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8/27/2009

Of Race, Religion and Nationality

These are the most common identity tags that people wear on their chests. They are either Chinese, Indian or Malay, Taoist, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist, and Singaporean or other nationalities. It seems simple enough until one claims to all three and there are forces tugging them in all directions. In the context of a country, race is probably the easiest to deal with as ethnicity is always subordinated to nationality. Regardless of race, one is a citizen of a country. So we have Chinese Singaporeans, Malay Singaproeans, Indian and Eurasian Singaporeans. This is similar to European Americans, Afro Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans. And as citizens they enjoy the same rights and privileges. The exception is Malaysia where race is supreme over nationality. Malaysians do not enjoy the same rights and privileges unless they are Malay. Nationality may be an artificial construct but it is legal and well defined, with specific boundaries, rules and laws, and rights and responsibilities. All citizens are constitutionally equal. And they are known by their citizenships. So in China you have Han Chinese, Hui Chinese, Mongolian Chinese, Manchurian Chinese, Uigher Chinese and Tibetan Chinese. And they are equal under the constitution. The more troublesome part is religion. The believers believe that they are under a superior being with a superior set of laws. And if they don't abide by the law of a country and want the religious law to be above secular law, then you have a problem. In many countries, you have kings, Presidents, and Prime Ministers kneeling before a religious head who could be just another Ah Beng in a robe. The Ah Beng could be delivering his great message from his gods and the ministers could be sitting there quietly listening to him. And Ah Beng may not even pass his PSLE. But he is the representative of his gods. This is good. The trouble starts when they identify themselves as one and transcend across national borders. Then we have Turkish Muslims demanding the right to represent Uigher Muslims in China. Then we have Muslims from across the world helping their Muslim brothers to topple the secular govt in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand and other places. And they never see it as wrong as their superior doctrine and god are not restricted or confined to any man made borders. The world will be more muddle and chaotic when race, religion and nationality are messed around like rojak. _________________

11 comments:

Wally Buffet said...

Think about it. If there were no religion, no artificial national borders, all Men will live as one and we would have no need to alienate each other. The world would have turned out better if all of us worshipped the SUN. And rightly so because it is the sustainer of Life. Sounds silly? So are some of the things we are forced to believe in the established religions.

Christians, Buddhists, Muslims preach peace and harmony. Yet because of their individual beliefs and fervent proselytism, there is disharmony.See the irony?

Anonymous said...

Come to Malaysia and see whether non-malays are treated like pariah or not. You are just a dumb to be hostile to Malaysians!

redbean said...

anonymous, don't be a twit. i am just stating facts. and i never said that the non malays are treated like pariahs. it is in the malaysian constitutions, malay special rights.

and if you think and believe that all the citizens are equal under the constitutions and in real life, good for you. i will not dispute with you.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to dispute. What you said was loud and clear: Malaysians do not enjoy the same rights and privileges unless they are Malay.

Wally Buffet said...

Anon 9:36

Redbean was being polite calling you a twit. I'll say you are a muddled SOB falling into the shithole and yet still think it's perfumed garden.

WTF!

Anonymous said...

You are just a sucker Wally Buffet. May be insulting others is just a way of your bastard life! Get Lost!

Wally Buffet said...

What an immature grouchy twit. Ah well, from where you come from, it figures. Don't want to waste time with you. I am going to "get lost". You are also very "lost" !

Hehe. Laughing till it hurts.

redbean said...

hi anonymous, my apologies for calling you a twit. it was just my knee jerk reaction to your dumb comment. i am human also.

ok wally, let's chat and avoid calling anyone names. we are supposed to be mature and sensible people. i am used to people calling me naive, dumb and all kinds of things. i should be used to them by now. : )

Wally Buffet said...

OK noted. But I am also human too. In fact more human than most humans :-). When I see that a good sod like you is being maligned, I cannot stand by and do nothing. You know, like the wuxia pian?

Anyway, when you write on race, religion and nationality which you are always wont to do, you can expect that some will be hot under the collar. Don't know why you like lighting fires but hey, it's your blog and you can write whatever you fancy, subject to certain laws and code of conduct of course.

Good day, I'm off for a luncheon meeting with my stockbroker.

redbean said...

race and religion are hot topics for discussion today. we have reached some maturity to do that and hsien loong has started the ball rolling. but we need to be sensitive when discussing such issues. so far we are doing fine.

wally, you must be making tons of money. time you pick up that piece of nikon dslr.

IMAGOD said...

Both nationality and race are artificial constructs.

> The world will be more muddle and chaotic when race, religion and nationality are messed around like rojak. <

Chaos is part of the natural order. In fact chaos comes from order i.e. "entropy" or order can come from chaos.

John Lennon got it right in "Imagine".

Human being are already divided by everything from their individuality to what deodorant, cars, mobile phone or tampons they use. And rational people who use different products don't go to war over their preferences. In that sense there is no reason for race, nationality or religion to be the cause of political and/or armed conflict.

The whole thing is just plain silly.