Why my son will leave Malaysia: Rise of racism, prejudice, religiosity, fundamentalism, and unscientific thinking

No country can take care of Malaysians better than Malaysia.” I am not sure who said this first; perhaps it was already a common dictum long before when I first heard it at a young age. Even after spending several years overseas, Malaysia remains my home. I  have never had any intention to stay overseas for long. Even if I were to work overseas, it would only be to polish my CV for a better job offer when I return home to Malaysia. And I would always return home. Always.

Malaysia has done exemplary well in just a short period after her independence in 1957. Where some countries fell into anarchy soon after gaining their independence, Malaysia (then Malaya) had a strong government to steer the country in the correct direction, helped a great deal by the collective support of the people.

But Malaysia today faces a much harder challenge. Our former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, recently wrote in his blog, “There’s something rotten in the state of Malaysia” in which he laments about the country’s poor governance. But Malaysia’s rot is much more fundamental and widespread than that lamented by Tun M.

Yes, we do have a weak and clueless government, eager to please everyone but pleasing no one at the end because Malaysians have now become so polarized in their beliefs and values. But at the other end of the ring, we also have an equally clueless opposition and who are just as desperate for power as the government are desperate to stay in power. Together, these two belligerent factions have successfully nurtured mutually exclusive groups of people.

We the rakyat have become so cynical that we do not even desire to distinguish between the good and the bad, the truth and the lies. The good achievements of the country are mocked and the bad sarcastically hailed. Nothing good the country achieves is seen as good enough or done without the involvement of political conspiracies and hidden motives. Trust is gone.

We have become too inward looking to our own race, championing more for our race and less for the common good. Each race is told to unite, be strong, be progressive—and not to be outdone by the other races. Malays and Chinese see themselves as Malays and Chinese first, respectively, and Malaysians second. No wonder then we remain as ever racist and prejudiced. Contrary to what most cynics believe, we do not need the government or anyone to divide us along racial lines; we will do it ourselves. It is in our nature. We have evolved to be in group memberships because group living maximizes our chances of survival. And the tendency to be bias towards our own group and be prejudice against outsiders is our adaptive response against threats coming from outside our group.

Many moderates such as Marina Mahathir and other Malaysians know there is a rot in Malaysia, but not many of them have identified correctly the exact cause of the rot (photo from thesar.com.my).

Many moderates and activists such as Marina Mahathir know there is a rot in Malaysia and are fighting against it, but not many of them have identified correctly its exact cause (photo from thestar.com.my).

Experiments even since the 1970s have shown that when we randomly place people in different groups, bias towards one’s group automatically emerges even when these groups are demarcated along arbitrary and meaningless markers such as red and blue, north and south, or apple and pear. Race and religion are two very powerful polarizing agents that will easily divide people into distinct and zealous groups. People will fight and die for their race and religions. No other agents, apart from nationalism, can induce people to behave in such a manner. Numerous research have revealed that race and religion, as expected, tend to cause people to favor their own group and to discriminate other groups.

A local study by Chuah and his associates in 2014, for instance, showed that, of the 96 Malaysian respondents, the Muslims were the most religious and fundamentalist, followed by the Christians, and the Hindus and Buddhists the least. Chuah observed that while race and religion increased cooperation between two people who shared the same race or religion, religion fundamentalism increased out-group prejudice. In other words, religious people who believe their religion is the only and absolute truth (i.e., fundamentalism) will cooperate more with like-minded people but show more prejudice against dissimilar people.

Research have shown people sharing the same race or religion tend to cooperate more with each other but less with others (photo from life.se).

Research have shown that people who share the same race or religion tend to cooperate more with one other but less with others from a different race or religion (photo from life.se).

Social science studies such as Chuah’s serve as warnings to us particularly when religious fundamentalism is on the rise in Malaysia. We are also seeing increased incidences where the beliefs, values, and demands of one religion are being imposed onto others who do not share the same faith. Most religions are incompatible with one another. Each religion defends itself as the only truth, the only way we should lead our lives, and the final and only answer. So, we cannot impose any one religion on others and yet expect no repercussions or indifferent compliance.

Race and religion are taboo to any form of questioning. We cannot question race or religion in Malaysia without serious repercussions. We may demand for freedom of speech, but I think many of us will balk at such freedom especially when it includes freedom to question our religion. We are told to be more scientific and more religious, not realizing that the two are mutually incompatible. No amount of reconciliation can make both science and religion share the same spot in our mental faculties; we will suffer from cognitive dissonance, a state of mental stress from having two opposing ideas.

BFM journalist Aisyah Tajuddin received death and rape threats in her satire questioning the need of hudud (photo from themalymail.com)

Radio station BFM host Aisyah Tajuddin received death and rape threats because of this BFM video satire questioning the need of hudud law in the Kelantan state of Malaysia (photo from themalymail.com).

If religion and fundamentalism continues to grow in this country, they will impede scientific progress and rational thinking. They will impede our freedom to discover, to question, to seek for answers, and to defend our ideas and beliefs. Religion and fundamentalism breed intolerance because they prevent us from changing our opinions and stance in spite of us being shown wrong. Freedom of speech is the foundation of enlightenment. As Christopher Hitchens said, it is not so much what we think is important; it is also matters how we think it. It is frightening to learn that people in the U.A.E. countries read only one book every ten years, and that Spain has translated more English books into Spanish in one year than all the Arab countries into Arabic in the last 1,000 years. In contrast, research have shown that people in non-religious or secular countries tend to have higher levels of education, IQ, and verbal ability; lower levels of prejudice, ethnocentrism, racism, and homophobia; and greater support for women’s equality and independent thinking than in religious countries. Correlation is not causation, of course, but it is telling that social benefits seem to flourish in the absence of religion or when religion exerts little influence on the society.

I find it distressing to learn from a recent survey by MASTIC that showed half of Malaysian scientists still believe humans were created by a Supreme Being, and a third do not believe the Big Bang created the universe. These Malaysian scientists have apparently built mental walls to separate science from their everyday thinking and decision-making process. Science appears just a tool they use at work. I fear it is not just Malaysian scientists but also includes our schoolchildren, many of whom view science is just one of the subjects at school that they have plod through and where only 20 to 30% of them will  choose science-based careers.

There is something wrong when our national school exams show continuous improvement in overall test scores every year, only for us to be brought down to earth when our school students take the international exams for science and mathematics. For the past decade, Malaysia has been ranked as the country having one of the lowest literacy in science and mathematics in the world.

Racism, religiosity, prejudice, and unscientific thinking are all related to one another.

It is too easy to blame all ills on the current government, as the opposition love to do and would like us to follow suite. But the opposition stand just as clueless as the accused for the solutions to Malaysia’s rot. The opposition talk about “Ubah” or “Big Change”. But it isn’t just change that Malaysia needs. It is a complete (and very painful) upheaval involving the whole political and social structure. The reboot process involves the following:

  1. We must separate religion from government and from all public affairs.
  2. We must have complete freedom of speech, where no beliefs and no ideas are taboo.
  3. We must make science the foundation upon which the country develops.
  4. We must de-emphasize differences between races by not dividing the society along racial lines but along lines of people who need the least to most help, for instance.
  5. We must create a society that is safe and governed by a just government, free of corruption at all levels.

I am under no illusions. These five steps will be extremely difficult to achieve, considering the current state of our country and the peoples. Any politician today advocating such a Malaysian reboot (especially advocating separation of religion from government) will be committing political suicide. Optimistically, it may take a hundred years for Malaysia to achieve a complete reboot.

Like any responsible parent, I would like my child to flourish. I want my son to learn, live, work, and love in a society that is intellectual, sophisticated, adaptable, and culturally-rich, one that provides him with opportunities to discover his talents and use them to lead a meaningful and productive life. That Malaysia is still far from being such a nation is not what upsets me. No, what upsets me the most is that Malaysia is regressing from being such a nation, that the country today is becoming increasingly oppressive, intolerant, narrow-minded, and unscientific, and that the rot in Malaysia is simply this: the Malaysian mind is closing.

References

  1. Buchanan, M. 2007. Are we born prejudiced? New Scientist, 17 March 2007, issue 2595, pg. 40-43.
  2. Chuah, S-H., Hoffman, R., Ramasamy, B. and Tan, J.H.W. 2014. Religion, ethnicity and cooperation: An experimental study. Journal of Economic Psychology, 45: 33-43.
  3. Cribari-Netoa, F. and Souza, T.C. 2013. Religious belief and intelligence: Worldwide evidence. Intelligence, 41: 482–489.
  4. Zuckerman, P. 2009. Atheism, secularity, and well-being: How the findings of social science counter negative stereotypes and assumptions. Sociology Compass, 3: 949–971.

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Comments

  1. I am a Malaysian and I have a son , I am a convert but I fear Malaysia has lost it’s identity and potential a long time ago. The direction from the get go ( ie , education at primary and secondary schools ) now steers our youths away from actively thinking into a more passive mindset , therein lies the crux of the issue.

    To make matters worse , in order to break free from these chains , we as parents will need to invest a whole lot more into their education just to ensure they are exposed to the ‘right’ environment , and even then there is no guarantee. To add on , not everyone is privileged to financially sustain the aforementioned steps above.

    At the end of the day , this is life I suppose and we strive on to find our little piece of Eden which hopefully exists out there.

    Nicely written though. You possess a very logical train of thought that somehow makes you sound a little mechanical , but the logic behind it is sound. Cheers.

  2. Racism, prejudice, religiosity, fundamentalism, and unscientific thinking isn’t unique to Malaysia. Its found all over the world, even in the West too.

    The funny thing is, there is still plenty of opportunity. Life is what you make of it. Adversity, in whatever way, shape or form needs to be addressed and overcome. Solutions can be found, some not as palatable as others, but if we all caved in to less intelligent, intellectual, emotional people, how does that reflect on us?

    I remember a Bangladeshi, married to a local Chinese lady, running three very successful mamak-style eateries in KL. He doesn’t complain, he just goes about his business and makes a killing everyday. Meanwhile, those he serves struggle to make ends meet on a RM3000 monthly salary. Makes you wonder about the value of a University education.

    It really depends on your career too. If you want to be a cutting edge astrophysicist, chemist bio-engineer or computer scientist, well we all know where the best minds reside.

    The regression into conservative Islam, has served certain power structures in Malaysia very well. And as long as there is no push-back, well, they’ll keep crossing “red-lines”. Those in power pretend to be pious, pander and play to the deep fears and insecurities in the Malaysian psyche. But in the end, they only worship the almighty dollar.

    As an aside, Barack Obama has visited Malaysia twice, being only the second since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. Not to mention Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and the rest. Now why is this? Clearly these Americans are seeing something. Are we missing the forest for the trees?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia%E2%80%93United_States_relations#Official_visits

    • Yes, unscientific thinking and religious fundamentalism do exist in the West. We can never have 0% of them; I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the West is completely absent of those qualities. But as you put it, how we lead our lives is crucial to a meaningful life. But being in a highly religious and intolerant society or being in a society governed by corrupt or incompetent government will greatly reduce the opportunities a person may have to lead his/her life.

      Imagine a hypothetical society with absolute zero tolerance of freedom of expression, where every criticism or expression of ideas beyond what is allowed is severely punished. In such a society, people will be a docile lot. Scientific progress will be hampered and the expression in arts and culture stagnated. So yes, we can create opportunities but we cannot say we are divorced from the society such that it will not affect us. Now imagine the reverse, how would you think life would be in a society where people are allowed to criticize and question ideas and where people can be who they want to be (within the rules of the law, of course)?

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Thanks, I’m really glad I stumbled upon your blog.

    “The good achievements of the country are mocked and the bad sarcastically hailed. Nothing good the country achieves is seen as good enough or done without the involvement of political conspiracies and hidden motives. Trust is gone.”

    I had lived most of my life in other countries, and find myself settling back in Malaysia again. I agree that people have become too cynical. Every little thing is seen as part of the actions of a corrupt government trying to profit off the people.

    (Context: When getting my learner’s permit, I’m required to pay a small sum to JPJ to get it. My dad shrugged it off as ‘another’ instance of the Malaysian government trying to make money off people. Found myself having to argue that that is also done in Australia (where I do have a leaner’s permit.)

  4. Like you I have spent times abroad

    Like you I always return back to Malaysia

    And like you, all my children are out there, and I tell them to stay out there – only come to Malaysia to visit Papa and to makan

    I have neither any illusion nor any hope for Malaysia – as long as RACISM remains the bedrock for the Malaysian society – and the running of the government

    While the world progresses, we keep on gostan balik

    I have no trust in any of the politicians – for all of them, including those from the opposition, are corrupt in more ways than one

    The moral bankruptcy of Malaysia is nothing new, btw – the key point is that we Malaysians have been too ridiculously pretentious, as if RACISM is acceptable as long as my rice bowl is not affected

      • >… I think you are confused with what “pretentious” actually means …

        If you still haven’t realized that the Malaysian people are hypocrites, that we keep on pretend that everything will be a-ok, even though every single day we are all being reminded that some people are from the ‘official protected species’ while others are not

        It’s never okay, unless of course, you want to ‘pretend’ that it’s okay

        • Fully understand what you meant, it is never okay, the policy deprives the basic human rights – equal access to education and job opportunities, and seems like it’s no big deal in the society.
          Elder generations resided in the land for >10 years held the red card and never succeeded in travel overseas until death while foreigners of religion alike immediately got IC.
          No justice.

          • Yes, I agree. We have leaders who serve only one group of people and work to divide not unite us all. Staying in power or gaining power seems more important than fixing the country problems. Very, very sad and helpless.

  5. I am surprised that so many people are missing your point of view. I come from a religious background and while I was merely studying in the science stream, it also influenced my thinking. I was more curious and became with scientific evidence. Sadly, the more I learned, the more I realise how far behind my peers in Malaysia are in their thinking. Our numbers are far too little against the many who still cling to what they know are familiar and safe patterns of thinking.

    My religious peers are clinging onto religion, waiting for the miracle that will change the country for the better. We are using religion as an excuse to run away from problems, instead of enpowering ourselves to tackle those problems instead. Religion is only focused maintaining its status quo or increasing its numbers.

    At this point, I’ve forgotten where I was going with my comment, but overall, I wanted to agree with you that Malaysians should, themselves and not reliant on mere figureheads with no authority or credibility, initiate the reboot (some call it a revolution) to bring Malaysia back on its intended path to a united community before we rise to progression.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being a rational person. I was getting worried about the quality of recent comments on this article: comments coming either from religious nuts or racists (often both), or from those who simply refuse to see or consider another person’s point of view.

  6. if you despise Malaysia,why arey you still living here?

    Study your Chinese community carefully; all the answers is there.

    The Malays have been robbed & cheated; the Indians marginalised.

    Hint: Guess, by which race ?

    Communism has no place in a multiracial society.

    • Brave boy. Why even bother to post a comment if you want to be anonymous (with fictional email) and even then, your post is just as meaningless and lacking in hard facts as you. One thing however I will give you is your kind of comment only fortifies my belief that Malaysia is in big trouble because it is made-up of racists like you. It is amazing you can say I am promoting communism. Do you even understand what is secularism? Fail.

  7. I agree completely for the large part of the article. I thought im the only one. I, even as malay/muslim, didn’t understand why there is such thing as divide* among races even we are live in multiracial country. Like it or not, from my point of view, it happen due to our Independence from British. The Malay put a deal where they would have privileges, and the Chinese and Indian agree to it.

