Sunday, January 18, 2009

Orang India Bodoh ka?

Stupid: lacking in intelligence, reason or common sense; slow to learn or understand; unable to think clearly.

Above are some adjectives of ‘stupid.’

Now, consider the following.

UMNO and the MIC have been repeatedly irritated by Hindraf’s ability to keep the spotlight on the problems of systematic discrimination, neglect and marginalisation of large segments of the Indian population. This was most recently evident from the MIC’s response to Hindraf’s report - Malaysian Indian Minority and the Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2008 - on the deterioration of civil and human rights and the increasingly bleak state of many Indians in the country.

Having repeatedly denied that there were - and are - serious problems of marginalisation of the Indian population, the MIC finds itself in a transparent conundrum: one the one hand, it has persistently refused to acknowledge that Indians have been progressively discriminated against, yet, it has signed on to the regime’s gimmick to address problems in the Indian population in the form of the ‘Cabinet Committee on the Development of Indians.’

This of course begs the obvious question: if we Indians are not marginalised, as repeatedly purported by the MIC, either vis-à-vis other segments of the population or even relative to our own past accomplishments and condition thirty years ago, why then the need for a committee on the development of Indians? Surely the regime does not have a so-called ‘Cabinet Committee on the Development of the Chinese? Is there one on the development of the Eurasians? Have you heard of such committee for the Chinese? Why must there be one for the Indians if, as the regime claims, the Indians have not - and are not - being particularly disadvantaged or marginalised?

The fact is one does not have to review the data in Hindraf’s report or the regime’s own information to come to the realisation that trends over the past three decades show that on aggregate, the state of affairs and condition of Indians have gone in one unambiguous direction – and it’s not up!

Compared to thirty years ago…

we know that as a percentage, there are far fewer Indian students in our public universities today,

we know that far fewer Indian students complete their secondary school education,

we know that there are far fewer Indians in the civil service today,

we know that there are more Indians in prison today,

we know that as a percentage, more Indians live in poverty today.

We know that Indians barely own over 1 percent of the nation’s privately held wealth.

Well, the list goes on and on, and you get the point, right?

So we know what the evidence is regarding the state of Indians. Yet, the MIC insists that the UMNO regime has been ‘very fair’ to Indians. Now as a reasonable person, I suspect you would say that if you’re discriminated against, that would not be ‘fair.’ I imagine you would also agree that if your rights and concerns were being ignored and you were being deprived reasonable access to opportunity that would not be ‘fair.’

But the MIC and the UMNO regime claim it is, and has been, fair to Indians! So let’s consider further the implications of this dubious claim of fairness by MIC and UMNO. One has to ask, if the regime has been ‘fair’ and has not been systematically discriminating against Indians, surely some other factor(s) must account for how the state of Indians in the country today is far worse than it was thirty years ago?!

The MIC and UMNO regime purport their policies and practices have not been the catalyst for nor have they perpetuated the marginalisation of Indians. If we believe the MIC and UMNO, that over the past three decades we have not been systematically discriminated against; that we have not been denied fair access to education; that we have been given ample support in the form of government loans and assistance to purchase low-cost housing; that Indians have had ample opportunity to be hired in civil service jobs over the past thirty years; and that the regime must have also implemented significant initiatives to overcome the chronic poverty conditions that inflict large segments of our population, then what happened?

What happened to the Indians? How in one generation, did these enterprising and industrious people who, like others, toiled, sacrificed, thrived and persevered suddenly become so marginalised?

Did Indians forget how to work and could no longer hold on to their civil service jobs? Did Indians become incompetent? Did we gradually lose our knowledge? Did we Indians stop using common sense? Did we become stupid and not know how to apply for the wonderful resources the regime was making available to low-income people to buy homes? Did the vast majority of our brilliant students just lose their senses and decide they did not want to go to university? Did we simply become imbeciles and incapable to think clearly for ourselves in the last 30 years? Did we suddenly and magically begin to lose our ability to reason? Is that why our condition started to deteriorate? If not, then what exactly happened? UMNO and MIC say it was not because we were discriminated against and marginalised.

If you believe that the regime has supposedly been ‘very fair’ and not discriminated against Indians, then surely – ultimately - the reason many of the conditions of our community have gotten worse over the past thirty years must be because we Indians just miraculously became more stupid!

You see, I know what I’m being asked to believe – but I’m not stupid.

G. Krishnan