Too much, too fast, too soon (In Dependence)

Happy Independence “let’s imagine we’re tolerant” Day.

This country hasn’t changed one bit. On our way to the good old five-oh, and what are we doing again? One side’s denying basic human rights based on their beliefs. Another’s being alienated and shut off from the first side, a side which happens to make up the majority of the population. An Us vs. Them situation.

How many of you have actual, genuine friendships with people out of your own race? Since I happen to be Chinese, and ironically so do a bulk of those who read my blog — let’s take your MSN list as an example. Excluding foreigners, since I happen to have a lot of internet friends there, I count one. One half-Chinese, half-Malay friend whom I’ve known since I was 13, who doesn’t even act like he’s Malay, and who looks Chinese; the rest of my Malaysians contacts are all Chinese. Congratulations, me. I’m the spitting image of Anti-Merdeka Boy, the people our government pretend don’t exist as they continue with their racial harmony propaganda throughout.

I’m pretty sure not all of you have the same MSN lists. But I’m also sure “not all of you” is a small number — most of us are going to continue living in — God-willing enough — our comfortable English-speaking Chinese social circles, with Chinese friends, marry a decent Chinese woman or man when we grow up, surround ourselves with predominantly-Chinese people, and teach our pure Chinese children to do the same until the day we die.

Now take the above two paragraphs and switch “Chinese” with “Indian”, or “Malay” even, and that’s pretty much how things are at the moment. Of course, do discount the inter-married, those with real thoughts of looking past race, those who love people of other races and religions and are forced to do so in secret. Because they’re the minority, which paradoxically isn’t what’s painted in those sickeningly-sweet commercials we’ll all see tomorrow on TV. They’re supposed to be you, and me.

All because people of another race speak your language or eat your food or even sit with you to eat your food doesn’t make this place any more united. Give me a break.

Sometimes I really regret being complacent, not getting out beyond my comfort zone and all that. You might think that you’re pretty much settled in the “family photo” of our country that we’re forced to view through rose-tinted glasses, but no. When I say actual, genuine friendships I mean things like (to be crude and to the point) how many non-Chinese friends do you have that aren’t superficial? Non-Chinese friends that you share your problems with, your ups and downs, your accomplishments and significant life events?

The answer’s “hardly any” on my end. Sometimes I wish it was different — there wouldn’t be so much pretending, all this forced smiling at each other like it’s all fine, no do-or-die mandates shoved down our gullets by The Big Men In Power. It’s like three apartment-mates barely talking beyond having meals and watching a show together, despite having lived together for a couple of years.

Of course, my cynical half would have to add “and one of the apartment-mates thinks he’s superior to the other two because he was there first and pays less rent for the place as a result” onto that metaphor to make it more realistic. But that’s okay, don’t let my sneering get to you. Our Father Of Independence is cringing in his grave even as I write this.

Happy Merdeka, everyone!

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