunch of silambam guys bashing up surendrans team. WHY ? It so appears that mic team was there to thank pm for his angpow ! Guys ! that saiful guy could just walk into pm dept to ask for a scholarship mah !
        Why not they give way and accomodate or just ignore, no! they must show pm they will defend pj with broken and crushed bones HaHaHa ,
        Just to digress a bit , Why is it that most indians are having difficulties with ic, Are they so ignorant about the procedures ,if so, why are they not approching mic branches all over the nooks and corners of the country for assistance ??This simple responsibility is shirked and how do you expect the indians to progress in education and in their general wellbeing.Its simple to blame everybodyelse rather then themselves.
        Are we to believe that distance is a problem eg ppl staying in estates etc then they could approch the estate management why be so indifferent.
        How come we never come across ppl with these problems.
        Attitude problem is not the fault of bn, Pr or anybody but the parents themselves.
        Even education pre and post uni is the reponsibility of the parents concerned not of any political party.Please dont give the crap that one cant get a seat in uni or cant afford, When there is a will,there will surely be a way.
        Without going into much detail, let me enlighten some of you the attitue shown by some indian students, i repeat, some indian students.
        Among others, i partly own an ipts, and im very well aware of the weakness of indian students, They care a bloody damn about their studies , and only try to mug at the last minute or to ‘copy’ in the exams.they ponteng like hell, movies ,lepaking and ‘disturbing girls’ or trying to impress others ,talking nonsense nonstop during lectures and not doing their assignments on time Some dont pay their fees even after they receive their ptptn loans cos they ‘blown’ it.
        Sometimes i think of having an pyscho analysis of potential students but being an ipts ,we got to get the numbers in so its best to put up with the irritations.frankly speaking.
        If i go on further ,i might appear to be ‘anti indian’ so bye for now.

        Self realization remedies all self inflicted ills — gita.modified.

  27. My youngest son has fallen in love with an iyer girl studying in the same batch doing their frcs.I dont seem to come across any ‘gossip’ about their differences from any quarters.How is it so? Is it our surroundings and exposure?. This is all muttal talk or one is trying to make up for their failures in life.Just like the perkasa talk and recently the umno talk.
    From my experience, i think talking about the sub divisions are a waste of time.I think those who indulge in this talk of which subdivision is greater or lesser are ethnic morons and are unemployed for they seem to have too much time in hand.Heard abt.’ a idle mind is the devils workshop’ !
    Instead of this talk, why not focus on your business or vocation,you get better dividends.
    The only way out is to exel in what you do.!!!
    Now its time to show your support for dato ambiga aka AKKA to many indians.Dont forget , She is also struggling for you !
    Give your support as an indian for an indian in the micro sense and as a malaysian to a malaysian in the marco sense.

  28. Galadriel.
    Naive and myopic. While you may have an idealistic view or hope, I should say. The reality of how this may have come about, could very well stem from the Tamils themselves.
    Look at this country. Look at what non-Indians know about Indians. Look at Tamil, yes I said it, TAMIL schools.
    Why are Indians in this country perceived as Tamils? Because the Indian majority are Tamils. And funds for “Indians”, specifically in education is via these schools.
    So what happens to everyone else? Erosion. Erosion of their own language, history and culture. Tell me I’m wrong.

    How can you even title this article : Racism, Bigotry and the Indian Diaspora in Malaysia and attribute it to that Narayanan girl when the root of the problem has been on the other foot all this while?

    Religion is not the reason why we’re here. In fact, most of your points are plain rubbish because the crux isn’t even floating around. It’s not the colour of your skin. It’s not your ancestry nor is it who came first.

    The reason why all of this is surfacing is because just like how we feel oppressed (and your own regaling tale of it) as a minority – the same identification (and oppression) exists within Indian communities.

    It’s not because other ethnic groups look down on Tamils. It’s because the Tamils have clearly and overtly proclaimed Indians as Tamils and promoted this concept at a national level to non-Indians. Indian to Indian, we know what’s what, but when it comes to a national context, everyone thinks we’re all the same.

    End Tamil schools. Start Indian schools.
    If you need to speak a dialect in this school, it should be Hindi.
    Fix this, affix Indians.

  29. So well written galadriel, seems to me you’ve opened Pandora’s box! It is bad enough we are already a marginalised lot in this country, It is a shame we further marginalised ourselves with race, caste, creed, colour and language. I noticed this to be rampant with those in touch with their roots in India though. Or those married their other halfs from India, not alone are they refusing to let go of the cast but also poisoning those of their kind here and having a community of their own. As long a we are holding on to this caste hierarchy rut , we are doomed , that’s for sure.

