That’s One Small Step For A Man, A Giant Leap For Mankind
That was said when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon for the first time. And now I think it’s suitable and accurate to use the phrase once again when the Selangor MB talked about Sekolah Kebangsaan as perfect pool for students integration on Saturday.
It’s about time that everyone including Malays, Chinese and Indians (in Peninsula Malaysia) go to the same schools which are the Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK). I’m still not sure why the non-Malays are a bit hesitate to send their children to SK.
I went to an SRJK (Sek. Ren. Jenis Kebangsaan St George II, Taiping) for my primary education and there were a lot of Malaysians. We played soccer together. We had multiethnics fire-camping when the Boy’s Scout organized one. The five hours bus ride with my fellow Chinese and Indian friends was joyful when we went to Tugu Negara for a ‘lawatan sambil belajar’. And it was fun.
At school, the Malays had their Islamic teaching as well as the Christians had their Catholic class. The Malays learnt jawi (جاوي). The Chinese and the Indians learnt Mandarin and Tamil (respectively). Even we could sign up for any of these classes if we opted to. I saw true Malaysians there. Yes, we did sometimes quarrel but over who should go to the dentist first or who should send the headmaster’s text books to his office. Those years were spectaculars!
I don’t see any problems in implementing the MB’s suggestion. Every student will only go to SK till the afternoon. Afterward they can go to either Sekolah Agama, Sekolah Cina or Sekolah Tamil. For instance in Selangor and Johor, the education departments (JPN) have made compulsory to the Muslim students to attend Sekolah Agama either before or after school.
By implementing this approach, everybody wins. Our nation will have an absolute Malaysian, yet diverse in cultures and religions. Nobody will lose anything. Vernacular schools will always be there to preserve Chinese and Indian cultures and languages. The Malays will continue their affection towards Islam through their Sekolah Agama.
Our ministers and Members of Parliament are the one who first should shift their paradigm whenever they come across ethnics issues. Those issues are not sensitive matter. Only you who make it sensitive. People should discuss openly about Malays Special Rights under the Constitution and understand why it was there. If we keep making the matter as a sensitive issue, then there will always be ‘friction’ between ethnics.
We have to overcome the unseen racial tense in our society to ensure our nation will always survive as a unique diversed nation. And towards this, one small step have to be taken by promoting integration in Sekolah Kebangsaan, so a giant leap for Malaysia can be achived.