Obama, Obama, Obama – everyone (well, almost) is in love with Obama ...
… especially Malaysian opposition supporters. They want a Malaysian Obama.
Well, noted Malaysiakini columnist Dr Musa Bakri has penned his usual erudite column titled (hardly surprising) Note to a Malaysian Obama …
… in which he commented that our Malaysian society in many respects are far more accommodating of people who don’t look like you – for example, Obama whether he was called by his unusual (to Americans) name or 'George Washington', would still be to most Americans a black man.
… whereas (as Dr Bakri said) “… There are many children of Malay-Caucasian as well as Malay-Chinese and Malay-Indian marriages exhibiting very 'un-Malay' features. "
"Yet Malay culture has been very welcoming of them, unhesitatingly embracing them as Malays. This is not a recent phenomenon. I had many childhood friends and classmates who had distinctly Chinese or Indian appearances because of adoption or mixed marriages, yet they were all considered and treated as Malays."
"Why the children of mixed marriages between a member of the majority and a minority are not regarded as the majority in America, but they are in Malaysia, is an observation worth pondering. I am certain this is related to an underlying obsession with ‘racial purity’."
"On this point, as a Malay I am heartened that my culture is very welcoming of those who are adopted, from mixed marriages, and do not look like us, whatever that presumed ‘Malay appearance’ might be. We are, thankfully, not consumed with maintaining our ‘purity’.”
At this stage, do you agree with Dr Bakri?
Continuing, Dr Bakri said: “My view is that Malaysia already has her Barack Obama in Mahathir Mohamad. We do not recognise him as such because unlike in America where its Obama is considered a member of the minority, Malaysia’s majority Malays warmly and quickly embrace their Obama as one of their own.”
“Nor is Mahathir alone; earlier leaders like Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman also had mixed ancestry.”
“By biological heritage, Obama has equal claim to being black or white. Yet because of his unalterable physical characteristics, Obama is labeled black. Even if Obama were to resort to the miracles of plastic surgery, skin-whitening cream, and hair coloring and straightening a la Michael Jackson, which Obama does not, he would still be labeled black.”
“For contrast, examine the group portrait of Umno Supreme Council members. If they were to dispense with their songkok and Baju Melayu and instead put on modern attire, some of them could easily be mistaken as delegates from MCA or MIC, that is, until they open their big mouth and chant their chauvinistic slogan of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’!”
Of course when I hear the usual suspects disparage Dr Mahathir I feel sad that people attack the mamaks again a la Chinese saying: "Sweeping everyone down with one single bamboo pole!" – I have some very good friends who are mamaks so of course those insults against mamaks have been very hurtful ... and bloody racist.
Anyway, do you reckon Dr Bakri has been right, about Dr M being our Obama?