    Like my father, I brought up my children to be colour-blind. They did not see the disparity as kids when they played with the other Indian friends but as they growing up to be young adults, they can see their childhood friends do stuff and prefer to associate themselves with their own kind. Confused and hurt, my children rather their Chinese friends these days.

  30. HOW do you feel about people of a skin color or ethnic group different from your own? Do you view them as equals? Sadly, many view certain races as inferior. “Racism,” according to one reference, is “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”Such thinking is not new. Beginning in 1950 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization published a series of statements intended to combat racism. The statements were authored by anthropologists, geneticists, and sociologists. Yet, racism persists.The Bible was written to appeal to the heart. For example, in addition to stating the scientific truth that “[God] made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth,” the Bible also says: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35; 17:26) .So there is only one race according to God’s standpoint ,HUMANS ,Males and Females…..Living proof that injustice can be overcome is also available in today’s world. Individually, as well as organizationally, Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to subdue prejudice, partiality, racism, and violence….

  31. You can be of any race or caste but at the end of the day you are categorised as an Indian by the Gov and the Gov( nor the world, unless you are in India) does not give a shi* if you are from the upper or the lower caste, so lets try to be a Malaysian first. Well said Girl.

  32. I think Malaysia don’t know history. The just like to get into kinds of debat. The problem with Malaysian of Indian origin. All of them are from very backward society. That the reason some of the Sri Lankan origin do not want to mix with them. The reason was nothing to do with class,it just the mentality.

    I would like the Tamil origin to learn about a Kanada origin settle in Madras but fought for Dravidian movement in 1940′s. He is well known as ‘Periyar’ or E.V. Ramasamy Naiker. He was chased away in Benarasi when he was in a Hindu Temple of free food because of his low caste.

    Furthermore, anti-braminism was started in Madras by Dr.P.S.Nair, Thiyagaraja Chettiar and Anne Bessant. They are the founders of anti-braminism because of the backward practice of the Hindus.

  33. I find it astonishing that someone finds people calling themselves chettiears,kounder and so forth is much worse than be called keling?Certainly don’t agree with you here. I will certainly use “Vandayar” behind my name as this name carries alot of pride and history of my forefathers and not to say I’m off any better than others. Unlike some, I’m proud of my bloodline!

  34. my parents raised me in a very non-racist way. I grew up thinking everyone was equal and wanted to be my friend. of course that delusion shattered once I started kindergarten.
    am I racist if I insist on not being labelled as a tamil? I look like, that’s for sure, but I am not. I don’t think my race is superior to anyone else’s. I am punjabi so tamil is not my mother tongue. my parents speak it but why would they speak in another language to me? I grew up in malay-majority area, and there were only two other indians in the school I went to. As a result I don’t speak tamil and when someone talks to me in that language (coz I really do look south indian) I say tak faham/don’t understand but I have to go further and explain my race or they would think I thought I am superior to then and so dont speak tamil. in conclusion: I don’t identify with any race/ethnicity, my first language is english and I’m not going to apologise for that.

  35. I cannot but help notice that the real issue is being digressed here.Here you have, a hapless girl who in a momentary lapse of judgement resorted to venting her anger on social media only to have public backlash against her behaviour.We have all at any given time in our daily lives resorted to such ventings.Why are we diverting from the real issue here? What the girl encountered is a typical case of “eve teasing’ as how it would be referred to in India.As a fellow woman and an Indian to boot, I know and can relate to what Presana underwent.Step into the street from the air conditioned comforts of your car and attempt a ride on public transport & venture into a predominantly Indian populated street.As a woman,if you are on your own or in a group, you will be subjected to lewd comments, physical rubbing,cat calls,etc.Most women will tend to ignore, some will fight back and a majority will grit their teeth and vent their anger in their own way.So much of hu ha was created over Presana’s post. I cannot but help wonder why these very Indians never lifted a finger to express their resentment over what a fellow Indian had to endure for leading a social cause recently.This woman of international repute was subjected to uncivilized behaviour right at her doorstep.The harrasment was not a one off incident.It was not her Indian brethren but the Malay poet laureate who was man enough to protest against the humiliation she was subjected to.So anne and akka,macha and machi,where were you when we needed you most?

