Vivegavalen Vadi Valu, a Malaysian-Indian, entreats the leaders of both coalitions to listen to young Malaysians.
You and I, we are not so different.
We grew up in the same multi-racial neighbourhood, playing in the same padang and enjoying the same food. We come from a modest family, parents who strive hard to not only provide for the family but for a better future for their children. We grew up blinded to each other’s race and religion. We lived and loved as one, free from the indoctrination of society so adamant in changing us to become part of a divided system that would one day destroy our beloved Malaysia.
I remember once coming home from primary school crying having been thrown stones at and called ‘keling’, a derogatory word often hurled at people of my colour. I did not understand then why — why I could not mix with my Malay friends or why I had to be wary of my Chinese friends. You see, I was only seven and what seven-year-old could understand racism? A wall was built that day, a wall that if not for a few gems along the way would have destroyed me, made me one of them. As I grew older, my eyes saw no more of one but of many, of superior and inferior and of yellow and brown. Why? In our history books, it mattered not if the founder of this country was from the lineage of the Srivijaya and Chola empirse because Interlok teaches us that my people are naught but ‘pendatang’.
At a restaurant, I once overheard a Chinese family threatening their kid to hurry up and eat before the “scary Indian man” comes and takes them away. A harmless story to many, it struck a deep chord which pained me to great lengths. You see, almost every day, if you were to flip the tabloids or switch the news channels, somewhere out there is an Indian committing crime. My question to you is would any one person choose stealing as means of feeding their family or would any one person chose a life of crime if they were given equal opportunity in education and work? Why is it that in every other country, an Indian is a pioneer in the field of medicine, IT or law, but in a Malaysia I would bet my life that there still are stateless Indians after 55 years of independence?
The fundamental problem isn’t because of our upbringing or even society to a certain extent. The fundamental problem is the leaders we have put in place, who no longer serve us but instead dictate our lives using fear to divide and conquer. Yes, every five years, both factions have come out in support of the people with socialist policies which often do more harm than good to the economy. RM250 for a family of six which brings in RM1,500, and RM250 for a family of three which earns RM15,000 is equality, but is it just?
Either way, no amount of vouchers or free goodies every now and then is going to change the fact that my people and many more Malaysians have been denied justice. As Malaysians, we are genuinely united, loving and tolerant of each other, and as such we do not need any campaign or propaganda to teach us otherwise. What every Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Iban, Kadazan, Dusun and Melanau wants is a fair, transparent and clean government working with the people’s best interest at heart. What every Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Iban, Kadazan, Dusun and Melanau needs is quality education, equal job opportunities and an overall decent lifestyle for their families.
On the 5th of May, Malaysians will once again stand up and be heard. You would do well to note that we are no longer afraid and neither are we as divided as you may think, my good sirs. The boy who was insulted and thrown stones at, today has friends of Malay and Chinese origins, best friends who together with him would die for each other and the country, in the hope that someday, our children will be able to grow and live in a truly united and racially blind Malaysia that we have been unfortunately denied.