Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hi Datuk S.S. Subramanaim, Welcome!!

The MCA Chairman might be the next man to give up all and head for the PKR if “The Star” is to be believed.

Very few would want to put their own personal safety at risk especially if the hoodlums are people who belong to the rich and mighty, for judging from the PKFZ scandal I am sure the small “ma chais’ are not involved, here the stakes are big and to have warned him revealing the findings of Price Waterhouse report means there are big personalities and issues at stake.

I think Ong Tee Kiat should make everything public straight away and then cross over to the Pakatan Rakyat, he can choose his party and i am sure they will have him.

S.S. Subramanian was the latest crossover, he claims 2000 followers came along with him, and before him was Chua Jui Meng, and the nagging worry is does this crossover actually strengthen the PKR or does it weaken the party? I have very little doubt in his ability to secure that number, but am surprised he could not do better against such a party like the MIC of all parties, but then again this is not really a game of numbers.

What is worrying is the baggage in these numbers, when persons of such stature come in they normally come in with their, “followers” who can really create the trouble in the new parties they join, by making unreasonable demands of the new party they have joined.

The demands of seats will be aplenty, in PR seats are not many, as there is an alliance here as well, an alliance of non racial parties, the DAP, the PAS and the PKR, Anwar has the unenviable task to moderate and seek understanding amongst the three components’ for fair and equitable seat distribution, the necessity to park qualified and credible candidates and the delicate task of doing so without ruffling too many feathers are essential components in holding the coalition together.

The demands of Indian candidates in recent by elections is a indication of what goes on, the trouble between the MCA, the Gerakan and PPP over seats allocation in the BN will be carried over by such party hoppers when they come along.

I am not saying that we do not give Chua Jui Meng a seat, by all means do, in fact we must, the only other thing is the rest of those who crossover will require seats too, and those demands will froisser les plumes and in turn create problems for the Pakatan Rakyat.

All members crossing over have to be put on notice that, positions and seats are not their call, PR based parties will of course look for credible candidates who are well educated and experienced in delivering the best for Malaysians, and this could include those who cross over, but it will be taken from over a cross section of the membership with the view of using the best qualified candidates.

Whilst welcoming Mr. Subramaniam, who himself is a professional (Engineer) and a seasoned politician, I must bring to the notice of all concerned that what we are dealing with now is multi racialism, not the narrow domains where people start shouting and crying about racial representation, but where people call for quality in representation so that the needs of all Malaysians regardless of class or creed are best met.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tamil Schools and marginalisation of Indians

With the advent of indentured labour from what is today known as Tamil Nadu in India by the British came the Tamil Schools in the plantations.
The schools were nothing more than nursery facilities to look after the children of the labourers.
Even in the seventies when I had a brief spell working in an estate I noticed that children of up to three classes were all placed in a single classroom, and the the next three classes in another classroom, there was effectively no learning the teacher just kept the children in the class to ensure they did not go out and run about unsupervised. That environment in itself was a breeding ground for a dull mindset.
The teachers were ill equipped, and the children hardly got anywhere with their studies, and this was not for want of trying the whole system was ill equipped, it was a vicious circle in which they were all trapped.
A cycle perpetrated by the British to ensure a continuous supply of Indian labour. Although these days the schools are more impressive, with better buildings, the teachers more qualified, the quality of teaching and learning is still backward when compared with other National and national type schools.
Today more and more Indian and Malay parents are sending their children to Chinese Schools, however hardly any child of other races go to these Tamil schools, that alone speaks about the quality of these schools.

