That's 50 years of independence from British rule. 50 years we have existed as an independent, sovereign nation.
There is a lot to celebrate. We have come a long way, from those days of another generation. We have grown, economically and developmentally. However, as Malaysians celebrate this historic day, undoubtedly many would ponder. 50 years. 2, for some, 3 generations of families. If so, why on one hand while boasting of how well we're doing, do we still practice archaic, unfair and frankly discriminatory policies? If certain groups have not been able to reach their goal even with favouritism in 2 generations, what makes us think that further affirmative action would do any more good? We often hear of how that 'privileged' group is told to be independent, to emulate non-privileged groups to learn their work ethics, to not rely on biased policies. But no one seems to acknowledge the truth, that by giving one a crutch to walk on, a person will only rely on that crutch even more and totally forget how to walk without it. It's simple; Darwin described it well in his theories of evolution. It's about competition and survival of the fittest. If a species is not allowed to compete, that species will never better itself and will never survive outside its cocoon.
It's a shame, that after 50 years existing as a country, of boasting of a Bangsa Malaysia, that exam papers, university applications, identity cards all contain the mandatory biodata: Race and Religion. It's a shame, that the leaders who on one hand boast of being fair to all races, when threatened by calls to practice fairness and eliminate affirmative action, can pull out a keris (Malaysian dagger) and wave it at the podium during a national political meeting claiming that he will defend his race's rights and privileges with his blood. It's a shame that racial bias tops quality of candidates in many sectors, private and public. It's a shame that as a Malaysian working half a world away in a totally foreign culture, that I've encountered less racism and racial intolerance here in America, than in my home country, and that truly I'm valued by my work and not skin colour.
Apparently, I'm not the only one feeling like this. If the recent 1996-2005 immigration numbers are true, and that 28,527 Malaysians gave up their citizenship, of which 1,720 are Malays, then the obvious question that should come to mind is, why is there just a huge discrepancy between races? Especially when Malays make up over 50% of Malaysia and yet comprise only of 6% in this group . Clearly, something is driving certain racial groups away.
I do miss Malaysia. So very much. I miss the culture. The accent. The food (glorious glorious atherogenic food). The smells, the humidity. The people. I'd even say women, but I can't say that now that I'm engaged, can I? (Oops, I just did, didn't I?)
What I don't miss? The overt racism. Call it NEP, call it privileges. Whatever you call it, it's by definition the practice of racism. Except that it's endorsed by the gomen. Neither do I miss idiots like Kai-ri, who says he's not a bigot while calling Anwar a puppet for the West and for the Jews (firstly, where on Earth did that come from? Secondly, if you don't consider that statement racist then maybe I'm just being high from glue-sniffing).
In many ways I still consider myself a patriot, though a frustrated and somewhat helpless one. Someone who still loves his home country and yearns only for the best for Her. However, one who feels forced away by policies that invoke a strong sense of resentment. And though some may accuse me of being otherwise, I'd argue that a true patriot is one who wants the best for his country as a whole, not one who is interested in safeguarding only his own group's interest.
Happy Merdeka, Malaysia!