Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Go Ahead Lie To Yourself.

Maybe there is a guy who is completely not racist but I reckon in a lot of ways we all are and there's no point denying it. We should be frank with ourselves to accept the fact that everyone is racist depending on the time of day it is, or depending on his/her personal experience in dealing with a guy from a different race. If you've been robbed, beaten and raped by an Eskimo, I believe you are gonna stereotype all Eskimos are robbers, rapists, hideous, ugly, and not very tall. You'd probably going to draft, if you happen to be an important guy in the government, policies that discriminate Eskimos because of what an Eskimo did to you. That's just the way it is. Everyone of us is racist one way or another and there's no need for us to lie to ourselves anymore.
You won't have me believe in a million years that there is such a thing as a guy who is completely not racist who can accept people as they are and not have that nagging feeling inside his heart that his is a better race than the one picking up the garbage, or working under the mid-day sun paving the road, or driving a boss' car to send his daughter to Taekwondo class or piano class, or some place in Bukit Kiara to learn how to ride a horse.
Maybe there is such a guy but I haven't met him. Of course people say this all the time; I'm open-minded, I'm not racist, I read a lot of books, hey I love that theater or opera, or hey I know that Chef, or I can sympathize with their struggle, yea there is no such thing as democracy in this country and yak yak yak. But you know they are lying to themselves blind. Even the most liberal-minded white guy in the world will say something like; black is not too good for the interior theme of this club, what say you, old sport?
We gotta learn to live with ethnocentrism and the sooner we accept the fact that this is not going to go away, at least not in our time, the better it is for us to understand why people do the thing they do, and why certain policy favors one guy and alienates the other. Of course the level of discriminatory practices vary from one country to another, depending on how deep rooted the hatred the guy at the top has toward the guy below him. Before you go shoot me for trying to suggest that every guy at the bottom should know his place and that he's gotta accept whatever the guy on top has got coming for him, lemme just say this. ONE: there's a limit to how much a guy on the lower rung of the ethnic ladder can take the discriminatory practices the guy on top has in store. TWO; there is a limit to how much the guy on the upper rung of the ethnic ladder can take the demands made by the guy on the lower rung to be as equal as possible in terms of social status, citizenship, economic opportunities and others I don't quite know how to describe, or to list them all out.
This is what we gotta deal with. Maybe you wanna blame the universe for being born to a certain race and not the other like white American, white Briton, white Australian, white New Zealander, or a Brahmin. The truth is you can change your name but I'd like to see if you can change your race. Of course you can put on an Apache war suit, live like an Apache, marry an Apache, die like one but people are gonna write on your tombstone something like; here's lies a crazy Semang who worked so hard t'be an Apache but he died tryin' with his eyes open and mouth gaping for a bit more air so he can keep on tryin'.
We should not try to be someone we are not. If you are an Inuit then rest assured that it's best that you stick to your genetic hereditary because nature has that all planned out for you. You are gonna eat, drink, sleep, walk, laugh, cry and die the way an Inuit is supposed to die due to diabetes, hypertension, stress and too much TV not enough exercise.
I've been in circumstances where I was a minority countless times. In fact in most cases I was the only Malay, or Asian in an-all Caucasian work environment. Yes, the whites are as racist as they can be. I trust this doesn't come as a big surprise to you, unless of course you have this crazy notion that the whites are liberal and open-minded towards non-whites. And I am racist too. I consider them lazy, drink too much beer, prone to fist fight and have too much sex. Of course this is not true. And they consider me, due to my being Malay, lazy, stupid, religious, emotional, stingy and doesn't know how to have fun. Of course this is not true. I knew my place and I knew what I should do. And so I worked four times harder just to be on equal footing with them. And learn new skills as quick as I can. Sleep less. Learn more. Keep fit and not fall sick. Don't smoke. When I got into a fight I made sure I go for a kill so they knew that I wasn't afraid to die and that death is not a big deal to a crazy Malay guy like me. And I got their respect. And I respect them for being honest to give me the respect I deserve. And we became true friends.
I'm not sure exactly how the Malays, the Indians, the Chinese, the Ibans, the Kadazans and others are going to finally come together as Malaysians. Maybe this is never gonna happen because every one of us is racist - depending on who is on top of the ethnic ladder. For now the Malays are the majority in this country and so they've got the upper hand. But don't let this fool you into believing that the Malay in the country isn't being discriminated against by their own kind. You see, racism or favoritism exists even among the race itself.
We're only humans. No, violence isn't the answer because violence will lead to more violence. You slash someone today and that some one's brother is gonna come after you with a gang and you too are gonna go after him with your gang. It goes on and on.
I don't have the answers. Do you?


Blogger tokasid said...

