Two weeks ago, I was the guest for a internet radio interview. The radio station is none other than durian fm, started by Jamal, the Chinese speaking DJ who was asked to quit last year from a political-party-owned radio station.
The interview was in English, and the moderator was my friend Khoo Kay Peng. The session lasted 2 hours, over which many topics were discussed.
I said that there is a universal value accepted by all and which is enshrined in Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration: that all men are born equal.
I said that it is also a universal value for people to help the poor, and not the rich. You donate to charity, not to millionaires.
I also said that within every ethnic group, there is the clever and mighty and there is the poor and downtrodden. the clever and mighty will do well without any help, but the poor and downtrodden will need cructches for them to stand up.
Take a nation which has 3 races, let’s name them A, B, and C. Let’s say that in A, 50% are poor and needs help. In B, 20 % are poor and needs help, in C 30%.
All these people need what we call affirmative action to stand up and get out of poverty.
I am all for affirmative action, but i feel that this should be given according to social strata and not to be identified with race.
If we have a policy favouring A more than B or C, it is human nature that B and C would not feel happy. If we have a policy favouring B , A and C would not be happy. If we have a policy favouring C, then again A and B would not be happy. This is because if affirmative action is race-based, even the rich within the preferred group would get help, whereas the poor in the non-preferred group would not get any help, and this perceived biase would lead to discontent.
There will be non-stop squabblings and all the energy will be wasted on this, instead of concentrating on nation building and economic development. There are many examples of these in the world, the worse would be the Rwanda case where actual genocide was carried out.
If affirmative action is carried out according to social strata , like in some of the Socialist democratic nations of Europe, the 50% of poor A, the 20% of poor B and the 30% of poor C will all get help. All the poor will be given help to enable them to compete on a more level fields against the better endowed and richer counterparts. The races would not have any more squabblings because help is now given not according to colour but instead it is given based on needs.
That is what the ideology of a fair and equal society is about.
There is no such case of ” better be ruled over than walked over”, as alleged by a racist group, since this form of socially based action is only to help the poor, which is a universally accepted value.
In the radio talk, I also mentioned about the printing of the holy books by various religions.
The logic is actually very simple. In Japan, holy scriptures of various religions are printed in Japanese, in Korea Korean. Buddhist scripts in China are printed in Chinese, even though it was originally in Sanskrit.Bibles in China is also printed in CHinese.
The reason is simple. The medium of instruction in Japan is Japanese, in China Chinese, in Korea Korean. In Indonesia, all holy books are printed in Indonesian, because it is the medium of instruction there.
So if the medium of instruction in Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia, then there is really nothing wrong for any holy books to be printed in Bahasa, since in the spirits of Article 11 of the Constitution, people have a right to practice their own religions and that means their holy books need to be in a language that they understand.