Sunday, August 29, 2010


Every action has a reaction. How we react often depends on our ability to control our emotions and think through the situation to the likely consequences.

Some recent examples:

  • The sacking of Filipino maids by some families in Hongkong in retaliation for the deaths of eight HK tourists in Manila. Why should these maids be held responsible? What have they got to do with the incident?
  • Protests against the building of the Cordoba Centre near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan because it was deemed 'insensitive' to the families of those who died in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, NY. What has the Muslim group behind the Cordoba mosque project got to do with the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attack?
  • Indonesia's nationalist group Bendara's threat to throw out all Malaysians from Indonesia in response to the detention of three Indonesian maritime officers by Malaysian authorities. What have Malaysian expats in Jakarta, for example, got to do with the incident? 
The answer is NOTHING in all these cases.

It is dangerous to blame isolated incidents on a whole race of people. When we taint everyone with the same brush, we are holding them guilty by virtue of a common denominator, which is often race, nationality or religion. This is much worse than cultural stereotyping and can easily ignite deadly conflagrations.

Read Andrew Sia's column in today's Sunday Star.

So far, we have been fortunate that the majority of Malaysians do not allow negative emotions to rule their heads. Let's pray that our good sense will continue even as some of our leaders continue to stoke communal tension with their outrageous accusations and racial slurs.

1 comment:

Lee said...

I second it. Well spoken.
Politicians have to gain milage, and the easiest way? Stir fry racial ingredients.....

It is the leaders who should know better, and those people who believe their leaders.
Just like a frog in a coconut shell, as the saying goes.
Have a happy hari merdeka, Lee.