Watch your wallets, I’m Tamil

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online on March 12, 2015.

The funeral march for the five lads, all Indian, killed by police in Penang allegedly when they were in bed in August 2013.
The funeral march for the five lads, all Indian, killed by police in Penang allegedly when they were in bed in August 2013.

MARCH 12 — “Please don’t run, I won’t rob you.” The thought flashed through my mind.

I could not stop myself from thinking that two days ago.

In a swanky city café I felt all so urban and in — I would not go as far as calling myself chic, urbane or fabulous but my shirt was ironed and pants were involved — until the lady at the table next to me got up abruptly and took her drink, cigarette and shopping bags with her as soon as I was seated; and relocated to a table much further away. With only a sprinkling of patrons inside and on the sidewalk where I was, it did appear like she was trying to distance herself. The lemongrass tea lost its fragrance after that.

Perhaps I was just being paranoid.

Perhaps I was just being Malaysian. Continue reading “Watch your wallets, I’m Tamil”

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Hate words, hate thoughts

So here we are, at a another round of deciding how racist Umno can be. Hamidah Osman in the Perak state assembly asks if stuck between killing a snake or Indian (she probably meant Keling) in the bushes, which would you choose.

It is sad she asked Sivanesan and not me Praba Ganesan, with family in Ramachandran district in Tamil Nadu, and a working class lad who grew up hearing derogatory terms as a way of life.

It actually depends, you have to ask the Keling if he or she is a member of Umno. Continue reading “Hate words, hate thoughts”