I recently queried through the facebook about Malaysian’s perception if we The Malaysians are racist. More than 40 frank comments were generated. This is my summary and thank you note.
Thanks for the feedback.
Your answers have helped me frame ideas for a larger survey i would like to undertake early next year. Let's find out the perceptions and why ... and hope the answers can help prepare a remedy.
Eileen, as for your inquiry of my tots on the subject, I think Malaysians are generally racial which is natural because Malaysia has chosen 'an integration approach' rather than ' assimilation' as practiced by Thailand and Indonesia. So we Malaysians still have our ethnic identity intact .
Our forefathers i guess were optimists and see the wisdom of multiculturalism. If we went the Indonesian way, history would be different - for good or for worst. I do not see any problem for anyone to be racial. Our familiarity and liking towards things that are familiar to us is only natural. For example, we Penangites love the laksa, but my relatives in Medan tot I was crazy to love such a 'sour and smelly bowl of shit' (haha! that was a cousin's summary of Penangites favorite dish!!!)....
But because we kept our ethnic identity intact, it is easier to turn racist. But I see Malaysians turning to racism as a reaction to perceive or real feelings of discrimination or being left out of development. It does not originate from the inside, but triggered from the outside.
For example, there seems to be a correlation to the height of racism over the years with the economic environment. When the economy is bad, it goes up, but when it’s good it goes down.
Even Indonesia which where ethnic Chinese are assimilated and would proudly answer " Saya orang Indonesia" as oppose to " I am Chinese ", were bashed, raped and persecuted during the height of the 97/98 economic crisis. The perception of wealth being usurped by a particular community triggered the animal in many to the point that even children were not spared.
Perhaps, after a deeper research I can give u all a better overview and perhaps some action ideas we can all take to make good this country and make a difference.
peace, many colors one race, anas