Spanking your inner racist
There are two theories of racism: One is that it's a cultural phenomenon that comes and goes, that is strong at times, and weak at others, that there are factors that tend to decrease it and others that increase it. Another theory is that racism is a human condition, part of our original sin as a culture. We can pretend to walk away from it, but it's always there, lurking beneath the surface, always watching, waiting for a chance to jump out in the open. According to the first theory, which I agree with, racism has been on decline in Western culture for a long time, and is, in Norway, not much of a problem. We shouldn't be too smug - part of the reason why Norway has contributed less to the field of ethnic oppression than other democratic countries is lack of opportunity. (The very small ethnic minorities we did have, we did oppress.) Only in the last three decades, with the start of non-Western immigration, can we truly claim to have put our racial and religious tolerance to the test. We failed at first, but our liberal and tolerant traditions have more than caught up with us by now. There's still racism, but it's limited and scowled upon, and more a minor nuisance than an actual oppressive force.
According to the other theory, we're all still racists, we just do a better job of hiding it. The inner racist must be regularly excorsised through religious-like rituals and adherence to anti-racist dogmas. Any visible instance of racism is then not an odd leftover of the past, but a little finger for the Devil, which must be struck down immediately with full force. One of many triggers that will bring out our inner racist is negative attention on a minority. Any negative attention, warranted or not. So not only must racism itself be fought, but also criticism that leads to racism, (which often means any media coverage that puts minorities in a bad light, such as focus on forced marriages, religious fanaticism, etc.).
After the al-Qaeda threats against Norway, a builder in Oslo refused to build a garage for a man he, based on the name, assumed was a Muslim. "You are probably a Muslim and after the recent terrorism threats none of my employees will work for Muslims". According to my theory, this is a lone idiot, maybe or maybe not a racist, but at the very least a bigot, who has caught the ridiculous idea that Islam itself is evil, that all Muslims are fanatics who secretly sympathize with al-Qaeda. That people like this exists is well-known, and not very newsworthy. According to the other theory, he's one example of the widespread surge of racism that inevitably follows any negative attention on Islam, and is therefore worthy of coverage all over the media, with front pages and talkshows dedicated to it. It shouldn't be hard to guess which theory won out. (This editorial in VG is an exception.)
And now there's "evidence". In a poll, 40% of men and 23% of women seemingly agree with the builder's decision - or that's the way it's being interpreted. If you look at the actual phrasing - "It should be allowed to refuse to carry out work based on religious adherence" - you see that what they actually agree with is the builder's legal right to make that decision, a seller's right to pick his customers for irrational reasons. I'm not sure what I think about that, but I do know what I would have answered in that poll. I would have recognized the unspoken part of the question, the way my answer would be interpreted: "Are you a racist?" But that's not what the numbers actually say, and I doubt that's what most people realized they were being asked.
There was also an interesting debate about this on the radio today. The Progress Party has traditionally been seen as a well-polished front for racism in Norway, the Sinn Fein of the inner racist, if you like. This was not entirely unjustified, though it's been used for more than it's worth by political opponents. Their image would be regularly tarnished by some village idiot, crossing over to the wrong side of immigration criticism. And then, a few years ago, the most visible village idiots were forced out, in the well-publicized and in the short term very destructive second civil war of the party. The embarassments stopped, unnoticably at first, but clear in retrospect.
On the radio program Ukeslutt, one of these idiots, Vidar Kleppe, now head of a small, new party, the Democrats, confronted the current immigration spokesman of the Progress Party, Per Sandberg. Kleppe supported not only the right of the builder not to work for muslims, but his reason for doing so. Sandberg opposed both. I've never seen the old and the new Progress Party contrasted more clearly. To Nettavisen, Sandberg says: "This must be an entrepeneur who wants to quit his job. I thought when you ran a business, you wanted to enter a market to increase your revenues, not make the market smaller." I couldn't have said it better myself. (Incidentally, Carl I. Hagen warned about anti-Muslim hatred a week ago.)
