Is my race better, or is yours?

Last week, I came home to find my young housemate sitting in front of the TV, glassy eyed. I had a bad day too. I decided my misery can wait, and listened to her.

This young Malay girl, when she first moved to my place, struck me as rather innocent in the ways of the world, in a way that I found refreshing. Her mother, when she left the young daughter at my place, said, “Jaga anak makcik ya.” That plaintive appeal moved me.

I felt protective about this girl, b, whose family is away in Pahang. So I share what I can with her when the occasion arises.

This time she needed a shoulder and an ear. She said, “I heard from my colleague that my superior doesn’t like me because I’m Malay. And she doesn’t trust anyone who wear a tudung.”

I felt both angry and helpless. B’s complaint is all too familiar. I’ve encountered racism is all manner of appearances since I came to Kuala Lumpur. Ironically, even though my family was of a minority back in my kampung, I’ve never encountered this ugly facade of Malaysia until I came to KL.

Look at us. B is Malay, L (my other housemate) is Chinese and I’m Indian. We co-exist. We cook and eat each other’s stuff. We watch TV together. And it’s barely months since we knew each other.

Yet, all around the condo where I live, I see a lot of House to Let or Room to Let notices with caveats like “Chinese Only”. I understand if it says “Females Only” since not many girls I know would feel comfortable sharing a house with strange male. In the case of B, that would be inviting trouble in the form of “khalwat” raids.

Why did it happen this way? A close friend of mine sometimes makes racist remarks that make my skin crawl. I confront her about it and she says, “I’m a product of my surrounding. They started it first.”

Call me a grass-smoking Spread-the-Love type if you wish (I don’t do weed, btw), but I think my friend’s reactionary manner is also wrong.

What is this about race supremacy? It is crap and really unapplicable in this modern, borderless world. Why this hate? I know that in a big way, NEP, or rather the way it was implemented, is to blame.

The sloganeering political parties shouting racial epithets and dividing themselves along racial lines,  are to blame. We hardly have people who truly fight for the betterment of their people.

Those things died with the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Sambanthan, Tun Dr Ismail perhaps, Tun Tan Siew Sin.

The Malaysian-ness of us started dying out when truly Malaysian Icons like P.Ramlee and Sudirman left us without replacements. And yet, in the absence of true Malaysian-ness, it is not as if the Indians, Malays, Chinese and others grew more powerful racial identity-wise.

The Indians and Chinese (typical of the diaspora) of course lost more of their original ways. This is not bad at all; assimilation and adapting is only natural if you wanna survive and thrive. 

Now, Pakatan Rakyat must ensure that they never again go the race way. Because this will lose them support of the people and a disillusioned rakyat is dangerous.

Umno’s brand of benign autocracy hid a whole world of ills that many other bloggers have written more and more eloquently about. And it is no longer benign.

I don’t care if Tun Dr M wants Pak Lah to go, him from outside Umno and his son from within. The many cracks in Umno only goes to showcase a part without a sound ideology that was kept together since 1988 by the iron will of the old man. They all suck!

Ong Ka Ting and his band of merry fat-wallets can go fly kite. This is the guy who used to negotiate behind closed doors for crumbs and bits from Umno masters. Now he is crying for Hindraf 5’s release. What about the rest of the ISA detainees Mr Ong?

Gerakan, despite its token “multiracial” line, is a Chinese party brought about to check the influence of MCA, way back then. It should amuse you readers that a Gerakan man who was snubbed for an electoral seat in 2004, was fobbed off with a senatorship a couple of months before GE 2008.

After the elections disaster, there was barely any Gerakan reps standing. So one Senator Kohilan Pillay from Selayang makes it to the Cabinet. Heh Heh! There is only two other Gerakan reps in Cabinet (if I’m not mistaken) and only one (tan Lien Hoe) is elected.

DAP has its own old guard who persist in this Chinese-rights thing under the guise of socialistic aims. I’m not fooled. Plus of course the dynastic politics that makes them quite unqualified to call the Umno kettle black.

MIC? I dunno what to say. Samy Vellu has no shame and no sense of accountability. I think he should just fade away quietly. MIC itself should just die. All this rebranding business is just stupid, needless and irrelevant in the face of today’s realities.

I salute the guy who lodged a police report against Samy regarding Maika Holdings. However, in these times when every Ahmad, Ah Loy and Arumugam lodges a report at the slightest provocation, would it matter? There are dozens of reports against Karpal (plus a bullet).

And so I wonder, why aren’t there many more reports against Samy and Maika? After all, there must be many many people affected.

Why ah?

Why don’t we the rakyat, send these corrupt relics to hell in a mengkuang basket?


10 thoughts on “Is my race better, or is yours?

  1. We have to understand that politics and real life is another. Even if we have so many people saying that our politics is race based, our politicians are racist, the government is pro malya this that whatever, but in real fact there are malaysians who still live in peace with one another. Me and my friends in uni lead happy and united daily lives, with all of us being friends and being together because well, we like each other’s company and we appreaciate them for who we are. Not based on race or religion or whatever. It is so depressing to see that if we normal people can live in peace and accept that we can live together despite our differences.

