Female Malay: Disagree With Lee Kuan Yew’s Policies, Do Not Belittle Or Disrespect The Sacrifices He Made For Singapore

Yesterday I quoted MISS INI’s conversation with me, expressing her frank views from her heart & mind on LEE KUAN YEW. THE MALAYS & SINGAPORE. [https://www.facebook.com/notes/maidin-packer/lee-kuan-yew-the-malays-singapore-a-note-from-the-heart-of-a-young-professional-/860914697303713?pnref=story].

She inspired yet another young Malay woman, 30, to share her thoughts with me. She also requested to remain anonymous. So I will refer to her as MISS ITU.

MISS ITU: Dear En Maidin, Thank you for sharing the thoughts of Ms INI on your Facebook. It heartens me to know that there are others out there, like me, who view the current situation in the same way.

Let me apologise for this rather lengthy note – or rant as you may see it. These are words that I have never spoken out loud to anyone outside my family, and I do not wish for my identity to be known.

It alarms me to note that over the last few days, my own Facebook feeds have been filled with narrow-minded perspectives of how [some] Malays view the actions of the late LKY. I agree that while one may not agree on actions taken in the past, one should never belittle or disrespect the sacrifices and actions he carried out for the sake of the country.

Often, I read comments that were made based on little knowledge – if not total lack of knowledge – of the background and reason for decisions and policies. Often, these policies are viewed in the perspective of ‘with intent to marginalize Malay/Muslim communities further’.

Often, I’d expect these comments to be made by the older generation, who are often less educated. Ironically, these comments are usually made by peers who have had decent levels of education, if not tertiary and further.

I fail to understand the reason for the discontent. I’ve seen Malay/Muslim individuals rise up and take their place among the top of the cohorts in schools and workplaces. I’ve seen Malay/Muslims succeed in businesses, locally and overseas. I’ve seen success that was borne out of sheer determination and hard work. – LEE KUAN YEW

I often feel that the grumbles on the ground by people in my own community stem from the mentality that they should be on the receiving end of things without having to work too hard for it. They often have the ‘Malays were here first, so should have more rights over others’ – a very Bumiputera-ish attitude. 

But Malays are often content with what they have, and instead of aspiring to be better than the other races, or even those if the same race, belittle the achievements to the extent of insinuating that these successes can be attributed to knowing the right people and having the right kind of money. Never sheer hard work. It’s the constant putting down of others that is holding us all back as a community.

While many are quick to quote what the late LKY said about integrating the Muslims as ‘evidence of marginalizing and attempting to eradicate the entire race’, I wonder why the same quote cannot be used to spur the community on to prove that we can integrate into the society without sacrificing our beliefs. We can hold on fast to our faith while still being Singaporeans first.

Same can be said when I read a certain post on my FB feed about the reasons why the Malay schools were abolished. We Malays should be ashamed of ourselves. Majority of us cannot even speak in our own mother tongue fluently, much less in comparison to the late LKY who can converse in Malay without needing a translator. And his diction is at times better than a native Malay speaker.

We are blind to the contributions the country led by the late LKY have made to our community. Our mosques are huge examples of such contributions. Should we have relied on the ‘Malays will depend on itself to build its community’ mentality, we would not have gotten far. [Some] People grumble over the compulsory mosque development fund that we contribute to every month. Such complaints over a petty amount of cash that is often so insignificant that we fail to notice it.

And we should be honest and upfront with ourselves. How many of us can actually save enough money every month to be able to afford the house we live in if not for our CPF? We Malays are easily contented and quick to keep up with the Joneses. We are quick to display acts of keeping up appearances while piling on mounts of debts. We are quick to fall for get-rich quick schemes instead of getting down to the grind of things.

I am a child of the 80s. I did not go through what my parents and grandparents went through in the early years of our nation. But it never fails to amaze me that we have come far as a nation in terms of development and infrastructure.

Yet, I am afraid. I am afraid thinking of the situation my children will have to face growing up, based on the current mentality of the people. People are holding on so tightly to the past, to the misconceptions, that they are getting left behind without them realizing it.

I may be seen as too ‘intergrated’ into the society. I may be seen as naive. I have served in the civil service, and left it to spend close to a decade in the private sector working for expats.

I have more non-Malay friends than Malay friends, but they all celebrate my festivities and take time to understand my racial customs and traditions as well as religious beliefs and rituals. If not for the fact that I live in a multi-cultural society which the late LKY insisted on, this would not have happened. And just for that, I am thankful.


MY REPLY: TQ for sharing your views. Would be nicer if it could be shared with others. Yes many of our people need to be re-educated. Your views could help. I would be happy if you are to share it or allow me to use it, with or without your name. Pls advice.

MISS ITU: Salam Sir. Thank you for reading my note. Do feel free to share and use it. However I would appreciate if my name was not revealed. I believe there are others who feel the same, and like me, are finding it difficult to voice out our thoughts without being hacked down. Ironically, by our own community.

If you want to be popular, do not try to be popular all the time. Popular government does not mean that you do popular things all the time. We do not want to be unpopular or to do unpopular things. But when they are necessary, they will be done. Popular representative government means that within each five-year period, your policies have demonstrably worked and won popular support. That is what it means. And if we flinch from the unpopular, we are in deep trouble. – LEE KUAN YEW


Source: Maidin Packer

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