There was a time in my life during the early 70's and 80's when my views, thoughts and understanding of what was out there in Bolehland were formed on the following premise:
The May 13th Incident happened because the Chinese won some seats in Parliament.
They got carried away and started parading the streets, telling the Malays to "balek kampong".
Dato Harun Idris took matters into his own hands, got a few Malays together and they all went out to kill a few Chinese.
The Army and the Police did their part in putting the fear of God into the Chinese and pretty soon the Malays were back in control of all things Malaysian. Tunku was put to pasture and Tun Razak became PM.
And to many Malays Dato Harun is a hero!
Malaysia belonged to the Malays. The government was run by the Malays, the civil service was dominated by Malays, the Army and the Police too were staffed and run by the Malays. Hell, we Malays could do anything we wanted and the Chinese and Indians could do nothing about it!
Now, what Umno had to do was to make Malaysia a country for the Malays! Hence Ketuanan Melayu - or as we knew it then - Bumiputra status. That trumps everyone and everything else that matters in education, work, business opportunities....in fact in LIFE.
Religion...or Islam was not remotely on the horizon. At best, the politician's idea of being a good Muslim was attending Friday Prayers at Masjid Negara, marching on Prophet Mohammad's birthday and the obligatory visit to Mecca to get the Haji title to his Datoship or Tan Sri title.
I was so sure, so confident and so smug about the position of my race in Malaysia that it never occurred to me that things might change...that I might change.
So what changed?
When I went into business I found myself competing with Pernas for business.
Connections - who you know - not business acumen decided what business you can do and what business you can secure.
I started to have to pay bribes to Malay politicians to secure tenders from the government.
In doing business, as well connected as I was, bribes were the order of the day. While we worked our butts off to earn a decent living, the Malay politicians in Umno were making money by the truckloads, sitting on their arses. Everything we did they wanted a share of.
You complete your construction project according to specifications, but you still do not get payment. For whatever reason, this is being delayed. Who do you call?
If you know the Minister, you call the Minister. If you do not know the monster...err I mean the minister, you find out who in his bahagian has his ears. Is it the ketua pemuda, a relative or maybe his brother.
Whoever can get the minister on your case becomes your "friend".
Karaoke, spa and massage
With this "friend" you discuss things over tea in a five-star hotel. In the evening, you have dinner in a five-star hotel and after dinner the real entertaining starts.
Karaoke, the spa and a massage or just take him to one of the messes in town and buy him sex.
Within a few days, your contact in JKR tells you payment will be made within a week.
I am stopped by a Malay policeman for a minor traffic infringement. He wants money to selesai (settle). I never pay.
And I will get away with it because I still know how to put fear into these mata-mata, the Inspectors and even a superintendent or two.
Once, I went to the IPK Selangor commercial crime division to make a police report about my office manager taking the company's money for himself.
An ASP attended to me and started telling me how hard it would be for me to prove theft blah, blah blah. I took out my handphone and dialed his Director and handed the phone over to him to tell his boss what he was telling me.
The look on his face was priceless when he found out who was on the other end of the line. Of course they pulled in that manager that afternoon and I got my money back soon after.
Increasingly, I came to realise how corrupt the BN government was and I realised that what I was doing only made it worse. And so I left Malaysia when I had the opportunity.
Boycott the Chinese
Today, the Malays are told to boycott the Chinese shops and teach the Chinese a lesson for charging the Malays more than they would charge their own.
The Chinese are stoic in their determination to overcome whatever obstacles to succeeding in life put in their way by the Malays. They do this through the good education of their children, grit, hard work and a commitment to succeed in business and in life.
They send their children overseas for studies and when they finish their studies, they stay on in that country, get their PR and later take citizenship and bring their parents over.
The Indians take care of their own, for are not all the others against them? And they take sides with whoever promises to do what is best for the Indians - promises that are never kept, but the Indians are gluttons for punishment. When all fails - puasa sampai mati!
For the Sabahans and Sarawakians, the Semenanjung people have been and will always be outsiders. They, not the federal government, control entry into Sabah and Sarawak.
The Muslims look down on other religions while imposing Islamic jurisprudence, oblivious of the fact that others too have their own faiths and beliefs.
The Christians know that if they can only get their message across to the Malays, they will leave Islam and become Christians.
The Kelantanese will put up with PAS. They will endure everything just as long as that other Malay party, Umno, never ever rules Kelantan again.
The Malay-led Federal government will not give the Malays in Kelantan their dues from Petronas Royalties.
The Sultan of Johore sells prime Johore land to the Chinese.
Almost all the political parties in Malaysia owe their existence to race, some to religion and some to both race and religion.
And so it goes on. Day and day out.
