When your country doesn't love you back, you look for love elsewhere

Erna Mahyuni
Erna Mahyuni

NOVEMBER 27 — I angered quite a few people from a certain minority race in Malaysia with my last column. Truthfully it was not my intent but neither do I have regrets.

Can you really blame me to find it disturbing to see my countrymen lavishing praise on China and mocking Hong Kong protesters?

If anything they have more in common with the Hong Kong protesters who lashed out at powers that will not listen to them.

They should know just what it means to feel as though your opinions do not matter and see your rights run over roughshod.

One reader was so angry with me that I received a long email diatribe about the “evils” Western countries have perpetrated.

Last time I checked, though, the US hasn't shot an unarmed protester in the chest, or at least not this year.

One thing for certain is that despite Malaysia being more than 50 years old, we still only pay lip service to the dignity, rights and aspirations of our minority races.

Being a minority does not mean that you mean less, that you are in any way, an inferior Malaysian.

It must be tiresome to be treated as though your concerns matter little and to have your own (former) prime minister ask mockingly, “What else do you want?”

There are no happy minority races in Malaysia. If there is one thing that unites them all, they are all miserable in their own fashion.

We can't keep pretending that's not the case.

If there is one thing our politicians need to start doing now is to stop any aspersions on race and origins. No more “go back where you came from”, no more denying the poorest of our minorities affirmative action.

You do not need to be Malay to be Malaysian. The sooner some of our politicians remember that, the better.

I do not believe in the concept of unity. I despise overt shows of patriotism and nationalism breeds injustice and intolerance over anything else.

What I do believe is that Malaysians deserve better than to be told that their worth to this country hinges on their race.

To Malaysia's minorities I ask only this ― that you do not turn away from this country, at least not yet. We are richer for your presence and we need you more than some of our politicians will care to admit out loud.

What matters, here and now, is you remember that this is your country too and only you have the power to remind your leaders of the fact.

Ignore those who make too much of the title “sons of the soil” and instead reclaim the fact that we are all anak Malaysia.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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