    On the subject of caste, it is quite eveident that those who made references to it knew very little about it.The caste system is deeply entrenched in the Indian culture & society.Did you know that even Hindu Gods have their seggregation?Whilst the greats like Vivekananda & Gandhi fought for it and coined terms like Harijans(people of God),even today in modern day India (yes …the land of IT geeks,Rajnikanth & Aishwariya Rai) this is being practised.That said, it is your prerogative to decide whether you would want to follow the caste system or not.If you choose not to, well and good,you are an exemplarary Indian.If you are staunch casteist, practise by all means,but do not cause any grief or hardship to your fellow Indian.

    Food for thought
    I have an Indian expat boss,he is an Iyer -Tamil Brahmin of the highest gothram.He lives in Brickfields ( the mecca of Indian expats in KL) with his wife and kids.They have hired 3 maids to help with the household duties at specific times of the day(mind you,they are not live-ins).The wife has a rule that no maid should come in the vicinity when the family is having their meals for fear of the evil eye.Now,pray tell me..being a Malaysian Indian would you have tolerated this behaviour or would you boycott them completely for practising such archaic custom.

    • Madcow ,
      You hit the nail on the head.
      To add to your point ,i would like to seek a person who has never called another insultingly . I know ,i do and did.
      Sometimes, i call someone ‘ you bloody pariah fellow, or ‘ that bloody pariah fellow’ BUT when i use these words ,its not to harp on his chaste or creed if any but out of pent up feelings towards that person in question.
      Some guys will call me of course behind my back ‘that bloody panakottai fella is so whatever,” or that bloody fucker whatever, or that shadayan whatever,or that valiyankati whatever, or that bitch whatever .
      Of course if we expect this type of labelling to cease then we must BAN
      malaysian ceylonese congress, malaysian indian congress, all malaysian malayee association, malaysian telugu association,malaysian gujarat association, sindi ,malaysian skih association etc etc including MU, chelsea, whatever FC, why FCs ?? That bloody Mu supporter is whatever, that chelsea fella so whatever ,that and this. also creed mah !
      Why then are those who ‘attacked’ this girl in question not doing the same to perkasa ,perkida or those who called indians pariah keling ,oiii lu india balik india , tengok ular tengok india bunuh india dulu. i think this degradation is worse than what that girl said.
      Ban all colleges cos its the same lah Have you heard something like ‘oh you bloody leeds bastards group together whatever, or you mu fellas /arseholes , etc
      then ban all companies , like that bloody mtc good for nothing, astro fellas sucking our blood , proton stinks,
      Some may accuse me of going off tangent to the subject but i feel its one and the same, PERJUDICE. This is brought and has been influenced by our surroundings, friends, foes, etc. We cant just run away from it but learn to live with it or ignore it.
      Madcow , Yes !!!!! Where were these defenders of creed and chaste when dato ambiga got harassed and was reported by both medias. Serving beef burgers to a hindu lady in front of her abode,Why no sound?? Buka facebook pula ! These guys should by right must have stood at the gate of dato ambiga to defend Indians but preferred to look the other way till a hapless girl was on the crosshair.
      These calling or venting of anger happens day in day out, just chill and cool it and focus on the bigger picture.

      Reminds me of ‘siapa makan cili padi ,dia rasa pedas’

  36. Vanakkam.

    I enjoyed reading your post. However, I could neither connect nor relate to it in any meaningful way.

    Like you I am a Tamil. At least that’s how I was brought up; received my primary education in Tamil, as well.

    However, the idea of caste remains distant to me. My dad was a non-believer. (He appears to have taken up faith of late, but that’s a different story.) He advocated Tamil rationalism. My late grandmother used to talk about caste occassionally, but even as kids my siblings and I knew her ideas were archaic, best ignored or made fun of.

    Only after entering college, or thereabout, when I was hit with an identity crisis — what with the Government denying us scholarships (despite our grades) — that I started exploring my own heritage.

    I learnt Malayalam (somewhat) and Telugu (barely), since one of my grandfathers was a Telugu, and a grandmother, a Malayalee. But I quit the pursuit soon after. Because they appeared (to me) to lack the magic that Tamil has — the magic that evokes anger and pride and determination while reading, say, ‘akkinik kunjondru kanden’ by Subramania Barathi.

    Returning back to caste consciousness … you seem to suggest that it is prevalent in contemporary Indian-Malaysian society. My experience says otherwise. Yes, there are pockets of ignorance, prejudice, castism, but that’s about it, I think. Pockets.