During the time I spent working in Bangalore I noticed that there is a sizable number of Tamils in Karnataka and this is especially so in Bangalore, but I also noticed that there were no Tamil schools in Bangalore, and I asked myself this question, "why is it here in India the Tamil is not seeking to send his children to a Tamil schools, and why is it so important in Malaysia?"
I think we will all have to sit up and ask ourselves this same question.
I am of the opinion this continuation of Tamil education amongst the Tamil community here in Malaysia has similar objectives, albeit on different platforms, and this time it is not perpetrated by the British Government but by the Malaysian Government, on the insistence of the Malaysian Indian politicians.
If Tamil schools are really that important, why is it that the Indian elite shy away from these schools when it comes to educating their children?
Yes! some children in Tamil schools make the cut, most of these, are children of Tamil School teachers, and others the very few who make it, come from the middle class, but the great majority fail to make the cut,and this continues.
It will be good if we could have the statistics about the dropout rate of Tamil school children during their secondary education in national schools, the breakdown of the background of those who succeed in making it to the Universities, and the outcome as whole of Tamil education in Malaysia, for it is here that the issue of marginalization actually takes root.
The Tamil schools create Tamil students who are only comfortable in the surroundings of Tamils, they do not mix freely with people of other races, assimilation is a huge problem, the, "I Tamalan, you Tamalan" attitude is a huge hindrance to their own progress.
Any community that is inward looking will not benefit from the progress taking place around them and this is the case with the Tamil school educated Tamil communities, those that make it are in traditional Indian businesses.
In the early nineties I was plant manager of a Company producing chocolate enrobed Candy Bars. One of the directors of that company was a Trinidadian, one *Errol Edward Mahabhir, a man of Indian origin.
One day Errol came up to me asked me this question, "hear, tell me, why is it that at every turn I make I find the cleaner is an Indian, I land in your blasted airport, (Subang at that time) and your cleaner is an Indian, in the hotel, the cleaner is an Indian, in the shopping malls the cleaners are mainly Indian, and now I come to this plant, run by an Indian plant manager, and the cleaner is an Indian, why?"

I replied, "well Errol in Malaysia it is very different, the Indians are not given to much opportunity," he cut me short immediately, he said, "s**t you maan (man) in Trinidad Tobago, we went there as indentured labour, today we are part of running that country, many of the big businesses are run by us many of the professionals Indian, no one gave a damn for us, we did it ourselves.
Take a look at Fiji, take a look at East and South Africa, take a look at England all have Indians there and they are thriving communities, so don't give me this silly excuses."
He was right, he was very right, Errol and the Trinidadians of Indian origin do not know their roots in India, they are Trinidadians first and they are very much less Indians. They eat Indian food they'll make the best parathas, they will make tandoori chicken, they cook good dhall and dhall purees, they have Hindu Temples in Trinidad but they are more Trinidadian and less Indian.

My immediate superior in the Company Rudy Bowman who is still here in Malaysia once looked at me and asked me what nonsense I was speaking when I told him I am a Malaysian Indian, he really thought I was stupid to tell him that, and I know he still feels that way and I am beginning to see his point of view. He'd ask, "hey tell me how can you be Malaysian and Indian at the same time, you are one or the other, that's how it is period, no such stupid thing as 'Malaysian Indian' - huh."
Our ability to assimilate is nurtured from the time we are young, we are trained into our adulthood and if we are trained right from childhood to remain and be comfortable with only a certain group that is actually how we turn out in the end.
In plural societies like ours, and in the modern world where integration, assimilation and networking is what determines our ability to mix with others and move ahead, the children of Tamil Schools will find it hard to assimilate, will eventually be marginalised and that is not anyone's doing but a result of their inability to assimilate.

These children always feel left out in non vernacular schools where they go to for their secondary education, where the drop out rates among them are especially high, and eventually they get sidelined and as a result marginalised.
Who benefits from such ignorant masses? Politicians of course, they can tell these people all kinds of tales, they can twist and turn issues, they make these poor folk believe that they must stay united as Tamils or they will loose their language, their culture and their identity, and that the only people who can give it to them are these glorified politicians, who even if they send their children to Tamil schools have the financial means to fortify this with home tuition and later send them to elite schools for further education.
Tamil schools keep these politicians in place, ensure their survival, and to really get rid of Tamil schools is a "sensitive issue" to them and it is time we know why.
To all if not most Indian political parties it is their backbone, it is their never ending platform for continuous supply of supporters, to the Barisan it will keep intact racial politics, so why not?
To the Indians who send their children to these schools unwittingly, it is the scourge that causes marginalisation.

If the Tamils are really keen on culture and language they should take a lesson form the Sikh community.


*Errol Edward Mahabhir was at various times, Minister of Labour, Minister of finance and Minster of Industry and commerce of Trinidad and Tobago and he told me they did not have or go to any Indian medium school in that country, I forgot to ask him if there were any.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Malaysian Indian Political Fiasco the rate Indian political parties are being formed it is only matter of time before there are more Indian political parties then there are Indians in this country.

