Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Write About Politics Again

I watched Lord of War recently. Brilliant. Go and watch it.

It was quite intriguing. It's not every day you watch a movie about the secret life of gunrunners.

I did some reading and according to the stuff I read in Wikipedia, it's possible that this movie is at least in part, inspired by the exploits of Victor Bout. Very interesting. Even more interesting is the fact that the Pentagon used Bout to source equipment for the new Iraqi Army.

And speaking of Wikipedia, today's featured article is very surprising. It is non other than the very controversial Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia.

I'm not going to elaborate. Go and read the article, especially if you are Malaysian. It's important to know things like this. I wonder if they teach this in school?

I don't think so. Anyway, I'm not going to talk about that. Maybe some other time.

One thing though, there is an error in the article. There is a section that says,"Under Mahathir, quotas for entry into public universities were enforced, with some universities such as Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) admitting only Malay students." (emphasis added by me).

That should read only Bumiputera students.

Privately, I think it's due time that UiTM do away with this. I don't buy the excuse that if UiTM opens its doors to students of other races, this will somehow undermine Bumiputeras. This argument doesn't make sense anymore.

Then again, a lot of times we hear the government say things like this. Things that perpetuate fear and paranoia among Bumiputeras, infering that if they don't watch themselves, the "evil" non-Bumis will take everything away again.

Come on, this is impossible. Who holds the government? Some politicians still play that "the Bumiputera races are oppressed and poor" ticket. Let's ask a very interesting and potentially difficult question,"If Bumiputeras are still oppressed, disadvantaged and poor, who is doing the oppressing? Who has the advantage? Who holds the wealth?"

Again, who controls the government?

I say they should look into modifying the NEP and other affirmative action programs to concentrate less on race and more on social conditioning. For example, there are so many Indian Malaysians who live under the poverty line. Who's going to help them? The government can, and should do more for them.

Malaysia is a funny country like that. All this talk and bluster about integration and unity and we still have stuff like NEP looming over our heads.

I'm a Bumiputera. A Dayak. A country bumpkin from Sarawak, a supposedly backwards, backwater state from Borneo. If some politicians are to be believed, there is no way in hell that I could compete with my allegedly superior and more capable Chinese friends when it comes to school, jobs etc. At least not with things like subsidies and quotas and things like that.

I could compete and I did. And I did it with almost no help from the powers that be. Quota or no quota, my SPM results were good enough for me to walk into any local university (and some foreign ones, if not for the lack of funds). At work, I'm as good as anyone here, maybe better.

I didn't need no extra help and I guarantee you that many indigenous Bumiputeras don't need help also.

I say, help poor people. Not just poor Bumiputera people.

I know, I sound really naive. But that's just me being idealistic. Having said that, some things are changing. Certain things are beginning to shift. For example, recently people in the government have noticed that the Chinese and Indians don't want to be cops and soldiers and civil servants. The numbers don't add up. Nearly half the country is made up of non-Muslims and non-Bumiputera but the breakdown in civil service doesn't reflect that.

They see something wrong here. At least they see. Maybe they'll even ask why. Whether anything will be done about this is something else.

We'll just have to see. In the mean time, we'll just have to make sure we don't accidentally vote hardcore racists into power. They are enough of those around already anyway.

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