Another from the BC HRC egroup discussion.
Schools, I will comment on.
Firstly, vernacular schools are a pointless idea. I think that the moment this country decided to be a nation, all have decided to absolve themselves from their “national origin”. I personally find it insulting that Malaysians are still referred to by their ethnicity i.e. Chinese, Indian, Eurasian, Lain-Lain, etc. That in itself is what’s sowing the seeds of polarity and fueling societal schisms. If indeed we are a multi-racial society, then we are too diverse to be defined.
And then there is Religion; this incessant need (amongst Muslims especially) to subvert all by saying “My God is better than your God” or “My God is the only God”. This is only tearing the social fabric of this country up and is silencing the population; denying youths the opportunity to pursue knowledge and engage in social discourse.
Schools should serve as the fundamental pillar by which the youths of this country are given access to wisdom and allowed to think as widely as possible in the fields that they are most passionate about. It should not be a ground by which communities are divided ethnically and made to attend different classes (Islam and Pendidikan Moral). Nor should it also be a place where the propagation of language is stifled. If Man is not taught how to communicate, how shall he speak?
Schools must I firmly believe conduct all their subjects in English. Make Malay a compulsory subject. Also provide the option for a student to either learn one of the Chinese languages or one of the Indian languages – this I believe must be fervently propagated. Most importantly, there should be NO religious education of any sort. Which invisible man one chooses to worship is an issue for him to deal with at home and not in public life. My God has no bearing on your life and neither has yours on mine. My relationship with my God is personal.
One of the cornerstones of any multi-racial society has always been the freedom for people of different ethnicities to come together and start a family. That cannot be done in Malaysia because one would have to be Muslim to marry a Malay. Where is the logic in that? My love for another goes beyond the message of any Prophet, Sage or Holy Man. Kahlil Gibran very wisely said in The Prophet –
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
I can find no truer words.
Schools should be the very place where we are stripped off our bigotry and prejudices, where our minds are illuminated and where we are all made to feel at home in this beautiful Peninsula.
Alas, the people of this country fail to see that.