Racism exists, but so does terrorism. I'm less worried about Norway's racists, who we know a lot about, than Norway's terrorists, who we know almost nothing about. We need to accept that Norwegians are smart enough not to be taken in by racists, but also that if there is anything that does contribute to a public perception of all Muslims as fanatics and terrorists, it is ignorance about who the real terrorists are, an ignorance anti-racism wants to preserve. When Muslim spokesmen themselves confidently claim that there are no al-Qaeda supporters in Norway, while it's obvious to everyone that al-Qaeda has support all over the world, it's easy for casual observers to conclude that the problem is much larger than it really is. Trust the people - give it the facts, not assumptions, and it will sort things out on its own.
ct | 2003-05-31 15:45 | Link
All discussions of racism have inherent dishonesty and inherent irony in them. This is because a natural hierarchy screams out from between the lines of anything and everything that any person of any race says on the subject.
The liberal, non-racist, white Norwegian pontificating on how Norwegians are not racist towards these fine minorities in their midst.
You can't see your white hand patting these minorities in your midst on top of their precious little heads as you are speaking...
Equal before and under the law is the practical ideal. Other than that I will leave the anti-racism to you non-racist types...
Gill Doyle | 2003-05-31 20:01 | Link
Norwegians definitely know how they ought to behave. I think that they know what racism is and are eager to guard against it. Norwegians are certainly political correct. I have suggested before that they may have invented PC behavior.
There is a tendency in the PC crowd to ignore social and personal failure in minority communities. Or to transfer responsibility for such failures to the larger society and blame them on racism, redlining, police brutality, etc. I've seen it happen here in the States. Ignoring problems in those communities does not really serve the interests of those who live in them. And it certainly doesn't serve the interests of the larger community. I don't know that this is happening in Norway. But I do know that Norway operates right there at the top of the PC scale and will more likely coddle its terrorists (like Mullah Krekar) than discriminate against the average dark-skinned Joe. And so I think what Norway needs to guard against most diligently is not racism, but rather its opposite — a tendency to ignore or tolerate extremism in its muslim communities. Just saying this invites accusations of racism, and so it will take some courage in Norway to do this.
Clem Snide | 2003-06-01 10:52 | Link
Islam is not a race.
Bjørn Stærk | 2003-06-01 11:41 | Link
Clem: I agree that "racism" isn't exactly the right word here. Xenophobia might have been better. But I didn't want to go into a discussion of terminology here, (maybe some other time). Racism and xenophobia is practically the same thing, (scientific racism is a rationalization of xenophobia), and in any case when it comes to Norway and Islam, it _is_ the same thing. There are no ethnic Norwegian muslims.
Gill Doyle | 2003-06-04 19:06 | Link
Bjørn — there are a couple items here in the Norwegian papers that I'm curious about. Maybe you can help me understand what's going on. A couple days ago, I read about an Iraqi refugee in Norway whose refugee status may be revoked. UDI (Immigration Department?) is considering revoking his refugee status (and deporting him?) because he fought with the Americans in Iraq. The Americans went to Norway (and to other European countries, I suppose) and talked to emigré Iraqis, looking for folks who wanted to help fight Hussein. This guy enlisted, got wounded (shot by us — friendly fire), was treated in an American hospital in Germany, airlifted back to Norway ("fraktet" back to Norway, according to the Norwegian paper), and is now in danger of losing his refugee status. I know that some Norwegians are pissed off to find out now that the Americans were in Norway, enlisting Iraqis for the fight in Iraq. But how unfair to penalize this fellow. What's the story here? Have I understood it correctly?
The other curious story that I would like to here more about — Mujaffa 1.6. This is a computer game that I read about in Dagbladet today.
Here's the link:
I don't know whether the game represents an attack on minorities living in Norway or is just good-natured ribbing. Or is it meant to annoy Norwegian white-supremacists? Apparently, the player pretends that he is Mujaffa. He cruises Oslo's streets and tries to pick up and lay Norwegian women. The graphics are humorous, and the game is provocative. Has the game stirred controversy in Norway?
Bjørn Stærk | 2003-06-04 20:47 | Link
Gill: For a refugee to go back to the country he's been granted refuge from is enough to revoke his residency permit. That's why Mullah Krekar has been expelled, for instance. Contrary to what it has claimed previously, however, the government knew about this, (and supposedly also approved it), which weakens their case to throw him out. But that again raises the question of why officials in the Norwegian government supported a war (by allowing him to join the Americans) we were officially against.
