Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Merdeka Retrospective

I think today would be a good time for me to provide my commentary on the state of Malaysia in view with the nation's 50th anniversary coming next Friday. It is high time for me to provide my own retrospective. It is important for people to understand more of someone being inside Malaysia, as a citizen of this nation so that they may have a better perception of the actual reality rather than understanding by cover.

The first 50 years:

I did spend some time to sit down and ask my relatives including my family and my dad (interestingly was born 7 weeks before Merdeka) about what Malaysia was like before the 1969 riots. Most of them told me colorful stories of them able to mingle with their non-Chinese neighbors without fear of discrimination.

Everyone had high enthusiasm of what is going to happen in the future with big plans for nation development, economy and social along with the Tunku at helm and having some of the non-Malay ministers like V.T Sambanthan and Tan Siew Sin - Tunku is a man who understands the importance of respect and sensibilities of the other races and is willing to make compromises for others..minorities to be part of Malaysia. For him, he aspires an utopia, like JFK does. When my family was in Melaka in 1967-1970, the house that they stayed is at an estate that comprised of a mixture of races. They never show hate or greed but instead treat themselves as friends for life. At that time, there was only a secular state - a state with mixture of people from various races.

And then 1969 riots happened. My family stayed in the house whole day, afraid of getting bashed up.

After that, there was no more Bangsa Malaysia. Not even during the Hussein Onn period and the disco era of 1977-1981, when he tried very hard to . I talked to one of dad's friend, who was also from Ipoh - told me of the change in the NEP and the education system - was showing the shape that is against what Tunku had idealized. Take for instance of the secondary level History syllabus - before the 70s, there was a fair spread of covering history of Asia, Europe, Malaysia and Islamic. When I was studying Form 4 and 5, almost 1/3 of the Form 4 History syllabus was Islamic History...don't you notice that there is something wrong there? It's like subverting everyone to follow the ideals of the predominant and leaving no respect for the dignity of the others?

The lack of foresight and the incorrect decisions in the education system made has caused many people to be focusing on passing exams, incapable of speaking well in English, causing an embarrassment to the foreigners.

Although there have been changes to the nation in the last 50 years, there are still things that has yet to be eradicated in order to achieve what the Tunku idealized for all time. You still have high crime rates, corruption still high, political interference, bureaucracy, and incompetent people who still cling to power. There's still more to do and we can never achieve Vision 2020 as what Dr. M once spoke of.

I've read recent cases of potential policy changes and I feel that some ridiculous decisions are made because of the lack of foresight, insight and shallow perception by politicians.

Merdeka is like Malaysia's way of saying Selamat Hari Raya or Gong Xi Fa Cai to the nation itself!

What I want for this year's Golden Jubilee Merdeka:

  • Better reduction of red-tape interference and bureaucracy.
  • A much more better education system that focuses more on creating productive people that are able to think of their own, make good decisions, practical and contributing more to the people.
  • A change in governance where government guys are able to look into things with better insight and wisdom together with better depth of perception.
  • A fair chance for everyone to speak out of their problems and suffering.
  • The nation's economy must be as strong as the its state before the Asian Financial Crisis before year end. That will put a big stop to poverty and as well as improving the quality of living for middle-class people.
  • Put a stop into corruption and malpractices of high-ranking officials
  • A major change in policies including a retooling of the NEP as to give other Malaysians, especially our non-Malay friends to contribute more to the economy.
The next 50 years

No...that's not all yet. Do you know what I wish in the next 50 years given of the current situation? The Tunku wants a Bangsa Malaysia, a society where people can live together in diversity, not by racial division as what some policies are. At times, I find it very frustrating to bear with some laws and policies that are indirectly enlarging the gap between the races. Does this say that I cannot talk to an Indian friend of mine just for casual acquintance? Does it mean that I can't go out for a drink with my Malay schoolmate?

Where is the unity and diversity that people want? We are free of the past already. We are already free of May 1969 already. Why can't we drop the mob rule mentality and live on together with people? So much blood has been spilled. Innocents and minorities are the ones that suffer more while the guilty walk free.

I could times where ridiculous things happen because of mentality. I hope that line is blurred out in the next 50 years. There are people who have great knowledge and perception out there who aspire to make the nation a better place. Have we forgotten the words of MJ's song Heal The World? Why can't we take that message to guide us now?

It's a harsh world out there, with incompetent officials making things worse for the citizens - they are the ones that suffered most now -. In Europe the society structure / hierarchy is already moving forward, not like Malaysia that is still left behind. Even we are losing to our neighbor Singapore in terms of social structure and order.

All in all, I just want to go back for the happier, sepia times of Malaysia.

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