Unity in Diversity

January 9,2017

Unity in Diversity

By Dennis Ignatius

Unleashing our uniqueness as a multicultural nation

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You can tell, I suppose, that elections are near when UMNO politicians start heaping praise upon our otherwise much-maligned citizens of Chinese origin.

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No less than Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in a speech delivered on his behalf on the occasion of the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall’s Anniversary Dinner recently, praised Malaysian Chinese for their “bravery, hard work and true grit” and their ability to turn things around with minimum resources. He also expressed admiration for their “spirit to never say no to challenges” and opined that “the Chinese community will continue to be the group that will carry the nation forward.”

Flattery & Brickbats 

Zahid’s lavish praise, however, passed without much comment from Malaysian Chinese themselves with many simply dismissing it as little more than lip service. The obvious, if unspoken message, is that mere flattery cannot undo the years of vilification and racial intimidation that has become the hallmark of UMNO politics.

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UMNO’s Extremists in Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur

It was not so long ago, for example, that UMNO-aligned red shirted bullies threatened to rain down mayhem upon Petaling Street. It was even more telling, for many Malaysian Chinese, that the red shirt leader was subsequently welcomed as something of a hero at the recent UMNO General Assembly. It only confirmed the perception of UMNO’s malice and hostility towards minority communities.

At the same assembly, UMNO stalwarts also demanded that the some of the miserably few positions that Chinese have in government and government-linked companies be taken away and given to UMNO members.

Worse still, the idea was posited that the Chinese pose an existential threat to the Malays. It might be just politics to UMNO but it demonizes a significant part of our populations simply on the basis of their race. It is not only dangerous but it goes against the very foundational principles of our nation. It is precisely this kind of mentality that is behind much of the chastisement of Malaysia’s minority communities as “pendatangs,” and as just so many unpatriotic and ungrateful interlopers.

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The response that shook UMNO–China’s subtle response to the treatment of their diaspora

It is simply mind-boggling that a dominant political party like UMNO would think that it can treat minority communities with such utter contempt and then expect to earn their allegiance and support at the polls with but a few blandishments.

A blessing to be appreciated

But, whether sincere or not, whether it was given grudgingly or otherwise, Zahid’s praise for the Malaysian Chinese community was well-deserved and long overdue. It may not be music to the ears of racists and bigots but the fact remains that Malaysia would be but a pale shadow of itself if not for the contributions of our citizens of Chinese origin.

They have been a huge blessing to us all and it is about time that they were respected and honoured for it.

If given half the chance to serve, if treated with genuine respect as fellow citizens rather than as interlopers and adversaries, the Chinese community, alongside Malaysia’s other communities, could well lift our nation to unparalleled greatness.

Instead of looking further afield to countries like China to boost our growth, we would do better to tap the acres of diamonds that our own minority communities represent.

Actions rather than words

If Zahid and UMNO want to genuinely show their appreciation for the contributions that Malaysian Chinese have made, they can start by being more supportive of the Chinese schools system.

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Najib depends on Malay support via a Pact with PAS–Hudud

After all, more than any other single factor, it is education that has transformed the Chinese community from a rag-tag bunch of indentured laborers, vegetable gardeners, petty traders, dulang-washers, rickshaw-pullers, nigh-soil carriers and terempoh-makers into a community that can now “carry the nation forward” as Zahid himself put it.

Besides, Chinese schools today are about the only bright spot in our otherwise dismal education system. Unsurprisingly, Chinese schools are the preferred choice of many Malaysian parents no matter their ethnic or religious background.

Those who make the argument that Chinese schools fail to foster racial unity and promote the national identity forget that Chinese schools are today far more multiracial than the so-called national type schools or, for that matter, religious schools.

Would that more Malaysians kids, particularly those from our floundering Indian community, enroll in Chinese schools.

It is a shame, therefore, that the Education Ministry remains so unsupportive of the Chinese schools system withholding even the meager RM50 million in maintenance that was allocated to Chinese schools last year, as was reported in the last few weeks.

As well, the Education Ministry’s refusal to recognize the Unified Examinations Certificate (UEC), something which Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem called “stupid,” makes no sense given that it is already accepted by Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Taiwan, Singapore, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States.

It is hard not to conclude, and certainly the perception persists, that the government’s whole approach to Chinese education is mired in racial prejudice more than anything else.

A museum of living history

Ways must also be found to breakdown the racism and prejudice that has become so ingrained in our society and correct the biased and jaundiced ethnic narratives that have been allowed to take root. Too little attention has been given to the contributions and the stories of heroism and hard work of earlier generations of Malaysians of all ethnicities.

