Underlining its seriousness in wanting greater unity, the government yesterday ordered school administrators to speed-up integration-related programmes. [NST]
I doubt that the government is working on the right spot. You see, when I was in primary school, there are no racial issues in my thinking… Ali, Ah Kau and Mutu are all good friends. It applied in my real life; I made friends with all people regardless of races.
My thinking got a bit confused when I got into high school. We were required to study Tamadun Islam for one or two years. Fine, if it’s to learn other Malaysians’ culture and religion… but I always wondered why Muslims are not given the chance to learn other Malaysians’ origin as well?
If national unity comes from understanding… it should be understanding from both sides.
In more recent history, we read about James Wright, Stamford Raffles, Frank Swettenham and all those Sultans etc… but there were nothing about Yap Ah Loy or Yap Kwan Seng etc., people who largely contributed to the development of Kuala Lumpur.
If we are bold enough to recognize the significance of British colonial administration in our country history, why is the significance of other races not being emphasized? Malaysians need to know that all races have contributed in building the nation… not just in the 50 years of independence, but significantly from as early as 1800s.
Ok… these thinking were not actually made during my high school years; I was still naive back then, but the seeds of these thoughts had been planted.
The killer blow that raised the racial indifference in me happened when I got into university. I worked hard to get into a local university’s engineering faculty… many students with decent STPM results couldn’t get into engineering faculty because of the quota, but that was supposed to be a fact of life.
The defining moment came on my first day to class; our lecturer asked us why we wanted to enter the course… Chinese answered blah blah… and then a few Malays answered that they didn’t want to study at the course, but were ‘forced’ to study by the government.
That’s quite a blow really, Chinese worked hard and yet couldn’t get what they wanted… and those things that we fought hard were given to people that didn’t appreciate at all, basically for free. What an irony.
No, I am not a racist, but I know I am not a role model in practicing national unity. I still have a good bunch of Malay friends these days; the different is when I was younger, I have friends, Malaysian friends… but now, I have friends, Malay friends and non-Malay friends.
The failure wasn’t on the school administration, it’s on the whole education system, it’s on the government.