The Price Of Being A Malay

When you’re born into a religion based on your race, one of two things can happen in your life.

  1. You accept everything that you have including the mountains of privilages and the small downside of worshiping God the way you’re told to.
  2. You walk away from the privilages and spend the rest of your life doing the best you can to make your own choices while other peopel tell your own kind should run his life.

You know, it just so happened I chose the second option and I guess no one told me about the price that comes with making your own choices in life against the norm. Not that there are no benefits on the road where I walk, it’s just that the trouble that it comes with makes you wish that some days you’d resigned to the herd mentality of your culture and stop dealing with all this crap that you have to constantly endure with over and over again.

Like it or not, being a “Bumiputra”, more so a Malaysian Malay does have a lot of catches. Sure, you get the privilages of having your positions in universities or jobs assured for within the country, but at what price? What you’re left with is breeding a whole new generation of people who’d only take things for granted without the knowledge of skills needed to work hard to earn something you can keep for the future.

Is that the kind of life I’d like to be in? If I knew nothing more than that, if I knew nothing about the world that I keep trying to understand, I would say that kind of life would be enough for me and I would resign myself to live in what reality. Maybe it is fortunate that I grew up with the curiosity and the oportunities to have the options that I have taken. In retrospect, if I chose to live the life of privilage with the options that I knew now, it wouldn’t be so bad. At least it was a choice and I took it upon my own self to make that choice. Whatever consequences that follow those choices were mine to bear, quite like the consequences that I have to bear now with the choices that I have made.

Living with the not having the privilages of being born into a race isn’t what bothers me. My life wasn’t built on being spoonfed and I don’t intend to start anytime soon. Living with other races not trusting or associating themselves with you because you belong to a class of people that subvert and take for granted the positions in which they were offered is my problem. That is the consequence of my choice and none more obvious when it comes to the relationships you have with the people you care for.

Throughout my life, it bothered me that there were always those whispers behind my back by my peers that I was a Malay, a Muslim, that I couldn’t do this or that, that I could get the things they worked hard to get without lifting a finger at all. The glares of envy and silent hatred that eventually places myself in a position where I wasn’t just disliked for how I think, but for the blood that runs through my veins. It bothered me that no one else was giving a chance to prove my worth for who I am because people spent more time looking at what’s skin deep. Things like that have costs me friends and more often the relationships I want.

Nothing hurts more than having your significant other forced to make a choice between you and her parents that see only the stereotyped self. Nothing hurts more than that and knowing that some things can’t be fought no matter how much you try simply because it boils down to a genetic level and human stupidity which is universal on both counts.

At this point though, it isn’t so bad. I know where my friends are. I know they aren’t the parochial people that are as trapped in stereotypes as they are believing in them. I definitely know Mel doesn’t care, but I know her parents does to an extent. The odd thing is why am I more nervous and worried about the matter than her? Habit? Expectations of a learnt past? My worrywart self? Probably all of it. Of course, she does have a way of putting things into perspective.

Mel: You look worried.
Me: Maybe cause I am.
Mel: Think of it this way, you’re dating me, not my parents.
Me: It doesn’t stop them from thinking that way.
Mel: Well, worse come worse, they are too far away to do anything.
Me: So we live things one day at a time?
Mel: You catch on fast.
Me: Of course. I’ve got a good teacher.

You know what? I do have a good teacher…and twistedly cute to boot too.

11 thoughts on “The Price Of Being A Malay

  1. I used to think it was wickedly cool that my state grants me bumi status just because my mom is one. But as I got older and wiser, I’ve grown to resent it because it has infused in me the damning notion that I can coast through life. The attitude is an insult to my personal strengths, which I ought to be honing ruthlessly.

  2. This kind of things happened when you start thinking of what would others talk about you. Really, when you start giving response, even a slightest response would trigger what I called “authority” or “oh, i can pwn this fella”.

    If you stop bothering about it, life is a sail. Ignorance is a bliss. Thinking too much would bring you to asylum. LOL.

  3. I hope many will think the same and we could make a better society to live with.

    Main problem with our NEP is that every single policy they set is for cronism… about how to leech more money from the minor race to feed the major race, more precisely.. the umnoputra.

  4. Hi.. chanced upon your blog. I am so glad that there are malays who think like you do. I am so sorry to hear what u have to go tru, but unfortunately as long as some are privileged by institutional discrimination, the other Malaysians will feel some what slighted.

    I do hope that more malays realises that being given additional privileges is not a cope out from excelling (i am not saying there are none) because i would like to see a stronger and better malaysia if more malays are excelling in their work and careers.

    And that the government stop institutional discrimination because it will continue to weaken this country from being competitive.

  5. Wow. Coming from a Bumi, that’s a first.

    I must say that all the races accuse others of being racist, but they themselves do not see they are the same, too. This attitude is best demonstarted in this year’s Oscar-winning film, CRASH. Please watch it, people.

    “You feel judged because you judged first.”

  6. yeah mate, we are in the same shoe. But mine is in a smaller scale. Forced to make decision as well as stereotyping. Been the victim of all and still am…The brain’s evolution is slower …

  7. Lionel: At the end of it, it’s not about hatred for the instituition that drives you, but the what you would like for yourself that makes you better. No point trying to aim for something you don’t need or want for the sake of showing that it can work. That would defeat the purpose in the first place won’t it?

    Chapree: Of all the years you knew me, since when am I not already insane? Hehe. Some things can’t be avoided no matter how much try and avoid it. Its not about forcing the issue. It’s about pondering some truths in life. 🙂

    BoycottBN: When people start thinking as individuals with goals or purposes that are greater than them, then things like that will change. Of course, that is an ideal world. The reality is, we have to make the best of what we have, whether we like it or not.

    Joshua: My beef isn’t much about Malays, it’s about other races that look at the Malays that try to make a difference and see only that which we are stereotyped for. Racism unfortunately works two ways. Which is the worse bit is much left to debate, but I hardly think there is any winner there.

    Bonnie: To pull a common quote from Matthew 7 Verse 1 and 2:

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.”

    We all learn, I try to put up with what I have to endure. Doesn’t mean I like it. Doesn’t mean I can’t hate it. But we all have to deal with what we have to deal with.

  8. I am a M’sian girl dating a Korean-American boy who is legally blind, and every conversation I have with my parents revolve around our relationship and how being with him is detrimental to my self. My parents have straight-up told me how much they hate him.

    I know exactly what your situation with Mel is like, and I agree with her: Take it one day at a time. But eventually a choice will have to be made by both of you. Thing’s can’t always stay the same. It’s not easy, but it must be done.

    I’m still struggling with what I need to do.

    Haha, sorry I sorta rambled on there. I dig the cute layout, btw.

  9. Pardon my ignorance but I just read the content of your previous post. My apologies for sounding like a pig in my first comment.

  10. Hsin: Pig? Not at all. The only thing we can do is take it one day at a time. When we spend too much time dwelling on on what we can’t change for now, we’re going to be screwing things up for later.

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