To this end, consideration should be given to the establishment of a multicultural history museum, similar to the Canadian Museum of Immigration (Pier 21), that would record for posterity the history and the stories of all of Malaysia’s ethnic communities – Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Bugis, Javanese, Arab, Thai and others – their origins, their culture, how they came to call Malaysia their home, their struggles, their hopes and dreams and their contributions to making Malaysia the remarkable nation it now is.

It could also be a living museum with digital boards for the descendants to trace their roots, remember their pioneering forefathers and add their own stories of life and citizenship in Malaysia.

It would certainly help all Malaysians to take pride in their history, culture and contributions while remembering that it took all our ethnic communities many long years of hard work, cooperation and sacrifice to make us what we are today, that we all have a stake in this nation for better or worse, and that if we stand together, we can make our nation the envy of all.

Unleashing our greatness as a nation

Instead of hollow gestures given grudgingly when elections are near, UMNO must decide, once and for all, which road it will take when it comes to dealing with Malaysia’s ethnic minorities – the high road to tolerance and respect for diversity that will allow all our ethnic communities to flower or the low road to bigotry that will drive them away and deprive the nation of the wealth, talent and experience that they have to offer.

UMNO can help to truly unleash the power, the strength and the uniqueness of our multiethnic polity or it can try to stifle it at every turn and rule over a diminished nation, a mockery of all that it could be.

16 thoughts on “Unity in Diversity

  1. Islam is, as a grand scheme, believes Hegemony is divine’s will. With Najib’s partnership with Hadi’s PAS, talk of unity of diversity is MORONIC at the very least.

    It’s time to retort Hadi’s PAS – that their rally and campaign meaningless if there is no free will of choice whether it’s the rally or RUU 355. It’s just religious racketeering. The Romans, the feudal king’s of middle ages, the Mafia, even Tiga Line does the same thing with their power.

  2. Me, an exemplary Haram Kafir Harbi Pendatang (according to PASUMNOb doctrine), thank Amb Dennis for putting things into context and summarizing the Angst of my fellow Jaundiced Sepets. But the politics needs some refining comments.

    Yup, it doesn’t matter what an existential toad like ZH says, the Chinapek in this country will never acquiescence the present UMNOb rule. They are never sentimental when it comes to their rice-bowl and can winnow the rice from the husks, unlike dedak quaffers. Platitudes do nothing and Lu-Gua-Lu Tolongisms are seen as the most pathetic of political expediency. Discretion is the mother of all choice. Feudalism is not.

    While the urban Chinese will continue with DAP, PKR and Amanah or even Bersatu – the semi-urban and rural folks are caught in a bind.

    My gut feeling is that a majority of these disenfranchised folks will jump back to MCA/Gelakan fold, if the candidates are newbies and from these lapdog entities. Dilution of UMNOb monopoly is of utmost priority – if there is no hope in Hell that the Oppo has a realistic chance in the final GE outcome.

    The problem is that these lapdogs are still dependent on post limpid, self wanking blue-pill (Viagra) addicts who insists that they are ‘the salt of the earth’. Not realizing that the term actually means ‘fertilizer of shit’ – aka nightsoil. (another, nice theological tidbit for my buddy katasayang..).

    Unless the useless Oppo blokes get their act together and present a cogent power sharing, equitable, justifiable and forward looking developmental model, they will lose these crucial votes. The Chinapek are pragmatic, economically and politically. They are not exactly enamored with Pakatan self promotional agonies and ecstasies. Look at the smirking ‘Tancho’ed’ mug of the sec-gen DAP, and you’ll get what i mean.

    PASUMNOb can forget about Chinapek votes, including gangsta ZH. One arse-lick does not orgasm make. Period.

    That shock and awe RU 355 thingy will be the blunt ax that definitely divides.

  3. I put it to all Hadi’s PAS supporter that RUU 355 IS NOT HALAL, NOT SYARIAH because the hypocrite horible Najib is the sponsor and partner.

  4. We need ” Unity in Uniformity” to merge with “Unity in Diversity” to make Malaysia proud again in pursuing the dream of our founding fathers, to live in sustain peace and prosperity.

    To chieve the aforesaid goal,We must declare,
    In all sincerity and without hypocrisy, We All are Malaysians Firsts and We are All Immagrants with acknowledgements of our ethnicity roots, regardless of our race and religion.

  5. For as long as Malaysia continues to practice communal politics, it is destined to become a “diminished nation, a mockery of all that it could be.”

    Onn Jaafar, the founder of UMNO, later became increasingly disgusted with what he considered to be UMNO’s race based communalist policies, and called for party membership to be opened to all Malayans, and for UMNO to be renamed as the United Malayans National Organisation. When his recommendations went unheeded, he left the party in disgust.

    I am wondering, just wondering, what if Onn had persisted to remain in UMNO and succeeded to open party membership to form the multi-racial United Malayans National Organisation.

    Onn Jaafar was a great man who lived ahead of his time. He foresaw what communal politics would bring the country to today’s pathetic situation.

