What am I going to tell my grandchildren next time ?

(This post is in response to the article in Malaysiakini :  Tengku Faris: Non-Malays should not seek equality)

Even though my childhood memories are very blurred now, I can still remember that from the time I was conscious of my surroundings, I had been taught one simple fact of life – that all men are equal in this world. My parents, being both intellectuals in the teaching profession, had always stressed to me that every son and daughter of theirs were equal in their eyes.

When I was older,   women teachers were fighting for equal treatment as their male counterparts; equality of the sexes were again ingrained in my mind. I remember I was very glad when one day my mother came back from school and told us that she would be getting same pay as her male counterpart. It was really not the pay, because as small kids the value of money was not so important to us, but rather we were happy because the equal status made our mother very proud and happy.

In schools, we were taught the same thing— that all men are equal. We learned from history how India had started to do away with the caste system, how in Euporean countries. all citizens were treated equal. I learned about Martin Luther King and his “I have a dream” speech. I read about how in USA, civil rights movement had succeeded in getting equal rights for all races.

 I read the book “All men are brothers” from Dr Albert Schweitzer when I was older , and the notion of equality of all people are again ingrained on me. By the way, the book influenced me into taking up medicine.

All great religions teach about equality of mankind. Even UN passed the Universal declaration of Human rights, in which all humankind are supposed to have same rights and deserve the same treatment. As the world progresses to be one single big family, inequality has become less and less, and I believe that there would come one day, call me an idealist, that all men will be truely equal.

Now, suddenly, someone important is telling me that all my notion of equality is not vaild in this country.  My dream of equality can only be dreamt. How do I feel? How do you feel?

One royalty is telling us that a certain portion of Malaysians, which include me and my family,  cannot be equal and should not seek equal treatment; That there are in fact different classes of races in the country; that even those  born in this country long after Independence will still have to carry the burden left behind by our forefathers. How do you feel?  I feel disgusted and cheated.

Are we really still so medieval that we still need to have different classes of citizens? Can’t all citizens be treated equal – the tenet of the most basic of human rights?

I don’t know how to answer that. 

All my life , I have taught my children about fairness and equality. Now what am I going to tell my grandchildren?



14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. novice101
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 13:59:35

    A reminder – all men are equal!

    Abdullah Badawi solely to be blamed for the dismal result?

    It’s a sad fact of life that when one is down, one is left to stand alone. One is asked to shoulder all blame though, in life, this is never the case. One is isolated, cast to the wolves. In worst cases, the ones one has helped and whom one has placed one’s faith in, joined with the crowd to go for one’s blood. All these, from the mildest to the worst scenarios, are now being played out in UMNO!

    Having been through one month of humiliation, he must be at his lowest, right now. For all his faults, this treatment meted out to him is not fair. If, the UMNO people do not want to speak out for him, the rakyat should.

    The present state of the nation (the emergence of the 2-party system), which we think is good for the nation, would not have come about if not for AAB’s more tolerant and liberal attitude.

    A more basic consideration is the human values. What democratic principles are we talking about if we don’t offer a peron his basic right – the democratic right to dignity and respect!


  2. yh
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 17:46:22

    Gerakan knows it cant change UMNO within the system tried it may. Dr Toh has come to the same conclusion. UMNO will continue to play its trump card which is race or more precisely “ketuanan melayu”. and the more it loses ground, the party will swing hard and fast to the far right. what can Gerakan do but to watch and continue to lose its credibility.


  3. jughead
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 19:34:15

    Malayans are very self centred. They think they are Malaysia and ignore the rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians. They join the formation of Malaysia just not to have equal rights? If there are no equal rights this case it is better for them not to be part of Malaysia.


  4. t j lim
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 19:37:57

    There should not be different classes of citizens., The country should make an effort to ensure those less fortunate are helped to achieve irregardless of race or creed. The field must be level for all.
    Those who depend on racist policies should be jailed. They can only create civil strive sooner or later. Education should be free for all and all those in grave need given aid for basic survival needs. Meritocracy must reign supreme.


  5. t j lim
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 19:43:10

    The country needs honest politicians. All those crooks have to be thrown out or investigated and charges prefered. They are the scur of society and if not brought to heel will damn the whole country.


