This has been a humorous spectacle in its unfolding, in many ways. Firstly, the suggestion of Chinese Malaysian citizens being marginalised in Malaysia is not totally without truth or merit. Only, this point was raised by someone who should not have raised it, then humorously pointedly denied by those representing us (MCA and Gerakan) as a false description of our condition.
Marginalisation is a state of mind and heart. You know it when you see it. Our children, our young, may not want to live in the society we are evolving into. I am mid-40, educated abroad, the Merdeka generation definitely. I am a regional multinational corporate senior manager, exposed, mobile, but with no less love for my country and home always, Malaysia.
I returned home from a career abroad after 12 years in United States, but today, as I see where Malaysia is going, I am saddened, and have decided that I want my daughter to go abroad for university in New Zealand, and then not come back to live here.
I am sad after 50 years of Merdeka, we as a society and body politic cannot look beyond our racial lens, especially in politics and the recent spate of politicians on all sides playing the race card to the galleries. I am particularly saddened to see the next echelons supposedly of our leadership tell us to "shut up", "not challenge us", etc, etc. We well know who these are.
Looking at three-generational span, across three lifetimes, my father now deceased was the pre-Merdeka, post-Merdeka "Tunku generation". We were more united then, with a common vision, dream, hopes, fears. My father-in-law risked his life alongside many others as a soldier in the jungles during Emergency in fighting the communist insurgency and defend the nation we have today.
For myself, I supported and understand fully the social restructuring necessary post-1969, for societal justice and addressing the fissures perhaps of a colonial British administration, and its economic impact. We did support the New Economic Policy (NEP) in principle and spirit, despite the hardships and sacrifice.
But today, almost 36 years later, while successful in middle-class restructuring, we are told it needs to be extended indefinitely. The policy goals were noble, but I think that political patronage and cronyism has siphoned off the targeted benefits. Wealth redistribution did not fail, it succeeded. But into the wrong pockets.
And now, these same politicians rail, play the race card, that the goals are not achieved. And that it has to be done again after politicians took the rightful social share of restructuring, (without after-thought, and regard for the willing but painful hardships others have given, especially in the 1980s).
I love my country, but I honestly sometimes feel like a second-class citizen, useful largely for my taxes and my votes. Looking at my daughter, I suspect the younger generation of Malaysians, this idyllic Bangsa Malaysia as we call it, will eventually not mentally and emotionally accept, at the third generational level, that they are not equal Malaysian citizens, in every sense. We are alienating this precious generation, one so full of promise, our greatest national hope.
Worse, we may not realise this, or not care.
In this light, I know I will not allow my child to in future have to face this. And I conclude it takes migration, and a new life. Is this unpatriotic? Yes and no. It is perhaps because I want a better life for my daughter, and I do not see it here, things as is.
Our constitutional liberty as a secular democracy is being eroded at every turn today, slowly, visibly, insipidly. We are becoming more intolerant, more fragmented. Worse, civil dialogue is shuttered. Today, I wonder whether just because I don't read something anymore, it is not happening or happening but now unreported. I think there are other Malaysians thinking like me.
Today, I see parents quietly telling their foreign-educated children it is perhaps better to continue their careers and live abroad. This is sad, a loss to our nation. But I understand.
I hope we find this Malaysia, this brave new world. If anything, hope is eternal that we can evolve maturely beyond race politics. I see this as a long way off, just reading our newspapers everyday. We have faith in the integrity of our PM, but he is also structurally constrained.