Salam Bergen:

I agree that 99.99% of human are racist to the core.Its just whetehr you wanna admit it or lie to your own self.I guess having that racist feeling is human nature or fitrah.Most probably its in our DNA. maybe theres a chromosome that dictates our racist feelings.

Islam came to obliterate racism.To Islam, it doesn't matter what race you are, its the aqidah and iman that matters.And its the aqidah that binds different ppl of different races and palce as brothers.
(However , its unfortunate that many Muslims all over the globe had not taken heed to this. Now many Muslims practice racism or sholud I say religousism?And somehow this feeling of religousism is something like racism too).

Can we chose which race we want to be born into? Don't think so( but you have the options of choosing a religion), so is it bad being born to a race which fell into the lower rung groups? despiteb the racism in our DNA, we human should learn to control that feeling among us. I know its difficult, but hey we have many brainy ppl who study human psychology and I'm sure they can come up with something. But the problem is, these brainy guys are racist to, so we are back to square one.

Can we overcome racism in Malaysia? Well..our leaders says we can.Some even suggested a bangsa Malaysia(Malaysian race! Isn't that racism too?)But , we all know that our political leaders needs the racism thing to hold on t power. A Malay leader will be sentimental about the Malay rights in close door meetings.He might say the 'other' are this and that and this will rouse the 'semangat Melayu'. The Indians too( behind close doors) will say we are being discriminated and ignored by the Malay Muslim leaders, we don't get govt jobs like the Malays and out temples are being setroyed every week here and there.Same thing with the Chinese: we are the one which brought prosperity to the country,without us Chinese, the Malays will still be in their kain pelikat with no shoes and maybe will still live on the trees!
So, you see here this racism thing is the lifeline for most political parties in Malaysia.

And you are right, for us to keep our heads cool, we lie to ourselves.
But the racism fire keep glowing like the charcoals of the satay seller.

Me,don't have any answer to.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

You are very right when you say everyone is a racist. He always identifies himself by his race. I am Malay, I am Chinese. Everyone would like to belong to something. The herd instinct is in everyone. We can't escape from that.

What is most important is that we should not be preoccupied with our race so much so it dictates our every action and reaction. We should not allow it to be that we even blame a mosquito for threatening our race when it bites us.

It should not come to the point where we don't even sit at the same table as our friends of different races. It should not be that we would not even try to help a drowning man if he is of another race. It should not be that we take pleasure to see a person suffer just because he is of another race. It should not be that we see anyone of another race as someone out to get us.

To say there is no racist in oneself is surely stretching it too far but to say that one's every action should be decided on the basis of race is very-very wrong. To not try to curtail and control the racist in oneself is very-very wrong.

Yes, it is true that the Malays are the majority in this country and are thereby lord. There are good lords and yet again there are bad lords.

At the end of the day it is we who judge ourselves. What others say of ourselves are not important. Have we tried to be as unracist (if there is such a word)as we possibly could or we simply don't care. Yes, we can't lie to ourselves.

8:42 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Tokasid: ...glowing like the charcoals of the satay seller. Doc, have you had dinner? LOL.

Kata Tak Nak: It's a balancing act. Do too little for your race, your own people will accuse you of not protecting their interest. Do too much for other race, your people will accuse of giving in to other's demands. It's impossible not to favor your own people when you have the power to do so.

Even the Qur'an says we should be compassionate to fellow Muslims, but harsh on non-Muslims. (To Muslim who don't read Qur'an, or don't study Tafsir, or don't know Arabic, or who don't consider Qur'an the ultimate source of reference, or those uneasy with the teachings of the Qur'an, or have never studied Usulluddin, or have never studied Hadith either Bukhari or Muslim, or don't read Qur'an on daily basis, please do not try to infer this Ayat with your own interpretation.)

Yes, Tokasid is right. Islam is above race. And this is achieved during Rasulullah and the 4 caliphs. Even during Rasulullah a sahabat called a black sahabat with: 'hey you, the son of a black mother'. He was sternly dealth with by Rasulullah and this is enough for him to feel sorry that he ask the black sahabat to slap his face with his (the black sahabat) shoes.

It makes you wanna cry to learn of this incident because it makes us realise how far we have digressed from the beauty of Islam. I reckon the further away we are from the time of wafat of Rasulullah, the closer we are to being back to the ways of the Jahilliyah where women are nothing but merchandise, rights to be abused etc.

No, the world will never again experience the golden era of Islam of Rasullullah time.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

By all means, do all you have to for your own race and those of your religion. I am all for it, in fact I consider it a duty, but I am also for being fair to others without taking away what is theirs. That's all I have been trying to say but maybe I am not able enough to say it. Believe me I understand.

