The Racist Malaysian Expanded

By batsman 

I love a good debate even if eventually it becomes embarrassing. RPK’s blog on the Racist Malaysian Exposed is such a rip-roaring toss-up that even one of his own comments has been rated lowly and hidden in his own blog. I therefore hope to contribute by going beyond the emotions and trying to get some realisation and a better understanding of the issue.

It seems obvious to me that this issue is at the core of the problems facing Malaysian society. If there is no realization, I fear it will just become another Northern Irish-type problem and take over 700 years to approach even the hope of a solution. 

I think people suffer from the twin curses of globalization (material) and wishy-washiness or small-mindedness (mental). Symptomatic to this are the twin peculiarities of Chinese who hate to be called immigrants yet refusing absorption and Malays who like to be seen as tolerant yet labelling generations of Chinese Malaysians as immigrants. 

Globalisation started even before the first European explorations and may even have begun before the conquests of Alexander or the trade of the Silk Route. It was a process of bringing isolated communities and eventually geographies and ecologies into contact with one another. One may say the European Black Death or bubonic plague was a consequence of globalization as was colonization, small pox and genocide. 

The problems created by globalization are many and not all have been caused by humans. It is now more and more accepted that the dinosaurs became extinct because of a form of natural globalization and not just because of a big asteroid that hit the earth. The continental drift brought together the land masses and consequently changed climates and allowed ecologies and hence diseases to expand into new areas where there were no natural immunity or ability to cope. 

In the same way climate change and global diseases now seem to threaten the human race if it does not wipe itself out through wishy-washiness (inability to change and adapt) first. 

I believe RPK’s blog on the Racist Malaysian Exposed may have been a little unfortunate in the sense that its main message to the audience he intended was completely masked by oversensitive antenna of the “victims of positive discrimination” who picked on secondary points. This is the great nuisance of writing in an environment where “over-sensitivity” abounds. 

The issue surrounding immigration is how the 2 main communities should react to each other as they come into contact. To start with it is my view that immigration shouldn’t happen at all and if it does, due to extraordinary circumstances, it should be temporary. Unfortunately life is not a matter of “shoulds”. Immigrants become permanent fixtures in their new homeland. How should people interact in these difficult circumstances? 

In my opinion, for civilization to be maintained, the host community should allow multiculturalism to flourish and the immigrant community should accept absorption. The reverse of these two scenarios leads to racism – a host community that cannot tolerate multiculturalism and demands absorption as well as an immigrant community that refuses to be absorbed and seeks to establish a nation within a nation. The eventual scenario is obviously the extremes – a host community that is completely intolerant of aliens and wishes to wipe them out and an immigrant community that launches a rebellion to secede. All of these scenarios exist in some form or another in the world today. 

In a strange way, this issue also brings insight into the question of why the communist insurrection failed during the 50’s. In spite of a common suffering under the overlordship of the British, Malayans were never a united people and the communists were never able to exert sufficient ability and leadership to unite the people. 

This brings us back to the present. Are our leaders today sufficiently able to unite us all? Are we capable of unity in the first place? We are after all of different races and different economic status, never mind the raw “feelings” and intolerant “over-sensitivity” that plague all of us. 

This is obviously a very long term problem and cannot be solved in the short space of time that occupies our attention before we become bored. It therefore makes sense to come to some sort of temporary solution that addresses the bulk of our problems first and only address complicated possible 700 years-to-solve issues later (hopefully without forgetting them or becoming bored). 

The temporary solution I envisage is to address the needs of the “haves” first. The needs of the “haves” it would seem are crime and corruption free environment. After all it is the “haves” who have something of value to be robbed, stolen or cheated and whose wives and daughters look like better prey for kidnap and rape. (Notice murder is not mentioned here). 

For this it is necessary for good effective checks and balances. Incompetent or corrupt policemen who are ineffective against crime or even colluding actively with criminals must be able to be removed. Otherwise there is no check and balance. Corrupt politicians must be able to be removed. We must have one set of laws not 2 (one for the establishment beautiful people and another for the ugly opposition people) and this single set of laws must be interpreted in a single way for the WHOLE of the people (not one interpretation for beautiful VIPs and another for the ugly oppositionists). 

Obviously for such a scenario to come about, we need a healthy 2 party political system which is able to create some sort of effective check and balance to absolute power. Otherwise absolute power will have no limits and no obstacles to robbery, murder and mayhem committed by those with absolute power and their cronies not just by ordinary criminals. 

Bertrand Russell once wrote “In the daily lives of most men and women, fear plays a greater part than hope; they are more filled with the thought of the possessions that others may take from them, than of the joy that they may create in their own lives and in the lives with which they come in contact.” 

Since it is the “haves” that have possessions, it is also reasonable to expect most of them to also have greater fear that these possessions may be taken from them. 

If only this were true. Unfortunately, the above is only a static view of things. In a dynamic view, the ability to garner greater income and possessions must outweigh the fear of losing them. This is where seduction comes in. 

If the establishment were to be successful in persuading the “haves” that wealth and fortune in greater and greater amounts is just round the corner (a very small tiny example of which are government bonds and unit trusts) if only they sided with and invested in the beautiful people of the establishment, that fear of losing possessions to criminals and corrupt politicians can be allayed and there would be no demand for a crime-free and corruption-free environment and hence no obstacles to absolute power and there would also be no suspicion of Ponzi schemes like those of Madoff which pay 1% a month even during recessions. 

I believe it is these wishy-washy people who attack and torment RPK when he blogs about racism in Malaysia. Most of the “haves” and even those “have not's” who desperately dream of belonging to the “haves” (the cronies who have not tasted any honey yet) are fearful of upsetting the apple cart; fearful that the great experiment of building a healthy 2 party political system with effective checks and balances will create more opportunities for other people when they themselves have already invested so much dream energy into trying to be part of the beautiful people of the establishment. 

If only the ordinary people of Malaysia thought that their compatriots of other races are also beautiful, wouldn’t that solve a lot of the problems? Am I being too wishy-washy?