    I am confident that when push comes to shove we will caste aside our differences and unite, as a community, pulling our resources together, focussing on what’s essential. We are now in a period of flux owing to the vacuum created by the departure of our ‘dearest’ leader Datuk Seri SSV. But this will pass.

    Bottomline: there’s no “delusions of superiority”. Let’s have ‘faith’ in our self and community.

  37. Hi, I am an expat businessman from India, have been living in KL for the past 15 years. Let me add some insight into this discussion, particularly about the prevailing situation in India.

    The separation based on color, caste and region is rather an accepted and tolerated reality in Indian society. Well, its difficult to explain this to an outsider. The reality in India is that the lower caste are very well protected by the constitution and anyone who insult or victimize lower caste people are subjected to immediate arrest on non-bailable charges. And yes, if it happens, the Police and the court will go very hard on anybody who try to harm a lower caste person.

    In the recent times, the lower caste society hold more power than the upper caste in Indian politics and rightfully so. The social re-engineering that has been happening for the past 60 years have been accelerated by this newfound political power. Its quite a tough job to reverse the injustice done to the lower caste over thousands of years, yet, visible changes are happening to their quality of life, education, employment and economic status. Its heartening to see that the racial boundaries will become thinner due to the economic and social upgrade of the lower caste. I am proud to say, the future does look bright.

    However, I have always been saddened by the Malaysian situation. It looks as if the mindset has not changed at all. I believe it is due to the unfortunate lack of social re-engineering which is aimed at benefiting the economically and socially weaker tamil population in Malaysia. This section of Indian society needs urgent help to come up into the mainstream. Its quite sad to see that lower caste people in Tamilnadu or Kerala has more dignity and position than the Tamil brothers and sisters in Malaysia. The immediate issue is not about how others look at the Tamils but how to bring urgent help to solve this unfortunate situation and to right the wrongs done over the last couple of centuries. With help and encouragement, this section of society will emerge into the mainstream with brights smiles. Let me tell you, The best smile I have ever seen is from a Tamil and that is what we need to focus.

    Thank you.

  38. Ever noticed how successful Indian men end up with Chinese, white or fairer skinned Indian women. It always intrigued me how they defy all class, caste and education when it comes to settling with a fairer woman. Don’t blame the Indian girls when they hook up with White men. White men are colour blind when it comes to that. They are one up on shallow Indian dudes for sure!

    • Boggles my mind too. But I think it is normal for people of a minority community to marry out. After all, the community is small and the pickings rather slim, with many attendant class/caste/clan hurdles. I have not examined this part about Indians marrying Whites or fairer skinned people cos I don’t feel it’s that much of an issue. But fairer skin has always been a prized commodity innit, colorblind, especially in South and East Asia? How else do you explain the proliferation of tons of whitening products/treatments over this side?

  39. Hi! I enjoyed reading your article thoroughly, Galadriel. I strongly agree with you that caste system should be demolished. I am a medical student and i believe that all human beings are just the same, made of only blood and flesh. What makes us humane is our emotions which is not dependent on caste, race, religion, etc. We are not going to achieve anything by segregating fellow Indians into categories, instead we should come together as one for the betterment of our community. There are a lot of changes that can be done in this existing world only if there are more broad-minded people (like you and I) who are willing to pave a new path to a better civilization than the current one.

    Belonging to a certain caste does not guarantee anything about one’s character. I have lost the love of my life because of this caste system because he is from one of the lower castes. (although both of us are future doctors) People should be focusing more on one’s education and upbringing than one’s caste. Although eradicating this caste hierarchy at one go may seem impossible, i do sincerely hope that the next generation of Indians will not suffer because of this system which was originally created to segregate people based on job specifications thousand years ago. By the way, no job is deemed inferior to another. If there is no one doing the so-called ‘filthy’ jobs, none of us will be able to look as clean or tidy as we look. So, learn to respect people no matter who they are, rather than labeling and insulting fellow human beings. PEACE:)