    What if, what if… but history has no “what if.” Malaysia had lost its opportunity to become the envy of the world and, instead, became the laughing stock of the world. Malaysia is FUBAR. But it is not too late. Just get rid of UMNO, MCA, MIC… all communal politics, and practice the multi-ethnic Malaysian Malaysia politics. No party membership should be allowed on the basis of race, religion, and sex.

  6. Bhinnka tunggal Eka. For. The nation.Sapta Marga the 7 way code for the uniformed services and Panchasila . Will this kleptomaniacs in denial acknowledge and practice these codes

  7. And this article is written by an Indian Christian. I wonder when will DAP’s Malaysia for Malaysians start working with Hindraf also.

    The road is still long, and the first step starts within ourselves

  8. Like I said, if we Malaysians do not intend to take charge of our very own future, it will be decided upon us by others. This is not some ground-breaking revelation, this is just simple laws of physics. History has ample precedents for this already.

    Every ethnicity of Malaysia may have their own reasons for not trusting each other. Like the Israelies and Palestinians, the blame game can strecth all the way back to biblical times. But the way towards a better future does not depend on finding whose fault it is originally, but to find a way to work together.

    Again, I want to state point blank, that Malaysian society is in a war of attrition with each other. Whoever “wins” this war would find a nation devastated, its people thoroughly expended of its ability to compete with foreign forces.

    The main victims of this war is the education of our future generations. The ideal setup would be a unified stream of education, but one that is founded on national unity, respectful for each of its rightful citizens, and most importantly imparts the neccesary skills for our small nation to compete in an increasingly competitive and connected world. Needless to say, in this world, the two most important language skills are namely, English, and Mandarin. Thie is a no brainer. If this education institution is provided, I don’t think any sane family would not enrol their offsprings to study there.

    I studied in a “Sekolah Kebangsaan” for my primary and secondary education. I treasure to this day the multiracial interactions that I got from my formative years there. But the way the “national schools” (the parenthesis is very apt here) are going, I’m left with no realistic choice other than to enrol my future children in other education institutions.

    Our government has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams to break-up the Malaysian society. But what exactly are the benefits?

  9. I can only wonder what the hell ktemoc is going to do about this. Another stupid writeup in his stupid blog. What about that dog called CL Flamiaris? Is he going to bite kaytee in australia? Plenty of hypocrisy going on.

  10. @ looes74,
    After about a year’s absence from reading blogs and Malaysian news, I come back here and still read your rant about getting KTemoc and CLF together. Please wake up and write something constructive on the article which is a very good read. By your past comments, I believe you could positively contribute to the discussions, if you want to. Cheers.

  11. Winning 14 GE will depend very substantially on the awakening of the Rural and semi-rural and the indigenous folks from E & W Malaysia.

    This election is largely the battle of the Malays themselves who must decide whether they want to continue to cheated by their own self- serving Malay Umnob leaders or realistically stand up to them as Malaysians for CHANGE in fighting for better lives and their children, and a better Malaysia.

  12. Adam,
    Use your brain and ask why I mention this jerk. If you want to know in details why I do so. Google Adam Curtis’s take on Oh dearism and non linearity warfare.
    Lee Kuan Yew has encountered plenty of jerks such as ktemoc. How it’s necessary to destroy them.
    Again why I waste my brain cell in explaining to you


    Who the hell Vladislav Surkov is……..hahahahaha

  13. “..why I waste my brain cell in explaining to you”

    Only a singular? Oh yeah.., that’s why your brain is loose, no matter the size of this peculiar ‘cell’! Also explains your monomania and autism. Stuck in first gear eh?

    Forgive him Adam, cuz he knows not what he yodels. Occasionally that ‘cell’ undergoes binary fission. But then one of them undergoes apoptosis (i.e croaks) almost immediately, leaving much space for you-tubism and vacant obsessive-compulsive yearnings.

    Hahahahaha – the extra ‘ha’ being the prompter for brain cell division and inhibitor to pluripotency of irascible wanderings. But i doubt it. If so, i recommend circumcision by an incompetent surgeon.

  14. Yes little doggie (Canis Lupus flamiaris), sometimes I goes nuts because of seeing many jerks like you. Just like that Gonzo legend called Hunter S Thompson.

    I love watching where the Buffalo Roam. I love that quote from the film

    “I hate to advocate alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone but they’ve always worked for me.”

    Seriously, why don’t just engage your alter ego in australia for once? Be a sport! Hey, hey, hey. Ever the title say so…….Unity in diversity.

    You guys have brains even though one covertly supportive of Najib and you are not.

    Go! Go! Go!

    Guys and Gals,
    Go read some of Hunter S Thompson’s books. Hisham Rais recommended you to read. I dare to say Hisham Rais can be nuts too!

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