28 February 2011

Wang Kerajaan Adalah Wang Rakyat!

oleh Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin

Seringkali kali media melaporkan bantuan atau belanja yang dikeluarkan oleh kerajaan digambarkan seakan itu adalah harta kerajaan atau orang politik yang terbabit. Maka bantuan yang disalurkan seakan dari sifat pemurah kerajaan seperti disebut 'kerajaan bermurah hati membantu'.

Rakyat seakan bagaikan peminta sedekah. Begitu juga apabila ada penyelewengan ataupun pembaziran, maka rakyat yang tidak faham merasakan yang rugi hanyalah kerajaan atau duit orang politik, sedangkan mereka lupa wang tersebut adalah wang mereka.

Samada kita sedar atau tidak, setiap rakyat negara ini membayar cukar kepada kerajaan. Ini merangkumi cukai pendapatan, cukai langsung dan tidak langsung.

Harga barangan yang kita beli dalam negara ini sebenarnya kita bayar bersama harga cukai. Di Malaysia kita membeli kereta dengan harga yang tinggi disebabkan faktor cukai.

Begitu juga segala barangan, makanan dan stesyen TV yang dibeli merangkumi harga cukai. Maka, setiap rakyat kena tahu bahawa mereka sebenarnya setiap hari membayar cukai kepada kerajaan. Justeru wang kerajaan adalah wang rakyat.

Maka, wang yang dibelanja oleh mana-mana kerajaan; samada BN atau Pakatan Rakyat atau istana-istana dalam negara adalah wang rakyat yang membayar cukai secara langsung atau tidak langsung, sedar ataupun tidak sedar.

Istilah 'wang pembayar cukai' atau taxpayers money, atau harta awam sepatutnya sentiasa dipakai dalam media dan ungkapan rakyat. Justeru, apabila kerajaan membelanja untuk sesuatu projek atau menyalurkan harta kepada mana-mana pihak, hendaklah dilapor atau disebut “kerajaan menggunakan wang pembayar cukai atau harta rakyat untuk projek itu dan ini”.

Jika berlaku pembaziran, hendaklah dilapor dan disebutkan “kerajaan telah membazirkan wang pembayar cukai, atau merosakkan harta awam, merugikan wang rakyat”.

Ungkapan ini penting supaya orang-orang politik sedar bahawa bantuan dan peruntukan yang mereka salurkan kepada rakyat bukan wang poket mereka, atau harta peribadi mereka sehingga mereka boleh mendabik dada bangga. Sebaliknya, ia sememang harta rakyat.

Begitulah rakyat, mereka tidak boleh tertipu dengan merasakan seorang-olah bantuan yang diumumkan oleh orang-orang politik itu dari 'harta persendirian' tokoh politik tersebut, sebaliknya ia memang harta rakyat yang diuruskan oleh orang-orang politik.

Ini boleh mengelakkan perasaan rakyat yang merasakan mereka bagaikan peminta sedekah kepada kerajaan dan mengelakkan orang-orang politik lupa diri terhadap wang awam yang mereka belanja atau istiharkan dalam kempen politik mereka.

Baca artikel penuh di sini.

27 February 2011

GDP Does Not Equate Happiness

I post over here some of the points which caught my attention from this well written article by one of our prominent economist, TAN SRI LIN SEE-YAN

Japan's full year GDP amounted to US$5.47 trillion, about 7% smaller than the US$5.88 trillion China reported in January.

Japan's real GDP for the full year expanded by 3.9% (-6.3% in 2009); for China it's expected at 10.3% for 2010 as a whole, up from 9.2% in 2009.

Thus China became the world's second largest economy in 2010, ending Japan's 42-year reign in that position.

But both Japan and China together remain considerably smaller than the US economy: still worth 23% less (at US$11.35 trillion) than the US '10 GDP of US$14.66 trillion.

The new rankings merely symbolise China's rise and Japan's decline as global growth engines. For the US, as I see it, while Japan was in a way an economic rival, it has been also a geopolitical and military ally. China, however, poses as a challenger on all fronts.

But China remains in many ways poor. Whereas, Japan is an extremely wealthy nation.

In terms of GDP per capita, Japan is No. 1 in Asia and No. 18 globally.

China still lags behind Japan in many respects in the face of a reality that their growing interdependence makes them partners as well as rivals.

By comparison, China's income per capita (at US$4,400) is only one-tenth of Japan's. World Bank estimates that more than 100 million people - nearly Japan's entire population - live on less than US$2 a day.

If you look at China's development, its standard of living is much like Thailand, even Indonesia. But if you look at China's mere size, besides being now the world's No. 2 economy, it's also its largest exporter (counting euro-zone members separately); second largest importer; largest surplus nation (with current surplus peaking at 11% of GDP); and largest holder of the world's stock of foreign currency reserves (equivalent to 50% of its GDP).

China's economy probably will surpass US in outright size within 20 years.

But, quite obviously, the GDP landmark can't reflect the true condition of the Chinese society, which been described as “rich country, poor people.”

A recent Asian Wall Street Journal write-up on the book “Do We Have to be No. 1?” by Renho (a ruling-party politician) who suggested that Japanese should take comfort in the notion that Japan need not be a leader in everything (or anything) to be deemed successful.

Her notion of Japan as a centre of creativity and innovation (e.g. hybrid cars, 3-D video games), in contrast to its image 30 years ago as a copycat and later, outperformed the originals with excellent design, manufacturing and craftsmanship. That label is now passed-on to China.

It's a matter of quality over quantity: “Japan is still a wealthy nation in many sense of the word.”

In the meantime, Chinese attitudes have also changed in a world as it sees it today. There are already indications that the young are growing impatient and increasingly ignoring the advice of Deng Xiaoping (architect of modern China) to “hide our capacities; bide our time; never claim leadership.”

China still has much to do just to keep pace with the people's aspirations for higher incomes and higher living standards.

Simon Kuznets (who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1971): There is more to life than money: “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income.”

Cameron (Britain's Prime Minister) sums it best: “we need to look for alternative measures that would show national progress not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving; not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life.”

In the 60s, Robert Kennedy criticised GDP as measuring everything (including pollution, cigarette advertising, napalm & nuclear warheads) “except that which makes life worthwhile (the arts, wit, wisdom, compassion).”

It concluded that the level of GDP per capita was far from the best measure of material living standards.

The trouble is people do quite poorly at predicting what makes them happy. They focus too much on initial responses and overlook how fleeting moments of pleasure are, leaving them no happier than before.

Granted many studies have shown that wealthier nations tend to be happier than poorer ones; and rich people appear more satisfied than the less affluent.

Yet, other studies on the US and South Korea suggest people are no happier than they were 50 years ago despite sharp rises in income per capita.

A recent Canadian study concluded the happiest people reside in the poorest provinces (Nova Scotia), while those in the richest (British Columbia) were among the least happy.

Since happiness is what people finally want and wealth is only a means towards this end, Prof. D. Bok (former Harvard President) made it known “the primacy now accorded to economic growth would appear to be a mistake.”

Based on latest research findings, two conclusions have emerged:

(i) things that bring enduring satisfaction for individuals are also good for most others (e.g. helping others, close relationships);

(ii) experiences that bring lasting happiness do not feature as priority in government (e.g. medical afflictions, such as chronic pain, depression, sleep disorders, give vast relief to sufferers once treated, but such people are often under-served in hospitals).

For sure, people who claim to be happy tend to live longer, are less prune to commit suicide, don't abuse drugs, get promoted more often and enjoy good friends.

Be that as it may, it's still premature to initiate new bold policies on happiness based on research alone.

Nevertheless, they can be useful in assigning priorities or identifying new possibilities for public intervention.

Perhaps, public officials may even use these research insights as a basis for informed decisions. Surely, you can't go wrong with prioritising happiness.

Read the full article here.