  40. Alot of these prejudices stems from selfishness and greed – (I am sure most of the respondents in this blog will agree in one way or another)., This results in the rich getting richer etc so that the gap widens. Irrigardless of what people say colour mattters and prejudices exists. – this can be minimise if we are good at what we do , educate ourselves and help others ellevate to a better state.I mean potray a cultured behaviour – I repeat cultured – alot of people mistake culture/modernisation for westernisation – there is a fine line.I can be a tamilian/indian and still be modern It is important to know ones roots and culture – i am not advocating extreme views that we are currently experiencing
    Everyones’ experience leads them to make different judgement calls- I come from a very fair skin educated tamilian family , my siblings are often mistaken for north indians etc – my siblingsI proudly say they areTamillians/Indians and make it a point to say it with pride. If we dont cringe infront of others and dont make a fool of ourselves we can hold our heads high .We know there is a north/south divide and it is worse in Asia then in the West.It is a lie if anyone disputes this – the way i see it- is insteadiof helping the weakest link all the different dialects choose to isolate them andiportraythis negative impression to others.{Cutting ones nose to spite the face comes to mind)
    I always remember that I represent the Tamil/Indian community and this is in a western world. We need to change some fundamental values one of it being alcohol consumption and brawling the other sabotaging and blocking anothers progress,Why not learn to help another tamilian or indian to progress in life .
    From experience Tamilians mostly do not differentiate themselves from other dialect group it is vice – versa – we know why this is so -
    Lets change fundamental basic principles and ethcs and the rest will follow suit
    I am actually very touched to see how many people do care albeit all coming from different aspects – we need to find the thread to link.

  41. Wrong – you dont have to be sorry – if you read what i said carefullly – you will understand what the underlying point is – sarcasm is not very apt here and is the lowest form of wit
    it is ironical that both you and galadriel have made asumptions- why the sensitivity – why not take heed of the the positive points i have highlighted?
    Why the innuedoes eh? I suppose i can end off by saying typical but really this is uncalled for and very dissappointing – perhaps this is not the platform where genuine discussion and sharing takes place – just a sad reflection so really – there is no LOL or nothing nicely done !
    never mind – we obviously are not singing from the same hymn sheet

    • Madhi,
      I do understand. Just this I wanna say. One can’t help being born of a certain race or the other. The child of a mixed marriage, which race shud he be proud of? So racial distinction all that great a motivation for pride. People do mistake me for something other than what i am. I just correct them in a matter of fact way.

      Nothing great there. And that alcoholism and brawling business, it’s tip of the iceberg. Here is Malaysia, there is the added burden of socio-economic background and marginalisation as well.

      There was merit in some of what u say. But then it was simplistic. yes we need to find a common thread, but it’s a thread that requires humanity. Your experience says Tamilians do not differentiate themselves from other dialect group. What dialect group r u referring to? Here, the Tamils speak more or less the same kinda Tamil.

    • Mathi, I am sorry if I had hurt your sentiments. That wasn’t the intent. Nonetheless, allow me to point out, which is what I was trying to do earlier — albeit clumsily, it appears now — your excessive defensiveness betrays insecurity. You need to reflect on this. (Memo to myself: I need to reflect on this, too.)

      I am not sure what you meant by ‘this is in a Western world’. It could mean that you are now living in the West, or that the world is under the sway and dominance of Western norms and culture. The fact that you, galadriel and I, all Tamils, should converse in a foreign tongue is an apt demonstration of this, and the predicament we Tamils live in.

      How do we respond to that? Please read your post again. It’s loaded with bromides. And, it sure does chafe me in a wrong way. Examples: ‘can be Tamilian/Indian and still be modern’; ‘educated Tamilian family’; ‘cringe in front of others’; ‘fundamental values … alcohol consumption … brawling … sabotaging’. If I go by your first post, and that alone, I may take it that you do not have a very high opinion of our past, our fundamental values — drinking alcohol is not our value (Valluvar, for instance, has devoted an entire athigaram, Kural 93, advocating sobriety) — and our people. Which is probably why you are defensive.

      Now, I am not that better myself. I am probably just as insecure as yourself. Just that I have managed to cleverly hide it, often even from myself. So, as a corrective, I decided (barely two months back) to speak mostly in Tamil to fellow Indian-Malaysians offline, and write a lot more Tamil online. Hopefully, I’ll have the resolve to keep going, despite odds. This, I suppose, is one of those categorical imperatives of Kant (as opposed to utilitarian, consequentialist calculations of Bentham).

      Hmm… A lot of words. Still, my apology remains. I am sorry. I mean it this time.

  42. hmm… im not sure. im an indian guy and im afraid of other indian guys. i feel more secured with malays and chinese alot even if i did get abused verbally sometimes rather than kena samun, dibelasah, ditetak dan dibunuh by some low mentality indian guys. i dont blame all the indian guys. there are many indian that we can be proud of.

