Racing Lines . . . Racial Lines

21 05 2008

I first wrote this piece a few weeks ago and posted it on a friends’ blog. I have edited it several times since then. I have decided to post the piece here as I feel that I need to take possession of an idea that I have felt strongly about since I was in school, and it is this…black, yellow, white, brown we are all brothers and sisters in a family with but one home, Malaysia. And despite our differences we are more alike. If only we are brave enough to allow others into our hearts and minds, we would realise that we are all kindred souls. Instead, our leaders and ultimately we ourselves have chosen to emphasize the former. I hope this piece will make a difference….

Racing lines….Racial lines

It is a well known fact that the shortest route between 2 points is a straight line. But it is not necessarily the fastest. In motor racing be it on 2 or 4 wheels, a racing line on a racing track is not a straight line. In fact around a particularly tight corner, a racing line is described as one which allows for the largest turning radius.

In the last 50 years we Malaysians have described each other along racial lines. Why? Is it because like racing lines, this is the easiest route, the fastest? And by doing so have we inadvertently propagated the very notion that only certain races be in these roles? Nothing else is more infusive in our society than race. Even religion takes a back seat. Hell, even as the Brits were about to hand us back our country we demanded a “social contract” be written out. A so called “social contract” that divides us racially to this very day. I wonder who signed that bloody document? What does it say anyway? I want to know. As a result, 50 years down the road Malaysians describe themselves first and foremost by their race, we are more apart then we have drawn together. Mention money changers and you’ll picture an Indian sitting inside a dingy booth, mention a VCD seller and he’s definitely Chinese. Government servant asked for coffee money? Police ask for a bribe? – your brains will be screaming “bloody good for nothing Malay”. Don’t lie, I do. Almost all professions in Malaysia are drawn along Racial Lines. Have you ever seen an Indian own an electrical appliance outlet? A Malay sell you mobile phones? Well, maybe you have, if you happen to be in the back street of the city and the guy selling it to you has only ONE model, and starts his sales pitch with a “pssst”. There are probably less than a handful of non Malays in the police or armed forces and probably no Malays running a goldsmith shop. The list is almost endless. Try renting a house in Subang Jaya/USJ. There are landlords there who will only rent out to Chinese! I know, I have tried.

So are we really ready to give up the racing line and allow someone the chance to overtake? Are we willing to ease of the throttle just a little to give the other some breathing space, a chance to accelerate around the next corner? Or are we going to hog that racing line and force him to brake hard….impede his progress even though he is the better man…but happens to be behind at the moment.

Sure we are fed up of the current and corrupt government. Sure we want a freer Press who will write the truth as they see it. Sure, we are all fed up with the same diatribe “You cannot trust the Chinese!”, “Malays can’t work to save themselves!” “Bloody drunk Indians!” . A whole generation of people have grown up hearing this, it is almost infectious. In fact it is.

Our children are learning discrimination and its vitriolic language from us. Unless we change, consciously, we will unconsciously breed a whole new generation of racist.

Motor racing is a serious sport, both participant and spectator stand a chance of getting hurt, seriously hurt. The Racial Game is far more dangerous and unproductive. I hope we can stop this dangerous and unproductive game. But are we really ready to do so? Then we must put aside our sensitivities and address the racial issues, openly and honestly, in order that we may put it right once and for all.

I yearn for the day that we become blind….colour blind.

I give you this video by a few local Malaysian who are able present the same aspirations in a more artistic form.

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3 responses

22 05 2008
brontebaxter

This is a beautiful article, and the video touched me deeply. A few tears here! Way to go, kids. Way to go!

Bronte Baxter

http://www.brontebaxter.wordpress.com

25 05 2008
tzywen

this is a great may 13 post! hopefully the newer generation of young malaysians will be able to change that.

25 05 2008
virtualmystic

The article makes no reference to that black and fateful day in Malaysian History Tzy Wen. The decent people of my generation and older are trying hard to put that chapter behind and I for one would like us all to learn the lessons of that day and close the chapter once and for all. But because that incident is poorly discussed if at all, vicious politicians are able to use the very mention of that date to stir up racial sentiments….and play up the racial card so to say. Like I mentioned in the article, it is time we (maybe more aptly your generation, Tzy Wen) bring up all the issues for honest discussion, learn about each other, learn from the issues affecting each race and close the book on racial politics. I say “Put all our cards on the table and cash in our chips” and lets end this racial game we play.

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