Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comment on the usage of chopsticks has been blown out of proportion and politicised without understanding the context behind the remark.
First and foremost it was not intended to offend any Malaysian. It was a response to whether or not Malaysia should take the extreme route to assimilate similar to Indonesia. The analogy was brought up to show examples of how it’s different in Malaysia because Malaysians very much define and associate themselves with their original roots.
The real issue we should take from the comment is how ready we are to assimilate as a nation working together without bringing the Malay Malaysian, Chinese Malaysian, Indian Malaysian, and other sentiments. Instead, just define ourselves with one single Malaysian narrative without having to go through the extremities that other countries have gone through.
As long as we all draw barriers and have these differences, the struggle to unite races and the people will still be far from reality.
We can all pretend that these issues don’t create a barrier among us, but the reality isn’t always pretty.
Look around us, we still have people refusing to rent to different races, companies refusing to hire different races. This is all because we still define ourselves based on our race instead of as a Malaysian.
The truth is sometimes bitter but one way or another we need to address the elephant in the room. The topic may be a taboo, but if we don’t address it, we will still be clouded in denial. The discourse should happen to ensure a better future for the nation.
Ulya Aqamah Husamudin is Pejuang information chief.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.