Sunday, May 13, 2007


Growing up, I never gave a thought about discrimination.

When I was in high school, after SPM’s results were announced, those of us Malay boys with good results, excitedly discussed about going to the University and which scholarship to apply. Not my Chinese friend. I asked him “Where you think you’ll go man?”. He just smiled and told me “I’m going to take up Form Six, and start from there”. I ignorantly asked “Why you want to go for Form Six? Your results are excellent. You even managed to get high grade in Pengetahuan Agama Islam (Islamic Education) and you don’t want to apply for University and get the scholarships? What is wrong with you?”. He said “I am not a Bumiputera, only Bumiputera will be considered man”.

After college, searching for jobs, I found an advertisement which I met all the requirements except the ability of speaking any Chinese dialects which is one of the requirement. I applied for the job anyway and manage to get an interview with the company. At the end of the interview session one of panel member told me “I am sorry, you have all the qualification we need, but unfortunately you cannot speak a single Chinese dialect. You didn’t get the job.” I pointed the obvious to them and said “You were conducting the interview in English and I think the job doesn’t require the skills of speaking Chinese ”. He just shrugged his shoulders and blurted out “ Sorry, you are not Chinese”.

In Malaysia we have sugar coated phrases like ‘preferential treatment’ and `affirmative action’ of a certain race. The truth is these things are so embedded in our society that we usually do not regard such policies and remarks as discrimination and offensive.

It could lead to outright racism if we as Malaysians continue to ignore it.


Anonymous said...

An eye opener. At least we realised that it is not a one way traffic issue. I experienced the same situation a few times.

akula said...

anonymous: And still happening...

Desparil said...

requirements on language proficiency is ok, IMO. you can pick up new languages but you're stuck being malay/chinese/whatever for life..

akula said...

desparil: you're right. And I really dont appreciate those racial labels too. Race got nothing to do with one's ability.

Roti Kacang Merah said...

tis so f*kn true.

had a close friend. chinese of course. scored 10As in SPM (in early 90s, that's real smthn). dad's a shoemaker, mom's a homemaker. and all he had left was to work as a site supervisor, painstakingly saved up money, and got into uni at 25.

while I, with my 6As, managed to get 3 sponsorship offers for overseas studies, which of course I turned two down.

and all i had in my head was... why tha hell ppl still vote for this kind of system for?!

akula said...

RKM : Mayb because we are so comfortable under our own racial tempurung kot?