Archive for the 'society' Category

12
Aug
08

That ugly side of Malaysia…Malay special rights

It has been a long, and I mean long time since I have written anything that might land me behind bars.

This is one of them.

This morning about 8000 UiTM students marched in protest of the suggestion by Selangor Menteri Besar’s suggestion that 10 % of UiTM’s annual enrollment be opened to non-Bumiputeras and foreigners.

For some of us reading this, we would think that the MB’s suggestion is a no brainer. As a graduate of a NUS, which is anything but racially homogenous, marching against opening up the enrollment is a travesty of what higher education is. A prostitution of democratic rights if I may put it.

Mind you, I’m not against the 8000 students marching. Its their right to air their grieveinces however I may find it immature and childish. (Comparison with the way the government cracked down on HINDRAF and this march really shows what sort of government we have, a fair and just one…lol)

Unfortunately the news article from which I got wind of this is in Malay. But here is a snippet of stupidity that results from having a university that caters solely to the Bumiputeras.

Diminta mengulas mengenai pendapat yang mengatakan percampuran pelajar Bumiputera dan bukan Bumiputera akan mewujudkan satu persaingan yang sihat, beliau tidak bersetuju dengan pendapat itu.

“Saya amat tidak bersetuju kerana telah terbukti seperti apa yang berlaku di universiti-universiti lain setiap kaum tertentu hanya akan bergaul dengan kaum mereka sendiri.

“Ini bukan persaingan yang sihat. Keadaan ini lebih bahaya jika wujudnya perasaan mementingkan kaum sendiri walaupun belajar dalam satu institusi,” katanya.

Tegas beliau walaupun UiTM terdiri daripada kaum Bumiputera sahaja, tetapi para pelajarnya telah dididik untuk menghormati agama, adat dan kepercayaan kaum lain.

And the translation into English:

Asked to comment on the opinion that the mingling of Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera on campus will produce healthy competition, he disagreed with that view.

” I absolutely disagree with this view because it is proven that each race will only mingle among themselves as it is happening in other campuses.

” This is not healthy competition. This situation is more dangerous if there sentiments of racial self-preservation exists even when studying within the same institution,” he said.

He stressed that eventhough UiTM consisted only of Malays, each student is taught to respect the religion, custom and beliefs of other races.

This was quoted by the president of what we would call the Student Council.

Firstly, it’s certainly not true that students in other institutions of higher learning mingle amongst themselves alone. That’s just Malay chauvinism making that kind of assumption.

Secondly, granted that people of common ethnicity tend to group together, it is by no means a dangerous precedent or anything to be overtly worried about. Since over 90% students will be Bumiputera in UiTM (if the proposal is accepted) in any case, wouldn’t it be nice to extend a welcoming hand to the 10% others who wish to study with you too? Instead of focusing so much on the fact that we are Malay, you are Chinese, you are Indian, you are lain-lain, just being nice and welcoming will diffuse any unhealthy tensions straight away.

Thirdly, nobody is taught to how to live harmoniously in a diverse society. You’ll have to embody it and suck up to the occasional hiccups that living together brings. The fact that the so-called president in his eminent wisdom has seen fit to criticize and organize a march for nothing more that a show of juvenile immaturity shows that the lessons of living together in a multiracial country has not made an impression on him (and the rest of his ill-informed gang.)

I just find it shocking that tertiary level students still think like primary school kids. It’s little more than, “I dun wan to fren fren with you.” Which is ironic because throughout primary and secondary school, Malay, Chinese and Indian study together. Somehow upon reaching tertiary level, we feel there is a need to have schools like UiTM, which caters exclusively to one race.

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27
May
08

Doctor 007

I remember mentioning to a friend that election rallies were like carnivals.

” With party banners and clowns?” she asked.

If clowns are politicians, then yes.

And my, my does our Deputy Health Minister know how to make a clown out of himself.

Mr Abdul Latiff’s comment was made in response to a question in Parliament about the quality of the country’s medical services.

He said, ‘The doctors have a license to heal and license to kill so we (the ministry) have to ensure that our doctors are well-trained so that we can safely receive treatment from them.’

Of course I understand you lar, Latiff…tapi mengapa hendak digunakan frasa ” License to Kill” untuk merujuk kepada kecuaian sesetengah doktor?

(Why is there a need to use the phrase ” License to Kill” to refer to negligence?)

He must have watched too many Bond movies the night before. Eh, minister you know rite, Quantum of Solace, November 2008.

Or maybe, just maybe by a Freudian slip, he is actually a closet supporter of Doctor Jack Kevorkian.

But in any case, here is my advice to the (deputy) minister. APOLOGIZE!

* * *

On the other hand, it is refreshing to note the response to this incident. It seems to me that Malaysians in general still view life as something precious and worth saving, rather than something that is owed and discarded when I grow tired of it.

22
May
08

Oh, GGM. Facepalm…..

Credulity is stretched thin when you read news articles like this.

School uniform sexy, says group

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian group condemned the uniform worn by girls at government schools, saying it encouraged rape and pre-marital sex.