    It can be confusing if we live in reality all happy and all, but our politicians are fighting just because they disagree with one another in terms of values, opinions, whatever!

    Crap! Maybe you politicians should try take a cue from normal people like us instead!

  2. True enough, I agree.

    On the issue of ads indicating Chinese only, by the same token at Vista Angkasa in Kampung Kerinchi next to Universiti LRT station, I see lots of ads for house or room for rent. And its indicated Muslim or Muslimah only or even Malays, Chinese or Indians and now there is even Sabahan or Sarawakian only. I wonder what has the damn education today turn Malaysians into. So fond of dividing by racial lines.

    Right from the days you go to school you are divided by racial lines. Then when you know how to read, the moment you read the papers you are reminded day in and day out on the news or in newspaper ad for jobs – Bumiputra preferred. All these are crap.

    The so-called lawmakers created this – BN. Are the other ethnic based parties any better? Not at all. They are equally despicable. Then what about the oppositions? They too ain’t any different.

    It is high time that the nation recognise a person as a human being without identifying ethnic origin or religious affiliation.

  3. I have a few examples to share,

    1. “Chinese only” , a friend did that before, I was annoyed at him. He said that he likes to eat pork and cooks them quite often in his shared apartment (Bak Ku-teh) . He did not want to upset any Muslim house mate.

    2.An Indian friend invited some Muslim to his wedding, even he said that it was all vegetarians serving, but few show up ,those shown up refuse to eat due to non halal-food.

    3.Chinaman boss to a SMI refused to hire Muslim, he said, the moment they come in, they wanted a surau and 5 x praying/day , friday almost is non working day. He said he hired before , all left and now no more.

    4.A friend works in government department. Almost reaching retirement age, all other staffs in the department are BUMI, he was the last non-Bumi. All new young hires are Malay.

    5.When I worked in factory, a Malay girl operator confided with me, three other good friends of her started wearing tudung, they refused to talk to her recently as they said “she is not clean ” . She does not like to wear tudung. A few months later, she started wearing tudung.. but did not want to talk to me anymore.

    It is very sad to see such things going on…


  4. Blame it on the way our government handle racial issues. They relented to the issues voiced by their own race/religion without even thinking about the bigger picture of a community. Therefore everyone is always suspicious of each other, even among the same race.

    How can we stop linking issues to having some kind of conspiracy when the forms that we fill up in government department still having the race and religion column?

    I really don’t know when will the government stop playing along the racial line but I certainly hopeful that one day different races can sit down together without having a single thought of uneasiness.


  5. Our thinking is shaped largely by the environment we are exposed to. No matter how much you like to think otherwise, race, religion, culture and ‘us vs. them’ line of thinking will almost always be with us.

    If you want to go to the “root” of the matter, it has to do with the way we are differently conditioned by our history, upbringing, cultural and religious beliefs.

    “Work” and “study” to a chinese have far, far more important connotation then it has to a Malay or an Indian. Why? It is too complicated to delve here. Let us just leave it at that … that it is (unless of course if you wish to argue that the premise itself is not true).

    “Religion” to a Malay / Muslim is enormously, enormously important. It literally defines his existense on earth. To the Chinese and Indian, religion is just that – religion; another important component in one’s life, a code of belief that guides him in a moral path away from evil. Period.

    The Malaysian Indian is caught in a bind of “Cultural Idendity”, more so than the Malaysian Chinese or the Malays. He can neither identify himself with mainstream indians from India, nor find affinity with other races in Malaysia nor even claim brotherhood with other indians in Malaysia. He is actually a lost soul, who does not have deep roots anywhere to draw inspiration from (unless of course if you wish to argue that premise to be not true as well).

    So, while each of us may appear the same, with our attire, food habits, workplace camaradrie, social etiquette and what you have, in the confines of our own personal space we are as different as chalk and coal.

    We are inspired by different aspirations and are haunted by different ghosts. Therefore, wherever we may go, on land or sea or foe ….. we will always be different. And that difference will surface and show up in any long term relationship involving different race, be it among friends, collegues or within the family.

  6. Yeah, just had this conversation with my girlfriend who is renting in Vista. Could see almost every ad stating race preferences. Those are some serious racist ad if i might add. It is kind of funny to have that sort of ad put up by so called ‘mahasiswa’ of UM, ‘cos as you know, many residents of Vista are students of UM.

  7. Pingback: Blogger’s Thought: Is my race better, or is yours? « Beneath The Line

  8. good piece. sad to hear the things that your housemate is going through. Hopefully she will NOT go to the dark side. (star wars thingy…)

    Personally, if i dislike the person, I will dislike him/her regardless of the race. And similarly if I like the person.

    The fact that he is of my race does not make me like him more.

    This is a burden from the older generation that we should attempt to break through and break loose.

    It’s not enough just to be good to other races, we should play a proactive role in showing other races that they too, are our brothers and sisters.


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