Malaysians are united despite all the complaints of strained ethnic relations in blogs and the media, says Institute of Ethnic Studies head, Prof Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.
He describes Malaysians as "tongue wagging" but not "parang wielding"
And corruption is an unusual unifier. He says, "A lot of people don't like me using this example but corruption can only occur if Malay, Chinese and Indians are united, and we are very united in corrupt activities."
Shamsul explains that this is a "positive" negative indicator. "It's immoral but what they are actually doing is bonding. Although it is for the wrong reason, these are the last people who would want to quarrel with each other.
"They just want to make sure their business moves, their stock is not taken away by the council officer, and the council officer is happy because he gets an ang pow and flat screen television. Everyone is happy."
Shamsul said Malaysians should learn how to differentiate between the perception of ethnic relations and its reality.
"In Malaysia, there is a lot of crime but these are not ethnic crimes or ethnic killings. We argue vehemently in the newspapers, in the blogs, everywhere. The discourse gets heated at times and this results in people having the impression that we are at loggerheads all the time, but the reality is no one want to create problems with their neighbours."
Geronimo's Take: Quite frankly, I didn't quite see it that way about corruption , a'la Malaysia. Anyway, I would rather take Dr Shamsul's comments cynically because like everyone else, corruption is still corruption, not matter how one views it. If it has been a unifying factor, then I am sure that Toyo fella would not mind sharing part of his RM24m estate with the other Malaysians, especially the poor, eh?