He misses - I miss - our childhood places where we grew up while living and schooling in Pasir Panjang. Tempat jatuh lagi dikenang, inikan lagi tempat bermain.
|In 2011, we made a sentimental journey to our primary school, Pasir Panjang English School. It is now a rehab centre run by evangelical Christians.|
Back in our father's homeland, my brother's family had a chance - to work hard and study diligently to make full use of the opportunities available. Malaysia helped him and his wife to bring up an engineer, a doctor and a lawyer. Don't ever think they were fed with a silver spoon by the Government. My brother and wife sacrificed and committed their resources to educating their children to enable them to compete for their places in the University. I am so proud that my engineer-nephew who had been head-hunted for a job in Toyota, Frankfurt made a decision, albeit a heart-wrenching one, to go home and serve out his bond in his country instead.
And so, this ex-Singaporean finds it very amusing when Malaysians, especially the Malays, wax lyrical about the achievements and development of the Republic of Temasek. And when they go on and on about how Malaysia should follow in the footsteps of the Mandarins and Sifus of Singapore, I can't help thinking of an image of a gibbon crushing a flower in its hands.
If these clever and articulate Malay-Malaysians had to live and study and work in Singapore they wouldn't like it one bit - for the sake of their children and their future, they would move heaven and earth to escape to Malaysia, as they did in the 1960s and 1970s. Later these Malays became more adventurous and migrated to Perth, Vancouver, Washington, Auckland - they were the pioneers of the Malay Diaspora!
So what is wrong with Malaysia - in comparison to Singapore ?
Here's an insight from the writing of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, as reported by The Malay Mail 26 March 2014.
Secondly, when did 'mollycoddling' begin ? That choice of word is an unfortunate and deliberate snipe at the policy of affirmative action for the bumiputeras.
BUT, nowhere in Datuk Zaid's Zaidgeist did he use the word 'mollycoddle' - it was the choice-word of the Malay Mail entirely. The closest reference to that boo word is Datuk Zaid's "Our Malay leaders, whether from Barisan Nasional or the Pakatan Rakyat, are very protective of Malays".
One mollycoddles or spoils someone who doesn't need or deserve the special treatment. Malay privileges and the NEP , especially after the trauma of 13 May represented the importance of bridging the yawning gap of wealth and development between the (rural) Malays and the (urban) mainly Chinese immigrants. This was the toxic 'heritage' that the British gave to the Malays.
Just in case the above sounds like a load of unwarranted whingeing from the Malays, let's look at the misfortunes suffered by the natives in other parts of the British Empire as a result of "British Development".. This is from my father's book on :
But what of the Semenanjung? The British coined the term 'Malaya' (as in the "Malayan Union") in 1946 - mainly for administrative purposes and to accommodate the immigrant Chinese and Indians within the motley collection of colonies, protectorates, Unfederated Malay States and independent Johor. The inclusion of the word "Malay" in 'Malaya' would keep the Malays quiet and dull their feelings of displacement and discrimination in their Tanah Air. It was just window dressing, as was the formation of the Malayan Union in 1946. However, this time the (Malay) worms decided to turn. After some adjustments the Federation of Malaya was created in 1948. I suppose we should be grateful that they did not rename the Peninsula Victoriana after Queen Victoria, like the Philippines after King Philip of Spain!
I salute those brave voices from over 75 years ago. But now their modern, globalised, and highly educated grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a strange desire to emulate that golden child of British imperialism from down south. Or at the very least take their Singdollars?