“Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and that in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
You know because you and me are racist once in a while, if not – most of the time. Why do dare I say that? Well, try to answer these questions: When is the last time you hang around with someone from a different race intentionally? Which shop would you normally go for lunch or dinner if you want to eat outside? If you want to help a poor family, to whom will you give first? Lastly, when someone ask you who you are, what is your answer; Malaysian or proudly verbalize your ethnicity?
Merdeka Center for Opinion Research had asked 1013 randomly selected peninsular Malaysian voters aged 21+ via telephone for their independent survey had revealed staggering facts about racial issue;
· Only 39% identified themselves as Malaysian, 41% as follower of a religion and 15% as member of ethnic group. (pg 6)
· A plurality felt that ethnic unity (perpaduan kaum) was superficial. Only about 1/3 felt that ethnic unity in Malaysia was sincere & friendly. 44% thought it was just superficial unity. (pg 10)
· In 2011, the survey find that 57% of Malays, 58% of Chinese and 39% of Indians agreed that “in general, most of the Malays are lazy”(pg 35)
· 68% of Malays, 50% of Chinese and 59% of Indians agreed that “in general, most of the Chinese are greedy”.
· 63% of Malays, 49% of Chinese and 36% of Indians agreed that “in general, most of the Indians cannot be trusted”.
· Positively in 2011, 84% have friends from other races but sadly 16% who do not are those who lived in neighborhood with one dominant ethnic group (pg 50).
· 55% says ‘Racial and Religious issues are very sensitive, therefore we cannot discuss it’ (pg 58)
Live Peacefully but Separately
A. Sivanesan, a senior leader of the opposition Democratic Action Party said, “The survey’s findings might be a bitter pill to swallow, but it tells us who we really are behind the façade we show the world.” You who are not Malay or Chinese or Indian – do not laugh! You who thought that there is no such thing as racism in Sabah & Sarawak (East Malaysia) – do not be too confident! We who are the ‘others’ are very much racist within our own communities. If there is such survey ever taken, we, the ‘others’, would be utterly ashamed to our grave! We live peacefully but separately.
After independence, our history in general shows that we are further away from knowing each other than we were started. Now we begin to have separate schools, separate friends and separate lives. Until we see the seriousness of racism in our society, we soon realized that racism is the poison behind the silky snake. By writing this, I don’t seek for agreement but I just want to simply lay the ugly fact of our internal, unseen condition of racism in our country: we live peacefully but separately – slowly.
Time to Build Bridges is - NOW!
Breakdown the walls and start build bridges!