I remember that game causing a minor stir some time ago, but I think the best way to describe it is friendly satire.
Alan Sullivan | 2003-06-14 02:42 | Link
I'm coming very late to this post, but let me repeat more loudly what one of the others said: ISLAM IS NOT A RACE. Muslims come in every color, and live on every continent. We are talking religion here.
Your fuddled comment on xenophobia does not get you off the hook either. You need to consider the possibility that it might be wise to harbor a bias against something pernicious. I'm an atheist, and I have a low opinion of religions in general, especially the ones that crusade; and there is no religion with an uglier record of crusading than Islam.
Yes, Islam is the true crusader religion. The Christian incursions into the Islamic world were mere echoes and interludes amid the savage expansion of Mohammed's faith---westward across Africa and Southern Europe, northward into Cantral Asia, and eastward across India into Southeast Asia. Vast, little known atrocities were perpetrated against the Hindus, who have never tried to convert their neighbors.
Face some facts. This ancient rivalry of civilizations has returned in a new, post-modern form. If we can't even identify our enemies, how can we fight them? Make no mistake, the Islamists mean to run their jihad across the whole world. They won't quit until they are beaten, and not just by force of arms, but by force of ideas. I'm not sure Western civilization has enough faith in itself to outlast such an adversary.
Bjørn Stærk | 2003-06-14 11:44 | Link
Alan: So you're denying the possibility that racism might take the form of anti-Islamism? I agree with you that Islam has often been a violently expansivist religion, and that its crusades were worse (or at least larger) than the Christian. I agree that radical Islamists are our enemies, and we have to fight them.
But not all Muslims are fanatics, and not all people who criticize Muslims do it for the right reasons. The correlation between "other races" and "Islam" is so strong in Norway, (which was nearly homogenously white and (ex-)protestant until Pakistanis began to arrive in the late 60's), that some of the opposition to Islam can't be called anything but a form of racism.
Once we get that out of the way, I'll join you on criticizing Islam and Muslim cultures for being backward, anti-democratic and tolerant of terrorist fanatics.
Alan Sullivan | 2003-06-15 01:28 | Link
I haven't read extensively on your site, Bjorn, but I look in from time to time, and I gather that you accept the principle of a just war. Nevertheless, I don't think you have fully comprehended the present conflict, if you still feel required to make these genuflections to the principle of tolerance. Yes, there are peaceful Muslim sects. So what?
I am using the shorthand term "Islamist" to denote the aggressively ideological modern version of the religion that is now preached in many mosques all over the world, especially the ones funded by Saudi Arabia. It is incumbent on secular humanists to recognize and oppose this virulent movement.
I'd like to propose a couple of thought experiments. Imagine you are a caliph during the early Middle Ages, and your opulent city is being assailed by Christian crusaders. Will you pause to reflect that Christianity is really a tolerant religion, and that there are many sects staying at home, bothering no one? Certainly not. You will fight back and kill your attackers.
Next, imagine that you are invisibly visiting a Hindu temple near the border of Pakistan. How do you feel about the people there? They have colorful rituals, an alien language, different faces from a Norwegian or a Minnesotan. They are Other. Look into your heart and be honest. Do you despise them for their strangeness? If you do, you're a racist or a xenophobe.
Now cross the border and listen to a Muslim cleric raging against Hindus, Christians, and Jews in the local madras. Look at the faces of the impressionable youngsters. This is all they hear, all they know of the world. What do you feel? Disgust? If so, you are neither racist nor a xenophobe, but a humanist.
In Europe and America, as far as I can see, there is little intolerance of Islam per se. Maybe too little. Mohammed was a warrior; no other religion was founded in conquest. We should not greet his followers without some healthy hesitation. As you attest, there is also racial intolerance toward people of Middle Eastern nationalities who settle in Europe, though this is much less common in America.
