What heinous crimes would you have to commit, to be branded as "unpatriotic", "anti-Malaysian", etc. in their book? Not very much. Amongst other things, you could qualify by:
- promoting Mandarin and Tamil (which they refer to as "foreign languages") in Malaysia. They believe doing this is against our Federal Constitution
- "over-exaggerating" the contributions of immigrants in the formation & development of Malaysia
How did they arrive at their opinion of Malaysians who were educated at vernacular schools? Reading their blog, their beliefs seem to be based not on objective data, but on anecdotes, racial prejudice and stereotypes. One such stereotype that Kijangmas employs is this:
"These functional illiterates end up as a cheap source of semi-indentured labour in the motor workshops, auto accessory shops, in the building trades, sleazy unisex salons, become cetak rompak aficionados, stalk shopping malls to harass shoppers with a myriad of worthless gizmos and, in the case of many if not most Tamil-educated Indians, become low wage general workers, lorry drivers and assorted hired hands for the towkays."So, are Malaysians educated in vernacular schools really unpatriotic and anti-Malaysian, as Kijangmas would have us believe? Let's look at some data. Recently, the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research conducted an opinion poll, the National Youth Survey 2008. In it, a total of 2,518 randomly selected Malaysian youth between the ages of 20 and 35 were interviewed by telephone about their perceptions of lifestyle, current issues, values, politics, and their own levels of civic and social involvement. The report of the poll results can be downloaded from their website. Here, I would like to highlight just one interesting finding from that poll.
As part of of the questions used to gauge the respondents' social values, they were asked to complete following question:
If you can only choose one identity, would you say that you are...?The results are as follows:
43% of those polled chose to identify themselves as Malaysians first. This is not surprising; as I have written about here, we Malaysians are not amongst the most patriotic people in the world.
What is interesting, however, is when those results were further analysed by looking at which type of school respondents had been educated at:
52% of respondents who had been to a Chinese school chose Malaysian as their identity. In contrast, 39% & 37% of those who had been to National & Tamil schools respectively, identified themselves as Malaysians first.
So, what are the obstacles to a united Bangsa Malaysia? Clearly, not vernacular schools per se. To answer that question truthfully will take lots of soul-searching, reflection & honest conversation among Malaysians. However, I'm willing to say that intolerance, racism & chauvinism will figure prominently on that list. I'm also willing to say that it is those three attributes that drive Kijangmas & his friends.
The next time Kijangmas comes across someone in the "building trades" or a "low wage general worker", perhaps he should pause & think hard before calling them unpatriotic & anti-Malaysian; for all he knows, in that person could beat the heart of a Malaysian truer than he.
Note: Please do visit all the links I attached to read the posting or article in its entirety. In that way you can judge for yourself if I have quoted them relevantly & in context.