As Interviewed by D.G., March 16 and April 10, 2017

Anonymous: In Her Own Words

My interview was about discrimination in Malaysia. A major part of the interview was about, specifically, all the aspects of discrimination in the Malaysia education system. However, the interview also included many stories on both a factual, opinion, and personal experience level.

I did not see discrimination as a problem while growing up in Malaysia because people did not realize that discrimination was a problem -- and they got used to it.

In my opinion, there are two forms of discrimination. One is social discrimination, where people stereotype you based on your race or skin color. Another form is the law itself discriminating against people based on race and religion. In Malaysia, the second form of discrimination is more serious and common to the point that people already accept it as part of life. Also, we used to hear ethnic Malays tell us to ďGo back to China.Ē

The education law that was and still is now in place limited my ability to go to college. That is because Malaysia has a quarter system to limit the number of Chinese descendants from attending government-run universities. In contrast, ethnic Malay students have top priority to accepted to local universities despite their grades being far lower than the Chinese.

Education is one of the most important things for people to get ahead in life. Limiting education for a certain race would likely cause that race to go downhill in economic and social status.

Did you actively resist discrimination while living in Malaysia? If not, why, and were there repercussions to actively resisting discrimination?

No, I did not because they have all kinds of laws to stop people to protest. There was no freedom of speech. You canít even use any law to sue the government because, believe it or not, the law itself is discriminating!

Most of the government jobs are offered to the ethnic Malays only. In Malaysia, the Chinese are very resourceful and resilient people. Even uneducated, many of my friends' parents managed to find ways (to work), although it is a lot harder to become business people that donít rely on government benefits. Parents manage to get ahead and are able to send the younger generation to study overseas.

Did moving to America change your perspective on issues on race and discrimination?

Yes, because in America, people are free to speak out. The First Amendment allows people to speak out freely on the topic of discrimination, and the media always broadcasts any racial injustice. This together totally changed my perspective.

Ethnic Malays get all kinds of affordable government housing and their kids have top priority to be accepted to local universities despite their grades being far lower than the Chinese. It motivated me to stay in the US.

Do you think that Malaysia has improved on the issue of discrimination?

No, Malaysia has not improved on the issue of discrimination. It wonít improve unless there is a major shift in the political scene that rewrites the laws. This is a farfetched dream.