However the primary manifestations of intolerance in the West seem currently directed toward Jews and Americans. In fact there are a lot of anti-American Americans, and anti-Zionist Jews. This is why I wonder whether the West really has the grit to oppose its Islamist enemies.
| 2003-06-16 22:16 | Link
At Bjorn's request I have returned and reread this post. It's rather intricately phrased. Still I am left with the impression that Bjorn is needlessly defensive on the subject of race. Is this a misimpression? After all, Bjorn speaks of two prevalent theories about racism, mentions his own affinity for the milder one, and uses scare quotes around the word 'evidence.' What caused me to challenge him?
First, because I thought the whole discussion failed to distinguish sufficiently between religion and race. Second, because I thought Bjorn was betraying an excessive concern that proponents of the "war on terror" (which should rightfully be called the "war on Islamism") would be slandered as racists.
In a war one must sometimes accept unpleasant allies. The U.S. and Britain allied with the Soviet Union in WWII. The cause of anti-fascism was not discredited by the participation of communists. Similarly, the anti-Islamist cause is too important for us to spend much time agonizing over the possibility that some of our allies might have unsavory motives.
However, I do apologize for using the word "smug" on my own website, when I described this essay. I usually avoid such pejorative modifiers if a disagreement is only marginal.
Sharon Ferguson | 2003-06-18 06:48 | Link
Bjorn, I think both of you have good things to say about the spectre of racism. I think I would be safe in adding to the conversation in saying, from a big picture view, that the sugject matter is still troublesome in regards to the fact that we have a population existing that is wary of repeating the same mistakes our predecessors made about other cultures/religions. It is possible this is the "silver lining" of WWII and Hitler : the instantaneous response one has to the idea of viewing one culture as morally/physically/spiritually/intellectually superior to another has become firmly a part of Western idealism. It has been instilled in any and all who have studied history that a good portion of the horrible acts perpetrated on humans has been because of racism. So to bring the subject matter up now in regards to Muslims vs Islam vs Westerners vs whatever else you can think of is to face that. Which is a good thing.
Having said that, I must add that the fact that we are now faced with a culture that has a rather "backward" view of the modern world is disconcerting, to say the least. The logic for debate has been taken away by a culture/society/religion that has no distinct borders, no history of reformation, and an intensely active view of superiority. I would also like to point out that the fudging of lines of what makes a trustworthy Muslim and a dangerous fanatical Islamicist has been exacerbated by teh LACK of response, or the qualified "sympathies" of the Muslim/non-
When one sees how unwilling a party is to standing for what is right or wrong, what else can one conclude except that ALL Muslims are in agreement with those who slammed their victims into skyscrapers and military headquarters????? Is THAT racism? Or just plain disgust, dismay, and determination not to let them win?
I approach this subject in a roundabout way. I think the time has past where we can wonder whether or not they will converse with us on a logical level. The time has come where we know we Westerners have done all that we can do and it is Islam's duty to do unto others as they would have done to them.
For many people, September 11 was that call.
Alley Brown | 2004-12-19 09:16 | Link
I for one have interacted alot with muslims online and to my dismay am quite perplexed at how many will come right out and tell you what the motives are for the re-establisment of the caliphate is and how their goal is to make all bow down to Allah. Its like this...good cop bad cop good cop is the peaceful and bad cop is the radica but they are both working on the same agenda......How can one trust anything as long as those verses to kill the nonbeliever are in the koran. Becasue we are seeing those verses come alive.
Racism is a serious accusations, but on forums or bloggs, people need to realise that we must have the right to say what we want....because Islam wants to have the words islam and muslims interchanged with RACE. This way they can play the trump race card and work their way into racial rights and benefits. So please...do not fall for it. I say offend and ruffle a feather or two because Islam isn't exempt from cricism. Don't let anyone play that race card on you, its a blackmail way to duct tape your mouth and Islam can keep hidings its filth and push you away. STand up and speak out because America has the wahabi's controlling so much.....they are laying there waiting. Teach to who you can about the filth of Islam.
Nonbelieving Muslim, Ohio | 2005-01-04 01:14 | Link
Having read through all of the posts in response to the article, it re-inforces a familiar theme. Whenever there is a problem between 2 parties or even more, the best solution usually is discussion, trying to understamd each others points ( objectively, not with a hot head). Ego usually plays the biggest role in these kind of conversations, we just cant admit defeat, can we? But one thing I have noticed is that although discussions like these might not alter the viewpoints completely, they do raise doubts and suspicions about pre-conceived notions and if you are a thinking person (interpret that anyway you want), you may start to alter your perceptions which are probably closer to the middle ground.
