Editor’s Note: I have lived among several Malaysian constituencies and have long known and attempted to inform the Malays–to little avail–of the tenor and tone of those among whom they also live and seemingly ‘dominate’. This following epistle reflects a reality, that, if not dealt with more appropriately, will undoubtedly continue to fester like a canker to corrode the nation’s cosmopolitan ideal. – oz
Sent to me by one of my Readers: 28 May 2014:
- I am disgusted by this constant racism and feel obliged to speak up. I take it as a personal insult that I was ‘allowed’ to become a lawyer. On the contrary, I … saved my own money, and went to England. I did not get a scholarship or a study loan. I was not even allowed to use the UITM library, as I was told it was only for Malays. But I did not get offended. I took it as a challenge, as my religion forbids me to beg.
- I can safely say that most of the Sikh lawyers in this country of my generation are children of soldiers and policemen. Nobody ‘allowed’ us anything. We worked hard and owe nothing to anyone. Our parents left rich farmlands in the Punjab in search of adventure . They agreed to accept Malayan citizenship because they honestly believed they would be treated as equal citizens and their contributions to nation building recognized.
- So, Mahathir, speak for yourself. If some Malays are poor today, it is because of corruption, cronyism and nepotism. If some non Malays are professional, it because of hard work. Mahathir should stop his stupid and insensitive remarks, and contribute to peace and harmony in the country in his twilight years. I an deeply offended that after my father and his younger brother served so many years in the police force, and another uncle fought the communists in the jungles, I have to put up with such insensitive and callous remarks, as if suggesting I should be grateful.
- If at all, people like Mahathir should be grateful that despite not being of Malay stock, they have benefitted immensely from being pseudo-Malays. Please don’t use us as political fodder. We are a proud race, and have never expected or received any handouts. Yet one third of the names on the national monument are Sikhs.
- If you have nothing to contribute to promote racial and religious harmony, please spend your last days in prayer. Bertaubat.
Balwant Singh Sidhu