09 June, 2008

Malaysia - Truly Asia But Not Fully Asia

BY: Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

Some excerpts :

"And from what I understand, this infrastructure development has taken place in all the Malaysian states, by and large. So just by looking at the infrastructure, you would say this is a developed country."

"But what they still do not have is the developed country people, and thank God for that. By and large, the developed countries tend to end up having people who do not smile as much (how is that for a sheer generalisation?). The sheer warmth of everybody I met was astounding and simply amazing. Smiles galore, great big blooming smiles all over the place. And this is whether you are talking about your shop assistant to the driver of the coach to the chap who was watering the plants to the lady who was crossing the street. Very warm, helpful and warm people and that is what I found on every level, from the Prime Minister down to the ordinary bloke on the street. I didn’t get a chance to speak to the Sultan at the dinner but I have no doubt he would be the same. I just hope they keep this national characteristic."

"I noticed a general and curious lack of history. A broad based observation here, but I went trawling through two large bookstores in KL, saw the Sunday editions of the newspapers, asked the concierge of the hotel about historic sites, looked around in the admittedly limited trips, and poked my nose into the colonial buildings, but, I did not get a sense that history existed or even exists for ordinary Malaysians.

The corruption was unfortunately fairly typical of a developing nation. Again, no direct evidence, but only from what I heard from people. For example, when the father of Modern Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahatir Mohammad, resigned from the ruling party while I was there, I was quite certain that a whole bunch of others will follow him. But no, almost nobody did. I was puzzled and after inquiring, the common response was, who on earth would be stupid enough to get out of the patronage party? Am I surprised? No, political parties are the same all over the world."

"The last observation before my summing-up would be to point to a far more dangerous factor which is brewing in Malaysia. And that is the race factor. The sheer casualness with which race plays a part in politics, business and normal society is shocking for a person coming in from outside. To further complicate matters, this has a religious overtone and is getting worse day by day. I see the blog site of Dr. Mahatir Mohammad and am frankly horrified to read some of his pronouncements on race and religion. And that is wrong, public policy should never be established based on religion or race, because it will simply end up with angst. Especially when you have multiple religions and races in the country. Can you imagine a Prime Minister of any other country clearly stating racist views nowadays?"

"Take the emotion out of the arguments, help all Malaysians, such as all poor Malays. Do impose the national language for all Malaysians. Malays are ethnically and historically a combination of Indian and Chinese ancestry but now there is a strong but still controllable difference between the Indian Tamils, Indian Punjabi/Sikhs, the Chinese, the Malays, the mainlander and islander Malaysian etc. etc. In the list of the top richest Malaysians, only one was Malay. And this is after decades of affirmative action. On the other hand, the Indian Tamils are bottom of the pile and after they saw the success of the use of religion by Malays, they have also climbed on the Hindu religion bandwagon. This can still be controlled, stop that sucking up to the OIC, think of all Malaysians independently and uniquely. Malays look to Mecca, Chinese look to China and Indians look to India. Who or where is the lookout for Malaysia? But it is not that bad, I think the political class would understand this and can stuff the racist/religious monster inside the cage."

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta works in the city of London in various capacities in the financial sector. He has worked and travelled widely around the world. The articles in here relate to his current studies and are strictly his opinion and do not reflect the position of his past or current employer(s). If you do want to blame somebody, then blame my sister and editor, she is responsible for everything, the ideas, the writing, the quotes, the drive, the israeli-palestinian crisis, global warming, the ozone layer depletion and the argentinian debt crisis.



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