“Melayu ke?” – the heart of the M’sian problem

As Mat Rempits surrounded my sister and brother on bikes, one of them asked a disturbing question.

“Melayu ke?”

In that one question, he encapsulated the mentality that is killing our
country. Race divides our politics, decides our social class and
financial positions.

We live in a country of racist policies and where racism is so endemic we refuse to admit it exists.

Or we have those who look back on the ‘good old days’ when supposedly
Ali, Ah Kow & Arjun played together by a creek. Trapped in nostalgia
and bleating about how we should go back to those times.

Enough with the sepia fixations on a past we cannot cling onto. It is the now and the coming future that needs our attention.

I am tired of having some random West Malaysian stare at me, wondering
why this Malay-looking girl is wearing a very short skirt or eating
meat/drink that doesn’t look kosher.

Cabdrivers, shopgirls, random people in the train ask me that question: “Melayu ke?”

My answer will then determine how they will speak to me, how they will
treat me, if they will trust me or deign to call me friend.

Back to my siblings: why was it such a pressing need for the rempit to
know if they were Malay? Would he feel justified causing them harm if
they weren’t Malay?

I do believe that some form of affirmative action is needed to help the underprivileged as a whole.

But we’ve taken race privileges too far to the point we have created an
entire culture that revolves around this hideous fixation with race.

You want financial aid? “Melayu ke?”
You want your food to arrive promptly at a Malay stall? “Melayu ke?”
You want the govt to pretend to care about your problems? “Melayu ke?”

I’d just like to ask the powers that be: “Boleh tidur malam ke?”

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