A friend of mine, Philip, a Chinese Malaysian, phoned earlier this week and shared with me a few anecdotes of his encounters with his fellow Malaysians, who happened to be Malay, during life-threatening situations.
When he was stricken with a severe bout of dengue fever some time ago, it was a Malay doctor, Dr Salleh, at a private hospital who went out of his way – beyond the call of duty – and stayed back after office hours to care for him. It was only after Dr Salleh was sure that Philip was out of danger that he returned home.
Philip also recalled the occasion when his son was suffering from an acute bout of meningitis. It was a female Malay doctor at Hospital UKM who recommended and performed a lumbar puncture procedure. “I entrusted my son, the joy of my life, to her professional care, and she did not let me down.”
Years earlier, in the 1980s, Philip recounted how he stumbled on an accident scene, when a Chinese Malaysian boy was seriously hurt. It was an unlikely group of young Malay ‘punks’ (then the fad) who first came to his aid, wiping the injured lad’s face and dabbing the blood streaming down.
These experiences are indelibly etched in Philip’s memory and have left him without a trace of racism. Today, he just hopes politicians will focus on a continuous programme of upgrading ‘kemahiran Melayu‘ (and that of other Malaysians as well) instead of going to town with all those ketuanan slogans.
Now, wouldn’t that be more meaningful and empowering?