MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, September 29, 2017

The benefits of migration

I did not expect my last blog post on why young Malays should migrate to attract much controversy, but it became a hit, the second most popular news item on social media that day.
Of course, there were many unkind and ridiculous comments, with some readers attributing my article to my own lack of confidence in the opposition's chances in the next general election.
Some also questioned my fighting spirit; saying that we should not talk about quitting Malaysia.
These “fighters” were nowhere to be seen when the Islamo-fascists took over the country. They did nothing to stop the Arabisation programme which stifled democracy, where even the most basic personal freedoms are taken away.
The fighters did nothing when a fatwa became law or when the statutory powers were given to make it a criminal offence to talk about Islam without a valid “tauliah”. This renders any discussion or discourse an offence unless the subject matter received support from the authorities.
So, I am not convinced we have genuine fighters to reverse the trend. If we have 10 more Zainah Anwar, or Dr Farouk Musa or Group of 25s; and if we have more lawyers like Haris Ibrahim or Art Harun, then maybe we have a chance, but we don't have enough Muslims who care. They talk a lot but fear of being described as “jahil” to prevent them from doing anything. Some are politicians, and so not losing Malay votes becomes a paramount consideration.
I wrote that piece in the context of the dismal fighting spirit shown by Malays over the control of their lives by these bureaucrats. After observing the lives of Malay families I know who have settled in England and elsewhere, it crossed my mind that maybe Malays are better off if they migrate.
They seem to be successful, happy and content individuals. Those who started a business in their new homes are also doing well. Many Malays have found their way to Australia, and to a lesser degree, to other countries.
Some have even become leaders of industry in their adopted countries. I admire them for their courage and willingness to discard the safety of their home country, which promised them that Malays and Islam would come first on everything under the sun.
It must be accepted that migrants have to learn to adapt to difficult circumstances. They have to deal with prejudice, new languages and even winter weather. Migration is never easy, but that’s why Malays need it.
For a long time now, many Malays seem to think they can determine the kind of world they live in. They have also come to believe that they can dictate their values to others by using religion as the overriding principle. They believe their Barisan Nasional government can take care of them forever. They only need to get a degree in religious studies to get a job with the religious authorities. They think the world owes them something no one can take away.

But the world has changed, and it will continue changing. Malays have to learn to be competitive, that unless they master engineering and sciences, it will be the foreigners who will build their railways and ports, and manage their country.
Some Malays are overly sensitive about religious matters and believe that living with others is troublesome. “Give and take” was once their central credo, but not anymore. Like other migrants everywhere, Malays will benefit from this attitude change. That is the reason I suggested it will be good for young Malays to roam the world.
'Learn to live like the minority'
There are many things the Malays can learn by migrating. They need to realise that being in the majority and being able to impose their will, as they like, do not always bring tangible benefits. As migrants, they then realise what it is like to be a minority. They have to, by necessity, become part of a larger community.
They need to know the meaning of consensus and try to live like other minorities. Then, maybe, they will not be so arrogant as to think they need their own laundrette because their idea of hygiene is different from others. As a migrant, they can experience that other people have their beliefs, which are just as important as their own.

What has gone wrong with our country is that the majority suffer a severe sense of inadequacy, some of which is real, and some, imagined. In attempting to rectify this imbalance, the majority have taken the route that promised them instant power, and are content with a superficial sense of superiority.
Little do they realise that this differentiation they seek, and their own sense of identity for themselves (which they describe as a way of life), are inimical to their own well-being. They have become isolationists who reject new ideas, and when faced with opposition from others over their values, they react by imposing all kinds of restrictions and rules. They need to know that morality is more than just covering your knees when playing football. If they persist with this behaviour, their own actions will negate their abilities and their standing in the community.
In humble times, we were always told not to live like frogs that felt safe being cocooned under a coconut shell. The world has always been larger and more complex than that, and we were encouraged to challenge the notion that Malays were laidback and lazy.

That’s why going to live in faraway lands will be good for them. It does not mean we have given up on the country. It means that like the Germans, the Chinese and the Jews, when they had to migrate under certain times of their history to save themselves, Malays too may have to consider this option.

ZAID IBRAHIM is a former law minister and Umno politician. He is currently a member of DAP.- Mkini

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