Season of Goodwill

A very enlightening article by the consort of the Sultan of Johore which I think should be read by all of us. This is another piece of the many articles written by Her Royal Highness which I have followed and this one clearly shows her inner self whom surely be cherished by we Malaysians.

During the days before Christmas last year, I wished my friends who were celebrating it “Merry Christmas” in much the same way they would wish me “Selamat Hari Raya” or “Happy Eid”.

I find it rather sad that such a simple greeting – one which I grew up with and which I have never regarded as something that would compromise or de-value my own faith – is now regarded as something so religiously incorrect for us Malaysian Muslims.
What I do not wish to forget, however, is that there are good, kind people who are not of the same faith as me.
Every year, friends who are Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs or those without any faith come to our home to celebrate Hari Raya with us. They do so with sincerity and as a mark of respect for one of the most important days in the Muslim calendar. Why should we not reciprocate their kindness, show them the same mark of respect for their religion and wish them the same joy on their holy days of celebration?

Read the full article here.

21 February 2011

Non-Level Playing Field in Judging of Top Schools

An opinion by a PIBG in Petaling Jaya.

Monday February 21, 2011

Judging of top schools not done fairly

A few years back, “performing schools” were accorded the title Sekolah Harapan Negara and later Sekolah Cemerlang. These schools were given monetary rewards.

Not long after that, the Education Minister announced the “cluster schools”.

The reward was RM500,000 per school. Now they have been rebranded as “Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi” with an award of RM700,000.

If one were to go through the records, it can be seen that the same schools are benefiting every year.

Most of the schools are in big towns or boarding schools. The day schools seem to be left behind.

A school principal once commented “It’s a futile exercise for us and we are fed up! Year after year, we are chasing for the moon!”

Just look at the present 23 schools selected and you will see the trend.

We can guess what type of schools will be selected next year.

For the so-called elite or boarding schools, it is plain sailing as they have good students while we toil with the leftovers.

There is no control on day school intakes.

For instance, good primary schools in “elite” areas will have to accommodate foreigners who hardly speak Bahasa Malaysia or English.

Sometimes the district offices transfer students from Band 7 schools (weak schools) to promising schools and this frustrates the teachers who have nurtured their students from day one.

Look at the big schools in town areas that have between 700 and 1,000 students and with a class of 40 students.

How can one compare this to a rural school, such as in Ulu Lubai in Sarawak, where the number of students and teachers in the school are 30 and 12 respectively?

The school’s core business is to provide a good education to the students. Giving monetary rewards on a non-level playing field is demoralising, especially if it is done repeatedly.

Petaling Jaya.

Replace Moral Lesson...

An opinion from Mr. David Tih, Malacca.

Monday February 21, 2011

Replace Moral lessons with religious classes

.....Things that stand in the way of inter-religious harmony include: inadequate knowledge, misunderstanding, insensitivity, intolerance and bigotry.

In this context, I would like to suggest that the Government abolishes existing Moral classes and replace them with religious classes for all non-Muslim students – Buddhism for Buddhists, Christianity for Christians , Hinduism for Hindus and so on.

Also, schools can set up their own inter-faith committees to minimise misunderstanding and promote better co-operation and brotherhood among Malaysian students and help nurture them to become good citizens and responsible leaders of this great nation in the future.

It is time for us to translate the 1Malaysia concept into reality by respecting, understanding and accepting each other’s differences and moving forward together as one nation and one people.

David Tih,Malacca.

Read more here.

P/S: Things that need to be looked into if the authority agreed with the above opinion and decided to implement it;

1. Do we have enough competent and reliable non-Islamic teachers to teach in our schools. Do we have enough manpower that really well verse in the teaching of their respective religions . Do not expect the MOE to call on the monks to come to teach in our schools. It is a matter of occupation just like a teacher teaching the Islamic study and not on voluntary basis.

2. Will the MOE willing to come out with a big budget to set up teacher training centers to train non-Islamic teachers. Then how about logistic, organization and human resource within the MOE, SED, DEO and schools.

3. How about content and syllabus of each of the non-Islamic subjects. Which one to follow or to be adopted, since within each of the non-Islamic religions, there are so many sects that seem to have difficulty to accommodate to each other.