    The Malay, has possibility to feel superior, because its their land, or entitle respect from other races in Malaysia,while non bumi, will feel as minority and repressed eventho they are Malaysian. In the same time, since there is divide between races, people put their races up front rather than the benefits of country or people. What make things worse, races tie with religion in this country like Islam=Malay,Chinese=Buddhist/Christian,etc.

    I know this blog dedicated on promoting free thinker information, however from my point of view, religion is not the case. Religion did play part in causing it, but not the culprit. Religion always been the bullet* on promoting the divide*. I agree that Malaysia government should be free from any ideology /religious base while putting the benefit of country and people rather putting some race importance up front because its just skin color.

    In my opinion, Malaysia lack of progress thinking people got nothing to do with religion. From my point of view

    Its Elitism.

    People believe they are superior due to some value. Some because of religion(believe they are superior because he is muslim/christian,etc), Some believe they are superior due to how many money they make(rich person makes them more better than the poor). Some on how educate you are(having PHD in some course make better than the people that dont have education) and some believes thier skin colour makes them better.

    Superiority or Elitism, from my point of view is the culprit. If we people can stop being bias unto something, Malaysia will flourish. Why elitism cause lack of progress thinking people, because, we are relax with what we have. For example, religious people might feel accomplished with religious teaching rather than science, Rich people might feel cool with the money they make or some people could have feel cool with education cert they hold not wanting learning something new(like how most ignore arts/literature.) Knowledge alone and person intellectual doesn’t guarantee they are free from being bias.

    The reason im saying this because religion is a faith, where got nothing to do with science or someone’s intellectual. What matters we shouldnt divide people due to thier believe. An atheist can be as ignorant or unintellectual as religious people. and you can be religious and educated as well.Unless you simply living in present,and did not entertain possibility of that long ago, there is atheist, and not that educated or simply think all great thinker of all time is secretly atheist. if religion causing human to regress, Islam couldn’t have the enter Golden Age(786 to 809), gifting crucial thinker like Avicina and Mohammad bin Musa al-Khawarizmi whom contribute in Math and medicine(for example,Al Khawarizmi contribution is a formula for systematically solving quadratic equations (equations involving unknown numbers to the power of 2, or x2) by using the methods of completion and balancing to reduce any equation to one of six standard forms, which were then solvable.) Or China couldnt have introducing imperial examination followed by Western world and where Confucianism was adopted(correct this if im wrong as im not familiar with China history). What change between this is not religion however the people. People whom adopting the faith.

    In Islam,1st ever recitation given, was Iqra’ means Read. At least in Islam, God ask you to gain knowledge. However, Muslim nowadays, no longer after knowledge. How often you see Malaysian read?
    The people who have change, not religion.

    Human is diverse creature. human have stance and value they hold.the key was not make whole human think alike, but accept, that we are different. Which need awareness.If we can get rid of elitism we hold, we can change. .And for that matter, yes i agree completely, will take a long time in Malaysia.

    Great article tho haha

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your opinions.

      My blog is about topics that interest me and written with a science bend, not about “free thinker” information to mean only anti-religion or atheism topics. Lately, I have been writing about religion, yes, but if you check my older articles, you will find articles about parenting, education, and technology.

      The problem with Malaysia isn’t about Malay rights and privileges. It is about the increase in religion fundamentalism and intolerance of other races and religions.

      Malaysians have changed, becoming more globalized in thinking and more aware about the importance and desire for human rights and freedom of expression. Malaysia’s aspires that too but still trying to cling onto the past. In other words, Malaysia wants to be progressive but yet do not want to change. Our country cannot have it both ways.

      Religion is closely tied to how scientific a person is. Science isn’t just a subject at school but a way of thinking. Studies have shown there is often a negative association between religiosity and how much importance a person places on science.

