It has been approximately 2 months of staying inside and I have only been able to observe the “outside” world through my phone. At first it was more or less the same. People were still absentmindedly following rules. To stay inside is to be safe. To stay inside is to keep your loved ones safe. To stay inside is to protect. We all got that right (well only 95% of our country got that right on some random day of the week during this lockdown). When our leaders impose rules onto society, we follow. That is good because it keeps things at a stable state. But then what happens when there are no rules? Or a better question would be “What happens when there is no distinction between the morally wrong and the morally right?”.
What happens when your skin is different than the others? What happens when a friend of yours gets called out for being “dark skinned” or “slanted eyed”? What happens when you want to go for a job interview but you have to speak a certain language to qualify? What happens when someone you DON’T know gets beaten just because they are not from “here”? Surely it is enough to anger some of us due to the inhumanity of the issue. But then do we really get angry? Or do we simply just swipe down, up, left, right, close the app on our phones?
That was a bit harsh I am sorry. But we really have to address the elephant in the room;; our racism is just as bad as it is in the United States. Somehow after 63 years of independence and 57 years of Malaysia’s establishment we still don’t like each other just because of our physical traits and where we “came from”. Some might argue that the marginalised groups here are at peace and that we are “nicer” than the US because we don’t see people being killed because of their skin colour. Somehow it is “nicer” here because we give our marginalised brothers and sisters houses to live in, education, their right to “live”. Somehow it is BETTER here because even though we throw out racial slurs from our mouths, we still let them stay here in our “beloved” Malaysia. Do we really love Malaysia? Or do we just say “merdeka” when it’s time to say it? We really don’t know how to address hate do we? Because for decades we never got the chance to improve ourselves since everyone just wants business as usual. I also have to mention how some of the marginalised communities have also adopted this idea of racism because of how oppressed they have been. Yes, it is funny that the major race in our country can also be victims of racism. Yet we just resort to the same methods we use which is fighting hate with hate.
Of course, a critique is not a critique if it has no solutions that can give hope. Readers, look at the diversity we have in our country. The colours, the delicious foods, the festivities we have here. I love how we all can experience the fun and joy of being together with such differences. Shouldn’t all this diversity be celebrated? Maybe it’s our understanding of such differences that is wrong. Maybe we’re not reading enough about how differences bring us closer together. So, I propose we all should indulge in the historical aspects of the wide variety of cultures in Malaysia. Maybe then we get to see how we’re just no different from each other. We are the same yet different and we’re different in a good way.
Why is it so hard to be kind to people? Why is having empathy hard? Why is it so easy to hate? How is the world this way? All these questions make me feel hopeless but when I see people in a very small multiracial kampung be happy together makes me feel like there is hope. However, that is only a small part of our community. How is everywhere else then? I don’t know. I really don’t know but I can only hope. It’s a shame how this turned out to be some sort of a rant filled with simple questions that no one has the answers to. It’s just really sad how we’re just doing nothing to eradicate racism at a large scale. Having laws to counter these things won’t cut it because people would just misuse the laws. Law enforcers also can be racists too. We’re hopeless. But then why is New Zealand is considered as one of the most peaceful countries you can live in? How is it that the people there are so nice to people? How come their people are so happy? At one time New Zealand was considered to be the most “Islamic” country when muslims are minorities there. How is that possible? We don’t know. My take would be due to their mentality as a whole. The education system there treated people equally and maybe that’s the problem with us. They teach people how to love. We teach people how to hate. People aren’t born racist.
We need to voice out more. We need to teach people to love more regardless of race. We need to teach future generations to not make the same mistakes we and the generations before us made. We need us to be together.
Megat Nurul Anwar bin Ahmad Nazeri
(Cabaran Penulisan Artikel – Kategori UIAM)