Reconciling Being a UiTM Student
Posted by Cherubim on August 20, 2008
I’m an undergraduate student of UiTM Shah Alam, studying law just like any other long suffering young lady trying to make the grade; nose deep in dusty thick books, fingers clicking research in Lexis Nexis. Thanks to events beyond my control, though, when I graduate, irrespective over the fact that I have represented my country in debate tournaments, worked to organize international conventions and national seminars in various positions, have proved my ability to communicate in English well by previous work experience, I will now face difficulties when I hit the Job Market.
As I attended class on that particular morning, I asked a friend of mine whether he went as he was dressed in black. He proudly replied, yes, doing his best to charm his way into swaying my convictions by proclaiming that if the Malays do not protect their rights, the ‘kaum pendatang’ will takeover everything and we would lose all. Later that day, my other female classmates declared similar sentiments, saying that even now the Chinese are taking over the economy. All are aware of my mixed heritage, sincerely believing that I embrace my Malayness more than anything else.
In both instances, I did not have the heart to continue a futile argument which would only affect my friendships, as I love them dearly, but I am grieved by it still. They are an intelligent bunch, but while I escaped their mindset, coming from a multiracial family with a family who encourages free thought, the others fully absorbed the brainwashing that they have been subjected to since early childhood. Hey, if you repeat a statement frequently, and enough number of people believe it, it is the collectively accepted truth.
It is not their fault, nor ours. It’s society, if you ask me.
Similar to the anonymous junior of mine who wrote the article published in Haris’s blog, we as the minority who believe in equality of rights, freedoms, and so forth in its purest form is usually stuck between a rock and a hard place. Imagine being us kids, believing as we do, wanting nothing to do with a certain policy of the university and are prosecuted on both sides for it. What would you do? Either way, you’re screwed now. The lecturers and your more radical fellow students label you as a blood traitor and want nothing to do with you, and when you’re outside, your hard won Degree’s no use as everyone labels you as a racist person without knowing you personally. Thanks, thank you very much.
Once, I overheard a lecturer who has a Doctorate state that the Malays have given up so much, and another two lecturers agreeing with her. In another instance a lecturer known for his pro-Malayness was ranting to me over the lack of respect a colleague’s open critique of a Sultan, and the only way not to hurt his feelings was to smile back, and say that I am a Malay too, that I understood. He walked away happy. Oh, I understand too well the Malay insecurity to discuss matters they have no answers to themselves, to merely repeat what others say rather than to get their feet dirty looking for answers, the defensive stance to hold on the privileges that only the elite enjoy at the expense of the poor.
I am, after all, one of them. I live with them, I laugh with them, I cried with them. Them meaning Malay. Then meaning Indians. Them meaning Chinese. Them meaning all of the beautiful unique races in this country. I’m not Malay. I’m just a humble Malaysian student trying to lead a quiet life. Do not lump us as the same and shun us outside, for you’d be prosecuting the ones who support opening up UiTM for non-bumiputeras on the basis of its future survival, as well as the belief in a true, fair, working education system. For this to work, we’d need to have people working on the inside as well as the outside, no easy feat when your VC’s suppressing all independent thought which doesn’t fit well with his agenda.
Please stop making this a political agenda. It’s not helping anyone.