Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Nothing is more important in Malaysia than maintaining unity among its multiracial population. Almost all govenment policies are geared towards promoting national unity and racial harmony. Yet, some people questioned some of them.
The latest "Debat Agung" on RTM1 aired tonight ( august 7) discussed National Unity again (it has been disucussed many times before) with Prof, Khoo Kay Kim, YB Dr Fuad and YB Mumtaz as the panelists and Datuk Johan Jaafar in the chair. Chairman asked how they'd rate national unity now on a scale of 1-10 and Prof. Kay Kim gave a 4-5 (between pass and fail), Dr Fuad a clear 8 and YB Mumtaz, similar to Prof Kay Kim..
To me that's quite disturbing. Dr Fuad is an UMNO man and feels that everything is okay. Prof Kay Kim is a realist and tells history as it is (or was). YB Mumtaz represents PAS, a natural critic of govt. We've one optimist against two pessimists. I think Dr Fuad as a prominent member of UMNO shoud not be too complacent. Much needs to be done to improve the reading of the scale, however crude it is. As U Thant, a former UN Sec-Gen once said, " It's better to be a live pessimist than a dead optimist."
There should be a better scale for measuring national unity. A simple one that comes up in my mind is: how many friends from a different ethnic group does one have? If each Malaysian has some 10 or more friends from a different ethnic group to his credit, we should be doing quite well. But the term "friend" needs to be defined - not just an aquaintance but one you can
join your group in any discussion of festivity.
I'm sure there're many Malaysians today who don't have a single friend from another ethnic group. That is a tragic situation and must be remedied. All organizations, including schools and institutes of higher learning should check on their members
(students, employees, members) and anyone with no friend(s) from another ethnic group should be assisted to work on that problem. There're many, I must say, who are just too shy to mix around, especially with someone who's well-to-do and class
conscious. I was a very poor boy at school and if Lee Chwee Ho, Kim, Leong, Vasudeva ( son of a lawyer), Gucharan Singh, etc. etc. had not made me their friend, I would not have been able to go to the cinema as often as I did. With them!
Where are they now, I'm not sure! I still love you guys and will remember you always.