The Indian community in Malaysia are being led by a some selfish Tamils who are only more interested in their own skin, and in the process betray the entire Indian community.

In this process many Indians who are not Tamils are classified into this group and branded similarly.

The problems of the Indian community lies within the community itself, every Samy, Subramaniam, and Uthay can claim to represent the community, and they come out with huge numbers of "supporters" , and each of them espouse to champion the "Indian Cause." The funny thing is some of Samy's supporters are Subramaniam supporters and also uthay's supporters, to understand this better you have to take a close look at Kampung Buah Pala.

What is this Indian cause?

To many it is to give the Indians the same kind of rights that were accorded to the Malays in the NEP, I say Malay and not Bumiputera because if one takes a close look at the native population of this country, they the natives seem to be in worse shape then the Malaysian Indians, it is not only the Indians who are marginalised, the Senoi, the Jakun, the Negrito, the Dayak, the Iban, the Kadazan and all the other real natives of this country are far more marginalised then the Indians so what is this marginalisation these champions of the Indian cause are talking about?

In professional circles amongst the Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers and in other professions, the Indians compared to in ratio of population may seem even better off then the other major races, so why is it there is a great number that is marginalised?

The answer lies on the selfish few, who claim to represent Indian interest and in this pursuit actually enrich themselves just like the UMNO top brass does with the Malays.

Real Malaysian Indian professionals prefer to remain miles away from the grasp of these politicians in order to keep their image and name free from blemish. How many times do you see the leadership of MIC berate and insult its own professional members when they disagree with them? So the attitude of Indian professionals is: "why should I?"

It is a fallacy to believe that "marginalisation" amongst Malaysians exist only amongst the Indians, it exists among the Malays first, who are told a lot of things, of the what is being done for them, then told to be wary of the other races, and have all the allocations made out to them given to the selected UMNO big wigs and those whose favour they require. Similarly, the Chinese and the Indians, and this will explain how top Ministers and Menteris Besar and Chief Minsiters become Millionaires after getting into politics, it also explains why the respective BN party heads cling on to power, and the ways they go to undermine and kick out any member who poses a challenge to them and their authority.

Now to get back to the Indian community, at the rate Indian political parties are being formed it is only matter of time before there are more Indian political parties then there are Indians in this country.

Do the Indians who form a Political party at every turn, really think that these political party will represent their interest?

If they think so then they are idiots of the highest degree, they'll first have to come to grips with representation, and in so doing the question that goes abegging is; Which parliamentary constituency in Malaysia commands an Indian majority electorate, even if there were ten they would still be a minority, but the sad truth is there isn't even one, not even a state constituency so where are these political parties headed for, and who do they really represent?

The truth to the last question is that they represent themselves (those who form these parties) and in their respective parties their share of the loot in this racial fiasco to support UMNO's pipe dream commensurate with their position in the hierarchy of the party.

Indians in this country need the leadership that will take them to the level where they use their singular vote as Malaysians rather then Indians, and that the community gives that vote to non racial parties and that they vote in toto to swing their vote towards such parties to ensure a fair share of the pie.

This voting pattern could swing from right to left and to the right again depending on what is gained or not gained, small issues must be kept small the big picture has to be taken into account, they need to regain their pride, they need to be recognised as one of he biggest partners in Nation Building and not merely as indented labour, not much better then slaves, the future of all Malaysians is to be less, Malay, Chinese and Indian and be more Malaysian and this what the Malaysian of all communities, especially Indians have to realise.

The formation of more political parties will only make the community worse, many of its brains like the brains of the other communities have left the country for greener pastures, the less fortunate are left to fend for themselves and most often at their expense and to their own peril they support people who thrive on this support - this so called "Indian Political Parties," whose only purpose is to serve their own purpose."

HINDRAF began as what looked like a very credible organisation it was not political, its aim were noble the Government in trying to incarcerate its leaders only gave it more credibility, but its own leaders by their present day actions are killing the very seeds of progress they planted.

Now HINDRAF is planning to form its own political party, being a Malaysian of Indian origin, I defended the name HINDRAF when some people in government said it was a movement only for Hindus, because of the name Hindu Rights Action Front, my argument was based on what I used to share long before HINDRAF came into existence. It is wrong to refer to me as Indian, that is an anglicised word, the Europeans went to America attempting to take the North West passage, and found the natives of America there and called them Indians, now after Vasco D'Gama came via the Cape of Good hope to India, they referred to the people of present day India (Hindustan) as Indians and the western "Indian" became a " Red Indian."

