I would like to clarify on the letter A Finnish parallel for the M'sian question.
Firstly before anything else, let us look at the history of Finland. Sweden had conquered the country for 600 years and made them subject to Swedish culture, religion, etc.
Only after the 19th century did the Finns, like many other peoples of Europe, seemingly without a culture or a history of their own, had a national awakening. The uniqueness of the Finnish people and their culture eventually led to Finland's independence in 1917. Complicating this progression was the split between the majority of Finnish speakers and a powerful and influential minority of Swedish speakers. Only during the20th century was this conflict gradually resolved.
Okay, let us come back to our history. Do you see any similarities here? I definitely do not. The differences are:
- The Swedes were the conquerors who gave Finnish their independence. In Malaysia, the non-Malays did not conquer this country and then 'give' us independence.
- In a country with two different people, you can accommodate in learning each other's languages. In a country like ours, should we 'force' everyone to learn each language spoken in this country? As it is, some schools seem to produce students who, when they come to the working environment, can hardly construct a proper sentence in Malay or English. And bear in mind, Malay and English are the country's first and second languages respectively.
- I do not think that the immigrants who migrated after Finland's independence were given the status of the Swedish in Finland. Their children had to blend with the existing cultures there. For instance, if the Arabs decide to migrate there now, I do not think that Finland would make Arabic another official language, in say, 50 years from now.
I have no disrespect for Finland or any other country, but I do believe that many Malaysians like to only see the 'green fields' of European countries. Each country has their own manner of operating.
And you know what? Ye Gods! Some people do not know how to distinguish race, culture and religion! Please look at the Muslims in China and India. What about the Buddhist Indians? They practise their own cultures without touching religion. So how can changing one's religion destroy a person's culture? My best friend, a Buddhist converted to Christianity before she got married. I do not see her culture lost.
In Malaysia, we have so much of freedom that we are able to have schools using the Chinese and Tamil mediums. We have accepted additional languages as our own and allow these languages to be used widely and openly without discrimination. We have goodwill with all the races who live here. (I will not raise the NEP issue here as that is Umno politics which hopefully will end when their craze for power ends). We have diverse cultures which can and will survive if everyone works hard to maintain their culture without showing disrespect to each other.
Religion is a different issue from culture. If there is a religion that prohibits inter-religious marriages, perhaps others should be more respectful. If you really love a person and you know that person cannot marry outside his religion, then you would convert. I know many who did and are happy with their lives - so why are others not involved so concerned?