Kim Sook-Im,US | 2005-01-04 09:24 | Link
Merhaban!!! كيف حالك ؟ Non-believing muslim/Ohio,
A most excellent post....we certainly commend you on your forthrightness as being a non-believing muslim....in other words you are an apostate , and tragically you are marked for death....by the vicious practising good muslims . And yes, we certainly sympathize with you mightily especially you are truelly a victim subjected to double jeopardy - by your external middle-eastern appearance ( assuming you are middle eastern) and by the fact that you have to remain a closet-non-believeing muslim lest you incurr the wrath of the other cult members and suffer the death penalty of apostasy. From your post i assume you are from Iraq?هل أنت من العراق ؟ ليس كلّ العرب هو
I would like to point out that islam is not synonymous with race. Interestingly the largest or most populous muslim country is Indonesia. Many active islamists are trying to cast islam as a race-issue and this is an attempt to distract and to impede the authorities abilities to track and apprehend islamists agents of mischief in their host country. The Cult-like natue of Islam is especially evident in the laws of many muslim countries where renouncing islam is a punishable offence. In malaysia , the murtad laws call for fines and imprisonment of a muslim who renounces islam.The problem with Islam is that it is in reality arab hegemony dressed up in the form of religion--this is blatantly evident in the fact that muslims claim that since the Quran-unformed word of God- was revealed in arabic , all prayers to Allah must be made in arabic , so God only speaks and understand arabic hmmmm how interesting .God is monolingual LOL LOL LOL( classical arabic to wit - which not many arabs themselves cannot understand LOL ..case in point the classical written form of arabic is rather complicated with all its grammatical case endings ,intricate grammar etc..( ever studied Latin - plus quam perfectum???). Even a simple sentence ex: do you want to drink a cup of coffee in classical form is " hal turid(u) anta an tashrab(u) al fenjaan-ul-qahwaht(in) versus the colloquial form in morroco: "b'deshrab finjan qahveh?" or a standardized modern form :
This singular and most primitive supposition of Islam makes no sense . If you assume that the Deity is omniscient, then human language makes no difference and your supplication and your sacrificial offer of a cup of coffee to God may as well be in
Chinese:上帝, 您想要喝一杯咖啡嗎? or in
German: Gott, möchten Sie eine Schale Kaffee trinken?
Another blatantly faulty premise/pillar is the 5x/day prayers and the unscientific need to face Mecca/Makkah everytime there is an urge to perform this ritual! This can be quite hilarious given that the practitioner of this Cult will then have to carry around with him a working compass. In fact the pilots of airlines from muslim countries are constantly harrased and inundated with questions as to which direction to face mecca when the plane is in mid air during prayer hours..this can be quite harrowing since the plane is constantly changing course(variable bearing due North) and maneuvering in mid-flight and this failure of the pilot to render an accurate bearing vis a vis Mecca may - i regret - someday invoke the ire of some extremely pious and overly ritualistic muslim to the point that he may clobber the unsuspecting pilot rendering the latter unconscious whereupon mayhem may ensue and the plane may unceremoniously crash bringing to a most unglorious end a Hajj for the other co-religionist ! This may not be as unreasonable a scenario as you may want to think...because to misdirect your prayer even by a few degrees off Mecca due to faulty bearings from true North can be a matter of الجنّة و الجحيم (heaven and hell) giving new meaning to what muslims so delightfully call their religion- the " straight and narrow path of righteousness (الطريق الضّيّق و المستقيم للاستقامة).. so straight and narrow that to miss your prayer by 5 degrees off true north is intolerable and will condemn you to eternal hell-fire -- plane crash notwithstanding ( tee heeee). Apparently according to the alim-Ulamas, God abides in a stone House called the Kaaba. Muslims vehemently condemn all forms of idolatry as paganism...yet they engage in the biggest idolatry of all times -- worshipping and venerating the mother of all idols -- a big stone House wherein lies a big chunk of meteorite ! go figure LOL.
