Monday, 20 February 2012

Let’s all be Malaysians first & Proud to be Malaysian !!

HOW right Wong Sai Wan is in The Star column “How frail our unity is”, that our so-called “togetherness and unity” is only “skin deep” and at “surface level” at best.

As a Malaysian who has lived in this country for 60 years, I can only say that the depth of our “unity” is receding as the years roll by instead of becoming deeper. It is not only “skin deep”.

Racial and religious politics have taken a toll on the fabric of society as more and more people are identifying themselves first by “race and religion” instead of nationality (“Malaysian”).

If we do not arrest this slide, we will become a nation divided. We must make serious efforts to stem this tide.

I believe there are three main areas we need to look into, and politicians must be on the frontline to stem this tide.

Politicians from both sides must stop harping on our differences, be it religious or racial.

Religious leaders must ensure that religion is not forced onto others, or making one religion more important than the other.

Every effort must be made by society at large to view ourselves as “Malaysians first” rather than by race.

Indonesia is a classic example of how the different races view themselves as “ Indonesians first”. Ask a Chinese in Indonesia who he is and the reply will be “I am Indonesian”.

The media, like Wong said, must ensure that it does not play up sentiments of any kind but report the news as it is, from a “human view point” rather than race or religion.

In schools, especially, the heads must ensure that the children view each other as “ classmates” rather than by race.

There must also be a healthy “mix” at all levels of employment of the people of different races.

This will help us view each other as “ workmates” rather than racial individuals.

1Malaysia can only be achieved when we are “ Malaysian first” rather than portraying ourselves by our race.

All forms or documents must not highlight race or religion unless absolutely necessary.

Unity can only be strengthened if efforts are made, not through slogans, advertisements or banners.

Let us as Malaysians take this step to view each other as just that. I am Malaysian.


Proud to be Malaysian

I WRITE in response to “Liow: Govt wants more ethnic groups to join the civil service” (The Star, Feb 20).

In that article, Gerakan Youth secretary-general Dr Dominic Lau was quoted as saying that “unlike Americans, who were proud to call themselves Americans regardless of their race, not many Malaysians could identify themselves as Malaysian first”.

That is a totally outrageous remark. I would say Malaysians are proud of their nationality.

This is my personal experience being a student overseas.

I am an international postgraduate student in Brisbane, Australia.

Whenever people ask where I come from, I would proudly tell them I’m a Malaysian, coming from Ipoh. Some are confused as my ethnicity is Chinese yet I’m not from China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.

I elaborate by saying my ancestors came from China and I’m a third generation Chinese in Malaysia. But China is not my country. My country is Malaysia.

The fact that I’m a Malaysian makes me unique, being able to communicate not only in Mandarin and Cantonese but also in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

I have no problems communicating with people from various backgrounds, all thanks to my upbringing in Malaysia.

I’m not denying my Chinese roots of course, but when people ask my race, I say I’m Malaysian, and by ethnicity I’m a Malaysian Chinese.

There are many Malaysian student bodies in Queensland’s universities and we are all proud of telling the world that we are Malaysian. We don’t feel embarrassed being Malaysian.

During Malaysian roadshows, we proudly display the Malaysian flag, introduce Malaysian cultures as well as the great heritage of Malaysia.

Malaysia is blessed with natural resources, peace and diversity. Are we not proud being Malaysian? Yes we are!

I think the problem is back in Malaysia where politicians tend to separate the rakyat based on ethnicity.

Each political party champions only its people – Party A for Malay, Party B for Chinese, Party C for Indian, and the rest for “lain-lain”. But we are Malaysian.

It is not that we cannot identify ourselves as Malaysian first but when we fill up forms – bank forms, government documents – there’s always a column for race.

It makes it seem as if we will be treated differently if we state our ethnicity.

After half a century of independence, we are still forced to identify ourselves based on ethnicity.

Now, if we don’t call ourselves Malaysian first, is it the rakyat’s fault or the politician’s fault?

We are Malaysian, and we couldn’t be prouder, if you can’t hear us, we shout a little louder ... 1Malaysia!!!

WONG WENG-YEW, Brisbane, Australia.

Related post:

 How frail the Malaysian unity! 

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