Its just that I have seen so much unfairness and injustice to both my race and religion as well as other races and religion that I despise it so much that I don't care who commits it.

Please don't say, it happens everywhere, that is the way it is. I know it happens everywhere and that's the way it is, and I also know that it is still wrong.

It saddens me to see how my race has 'progressed'. It saddens me to see how many progressive Malays behave and live. It eats me up to hear what people say about my people because no matter how much I try to defend them, deep down in my heart, I know what they say is true. But does that mean I would not defend my race? I am a penderhaka if I don't and I am not a true blue Malay.

I have always been of the opinion that the day the Great Prophet Muhammad SAW wafat, the quality of Islam declined. It has been on the decline ever since and I dread to think what it would be in 500 years to come.

In the novel Taj Mahal which is a historical fiction, the author mentioned on one of the reasons why Islam couldn't spread very widely in India is because of their rulers whose lifestyle is, at best, hedonistic. I tend to agree. That was the main reason we could not go further than Spain in Europe. There is nothing wrong with Islam but much is not right with Muslims.

Sorry if I talk too much.

12:20 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Kata Tak Nak: At the end of the day, politics is about numbers. It's about how many people you managed to convince to share your views. It's about playing up people's sentiment. It's about manipulating events to your advantage. It's about being popular. It's about looks. So if you are not handsome, try to stay away from politics. Same thing if you have problem putting up fake smile for the camera.

You can do all the wrong things like build a house big as a stadium and invite the orphans to spend the night in your mansion. You can do anything you want. As long as you are popular with the people that matters, i.e people who vote for you, there's nothing to worry about if some journalist writes about you in the newspapers. Datuk Zakaria Md Deros is even more popular with the people than before his mansion story got into the papers.

Of course, people say that politician is corrupt, this politican bought votes with money obtained from the government but the truth is a lot of people don't care. People who read blogs may care but most of them are just visitors who prefer to complain and remain anonymous.

For every 10 anti-government bloggers, there are thousands non bloggers who don't care much about what's going on in the country other than to make sure that their vote go to the BN because all they want is peace.

We should know by now how the government plays up the propaganda machine during election and how it works like magic every time. They lost once and the country went haywire. Of course people can say it's the government themselves who started it but I find it hard to believe because the image of non-Malays going about on the open truck carrying the brooms to chase away the Malays has been permanently embedded in my mind.

Politicians are the same, regardless of which side of the fence they come from. Don't get the impression that I am trying to raise political issues with you here, sir.

What I'm saying is UMNO knows how to play the game very well. They know numbers. They know how to make you change your mind. They know what impression to give, when to give and how to give, and to whom it should be given. They've got all the support.

People may vote for the opposition out of anger over what has been happening. Maybe we should all vote for opposition for the heck of it to see for ourselves what the opposition is capable of doing. It's a big risk not everyone is willing to take. So most them are comfortable with the devil they've known all their life and most of them are not willing to take a chance on the devil they don't know.

It takes a strong issue like Iraq war for Rudd to bring down Howard. I don't think voters are going to bring down BN because Indians are not getting what they should be getting.

In fact, since the Hindraf episode, Malays have begun talking about not giving any seat to the Indian.

Usually, a rally causes more damage instead of getting those in power to improve things.

We can't compare the rallies the Malays put up during colonial time. That rally was where everyone came together to demand a common thing. The number was big enough to make an impact. I believe for a rally to make an impact, you'd need at least 2 million demonstrators.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous kl_gal said...

Yep..agree. We are all racist at our core..most of this is learned behaviour though and can be unlearned.At the top of this food chain is the Mat Salleh..it pisses me off that the entire continent of Asia seems so unabashedly infatuated with all things "white ". Bleaching face creams, double eyelid surgery, all these so called "expats aka foreign talents" who get paid 4-8x more than locals..the list goes on and on..wont bore you guys with my rantings.
Maybe this is the generation to minimise this..teach your children differently..that we all matter..regardless of skin colour,features, religion.Now lets all huddle around a campfire and sing "Kumbaya"..LOL

4:11 AM  
Blogger Mat Salo said...


Been reading your blog for sometime but finally I feel compelled to write. Your observations are so astute and realize you and I have a lot in common. To be human in this world is to be racist. The difference is the degree. Even amongst the Malays there is this Syed/Sharifah phenomenon--the Syed's looking at the other Malays as "unworthy". This of course constitutes racism.

