My dear Malaysians, we are Malaysia, a country that has from its inception chosen integration over assimilation, the rainbow instead of just one colour. As such, it is okay to organise a congress, meeting, political party, society and etc. based on race or ethnicity.
In Malaysia, each ethnic group is encouraged to bloom for the most part unhindered; Chinese speak Chinese, eat with chopsticks, and have Chinese names; Indians have Indian names and speak their own dialects; Malays follow their traditions, which are the core culture of this nation. So do our brothers and sisters is Sabah and Sarawak, be they Iban, Kadazandusun, Bidayuh, Melanau, Bajau, Murut and the other groups.
We want all the races in our rainbow nation to blossom, thrive and add value to the Malaysian supra-race while accepting that it is a functional cognisant goal, and strive to inculcate our children with the goal of being Malaysian by speaking, reading and writing our national language, Bahasa Malaysia, with ease.
As such, it is okay to be racial, to follow what our tradition dictates for our behaviour, beliefs and customs. It enriches and grounds us, and makes us feel safe and secure with who we are in relation to everyone around us.
But it is not okay to be racist, to think that our race is somehow superior to others and to dislike someone or some groups of people because of their ethnic background. That is plain ignorance and arrogance.
So, it is okay to organise a congress based on one’s ethnic grouping. But it is not okay to use it as a platform to threaten or bad-mouth the other.
So, let’s get that right.
“Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people can live and work together” – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Bapa Malaysia.