Last week was also the week of denouement ( well almost) for the Alvin and Vivian Peepshow - for Tan Jye Yee and Lee May Ling.
It needs to be said that their contempt for Islam and Muslims and Malays has a long pedigree. Only the format, the representation and the cheek are new. Their father's and grandfather's and great-grandfather's generations have been at it for yonks and we should not be surprised at this insolence. Expect more. As I mentioned in the last paragraph of my posting "HMV : His mentor's Voice" ( see sidebar) .......
...... his opinions and diktat ( of and for the Malays) are not his alone - they have, after all, long been whispered into the ears of this ageing autocrat. So it will not end with LKY. This chauvinism will be sustained for a long time to come.
If you can bear with me, allow me to relate a series of observations and experiences I have gone through during my span of 69 years, living and working in Singapore. This is not a racist ( someone who believes that people of their own race are better than others) analysis. It is more of a racial perception - relating to the relationship between different races of people who live in the same country. It just happens that I am a Malay and my bug-bears are Chinese.
Firstly, here's my experience from forty-three years ago, in 1966/1967 when I was an undergraduate at the University of Singapore, the same University that Tan Jye Yee attended.
Myself and about 5-6 other Singapore Malay undergrads were given a Special Malay Bursary of about $1,000 a year as a scheme to help and encourage Malays into higher education. .........
Each time the note pinned to the Notice Board at the entrance to the Union House informed us to get our Bursary from the Bursar's Office, we would find written on the notice nasty remarks like " why give money to stupid Malays?", or "why so special?" or other vulgar words in Malay, English and Hokkien - all very multi-racial. On 9 July 1963, Singapore joined the Federation of Malaysia ........... but that also brought along with it racial and political tensions and the Chinese in Singapore were particularly against the affirmative policies towards the Malays and especially Article 153. Their rallying cry was "Malaysian Malaysia" - a term/demand that the Malays were very suspicious of.
We, the Singapore Malay undergrads, sensed this undercurrent of hostility and resentment. All this because of the $1,000 Bursary. We got into the University on exactly the same credentials as the non-Malays, no favours in that direction. We were not the off-springs of well-heeled professionalsor taukehs, mostly lower to upper working class families. Admittedly there were no unpleasant face-to-face encounters. But the bigoted racist remarks about Malays, Malay rights, the Sultans, etc. which were scribbled in the Library's history and politics textbooks left me gobsmacked and confused. There weren't enough Malays in the University to 'counter' this ' vandalism' of the text and context - so we just sat tight and took the brunt.
On one of my trips home from the hostel ( Eusoff College), I asked my father "why" ? How do I live with Article 153? He told me to read the History books, to study the statistics of the unequal distribution of wealth and income in the country, the big gap, economic and educational between the rural Malays and the urban non-Malays; why the Malays challenged the Malayan Union of 1946, and what are the Malays doing fighting the Communist guerillas in the jungle? Of course all these issues were not the concerns of my A-Level History and Economics.
And when I glibly remarked - but the Malays are lazy and backward! All those scribbles in the Library's books had an effect. His jaw almost dropped .....
This happened 43 years ago. And Tan Jye Yee and Lee May Ling are only carrying the torch of an old arrogance and malice.
And as for racial perception here's my second personal experience. In 1978 I was shunted to Anglo-Chinese Junior College because I was getting to be too much of a thorn-in-the-side of the Nanyang Graduates running the administration of Jurong Secondary School. I decided then to leave for Brunei but I still had to serve my one month in ACJC.
I wore a baju kurung on my first day at ACJC, and for most days I would be garbed in this or my baju kebaya. In the Common Room, a sweet Chinese lady teacher welcomed me and said, " You must be our new Malay language teacher."
I told her I wasn't. I was the new Geography and General Paper teacher.
She looked shocked and uttered, "You're a graduate?"
"From Singapore University, 1967," I replied.
She then made a sweet, quick retreat.
That plain old-fashioned baju kurung has been my symbol of identity. I wear it to dignify my people and myself during any important occasion.
It all came about during my undergrad days.
One evening, I can't remember when exactly, but before 9.8.1965 when Singapore was 'expelled' from Malaysia, I attended a lecture by Dr Mahathir Mohamed, of course he wasn't the PM then. Came one question from the floor by a Senior Lecturer in the Law Faculty, now a prominent Ambassador for Singapore. He queried the rights and privileges of the Malays as enshrined in the Constitution and sort of recommended an alternative as espoused in the "Malaysian Malaysia" mantra.
Dr Mahathir looked at him and said, " You know what is the problem with you Chinese? You cannot accept the Malays running the Government because you are so used to seeing them as your drivers and gardeners." That was that. The Lecture Hall was hushed.
The next day, I put on my beigeish-yellow cotton Esbyline Baju Kurung, which I had borrowed from my sister and walked to my lectures with my head held high. My baju kurung is my heritage, it was not to enclose me but to set me free, not as a proud Malay, but one at ease and comfortable with my Malay ways and purpose - Malay warts and all.
(Extract from the posting "Baju Kurung".)
Back to 2013. The format of this persistent denigration of the Malays has now entered the electronic media. In the past it was more muted and restrained because the mode of communication then was not as widespread and pervasive. Also the electronic media enables you to hide behind an anonymity which gives all and sundry unadulterated licence to be as vulgar and as irresponsible as they wish.
Today one can twitter insulting remarks about the Yang di Pertuan Agong. In my time, my fellow Chinese undergrads, in the privacy of university hostels and canteens would snigger and mock the Constitutional Head of Malaysia as the " Ah Gong".
As the Malays would say "Bapa borek, anak rintik".
And mark my words, such racist and racialist antics will not end with Tan and Lee.
Finally, one sweet story from the week that was. On Tuesday last week, I decided to give Osman and Aisha a lift to the Post Office - to pay their electricity bill - as I was heading in the same direction. That done, Osman decided to get a bag of cat biscuits for their one cat at home and the other stray cats in our neighbourhood. He was in his working clothes ( Osman and Aisha are road sweepers). From a distance I could see Osman at the counter digging out small notes from his pocket to pay for the cat biscuits. I knew he had enough.
I then walked towards Aisha who was waiting near the Information Counter. Minutes later, Osman came and told us that the man who was in the queue behind him had offered to pay for his purchase!!!
Allahu Akbar. This was truly the spirit of Ramadan.