LETTER | Feeding our cultural roots


LETTER | The phenomenon of racial and cultural discrimination in Malaysia seems to have lessened, as the country’s younger generation (Gen Y and Gen Z) have emerged as a vocal population during the Covid-19 pandemic, advocating cultural unity, egalitarianism and government transparency via social media. media and non-governmental organizations.

Is there really no trace of defensiveness towards multi-racial and multi-ethnic rakyat among this younger generation in Malaysian communities?

I want to emphasize that confronting and resolving discrimination is still a scab that needs to be nurtured for true harmony and healthy politics to emerge in the decades to come, but only if rakyat has the sincerity to reevaluate his beliefs and behaviors .

In order to foster compromise within each of our natural cultures, we must first address and control discrimination.

To combat discrimination and prejudice, regulations and legislation should be implemented through a broad awareness campaign including self-regulation and attitude analysis.

I have attended several lectures about the East constantly mocking West Malaysia’s endlessly aggressive racial policy, and I would like to point out that ethnic politics has always existed in Sabah and Sarawak, and they too struggle implicitly with the diminishing problem of their mother tongue practices due to Malaya-centric curricula and monetary policies that keep the majority impoverished and illiterate.

It is natural for each group to strive for a leader who embodies their identity, as this reinforces the cultural preservation of each of our origins.

As someone who has the “rare prerogative” of being enrolled in a public higher education institution among my peers, I am often angered when people constantly bring up the fact that Malaysia, which was formed with the contribution of multi-ethnic communities, is now called as Tanah Melayu after gaining independence.

My middle and low income peers seemed to be drowning in economic depression as vernacular schools disappeared, more and more mosques were built in multi-ethnic residential areas while religious buildings were tightly controlled, unresponsive to the multi-religious community, racially biased government officials, and young people had limited and poor quality educational opportunities due to their race and religion.

Let’s not forget it

I would like to address all former government officials who are still alive, as well as current bureaucrats – have you forgotten who it was who came together to build this country? To bring this economy to where it is now?

Racial and ethnic discrimination in Malaysia is not new, and it has been a contentious issue since the country’s independence in 1963. I am a member of Generation Z, and I am surrounded by friends my age who are fighting for anti-discrimination policy, policies, and law-making, which seems to be driven by local politicians.

I dare say it’s apocryphal, though the whole world can watch Gen Z lobbying online for non-racial Malaysia on the front lines, fighting for better government during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing could be further from the truth than “it takes both hands to clap”.

Here I raise a familiar dilemma, are politicians who play the race card the only ones to blame? Old grievances and primordial grudges have always been between us.

You can dispute it, but the rakyat has discriminatory prejudice and bias rooted in our blood, and the current administration can only help make the necessary reforms to alleviate this problem for future generations.

“A man who made a mistake and doesn’t fix it makes another mistake.”

I recommend that we start with two crucial aspects in order to achieve true harmony and a mature Malaysian culture.

First, make a change in the first place by educating others. Based on an authentic story, which exposes the stories of all communities without being excessively biased by the politicians in power.

In addition, prejudice and discrimination must be addressed and integrated into education in order to free future students from the preconceived ideas that bind them and from the harmful tools that shape their perception of local communities of a different culture.

Secondly, the value of the mother tongues of each community must be underlined in order to restore and nurture their local identity. Things seemed insurmountable until they were over.

After decades of immigration, our ethnic minority has acquired strange ways of life, a sign of the emergence of a new culture. Preserving and cherishing our diverse cultures has left an indelible impact on Malaysian civilization.

Our responsibility

We have a responsibility not only to confront and educate on the subject of diversity and discrimination, but also to work together to nurture and reaffirm our cultural roots, regardless of color or ethnicity.

“A tree lives from its roots,” I remembered reading a poem by Jane Hirshfield. “If you change the root, the tree will also change. Human beings are cultural beings. Culture will change if the human heart is changed.

We must come to an agreement and distinguish our Malaysian past from the real history, which has been heavily censored, and recognize that we all marched together towards independence in 1963.

Our ancestors who shaped this country today may have been immigrants, and while it is important for us to learn and practice our culture to preserve our identity and respect the lives of those who brought us together, it is not It’s not fair for one to dominate the other or to impose violence on each other.

Ethnic issues have long been a source of tension in Malaysia, and they must be addressed and resolved if the country is to free itself from the shackles of an unequal social hierarchy and political institutions supported by those in power who play racial cards.

If there is a day to come, we rakyat must reclaim our power and work hard to heal and progress age-old racial tensions between our ancestors to form a politically stable society that prioritizes education in order to raise our children and develop. as a more mature Malaysian civilization.


The opinions expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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