Friday, 15 May 2009

The Malay Dilemma

“Dr Mahathir, whose father had some Indian ancestry, had always been obsessed with race, and the modern era of Malaysian politics can be traced to his book “The Malay Dilemma,” published in 1970, a decade before he came to power. It is a distillation of the kind of social Darwinism imbibed by Southeast Asians of Dr Mahathir’s cohort through their colonial education. The Malay race, the book argues, couldn’t compete with the Chinese for genetic reasons. Whereas the Chinese had been hardened over the centuries by harsh climates and fierce competition, the Malays were a lazy breed, fattened by an abundance of food under the tropical sun. Unfettered competition with the Chinese “would subject the Malays to the primitive laws that enable only the fittest to survive,” Dr Mahathir warned his fellow-nationals. “If this is done it would perhaps be possible to breed a hardy and resourceful race capable of competing against all comers. Unfortunately, we do not have four thousand years to play around with.”


1 comment:

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