Tuesday, June 06, 2006

All types of racism

In my posting IPCMC assumes racial hue I commented that that the police leaders have deliberately turned the IPCMC into an issue of racism. They had cleverly judged that by appealing to the ethnic instincts of UMNO or PAS, sweetened with the promise of police-backing for the party's politics, they could win political support for their insubordinate recalcitrancy.

Some malaysiakini readers noted how UMNO Youth was the odd man out when the other three BN Youth wings condemned the police for threatening to allow crime rates to increase. That UMNO Youth (and even PAS) has been been prepared to tolerate such unacceptable and disgraceful threats from the police force indicated a distinctively racial bias, that the unfettered powers of the police would be vital to its own political dominance.

In another posting
PAS = Prinsip Absén Selalu, Anonymous criticised me for just commenting on PAS as a political whore when the more revealing issue has been the racist instinct of PAS. He or she said:

“PAS may claim to be a religious based party but time and again it has demonstrated such as in the sujiu controversy that it is first and foremost a Malay party with religion as a cloak.”

IPCMC assumes racial hue reader bigjoe99 said “the question that begs to be answered is what issue does not have a racial/religious overtone in this country?” He believes that everything is racist because Malaysia is racist.

He reckons Malaysians “are bounded by only one issue - economic growth. Without it everything will fall apart.” bigjoe99 considers our greatest enemy is not any foreigner, but a prolong recession.

I believe bigjoe99 is quite right as UMNO's power play is not just about Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) per se, but more precisely Malay dominance of the economic cake. Ketuanan Melayu would then ensure UMNO cuts the cake. While that would once be understandable as the Malays had been economically backward relative to the Chinese, the last 50 years have seen only some selected Malay groups benefiting from the lopsided affirmative action.

Failure of the fair distribution of the cake would be conveniently blamed on issues such as, for example, companies 'unreasonably' demanding of applicants for jobs a Mandarin language proficiency.

The fearful thing is, as bigjoe99 warned, when we hit a bad patch of economic recession. Not only will we lose our sole bonding factor, but someone has to be sacrificed to the Gods of Appeasement to calm suffering kampong (village) folks – someone has to be blamed, someone has to be flogged until morale of the kampong folks improves.

But I need to be fair and point out something on racism – we ALL are racist because of a combination of our OWN prejudice and ignorance, coupled with the existing political/social/cultural system.

Once an Aussie Foreign Minister commented on many forms of Asian racism. According to him, the Japanese were ‘xenophobic’ racists, meaning they fear and/or hate anyone that’s not Japanese. Would this be similar to the white South African variety and their inability to deal with other ethnic groups like black Africans?

He went on to say Chinese were ‘supremacist’ racist, which is quite different from those white supremacists like the white South Africans or the Ku Klux Klan members.

So what is 'supremacist' racism?

The Chinese have always consider themselves as people of the Middle Kingdom, the centre of the world that's surrounded by barbarians.

Everyone else was a ‘devil’ which meant uncivilised rather than spooky. The Chinese would be quite happy to eat, drink and socialise with non-Chinese, and even allow their daughters to marry foreign devils because daughters do not contribute nor ensure the family line. But when it comes to their sons, whoa and belay any precipitious actions, dear sons, make sure you marry only Chinese, preferably of our own dialectal group.

Then there’s some orthodox Jews who practise 'religious' racism, where out there, there's a terrifying unclean horde of untermenschen, goyims and kushims.

I recall many years ago when I was a young teenager, I brought Olivia home, not to meet my mum, but to have a cuppa because on our return from our picnic spot, our path passed my house. Mum wasn’t in but a thousand busybodies living next doors were.

Olivia might not have been the most beautiful girl in the world but she certainly was one of the most beautiful. I had the great fortune that she liked me – hey, sometimes even losers like kaytee win ;-)

She was unusually striking in that her natural beauty was greatly enhanced by her sweet cheery smile. Even her beautiful eyes seemed to smile at you. She was absolutely gorgeous, BUT to those kampong busybodies she had one humongous flaw – she was Eurasian!

Needless to say, that evening, mum received a full debrief, chapter and verse on the Jezebel that I brought home. Stern and severe recommendations by those village bitches ran to several copious volumes. Mum looked at me worriedly, and said tentatively:

“Auntie X said you shouldn’t go out with a Eurasian. You know those Eurasians, don’t you? Auntie Z noticed that her eyes are really heow [lecherous]. She said that girl must be heow lah!”

Eurasian. Thank bloody goodness she didn’t use f**king Auntie X's words of ‘half-breed’.

I gave her my most serious disapproving look and said:
“I hope so.”

“Huh? What? What are you hoping for?”

“Her heow-ness.”

Of course all of these were in rapid Penang Hokkien.

Mum (stunned for a while) replied sternly:
“Don’t be frivolous. These are serious matters concerning your future. You should be more respectful to your elders.”

Let’s say my conversation with mum ended up with me receiving a tight slap from angry her. But weren’t my village womenfolk and even Mum racists?

Hmmm, was the racism of my village womenfolk like UMNO’s or PAS’? Was it the supremacist, xenophobic, religious, economic type or just plain jealousy of an exceptionally beautiful 'outsider'?


  1. If there were one word to describe myself it would be nontraditionalist. That's why I abhor what many see as cultural norms, such as putting emphasis on marrying into your own race, then making up ludicrous justifications to support that insistance. Your annectdote is a good example.

    IMHO until and unless those in power realize that the common goal of a Malaysia for all is more important for the nation's survival in the long run, compared to petty racial protectionism, the facade of racial harmony will remain just that - a facade.

    It will take a drastic event for this to happen, I'm afraid. Or worse yet, to qoute a popular Singaporean Hokkien phrase - tan ku ku - wait long-long (i.e. it will never happen).

    The status quo will remain as such until such a time when there is a realization that the bigger picture of national prosperity (regardless of race and religion) must be the goal.

    We cannot change history, roll back the clock and live the pipe-dream that is Ketuanan Melayu. UMNO and UMNO Youth must realize that our prosperity today is by virtue of the blood and sweat of ALL Malaysians.

    I'm what I personally call a pessimistic-idealistic optimist (yeah, a campuration of many traits) - a nontraditionlist one, at that - true Malaysian unity can happen if there is a sincere will.

    Unfortunately, I have yet to see that sincerity, apart from small and sporadic instances.

  2. By the way "ketuanan" is not supremacy. It is rights as an owner as in "tuan rumah".

    tiu naa seng... don't try to provoke using the wrong term.

    Abu Habok

  3. DBP ketuanan = kedaulatan = kekuasaan yang tertinngi

    Kontext dah jelas.

    Apa perasaan sdr tersinggung?

  4. For an in-depth look at Asian racism, with much on Malaysia and Singapore take a look at www.asianracism.blogspot.com

  5. I think most of us are racist. It's just that we don't manifest our discomfort with the races other than ours - given a particular circumstance, that makes us civil. Being tolerant doesn't mean that you've stopped being racist. It's just that you're keeping that thing in check.

    I think it would be better for us not to play this 'holier-than-thou' issue by saying that we're not racist while accusing others for being racist, purely based on our own perception. You can be racist even when you call others racists.

    Sometimes I get a question from someone when I tell him about some incident on the road that I've seen. That someone would ask me if the offender is M/C/I. I would normally answer "He/she is Swedish". If I should tell him the truth then, he would go like "No wonder lah... blah blah blah... those people are like that one blah blah blah...". I hate that statement, hence the "Swedish" thing just to spite him. To me, one can become a screw-up regardless of his/her race.