kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Nailing bigotry starts at home

THINGS are not pretty nowadays. Bad enough, we have to endure the choking smog; it gets worse when we are bombarded with incidents that touch on racial sensitivity.

I will not go into the details because everybody is aware of what is happening. Enough is enough. Stop associating everything with racial sentiments.

Stop trying to win a kissing contest by playing up which race has been victimised the most. And, parents, stop drumming up negative perceptions about other races in the presence of your children.

Being young, they pick up fast and soon your prejudiced view about other races will be made public by your own children. This was exactly what had happened few days ago.

A mother, while having lunch with her two children, aged 4 and 6, here in the federal administrative capital, had to keep her head down because of what one of her children had said.

The child told the other sibling that the outlet was only for their race. The child’s remark had obviously upset the other patrons. And, the mother was seen busy shushing her children from making further rude remarks that would make the situation more uncomfortable for everyone.

They hurriedly finished their meal and she did not make any eye contact with anyone as she led her children out. The incident left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

In my case, I am in a quandary. The Malay blood in me will take offence when some quarters ridicule the Malays and the Chinese blood in me will be upset when some parties try to take a jab at the Chinese.

When I recall what one of my good friends had said in the past, they started to make sense. She had said that if she ridiculed her own race, it would not be seen as a racist statement.

But if others ridiculed her race, they would immediately be branded as bigots. No race is perfect and each has its own strengths and flaws. By combining our strengths, we will become stronger Malaysians.

Leaders from both sides of the political divide have to be extremely careful with their words and actions. My husband and I had discussed the racial sensitivities that some leaders seemed to have failed to see.

We were throwing ideas on how to choose the right leaders, when a eureka moment happened. The answer was in the SimCity game.

For those who have played the game, you will understand how your decisions and actions will affect the big scheme of things. It may seem a far-fetched idea to begin with, but it has its merits.

Get leaders to play the game. If they fail, drop them from the list, and, if they win put them on a shortlist. Malaysia needs people and leaders who have a healthy dose of empathy towards others.

Without that, we will have too many narcissists, sociopaths and self-absorbed people to deal with. Roger Joseph Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic and screenwriter, said: “I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilisation.” I could not have agreed with him more.

Unfortunately, I am seeing less and less of such values here. We had better be worried. I am already pushing the panic button and doing my small part by instilling empathy and other noble values in my son. Azura Abas NST Home News Opinion 9 October 2015
Tags: unity
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