31 Dec 2008

Farewell 2008, welcome 2009

I was watching a re -run of "Man of the Year" - remember that one? The one in which Robin Williams was elected President of the United States through a computer glitch. It got me thinking about a lot of things - some of the things he said reminded me so much of Obama ? About people wanting change and they didn't care what kind of change it was, as long as there was change. This brings me to Bush and the shoe throwing incident. I don't like Bush - I believe he is the cause of so many things that went wrong in the world today. If he had just let Iraq alone - it wouldn't be so miserable now. I don't know whether people in the US understood what's going on there before Bush attacked the country. He claimed that there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq and that it was planning to attack Israel. After they had destroyed Iraq and left it in pieces which until today could never be put together again - they found nothing incriminating about Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found anywhere in the country. And did he apologise to the Iraqis for destroying their country? No . He had "regrets" but no apologies. Why? To apologise would be to admit he was wrong of course. So I don't blame the frustrated Iraqis for hating him and all he stood for. I think at least half of the world hate him in fact. Hence the shoe. I only wish it had hit him right there in the face. He would have deserved it. No, he derves much more than a shoe thrown at him actually.
Another thing Robin Williams in his role as Tom Dobbs, president elect in "Man of the Year" said was "politicians are like napkins - they ought to be changed regularly". Do I agree with that sentiment! Especially here in Malaysia.
In this country, once a politician is elected, he stays on for ever. And do they stay on and on and on. Some, even after they are not elected, insists on staying on - Rafidah Aziz, Samy Vellu to name just two. Then there are those who do get elected by fairly narrow margins - Mohamad Taib, Najib (who will be next PM mind you) and so many others. I guess you can't blame them for wanting to stay on. After all its power isn't it? Oh of course they all say that they have the country's best interests at heart. They all do that but we the rakyat know better. Even the opposition leaders - do we ever get to see a new set of faces? It's always the same - Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang and his son , and now Anwar and his daughter. We hoped after the last election things would change but I see nothing has changed. In Penang, Selangor and Perak where the opposition rule I haven't seen anything substantial as yet. Little unimportant things like street names make headlines now and then. I wonder about the justice system; and the Altantuya case come to mind. Will she ever get the justice she deserved or will she just be one of the cases that gets pushed into oblivion. People tend to forget easily. But come on - she came here to Malaysia looking for somebody called "Razak", and some time later her body is found in pieces - bombed out by substances that could only be found in the police force. A mystery that. And Razak Baginda, the man she was suposed to have had an affair with, the person she came to KL to see, is set free - because there is not enough evidence. What do you make of that?
And Najib himself. How is he connected to the case? Or is he?
So here I am saying farewell to the year that was and saying hello to the year that will be. I hope again that I will not be disillusioned by our politicians and one day our country will be born again - refreshed. I'm a Malay, but a Malay that has Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and Afghan blood in her. So I do want to go for that Bangsa Malaysia idea. My daughter -in -law is Chinese, my grand daughter half chinese, 1/4 Malay and 1/4 Pakistani. What does that make her? The law insists that she be termed Malay. But how can we call her Malay when she is only a quarter Malay ,if that? So why must we have the race thing at all? Why can't we just get rid of that column and just put one thing - citizenship. We should be proud to call ourselves Malaysians first and whatever race we are as secondary. Will we ever be able to do that? And I'm not talking of the Malays. I'm also referring to the Indians and Chinese who jump a mile high the moment someone mentions we have a single education system. Why not if we are sincere about wanting to have a united Malaysia? Thailand has only a single education system; so does Indonesia. The Chinese in Indonesia even have Indonesian names - Rudi Hartono for example. We don't even have to go that far. I only want a single education system for us all - one school for all the races in this country. No vernacular schools. Is that too much to ask? The various languages will be taught - just as Singapore has now. Mandarin and Tamil are taught in schools for those who want to learn them. Malay should remain the national language but English should remain the language of instruction, especially for Science and Mathematics. Then and only then can we slowly go forward towards unification and maybe in 50 years hence, we can say we have a bangsa Malaysia. But the other races should not ask the Malays to lose their priviledges and expect to keep theirs. Having vernacular schools I feel is a priviledge. What other country in the world has this? How fair is that?
And what do I wish for 2009? A better world for my grandchildren, that's for sure. A safer one too - better quality air, better cared for environment, a unified Malaysia, no wars in the world. A dream? Perhaps, but if Martin Luther King can have his dream - and look at US now - I think his dream has been fulfilled; then so can I.
On a more positive note, I wish a happy and prosperous 2009 for all of us. Let us hope that the economic outlook will improve and that the world will indeed be a better one.

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