NOVEMBER 7 — By the time you read this, I’ll be half-dead after flying back from the US.
The US, in many ways, has many strange parallels with us. US Republicans and Umno are scarily alike in many ways — super-conservative, incredibly subservient to the highest in rank and yet have zero issues with pork barrel politics.
While Umno is no longer in power, the rising anti-immigrant, populist sentiment in the US and Europe is troubling.
Recently Malaysian football fans were seen waving Nazi flags in Terengganu. Hello, brown men, you really should look up “gas chamber” and maybe read up on World War II.
I remember hearing Malaysians say they cared nothing for US politics as “it wouldn’t affect us anyhow.” Hopefully they didn’t choke too hard on their humble pie.
The US-China trade wars, the open xenophobia, the “our country first” policy that is being seen not just overseas but in Malaysia — this is not great news for us.
Being more insular, increasing protectionism comes with not just economic but social repercussions.
I don’t believe in unfettered free trade because we know that benefits richer countries over the less developed ones; negotiating tariffs is, after all, just part and parcel of international trade.
It’s when nationalism is thrown into the mix where it gets dangerous.
How long before trade partners suddenly make race, religion or political inclinations come first in deciding trade issues? Not all countries are like Malaysia — calling out Israel and refusing to have diplomatic relations with it while not having any issues trading with the country.
Combining white supremacy and nationalism is dangerous, we should all know that by now. And yet, white supremacists are louder, and braver than they have been in decades. Empowered and enabled by the current crop of white, male leadership in the West.
Combined with anti-Semitism, the world is now in a troubling and dangerous place.
I wonder how my baby niece, half-Asian and half-Caucasian, will fare. She lives in a predominantly white neighbourhood and is surrounded by all-white relatives on her father’s side.
Will she be safe or will she be “lucky” (how abhorrent) enough to grow up “white-passing”?
Yet with the notions of race purity again gaining cachet among white supremacists and their sympathisers, will it be enough that she is half-white? Or will one day she be called coloured for not being pure-blooded?
I don’t know. And that is what scares me the most.
In the meantime, can Malaysians just stop deifying Nazis and thinking Hitler was some kind of hero. He was a terrible human being and if Malaysians need reminding of that every day, I’ll willingly fall on that sword. Because when we forget how tyrants come to be, they end up reborn again.
Keep the Nazis out of Malaysia, Malaysians. Trust me; you really don’t want another Auschwitz.
*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.