      • Haha. Then we pretty much have different views on the metter.before i sign out,i gotta say I have a feeling that you don’t really read my long comment(hoping you will read this one haha)Coz

        1) I don’t talk about Malay rights/privilege at all. I said it is what trigger the divide. For example, Malay still feels that they are superior because Malaysia is their land, how chinese company wants to hire chinese people only,etc.The recent low yat incident is a living proof that superiority lives among races. You might want to justify its because religion fundamentalism, but it isn’t. Religion merely a tool to spread the divide(can be seen, malays use alluh akbar during low yat incident). Just because races ties with religion. If during independence, Malay is allowed to be other religion, do you think this intolerance exist? Of coz, because, they seperate us by lebeling us malay,chinese,indian.which is rediculous as it just a skin colour.This is what Marina Mahathir poster in your post is all about. Religion did plays a part, but not the culprit. And yet, there still no blood bath in Malaysia in the name of religion.

        2.Ive read some article here(not tgoroughly)how said long ago Malay can show skins but now barely any skin on media, how Malay drink guiness in ad which permissible long ago not now but its a bad example of saying how its an increasingly religion fundamentalist problem. Proof?Malay/Muslim still wear revealing cloth. Malay artist still hugging each other. And if you dive a bit, we can find muslim drink beer. And there is muslim converts.You can can see them. Anybody stone them to death? Nope. You cant possibly said Muslim in Malaysia increasingly becoming extream if reminding this people that these act not what Islam represent. Some might done it harshly, but hardly i would call extream.

        3. It baffles me when you said this is all about science bend thoughts but yet, pretty much ignore some of commenters ideas. Im not saying im upset or anything, but isn’t science base on proof? Open to a change?Well because history data is irrelevant? My example of Islamic Golden Era is a proof, human still, can adopt science in thier life but also religion. Why i use Islamic Golden era is because Malaysia is Islamic country, but even with religion base core, well its not impossible to move fowards, as history stated it(Islamic civ from that era deminish not because religion become irrelevant but due to crusade and muslims which later face a problem where they no longer put knowledge in thier life)

        4. I didn’t said science is a subject in school. However, i stress that human is a diverse creature.how , people form stance base on some value. Even you demand evidence and open to a change.A great example is this, is 1 episodes from big bang theory sitcom.Sheldon cooper fights with leslie twinkle about Strings theory vs quantum loop gravity. It shows, people form a stance even in science. Both of them have cling on proof too.While people said its silly, because string theory is not yet proven but human diversity makes there many theories out there. (Sheldon cooper later realise his 20 years of work in string theory is just feeding his ego rather then advancement of science, which another proof, human is fragile falling to elitism kind of thought, being intolerance toward anything that is not)

        Anyway, I apologize if any of my words sound harsh, but, it wasnt mean too. Just stating view because with all due respect,some of ideas here is flawed maybe because lack of understanding of what happen , but maybe because you are not malay and muslim.But well thats why the blog name after discussing idea. Therefore we can exhange it.Great blog anyway. Keep it up.

        • I thought I was answering your previous comments but doing it more succinctly. Science is a way of thinking, as I was trying to explain, and it is normal to have even established facts questioned and tested repeatedly. That is science. No dogma is sacred. And this is why religion and science can never be reconciled together. In science, a person’s opinions can change in view of new evidence, whereas religion is immutable.

          One problem with Malaysia today is the rise of religion fundamentalism and the imposition of one’s values onto others. Anyone who says otherwise is living truly in a holy huddle, blissfully unaware of what is happening to the other 40% “minorities” in this country. I disagree it is “elitism” that is destroying the country, even to suggest PhD holders to be among the culprits. A highly educated society is an asset to any nation not a liability or source of trouble (unless you are a dictator and want a meek and ignorant citizens).

          Yes, celebrities can get away (to some degree) wearing aurat-revealing clothes and hugging one another. Those in the higher socio-economic status will get some freedom to decide how and what they should wear and act, but for normal people, this privilege is absent. If I may take an example outside Malaysia: You have the Queen Rania of Jordan wearing very much like a Westerner but for any normal Jordanian trying emulating her will probably receive a much less than polite rebuke. It is the same in Malaysia: the more money and power you have, you can get away with some that would normally be rebuked for normal Joes and Janes. But even in Malaysia, this “privilege” is being eroded. I read yesterday, for instance, Erra Fazira getting rid of all her aurat-revealing clothes.

