Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Problems of Malaysia creating enmity elsewhere

Malaysia's problems were serious the first time around. It's depth began during the British administration, dividing the Malays, Chinese and Indians into different actual ethnicities, separating them and causing a very great divide. In addition to those problems are also religious and cultural (ironically Malay culture is derived from Indian culture whatever one wants to make of it and parts of Indian culture are transfused by thousands of years of contact with the Middle East, the West and everywhere else) religiously parts of Indians are also Muslims (not to mention Chinese too in China! Millions of em!). The problems became more apparent through the media after Mahathir Mohamed stepped down, sure enough there's a likelihood chance with political drama that the whole Anwar Ibrahim was a fiasco after all and to distract Malaysians from their growing enmity problems.

So here goes, I received an email whether doctored or not of an appeal letter from an Indian who goes and insults Malays and Islam at the same time. However, I would not take sides on this, clearly not all Malays are lazy (i.e. many of the entrepreneurs as well as the rich politicians are Malays after all) and clearly not all Indians and Chinese are successful they are all three equally the same (almost equally anyway considering population discrepancies). The thing is this Malays in the Malaysian media have had a history of making fun of Hinduism as well as other religions, something politically I think is inadvisable but potently espoused by the likes of American right wingers. Anyway, the email just incited this deep hatred towards Indians and Chinese in general. Honestly, being so-called nationality wise Bruneian and called Malay (which I disagree by the way I prefer to be called 'orang Brunei'), there's this deep xenophobia that is going on in Malaysia and they're definitely spreading elsewhere into Brunei. Bruneians citing themselves as Malay believe that Indians and Chinese are the root to their problems and of course they fear that they will usurp them (in a 'Malay' country) both politically and economically. The fears I think are at some point quite founded, both Chinese and Indians being immigrant forces are very likely more intellectually prominent or economically more sufficient the reason for this is because of their ability to take risk. In addition to that their exposure to knowledge is not far off in known history, if ever Malays were prominent historically it is definitely downgraded because of the inability to cite so-called 'great' backgrounds to appeal to the 'spirit' of Malay-ness (which ofcourse is socially constructed). I cite these reasons because at the root of it is people like me. My great grandfather travelled all the way from Madras to Brunei and married my Kampong Ayer great grandmother. Then incidentally some Portuguese guy decides to impregnate a Chinese Mukah lady whose my great great grandmother. On my father's side I'm Mukah Chinese, how am I supposed to survive when ethnically I'm bound 'Malay', look very Chinese and have some Indian blood?

The xenophobia that is created in Malaysia clearly is being reflected elsewhere around in Brunei and I suppose to some extent too in Indonesia (where Malaysia and Indonesia have been at it for years). Then recently there's that thing with the word Allah, a term meaning God which Christians and Jews in the Middle East use freely as well as the word obviously means nothing else but an Arabic word of God. I agree uneducated people in Malaysia and Brunei would definitely disagree with the word Allah being used by other religions even Christianity and Judaism (which is ironic considering that all three are semitic religions and belong to the same root)and those who are intellectually and academically rooted would definitely do not care either way knowing that the word after all has been used EVEN BEFORE Muslims themselves have used it. And yet, they are bickering over it like a group of children, as if one has exclusivity over the other? I suppose the meaning of the Koran citing not Muslim, Jews or Christians or other religions but actually begins with 'Orang-orang beriman' (or those who have faith) does not mean much to those fighting over the word. Or even more, xenophobia.

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