I refer to the letter by John Lee, Vernacular schools detrimental to unity .
Lee shared his observation about his Chinese-educated classmates, that they appear to avoid interacting or making friends with classmates especially those of Indian or Sikh descent. I wonder whether he has talked to them to find out why, and also why only vis vis one or two particular classmates.
In addition, is it because of their educational background or family upbringing or even just personal characteristics of being introvert which contributed to such behaviour? Do the majority of Chinese-educated students behave in the same way as those he criticised?
I ask this because I attended a Chinese-medium primary school. As far as I am concerned, I cannot recall of any such negative attitude (towards other races) being conveyed or taught to me. Are we making too much assumptions about how a kid from Chinese-educated or Malay- educated background would behave?
Is it defensible for Lee to attribute some negative behaviour of a particular Chinese-educated classmate to his primary education? He should substantiate his perspective with more solid proof as it is a very serious accusation.
Does he imply that all those students who came up from national primary schools have no problems interacting with others?
He appears to assume that due to the lack of opportunity to mingle with people from different cultures, racial stereotypes would prevail. Does he not think that if children are brought up by racist parents, no amount of mixing would undo such stereotypes?
We should be careful to regard interaction per se as the magical formula to unity or understanding. It is also too simplistic a view that Malay nationalists who hold extremist views or stands vis vis other races do not have friends from other races. Do check your facts first.