I do not ride a horse without saddle that skill is with the natives of North America for whom I have the greatest respect, so stop calling me an Indian, and the native of North America will tell you the same thing, I am a Hindu, check the Chinese vocabulary, they have all along referred to the Indians as Indu, the people below the Indus Valley, so calling the body HINDRAF does not denote religious connotations.

Sadly some members of Indian organisations in a recent attack on another Indian called Anthony Bosco, started mocking him and his name and questioning his status as an Indian. Anthony Bosco has had nothing but the interest of marginalised Malaysians in mind, he has been noted for it, he has always fought their cause, he could have turned politician a long time ago, but he was no opportunist. I doubt aby HINDRAF memebrs and probably soem he woudl have helped know who this Anthony Bosco is, and he is certianly no racialist.

Racialism will get us nowhere, it will be the death knell of any society, it always has been, this is a shrinking globe where every man is a brother, and where equality should prevail regardless of race, creed or culture, its a melting pot of all this, marginalisation is not confined to only one community, those who marginalise are not confined to one community alone, the majority in Malaysia who marginalise others are Malays, and similarly the most marginalised are actually the poor Malays because they happen to make the biggest number in the population, nothing else, so when we look at lifting the marginalised we should look at every Malaysian, we should make lifting the marginalised our priority, that way we work towards a better Malaysia, it has to start with us, yes us meaning me.

More than fifty years of independence what have we got to show for it, the Petronas Twin Towers?
The F1 racing track, the third longest bridge in the world, beautiful hotels, and buildings and Industrialised Malaysia, where many of its workers live below the poverty line, where squatters abound, where illiterate children of illiterate Malaysian parents, are roaming aimlessly, where drug addiction is rife, where foreign workers earn more then the Malaysian worker, where the independence and integrity of the Judiciary, the Police Force, the Attorney Generals Chambers and even the Government is in question, and all this has come about because of uninterrupted rule of UMNO and its lackeys.

More then fifty years after independence and our Malaysian worker who was amongst he most productive in the world is today lagging far behind, he is paid far less then his Singapore counterpart, in fact less then half the wages of a Singaporean, and why because he suddenly became inefficient and lazy? No, friend he became less productive because the system has become more corrupt, and this corruption has led to the workers downfall so whilst the powerful corrupt become richer the nation is bled and the Malaysian worker marginalised.

On March 8 the people of Malaysia had taken the first step towards change, that change cannot come overnight, the BN is not about to give the opposition an easy ride, they have disposed of one state government, they have neutralized or are in the process of neutralizing HINDRAF, and we stand and watch.

HINDRAF and the Indians have to take stock, stop wallowing in self pity, you are not the only ones marginalized, if we follow a policy of taking care of the have nots then all those who live below the poverty line be they Indian, Chinese or Malay, be they Kadazaan, or Dusun, Negrito, or Orang Laut, every marginalised Malaysian will be given the first bite of the pie and that is what HINDRAF and every other Malaysian should strife for. United we'll stand, we will be the bedrock of the society, but if we fall for these petty racial games we shall be doomed to remain as the 'Asia Week" once put it, "The orphaned Children of South East Asia." And I honestly fear that HINDRAF is playign up to this gallery, the gallery of UMNO.

Every Malaysian should rise above racial politics, discard the racial parties, rid this nation of corruption at every level, and embrace a Malaysia in which its people (we) are less Indian, Chinese, Malay, Kadazaan, Dayak, and more Malaysian.

In parting I think all Indians in this country should note that with all the so called "Indian Political Parties" in this country they could hardly even line up five Indians in Parliament, but since the last general elections, the number of Indians in Parliament and State Assemblies have more then tripled, they are seen in numbers. The question is; How many of these are from the Barisan? The majority came from the opposition, and not because they were Indians, but because they were selected on merit.

At the next General elections they may be more or, on the other hand there may be less far less, the seats have to go on merit, not to Indian or Chinese or Malays, not to natives but to Malaysians, the candidates must be worthy of the seat, people who can represent, who can see the issues, who can offer solutions, who are analytical, who are able to see the big picture,and who are worthy leaders of the people, they have to be truly Malaysian, not Indian, Chinese or Malay.