Friday, February 26, 2016


By Mansor Puteh

Martin Luther King and his followers and the Blacks in America would be laughing at the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia for wanting to be allowed to live amongst themselves and study in their own schools.

He led a large group of Black or African-Americans and some white supporters in a movement to force the then white racist and apartheid American government to accept them into the mainstream society, and climaxed it with a march on Washington DC where he cried out his ‘I have a dream…’ speech.

For these, he died being killed or assassinated at a motel. But his dreams did not die with him and America soon changed for the better and accommodated the African-Americans that forced many of their discriminatory policies against the Blacks to be repealed which also benefited those of color who did not have to march or cry any speeches.

But where in the world where there are minority communities in the country that demand that they are allowed to send their children to schools that offer their mother tongue as the medium of instruction and where there are communal and social as well as political bodies that are shaped to encourage segregation?  

Alas, it is self-segregation, and it is in Malaysia where the minority Chinese are demanding that they are left alone to their own device, being allowed to have their own separate schools that offer education in Mandarin and the Indians, or Tamils, too, wanting the same with their own school offering education in Tamil, although they are fighting a losing battle especially now when the Melayu are demanding that such vernacular schools be closed down as the run counter to the Constitution.

Martin Luther King will roll in his grave if he knows about this and there are some Chinese and Tamils in Malaysia who have been doing this for years and any attempts by the government to get them to join the mainstream society have been rejected.

And yet, the Human Rights organizations have not considered this to be a grave matter that they too ought to criticize simply because self-segregation is demanded by them and it is not forced onto them by the majority Melayu and the government. 

Vernacular mandarin and Tamil schooling has given the Chinese who trusted it to fail in life. The Melayu majority have learned to see beyond the charade that the organizers who are the Chinese and Indians have tried to hoodwink them.

In America the Blacks demanded to be given equal rights to attend the same schools and take the bus and eat in the same restaurants.

In Malaysia there are Chinese and Indian minorities who clamor to be allowed to operate their own Mandarin and Tamil schools.

Self-segregation by the Chinese and Indians have caused them to suffer; especially the younger generation of Chinese and Indians who we can see now in the streets supporting the Bersih protests and whatever their leaders clamor.

One must read their minds to understand that the slogans and demands they are making are not what the problems they are facing; they are not political but cultural, linguistic in nature.

I was fortunate to have taken some psychology courses at college and read many more books on it when I was in America; meeting with some psychology majors which helped to open my views on society matters.

The Malaysian political thinking and attitudes are too simplistic for anyone to want to study.

And so far no one has ever tried to study what is causing more and more Chinese to go to the streets at this time?

They are mostly the Chinese with vernacular Mandarin education, as opposed to those who studied in the national schools or sekolah Melayu.

And the few Indians who are in the streets in the Bersih protests too have vernacular Tamil education compared to those other Indians who have national school background.

It is unfortunate that the Chinese and Indians did not know that their problems stem from the fact that they had succeeded in self-marginalize themselves and realizing how their worlds had shrunk a lot so they must feel compressed with their social mobility severely limited.

They only speak in their own languages or dialects and in Melayu which is the national language to get by in their everyday lives, if they have to communicate with some Melayu in the stores or streets.

Otherwise, they are left on their own.

And what they should all be angry is not the Melayu or government which are their convenient excuse for them to release their pent up energies, but to their parents for having sent them to the vernacular schools, which have left them marginalized.

And the fact that more and more Melayu are now encroaching their turf with them feeling the pinch when they are starting to realize that their future in their small worlds shrinking even more and soon they will be left behind.

This is what’s making them angry.

And their political and cultural leaders too are not helping them to get the truth with their vernacular education, that has failed many other Chinese who drop out of school early so they are not able to speak any English or much Melayu and Chinese which they use only amongst themselves.

So they are not able to be absorbed into the work force in the private or public sectors and are forced to go into the CRIME SECTOR, where they are happy to be paid to paste illegal stickers everywhere and with the Indian boys stealing whatever metal they can lay their hands on especially manholes.

This matter has not been discussed by any Malaysian regardless of his race, by those who are said to be aloof to petty matters and who look at the whole issue from the academic perspective.

The politicians too have allowed it to go on until it starts to rear its ugly head when political, social and cultural as well as historical interpretations are seen from such blinked views enforced by those who have backgrounds in education which are not the same.

No comments: