Dear Prime Minister and all in UMNO,
I am, by your definition, Malay. Except it is said that in our family folklore, my paternal grandmother was probably biologically Chinese. And yes, my mother is a former Catholic from the Philippines.
Not that any of that should matter because, as far as you are concerned, I am Malay.
Only, I did not vote for you. And neither did a whole lot of other Malays, despite what you would like to think. Do the math. If 80% of the population voted, then surely, you cannot blame the erosion of your power on the Chinese minority. Or did you fail that subject too?
I voted for the Opposition because as a Malay, I myself have had enough. Not because I necessarily like all the Opposition leaders, but frankly, I just like you lot less. Because despite all your rhetoric about the Opposition being a lying, conniving bunch, I have personally born witness and been on the receiving end of YOUR lies and policies that stoke racial and religious polarity. Not the Opposition’s.
Because your government is the only one I have ever known since birth. And what I see and experience every day in my life is your creation.
Yes, I am a recipient of your Bumiputera scholarship. I went to one of the world’s best schools. In my graduating class, there were less Malaysians than you could count on one hand. The truth is, I could have obtained my own scholarship from someone else in the world if I wanted to. And believe me, there are many times I wish I had taken that route, so that I can be relieved of the only burden of debt I feel towards you and your policies.
After graduating from university, I chose to return home. Yes, I was apparently bonded to work for you for ten years, in repayment for the education you provided me. But instead, you chose to let me go. And I still remained here. Because this is my home.
I could have chosen to work in one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, but I decided to remain in Malaysia.
Over the last twenty years, I have never relied on favours or connections to get a job. It is against my principles. And I have done well. Believe me. I can get a job in corporate Asia if I want to. I used to have a job with one of the world’s largest companies, overseeing seven countries in the region. Bosses tried to entice me to leave – decamp to Singapore, Hong Kong and even Japan. But I still chose to stay here.
In the last four years, I decided to leave corporate Malaysia, because the extent of the rot I saw within its walls were so bad that if I knew any more, I would have to migrate. You may find this hard to believe, but when us ordinary Malaysians are exposed to the incompetence of our policy-makers and leaders, appalled is an understatement. More than that, the arrogance (and worse, lack of sheer, basic intelligence) of many of those in power whom I have met, whether in the government, quasi-government or private sector crony companies, made me begin to believe that Malaysia was not capable of producing good leaders.
You see, I have benchmarks for comparison. I have worked with some of the world’s biggest leaders, names you would recognise in a heartbeat. Don’t believe me? Try Colin Powell. Or Kissinger. Or Bill Gates. And NONE of them can equal the arrogance and despicable character of some of Malaysia’s corporate and government leaders I have met.
Since I have left corporate Malaysia, I have become a small business entrepreneur. And to no surprise, there was zero assistance to be had, even with my Malayness. Funds that should be used to catalyse entrepreneurs like me had dissipated. Government funding vehicles were uninterested, because hey, they have no time to do due diligence on a company asking for a million Ringgit or two. What’s the point? It takes just as much work to do the due diligence for a company asking for ten times that amount.
So I struck it out on my own. And Alhamdullillah, things have been good. In fact, they are so good our small little engine that could (it’s a tiny boutique hotel) won an award as one of Malaysia’s top bed and breakfasts within the first year of operations.
None of my achievements are because you helped me.
Yet, at every election, at every opportunity you get, you turn around and tell me how much you do for me.
Well honey, you lie.
So no, it is not just the Chinese who voted for the Opposition this time. Because you can count on at least THIS Melayu who did as well. Please stop insulting me and negating my role in your erosion of power. If you had any sense, you would realise this, and realise it quickly. And figure out how to win Malays like myself back.
But my faith in the good of your kind unfortunately does not stretch that far. And today you reaffirmed my lack of confidence in you a thousand-fold.
Keep insulting my fellow Malaysian Chinese. It will not bring me closer to you, because I do NOT count you as my people.
The Malays I am part of are a people who have for generations lived shoulder-to-shoulder with other races, because we ourselves know our own history, and accept the fact that we are a race that is borne of a meld of many others. We are a race that has itself experimented with different brands of theology, are unafraid of adapting aspects of other cultures into our own and has NEVER thrived in isolation. Unlike Japan, we do not have a history of cultural, social or economic growth that does not coincide with an era of openness, cross-border trade or cultural assimilation, be it with or without force.