Wednesday, 13 December 2006

The Malaysian Love-Hate Relationship

The Axinar and I were discussing interracial relationships in Malaysia and Israel respectively when he casually commented, "Now, after talking to you, I'm picking up that Malaysia is a little more like Israel ... y'all REALLY hate each other's guts to the core, dontcha?"

That got me thinking about how we Malaysians interact with each other, what one race thinks about the other and why we haven't killed each other yet or died trying to.

If the honest truth be told, we're actually very fond of each other. At work, we completely forget that we come from different cultures and expectations. At least in my office we do.

But for some reason, politicians have a way with race manipulation, most of it through what you could probably call 'Affirmative Action'.

If 'Affirmative Action' was meant to restore some semblance of equal opportunity in the United States, it does exactly the opposite in Malaysia.

A fellow Malaysian blogger, who goes by the name Stupid Malaysia, took some time out to ask himself if his country actually loved him.

He reminisces about the struggles he went through to put himself through an education under a system that was designed to deny him of any help whatsoever.

He is not alone.

In Malaysiakini, another Malaysian who calls himself Dignified related an almost identical account, with the addition of what is called 'Coffee Money'.

Now 'Coffee Money' is not reference to some sophisticated but caffeinated beverage industry, and not to Starbucks either.

It means a bribe.

Of course, to most countries, the concept of bribery is quite blasé, not to mention common. In Malaysia, it begins with our politicians and runs all the way down to the lowliest civil servant.

It is painful to answer Stupid Malaysia's plaintive question. To look him in the eye and tell him regretfully, "No. Your country does not care."

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