Saturday, July 18, 2009

When will narrow-minded Malaysians wake up?

It is disappointing to see and hear narrow-minded things some Malaysians had to say, despite belonging to a nation of more than half a century old; let alone a multi-racial one. When will some of us learn to understand the concepts of a matured, open-minded society to move beyond such insularity?

A couple of incidents that took place in the course of the week were really self-explanatory (of the point I am trying to make here). There are still narrow-minded citizens and MPs alike out there who continue to put the rest of our society to shame with their remarks and statements.

One that really left me annoyed and disgusted was the argument Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin put forth in his support for the abolishment of the PPSMI (the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English) initiative. In his blog post, Zulkifli reasoned that there was no real urgency for Malaysians to be proficient in English and the government had done the right thing to honour the Malay language. Taking Japan as an example, he said that the Japanese have gone on to accomplish great technological triumphs without being proficient in English.

To further support his premise, he also argued that the Filipinos was only capable of producing household maids despite being highly proficient in the English language.

Firstly, Zulkifli (image) is naive enough to compare Malaysia with Japan. Japan can afford NOT to learn English because they are in a position to offer much to the world. They are not the 4th largest world economy for nothing. Malaysia, on the other hand, imports the majority of technologies and knowledge from abroad. Thus, who are we to decide that the world should learn our language and we can all together forget about the learning the most important language of all - English? Unlike Japan, Malaysia has relatively little to offer the world for us to demand such privilege Japan is currently enjoying.

Secondly, Zulkifli's statement about Filipinos is utterly disrespectful. There's even a sprinkle of racism in that, I reckon. Being a lawyer himself, he should know that his remarks may have had an impact on the Malaysian Filipino community. But above all, it is also disrespectful towards the good and honest people who have no choice but to work as household maids in this country due to poverty and the lack of job opportunities back home.

In fact, has Zulkifli ever thought that it is us who should be ashamed that even household maids speak and write better English than most of our government officials, corporate figures and elected representatives?

There are also the inconsiderate racists among us that still believe in the superiority of a race over others. The last time I checked, this was Nazi/Apartheid-like mainstream mentality that no longer exists today. Recently, a Kajang municipal councillor who was interrogated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) alleged commission investigators hurled racist remarks at him during questioning [source].

MACC officers had apparently called him a stupid Chinese and even asked if he (the municipal councillor) was from China.

Perhaps the municipal councillor could not converse in Malay as good as the MACC officers. But that does not mean he is stupid nor is he from China. Well, I have seen my fair share of Malaysian Malays who cannot even converse or write in proper Malay.

So what gives?


  1. Wendee said...

    Apparently many people think that they're academicians and philosophers. No wonder our education system is in a mess.

  2. Anonymous said...

    I have nothing against malays/the language/etc... but the mentality just have to change once and for all...I know a lot of malays who are very open minded and tolerant with other races/religion...but the MPs just not setting a good example as a reprentative of the people...first of all there is no such thing as malay supremacy or whatever my malaysians MUST learn ALL four languages Bahasa Malaysia,Mandarin,Tamil and English so that we are multilingual and competitive in the job market...people in europe,us for example learn english and french+spanish+mandarin...I think through learning all four major language in malaysia...we can be more understanding,tolerant with each least its a step towards racial integration...

  3. Pumpkin said...

    But it is true that Malaysia doesn't offer much to the world.
    Foreigners don't even know Malaysia exists.
    Because Malaysia is being such a confusing country, the citizens just started migrating to other countries one by one.