Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bertolak ansur...

Mohd Ridhuan Tee...and along with many Malay supremacist always claim that we, as Malaysians, have to bertolak ansur. Most of the time, they claim that they had 'bertolak ansur' and 'bertimbang rasa' so much that they are almost like saints but yet the rest are still just ungrateful. Similarly, 'the rest' i.e. the non-Malays too feel they had 'bertolak ansur'. So, who is right?

First, let's try to understand what bertolak ansur means.

Imagine a working husband and house wife. The husbands work very hard and very often until very late. He expects that when he got home, he would be going back to a loving wife that would smile and hug him. Instead, upon reaching home, his wife would usually show a sour face and was not responsive when he tried to tell her about his work. He cannot take it anymore. He hasn't said anything for years, he had 'bertolak ansur'. But today he cannot take it anymore and so he confronted his wife. "Why you cannot put on a smile? You hate me is it? I work so hard everyday and feel so tired when I reach home. The least I expect is for you to give me a nice warm hug. I have been trying to be nice, kept quiet and tolerating for all this years, why can't you understand?"

But you see, the wife too wasn't very happy. "Why can't you spend more time with me? All I expect is for you to spend at least 3 days a week with me. Sarah's husband spend the entire weekend with her, but all I get is just one lousy day per week. That's all the time you have for me. I am the one who has been tolerating you all this while!", the wife complained.

So who is the one who has been tolerating? Who is the real person who 'bertolak ansur'? The husband expects to be hugged. When he doesn't get that but yet he swallows it and doesn't complain, HE FEELS that he is tolerating. Likewise, the wife expects more time with her husband, when she doesn't get that but doesn't complain, SHE TOO FEELS that she is tolerating.

So the key to toleration or bertolak ansur is this - EXPECTATION. When we fail to live up to the expectation of the others and yet did nothing to show our displeasure openly, we then say we have tolerated. Toleration doesn't indicate understanding. Toleration is the inaction at a particular dissatisfaction. And in theory, if both parties set an unreasonably high expectation, both of them is going to be disappointed and will be in the endless vicious cycle of tolerating each other - tormenting themselves in the process. In the husband and wife's case, one can argue that their expectations are actually reasonable, they only needed better communication.

But what of our Malaysia's politics? Who is tolerating who? What were our expectations?

The Malay supremacist feel that they are the one tolerating because they EXPECT this land to belong to them for eternity. And therefore by allowing your citizenship, they are doing a great favor for the non-Malays, they are tolerating.

The Non-Malays, especially those born in this new generation knew Malaysia first. Not China or India. They were born as Malaysians. Thus they EXPECT that they are just like any other Malaysians, whom deserve to live and work and be granted equal rights - at least in most areas. But as they grew up, they soon realised that unlike their other fellow Malaysians, it is more difficult for them to go into local Uni or to get scholarships, they have to pay extra for houses, work harder for promotions, and have to move their temples far far away. Yet most of them said nothing. They too thought they must have been the one tolerating all the time.

So the question remains, whose EXPECTATION is the more reasonable one? To expect this land to belong solely to a particular race? Or to expect that we are treated equally?

As reference to my previous post here. This may be straight forward if you are seeing purely from a Chinese or Malay or Indian point of view. But not so easy if you look at Malaysia as a whole.

Whatever it is that you have come to conclusion, it is important not to say that the other have not tolerated. Because that is not true. So for a jerk like Mohd Ridhuan Tee, who in my opinion is neither Malay nor Chinese, please don't try to portray your holiness by claiming how much you have tolerated. I had enough of tolerating you!

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