Thursday, October 27, 2005

On Being Multi-Cultural

I had a fairly angry blog entry before this, but something in minishorts’ blog changed my mind. So I’ve decided to make a rewrite.

Fitting into Multicultural Societies is Hard Stuff

You might not think there is a link between what MENJ says here and here with a certain MP’s so-called ‘racist’ statements in parliament. Admittedly, there are fundamental differences—the Member of Parliament in question is a cretin (not unlike many of his counterparts), while MENJ is, by all indications, of above-average intelligence and education.

But both have one thing in common. They do not fit into a multicultural society.

You Tak Suka?

I don’t say this to mean as if it is a bad thing. I don’t mean to go at the MP or MENJ and say, “You Tidak Suka, You Keluar Dari Malaysia!” —although admittedly, it would be fun and ironic to say to the MP himself, who has made himself inadvertantly famous by putting his foot in his mouth with that statement.

But the fact of the issue is, you live in a society where not everybody thinks and lives like you, and it is not likely that they will ever do so.

In An Idealized World

Not because it should be this way—let’s face it, in an idealized world, everyone would have his own space, everyone would belong, and there wouldn’t be any conflict between anyone at all. But let’s face it—there are about 23 million people crammed by history and circumstance into an area approximately 330 thousand square kilometers big. That isn’t a lot of space.

And when you’re all crammed up like that, one of the last things you want to talk about is how people should behave and where they belong and what is the true truth. You’re just struggling to not push the other feller into the sea (where they could probably sue your sorry ass for being an ass), or get pushed in either.

Priorities, Man, Priorities.

I’m not saying that what you believe and what you say is unimportant. I’m saying, look at your other priorities first. You don’t live in an all-Malay (oxymoronic—have you heard of a ‘true Malay’?) all-Muslim country. You live in a multicultural one, which means that you must accommodate. Not should, because frankly I’d go somewhere else if I could, but must.

And if you don’t, well, why should the other guy?