Thursday, April 29, 2010

The State of Racial Integration in Schools

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ever come across these situations in your schooling life whereby all the Malay students would be huddled in one corner, the Chinese ones mixing amongst themselves and the Indians chilling out with those from their own race?

I’d be hunching my bet on a yes. These situations are prevalent in most schools to varying degrees in our country, with a student from a particular race feeling rather ‘secure’ by mixing with those from his or her own race, and therefore a minimal amount of communication is made with the ‘non-s’.

However, is this the way to go? Is this how we Malaysians who hail from a racially diverse country should behave? Where on Earth has racial integration gone to?

Before I go on, let me clarify though that not all Malaysian students, or even adults for that matter, fall into this bracket. But a good percentage of folks do indeed tend to stick to their ‘own’ kind. This, sad to say, paints a bad image of what a Malaysian should stand for.

Speaking from my personal point of view, I have come across the situations mentioned above. I mean, its ‘normal’ isn’t it, or so it seems. But the good thing for me is that I don’t even get the chance to hang out with those who share the same race as me in school. Well, that is particularly because I am a Sikh, and how often do you come across a Sikh, if at all, in your school?

In that sense, I have been brought up to mingle around with others. You could say I have had no other choice, but even then, I still feel that if there are to be a good many Sikhs in my school, I won’t be clinging on to them.

From what I have observed, generally, the Chinese students who hail from Chinese medium schools during their primary days are less susceptible to mingling around with Malays or Indians as compared to the Chinese students originating from government schools.

Anyway, that aside, I feel that as responsible Malaysians, we who know that it is important to interact with everyone notwithstanding their racial tag should take the first step to mix around. When we start, hopefully others will follow suit. Hopefully, they would then get enlightened.

In my class, there are 20-odd Chinese students, some 10 Malays and the rest Indians. Every day, I make it a point to have a chat with as many of them, and the racial factor doesn’t come in. Interestingly, something that I have observed in any given class since day one is that an Indian would tend to sit next to an Indian, a Malay next to a Malay and so on.

One common excuse that I hear for the lack of racial interaction from some students is the language barrier. Some Chinese students cannot speak fluent English or Malay, while some Malays cannot speak good English. But hey, this is a lame reason because the language barrier shouldn’t be there. It is a self-created mess.

The glaring benefit of racial interaction is that we get to know other cultures, their beliefs and their way of life. It would be quite shameful for a Malaysian to not know the festivals celebrated by say, an Indian Hindu. Not only that, but we would learn to adapt to different environments too, and this would especially come in handy during our working life.

My parents have also placed ample of emphasis on racial integration. Two years back, I was studying in a private school which did not have a good racial representation, and part of the reason for me switching to a government school was to get an even exposure to students of different races.

Actually, it is not that there isn’t any racial unity in Malaysia at present amongst students. There is abundant of it actually. Just that there isn’t much racial interaction and integration amongst one another I would say.

Hopefully, after reading this piece, you would communicate with those from the other races if you haven’t been doing that all this while. I am trying to sound optimistic here OK. And make sure you make that a promise!

What's your take on racial integration in schools in Malaysia? Is it at a deplorable condition currently, or otherwise? Feel free to air your thoughts by dropping a comment.
Related Posts with Thumbnails
◄Design by Pocket, BlogBulk Blogger Templates