Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Of Lee Kuan Yew and the forums

Written by johnleemk on 5:42:14 am Nov 5, 2005.

Okay, I haven't updated this blog for a while, so it's time I did so again. Worry not, for I am currently sitting for my GCE Ordinary Level exams, and once they conclude in late November, I can focus on this site once more. Lots of new stuff is in the pipeline, including a refocusing of the site and a restructuring of the user interface.

In the meantime, it appears the interface of the forum is a bit confusing. This is largely because of a major screwup I made while programming it (you can never tell which forum has new posts), but will be remedied after my exams. Meanwhile, just click on "Anything Goes" or "Dead Serious" and ignore the other two forums which rarely ever have anything to see.

When the site is revamped, posts from the forum will be selected to appear on the front page. The site's focus will be on, uh, discussion and debate. Yes, I know it's very general, but it's based on feedback I have received from the forum's core audience (practically all of whom are aged in the whereabouts of 15 years). Everyday new posts will be added to the front page (these posts will be selected by me, for now). The posts will be gleaned from the forum, and only the best will be accepted; ideally, their topics will be balanced, with one post on politics, another on sports, another on food, another on music, etc.

The site will be redesigned to provide a nicer colour scheme and prettier interface. I have no idea how I'm going to do this, but presumably after my exams I will be much more free. Meanwhile, this main area of the site will be largely deserted; I recommend the forum if you want unpolished and unvarnished diatribes from me and my peers.

And now, for the Lee Kuan Yew of the title. I recently stumbled across a beautiful speech of his in the Malaysian Parliament 40 years ago, shortly before Singapore seceded from Malaysia. It so succintly encapsulates what's so wrong with our country, I have this urge to print a few thousand copies and paste it on every lamp post in the country, and perhaps spray-paint it on the lawns of Parliament.

How does the Malay in the kampong find his way out into this modernised civil society? By becoming servants of the 0.3 per cent who would have the money to hire them to clean their shoe, open their motorcar doors? ... Of course there are Chinese millionaires in big cars and big houses. Is it the answer to make a few Malay millionaires with big cars and big houses? How does telling a Malay bus driver that he should support the party of his Malay director (UMNO) and the Chinese bus conductor to join another party of his Chinese director (MCA) - how does that improve the standards of the Malay bus driver and the Chinese bus conductor who are both workers in the same company?

If we delude people into believing that they are poor because there are no Malay rights or because opposition members oppose Malay rights, where are we going to end up? You let people in the kampongs believe that they are poor because we don't speak Malay, because the government does not write in Malay, so he expects a miracle to take place in 1967 (the year Malay would become the national and sole official language). The moment we all start speaking Malay, he is going to have an uplift in the standard of living, and if doesn't happen, what happens then?

Meanwhile, whenever there is a failure of economic, social and educational policies, you come back and say, oh, these wicked Chinese, Indian and others opposing Malay rights. They don't oppose Malay rights. They, the Malay, have the right as Malaysian citizens to go up to the level of training and education that the more competitive societies, the non-Malay society, has produced. That is what must be done, isn't it? Not to feed them with this obscurantist doctrine that all they have got to do is to get Malay rights for the few special Malays and their problem has been resolved.

Update: I just headed over to Jeff Ooi's blog, and ran into more brilliant quotes from Lee Kuan Yew, also from Parliament 40 years ago:

They (the Malay extremists) have triggered off something basic and fundamental. Malaysia - to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian. This is the doubt that hangs over many minds, and the next contest, if this goes on, will be on very different lines.

Once emotions are set in motion, and men pitted against men along these unspoken lines, you will have the kind of warfare that will split the nation from top to bottom and undo Malaysia. Everybody knows it. I don't have to say it. It is the unspoken word!

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