This is an idea I had in my mind for a good few months now, I just never found the right message to nail it down with. Last week in 95 Percent though - sorry I never explained it to you guys, it's a part-time copywriting course I've been taking for six weeks - it finally hit me smack in the face when I presented my Cause To Champion and received some excellent feedback for it. My cause was ending racism in Malaysia and the way I saw it, governmental policies harking all the way back from the British colonisation was the root cause of segregation - and ultimately racism - in Malaysia.
A brilliant plan then alit, inspired mostly from my college second year Malaysian Cultural Studies where we had these small group discussions about May 13, ISA, national identity, and the like with a certain Marion D'Cruz and Mark Teh. These were basically issues I had never cared to give much thought to before, and it really opened up my eyes to the big picture that had never existed in our little coccooned worlds. Suffice to say, the three months that subject lasted were three of my most patriotic and wanting-to-make-a-difference months.
And my plan to overcome racism? To go round having these little discussion-cum-forums for teens all over Malaysia. In other words, issues which were swept under the carpet and deemed taboo would be slowly brought up again in the open for the next generation. After all, if they were going to bitch about it after work in the mamak stalls anyway, why not let them bitch publicly and channel the negative energy into a positive one? A foolproof plan, or so I thought.
It all became crystal clear on a ride on the LRT...
Bing Bong! "Stesen berikut, Sungai Besi." The LRT announcement guy mumbled in his usual incomprehensible tone.
The doors puffed and slid open, swallowing in an exodus of workers and students back from a long day. Those who were standing shifted uncomfortably to make space for them. Of course, most didn't bother and mind-numbingly continued clogging up the entrances. Dumb Malaysians.
An ominous beep sounded, counting down the five seconds before the doors shut again. The train whistled down the tracks, making everything whizz by too quickly.
I stared at the advertorial board plastered on the LRT wall. "CINTAI MALAYSIA" , it said. Feh. I took a good look at everyone again. How in the world do you Cintai Malaysia when everyone from the giggling schoolgirls in tudungs to the loud-mouthed Chinese towkay booming on his handphone for all to hear was sitting with their own kind?
Suddenly a crazy thought overpowered me beyond rationality.
"Hey!" I jumped up from my seat. "Look at all of you! Look at all of you, I said!"
Dead silence. A million pairs of eyes trained themselves on me.
"You!" I pointed at a Chinese lady in a tacky suit. "You despise him for his sepcial privileges, right?"
The Malay apek I was pointing at glared at me, indignant. "And you!" I continued at him. "You think she should just shut up and be happy that you're allowing her to stay in your land, don't you!"
Everyone looked to the ground and shifted uneasily.
"Speak up, you morons! You!" I pointed to an Indian schoolboy with his uniform untucked and messy. "You think I'm a self-righteous leech who only accepts my own culture, don't you! Well, I think you're a hopeless gangster destined to contribute to our country's escalating crime rate!"
A heavy hand slapped me on my shoulder. "Kau ni orang Cina memang bannyak tahu cakap je...siapa yang merdekakan negara ni, ha? Siapa? Bapak kau ke?" A moustached ustat burned his narrow eyes into mine. I swallowed.
"Malay pigs," Someone whispered too loudly. "So unrefined."
A spectacled Chinese businessman stood up. "My father had to work himself to death beacuse your Malay government did everything they could to make life difficult for him. And how have you pigs repaid him? You can't even speak English, for God's sake!"
"You want to talk about working to death?" A pakcik in a skullcap roared, all red-faced. "My father was in the army fighting the communists for your satefy, and what were you Chinese doing? Planning how to suck us dry and hightail back to China? Ungrateful dogs!"
"Malay pigs!" Someone else shouted.
Without warning a punch landed against the face of the ustat, making him fall to the ground. At once loud screams sounded as a group of Malays in the carriage got up from their seats and beat up the Chinese man responsible. A mad melee of fistfights and brawling ensued. I could only watch in horror at the sea of Malay and Chinese bodies swarming over and tearing into one another.
Crazed cries of Malai si and Hutang darah dibayar darah drowned out the terrified screams of the women and children clawing frantically at the shut doors. The handlebars were ripped out from their places and bashed against heads and stomachs, splattering the floor with blood. A bloody body was sent flying through the window to the tracks below, then another. And another. All cried out in agony as the speeding carriages crushed them to death.
Bing Bong! "Stesen berikut, Salak Selatan."
I nodded dreamily and opened my eyes for the umpteenth time. The Chinese towkay was still blabbering away too loudly for me to sleep. The ustat had started a conversation with his friend beside him as well. The advertorial still beamed "CINTAI MALAYSIA" proudly with a boy in a songkok with his fair and dark friends standing plasticly beside him. And all around, everyone was eager to get home safely.
Maybe when it comes to racism in Malaysia, doing nothing is the best thing.