STAND-UP comedian Harith Iskander Musa is dead serious when it comes to being Malaysian. Of Malay and Scottish descent, he had a hard time ticking a box within the racial category when he was growing up. “Why don’t we get rid of the four boxes and just have one box. Race: Malaysia,” he tells The […]
ARE you Malay first? Or Malaysian first? But is the question really about which should come first? Why does it seem to matter so much? And which of the two labels — one about race and the other about citizenship — is more profoundly important to us as Malaysian citizens?
All illustrations of Alice in Wonderland characters by Peter Newell, 1890(source: public domain | Wiki Commons) NO doubt about it. Some days, I think I’m Alice. In Wonderland. Because reading the news on some days, I just want to blurt out, “Curiouser and curiouser!” The latest news that made me feel like Alice was reported […]
THE Selangor government’s November 2009 announcement banning state employees from attending Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses due to racist elements triggered a flurry of public testimonies. Many former BTN participants shared their own encounters with racism during the course, including on The Nut Graph. The government was quick to defend the BTN programme while agreeing that […]
DATUK Nasir Safar‘s alleged racist remarks have sparked calls by Barisan Nasional component parties for Nasir to be charged with sedition and even detained without trial under the Internal Security Act. Buckling under such pressure, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced on 4 Feb 2010 that the now former special officer of the prime […]
THERE is an etiquette to online chatter. We don’t write in ALL CAPS LIKE THIS, because that would mean we are shouting. We use emoticons when expression may be difficult to gauge. We think and check before we pass something around. But apart from “netiquette”, what kind of online behaviour would get you in trouble […]
HOW have Malaysians been discussing the recent controversy over the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) programmes? Let us count the ways. There are those who defend the BTN courses, such as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Then there are the critics. Some, like de facto Law Minister […]
(Pic by dljt / sxc.hu)THERE seems little to look forward to, having just come out of 2009, which ended with religious tension that’s spilling over into the New Year. All over what to call God. The dispute over “Allah” dates back to the 1980s. But last year, it was just one event in a string […]
I NEVER attended a Biro Tata Negara (BTN) programme. But I, too, sat in a darkened room while the facilitator taught the song Warisan, which ended with the line Melayu kan gagah di Nusantara and some participants crying. I, too, was made to carry an egg and then reprimanded for letting a mischievous trainer defile […]
Lainie Yeoh is grateful she didn’t have to attend the BTN programme.