The road we have travelled since 2008

Opinion  |  James Chai
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | This is our story.

In May 1969, the dark skies wrapped the city of Kuala Lumpur like an inky canopy. The Malays and the Chinese sharpened their weapons and swore to kill for the dignity of their races. And when the provocations reached a fever pitch, uncontrollable violence swept the capital, and blood infested every corner.

Since that day, the Malays and the Chinese never spoke about politics the same way.

In the minds of the Malays, it was the Chinese who were at fault for wanting more than their share, for being the bogeyman who wanted to make Malays strangers in their own land.

In the minds of the Chinese, it was the Malays who were uncompromising and inequitable in relegating the Chinese to second-class citizens.

Divided by politics, the Malays and Chinese had since taken separate paths. The good economic times make us forget some of the tensions, but we were unmistakably growing apart.

It was possible for a Chinese to grow up never having a Malay friend; it was possible for a Malay to grow up never seeing a Chinese man...

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