Emeritus Prof Khoo Kay Kim had this to say in Fikrah recently on national Solidarity :
"Sistem pendidekan pada 1956 ada Penyata Razak ada menyatakan objektif utama sistem pendidekan negara ini adalah untuk perpaduan negara .Sejak itu ,sila tunjukkan kepada saya sekolah manakah yang berjaya membentuk perpaduan dalam negara .Tiada bukan ?"
The good professor could just sincerely give the answer himself why such situation arise : From an early tender age Malaysians were streamed into vernacular schools of the parents' choice .40 years back most would join the National System which was mainly English medium of instruction ,some Malay medium ,and a few Chinese and Indian schools .Now the Chinese mainly go to Chinese Primary ,rural Indians to Indian schools ,Malays majority ,some Chinese and Indians to Sekolah Menengah dan Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan .[ My Indian colleagues told me Tamil is not even the national language in India and they would not get their offsprings even 2 kilometres near any Tamil school. They are doctors though, not a rubber tappers who are more important vote wise to Samy Velloo ]
Try introduccing Sekolah Wawasan ,and we nearly have a riot !Whose fault is this my dear prof ? Where can there be hope for National Solidarity ??
Let us look at one sixth former's view of the status quo some 40 years back in an essay on National Solidarity to The New Straits Time .Put yourselves 40 years ago in the time frame of Post May 13th Malaysia ,when King Ghaz ,the 'intellectual munition' of Tun Razak's very powerful National Operation Council [ ..and to remind those not yet born at that time ,Pak Lah was the Sec to the Council .He has been around quite a while but things did not 'collect' and percolate in the right away in those deep recesses of his grey mater perhaps ! ] ,came out with the 5 point Rukun Negara which all students ,primary or secondary ,commit to memory .
This young lower sixth former wrote :
"Within a brief period of 14 years of its inception ,Malaysia has had the taste of many a success particularly in various aspects of nation building .
However ,she has also felt the stinging pain of failure ,the failure to integrate her plural population into one harmonious unit .Past events have made us conscious of the fact that integration should no longer be considered a luxury in a multi racial society such as ours ;instead it is an essential element without which the very foundation of the nation is on shaky ground .
Ours is a land divided .Not only do we differ in cultures ,beliefs and traditional concept in economic values but there also exists a polarisation of economic groups along communal lines .
Naturally this vast differences breed mutual fear ,discontentment and antagonism ,the fear that one racial group might submerge the others either politically or economically ;discontentment that arises from alleged bigotry and the antagonism that exists from being so separated and alien to each other .
Now we have a definite path to follow .We have defined our aims and plotted our route .The Rukunegara lays down the guiding principles to our end - a united ,democratic ,just ,liberal and progressive Malaysia .
Our leaders talked of bridging the actual economic gap ,of the great need for goodwill ,and of many other remedial measures as our most probable line of attack to achieve our objective .Granted that we are successful in all these we would still be a land divided .
Our mistake in the past was in assuming that we were well on our way towards a united Malaysia just because we were able to live peacefully in what was purely ' pseudo harmony '.We lived on tolerance then .But there are two kinds of tolerance .
The one that we have subjected ourselves to in the past has been one that stemmed not from the understanding of one another's feelings and background but from fear of hurting the feeling of others ;fear of breaking that icy bondage linking us together .
We went on living side by side ,each and everyone trying earnestly to cause as little umbrage as possible .
Little did we realise that by such an attitude we were slowly drifting apart until a small sparkof friction could set alight mutual fear and distrust into a violent tempest of human passions as illustrated by the May 13th tragedy .
A nation could subsist on this kind of tolerance but must we live with the grim assurance of possible future conflicts more devastating and tempestuous in nature ?
The other kind of tolerance is one that grows from real understanding of one another's feelings and background .This latter kind of tolerance is difficult but by virtue of its inherent wisdom ,it is bound to last .
At the same time we must concede that for a man to be able to accept another man from an alien race for all he is ,he comes face to face with two conditioned forces - racial distrust and prejudices .The older he is,the more deeply entrenched these forces would be in his subconscious .
Therefore what we need is a mental revolution on a grand scale - one that would change the prevailing biased attitudes of the old and young .
Since the youth of today is going to inherit our Malaysia of tomorrow it is imperative that the authority channel all its resources towards a more enlightened re-orientation of notions regarding race ."
I got the biggest pay cheque ever in my life for writing "sweet nothing" ,250 ringgit in all ,and had to hitch hike all the way from sleepy hallow Kuala Kangsar to big time Kuala Lumpur just to shake hand with the great man ,King Ghaz .At that time 250 ringgit was too big for me ,I lend the whole sum to my elder brother as a down payment for a brand new Italian Vespa .
Till now I am not quite sure whether he had actually repaid that 'hutang ' .Must remember to ask him tonight !
Dr Nik Howk
Well my friends ,40 years on ,we have actually missed the 'boat'.Or rather Pak Jab at that time with 100 % power could have established a "single stream education" system without much problem then while still under NOC ,and perhaps when Pak Jab Junior takes over next year ,things would have been significantly different . Now ,we are still a house divided .
The last time I caught a glimpse of King Ghaz was along the corridor of Sime Darby Medical Centre ,Subang Jaya .Must be in his 90's ,a decrepit old man on a wheel chair ,a pale shadow of the Home Minister who would not even hesitate to send the much junior Mahathir under ISA if that was required at that time .Can always do it under the pretext of ultra radicalism ,communist infiltrate or whatever as what King Ghaz did to my very distant cousin ,Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad and the other 2 Abdul's. King Ghaz ,colourful man with colorful tastes who piloted his own Cessna into oblivion in the jungle of Pahang and survived !The actual pilot and ? a caucasian lady did not .That was how colorful Ghaz was !
That is Qadar which all of us mere mortals cannot run away from .We peak ,we grow old ,we are forgotten , then we die !
Just looking back at the corridor scene in my mind's eye ,make me wonder in this stillness of early morning whether present day Malaysia would be better served by opinioted and strong and interesting characters like King Ghaz as Cabinet Ministers or by colourless ,insipid ,poodles surrounding an equally weak and ineffectual future PM whose only claim to fame was his allege inability to control 'his small man' and the 'Mrs' .Just a National perception now ,the actual thing on the ground may not be true .A National perception only !
All just there to ' cari makan ' as much and as fast and as sleek as the the 'law' allows . Just wondering aloud my anxieties .
King Ghaz and his friends all belong to the dinousaur age .Now anything less than a half billion RM kickback in National projects is not worth mulling over .