  43. I’m a Malaysian Malay but have plenty of Indian friends, specifically Tamils. During our school and college days (1970′s), we used to play together (also with Chinese friends). Never did the Malays call our Tamil friends “kling” ‘cos we know it is insulting and disrespectful to them. But we know one thing about them, for sure. They have got hardy leg bones. So we made sure to avoid clashing our legs with theirs when playing football. My Indian friends were also good in hockey.

    In Islam, it is clearly stated that it is HIGHLY SINFUL to insult another human because of their skin and features. Human looks and features are all God’s design. Racial discrimination is called “assobiyah”.

    During the times of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the most prominent “azan” caller (azan is the call to pray) was Bilal Robbah. He was extremely “black” because he was a black and was a slave. When he embraced Islam, his master took him to the desert, tied both his hands and legs, made him lie down on the sand under the blistering sun and placed a heavy rock on his chest. Bilal had to endure the persecution until one day, one of the Companions of the Prophet, ie Sayyidina Abu Bakar redeemed Bilal from his master.

    When the handful of early Muslims were severely persecuted while they were in Mecca, they sought refuge and was given protection in Ethiopia (Ethiopians are racially “black”).

    According to one of my close Indian (Tamil) friends, he can only go to a specific Hindu temple ‘cos he is of low caste. The higher caste Indians do not allow him to go to “their” temples ‘cos he is considered “unclean” even though he bathed himself thoroughly before going to the temple.

    Funny, isn’t it?

    • I wish you had held back that last para. It’s not as straightforward. And, many would swear that the statement is totally unmoored from reality. I am saying this as a non-Believing, non-practising Hindu. Stuff like identity, and cultural and religious practices are often over-determined. They are highly subjective, I feel. So, a data point is just that: a data point. Any attempt to discern a curve would only draw accusations of curve-fitting — or in lay language, projection of one’s biases. Yada, yada, yada. Sorry for boring you. ;)

  44. Be proud of Kallinga.. a great City whose name was a byword for wealth, trade and learning. It is a misunderstanding that causes Tamil people to be called ‘Keling’. Tamils in Malaysia are not the heirs of the great Kallinga people. But this error is a result of an ancient racial memory of the Malays and Chinese.
    Yes, many older Chinese call Tamils by the name of “Kallinga”. It is a description from their racial memory…a name that has no bad connotations. It is only when Tamils in Malaysia take umbrage (due to ignorance of the origins of the word) that it becomes clear to the others that they can rile you by using that name.

    Malays have know Bengalis for thousands of years. When the bearded Portuguese arrived, quite naturally they were referred to as “white Bengalis”. When the bearded Sikhs arrived, they were also called Bengalis. Sikhs don’t like that because they are aware Bengal is a thousand miles from the Punjab. They have a different diet, language and religion, so they also think they are better than the true bengalis.

    In the end it is about self respect. If you strive and struggle, people will respect you no matter where you come from. But always remain humble and serene as the important thing is where you are going.

    If you indulge in sheep-like behaviour and want to continue in the ways of the old, then don’t blame others for what they think sboput you. What has MIC done for you after 50 years?. Remember if you cannot govern yourself, you will never govern others. Look around in Malaysia and see which communities have moved on. Do not be envious or jealous. Instead learn from their sacrifices. They did not get there without pain and suffiering. Emulate them so that you children will be comfortable and safe.

  45. a beautiful lotus grow from ugly muddy water. People can say any thing but it is you will decide. Be strong like a diamond not an ordinary carbon.

  46. very good writting….surely,one day there will be no chanting of keling and other abusing word towards minority…..but this will happen only if we are all truly civilized ….

  47. Greetings & Vannakam to all..Just my two cents ; in order for the Indians in M’sia to change their mindset – they have to come out from the “well” dug my our MIC politicians earlier. There must be a paradigm shift from top down in the M’sian Indian leadership team towards creating a new progresive and multi-skilled M’sian Indian society. They shouldn’t be stereotyped based on a certain profession or trade instead we should see the entire field as our playing ground. Taking calculative risk is the “moola mantra” and we’ve seen it works for some our very own successful businessman/ woman out there if it’s repeated in a correct way over time! As the saying goes, “Time and tide waits for no man/woman” and to blend it in our current situation in M’sia – grab the opportunities when it comes and don’t think that it will fall onto your lap. I’ve seen this ad the other day on a billboard – Success favours for those who thinks differently!

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