IN his response to Tan Sri’s Mohd Sheriff's article, “Institutionalised racism is scary”, (NST, July 21) M. Arof (“Why castigate the Malays” — NST, July 23) argued that the Malay’s rights should not be construed as promoting racism.
His arguments are valid and indeed the status of all native people all over the world is similar in their natural instinct to ensure survival in the land of their ancestor's birthplace. Having said that, in the current context, how we view and handle the idea of racism, regardless of our ethnic origins, require delicate care and consideration.
Idealism described in textbooks or by a select group of people who label themselves as liberals, intelligentsia or whatever, is not the sole determinant of the path a nation or its people will pursue.
I am a Malay and Muslim. I am very proud of my race and at the same time, I am a Malaysian. I am proud of my country and of all of its citizens, too, Malays or otherwise. What is wrong with such notion?
If any Malaysian were to stand up and be proud of their race, religion or culture, is it really scary and dangerous as some of us would like to portray it?
There is nothing complicated about having your own ethnic identity and, at the same time, building a great nation which provides fair opportunities for all its citizens, if we do not try to be bigger than ourselves by following ideals or principles that are short-sighted.
Instead our individual common sense should prevail. Any nation that has endured centuries of nation building and the challenges associated with the process has one key trait: they don’t forget their history, always acknowledge the present and have clarity on their bearings of the future.
Therefore, for this nation of ours to become great and endure centuries of challenges, we must, on an individual level, understand the need to balance between these three factors, which will determine whether we are victorious or otherwise.
If all of us truly seek to understand our past, agree on our vision of the future and accept the conditions of the present, why would we castigate any race, religion or culture?
Do we even need to position supremacy and racism as a goal or worthy ideals respectively?
Great nations are built by leaders who can successfully balance the three factors of past, present and future to shape citizens, who will inculcate the same strong and virtuous characters necessary to build a society that can succeed, without relying on narrow and oppressive ideals such as supremacy.
Therefore, we must resist backtracking as a nation. Sugiman Sabri, Kulim Kedah. NST Letters 23 July 2015