Malaysian Identity Crisis

I am sure all Malaysians, especially public universities' students and netizens are well aware of the issue of KS Bawani. The second year law student took on Suara Wanita 1Malaysia president, Sharifah Zohra Jabeen at a forum titled, 'Are University Students in Line with Politics', last month in UUM, acronym for Universiti Utara Malaysia when she got interrupted disdainfully and further spurned and humiliated by the moderator who did not give the due chance to Bawani who was proposing an idea of free education and the condition of Bersih as lawful to finish her articulation.

Universities are supposed to promote critical and cogent thinking in students, not to mention the cultivation of sensible and mature semblances outfitted for the competitive world outside. Questioning and vantage point sharing should be encouraged in order for undergraduates to equip themselves with the skills needed to hack out a professional position independently.

But, what happens in Malaysian public universities? Every time a new idea gets proposed or a revolutionary statement are made, students, especially those belonging to a minority race are told to sit down and be thankful for being where they are now and be complacent with what they do have and that they actually get more than what they deserve, their voice, malignantly stifled. 

When students of minority races compare Malaysia to other nations of better standards to form a parallel and later forward idealistic yet applicable and viable brainwaves based on the substandard yet can be improved status quo, besetting our soil, they are told to leave the country if they don't like it here, giving a basal comparison on others who are not challenging the system, those, more often than not, completely brainwashed, who are seemingly content and happy with the existent system when they are actually convinced, not cognizant. 

That is why Malaysia is suffering from chronic brain drain. Students and professionals flee the country and stay put overseas with no interest in returning to serve Malaysia with the logic, "Why stay in your own country where you are treated like a dispensable unit when the world welcomes you with open arms?" 

We mustn't settle for mediocrity and succumb to brainwashing; we should strive to reach the greatest heights possible, come up with revolutionary and out of the box ideals and question redundant, dubious, obscure and fallacious establishments and preaching sessions via open forums. Until this idea gets imbibed into every authority in public tertiary institutions here, we will continue to churn out run off mill public universities graduates with little market value and competitive edge. 

Excellence should not be compromised for anything. Start compromising education excellence for inferior quality education and watch the nation rot and ruin. 

Likewise for politicizing education; no university student should bear the onus of having a specified political affiliation that would cost them their education and career. The government of the day should let students make choices, not determine their choice for them. A government has no right to propagate its ideology and subtly force students to accept everything they say. That is bullying. Start politicizing education and watch donkeys run the country.

The funny and pathetic thing I discerned in the forum was the audience comprising of tertiary education students applauding Bawani as she spoke and did the same when Sharifah engaged in gross verbal faux paus.

This shows that public universities students have no bearing over having a firm stand and standing up for what they think as righteous. They should have the characteristic of holding their ground and agree to disagree and challenge speeches relatively. It is the repercussion of the repression of questioning and incessant brainwashing and dumbing down. "Listen, listen. listen, let me speak and you shut up." Our public universities are producing well trained parrots, not well educated graduates. Main angguk aje, jadi Pak Turut.

Another aspect which silences students is fear mongering; that change would put their education and life at grave risk thus the rejection of revolutions and political awareness and political participation among graduate students.

Now, for the Malaysian Identity Crisis. Bawani is an Indian. Yes. That is her ethnicity. Nothing more, nothing less. Ethnicity is merely a stamp on our DNA; that is all that is. Ethnicity doesn't determine intelligence and ingenuity. Environment, awareness, industrious attitude and effort does. That is what Bawani showcased in the forum. Pure brilliance in a stentorian tone.

Bawani spoke of free education and she was anything but ill equipped. She had done a thorough research and had gleaned statistics, facts and figures to back her revelation. She knew her stuff. She knew what she was talking about. The mediator didn't; she was a gross red herring. She babbled on and on about her disappointment of animals not having it easy and asked Bawani what is she doing in Malaysia if she doesn't like it here. What Madam Sharifah did that day was bullying and her counter to Bawani was bunkum.

Later, came libel; racist comments targeting Bawani from the very branch of the to date ruling regime. Bawani was told to go back to India if she wants a free education and Indians were ridiculed of not knowing the existence of toilets back in the estates

Many are infuriated by these insinuation pitted against Bawani. Emotionally driven,  And, this is where the Malaysian Identity Crisis comes into view.

Angered Indians (Excuse me for pinpointing a particular race here. It is because the description I am making demands it.) on social networks here, succumbing to vengeance, rebuke Malays that they at least have a place to return to whereas Malays don't when they are told to go back to India. They counter that Malays have multiple ancestral bloodlines like Indonesian, Siamese, Arab, Persian, Indian and Chinese bloodlines making them native less, hence they being immigrants as well.

And then, there is a notion that if it wasn't for Malays' laziness, Indians and Chinese would not be here in Malaysia today. The Malays were indisposed to do hard labour in rubber plantations and mines during British colonization of Malaya, thus the British brought the Chinese and Indian here for manpower that Malays failed to fill up hence the migration and later, involuntary assimilation.

Sweet payback but does it settle the scores and solve our problems? IT DOES NOT. It only exacerbates the situation and compounds the problem. No point bickering like children.

Indians get riled up if we are called keling (a derogatory slang used to demean Indians) or hitam (black) or India bodoh (stupid Indian) At the same time, Indians call Malays naatukaren (man of the country) and Chinese, sadaiyen. (a slur describing Chinese people)

When we ourselves have so much dirt on our backs, who are we to complain that other people's backs are dirty? We refer to Malays as man of the country in a separatist view and by doing that, we are detaching ourselves from Malaysia, the very soil we are born on!! Being born on Malaysian soil factually makes us man of the country along with our compatriots. Why do we complain about others being racists when we are racists ourselves with a divisive mentality?

When Bawani spoke of free education, she meant free education for all Malaysians, not for a particular creed. She has set a precedent to be followed through and an exemplary of championing Malaysians. Sharifah's backers told Bawani to go back to India if she is not happy here. The statement itself is wrong. Bawani wasn't born in India; she was born in Malaysia and if there is anywhere she should go back to, it is Malaysia.

It is high time we resolve the Malaysian Identity Crisis. Malaysia is not Malaysia without the Malays, Chinese, Indians, the indigenous people and whatnot. No one has the right to tell a fellow citizen to get out of Malaysia if he or she says that they have a bone to pick with a Malaysian system that seems to be out of whack. Instead, us, as Malaysians should work homogeneously and harmoniously in the weeding out the problem for the betterment of all Malaysians irrespective of race, religion and social status.

We built Malaysia together, are building Malaysia together and we will build Malaysia together and our identity is Malaysian. DOT.

1 comment:

  1. Well said.
    Only in Malaysia, you'd hear people answering their race when asked "what are you?".
    People from other country have the good grace to say I'm Greek, I'm French, I'm American, I'm British, I'm African. Their COUNTRY comes first, not race.
    My lecturer admitted that whenever she fills out a form and goes to the bit where they asked about your race, she cuts it and write 'Malaysia'.
    If only she knows that I always write "why does it matter?".
    Really, it shouldn't be anyone's business what our race is.
    This issue had caused a public furor and caused Malaysians from all walks of life to speak up against the government's suppressing ways.
    But I wonder, will they listen?