Sarah Montague BBC vs. Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar

Enough time has passed since Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar’s interview with BBC’s Sarah Montague aired.I’m hoping the dust has settled somewhat. I was outraged by what I heard. But thankfully I’ve had time to let my nerves calm down.

Every fair-minded Malaysian on the planet having seen the interview must have been disgusted. A quick search on Google with keywords “Malaysia Foreign Minister BBC interview” yielded all sorts of relevant results.

So you can bet Malaysians everywhere were firing up their computers and giving their 2 cents worth of what they thought.

How could anyone believe such outright lies. Syed Hamid Albar claimed “there are more non-Malays than Malays in the local universities?”

My disgust was apparently not shared by “ Mahaguru58,” someone who’s a.k.a is Zainol Abideen. Mahaguru58 claims that the minister kicked Sarah Montague’s butt. Perhaps the esteemed scholar has misunderstood the crux of the interview. It was to assess the state of racial harmony in Malaysia.

Not whether the foreign minister was doing a good job. If the intent was the latter, I agree, unequivocably without question, Syed Hamid Albar did a his job well.

If I were his boss, I’d give him a merit raise. He deflected all those tough questioins and he lied convincingly.

What baffles me is how Mahaguru58 can say Syed Hamid Albar put the reporter in her place. Perhaps the only way to settle this is to put it to vote by poll.

Everyone has an opinion about how our very own favorite Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar handled himself. Whichever camp you find yourself, thank goodness for youTube. We now all have access to the video footage to dissect at our leisure.

Previously, only the news outlets had the access. Now if you missed the program, you can head over to youTube to watch it over and over again.

Before I continue I want to set the record straight. I don’t believe Malaysia’s problems are entirely racial. At the grassroots level, the different races do get along. That is my perception growing up and living in Malaysia until I was 19.

Sure there were grumblings about the NEP policy but for the most part, I recall hanging out with Malays and Indians in my neighborhood. It actually felt safe to be with my friends because we bonded and we talked about our issues.

Today it appears that the powers-that-be in trying to outdo their opponents in PAS in the arena of “I-Am-Holier-than-Thou” have discouraged the practice of kongsi-raya or joint celebrations for the different ethnic new years.

In my youth I remember visiting my Malay friends during Hari Raya and I remember my dad’s Malay friends visiting us during Chinese New Year.

I don’t mean to exclude my Indian friends here but the joke goes, “Cina Raya, Melayu Raya, Hindu Mabuk, “Melayu Raya, Cina Kaya, Hindu Mabuk.” During the Chinese New Year, Malay get Rich, Indians get Drunk. During the Malay New Year, Chinese get Rich, Indians get Drunk.

I may have butchered that joke but the spirit of it is: the Indians are the quintessential party-ers.My apologies to my Indian friends, direct your hate mail to Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar please.

A natural consequence of such segregation is such a no-brainer I have to apologize. Sorry it’s not quite the revelation you’d hoped for having invested 4 minutes of reading so far.

Right now those in charge are barely hanging on and they probably wish they have never heard of the internet. Courageous bloggers like Nathaniel Tan and Raja Petra Kamarudin who was recently arrested and others are constantly circling and buzzing their bite-induced swollen heads much like mosquitoes and gnats.

Sure, irritating insects are easily destroyed by a swipe. But their numbers are so many and growing daily. As soon as one goes down, 10 others take their place.

Do the right thing. Move towards a secular Malaysia and end NEP, if nothing else to buy yourself more time so that you can make more money. And while you’re at that, spend some of those Petronas ringgit.

Give your ministers some schooling on how to engage nosey foreign journalists. Unlike the days when the government controlled access to all media, what they say doesn’t go away after it airs.

Those words live on on youTube and will come back and haunt them.

I read the government is taking their public relations machinery to cyberspace, so better get someone to help them with their English.

The old standard response of “Foreigners don’t have the right to meddle in our affairs, only dead or incarcerated Malaysians are allowed to do so” is getting old.

This post is republished from an early version of my blog. That blog crashed recently and I’m rebuilding all my posts slowly but surely.

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