Belief is shaped by doctrine

Hmm…that may be the problem after all. Malaysians are still running the 1955 Version 1.0 operating system (when Blacks or African Americans in the US had to sit at the back of the white bus) and we have not upgraded to the latest 2013 Version 10.0 (when Blacks or African Americans in the US can sit at the front in the White House).


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The graphics below is from Malaysiakini and, below that, is an extract from Helen Ang’s article in her Blog about the same matter. And that ‘matter’ is regarding what the Malays and Chinese think of each other.

Being someone with the advantage of living in both worlds, so to speak, I can say that this study about what the Malays and Chinese think of each other is pretty accurate.

If you were an independent and unbiased judge who has been tasked with the job of listening to the grouses from both sides, you would probably come to a conclusion that both sides have a case. In other words, both the Malays and the Chinese are right.

In any conflict there is always two sides to a story and if you were to analyse the issue deep enough you can come to a conclusion that both sides are wrong in their actions (or both sides are right about the allegation against the other party).

For example, regarding the current brouhaha about the recent CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka (which Malaysia refused to boycott), KTemoc Konsiders wrote this piece today regarding the matter — Why Najib didn’t boycott CHOGM in Sri Lanka (READ HERE) — and I think he accurately pointed out the fact that both sides are equally guilty of the same ‘war crimes’.

Another example is the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing, China. Conservative figures put the deaths at 241 while some estimates put it in excess of 1,000, with an estimated 1,000-3,000 injured.

The world always talks about the brutality that the students in Tiananmen Square suffered at the hands of the military. What the world does not talk about is regarding the military and police personnel who were executed by the protestors all over China in roughly 400 cities.

Hence the trouble was not just in Beijing but also in 400 other cities all over China. And the killings had been going on for about two to three weeks before the government decided to act and end the Tiananmen Square sit-in.

I was in China soon after that and I met some students from the Beijing University (all girls and lovely creatures, I must say) so I personally saw all the photographs of military and police personnel hanging from lampposts in Shanghai, Guangzhao, and so on. In fact, their bodies were left there to rot (because no one dared take them down) for weeks until the military took back control of the cities.

So you see, in any conflict you need to go down to the ground and find out what really happened. Who started it first is one issue (and in Sri Lanka and China it was not government that started it first) but whether one side is the ‘war criminal’ and the other side the ‘innocent victim’ is true, as what we are being told.

Anyway, back to the issue of the survey regarding what the Malays and Chinese think of each other. As I said, being from both a Malay and Chinese family, I can say that the finding of this survey is pretty accurate.

The Malays perceive themselves as the victims and the Chinese as the aggressors. And the Chinese, too, perceive themselves as the victims and the Malays as the aggressors. The truth is, both sides are aggressive (whether rightly or wrongfully is another matter) and hence the other side needs to take a siege mentality stance.

We cannot solve this matter by finger pointing and by trying to find out who the culprit in this crisis is, if we can call it a crisis. This just puts the other side on the defensive and those on the defensive need to come out with their counter-charges. Hence what we get in the end is merely a blame game.

Okay, let us look at this survey as positive rather than negative. I always said that the first step to curing a disease is to find out what is wrong and what disease we are suffering from.

Now we know what the disease is and what caused it. Next we need to find the cure. And the cure is not in blaming someone else for the disease because that is not going to cure the disease. The cure would be to kill the virus.

Now, again, I am going to argue that same old argument, which I am sure many of you are tired of hearing by now.

Can changing the government cure this disease? I fear not because never mind what government runs the country the opinions of the Malays and Chinese regarding one other is never going to change.

I mean, Penang, Selangor and Kelantan are under a Pakatan Rakyat government. So we do have new governments in those states. But are you telling me that the Malays and Chinese in those three states do not think of each other the way this survey shows?

Far from it!

So the cure to the disease has to be more than just changing the government (although many would argue that that is a good start). The cure is in your mind. As long as the Malays think that way about the Chinese, and vice versa, the problem is never going to go away.

My title for this article is ‘Belief is shaped by doctrine’. And why did I use that title? Simple! Because doctrine determines our belief system. And unless we change our opinion regarding doctrine then our belief is never going to change. And religion would be the best example to demonstrate how doctrine shapes our beliefs.

This is really not as complicating as it sounds. For example, the Malay ‘doctrine’ is that the Malays ‘own’ Malaysia while the Chinese are immigrants or ‘guests’. As long as there is this doctrine (of Ketuanan Melayu) then this belief will be carved in stone.

And the list goes on where the Malays and Chinese hold to a certain doctrine, which shapes what they believe. Hence my old and often used argument: change has to be in the mind, not in the changing of the government.

And if we continue to believe what we believe and hold on to the very old and divisive doctrine, then Malaysians will forever remain divided because of the belief (by both sides) that ‘the other side’ is too much, too demanding, too arrogant, unreasonable, unfair, unjust, greedy, does not respect the Constitution, etc.

And that brings us to the most important question: what do we do and how do we change this? I really don’t know. If I did then I should be the next Prime Minister of Malaysia. Is it possible to send 28 million Malaysians to have their brains reformatted and then we reinstall the latest operating system into their brains?

Hmm…that may be the problem after all. Malaysians are still running the 1955 Version 1.0 operating system (when Blacks or African Americans in the US had to sit at the back of the white bus) and we have not upgraded to the latest 2013 Version 10.0 (when Blacks or African Americans in the US can sit at the front in the White House).

Oh, and feel free to interpret this article of mine any way you wish.


I. Views that can be somewhat corroborated or somewhat disproved

(i) “Chinese private schools do not teach Malay history”

(ii) “In Chinese companies, Malays salaries always lower than the Chinese”

(iii) “Chinese only award contracts to Chinese companies”

(iv) “Chinese have taken control of the private sector”

(v) “Chinese colonized Malay land by their economic powers”


II. Race issues and nation-building

(i) “Education system is fair / only Malaysia is practicing vernacular school system in the world”

(ii) “Chinese ruined ethnic unity by rejecting Wawasan schools”

(iii) “Chinese are unpatriotic because Chinese do not like to learn bahasa Malaysia”

(iv) “Chinese jealous of Malays’ special rights”

(v) “Chinese do not support ethnic unity”


III. Religion and the Malaysian identity

(i) “Chinese do not accept Islam as state religion”

(ii) “Chinese are unpatriotic because Chinese do not accept Islam”

(iii) “Chinese are unpatriotic because Chinese do not respect the Malay rulers”


IV. “Melayu diutamakan” vs jus soli

(i) “Chinese must admit the fact that Malays are the landowners of Malaysia”

(ii) “Malay are masters, Chinese are guests to Malay land”


V. Perceptions that cause instability

(i) “Chinese look down on Malays”

(ii) “Chinese keep demanding but never respect Malay thinking”

(iii) “Malays always fulfill Chinese request”

(iv) “Chinese have obtained too much / Malays have tolerated a lot”