MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Stop questioning Malaysia, you ungrateful scoundrel


In my column last week, I said that when non-Malays raise any ‘sensitive’ issue, we are told to ‘balik India’ or ‘balik-Cina’. I then received a maelstrom of comments, both from critics and Malaysians who agreed with me.

With the critics, I sometimes wonder if they even bother to read, before actually commenting.

The funniest comment was “…if not India, where else, America, is it?” It is obvious that the point I tried to raise for discussion escaped this person completely.

Another guy wrote, “Rightly so. ‘Deyy..porda’ India. You (are) like any ungrateful Malaysian Indian who eat(s), (gets) educated and (is) raise(d) in Malaysia (but) never ever feel(s) grateful for what this country has provide(d).”

This commenter’s English was a bit ‘senget’, hence the parentheses to make it readable. For this person, if any non-Malay calls out the injustices in our country, we are immediately branded as ‘ungrateful’. So, I should ‘shut-up’ and accept whatever my lot is, since I obtained my source of sustenance here, and must just be grateful.

I didn’t write responses to these comments on social media. A friend suggested that I should. But why?

I am not writing to educate the ignorant. I cannot undo what the government has done through a systemic approach over the past 50 years, to change the reality of Malaysia.

This country was multicultural and a melting-pot. It was the original ‘rainbow nation’. Citizens lived and worked as brothers and sisters. But generations of our politicians have bred a parochial, narrow-minded and jingoistic nation, where one dominant race is the master or the ‘tuan’ and the rest must be grateful followers.

I am sharing my views so that more dialogue can take place and Malaysian citizens who feel the same way as me, have a voice in mainstream media in our country.

Of course, there were also some who accused me of being an ‘agent’ of the opposition – as though those chaps are somehow better than the ones we have in power, now. Malaysians saw the disorder the opposition was in, the last time we voted them to power.

For so long, we spoke in hushed tones and in private. Older generations of non-Malay Malaysians tacitly accepted what was going on. But today, with nothing to lose, they are also speaking up.

I just wish they had the courage to speak up when they were actually in positions of authority.

The only response I made was to a comment written by a Malaysian gentleman on my private page. He is on an expat contract in Saudi Arabia, and asked me why everything I write centres on the negativities about Malaysia. He asked me if I ever see anything positive?

I responded that I am very grateful for my country. There is so much abundance here. But we also have so many flaws that need to be worked on. And for this, we first have to stop pretending that they don’t exist.

I also had to remind this commenter that unlike him, I am actually a Malaysian who lives and works in Malaysia.

Why is it that if you question something in our country, you are immediately labelled an ungrateful fella? It’s like questioning a decision made by your superiors in the office, and you are instantly blackballed as a troublemaker.

This is the malaise of many Malaysian companies, and it seems to be a rampant problem with Malaysians, too. If you speak, write or comment about something that questions the special privileges of one community, or the decisions made by the government, you are a total ‘ingrate’.

Do I love being Malaysian? In a word, yes. Absolutely.

We are a country with some amazing people. Malaysia is truly blessed. I love the terrain. I love Penang, where I come from. The food is second to none. Our beaches and islands off Langkawi, Terengganu and Johor are wonderful. East Malaysia has an abundance of spectacular spots and lovely people. Kampung-folk in Kedah and Kelantan are the most genuine people I have ever met in my life. Working with young Malaysians, especially, is such a joy. They are crazy but smart. Malaysia is a remarkable country

Malaysia and Malaysians can, and should be competing with the best in the world.

Do I think Malaysia is governed by a bunch of jokers? In a word, yes. Absolutely.

We are in the throes of the biggest corruption scandal the world has ever seen, yet the protagonists are treated like saviours. In the 2021 Global Corruption Index, we are ranked 62 out of 180 countries. The Global Corruption Barometer says that 71% of Malaysians believe that government corruption is a big problem.

We have an Islamic Affairs minister who has the gumption to say that anyone criticising the Islamic Development Department for its slow response to corruption, are themselves committing a sin. The cost of living is skyrocketing and the quality of life deteriorating. Our traffic jams are becoming legendary. Our public services leave so much to be desired.

So really, when I speak up, what am I not being grateful for?

Because we want to ‘curate’ the Malaysian narrative, does it mean that we should not stand up against the nonsense that goes on in our country? Should we just pretend that everything is incredibly perfect in this blessed country, and ‘we close one eye’ to the rest of the garbage?

I think if you don’t stand-up, speak-up, and fight for change, you are being ‘ungrateful’.

Malaysia is a very special place in the world. If we, as citizens, don’t ask questions, the rot will keep getting worse.

So please, don’t be an ingrate to our motherland, ask questions and engage in dialogue, so we have a better future for our nation. - FMT

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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