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Of temples and Tamil schools

June 25, 2012

FMT LETTER: From Hema Krishnan, via e-mail

“The government must undertake serious efforts to ensure Indians are not left behind. The same with temples. Schools and temples have been a major problem for Indians since independence”

And, that’s exactly why Indians’ present status quo here is made inherent. Underscore the phrase ‘made inherent’. That’s why Indian school dropouts, unemployed and prisoners number is high as opposed to the Malaysian population ratio.

In line with that, it is roundly alterable and changeable if only Malaysian Indians shake their one-dimensional agendas, fickle mindedness, temerity, ignorance, apathy, blinkered mindsets, mob mentality and the failure to prioritise.

Let’s zoom in on the perennial fiasco of Hindu temples which is riddled with hypersensitivity rather than sensibility. Although the majority of Indians here are Hindus, this case scenario gives the impression that all Indians are Hindus and all Indians’ places of worship are Hindu temples.

This perception fragments Indians internally, screwing unity up from within. There are Indian Christians and Indian Muslims and these brethrens are left out by the sum of Indian Hindus. In other words, they are plainly dianak-tirikan.

There is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction amongst Indian Christians and Indian Muslims in similitude with the dissatisfaction non-Malays have over Bumiputera status and the special rights that come with it. Ironical, isn’t it?

Mindsets need to evolve to meet needs which morph through time. Petty sentimentality should not be allowed to get the better of logical, timely and sound judgement. Maybe temple issues were relevant say, 20 to 30 years ago but now it has festered into a red herring, steering Indians away from things that matter now and in the long run.

Instead of erecting one temple for one estate or residential area and spending much valued money in maintaining the buildings, use the existing temples as operational hives for beneficial activities besides fulfilling one’s spiritual needs. This way, decadence in the Indian community can be doctored to say the least.

Convert a part of a temple into a library, conduct free tuition for those children who can’t afford tuition fees, organise motivational speeches on weekends, hold sporting events for youths and make those activities available not only for Hindu Indians but for all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion.

Make the effort! For the holier than thou units who think that these activities as highly sacrilegeous, I have just the phrase for you, “Makkal sevai, Mahesan sevai.” Translated literally, it means service to people is akin to service to God.

Now, let’s shift our sight to Tamil schools. Tamil schools have been existing from the British colonial times. The age is over but some of us are stuck in the era either by refusal to move on from times gone by or plain ignorance or the static belief that Tamil schools would do wonders to unite the Indian people.

Historically, the British built separate vernacular schools to maintain racial divide and prejudice to lord over us. It is indeed expedient and shrewd and one of the things that should have been kicked out right after Malaysia gained independence from the British if our leaders truly want to see a united Malaysia turn up without jeopardising our national language, our official religion, our monarchy and our Rukun Negara.

Vernacular schools impede national unity at the primordial stage; there is no room for vernacular school in a multi-racial society. I can further break down the Indian community who have known no land except Malaysia and helped build her together with fellow compatriots, that are besides Tamils who make up the majority of the Indian community, Malayalis, Telugus and Punjabis in that descending order.

I’m a Telugu and I hail from Teluk Intan. There was a single roomed Telugu school at Simpang Empat if  I remember correctly. The school has ceased to exist now. It should be the case of vernacular schools by now. I want to make one thing crystal here. I am not against Tamil and Tamilians. Although I went to a national primary school, I taught myself to speak and read Tamil but I can’t write Tamil effectively though.

All I’m saying is to have vernacular schools abolished and vernacular language literacy be achieved by the means of languages’ subjects integration in national schools like English. But, unlike English, make it an option; students can either take the subject up or omit it. The government doesn’t need to split monetary allocations into three separate schools no more; it would be single pronged. Ethnic gratification level would augment alongside with over-reaching racial unity.

For those who fear that Islam and Bahasa Malaysia would be compromised, I say not to worry. The two factors are already solidly established. I’d like to quote Madame Marie Curie, ” There is nothing to be feared. It is only to be understood.”

France and Germany were more divided than Malaysia in the past, different dialects were spoken in different provinces. Their leaders, succession after succession came to the realisation that for solidarity to prevail, a bit of identity sacrifice must be made for greater good and for encompassing development to accelerate.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. From independence day to the present day the separatist notion has been it’s an Indian problem, it’s a Chinese problem and it’s a Malay problem. It is high time we call our problems a Malaysian problem and seek to solve it as Malaysians.


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