You touched a nerve in me because all my life, starting when I was the only Melayu in the 10th largest city in the US, while a student there almost three decades back, and being the ONLY malay on campus of course, made me cognizant of racial matters. Which makes me qualified to speak, I think on the Melayu ways of thinking. Then I persued a career in the oilfield garnering the doubtful honor of being the first Malay in my particular profession. Those days my type of work was jealously guarded by the Omputih . From being a student to my chosen profession, in restropect, made me think of all the bulshit I had to endure, yeah--having to work 4x harder and all that, just to prove myself. Now, I've mellowed and I know there's no use carrying that chip on my shoulder no more. I know for a fact that we can be as good, if not better. But UMNO bigwigs don't want you to know this because they want us to be dependent. And they prefer us not to be smart, either. Better to be docile like a lamb to the slaughter...

You're right too, most people claim to be liberal, open minded and all that. As long as it doesn't personally affect them that is. For a Malay guy (or gal), try bringing home say an Indian girl/or boy friend to meet the so-called liberal parents. See how much the parents' squirm. I speak from experience because my own brother-in-law is Indian and my sister went through so much pain to see the union through. They never even had a proper wedding and I knew my parents preferred not to 'advertize'. I admit they're racists, and so was I --only the bleeding heart that I am so loved my sister dearly that I backed her up all the way. I too had misgivings about the union simply because of the family 'acceptance' factor. Life is hard, why make it harder? Now I know the error of my ways, but it still requires a lot of concious effort to thwart it.

And about the Hindraf thing re: your previous posting, I think they've gone too far and will backfire by making the Malays go more solidly behind UMNO. A step backward in our dream of a Bangsa Malaysia.

Anyway, Berge, this has gone on too long already. Enjoyed your commentaries very much. Take care.

5:38 AM  
Blogger The Ancient Mariner said...


We dont have to live with ethnocentrism or accept the fact that this is not going to go away in our time. I believe the sooner young guys like you start thinking out of the box and seeing the other guy's point of view, the better for this country.

We dont have to accept racism as the natural order of things. To do so makes one no better than the very 'racist' mat salleh you very eloquently pointed out. The Quran rejects this. Being a very large majority, we Malays can afford to be extra magnanimous. We have done so many times in the past so why should we be any different now.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

Oh yes, I know all about UMNO. Been there before. Yes, they are good with numbers, not calculus though, and they know how numbers will see them smoothly through. I know how they can drum up support at crucial times with all that they have.

All these knowledge will not kill the dreamer in me. All I ask for Hari Raya is a clean and just government and I will not stop asking.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Serenity said...

From my experience, racism did happen in developed countries too. Like in US, the Blacks only manage to cling to low income & unsecured jobs unless they have exceptional talent. Conotation of "nigger" still exist in informal situation and discrimination happens in one way or another. Blacks have been branded as lazy, fun loving, & all the negativity.

Many Malays are being sidelined too thru cronyism, nepotism and favoritism. These sort of things couldnt be eradicated but we can make things better.

10:14 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

kl_gal: In most cases, it's the system that encourages racism to persist because of the advantage it has to people who know how to use this as a trump card to power. Children are caught in the system and until something like war or major natural disasters where the system can be wiped out in blink of an eye, there is little we can do to change things. Every race considers theirs is superior than others. We gotta live with it and hope that it won't lead to civil war.

Mat Salo: Thank you for visiting. I believe it is up to the individual to break away from the stereotype usually ascribed to a race. I'm sure race has nothing to do with the desire to work hard, to improve oneself economically or academically. Neither does stupidity, laziness or being obese. Like you, I've been discriminated against and have endured all kinds of racist remarks being thrown at openly in the face but I know better that there is no point to be defensive about it. Just look at oneself as an individual and work from there, forget about race. It's about you as a person.

To everyone who came by this way, thank you for visiting and stay safe. If you are gonna participate in any street rally, stay safe.

10:46 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

The Ancient Mariner: It takes confidence for a race to accept other races as equal. Confidence comes from being great in knowledge, know-how and finally economic. We lack confidence because we are very far from being a great race. Dr Mahathir tried that and it worked for a while that Malaysians could proudly announced that he/she is a Malaysian. During his time, Malaysia was perceived as a young, dynamic country populated by intelligent people willing to work hard and become as great as the Japanese.

All this has gone down the drain when we were betrayed by greed.

10:52 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Kata Tak Nak: One can hope for two front teeth and get it. But to hope for a clean election is a dream as elusive as the woman with whom I wish to marry and start a family.

10:54 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Serenity: As long as we are born to a certain race, as long as there are as many races as they are many types of shoes, racism is here to stay.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

It was once said it is crazy to even think that we could set foot on the moon.

Yeah I read your entry about the dame you gave your heart to before you went awol. ALLAH shows his powers in mysterious ways. Of course that does not mean we don't have to try.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous noni said...

kelakor gilosss.... that bit about Eskimos being robbers, rapists, hideous and not very tall...

12:12 AM  

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