          Yes, Islam had its glory days but that was a long, long time ago, nearly 8 centuries ago in fact. Since then, no major knowledge or innovation has come out of the Arab world. It is time to look forward and not pine for the ancient past. Many reasons have been given to explain the demise of the Islamic civilization, one of which is the lack of seafaring skills among Muslims then who could not compete with other civilizations. Another reason was the closing of the Muslim mind, that Muslims had simply stopped to ask questions (the issue of ijtihad and Ash‘arites vs Mu‘tazilites). Muslims then had stopped learning.

          Surveys have been done that religious people tend to place less importance on science.

          • Thanks for the clarification. In some point, I do agree. Cant denied Some religious person get caught up with they hold, too sacred until being bias and intolerance towards other believes. To some extend races. Some become too fanatic till cant accept, human is different.

            However, responding to some of your answer, In my opinion, you still get my view wrong.I didn’t said we all shouldn’t study as high as possible To have high intellect society. No i didn’t suggest PhD holder to be culprits. no, I dont want malaysia to be dictatorship country. However its just a example that people form a superiority stance. You can’t denied how many people not really have opportunity in extending study. Some very poor and have to sacrifice to just to survive. Do you want to say, these non PhD holder is lesser being than you?. Have you seen people who have superior education look down on common people? Sadly, education backround too can make people develop elitist feeling.Knowledge comes from different form. Human is diverse, have different stance, and different strength. Im stating this because, I once did feel superior towards non university cert people. But when I think back, I am much luckier than some due to resources I have, opportunity I have. Therefore, I look for other values from other people. Accept that human is different. While this is actually out if topic, just clarifying education background can make people feel superior.

            Again, its a normal view that, anything history is just a past. Therefore, irrelevant. If history is not important, i have no idea why money is put into recovering history.Most history we learn and most deemed irrelevant for nowadays but if that one civ destroyed by war, you can’t simply said that civ way is irrelevant. Lets imagine, One day, North Korea, form an alliance with country like China for example giving enough man power to launch nuclear and war to USA and all western world, and somehow succeed And destroy all things we modern world hold into one dictator world. Do you think, people for next 500 years who agree to nowadays western world ways of thinking, is called irrelevant? You might disagree, but there are quote that, the turth is determined by who wins the war. Western world win, thats how it turn out. (I doubt this science bend if thinking even exist if communist or germans takes over long ago)Look, when I said ahhh, look at Islam golden era, they do ok, Doesnt implying that we don’t need advancement of technology, we shouldn’t study to become high society, and all need to be religious zealot. Implying, its wasn’t as regress as you think as muslims that era, did contribute towards science and technology, atleast contribution towards modern science (of coz they didn’t do something like newer theory that more important, however, that simply because the era they living in.imo, if u ignore this, I had to break it to ya, you simply being bias with what you hold, therefore no differences to those religious fundamentalist). Hell, even Einstein believe in some sort of personal god.

            To cut it short,my whole main point is this. If one your friends now, who to this most science-bending thought core, adopt this way of thinking, suddenly, turn religious, will you feel he has gone backwards? Do you feel your way is better Or you accept his stance? This is what matters. If you not, you are not much different from those religious fundamentalist. We can hold on that value that we hold, but not being bias about it. Accept people is different.Because atleast, imo, Malaysian suffers this, base on separation that occur long ago during Independence.

            Ahh too many long comments. Hahaha. This is last la. Niway, thanks for reply again. Very thorough too

  8. In Islam, we put religion above other things. As long as this philosophy still intact, there no way we can change the way Malaysia progress because we are democracy country whereby majority have a dominant to influence how the country will move forwards.

    Agreed with Q views, you want other to follow your values and did not accept what others and how you can expect them to agreed with you.