In the various states, in state assemblies, in parliament, in churches, in mosques, in temples...across all the divide that we have in this beloved country of ours...many many Malaysians work towards taking care of their own race, their own religion, their own political inclinations, their own wants and passions....never that of our national interest, never that of our national needs, never concerning themselves with national aspirations, never considering what all this would mean to the future of the generations that come after us.
What will our children inherit from our time in this world?
Maybe our present circumstances leave us with not much time to do anything else but eke out a living....and a tenuous one at that!
Maybe we believe that the state of our nation is past recovery, beyond hope of saving and all we can do is to try and take what we can for ourselves and damn others and the future.
Maybe all we can think of doing is how to get ourselves and our family out of the mess that Malaysia has somehow sunk into - and the only way is to leave a sinking ship.
Who would want to be stupid or brave enough to work with those battling to save it? And there are many who are battling to save the sinking ship, but for the wrong reasons. They know if the gravy boat sinks, the goose that lays the golden eggs sinks with it. So they are battling to save their own skin, not ours.
Day in and day out we are tearing down what binds us all together. There is animosity where there should be understanding, hate where there should be love, contempt for the religion, culture and way of life of others when there should be acceptance and the understanding that in diversity, unity should prevail.
It is madness, because each day we move closer to the precipice, nearer to the tipping point that will result in chaos and destruction, Armageddon and death of everything that we hold dear and the values we revere. And when that happens everyone loses...even those who think that these are the circumstances that will allow them to hold on to political power.
We accentuate the division and eliminate the ties that bind us all together.
It is not enough that we adults are already at each others throat...we are teaching our kids to do the same thing!
Will sanity and common sense prevail? Or are we too far down the road of hate, fear and loathing that racial prejudice and religious extremism drive so many others before us to destroy what has taken so many years to build, and even kill those that dare to be different from them?
If you stop to think of the situation that our country is in today, and look around you at the mess that we are now in - the corruption, the racial hate and religious fervor that cause division and prosecution of those who are not Muslim, the general malaise that allows for the rich to walk over the poor, the powerful taking advantage of the weak...all these indicate that Malaysia is a nation in crisis. A people at war with each other.
And we wonder why our country is going to the dogs.
This is what many, many Malaysians have been reduced to....being racists, religious fanatics unable to accept or tolerate any other religion.
Let me tell you how I live my life.
Seeing people without lenses
Religion, race, color, language, gender, age, young or old,...I do not see anybody through these prisms. I treat people the same way they treat me and if it is the first time that we meet, then I will behave in a manner that I expect him to behave towards me.
Then if we do get to know each other, I will start to see that person for what he or she is and adjust myself to react and respond to the person that he or she really is.
If I am stopped for a traffic infringement, I will get fined. No ifs, no buts, no pleading for mercy.
When I came back to Australia over six years ago, my PR had already expired because I had stayed away too long. I went to the Australian Embassy in KL and a Chinese lady attended to me. To cut a long story short, she told me that she could not renew my PR. Whether she was being a racist or because it was the law is not for me to say. Anyway, I bought a one-way ticket to Adelaide to join my son and my wife and hoped that things could be worked out with the Australian immigration authorities.
I went to the immigration department and I was told to apply for PR again. Three weeks after I had submitted a new application, I received a call from the department to tell me that the authorities had agreed to give me back my PR. No dramas!
In all the time that my wife and kids had been living in KL, I had been trying to get PR status for them. Even a letter from Pak Lah's office (he was foreign minister then) did not help.
Why? Because I refused to pay the authorities any bloody ringgit. And so my wife and children never ever got their PR.
And you wonder why I call Australia home?
These are the rantings of someone who knows what the non-Malays have gone through, are going through and will be going through for as long as they stay in Malaysia.
Will things change? You ask yourself if they will, l and I know your answer will be an emphatic "NO" because you and I know that the stranglehold Umno has on Malaysia is terminal. Terminal for Umno and terminal for the non-Malays. The Malays are already ***ked! So this nation of ours is going nowhere pretty fast!
Maybe, over time, the Malays will find out who they really are and what they want for themselves. The time for that to happen will not be in my lifetime. In the end, whatever happens, what matters, is how you take care of yourself and those you love.
Think and do what you think is right. To each his own. I am living that life now. No regrets. No sorrow in leaving a country I once loved.
p/s While I acknowledge and laud the writer's candour and forthrightness in his views, and do understand why he would want to move to Australia .... I would like to add that the enormity of resoluteness and sacrifice of those who are toiling, fighting against the system to work for a better Malaysia must be forever at the back of our minds. It is easy to give up and think for your family, that is a personal right. Hence all the more so we must salute, say thank you and do our bit to those who are wrongly persecuted.