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YOURSAY | Destroying hope – Dr M’s capturing of an old M’sia

YOURSAY | ‘Mahathir stirs the pot with a pair of chopsticks.’

Dr M uses chopstick example to lament challenges in assimilating non-Malays

OrangePanther1466: With due respect Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the choice of implements for eating (like chopsticks) is a bad example of race assimilation.

Why then do people and most Malay elites use fork, spoon and knife to eat? Similarly, why don western suits and not the baju Melayu in daily official businesses. Does this mean these people are not fully assimilated into Bangsa Malaysia?

Mahathir, Indonesia is another bad example of societal engineering. Yes, the Chinese are a very small minority there and in the 60s, they were forcibly compelled to adopt Indonesian names and prohibited from learning and speaking the Chinese language or dialects.

Today, most Chinese Indonesians are handicapped in not being multilingual as they only speak Bahasa Indonesia. I believe they have since reversed the policy and Chinese schools are now allowed.

In Malaysia, the constitutional right for minorities to retain their ancestral language, customs and religion has led to a population of multilingual speakers.

Why do hundreds of thousands of Malay families see it fit to send their children to Chinese schools to learn the language? These families include many of the political elites. It is because, in this open and borderless world, language proficiency is a key element for success.

Tun, I beg to differ in that I believe we should not dwell on racial assimilation. It should be by their own choice how a citizen wishes to live his or her life.

US President Dwight Eisenhower made his choice to fight his brutal ancestral countrymen because it is the right thing to do in the bid to destroy the scourge of Nazism. It has nothing to do with whether Eisenhower has fully assimilated into the American society or not.

Tun should instead ask where would our loyalty lie? As a multi-generational Chinese Malaysian, I would not hesitate to say, Malaysia. I would think a vast majority of non-Malays too would stake their undivided loyalty to Malaysia.

Our grandparents, parents and ourselves are born and raised in this great country and this is where we will also die. Many of us still have familial ties in our ancestral homeland but that is slowly disappearing. Of course, we are awed by the tremendous development happening there but to most, Malaysia is where our heart is.

A question should be asked as to why people prefer to migrate mostly to Western countries. It’s mainly because of educational and professional opportunities and the current policies that effectively stratifies the population underpinned by Article 153 of the Constitution.

Again, with all due respect Tun, I think you meant well but perhaps Tun can accommodate an alternative view which I have humbly submitted.

MS: Mahathir's provocations, second only to his chronic mendacity, signal yet another attempt to ingratiate himself with a mindless semi-literate segment of the population and handful of cronies who are known to be already hedging their bets.

By stirring the pot now with a pair of chopsticks, as it were, he has simply reassured the public that he is as vicious and as divisive as he was when he first emerged from the dark in 1969 - and that everything he did over the decades was to keep the races uneasily wary of one another while he allegedly accumulated his personal wealth surreptitiously.

This latest provocation, a variation of his ‘pesta maruah’ staged even as he plotted the downfall of his own government, is obviously aimed at positioning his mosquito party as the purest of the five corrupt Malay parties, each with its share of leaping frogs in a bubbling pool of imbecility.

The viciousness of this attack on diversity and a community's cultural habits, while signalling his desperation for a place in Malay political history, also proves my long-held contention that the man is pure evil.

Najib Abdul Razak, by comparison, only took what was not his. Mahathir, on the other hand, is set on robbing the country of its unique character... what makes it "Malaysia, truly Asia". That, in my estimation, is profoundly immoral and reprehensible.

Mishmash37: Mahathir, your book really should be titled 'Destroying Hope' because that is what you have set out to do.

My Malay friends happily show me how to eat with my hands when I dine at a banana leaf shop, and they pick up chopsticks when we go for hotpot (I'd like to see you eat with your hands!). And on most days, we eat with fork and spoon – that's the Malaysian way, and a custom unique to Southeast Asia.

You have stupidly equated being Malay as being Malaysian. May I remind you that the Malaysian identity and the founding principles of this nation is one built on diversity and strengthened by unity – ‘Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu’. You have sought to bring down both, shame on you.

We Malaysians are assimilating fine without needing to annihilate our cultural identity, no thanks to bigots and racist politicians such as yourself fanning the racial flames. When I am abroad, I identify myself as Malaysian. And no, not Malaysian Chinese. Malaysian, period.

Race only gets brought up if people are curious about my heritage or wonder why the few Malaysians they know have different skin tones. But with you, race comes first, national identity second.

Everyday Malaysians don't merely tolerate each other's existence like you politicians do. We embrace and celebrate the cultural diversity of this nation. Sure, we consume some cultural content from the Indian and Chinese 'motherland', and some still have relatives back there, but to insinuate that we Chinese and Indians are not loyal to Malaysia, that is just... low.

I'm a fourth-generation Malaysian and I abhor the Chinese government's racist, supremacist and oppressive policies (which looks quite the same as yours, by the way) and am quite concerned about their posturing in the South China Sea.

I've completed my national service and if push comes to shove, I'd readily defend my homeland Malaysia, even though it seems my homeland (or rather, the people in charge) would much rather cast me aside.

There's no hope for this country if it remains in the hands of you and your ilk. Malaysians are abandoning the country in droves. Not just the Chinese and Indians, but Malays as well, so I know I'm not alone in my views here. It's what we stand for as Malaysians that's being eroded in your race wars.

AB Sulaiman: Mahathir’s tirade on the difficulty of assimilating the various ethnic groups in this country brings to my mind the word ‘culture’.

Culture is the way of life a group or society has developed to adjust to the environment he resides in – the language he speaks, the religion he professes, the clothing he wears, the food he eats. It also refers to the way he marries off his son or daughter. A Malay son pays ‘wang hantaran’ to his bride. An Indian girl pays dowry to her future husband. There is nothing wrong here.

Culture also refers to the way one community or group sends the dead off to the afterworld. Malay buries, the Indian cremates, their dead. Again, there is nothing wrong here. It’s all culture.

The fact is that each culture is unique to the society creating it. Meaning, there is no such thing as one culture more dominant or desirable, to another. Or, one culture should adopt another to show proof of national assimilation.

Mahathir says the Chinese eating with chopsticks is one blockage to assimilation. This is utter rubbish. Saying that people who do not eat with bare hands like the Malays do should not be taken as an impediment to assimilation. There is no need to do so. What’s wrong with chopsticks anyway?

Mahathir also said there is still a tendency for communities here to identify with their country of origin, despite generations of being born and raised in Malaysia. As a result, he argued it had resulted in separation among the people.

Well, well, there are many other ways of showing integration – and patriotism - like paying taxes, obeying all laws, being very productive in the country’s asset creating efforts. Mahathir should know the ‘nons’ are very good in all these. You can’t fault them here even though some of them use chopsticks when they eat.

Part 1: Patriotism need not cancel our ‘chopstick’ culture

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