Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ethnic Cleansing in Malaysia - Reality or Myth?


Have you watched the latest Rambo installment?

I am no advocate of violence and bloodshed but apart from the orgy of gore and blood, John Rambo aka Rambo IV is pretty commendable in its message on the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Karen people by the Burmese government.
This article is not about the Karen people though. It’s about Malaysians, and Hindraf’s allegation of a systematic ethnic cleansing exercise.

When the ruling party practices divide and rule...the threat of ethnic cleansing is received stealthily but clearly.



Ethnic Cleansing in Malaysia – Reality or Myth?

Have you watched the latest Rambo installment?

I am no advocate of violence and bloodshed but apart from the orgy of gore and blood, John Rambo aka Rambo IV is pretty commendable in its message on the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Karen people by the Burmese government.

I was in the Burmese-Thai border in late 2005 on a ten-day missions trip. Our group visited six Karen settlements, with populations ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. It goes without saying that the Karen refugees in the Thailand border are impoverished and underprivileged. Most of them can effortlessly pack their life belongings in a laptop case. What struck me most was not their destitute state but their determination to achieve self-sufficiency. With limited facilities and little support, they have built schools, hygienic latrines, productive farms and spirited churches. Suffice to say, the Karen people are in general very resourceful and self-reliant compared to most Malaysians, especially the privileged lot that are legally more equal than others.

This article is not about the Karen people though. It’s about Malaysians, and Hindraf’s allegation of a systematic ethnic cleansing exercise.

Admittedly, there is no ethnic cleansing in any degree similar to the one taking place in Burma. Malaysians of all races (except those in jail and under ISA detention) are walking freely, talking casually and working tirelessly. With the exception of the annual UMNO general assembly, no armed group is lobbying for bloodshed and banishment of any particular community.

On the other hand, wars and conflicts are no longer limited to tanks and missiles but constrictive economics sanctions as well.

Similarly, ethnic cleansing need not be manifested strictly in bloody slaughter and merciless executions, even though that too happening to Indian youths in police lock-ups. To a large extent, ethnic cleansing need not be demonstrated physically by the aggressor but is just as real if it is tangible to the party on the receiving end.

Let’s start from the cradle.

Non-Malays are generally hesitant to have more than two children.

Some say that it is just not our nature to breed like hamsters but this argument does not stand. Our grandparents and great grandparents mostly had many children, even while they were living as impoverished immigrants in the then Malaya. Let’s be frank, Barisan Nasional knows fully well why non-bumiputeras are reluctant to have many children. We need to think deeply about their future. We need to support them till the age of 23/25 years of age, and that’s a bloody long time in a human life of 70 years. We do not have sekolah asrama penuh all laid out to welcome our children even if they were high-achievers. Our children do not have the privileges of applying for the many delicious scholarships dished out every day by the rich Malay(sian) government. Like Gentiles in Jewish land, we are the dogs that await the crumps of bread that fall off the dining table, which is why the MCA is so proud to have ‘fought’ for 2000+ scholarships for Chinese students over a grand period of eleven years.

To ensure that our children have an educated future, we work like farm dogs trying to save enough for that university education, in view of the real likelihood that they might not be accepted into our mediocre local universities even if they fared supremely well in STPM over their matriculation counterparts. In order to save that enough of cash, we wander far and wide, effectively creating a non-Malay diaspora. When we do somehow manage to save enough ringgit, we convert it to dollars and pounds to send our children far and wide away from Tanah Melayu, exacerbating a vicious cycle of perpetual non-Malay diaspora. Slowly but surely, over the years since independence, it is estimated that a million non-bumiputeras have left the nation. The NEP has got to be the most successful policy in the history of UMNO.

Our non-bumi children have only a few choices in life compared to then endless openings accorded to the Malays under UMNO rule. Either we educate our children well to become qualified professionals, encourage them into business or send them to peddle illegal DVDs if they can't do the former two.

UMNO does not want more nons in Malaysia, but since they can't officially make that annoucement (yet), they relay the message less than subtly in the form of a half century of racial marginalization. When the going is tough for a certain community, they will to a certain degree limit their fecundity. Couple the apartheid efforts with active immigration of Muslim Indonesians and before long, the population of the unwanted citizens can be reduced tremendously.

My point is, when government policies effectively favor one community and discriminates another, it is nothing less than bloodless ethnic genocide.

