I’ve been doing some work at this clinic where the patients are multiracial. I love my job here. I get to treat especially old folks and kids of all races. I feel very much at home.
Of course I can speak a little of this and that language, to get my job of history taking done. We are after all Malaysians and where old folks are concern, I can understand why some of them cannot converse a word of Bahasa Malaysia or English. They belong to the pre-Independence generation. Some do make an effort to communicate other than their native language. I’m not sure whether “native language” is the politically correct term here as some are even born and bred and they make their wealth here in Malaysia, but still cannot speak a word of our National Language or International language. Sometimes, in my line of profession, I feel it may be easier to kill someone rather than to be politically correct.
Anyhow, I noticed that there are a few children, who, I would expect them to be able to converse in both Bahasa Malaysia and/or English, since they do hold the Malaysian birth certificate, had failed to do so. There were a couple of cases where the kid will look at their parents to have my questions translated to them, simple questions like “ada batuk tak?” (any coughing?). Of course I could have asked “Kat mow?” or “Fasiu mo?” etc, but I would normally ask this when asking old folks who I understand if they cannot communicate in both Bahasa Malaysia or English. But for a child who was born and bred in Malaysia in this era, I find it disturbing really. Not in a “why the feck you cannot speak BM when you are born here, how dare you and start flashing the keris” kind of mental disturbance, but more of “how is it possible that we talk about muhibbah all the time and yet we cannot agree on one language to unite us as Malaysian”, kind of mental disturbances.
I mean, I don’t really care which language it is to be the one language to unite us, but bloody hell, pick one and stick to it shall we not??? If it is up to me, I would choose English as national language, simply because it is a practical language that everyone need to be able to master anyway in order to be able to claim that we are globally competent (unless we are like the Japanese or Chinese from China for instance who can survive without knowing too much of English since they are smart enough to create technologies that forces the world to learn their languages instead…but we can’t even create a car purely from our own generated technology…). But hey, I may be hanged by …well, whatever we want to call or brand it, I would still say, I will be hanged by egoistic people who are arrogant about a language that had many foreign language at its roots, then later incorporated with more English word that it is in fact fair to say in exaggeration, that “to learn English, one has to learn Bahasa Malaysia”. But really, at the rate we are going, does this country have the time and room to entertain our egos?
Vernacular schools. Now when I say vernacular, I include Sekolah Kebangsaan, as to me, the word “Kebangsaan” implies “bangsa”, which smells “vernacular”. If we talk so much about being “muhibbah”, why are we comfortable with these schools. I sit in a clinic for a couple of hours a day, seeing kids who look at their parents for help in translation when a simple 3 syllable question in National Language was thrown to them, and I can predict where this country will be in the very near future. Looking at these occurrences, I cannot help but wonder, perhaps the Mayan calendar was in reference to the prophecy of the demise of Malaysia and not the world.
We talk so much about unity, yet we have no qualms separating our kids from a very young age with the excuse of “wanting good education”. Good education can come in any languages. We can work towards creating good education but at the same time not compromising our country’s unity by forcing the people we elect to parliament to dance to our demand.
But here’s the interesting question for everyone to answer. If the government are people elected via the process of democracy, then it is safe to say that the actions of members of parliament SHOULD reflect the sentiments of the people almost all the time. (take note the word “almost”). So why are we not demanding in unity to have a decent “one school”..of course there are a some who are pushing for this, but are in minority…..so small the group that this “one school” cannot be made a reality…..so it is safe to conclude, that majority do not want “one school” to happen.
I think it is a bit hypocritical for us, the rakyat, to slam the politicians, when we know that the politicians will only dance to the tunes set by majority…they hardly do the right thing, but do the things that get them the votes…. I mean, I’m sure people like Anwar Ibrahim will immediately jump into a pool of charcoal three times a day, if the majority Malaysian wishes for the first black…oops…sorry for being politically incorrect…let me rephrase….If majority of Malaysians wishes for the first Afro-Malay Prime Minister to take office…or if we demand the first woman PM, then perhaps he may finally “come out of the closet”….. but this is all but my assumptions…In a way, we are lucky that the Nigerians inhabiting areas like Ampang and Cheras are not given the right to vote, otherwise, brader Anwar will get a ehem…stiff …competition…(suddenly the words “once you go black you will never turn back” popped into my mind…where on earth did that thought came from….hmm..must have seen it somewhere on the net..but oh, but I digress..). Or perhaps Rosie would probably cut the dosage of the alleged botox she has been taking and will finally have the facial muscle work to her benefit, if we start to demand a more people friendly politicians..(funny how she appears more in the papers hugging old folks etc after 2008….the Pekan Pahang folks also are puzzled by her sudden strong presence in their community after GE2008..again, I digress)
So if we, the rakyat of Malaysia are actually sincere about wanting a muhibbah/united Malaysia not in a propaganda “one Malaysia this and that” manner, but in a sincere and earnest mannerism, then perhaps we should all look within ourselves in honesty, and ask ourselves, are we racial or simply racists and are we going to do something about it to ensure our next generation do not resume this legacy of hypocrisy.
Should we decide to do something about it, then I guess the first step is to do without vernacular school, again, let me stress that Sekolah Kebangsaan inclusive in the term “vernacular”. Once we believe in this idea and are willing to work on this, then I guess the next step would be to urge a good education system for all, that is takes into consideration each and every race’s needs to preserve their cultures as part of the entire curriculum aimed towards better education without compromising our unity.
Perhaps, instead of retaining our kids until 3pm in the evening in separate school, (as we are doing so right now, with the Chinese and Indian school finishing around this time, and Sekolah Kebangsaan finishing earlier yet the kids had to attend religious classes that end up finishing ultimately about the same timing), we may retain them in this ONE school, whereby the curriculum includes Chinese, Indian, Malay language studies and the kids of different race are encouraged to take one language that is not their mother tongue to complete the curriculum. Perhaps the actual lesson we teach our kids by doing this is “to do without the racial ego, and learning in any form is beneficial”.
I guess, it is quite pointless to talk about Malaysian unity without talking about doing away the vernacular schools. Otherwise, I fear, the next generation too, will continue to rot in this vicious circle of multiracial distrust.
To me, if we cannot execute this, and come up with the overdue-d ONE school, then perhaps we should all cease to talk about Malaysian Unity without risking sounding like the biggest hypocrites that may earn us the title "One Hypocrite". Then perhaps, adding to the celebration of Hari Kemerdekaan, or Hari Malaysia, or who knows, one day we will celebrate One Malaysia Day, to match the other “One this and One that”, we can add another day of celebration to add on to our laundry days, which what I will coin as “One shut the feck up Day”.