    For me, damage has been done. we need to accept Malaysia still far from ideal countries and respect each other values. For me I accept any action to make a better country as long as its not deviate from my faith.

  9. Excellent write Up ! ! Applauds !

    The final conclusion drawn by a person surely bears the reflection of the culture, upbringing, education & society that one had been a part of. That is why we see different conclusions being drawn by different individuals for the same condition.

    But except some minor differences, I agree mostly with what you said.

    This is what I loved most in this article :

    “We are told to be more scientific and more religious, not realizing that the two are mutually incompatible.”

    This is very true. Majority believes science to be a tool to make human life easier. Whereas “Science” really is a thought process & which essentially eliminates perception that does not bear evidence. “Religion” is all about “Popular perceptions”

    Also the “Reboot” process is to quite an extent correct.But I believe, this won’t attack the root of what “Causes” these problems.

    ” . . . . we do not need the government or anyone to divide us along racial lines; we will do it ourselves. It is in our nature…..” .
    Well … not really. There had been several instances when we stood up to injustice together. When the lines that supposedly divide us blurred to near extinction. But then in recent past, those lines were redrawn & highlighted. And a society that still does not has a scientific approach of thought process , that still goes largely by emotions propelled by beliefs, couldn’t recognize the trap & fell for it.
    So my point is that there had been external factors that fueled such rifts among the society. Undermining those factors will become a serious setback for those who intend to fight against it.

    • True, different people will have a different prognosis of the country, but I am glad we more or less agree with each other. There are two scenarios where a national Reboot process can happen: a) a very powerful dictator assumes control of the country and initiates this reboot process, or b) Malaysians themselves initiate it. Scenario A is risky because the reboot is forced upon the people and the process may not last or even work. Scenario B is much better because it is more sustainable, but to get to Scenario B would require Malaysians to achieve some sort of enlightenment to suddenly realize that there is a greater goal to achieve than transcends their own race and religion fundamentalism. This is what makes me so frustrated. Malaysians still place much more emphasis on their own groups’ importance.

      I agree with you that our problems are partly caused by other factors. The government and opposition parties too are made up of people pursuing their own agenda. 🙁

      • All these talk about religion….

        PS: A majority of Chinese are “godless”

        That explains the wicked, disgusting bad behaviour & overwhelming greed.

        Hell might be full of Chinese; find a solution to save them.

  10. Sir, you made some good points, but with all due respect, I am afraid you are guilty of the very thing you have chastised the religious groups of doing – imposing your views upon others; you said, inter alia:

    “I find it distressing to learn from a recent survey by MASTIC that showed half of Malaysian scientists still believe humans were created by a Supreme Being,”

    I hope I did not misunderstand you, but this statement seemed to indicate that you have already dismissed the belief of humankind being a creation of a Supreme Being as one that is obviously wrong; that it beggars belief that the scientists, who should be people of foremost intellect, can possibly believe in such a thing.

    It doesn’t seem like you leave room for any other possibility. So, in the end, how different can you really claim yourself to be from those people you call fundamentalists?

    • Thank you for your comments. Questions about religion are always sensitive, so I will try to explain with tact:

      1) Science demands evidence.

      2) Science is open to all possibilities, but subject to criterion (1). In religion fundamentalism, only the dogma it posits is to be accepted and true.

      3) In science, a person’s stance can change in view of new evidence. In religion, a person’s stance is immutable.

      • Thats correct this country has mix of all kinds of people extremist , moderates and a growing atheist society too.
        Im a scientist but not an atheist.I believe your article is skewed to the athiest which is currently the fastest growing society too like in the Western countries.
        your article was a noble attempt to overcome racism but does not have the depth to tackle the variuos groups of societies .you need to understand the complex society in malaysia 1st.
        But i do see the good values in your articles.

        • Thank you for your time to read and leave a comment. Unfortunately, your comment, though noble, has even lesser depth than apparently mine to explain how to overcome problems of a complex society like in Malaysia. Nevertheless, I see good values in your comment.

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