4. Would it creates conflict among students and teachers in our schools when everyone declares that the teaching of their religion is true and the best and try to ridicule others. There bound to have some teachers who undertake the teaching of their religions towards an extreme side which cannot compromise on the sanctity of their religions.

20 February 2011

Watch Tiger Dance - A New Style of Lion Dance

Watch Flood in Segamat

A bit late but still watch the flood that ruined Segamat prior to the 2011 CNY (03.02.2011) which was videoed by one reezyfrayna.

13 February 2011

1Malaysia School

"Give us a 1Malaysia school instead"

What is that?
Why the need to have such school?
Who made such an innovative idea?
When it all started?
How to go about?

Find out here.

So goes the Salam 1Malaysia, rhetorically!

Big Problem in Little India

RM35 millions spent to beautify the area and named Little India,
so should not have big problem?

See, so nice and beautiful, then why and what the big problem?

Find out here.

12 February 2011

World's Winning Shortest Essay

Sharing this email from Mr. Lim Chin Hong, Taiping which I find very interesting.

This is a story of a 16 year-old boy from New Hampshire, England who won the World's Shortest Essay competition. He was awarded a scholarship at the University of Harvard for his imagination and humour.... Here's an example of absolute brilliance......

Shortest Essay:

An English university creative writing class was asked to write a concise essay containing the following elements:

1) Religion

2) Royalty
3) Sex
4) Mystery

The prize-winner wrote:

'My God,' said the Queen, 'I'm pregnant.
I wonder who the father is'.

Faith Does Not Come By Force

Posted here a few thought provoking comments (edited) by readers in a web news portal

Rayfire: I will eagerly wait for the day when a real preacher who can really deliver a talk about how wonderful their religion is without throwing bricks at others faith.

Take a look around, incest cases for example, where did the religion go wrong in this matter. So ultimately it is what goes on in your mind - you can preach to kingdom come to all and sundry but if it doesn't sink in, no one can help.

Faith is something personal and does not come by force. The person must believe wholeheartedly. If you just ask them to follow the books blindly, you are going to end up worse.

Avvai: ..... Every religion teaches us to be good and do good. It's us humans who do sin and tarnish the name of our religions.....

Geronimo: As a senior citizen, my advice is not to be judgmental on people, especially if you don't understand what the other faiths are all about just as I would not like to comment on any anything relating to your faith. So, please, live and let live.

Read more here.

07 February 2011

I Support Datin Seri Rosmah For This One!

BANTING - 3 Feb. 2011: National unity can be enhanced by understanding the religions in the country, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said.

Rosmah said it was vital to acquire knowledge of all religions to maintain the harmonious environment in the country.

“We should adopt and practise the 1Malaysia concept as it reflects national unity,” she said in a speech after launching the inaugural lantern festival here at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple on Tuesday.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie, who read the speech on behalf of Rosmah, said the Prime Minister’s wife was unable to attend the ceremony as she was visiting flood victims in Johor.

Understanding each other’s religions, Rosmah said, would provide a good future for the younger generation.

“Our differences should not hinder unity,” she added. Instead, she stressed Malaysians should be proud to be in a multiracial country.

“It is important to be united as I hope some day we could be a role model to others,” Rosmah said.

Read more here.

P/S: However, the main theme of the speech has lost a bit of its weight because the speech was not come directly from Datin Seri Rosmah but was read on behalf by a deputy minister. Those who were at the temple must be excited and looking forward to the attendance of the PM's wife but turned out to be disappointment because Datin Seri Rosmah did not turn up, instead was represented by a Chinese deputy minister. What's the anti climax! Perhaps, she should have been to the ceremony and then leave to visit the flood victims immediately after that. This will put the weight and significant to the content of the speech and the importance of the 1Malaysia concept.

05 February 2011

In Memory of The Loved One


Mr. Ng Kok Ching
(30 July 1953 - 06 February 2006)
SMK (L) Jalan Temerloh, KL; SMK Maxwell, KL; SMJK Yu Hua, Kajang

When every CNY comes around, since the day you left us, exactly five years ago, we feel you are with us. Memories of you are still lingering and cherished. We realise how significant you are in the family that bound us up together. Dearly missed by all the loved one and always have a place in our hearts. Pray for your soul be blessed by Almighty.

Reminiscences on CNY.

After reading this article I can’t help but to feel nostalgic about those good old days. Many who are in the same boat, if possible, would like to travel back to those good times.

Chinese New Year When I Was A Kid

by Sim Kwang Yang

chinese new year decorations 120207The happiest time of my life was spent in awaiting the arrival of the Chinese New Year.

I grew up in Kuching not long after Second World War. Malaysia had just been formed in 1963. It was a time of universal poverty, and Kuching was a two-horse town. Nobody was really rich.

The people who owned cars usually drove British models like Vauxhall and Morris Minor, and they were few and far in between. Everybody else went about their business on foot or on bicycle.

chinese new year 310108 firecracker

But Chinese New Year was the biggest festival of the year, and all Chinese celebrated the occasion with all they had. The arrival of the New Year was keenly awaited by every child.

There were good reasons for this. The New Year was that special time when the children got to eat a mountain of rich food and gulp down bottles of sweet, aerated soft drinks.

These treats were usually denied to young children on other days.

Long before the appearance of Coca-Cola, children were crazy about Green Spot, a festively coloured, orange-flavoured soft drink. At every Chinese New Year, there wou

ld always be a supply of this drink in every household and we children would gorge ourselves silly.

The Chinese New Year was also that rare occasion when we children could eat as much meat as we liked, at a time when eating meat was not common at all. We had not seen so much meat at the table for the rest of the entire year put together.

chinese new year 310108 lion

There would always be the typical Chinese New Year goodies displayed for guests and visitors. The mandarin oranges were a must, to be presented in pairs to all visitors, on their arrival in the house. Even in those poverty-stricken days, adults would always reserve a small ‘ang pow’ or two for children. The small gift of a ringgit or two was phenomenal wealth for the young children, to be spent on petty gambling.

The event that interested me the most, and gave me the greatest pleasure, was lighting fire-crackers together with a bunch of neighbourhood kids. Being poor, we could afford only to light one fire-cracker at a time so as to make our meagre stock last. For a period of a week or so, all our pocket money would go up in puffs of smoke.

The lion dance troupes brought with them the typical banging and clanging of the sounds of the New Year. The troupes went visiting each house in turn, and each family would give them a small ‘ang pow’.

Read more here.

04 February 2011

Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

6 Ways to Slash Colon Cancer Risk

by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers. Making some simple dietary and lifestyle changes can cut your risk in half. Here’s how:

1. Eat more vegetables. We know we should eat more veggies. Research shows that eating more vegetables can cut a person’s risk of colon cancer in half. Eat a daily salad, a homemade vegetable soup, or add steamed or sauteed veggies to your main dish. Better yet, make vegetables the main course and meat the side dish.

2. Avoid foods high in saturated fats and nitrates. That includes processed luncheon meats, bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs, and sausage. The saturated fat is linked to inflammation while the nitrates they contain are known carcinogens.

3. Choose chicken (or turkey or Brazil nuts). According to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, eating lean chicken several times a week decreases a person’s chances of developing precancerous polyps in the colon by 21% and the risk of malignant tumors by 39%. Researchers believe the mineral selenium may be to thank. Looking for vegetarian sources of selenium, choose Brazil nuts, which are one of the best sources of this mineral. Brown rice and walnuts are also good sources of selenium.

4. Eat more magnesium. Research shows that magnesium can cut the risk of colon cancer by 41% yet experts estimate that 80% of North Americans are deficient in this critical mineral. Some excellent sources include: raw almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, figs, alfalfa sprouts, and dark leafy greens.

