"My son celebrates all four festivals," says dad

Written by: MT Reader | 02 Sep 2018 13:57
Picture from The Star
Written by:
02 Sep 2018 13:57

I have always felt that Chinese and Tamil schools in the country should be abolished and all students made to simply attend national schools.

However, I must admit that a recent post I came across from a teacher shed some light and made me understand certain things which I was unaware of.

For one, the teacher said from her years of teaching, she found that non-Muslim students were subject to a certain level of discrimination on a daily basis in national schools.

Among the things she pointed out was how only Muslim students are provided with religous classes while students of other races are lumped into a class and given "moral" studies - whatever that is.

Also she said teachers often mispronounce students' names and never even bother to learn to say it the right way.

She wrote: “When I was in secondary school, there were many teachers who started talking about other races and religions in a degrading way only because everyone in the class was Malay. 

“There are quotas of how many non-Malay students get to be in the high-performing classes. In a school I had worked with, non-Malay students were required to sit with their Muslim friends while all of us recite the Yaasin every morning. 

“Every single morning, for twenty minutes, these students were forced to sit and listen to something that they don’t understand and is in no way relevant to them.  

“In the canteen, we serve beef alongside chicken and other food, completely ignorant of the Hindu students’ sensitivities. Imagine if pork were to be served, even if they are placed far away from other food. Can you imagine the reaction we will get from the Malays?

She went on to say: “It’s so easy for us to demand everyone to be in the same school when we are always being put first, and our needs are the priorities. But honestly, if I am a non-Malay parent, I would choose vernacular schools over sekolah kebangsaan for my child, no question about it. 

“My child’s needs will always come first, they get equal opportunities given to their peers, they are constantly surrounded by their own culture, and they get the best of everything. The teachers too would pronounce my child’s name perfectly. So why not!”

Her post was widely shared and I believe also picked up by several portals.

To an extent, I now understand why parents still choose Chinese and Tamil schools over national schools.

My children have always been taught to be treat everyone equally and ironically, his two closest friends are Indian and Chinese.

They have been close friends since Standard One and are now in Form Four and still as close as ever.

To them, they are all just buddies and see no difference apart from their places of worship.

They respect each other and have great fun together during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Christmas and Deepavali.

His Indian friend has a dad whose a Hindu and mother whose a Christian - so they celebrate both Christmas and Deepavali. 

So, for my son, he gets to celebrate all festivals and is absolutely happy about it.

This racial divide and difference will only end when parents themselves begin educating their children likewise.

If we instill racism among our children, then they will carry it on to future generations - it is up to us to put a stop to it from now.

Dr Sidek Husairi

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