Translate This Into Votes
For all the ruckus that the Indians have been whipping up over the ‘Interlok’ issue, it looks like the Chinese have been insulted far worse in the novel.
And yet, they appear to be quite unruffled.
The writer of ‘Interlok’, Abdullah Hussain has attempted to depict the Chinese in all sorts of ways – greedy, fat (yes, even that), evil, heartless (they sell their kids), cunning, desperate (no future in their own country that they had to go to the extent of being a nightsoil carrier), rapists, drug-users etc.
And the Indians are complaining about ‘pariah’.
That being said, the Chinese have always had a high sense of self-esteem, some justified and others not.
I can imagine the average Chinese thinking smugly, “Say what you may about us, but we own the economy.” Which is true.
But there are other issues involved.
This whole exercise of using an obviously inferior book as examination material is for a subtle exercise known in psychology circles as “priming”.
Priming is a way of conditioning the human mind to think in a certain manner and even behave as such.
Wikipedia says: The effects of priming can be very salient and long lasting, even more so than simple recognition memory. Unconscious priming effects can affect word choice on a word-stem completion test long after the words have been consciously forgotten.
This is precisely the effect the BN government wants in the minds of young, impressionable Malaysian children.
They want to establish the underlying notion that:
a) All Chinese are out to get the Malays
b) Indians are low class
c) Malays have been wronged and deserve better (creating a sense of entitlement)
Perhaps the effect may not be seen immediately. But I assure you that the effects will be seen a few years down the road.
In fact, our current generation of Malaysians are unable to think for themselves, preferring instead to have others make decisions for them.
The Chinese may feel that the general elections are the best place to sock it to the government.
I hope the Indians remember this too, and when the next elections come round, not a single one should vote for BN.