Disclaimer: This is not a generalization of all Malaysians of Indian descent, just who are guilty as charged.
We, which we term, Malaysian Indians have been lately bombarded by racial and religious slurs by Zul Nordin, Ridhuan Tee, ISMA and PERKASA. These lots are granted tacit impunity by our government of the day. If Hinduism and Indians are downgraded by those who belong to ‘you know what’ race and religion, no justice demanding statements from those concerned rise up.
And then there are 2 of our own, Shah Krit and Ustaz Shahul Hameed who have gained infamy for interpreting Hinduism like it’s steeped in debauchery by the former and for making racist and religiously insensitive comments by the latter.
Malaysian Indians largely have reacted profanely to the ustaz, showering him with abuses and judgments like how he converted from Hinduism to Islam and now being a holier than thou Muslim, denigrating his own kind and the religion he renounced just like Ridhuan Tee who ridiculed Thaipusam and our dark skin.
Yes, we have the right to be angry; that anger is indeed high dudgeon and we all know that those perpetrators and instigators won’t face lawful penalty because they are protected by the government which is pro bumiputera and their religion so it’s warranted for us to make an unsatisfied hue and cry, demanding justice which is made elusive.
Yes, we are victims of institutionalized racism – we don’t get level playing field in any life augmenting factors here. As a non Malay/bumiputera, even if you score 10 As in SPM, you won’t get matriculation but a Malay with 2 As will. Same goes to IPTA seats, public service work and business opportunities. We are beleaguered by racist deeds that go unpunished like police custody deaths, seizing of body and stopping of wedding by JAIS and fellow compatriots, politicians and even teachers calling us derogatory names like keling, pariah and India mabuk and telling us to ‘Balik India kalau tak puas apa yang diberi di sini!’
A video that shows an Indian school kid forced by his Malay schoolmates/classmates to say ‘keling babi’ has caused an uprising in the Indian community spearheaded by Hindraf. The same was true in the novel Interlok, in which Indians are referred to as ‘pariah’.
We complain about race based politics, of racist politicians, how they deny our contribution on making Malaysia. We get up in arms when ISMA or PERKASA call us ‘pendatang’ and ‘immigrant’. We call them RACISTS.
Let me ask. ARE WE ANY BETTER?
Are we, Malaysians of Indian descent, Malaysians at heart?
The recent shoe throwing case at an Indian student, the teacher, Abdul Rahim, throwing his shoe at 8 year old M.Sharmini during Moral lesson which required her to have 3 stitches has been made into ‘your race against my race’ case. I saw that many of us pinned the burden on Kamalanathan, on he being ball-less, kowtowing to his BN masters. We are yet to abandon the belief that only Indian will help another Indian despite MIC and Hindraf failing Indians. That classroom rage is not an Indian problem; it’s a Malaysian problem. It could have happened to Malaysians of other descents, not only Indians, like the road rage of Kiki Kamaruddin. Rightfully, as Malaysians, we should be equally enraged. It’s high time we stop seeing everything in a racial lens and change the mindset that only Indians will help other Indians. Stand up as and for Malaysians. Already we are feeding racism to the child who is the focal point of this case.
We get outraged when our fellow Malaysians of other races call us ‘keling’ or ‘pariah but a nanosecond later, we call the Malays ‘naatukaaren’ and its abbreviation, ‘naatan’ and the Chinese, ‘sadaiyan’ without batting an eyelid, being blissfully oblivious to our racism. Naatukaren means man of the land = bumiputera and bumiputera is Tamil, bumi = bhoomi, meaning earth/land/soil, putera = putran meaning prince/son/man. We lament that bumiputera is a racist concept and by further coining the word naatukaren, we indirectly dub ourselves as immigrant; we distance ourselves from tanah tumpah darahku by branding the Malays naatukaren. We ourselves have the complex of not belonging to Malaysia and we blame others. Aren’t we born on this land? Aren’t we naatukaaren ourselves? Leave bumiputera’s official concept – I’m talking about racial integration at rakyat level. As for ‘sadaiyan’ it refers to the ancient custom of Chinese men having a single plait. Why are we being so insensitive towards an ancient custom of our fellow Malaysians that is no longer in practice? Sutte kolupu thane?
The word keling is not considered derogatory in the Malaysian east coast. Malays there call Indians there keling and it doesn’t rise eyebrows. The term keling is a derivative from the Kalinga empire.. The word keling is historical. In an unspecified frame of time and context keling has become a derogatory word in the Malaysian west coast. Pariah is not a Malay founded word – it’s origins is rooted in the HINDU INDIAN CASTE SYSTEM. Pariah = Harijan = Dalits = Shudra = Untouchable. The Malays got the word from us – not the other way around. And, of course, before Islam came to the Malay archipelago which ironically was brought by Indian Muslim merchants, the Malays were Hindus, Buddhists and animism followers.
We got so angry when Ridhuan Tee ridiculed our ebony skin colour – I saw many scientific comebacks to that insinuation from the man, saying that dark skin is less prone to melanoma. But, the same mouths, once Ridhuan Tee is out of the frame hypocritically favour fair skin over dark skin, a large number Indian guys wanting fair skinned brides, spurning dark skinned girls and vice versa.
