Yes. I've been back in Sydney for a few weeks now and have just been on auto pilot.
I'm pretty out-of-it, actually- walking around like a zombie.
I've been following an unfolding saga on the internet lately.
It's snowballed into something bigger than blogs. *Gasp* Is that possible? What could possibly be bigger than blogs?
What sparked it off was this post from The Malay Male.
Now I've generally found this guy to be a breath of fresh air amongst Malaysian bloggers.
Another respected Malaysian blogger, TVSmith, wrote a response here.
Suffice to say that many in the blogging community hold this guy in high regard.
That above post incensed a mild mannered bike riding blogger so much that he wrote this.
OoooooooOOOooooooOOOooo, I said to myself. People are getting emotional here!
That in turn, provoked another blogger to provide some perspective to the situation.
And so the Drama Minggu Ini continues.......
Call me a voyeur, a ke-poh-chee, a soap opera fan.....
This is the thing I've found about anything at all in Malaysia. Everything is so race-specific. Yes, I know this is the legacy of our colonial past. Malaysians keep it well hidden, but there is racial tension in the air. That's the first thing I notice everytime I land in KLIA, actually. Not the smog, not the humidity, but the racial tension. My Malaysian passport identifies my race. So does my birth certificate. So does any Malaysian application form. It is this that decides whether I am entitled to a scholarship, loan, job, shares, land, contracts etc etc.
Given all these seething underlying issues, how do Malaysians actually find a forum to discuss these issues?
There's the problem right there. Other than the internet, there isn't much of an outlet for these frustrations we all experience every now and then. On top of all that, such discussion of racial issues are frowned upon by the Malaysian government, ever fearful of another 13th May 1969 riot. ("Riot" is putting it mildly. According to this certain someone whom I know, who was in Universiti Malaya at the time of the riots, there were people killing each other on the streets. Heads lopped off with "parangs" i.e. very big knives. As I recall, thousands of Chinese Malaysians started migrating to Australia, in their highest numbers in the 70's and 80's.)
What happens when open communication and criticism is taboo? We end up not understanding each other very well. So we're all human. We form lots of stereotypes of each other.
And before anyone starts to get all defensive about these stereotypes, I believe these behaviour patterns that the abovementioned gentlemen were talking about DO exist. We all have a little bit or a lot of these qualities in us, whatever race we are. It's important to remember that the personification of each race is like a cartoon character in a political satire. (Datuk Lat has perfected the art of gentle criticism.)
I guess, according to the stereotype, I CAN'T possibly be malay, right?
Let's all be open minded and listen when people speak.