Wednesday, June 08, 2005

of racism and our education system...

You know, today I feel like blogging about racism, and Malaysia’s education system.

We have plenty of blogs discussing this issue right now. We know it’s not something that we should discuss so openly, considering it’s such a sensitive issue. But some posts just rile me up and I think I should state my own opinions here in my own blog rather than spam their comments’ box with cusses.

So yeah, racism. What do I really think of it? Seriously, I think everyone has some in themselves, though I guess not a lot of people will admit to it. I won’t deny that I enjoy hanging out with people who speaks my mother tongue language more compared to those who speak English or BM. And it’s no surprise my housemates are all Chinese; but it’s only because we have the same culture and lifestyle, and I find it easier to adapt living together with them. Does that make me a racist? Maybe a little, but definitely not the radical type.

Do I hate people from other races? No, that I can tell you. In fact, some of my best friends are of other ethnics. My best friend in uni is an Indian. I’d rather hang out with him rather than with my course mates who only enjoy talking about the latest technologies and development in biotech who are mostly, coincidentally, Chinese. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of my education background, or my reluctance to be branded as a nerd, which is kinda typical in my programme.

If there are any people that I hate, it’s those who make remarks about me mixing a lot with people of other races. What’s the problem with that? Does that make me less Chinese? I know most of them don’t mean it, but I AM offended when they ask questions like, ‘How’s your Indian friend doing?’ or ‘Your Indian friend isn’t coming to class today?’. Is it necessary to include the word ‘Indian’ there? Why can’t you just say ‘your friend’ instead of ‘your Indian friend’? Not that I just hate them for saying things like that. I just find it a little rude. I don’t like people calling my friends in racist terms, just as equal as I dislike people who think atheism is crap, but that’s another story to discuss in the future. I also find it a bit impolite to ridicule my Malay slang, something I picked up in secondary school.

I guess we’ll just have to learn to accept people for who they are and not by their skin colours. Please notice that I use the word accept, and not tolerate.

Of course, when we discuss racism we always relate it to government policies. I’d rather separate both issues when in discussion. When you put them together it’ll eventually be a ‘racist’ post. Which btw, anything after this sentence is about the pro-bumi policy and not racism.

I hate the country’s education system and I’m not afraid to voice it out. I would talk about other policies too if I have experienced them, but unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) I have yet to suffer from any. I’ve been brought up with the country’s idealistic national schools all the way up to the local university. Before tertiary education, the pro-bumi (as in bumiputra, not Malay) policies are more or less insignificant because it was never a problem. I’ve never experienced any sort of biased situations back in school, and no one even bothered because they are non-existence.

The problem begins to surface when I applied into local university. I admit the government did a better job by applying meritocracy for university enrolment. But to what extent are we actually practicing it? Is it really fully based on meritocracy like what we read in the papers? No. I can say it a hundred times. No. Nonononononono…

To tell you briefly, I am currently majoring in a programme which I have always wanted, but not without going through the quota policy like what we had before this. My course only allows majoring in our second year, where some of them are based on quota in allocating places. I only barely make the list despite obtaining a reasonably impressive cgpa, and several unfortunate friends of mine did not make it despite having good results because the ‘quota’ is full. It is an open secret here that non-bumis would need to wrestle out the places because of the ‘kiasu-nature’ in ourselves, while bumis can ease into this programme with little effort.

Next to follow, the standard of our education. Because our programme is based on quota allocations, the existing gap in academic performances is evident, and this is further screwed because (apparently) we do not practice academic grade curves in some papers. Therefore, the high scorers get higher, and low scorers lag behind. How’d it happen? For one example I’ve experienced, re-sitting tests for our continuous assessment during mid semesters. What really happens is that the poor students will remain stuck with the same results, while the better ones will get higher marks. Seriously, I have seen fellow course mates obtaining 4.0 gpa regularly, while some failed miserably. While I have been pretty much breezing pass in my studies after the quota test, I find it slightly difficult to cope with that because while some of us can discuss genomic construction at ease, some can’t even catch a thing I say. That’s how big the gap is. Segregation is bound to happen, where one group of students excels academically, another group where everyone are clueless.

It’s easy to point fingers at the policy for the current flaw. Of course, I’d prefer if we really practice meritocracy here. I know I escaped rather fortunately from this policy, but to look at the bigger picture, should we abolish certain policies we can shut the non-bumis’ mouths when they screw up, and they’ll have nothing to say. Wouldn’t that be better?

I believe it will be, but that’s only my opinion. You may think this post is all crap, but that’s your opinion and you’ll have to blog about it in your own site.


NiC said...

hey... u said u don't feel like talking bout racism and here's a bloody long post bout it... hahaha... anyway, that's one reason y i felt uniten's the right place... the quota thing isn't quite that obvious and basically the treatment is fair... well, that's what i feel so far...

S-Kay said...

Hey, read my post on "The Train Ride & My Conclusion"

I have encountered bumis who have been to my blog when I mentioned about this quota system in local unis ("Tak Sumbat Maka Tak Tutup" entry) and dropped a few comments there.

Maybe you could try reading it up. I used to think that it's quite stupid (the quota system...that was when I wrote the latter entry) and then I came to realise the reasons to it (that was why I wrote the "The Train Ride..." entry

Livingmonolith said...

nic: that was a couple of days ago, dude. i'm in the mood now, haha... it's good to hear that you are doing well there, because honestly, i think you deserve it.

s-kay: thanks for the visit. i've read your posts and they're very interesting. while i agree that education plays an important role, i sincerely believe that bumis do not have to depend on quotas to prove what they're capable of. i personally think that the pro-bumi policies are unnecessary because the ones who benefit aren't the ones who need the assistance.

rational thinker said...

hi Jaz...u know me long nuff to know what's my stand on racism. I have more malay friends than most of u combined.

I find it so true the idea that, to truly be matured and civilized, we need to ACCEPT people as they are. You guys (VI) are da bunch which i feel least racism ever. Yeah, we all do lament about pro-bumi education system, or 90:10 scholarship ratio...but that's not racism. :) well said.

btw, the reason i write here, instead of my blog should be pretty obvious to u. another word about govt policy, i m out of here. hahaha

Livingmonolith said...

yep, i get your message there. and i wish you all the best for all things, goodluck...