In all actuality, and although we don’t like to admit it, Indians are the worst racists. We are not only racist to other races but to our own race. Go to any Indian wedding, surely there will be some aunties asking what’s the caste/sub race of the bride/bridegroom. Take a look at Indian matrimony. How do you think MIC elects their leaders? One may argue that there are no Indian companies advertising “Must know Tamil…so on. Let me tell you that it is always an Indian who tries to cheat or hinder the progress of another Indian. On the context of business and public service, whereby, ‘must know Mandarin’ and ‘must be bumiputera’ we don’t need to advertise, ‘must know Tamil, must know bharathanatyam, etc simply because we are not significantly business and bourgeois class here. But we do cheat fellow Indians because of various malicious reasons, mostly to save a few pennies, especially those in catering and service based businesses. Not all Indians but a good number of them. Nowadays, some Indian caterers hack meat away from chicken and cook mutton tendons and bones into curry instead of meat; I have been to several weddings and wedding dinners and see the thillalangadi some Indian caterers make and also during our house renovation – the job was cincai. If other Indians don’t give business to fellow Indians doing service type businesses for reasons above, they are deemed racist. And, those Indians who dupe other Indians are almost always categorized as ‘pare aalu’ aka pariah by the duped Indian.
And, when referring to Indians here, we always presume that only Hindus are Indians, leaving out our Christian, Sikh and Muslim brethren. Then when such an ustaz or Shah Krit pop up, claiming allegiance and affinity with bumiputera and Islam, we call them traitors when we are the ones who deny their existence in the first place.
We also have an issue with Punjabis ticking the Lain-lain column in governmental forms. We argue that Punjab is in India and since Punjabis originate from Punjab, they are Indians. Indeed. But why do Punjabis tick the Lain-lain column? Most of us don’t make an effort to find out why it is so, being content on branding Punjabis being racists and ashamed to be Indian like our 4th PM. The scenario has to do with a separatist movement in India when the India – Pakistan partition was made in 1947. A separate Punjab state called Khalistan was proposed but it didn’t materialize and Lahore went to Pakistan, much to the disenchantment of the Punjabis there which was steeped in conflict by separatists cum extremists up to the 80s. When Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale was killed in Operation Blue Star in 1984, at Indira Gandhi’s behest which desecrated the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar and killed hundreds of innocent Sikh pilgrims which drove Mrs Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards to gun her down, it sparked a bloodbath in Delhi where thousands of Sikh men were butchered and immolated. It was to avenge the death of Mrs Gandhi and it affected Punjabi Sikhs throughout the world, including Malaysia. That’s why Sikhs tend to detach themselves from having an Indian origination. But, at the same time, Sikhs are patriotic – they make up a significant number in the Indian army.
And then there are scums walking amongst us, stoking racism up by making unfounded statements like this Tamilan here:
The majority of Malaysians of Indian descent here is Tamil and most of the time, since the fraternity is predominantly Tamil, phrases like ‘Tamilan da’ sidelines other Indians who are Malayalees, Telugu, Ceylonese and even Punjabis and Eurasians. And, I know some Telugu people who consciously strive to separate themselves from the majority Tamil mainstream. Telugu people are branded tightwads and Malayalees are branded cocky and prideful. We have all these internal racism and we are being such hypocrites.
We also separate ourselves on the lines of caste, Mukkulithoor Thevar, Gounder, Nadar, Naidu, Nair, Menon, etc then we make a big fuss when called pariah when we are the ones who distinguish ourselves based on caste in the first place. Once, national racism is out of the picture, we succumb to internal racism. Like Prasanna Nair and the girl who made a fuss over a tailor of Ceylon descent. These casteists should indeed balik India and stay there.
And, now, proof for my claim that the notion that only Indian would help another is grossly flawed. (I don’t mean all Indians)
Ustaz Shahul Hameed is an inactive PAS member and MIC is cashing on that to get political mileage, hopeful that it would atone their past notoriety. MIC is making the statement of the ustaz look like the official stand of PAS. The same people were defeaningly silent when the likes of Ridhuan Tee and Zul Nordin made racist comments. MIC has vested interest in this clampdown and like how many Indians fell for Hindraf’s allegiance with BN in 13th GE, I won’t be surprised if emotional Indians repeat history despite having their ass whooped time and again previously.
Race relations in Malaysia is worsening and it has become tenuous thanks to our politicians’ sedulous effort on dividing Malaysians instead of developing towering Malaysians and most of us are so blinded by racial prejudice, we fail to see through our politicians’ ploy.
Why don’t we, Malaysians of Indian descent be the change we want to see? Why wait for others to change? Let’s be harbingers like our forefathers who taught the world civilization and forwarded global citizen ideal, ‘yaathum oore, yaavarum kelir.’ LET’S BE MALAYSIAN FIRST, INDIAN LAST. IF WE WANT TO RID RACE BASED POLITICS AND POLICIES, WE SHOULD RID RACISM AT INTERPERSONAL LEVEL.