O.K. dear non-believing muslim ( =covert apostate LOL) i did engage in a bit of hyperbole, but you got my point , verdad?. HERE ARE SOME LINKS YOU MAY FIND MOST ENTERTAINING :) ( wink ,wink )
Thank you and may peace be with you
ملاك الحقيقة و المعرفة
John Creeper, St. Helens, Tasmania | 2005-07-10 03:47 | Link
There is a need for people to seperate cultural preferences from racism in their thoughts.
kim sook-im | 2005-07-14 16:53 | Link
Selamat pagi saudara Hon Kon Pon
The policy of religious and racial discrimination is a natural outcome of the evil theofascist ideology masquerading as a rellgion, namely Isssslam. This superMeme/superCult treats non-cult members ( ie. bumis versus non-bumis, read chinese, indian, orang asli? etc ) as dispensable outcasts sujected to dhimmitude...so in a way the non-bumiputras are paying a sort of ijyazzah/non-cult member tax.
Issslam is incompatible with democracy, justice, equality and all the niceties of an advanced civilization. It is the dream of islamist purists to establish a retrograde 7th century Caliphate on earth by hookkk , crookkk, or nukkklear means. If free societies world-wide continue in their course of ignorance, live and let live and appeasement attitude , the theoNazis may yet get their wish.
Cultic disenfranchisement is not only exclusive of Issslam. Christianity has had its share of hegemony. Even as we speak ,fundamentalist kkkristians , kkkatholiks and other demon-ations (ooops , i mean denominations ;) )are busy persecuting buddhists in south korea, burning monasteries, temples etc, inciting their christian followers to discriminate and persecute buddhists and taoists in south korea. In the mean time their kissing cousins the islamists ( members of the abrahamic tribe) are busy persecuting buddhists and hindus in the chittagong delta area /bangladesh and in the kashmiri area of india.
The abrahamic religions in particular kkkristianity and Issssslam have both been responsible for untold sufferings, persecutions, bloodshed and gore in the history of humanity.
Here are some links to support my premise:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Rhodes/3991/SurvivaloftheRuthless.html (THE HISTORY OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY BY THE CULTS OF THE JEALOUS GODS )
malaysia is no future country | 2005-08-17 21:06 | Link
First of all, are we (the non-bumis, that is) really to believe that the government will abolish or tone down the New Economic Policy in the near future? We must be realistic, if you have the right to buy a property at a discount and have scholarships for your children, would you let go of these rights?
With Chinese population dwindling in Malaysia, what needs to be done depends on the Chinese themselves.
There is nothing wrong with the brain drain. In fact, we should encourage our children to move to Singapore, Taiwan, China etc. if we disagree with Malaysian government policies that are based on race and religion.
When it comes to the matter of the dwindling number of Chinese Malaysians, we should talk about quality, not quantity.
We should resolve why the Chinese-Malaysian population is reducing. Official figures have more than one million Chinese Malaysians emigrating over the past 25 years. Why did they emigrate? I am sure the government knows.
Straight A students can't get scholarships or university places. Nothing new, it is been that way for the past 35 years. Nowadays, even enlightened malay Malaysians are speaking up on this injustice. The MCA and Gerakan? Busy making money from private colleges.
What is so great about having TAR College or Utar which took more than 35 years of begging? Why should it be so difficult to set up an independent university when we have scores of public ones?
While we push young talented people away, other countries notably Singapore, the US and Australia welcome them with open arms.
Is it logical that we drive away our young talented ones and then invite retired Mat Sallehs to live here and exploit our low-cost of living?
Singapore's success in particular owes much to these ex-Malaysians or their descendants including Hon Sui Sen, Goh Keng Swee, Goh Chok Tong, just to name a few.
About 30 percent of top management in both Singapore's government and corporate sector are ex-Malaysians. We export them so that Singapore can compete with, and then whack us.
Korea and Taiwan, both way behind us in the 70s and 80s are now way ahead. Thailand is breathing down our necks.
Sadly, there is just no integrity in the nation's leadership.
ALL | 2005-12-08 12:36 | Link
I wish to point out that the Orang Asli, not the malays, are the original inhabitants of Malaysia. Most of the malay Malaysians came from Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia. They only migrated here much earlier than the Chinese and Indian Malaysians. It does not mean they deserve privileges or rights just because they were the pioneer immigrants.
It is true that there have been abuses under the name of malay special rights and it is the duty of the malays in particular, and all Malaysians in general, to stop it so that the rightful malays get their rights, and the non-malays get their rights as citizens of this country.
It’s a sad thing to say, but I do believe the main thing that’s holding back malays is not the Chinese or the Indians, but the malays themselves. That’s why Dr M and Pak Lah have been quoted as telling to throw away crutches and work hard to face the challenges of globalisation.
The malay and others of the same mind should learn to stand on their own feet rather than claim for special privileges and rights. The world is becoming globalised and if they don’t change their attitude, they will only become beggars in their own country.
As for the malays who insist on hiding behind the veil of malay special rights - you have lost the respect of non-malays a long time ago.
We also suspect that the current situation will, unfortunately, get worse if no action is taken now. Why? Because our kids in school hardly mix with each other. They will grow up with little understanding of their fellow Malaysians, and with the suspicions that exist, it will be worse.
The truth of the matter is that polarisation in Malaysia is caused by the discriminatory practises of the government - especially after the NEP - rather than vernacular education.
The NEP is upheld for the rich and not the poor in Malaysia.
Whether we admit it or not, the problem is that the special rights and privileges given have now resulted in only a selected few bumis getting richer and richer. The bulk of the bumis, especially in the rural areas are not benefiting from the system.
Poor people are poor people, rich people are rich people - no matter which race they come from.
The poor in Malaysia must be served but I am sure all taxpayers feel that this should be done in a manner which is blind to age, ethnicity, gender and religion.
What’s wrong with extending help to all deserving citizens based on needs and merits regardless of race?
The Malaysian problem is that rich do become richer. And because of the political system, the players are the same.
Out of control - this is all I can say about any type of enforcement and the level of corruption in Malaysia. No idea what Pak Lah has done in his first year in office but judging from the ground, I guess nothing much.
If you have ever heard of the simple saying, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime,” you will realise that many non-bumis have learned how to fish but the government is still handing out fishes to the bumis. One day the fish will run out.
If you want to say discrimination is here in the US, yes, of course it is. Can you name a country where it doesn’t happen? But let me tell you one thing - if you go looking for it, you will find it. But in Malaysia, you don’t have to go look for it because it seeks you out, slaps you in your face every which way you turn, and is sanctioned by law!
Official figures have more than one million Chinese Malaysians emigrating over the past 25 years. Why did they emigrate? I am sure the government knows.
For most professionals, living abroad has its own ups and downs. But, you get dignity, fair treatment, and respect for your ability. You get a voice, too. And ears to hear you.
Brain drain by the tank-loads is what we get. Every single year, Malaysia loses people who could potentially contribute to the country immensely.
So the malay, you may keep your rights and perpetuate them. Such things are archaic. Who loses in the end? Your country, which should have been a first world one by today.
I sympathize with those that have benefited from the NEP, but the bad news is that the price he pays for his progress is much higher than what he pays for his benefit.
These special privileges and rights were once a necessity for them to move forward. Today, after many decades, they find themselves still standing in the same place.
It is a shame that our history has been constantly twisted so that our younger generation has no understanding of Malaysia’s foundation and its true aspirations.
It is arguable that if not for the contributions of the Chinese and Indian Malaysians who helped in the development of this country tremendously, Malaysia would probably be in same category like Indonesia or the Philippines, if not worst.
To improve the malays lot, more have to be made to work in private companies where competition is real and what counts is your ability. If special rights only help malays to become government servants, then all the more reason not to invoke special rights.
But of course, the present ruling elite drunken with wealth, will continue to fight this dream to ensure that Malaysia is kept divided so that BN can continue to rule.
Alternatively, Malaysians may begin to realise the dream of a new Malaysia.
The bitter truth is that the majority of this nation don’t see the need to change things yet and until then, we can do little about it.
The bottom line with present day globalisation is this: compete on a level-playing field or you will lose. Plain and simple.
run away from malaysia | 2005-12-08 12:38 | Link
For those who are already in oversea and live comfortably. There is no reason for you to come back to Malaysia. Life in Malaysia is getting tougher each day.
Frankly, as a Chinese, I don’t see there is any future for our next generation.
Another dangerous mentor that people always use is JFK “Don’t ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country”.
Is sound nice, but isn’t how German Nazi and Japan militarism started the world war using the same mentor? Under the great “ask what you can do for the country”.
Patriotism? Yes, I understand how you feel. Your love for the country was spoilt by the political party. Since non-malays will always be a second-class citizen, so you are probably the same in any other countries, if not better.
You get cannibalised by your own countrymen, intellectually and professionally.
As someone else advised, be a Global citizen.
Patriotism does not need you to be in Malaysia to work your due. Let no one pointed at you and say you are a traitor if your true intention is to generate good deeds for Malaysia wherever you are.
Save your time about coming back to Malaysia. Nothing will change in Malaysia. At least not even in this lifetime. Racism will still be here to stay, and also everything else.
I think there is such an entrenched racist discrimination against the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia, that it will take probably a whole generation to undo the damage.
This is happening in whole spectrum of the Malaysian government, civil service, state governments and universities. Just look at percentage of malays in all these government bodies - 98%……….
A whole generation of malays has been brought up to think that it’s their inherited right to own Malaysia. The other races are damned.
I think the malays especially those in power, are scared right now that if they will to compete openly with other races, they will surely be the loser. You will see very strong resistance to hire other races even the most qualified.
The malays are never brought up to compete on even ground. This is fault of previous PM and now the present PM has to tread a balance ground to ensure the malays are not cast away as well as to make Malaysia competitive worldwide.
In US I never met a malay immigrant, although there are thousands of Malaysian Chinese and Indian immigrants. Why? Malays in Malaysia have an easier life where they are literately prince of the land.
We have infrastructure good enough to be considered first world or better. Look at the Cyberjaya, Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya?
Gleaming high-rise buildings but also in every city, dirty toilets abound, litter clogging up the drains, public telephones damaged, plus unreliable rubbish collection and disposal. We just treat public facilities badly, not caring about others.
Being an urban dweller myself, I am constantly disheartened by the poor public infrastructure and upkeep in our capital city.
Faulty pedestrian traffic signals, illogical positioning of bus stops, poor public cleanliness, poor quality sidewalks (which are paved using slippery tiles), un-integrated and poorly managed public transportation system, the list goes on.
Your children can’t even walk safely along the Kuala Lumpur streets, as they might be bags snatched, kidnapped, murdered, raped, or robbed, as they do not know the jungle laws of Malaysia. The police won’t help much as they now have a big pile of corruption cases running after them.
You owe nothing to Malaysia, you pay your due, so live on.
So, my last advice. Don’t come back unless you are really suffering in oversea.
I’m sorry this sounds very racist but I think we have to be honest in discussion.
kim sook-im | 2005-12-08 15:02 | Link
Hello 'run away from malaysia',
part of the problem in Malaysia is religion. Even though Malaysia purports to be a secular state, Islam is the state religion and supposedly it is to live in harmony with other relligions, taoism, buddhism, animism, christianity, hinduism , sikhism etc. etc.....that is a fallacy....the govt. tries to promote all these nice 'festivities' ..deepavali, christmas, hari raya aidl fitri, weesak day etc..for the purpose of tourism, but i believe in my observation and interacting with malaysians that Islam is in ascendency...i heard that in certain states ex terengganu , in certain areas a law has been passed that non muslims have to obtain approval of their malay neighbours before they can keep a dog !.
Islam lends itself perfectly well to the idea of a superior people over non believers (read: bumiputras =believers, chinese, indians, seranis, orang asli etc...= non=believers=infidels= to be descriminated against=to be made to pay the ijizyaa =infidel tax )
I hear from malaysian ex=patriates and friends that more and more chinese and indians and others are being forcibly converted to islam everyday, if not by direct threat than by economic and other forms of social coercion !
To all the norwegians and scandinavians reading this blog , let Malaysia be a lesson unto You ! ( ohhhh I'm sure Oeyvind would want to interject a bit of his radikal leftist information in here to counter my 'islamofobisk' commentaries LOL....yoo hoo Oeyvind where have you been?...cat got your tongue? :) :) ;)
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