I am Chinese. I can say that some of my Chinese friends and relatives are the most racist people on the planet. But I don't blame them. I know that their racist beliefs were drilled into them by their elders, and they are just repeating what they had heard growing up.
The thing is, just because something is repeated over and over again doesn't mean it's true. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is stupid and can be dangerous.
Now, these racist friends and relatives of mine, they are not evil people by any means. In fact, I would say that some of them have hearts of gold.
They are helpful, considerate, loving - the weird thing is, the moment the topic of race comes up, their childhood racist brainwashing transforms them into some kind of racist monster that says the most shocking, revolting things about Malays, Indians, and other races.
Just the other day a Chinese friend of mine, during a discussion about Malaysian politics, started spewing off some racist nonsense about Indians. I said to him, "You know that Chinese people are descended from Indian ancestors, right?"
That kind of shocked him. But you know, what I said is true and backed by scientific evidence.
Ultimately, the truth is, if you go back in time about 60,000-80,000 years ago, genetic studies all point to the same conclusion: All of modern humanity came out of Africa. From Africa, early homo sapiens migrated to Yemen, then spread to India, then moved on to South-East Asia, Oceania, China, Korea, Japan, and so on.
The first migration from Africa was followed by two other major migrations which eventually led to the Americas being populated. So you see, we're actually all related. We have the same African ancestors. Which means all Malaysians are really brothers and sisters, and this can be proven with genetic testing.
This is why I laugh outside, but cry inside when I see room for rent advertisements in Malaysia that include statements like "Chinese only" or "Muslim only".
Where's the multiracialism?
This is why I laugh outside, but cry inside when I go to a cafeteria and see Chinese sitting in one corner with their fellow Chinese, Indians sitting in another corner with Indians, and Malays sitting in one corner with Malays.
This is why I laugh outside, but cry inside when I see the current Malaysian government actively encouraging racism and bigotry for its own political benefits.
The simple fact is, we are all part of one human race. We can call ourselves Malay, bumiputera, Chinese, Indian, Negrito, Semai, Thai, Vietnamese, Arab, Jew, European, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Caucasian, Mexican, Maori, Native American, Inuit, etc. At the end of the day, the scientific truth is that we're all branches of the same tree, grown from the same African seed.
And if one branch tries to burn another branch, we're really just hurting ourselves.
Unfortunately, most Malaysians today carry some kind of racial prejudice. I know I did, until I found out about humanity's common ancestry. These racial prejudices are passed down generation after generation, from parents to their children.
The children grow up, become parents, then repeat the same racist beliefs to their children - and the vicious cycle goes on.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, "We must be the change we want to see in the world".
To break this vicious cycle of racial prejudice in Malaysia, we have to become aware of our own racial prejudices and become enlightened Malaysian parents who can teach our children the correct scientific facts about race. This way, the corrupt politicians will no longer be able to enslave future Malaysian generations with racial scare tactics.
I know that to kill racism in Malaysia, it has to start with me, at home.
I know what I will be telling my kids when they ask me, "Daddy, since mummy is Kadazan and Indian mixed, am I Chinese first, Kadazan first, Indian first, or Malaysian first?"
I will say, "You know we all come from Africa, right?"