Friday, August 10, 2007

Sons of the soil

They say it never rains. It pours. Just as Malaysia is embroiled with its own citizens about its very core identity, one of its 'sons' puts up a video on Youtube criticizing Malaysia's discriminatory racial practices all these many years. Known as the New Economic Policy (NEP), it discriminates in favour of its sons of the soil (bumiputra) - the Malays - over against migrant races such as the Chinese and Indians in almost all areas of life - in education, in jobs, in owning and operating a company, in the civil service, and yes, in its religion.

Malaysia was founded as a secular state almost 50 years ago. 50 years is a long time, and I do not blame its PM, DPM and ex-PM's attempt at revising history. People have short memories, and history can be bent and twisted any which way to advance an agenda. Japan often attempts to do this. However, after 50 years, Malaysia's youth have grown up. Having lived under discrimination, many have left because of the discrimination. I know because I have friends who are brilliant academically and successful, career-wise, who are ex-Malaysians. Truly, Singapore's gain is Malaysia's lost.

Therefore, it is not surprising that a new Youtube video lampooning the Malaysian political, business, social and religious culture highlighting the discriminatory practices and its official religion, Islam, has appeared. It appears to have been created by one of its younger sons, one Mingzhi, belonging to the discriminated racial class. The song called "I love my country", is sung and dubbed mostly in Chinese and Malay with a splattering of Hokkien after the Malaysian National Anthem Negara Ku. It is a bold and stark critique of modern Malaysia, if a trifle disrespectful. But it appears to have come from the heart.

The Malaysian government, instead of spending time trying to nail sediton charges on this young man, should reflect, on its 50th year of independence, where it might have strayed from the straight and the narrow, to have aroused such negative feelings among its sons. This is Malaysia's open secret, and it appears that the cover has been blown off it.

Here is the video: