The self-destruction of our commonalities – David Quek
TMI: Published: 23 October 2014
Most religious festivities are for the joyful reenactment and celebration of our myriad ethnic and religious sensibilities, family reunions, reminders of our human need to connect, to belong and to feel human.
Yet there's been a rising tirade among loud-mouthed politicians who have bucked the trend for tolerance and acceptance to create a sickening atmosphere of more ethnic and religious divisions and hatred than ever before! I've been reminded to re-read Article 8 of our Constitution regarding our ethnic equality mandate.
Clause 2 of Article 8 of the Constitution of Malaysia on equality reads: “Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, gender or place of birth in any law or in the appointment... to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment."
The above explicit enunciation of our Constitution is clear and unambiguous. Need we say more? Who has been repeatedly contravening this constitutional edict for political and personal gains, by evoking and provoking bogeymen among anyone else who are "different"?
The rising tempo and shrill exchanges of "pendatangs" versus "pendatangs" must be laid to rest! The pointless pendatang narrative must be put aside. Let's all stop this! We are all Malaysians!
The real world from time immemorial is one huge teeming cross-pollination and commingling of migrants, first escaping the Rift Valley of Africa, millions of years ago. So in that sense, we're all pendatangs, and we should relish in this, because we're all really the relics of successive generations of successful migrants! That is how we've survived whether here in South East Asia, China or India or elsewhere.
Malaysians are now so inward-looking, insular, covert extremists and racially-bigoted that we've lost sight of the bigger picture out there: the rest of the enlightened world is already galloping and running away from us!
Of course there are others, on a downward spiral of self-annihilation: Rwanda's Tutsis and Hutus, Yugoslavia's tryst with ethnic cleansing debauchery, Sudan's Islamist divisions, Boko Haram, and now Isis, etc.
And yet we keep harping on this self-inflicted bogey of Malays versus the rest – the other racial groups within Malaysia – who are collectively contributing towards making this nation greater and more prosperous, just to preserve the political advantage of politicians whose time has come for serious reckoning, to continue to deceive the less informed, to blindside the real dangers out there, the coming economic crunch if we're not prepared (our natural resources of oil and gas are running out, depletion is nigh.), to fool the "heartland" into a rousing interracial hatred of the different and the unknown.
Do we recognise and realise that we've become less and less productive and that our economic and intellectual (dismal university rankings, poor national Pisa scores), human development growth has stalled and fallen behind vis-à-vis even our previously poorest neighbouring countries?
That we've become too dependent on illusionist nationalist propaganda, subsidy/affirmative action crutches and hand-outs?
That we've become less competitive, less productive, less educated, less literate but so so religiously and racially-empowered and paranoid!
We have to learn to lift up our own bootstraps and learn to run as fast, if not faster, if we're not to become the newest and increasingly predicted failed basket state in South East Asia!
Indonesia, Vietnam and even the once hermitic Myanmar, are poised to spearhead the advance based on national growth, not warfare of self-destructive racist and ultra-religious games!
Come on, we must celebrate and build upon our strengths and diversity, not play self-destructive race-baiting one-upmanship, of serial mounting threats, of supremacist racial arrogance, of counterintuitive hatred that only drive wedges between all of us.
These uncertainties only create and foster a climate of angry despair, counter-provocative retaliation, and restless hopelessness, and a brooding sense of loss of belonging of many among the "others"!
Please! Don't destroy our Malaysian polity and reality! – October 23, 2014.
* Dr David KL Quek is senior consultant cardiologist at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.