Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Toddy Syndrome

Probably the most deprived and marginalised ethnic group in Malaysia, a land of bountiful plenty, is the Indian community.

The Malays and other natives have their land and except for some that are truly struggling along without even piped water and electricity, and other basic amenities such as health or educational facilities, they are in the main fine.

Likewise with the Chinese – I know of several who still don’t enjoy piped water nor electricity but the rest are comfortable. Like some elite Malays there are of course Midas-rich Chinese. But the general group of Chinese ranges from upper middle class to some really poor, but as with most in Malaysia, even those at the lower economic rungs of society don’t suffer from 3rd World deprivations leading to hunger, malnutrition or rampant diseases.

But the Indians! What can I say?

The richest Malaysian is reputed to be an Indian. And indeed there are well known Midas-rich and powerful Indians.

Tony Fernandes

Kenneth Eswaran

Mohan Swami

P Kasi

Ananda Krishnan - the richest Malaysian

But the majority of Indians are struggling - truly truly struggling. I call the manifestation of their suffering the toddy syndrome, a cruel but reasonably true observation.

The gap between the rich and poor Indians are unlike other ethnic groups. Their wealth distribution bell curve is distorted and squashed towards the lower values.

The typically hardworking but unskilled Indian struggles at the lower scale of employment, earns enough to live from hand to mouth day to day, has no or little after-hours amenities, has many children as a result of their sole entertainment (not unlike Chinese farmers in remote rural areas), at the end of work dashes off to the local ‘pub’ for several tin mugs of watered toddy, gets himself pissed drunk to blank out his agonising frustration, apprehension, worries, physical/mental pain, hopelessness and anger at his-fate-decided-by-the-gods, if not knocked out by the toddy comes home and, where in many cases, tries to solve his problems a wee bit by thrashing the hell out of his wife and kids.

The evil toddy (even though KTemoc loves a drop or two of this brew occasionally, in moderation) has become the straw for many socially-drowning Indians to hang on. Its devastating effect produces the syndrome, but the disease is hopelessness in an increasing competitive world that is rapidly leaving many Indian Malaysians behind.

Their children are born into immediate disadvantage. Their community is looked down upon. They are assigned ownership of Malaysian crimes which cannot be attributed to foreign migrant workers. They have become the debris, flotsam and garbage of Malaysian society.

And what has the MIC, their so-called political representatives done for them? What about Samy Vellu, the president of the MIC?

Berita Harian alleged he has a special house costing RM5.6 million in Sungai Siput. The newspaper went on in great detail about his private life with respect to his ostentatious residence.

I don’t give two hoots about his private life, which was revealed in Parliament by DAP M Kulasegaran, the MP from Ipoh Barat, but I want to know lots about his public life.

Samy Vellu and his Boss who is also part Indian

what did they do for Indian Malaysians?

If what the DAP MP alleged is true, how does he come by RM5.6 million to build such a second (or perhaps even 3rd) home? Why hasn’t he done the right thing and passed on his knowledge and skills on wealth building and accumulating to his community, the most deprived in Malaysian society?

So what has Aneh (elder brother) done? He has just called on Indian families to
have more children!

Yes! He did that!

His reason has been there is a drop in the number of Indian professionals and equity ownership. So presumably his perceived solution to that is for the Indians to produce more babies, and that some of them, by the law of probabilities, would become professionals and own more equity?

Unfazed by his own unbelievable proposal, he said the rate of growth of the Indian population was slower than the other communities. Humpty Dumpty averred:
“Many Indian couples do not have children. My advice to them is to have many children, or at least two children. However, the more the better. Otherwise, the percentage of Indians (in the population) will keep dropping.”

People do not have children for a variety of reasons - they are just not into creating more automatic votes for the MIC!

He fantasized (OK, that’s KTemoc’s verb for him) that one of MIC’s strategies (as if it has any for the poor Indian community?) would be to provide Indian children with a strong education foundation in schools with emphasis on science and mathematics, apart from developing communicative skills in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Tamil.

Jeez, he has finally found this out after aeons as the president of MIC?


xiǎo dìdì nǐ hǎo ma

Continuing his pseudo-wisdom he made a motherhood statement:

“Parents should monitor the education of their children and provide them with pre-school, primary and secondary education and ensure that they do not leave school at an early age.”

Motherhood statements are always popular political bullsh*t; they are called motherhood statements for the precise reason they are easier said than done. Guess which type of people makes motherhood statements just to make you think they are great or care for you?
Maybe Humpty Dumpty may just advise the Indian community, especially those struggling as labourers, peons, tappers, etc, when the parents should monitor their children’s educational progress? Which part of their 'free' time after their daily quota of back breaking blood-toil-tears-sweat-humiliation or sorrow-drowning pub sessions?

If the Indians of Malaysia continue to blindly support a MIC, when its president has come up with such a screwball solution to their existing problems, they must then look forward to expect more of the Humpty-Dumpty-ish benefits, all fallen and shattered into a thousand microscopic pieces.


  1. aku melayu tapi suka jugak toddy, try le.. sedap nanti ko ketagih

  2. apa kah toddy merupa sejenis jus tapai yg lebih pekat ya? dah jelas tapai tu OK, se komponen kusine [cuisine] Melayu, maka dapat digabung dengan aspek2 lain kebudayaan Melayu! bagaiman pula dengan toddy?

    walaubagimanapun, memang toddy adalah kebudayaan Malaysia ;-) [jikalau bukan Melayu}

  3. Ayoyo, ktemoc, your words sting like anything! But through it all your outrage at life's unfairness and your sympathy for the downtrodden is unmistakble. Life can be a really sadistic bitch, isn't it? It can knock you down and while you are lying helpless on your back she would step on your face and laugh uproariously at your plight. Anyway, namaste to you.

  4. KT Indian sutu adipek.! Nalarekek.!
    KT Indian bum walop.! Very good.!
    Very good advice for Indians.!