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Smacked Right In The Eye

Latest from The Economist, which I happen to subscribe. (I feel something, like someone's saying something bad about me.)


Tall buildings, narrow minds
Aug 30th 2007
From The Economist print edition

After 50 years, Malaysia should stop treating a third of its people as not-quite-citizens

THE government of Malaysia has laid on all sorts of grand pageantry this weekend, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Malay peninsula's independence from Britain. There is much to celebrate. Living standards and access to education, health services, sanitation and electricity have soared during those five decades of sovereignty. The country's remarkable modernisation drive was symbolised, nine years ago, by the completion of the Petronas twin towers, in Kuala Lumpur, then the world's tallest buildings.

Yet there will be a hollow ring to the festivities. Malaysia's 50th birthday comes at a time of rising resentment by ethnic Chinese and Indians, together over one-third of the population, at the continuing, systematic discrimination they suffer in favour of the majority bumiputra, or sons of the soil, as Malays and other indigenous groups are called. There are also worries about creeping “Islamisation” among the Malay Muslim majority of what has been a largely secular country, and about the increasingly separate lives that Malay, Chinese and Indian Malaysians are leading. More so than at independence, it is lamented, the different races learn in separate schools, eat separately, work separately and socialise separately. Some are asking: is there really such a thing as a Malaysian?

The pro-bumiputra discrimination was laid down in the country's first constitution, in 1957, to ease Malays' fears of being marginalised by the Chinese and Indian migrants. These had come, supposedly temporarily, to work in the tin mines and plantations but were settling permanently and increasingly dominating business and the professions. The perks were extended greatly after race riots in 1969. Malays get privileged access to public-sector jobs, university places, stockmarket flotations and, above all, government contracts. The most notable result, as with South Africa's similar policy of “black economic empowerment”, has been “encronyment”—the enrichment of those well connected to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the party that has led all governments since independence. Malays as a whole, like other races, have got richer but the gap between the Malay haves and have-nots has widened. The corruption and waste these policies engender seem to have got worse in recent years.


Why is this SO TRUE? Of course, who reads The Economist. Western media lah,
orang putih mengarut lah, The Economist boring lah, typical reasons.

However, one should not confuse me with being racist. Why? Because I merely highlight the issues, and the prime target of my criticism is Coalition-Government, particularly people closely associated with UMNO.

Then again, I was out driving in KL with my family yesterday, and apparently Merdeka's Eve should be a time when everyone stays at home and do not go out on the roads. Why? Jams everywhere. It's as if the entire KL's emptied their houses and gone out on the streets in their cars. Plus, halfway through yesterday while on the way back from Puchong, there was this 25-minute crawl on the highway. Wtf? Guess what's the cause of it. Police roadblocks. At 11.20pm?! Tell me, which sane-minded officer would conduct roadblocks at a secluded highway, (for heaven's sake it's not the Federal Highway, it's the KL-Puchong Highway) wayyy at night, on merdeka's eve, when everyone's either rushing for the countdown or rushing to get back home?

And, I wasn't too happy watching the Merdeka's celebrations on national television as well (Hey at least I watched it). What's with all the politicking on the podium? And when our PM shouted seven times Merdeka as Tunku did 50 years ago, I didn't quite hear roars from the TV. Merdeka might be overused as well, 'cos it didn't sound as sincere as it might have been when it was shouted out. I just felt, wuarrghh, this doesn't feel like Malaysia's 50th Birthday.

Anyway, in the meantime, back to Facebook, I got lots of pirates to bomb.

3 people said this sucked:


Saturday, September 01, 2007 5:18:00 am

erm.. actually the roadblock on the Puchong highway at night is very common.. sometimes 1a.m. oso got..

they always have road block to check for drunk drivers and suspicious people.. haha..


Saturday, September 01, 2007 5:31:00 am

ohh then i must have not been travelling on that highway frequently enough

i only use that highway on the way back from Damansara. lol.


Saturday, September 01, 2007 8:00:00 am

the economist rocks man... everything spot on