5. Eat more fiber. Beans and whole grains are among the best sources of fiber. Fiber helps keep your bowels moving and that means toxins too. Fiber helps bind toxic matter in the colon and escorts it out of your body. Add a handful of beans to soup, stew, salad, or add tomato sauce to beans and enjoy. Strive for at least one-half cup of beans daily.

6. Spice up your life with curries. One of the key ingredients in many curries—turmeric—contains a compound called curcumin which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 25%. What’s more: scientists at the University of Chicago found that curcumin destroys H. pylori, a harmful bacteria that is linked to ulcers and colon cancer. Sprinkle turmeric on your veggies or meat dishes, or add to soups and stews. There are also many delicious curry recipes you can try. Be sure they contain turmeric.

Read more here.

02 February 2011

Gracious 2011 Lunar New Year

To All The Relatives, Friends and Visitors To This Blog
Very Best Wishes

Kasihan Cikgu Mala

Kasihan Cikgu Mala.
Apa dia nak buat sekarang?
Nak pi sekolah mengajar dah tak leh sebab dah letak jawatan kerana masuk bertanding kat Tenang tu.

Kalau jadi calon BN, mungkin jugak dapat kembali bertugas sebab Malaysia Boleh ma...
Gaji abis, pencen abis, gratituity entah-entah pun sekali bungkus.

Pasti Cikgu Mala akan bertanding semula dalam PRU13 nanti dan buat cam Dato' Khalid Ibrahim, kalah PRK di Ijok kemudian menang dalam PRU12.

Kali ini, apek2, nyonya2, amoi2, abe2, akak2 semua jangan lupa undi dia, kasihanlah dia sebab semua abis, apa dia anak suami nak makan dan enjoy nikmat hidup sikit.... Calon BN tu dah ada banyak duit, tak menang pun takpe!

01 February 2011

"They" Taught Me Racism

Derek Kok reminiscence his past to find out how he started to see colour.

A, C, D, E, F . . .

I went to kindergarten at Tadika Riang Baru.

I remember competing with an ‘angmoh‘ kid for the attention of an Indian girl named Joanne. You could say she was my ‘first crush’. I adored her. I thought her pixie haircut was cute. That smile, oh that smile. Tadika Riang Baru’s uniform never looked prettier on anyone else.

I remember that my best friend in kindergarten was Luvin Kumar, a Chindian boy. We were like Oliver Twist and Huck Finn. Maybe Batman & Robin.

I remember a lot of things from my kindergarten days. But I also remember that I did not know a lot.

I didn’t know what was Malay, Chinese or Indian.

I didn’t know Joanne was Indian. All I knew was that oh-so-sweet smile.

I didn’t know the angmoh was an ‘angmoh‘. All I knew was that I did not appreciate him going after my girl. >:(

I didn’t know Luvin was Chindian.

I didn’t know back then that I did not ‘look Chinese’.

I remember my grandmother saying that I looked Malay. She also told me that if I misbehaved, the ‘apunehneh‘ (a not-so-nice term for Indians) will kidnap me. The apunehneh was like the Bogeyman; an embodiment of terror which my grandmother used to great effect in order to keep my mischievous behaviour at bay.

Ke Bangku Sekolah Rendah

Then it was primary school. People say that you go to school to learn.

I did. I learnt what ‘Malay’, ‘Chinese’, ‘Indian’ meant.

My eyes started to see ‘colour’.

I even started to notice my own colour. Like my grandmother, people were remarking that I looked Malay. I remember how my mum’s colleagues in school would joyfully exclaim that I ‘looked Melayu‘. I never understood why were they grinning from ear to ear while going, "Eh macam Melayu la anak kamu ini!" (My mum was a teacher in the same school, horror of horrors).

I began to see that people were separated based on WHAT they are. I remember an ustazah coming into my class one day, asking those who were non-Muslims to raise our hands. Being the blur kid I was, I raised my hand in compliance.

She then looked straight at me, "Kamu ni Cina ke Melayu?"

"Cina, cikgu."

We were then asked to leave our class to go into another. Ah, the segregation of Moral and Pendidikan Islam students. I began to see that there was a "them vs us" culture right in the classrooms of a mission school.

