A friend in Malaysia sent me this curious article from a local publication. Large sections of the piece are quoted below, but it highlights yet again the power and pull of the Middle East in Asia and the ways in which Israel is viewed, largely negatively:
I am one of the privileged few to have attended a local public university and learned the meaning of hate, thanks to the ever popular Biro Tata Negara.
All undergraduates were forced to attend this programme or else they would not be eligible for graduation.
The BTN under the Prime Minister’s Department brought in “intellectual” speakers who were supposed to enlighten the students about the meaning of being a Malaysian but instead it felt more like a communist propaganda camp brainwashing those attending about the importance of “Ketuanan Melayu”.
The camp would usually take place during the weekends. Students would have to register early in the morning and the programme would last the whole day.
The organisers were always on their guard, asking participants to show their student identification cards each time they entered the hall, fearing the presence of outsiders.
In the hall, students were asked to turn off their mobile phones.
During the lectures, questions were planted among the audience and the students were advised not to ask any other questions.
One speaker began with the history of Malaysia and how much the country had gone through, always emphasising the May 13 riots.
He stressed the point of how much the Malays had sacrificed and how the community should be united especially from outside threat — the Chinese community.
He said that the Chinese community were “the Jews of Asia” and were just itching to take over when Malays were disunited and broken.
The speaker also revealed a greater Chinese conspiracy where the Chinese Malaysians were working together with Singapore to topple the Malay government.
My Saudi friend was also shocked by the comments made by his lecturer in his Islamic civilisation class.
“We should save our Orang Asli from the Chinese people. They are like the Palestinians and the Chinese are Israel. We must fight the Jews,” the lecturer told his students.
The lecturer even failed one of his students in his oral exam when he quoted a Western scholar in his presentation.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a Muslim and should only use Islamic scholars,” he scolded the student.
I was personally saddened when my Islamic law lecturer compared Christianity to Head & Shoulder’s 3 in 1 shampoo in referring to the religion’s Holy Trinity.
I feel that racism has been institutionalised in our country and that BTN is only the tip of the iceberg.