Chill out, Malaysians, we're just growing up

NOVEMBER 29 — Ah, the usual hand-wringing and "Is this the new Malaysia?" discourse.

Malaysians really need to take a collective deep breath and have a glass of teh tarik.

The temple riots are not an example of racial instability. More like the combo of a badly botched relocation and a smatter of corporate interests, with everything being amplified by unfortunate optics.

With the frustration and ugliness on show after the Carlsberg promoter incident, and the ineffectual government response to it, it’s easy to look at everything through the lens on race.

Sometimes people just get mad and frustrated for many reasons that do not have to do with race.

Our new government is still not very good at dealing with anything that isn’t the Opposition writing Facebook notes at 11pm (thanks Najib).  As can be evidenced by how long it took reps to post statements that could be summarised as “everyone, move along now.”

We are, by all accounts, a modern miracle.

Remember that. With our weird mix of ethnic groups and religions, we shouldn't work at all.

Yet somehow we do. Somehow we manage to avoid the terrible sectarian violence we see in South Asian countries or neighbouring Myanmar.

The reality is that though pragmatism (and an unhealthy dose of fear and paranoia) has kept the peace, we need to wake up to the realities that we are still trying to find our way as a nation.

As a nation we have slumbered, our dreams fitful and dark, afraid of May bogeymen.

This is not the time to be finding fault with each other. Instead we need to keep cool heads, avoid spreading nonsense on WhatsApp and social media, and call on our leaders to show better leadership.

Times like these are when the best show their mettle, and the worst display their true colours.

Let us hope that Malaysians remember, as I have said before, that we need to be our own heroes and be the kind of people we hope are leading us.

We can also stop jumping to conclusions every time some of us get up to fisticuffs.

In the meantime, send a note to the prime minister to hold off on the water cannons.

 *This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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