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Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Being a Malaysian citizen has its pros and cons. Being a Malaysian means that you would usually automatically be bi- or trilingual. You would experience many different cultures without compromising your own (usually), and you basically get along with people better because you're usually exposed to so many different types of people with different backgrounds and such.

The cons are that there are still a few people who refer to Malaysia as "the country above Singapore". Also, you have to endure the every-Friday traffic jams near mosques. Inconsiderate, "kepoh" drivers who slow down traffic just to take a photo of an accident at a highway. Mat rempits. Useless roadblocks during festive seasons. Traffic signs right at the junction, usually covered by some tree or plant.

The most important issues - corruption and racism.

When you encounter a roadblock on the road, and you find that you indeed have made a violation of traffic rules (speeding, tinted windows, etc), you just need to whip out RM10-RM50 along with your ID or driving licence and you're free to go without a ticket.

Most taxi drivers these days (I can only vouch for KL taxis) require negotiation before boarding their taxis, despite the large sign on their vehicles saying "no haggling, this taxi runs on meter". Wherever that is less frequented by people who take taxis, traffic congestion-prone roads, or if your destination is considered too near, they would rather pass of the opportunity for business rather than entertain you. This is a real humiliation, especially where tourists are concerned.

Every Friday, at around lunch hour, many cars - big and small - will be parked along the roads illegally as the Muslims conduct their prayer. However, during other big holidays like Deepavali (for Indians) and Chinese New Year (for the Chinese), illegally parked vehicles are all issued tickets. Notice how I left out Hari Raya? Yes. This is how things work in Malaysia - if you're Malay, anything goes. If you're some other race, then you're discriminated.

Just recently, there's a video circulating on Facebook about this fight at a KFC in iCity (I think) between a few employees and a customer. I have no idea what triggered the fight, but around 3-4 Malay young men were behaving aggressively to the Chinese man. There's another employee who tried to stop those few who wanted to fight, but to no avail. The Chinese man got punched, and that was the end of the video.

There was another similar incident like this that I witnessed myself. I was in Genting Highlands indoor theme park with my high school friends for a post-graduation trip. We were waiting for this indoor coaster, and the line was mighty long. There were lots of parents and their children in line, as well as many youngsters much like ourselves.

However, there was a Malay man and his son who were constantly taking up the front seat of the ride, without getting off for many times consecutively. A Chinese man, who was stupid enough to call the man something extremely offensive, triggered anger and aggression in most of the staff, who were also Malay. He, and his wife and two young children, were immediately surrounded by the angered staff. However, the Chinese man left, after still being a prick despite his wife's pleas telling him to just apologize and drop the matter.

There are two faults here. First, the Chinese man could've just politely pointed out the blatantly obvious fact, no matter how frustrated he is. The Malay man might be wrong, but it does not call for such blatantly rude behavior. Second, the Malay man could have shown some consideration for the other passengers waiting in line. The commotion could have also been avoided if everyone just acted like gentleman, instead of putting everyone in such an awkward situation.

I'm not saying that all Malay people are like this. I'm trying not to offend anyone, though it's inevitable that I do. However, I have met many very nice and wonderful Malay people, like Mahirah and her dear mother, who are especially nice and open-minded. It's sad to say that racism exists in Malaysia in a lot of people, everyone discriminating each other.

1Malaysia is a very good concept - the unity of all the races in Malaysia, under one flag and country. Let's stop arguing about who discovered Malaysia first and who owns it. Let's stop being so racist and just live together in harmony - it is possible.

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