  6. Penang
    Apr 15, 2008 @ 20:55:42

    “All my life, I have taught my children about fairness and equality. Now what am I going to tell my grandchildren?”

    You sez the above, not me. And since you’ve sez it yerself, I just couldn’t help but wonder …

    Why none of your children ever asked you questions like —

    “Why there are things like Bumiputras and non-Bumiputras?”

    “Why them Malays got special rights?”

    “Why my Indian classmate who scored better than my Malay classmates can’t get into university?”

    “Why so unfair?”


  7. jeff
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 03:01:01

    “All men are created equal” is an eloquent speech given by a civil right activist in search of racial equality in a racist confederate states in USA, Martin Luther King is a man of GOD who walk in the path of righteousness where this royal son of Kelantan is just a racist who pray on Ketuanan melayu for everlasting position of power in Malaysia. How can you compare a man with a scum?


  8. Peter Yew
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 15:55:39

    The destruction of race relationship, the promotion of corruption and cronyism and the integration of politics with race and religion took place under the Mahathir Administration. No other previous prime ministers could have wrought such a damage as this man whose 22 years of dictatorial reign literally destroyed our nation. Whatever good he did cannot under the wrongs he created. 22 years! So much good can be done if he really meant to make our nation great. He could have build a strong Malaysian identity, pushed us to succeed through hard work and excellence and build a powerful tolerance and respect for each other’s culture and religion. He was visionary. He saw how globalization would strike us but he did not prepare us, and the Malays especially, to face it. That is now history and we are left to see the setbacks caused by him. If ever we are asked to name one man who did good and bad at the same time, it has to be Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

    So our grandchildren will not inherite a nation united, but one divided. We need another generation at least to heal the wounds and forge the unity we ought not to have lost. In the 1970s, Malaysia was the leading ASEAN nation and one of the young tigers of East Asia, today it is but a whimpering shadow of what we were supposed to have grown up to be. So much infighting, so much trivializing, so much wastages, so much distracting frm the true goals of growing up to be a matured society.

    I am sorry that our grandchildren will not have a better Malaysia than when I was young. However, the Pakatan government has given me some hope. Maybe in 10 years time we may yet realize a truly Malaysian Malaysia that we were talking and yearning about for so long.


  9. Ah Wong
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 16:15:15

    “Article 153 of the Federal Constitution states the special position of the Malays and the natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak, however, this should be read alongside with Article 153(7) which also reads that “Nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorize the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege.”


  10. jeff
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 00:41:43

    ONE very important factor resulted in Malaysia stagnation and in-competitiveness in the global world is because of those bunch of umnoputra racist thugs, who continue to squander the country , threaten minority citizens, disregard of universal value, human rights n decency, who in their own twisted mind and way,constantly in violation of the very foundation this country has built on to be a true democracy.


  11. steven
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 04:30:42

    It is a tragic scene for younger generation of Malaysians especially the minority, judging from the “hate speech” of one of the royal family member in kelantan question the right of all Malaysians under the constitution, who instead of using his position of ruler to defend justice for all his subjects, choose to appease malay extremists in delivering divisive directive in this moment of the country new dawn era, is he too happy to see Malaysia backtracking to protect his everlasting position as a royal son?


  12. Ahpek
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:03:50

    Is it really true all religions teach “all men are created equal” to their followers? or it is just one religion believe in this tenet, anybody care to answer my question,


  13. Penang
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:10:15

    “Is it really true all religions teach “all men are created equal” to their followers? or it is just one religion believe in this tenet, anybody care to answer my question”

    Am not qualified to deal with religion, but will only say that, AFAIK, none of the world religion teaches the “All men are created equal” thing.

    Lord Buddha didn’t say that.

    Lord Jesus didn’t say that either.

    Nor did Prophet Mohammad.

    Nor anyone from the Taoism.

    Hinduism? I can’t say, because I dunno much about Hinduism.


  14. Ahpek
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 23:44:09

    Penang: TY for the straight answer. I have never come across any of that statement from the mouth of religion messagers or any holy text, so i guess it’s Abraham Lincoln own belief system , which form the basic for his proclamation of emancipation in USA that lead to civil war.


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