That was only education, and education alone is an extremely powerful driving factor – one that drives unwanted citizens away from Malaysia, that is. How about the armed forces and civil service and legal illegal immigration?

There is little truth that non-bumis are uninterested to join the civil service or armed forces. There are more than enough personal testimonies of non-bumis applying for the civil service but end up being rejected. For people like myself who are already in the public sector, I see less and less reason to serve a government that discriminates even in healthcare services. Look at our armed forces – the military, the airforce and the Polis Diraja Malaysia. The Malays guys I used to catch as the deputy head prefect for playing truant and smoking in the school toilet are now handing me traffic summonses and soliciting duit kopi. Conversely, my non-Malay friends who graduated from University Malaya applied to join the police force but were rejected. Preposterous? That’s ethnic marginalization Malaysian style.

When the ruling party practices divide and rule and permits only a certain group of people to bear arms, the threat of ethnic cleansing is received stealthily but crystal clearly.

Come over to Sabah. Unskilled, untalented, uneducated and crime-prone illegals from Philipines/Indonesia roam the streets with unlimited liberty. They are the legal illegal immigrants. A young Filipino lady peddling her body by the streets of Jalan Gaya may hold a Malaysian IC while a highly qualified non-bumi professional requires a working permit.

My verdict is simple. I concur with Hindraf’s allegations of an on-going systematic ethnic cleansing in multi-racial Malaysia, not in a classic armed genocide but through variable measures whose final motive is to reduce the total population of certain communities.



Unlike the Karens in the latest Rambo flick, we will any John Rambo coming to our aid. We do have ourselves though, and change must begin in us. For starters, let’s us all be more vocal and vehement in condemning racial policies, even and especially when racial policies go in our favor, if ever.


5 comments:

CK Tan said...

once again, another great post from you. ur interpretation of ethnic cleansing should be noted and with that, the HINDRAF allegation is not baseless at all. yes, the classic bloodshed is gore n stuff but the bloodless ones are more scary.

Anonymous said...

But what is the solution?
Is there a solution?

Anonymous said...

One cannot deny the significance of the NEP in the decline of the ethnic Chinese populace. It played and is still playing a seminal role in shaping the lives of the people. With the introduction of this policy many of the rights and prerogatives of the Chinese population were eroded. It marked the end of life as the Chinese know it. Donkey years after the implementation of this policy, Malaysians of Chinese descent are still struggling to stop further attrition of their rights in the country.

Quote
“On the other hand, wars and conflicts are no longer limited to tanks and missiles but constrictive economics sanctions as well.”

“My point is, when government policies effectively favor one community and discriminates another, it is nothing less than bloodless ethnic genocide.”

“Our non-bumi children have only a few choices in life compared to then endless openings accorded to the Malays under UMNO rule. Either we educate our children well to become qualified professionals, encourage them into business or send them to peddle illegal DVDs if they can't do the former two.’
Unquote

You’re absolutely bang on. How many percent of the Chinese are to the manor born? The majority are mere mortals who barely make enough to keep the wolf from the door. Life is a veritable struggle to make the never ending ends meet. If one is constantly pinching one’s pennies till they squeal and beg for mercy having more children is simply a luxury one cannot afford.

You hit the nail on the head when you call this a bloodless ethnic genocide. This is the beauty of this type of “ethnic cleansing” - an approach which is far more sophisticated and subtle but insidiously effective.

Quote
“We do have ourselves though, and change must begin in us. For starters, let’s us all be more vocal and vehement in condemning racial policies.”
Unquote

I applaud your ideal, enthusiasm and gung-ho spirit. It’s a start but the skeptic in me wonders if this is enough for an amelioration of the current dismal situation the Chinese are in? Having said that I concede that it’s far better to be positive and attempt to take charge then to just twiddle one’s thumbs grizzling about all the injustice.

Q8-)Skeptical kindred spirit

Kong said...

From the dictionary: "the elimination of an unwanted ethnic group or groups from a society, as by genocide or forced emigration."

So is it happening in Malaysia? Does the blockage of certain groups from entering government service or universities fit that definition? You decide.

Anonymous said...

dont blame umno, blame your people attitute, your people like to be segregated, inclusive and do not want to embrace the malays. pertinent example is existence of vernacular school, language use and new village. why cant we see a lot of non-bumi in police, army? dont blame others, how many have apply for them? and those who apply, can not speak malay, you said you are malaysian, but cant speak malay and want to work in police force, hello?!