“The white blouse is too transparent for girls and it becomes a source of attraction,” National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia vice-president Munirah Bahari said in a statement.

If they didn’t take it so seriously, I would have fallen on the floor laughing out loud. The baju kurung! and the pinafore dress…SEXY!!!??

But here’s why this isn’t something to laugh off. It wasn’t some closet pervert guy who said it, but a lady! When even women make the dubious argument

sexy clothing (please lor, school uniform is not sexy lar!)=== rape and all kinds of immorality

there something ‘else’ other than sex that’s at work here. It’s a conscious, deliberate and manipulative effort to pressure women (in general) to conform to a standard that should really just be left to personal choice and conviction.

13
May
08

Social Mobility

Is Malaysia socially mobile?

I overheard the bus driver talking to a lady passenger. And one thing he said struck me

” Yang kaya, terus kaya, yang miskin, lagi miskin”

(Those who are rich, remain rich. The poor remain poor.)

Economic betterment in the 21st century is something of a silver lining. Always elusive. Its true that for the vast majority of us it is harder and harder for us to earn beyond what our parents earn nowadays. At least those parents who are still working-and I mean that in inflation adjusted terms.

Such a paradoxical situation really. Malaysia’s annual GDP growth rate is between 4-6% the past few years. But you don’t get a sense that our salaries are increasing at a 4-6% rate!!

I remember that my father said that when he first started teaching (40 years ago), his starting salary was RM 700.  And he could  get a house and support his sisters (my aunts)  to school. Now that’s REAL purchasing power.

Isn’t it strange, to where all those economic growth actually goes?

* * *

It’s the start of the summer holidays and NUS is like a museum piece diorama. Quiet and empty-which I like really. June’s wedding (ceremony; they ROMed long time ago) this Saturday, and looking forward to catch up with some old friends.

28
Dec
07

Christmas and Harry Potter

I spent my Christmas in KL, racking my brains for meaningful presents to get for family with a budget of less than a 25 ringgit.

No matter, I triumphed, and my brother, sister, mother and father have had their material possessions incremented for the year next.

Apart from that, eating and catching up with with cousins from NZ and Penang, a Harry Potter marathon was also on my agenda. It’s kinda cool reading one book after another from 1-7. I missed out on number 4 (Goblet of Fire) but that’s ok. Once again I can safely say that Rowling is a genius, or else we will be thinking Roald Dahl’s work is as humourous as a Sunday morning’s news report.

Speaking of which, the local news I missed out on turned out to be the ISM’s refusal to grant a publishing permit over the use of ‘Allah’ in a Catholic newsletter. I say that it is one small step from banning the use of Akitab (Malay translation of the Bible) amongst the Malay speaking community. Way to go Malaysia!

And internationally, Benazir Bhutto was assasinated. I got the news when I switched on my comp. If I am allowed to make predictions, if this year was dominated by Iraq, next year will be Pakistan.

Sigh, news bad…bad news..What a way to end the year.

20
Dec
07

When you are abroad, you work harder at your marriage…

So have I quoted from an opinion piece written in theStar. Interesting….

In fact, my mother once said that it’s better for married couples to live out of Malaysia; marriages back home are so screwed up. When you’re in a foreign country, you work harder at a marriage.

[…]

True, Kak Dina, our friends in KL are millionaires now, and we’re struggling in a new land. But there’s something sick about KL. The people, the way we live, it’s not a place to bring up a family,” she wrote.

“Anyway, Kak Dina, Islam is a portable religion. You can practise it anywhere, you can pray anywhere, and there are many Muslims here! Jom lah, Kak D, duduk lah sini. You’ll love it here. Bookshops? museums?”

Ouch! And here I was thinking that if I get married, I wouldn’t want to raise my kids in Singapore. I would love to have them grow up in KL, or if not somewhere in Malaysia.

As you have probably surmised, the writer is a Malay Muslim Malaysian lady. Brain drain is indeed color blind.

22
Nov
07

A foreign perspective on the BERSIH march

and much more of course. Michael Backman of the The Age writes in Malaysia-Today.net, we should read it, if anything to get a good idea of what democracy really means apart from the nonsensical “demonstrations and public assemblies are not our way” often parroted by Malaysian and Singaporean leaders.

But apart from that I like his concluding remarks, quoted verbatim:

According to Tengku Razaleigh, all of the institutions designed to make Malaysia’s Government accountable and honest have been dismantled or neutered.

It didn’t need to be like this. Malaysia is not North Korea or Indonesia. It is something quite different. Its legal system is based on British codes. Coupled with traditional Malay culture, which is one of the world’s most hospitable, decent and gentle cultures, Malaysia has the cultural and historical underpinnings to become one of Asia’s most civilised, rules-based, successful societies.

Instead, Malaysia’s Government is incrementally wasting Malaysia’s inheritance.




About me

moogleBorn and bred in KL, Malaysia. Now studying for his Phd in Singapore. Learning to walk one fall at a time.
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