In school, I learnt many new words. I learnt that certain words carried certain connotations with them, words that somehow like a magic spell from Harry Potter would incite mini fights in my all-boys school. Mind you, boys whose age did not even reach a double figure.

Words like keling.


Not only that, I also learnt a few things. Cina makan babi, Cina kedekut. Malays were dumb, lazy and could not speak English. I learnt that Indians were keling; the troublemakers in school. I learnt that the Chinese and Indians are to go back to China and India respectively if we don’t know how to speak Bahasa Melayu. I learnt that the Malays were good at sepak takraw, the Indians football and running, the Chinese in maths and basketball.

I was just the teacher’s son. A primary school kid in navy blue shorts.

But I learnt a lot didn’t I?

These ‘lessons’ I learnt, were they true?

I was just the teacher’s son. A primary school kid in navy blue shorts.

How could I have known, what was right or wrong with what I ‘learnt’ in school?

People always thought I was Malay from my looks. Didn’t help that I had a Malay slang to go with my look. In fact the most FAQ I am asked is - "You Malay ah?"

Funny thing was, I represented Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur to the Bahasa Melayu National-level Storytelling Competition for two consecutive years in primary school, falling in love with the language in the process. In Year 4, I placed fourth. In Year 5, I emerged as the National Champion, possibly the first non-Malay to win that title.

Masuk Sekolah Menengah

Then came secondary school.

History repeated itself.

Everyone thought I was Malay.

There was once I nearly got punished by the afternoon session supervisor. Reason? Saya tak pergi solat. He obviously thought I was Malay.

Racism was alive and well in school. It wasn’t an abstract concept, it could be seen by anyone who has a pair of eyes. Siva would sit next to Guna in class. A bunch of Chinese boys would be yakking away in Mandarin from the back of the classroom. The few Malays in class 5 Azam would huddle together. Our class teacher would valiantly try to change our seating arrangements to reflect a more Malaysian setting, but to no avail.

When we went for sports, the Chinese kids would naturally gravitate to the basketball courts, while the Malays and Indians would square off against each other in a game of futsal. When the bell rang for recess, the whole school would be in chaos. Imagine nearly a thousand hormonal and hungry boys on growth spurts rushing for food in the canteen. When the dust has settled (literally), you’ll see again people sitting according to their ethnicity.

I was the weird one in school. Unlike the other Chinese students, I mixed around with the other races. I was usually the only Chinese student who played futsal with the Malays and Indians. Some days I sat with the Chinese. Some days, the Indians welcomed me as one of their own.

My best friend in school was Ikhwan B. Mohd Yasin. People said that we were like brothers, some thought we were a gay couple. Sometimes, teachers would ask me, "Bila nak masuk Islam, Derek?"

Belajar Rajin-rajin

I thought I am/was not racist.

I have a best friend who is a Malay.

I mixed around with people of every race.

I loved Bahasa Melayu.

I liked thinking that I represented what Malaysia was really about. My ‘Malaysian’ face was even part of a winning campaign that showcased the diversity of Malaysia.

But deep inside me, prejudices and stereotypes reign.

"Typical Malay. Lazy, subsidy-mentality, rempit."

"Cerita pusing. No action, talk only. Indians."

"What a selfish, kiasu Chinese. Communist."


We all know all these descriptions don’t do justice. There are very hard-working Malays out there, even in my very own school. I know of many Chinese guys who are the epitome of a bum. I have seen my Indian friends standing up for what they believe in. I remember Haris Ibrahim saying that there is only one race. The human race.

As a child, I was beautifully colour-blind. I want to be blind to what I can see now.

Who do I blame for this? My parents who pass off racist comments? My grandmother who indoctrinated me with the belief that Indian men will hunt me down if I misbehave? Or do I point my accusing finger at the education system of Malaysia?

Did they teach me racism?

Or is it the man in the mirror?

Are we all actually racists, deep inside?

Tepuk dada, tanyalah selera.

Read more here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...