What do Malays want?

DECEMBER 1 — It haunts me at night. This prized question.

The last general election — on May 5, 2013 — was alleged as proof of insatiable Chinese community gone amok, but the aspersion was never directed at the dwindling race. It was to the Malays, to suggest, “Hey look, look what they Chinese have done. We are next.”

It was about inflating the bogeyman as a large menacing Zeppelin hovering over the population’s soon to implode sanity, and in reaction hope they ignore a shocking electoral process and result. It worked.

Continue reading “What do Malays want?”

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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”

40 May 13s later

May 12 — I’ve spent many of my formative years being told why my life in this country has been shaped by May 13 (For the non-Malaysian reader: The build up to our national election that year, and the violence that ensued and the political policies that were set in place in order to evade a recurrence) . And tomorrow will be its 40th anniversary.
70 per cent of the country at least will not have a living memory of it, and those who do, have only the bits from their personal experiences. The rest of us have to do with what our parents tell us. Continue reading “40 May 13s later”

What’s in a name?

Najib attracted my attention. He is not what you say ‘a polished speaker’ so it is hard to listen to him or read what he says. But he got me this time- when he quipped that unlike other neighbouring countries who in the past enforced name changes for non-natives to native names, Malaysia never did.

And for that, we should be grateful.

However Najib – before I actually get to the part dissecting the matter, surely you would understand Umno as a party can never support an effort to localise names.

How can Umno the Malay party, fighting for the rights of one race over other races operate if everyone has a Malay name? They’ve rendered their party meaningless. Continue reading “What’s in a name?”