Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I think that being abroad has changed me, in many ways. For one thing, I see our home country in a different light. There is a certain feeling of patriotism when I listen to my lecturer talking about Dr. Mahathir's famous antics when he criticised and stood up to Western leaders.

Just take a look at this article. Here, instead of being insulted and merely saying that it's disrespectful, Mahathir gave it right back. Which felt very satisfying. Even more so that it was done by a Malaysian.

Being here, also made me think more deeply about many things, like what it means to be a Malaysian. And I'm pretty sure that if this blog were a popular one this post will leave me branded as a traitor to my 'race'.


Now I guess one common claim in Malaysia is that while the Chinese and Indians' ancestors are  immigrants, many say that the Malays are no different and that they themselves were immigrants way back when. Recently, Mahathir said this (grabbed from The Malaysian Insider):

“I would not say I am a Malay or Malaysian of ethnic Indian origin. My mother tongue and home language is Malay, my culture and tradition is Malay and I am a Muslim. The constitution defines a Malay as a person who habitually speaks Malay, practices Malay custom and tradition and is a Muslim,” he said in a posting on his blog.


He said it was obvious some Malays were descended from people of the Indonesian islands, India and the Arabian peninsular.


“Having come here they were assimilated after they identified themselves completely with the Malays by adopting the Malay language, their customs and traditions and by being Muslims.


“This is a common phenomenon. In America, Australia, Latin America, the later immigrants accepted the languages of their adopted country as their mother tongue as well as the culture.


“After doing this they no longer think of themselves as being of their original country. They are Americans, Australians and Argentinians period.


Now while I agree that sometimes he can be very disrespectful and blunt, I must say that I actually agree with what he said.


Why don't we all identify ourselves as Malaysian? Why is there a need to know someone's race? Why do we still consider some Malaysians as Chinese or Indians? Ethnically, yes, they came from Chinese and Indian roots, but they are citizens, aren't they? To me, a Chinese is someone from mainland China. They're of no relation to us, and I doubt even if we Malaysian Chinese were to go there we wouldn't be welcomed like long lost relatives, either.

Like he said, I find it true that if we were to stop labelling ourselves and start thinking of everyone as the same, no matter what colour our skin is, or the importance of continuing the learning of our 'culture', don't you think Malaysians will be more united?

Take national type secondary schools, for example. That's where you see people from Chinese primary schools, Tamil primary schools and the national type primary schools mixing in different groups. Now imagine what would happen if only ONE type of school system was present.


Of course, I do acknowledge that it cannot happen without the government doing away with discriminatory policies.

Okay, time to get back to assignments. See you soon!
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