Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ethnic Relations


I was planning to write a post about one of the subjects I’m learning in uni atm, when I realized it’s not quite public knowledge that I’m now in Universiti Malaya studying Economics, after forgoing my studies over in Ireland. So eh, if I get the spirit and motivation to write about that, I will. After all, Izad said that I should be writing about studying a first degree as an older student, so maybe I should. Not right now, though.

For now, I want to talk about GXEX1414: Hubungan Etnik, or Ethnic Relations.

I have a strong gut feeling that the entire purpose of the teaching of the subject is to prevent one of the more significant pieces of history, the 13th May 1969 incident, to repeat itself.

What I found interesting was the fact that it instead of teaching on the impacts of racism and such, it teaches facts and an expansion of our vocabulary by giving definitions of Racism, Prejudice, Stereotypes, etc. It also teaches the gradients of racial harmony/combinations (I.e. assimilation, amalgamation, etc) and just stating the facts of the economic, political and social conditions of the different races of Malaysia.

It doesn’t emphasize, for example, that stereotyping is a bad thing, or that we as Malaysians should be striving towards better racial relations. It simply states definitions. No brainwashing here.

I suppose that since we’re all university students and all, I guess the purpose of the subject is just to let us be aware of the words relevant to race and ethnicity and know the racial differences, while we as individuals make our own decisions on what kind of prejudices we want to use (in an ideal world, none, of course).

Considering I myself still have prejudices, I’m not one to talk. But the least one can do is not make these prejudices visible. It’s more polite that way. I believe as long as we’re not discriminating (big word with strong meanings), it’s totally fine.

But eh, considering the other day my roommate told me he’s wary of the Chinese on our hostel floor stealing his laptop when he’s not around, I’m not sure the subject is teaching much. For some people, at least.

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