Sunday, July 5, 2009

Not A Melting Pot But A Cracked Salad Bowl

When I was studying in Nottingham University in 1995, some of my English lecturers made remarks referring to the uniqueness of Malaysian society. They wondered how in the world 'we' the Malaysian survive our differences and not kill each other as compared to other countries where the people are of the same race and culture but different religion. Just look at Sri Lanka, India, some African countries and also Ireland.

However, this 'picture perfect' society seemed to have been shattered after the 12th general election last year. There was a huge swing of votes and the government scraped through with only a very small margin. The opposition won in five states [out of fourteen].

As the world was hit with the worst economic recession in the history, we the Malaysians started falling apart at the seams of 'social harmony'. The 'glue' that hold us together for the past 52 years lost the grip.The country is reeking with racial tension.

Although the opposition did not win the general election, it was hailed as a beginning of a new era for this country. However, I see all the efforts of the past fifty two years crumbling to pieces. Before 2008, when I saw the street demonstations in Thailand, Indonesia and Philipine on TV, I always wonder how many of the demontrators really know their cause. At the back of my mind, there is this nagging question; is there a conspiration by an intelligence body to create havoc and panic in order for them to infiltrate and eventually take over a country. My friends always say I have been watching too much spy movies whenever I voice out my thoughts.

One thing for sure, after 52 years, the pot that has been melting the different cultures and religions is melted. Our differences are now held in a cracked salad bowl. I am wondering beyond yonder, how long before the crack splits. Looking at the way things are going, I doubt it will be very long.

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