‘May I know your race?’ – A conversation with a bank officer


A couple of days ago, I received a phone call from an officer at a local bank regarding my application for a banking facility.

Apart from wanting to know some basic personal and employment details, the officer enquired: “May I know your race?”

“I think that’s irrelevant,” I replied.

“But we have to fill up this form?” she persisted.

“In that case, put down ‘Malaysian’,” I said.

“Sorry, sir, the form has ‘Malay’, ‘Chinese’, ‘Indian’ and ‘Others’,” she said politely.

“Well,” I said, “that’s not my problem. It’s your bank’s.”

She didn’t pursue it any further and proceeded to some other point.

I felt a bit sorry for her afterwards. After all, she was just doing what she had been trained to do.

It’s not as if I am ashamed of my heritage or background. I could have told her, for instance, that my grandparents came to Malaysia from exactly the same part of the world as the grandfather of a former prime minister. (But then, the bank would probably classify me and the former PM differently, in any case.) I just failed to see the relevance of “race” to my application.

Ah, the wonders/challenges of being Malaysian in a “race”-obsessed country. “Race” to the bottom?

The good news is that I was told this morning that the bank had approved the facility. So the banks CAN survive/manage without knowing my “race”. Or rather, I am not sure how this particular bank classified me in the end. (See update in comments below.)

I don’t care. The only thing that really matters at the end of the day, is that we are all part of the human race, placed in this world for a reason.

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Since we ask government to butt into our private matter like hawker food, why doesn’t it also butt into more “important” private matters like religion and race? Naive Malaysians who call upon the Big Brother is doing it to ourselves. Hi Anil, On a different matter (and you may have answered this already), why don’t you set/allow more posts per page of listing? Why so few and force us to click Next page so frequently. I suggest setting at least 30 posts per page to encourage us to through the posts when we return after a while, since you are… Read more »


Ethnics become part of the loan weight screening process. But I doubt its usefulness for a income class base society.


Area 51 scientist, Boyd Bushman, left a shocking death bed confession about the existence of UFOs and aliens at the New Mexico compound before passing away in early August. In the video confession, Bushman shows pictures he had taken of UFOs and aliens during his time at Area 51 and shed some light on Roswell and communication between extraterrestrial creatures.

Maybe alien race is the true pendatang?


The posting on SIS is related to this. People are being distracted from their rights, critical issues and administrative performance using every trick in the book.

Rakyat malaysia

Just tell them…dun be so racist …

Phua Kai Lit

Dear Mr Anil

Your race is “Malaysian Rojak”

So is mine 🙂
(I have grandparents who are Cantonese and Hakka — two “races” that hated each other in the past)


How can mixed marriages of Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew, Hokkien and so on be considered as rojak. They are Han race

Phua Kai Lit

I suggest that you read up on the latest social science research on the
“social construction of ethnicity”

Style Logan

Race politics is evident in Malaysia. Umno will be talking about the (minorities) issue in their coming assembly … (blaming Chinese education is a key topic?) as their agenda once again when they could not explain to rural Malays why NEP has failed to uplift their livelihood after 50years.


Majority of the Malays should blame themselves if they could not enrich themselvea with 8.8% annual return in Amanah Saham Bumiputera.

I can retire early with such passive income from ASB. Non-Bumi can get only 3.5% from FD.


Watched on Astro Awani last nite where Hisham said the issue of Sedition Act woull be discussed at the Umno assembly. Again another example that big brother Umno is making decision on national policy and ignoring the mosquito parties in BN. MCA, MIC and Gerakan all have no say?


for statistics purpose la bodoh


Why would they keep statistics about the race of their customers? How is that relevant to their business?


Anil you are lucky that they did classify you as pendatang or if you are a mamak would you tick yourself as indian or bumiputra, in which case most will put the latter? Anyway good thing you got what you wanted.


Anil, congratulations you have your loan approved!!!

This is 1wonderfool malaysia !!!

Did you guys follow anwar’s appeal? Viomit blood … just wonder why satu anwar
can make the whole umno shiver ???


Anil : I don`t think you have applied for any facilities or your loan have been approved. You just make up the story.

Moh Wah Kong

Don’t be silly, did you check the race column of your application form. Someone may have filled it up for you. Possible word is Indian.


Anil Noel Netto, an Indian with Aryan blood & Mexican family name 🙂 🙂 🙂
No wonder this bank officer was so perplexed to classify Mr Anil according to a limited set of races!
Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to race-based box-documentation in BolehLand.



The only big difference is your grand father didn’t marry a Malay and to day your blood or shall I say your DNA is as pure as the day that your grand father when he came…
Therefore you must considered yourself of pure indian blood, an Asian giant, and you don’t need Umno to have legislations to make you Indian or Malay or Chinese. … I am sure you are very proud of what you are borne as and not because of any man made legislations.

Eng Hock

Blame it on BN policy of race ie UMNO (Malays), MCA (Chinese), MIC (Indians) etc. ?

should just say I am a Malaysian ???


Something wrong with you. I wonder why you did not blame it on the British when it was them that started race in form and has been in use for so many years during British rule. Moreover Singapore is also the same


basically, what you (@ supercallyfragislis…) are saying is “you eat s#$% because others eat s$%@”. Do you not have any thoughts of your own, instead of following others blindly??? Why can’t you lead instead of following other people blindly. Just curious.

Stylo Logan

Remember the DPM said he is Malay first, Malaysian second.

Bad example from the BN leaders.


What are the chances that said bank officer has entered what is to her the “best guess” for your race?

With all the computerisation, I’d say that some entry had been made, otherwise the form would be flagged as incomplete and not accepted.


They put you DLL by default..Next time you go to the bank with your IC, if they find something different than your IC, they will change it.. You can run but you can’t hide..