I came across this piece of information about a week ago. A poll by the Merdeka Centre sought to see how much the different races trust each other in Malaysia. It is a very sensitive piece of work, I had thought, but one that is potentially important in seeing exactly where we stand.
I found it on the Malaysia Today website , but it was originally published here.
The poll stated that:
Only 39% of Chinese trusted in Malays, and 38% of Malays trusted in Chinese.
Only 29% of Chinese trusted in Indians, and 35% of Indians trusted in Chinese.
57% of Indians trusted in Malays, and 55% Malays trusted in Indians.
39% of Chinese and 46% of Indians considered themselves as second-class citizens.
83% of Malays trusted in Malays, 75% of Indians trusted in Indians and only 57% of Chinese trusted in Chinese.
78% of Chinese believed that local politicians should be blamed for segregating the people by playing racial politics.
The results didn't particularly surprise me, to be honest. If anything, it did a good job of putting into numbers what a lot of people may not particularly like to even consider. And being relatively independent (I think), I attach more credibility to the results.
Stopping here, however, would be a mistake. Getting behind the issue, down to the root of the percentages, would reveal more that could be worked with. Just like getting behind the scenes of a film; sometimes how something comes into being is more interesting than the process itself.
What a pity, then, to see the comments that followed the article (if you check out the Malaysia Today version).
"Why? It is because of the Government Racial policies of the past 50 years."
"There's a solution if the government has the will power."
"I think there is not much problem with racial, only those UMNO/MCA/MIC are stirring issue up."
What a pity to see that, even though the government doesn't help with its policies, people can't really look in mirror at themselves, and ask: "Could I have in any way contributed to this?"
Even more so, to ask the most important question of all: "What can I do change this?"
Even after all this years, a lot of people (perhaps not all, perhaps not even most, but certainly a lot) are content to sit back, blame others, and not take the initiative themselves.
What a pity.