Wednesday, July 18, 2007
My country. My home?
For 60 years I had thought that this was my country and home regardless of race and creed. Now my deputy prime minister tells me that I have been wrong all along. That I am here being 'protected' at the pleasure of a majority race who happen to subscribe to the religion that is enshrined in the constitution as the "official" religion.
When I was growing up I always felt that I was Malaysian first before being Chinese and Buddhist or Christian or whatever. Now I don't know. My leaders tell me that Malaysia can only progress and prosper if there is racial integration and all the peoples live in harmony. But these days all I see are fences of segregation. Biased economic policies. Religious schools. Islamic hospitals. HALAL is becoming a bigger deal than I ever remembered it to be. Blaring calls to prayer 5 times a day in racially mixed communities. Bahasa Melayu. One way calls for tolerance.
Someone called me from Singapore about the deputy prime minister's statement and asked of reactions to it by non-Malay and non-Muslim citizens of Malaysia. I didn't know what to say. But I did begin to feel one reaction. Resignation. This is it. This is Malaysia as it turns 50.