Are we Babi?

The issue of racism still lingers around us despite being independent for over 60 years. Today, we are still stuck in the mentality of race and ethnicity.

We may not have racial fights or racism in an extreme manner, but we cannot deny that there are racial elements to a certain extent.

Last week, the Perikatan Nasional Federal Territories Youth made a police report against Namewee’s latest movie, entitled Babi which the film poster contains words of ‘Melayu Bodoh’, ‘India Keling’ and ‘Cina Babi’.

If we are not aware of the movie yet, it is a film that highlights the issue of racism that turns into a violent fight in a school. To be frank, I have not watched the movie yet as it is not premiered in Malaysia, but I have viewed the trailer and read the synopsis. 

However the content of the film may be, if we do not have a racist mindset in us, it will not flare up our emotions. Especially if we were to view it objectively as a story.

Even when our nation’s budget was tabled by the Finance Minister, there are still people who view it from the perspective of race. Look at how politicians often commented on it, in every single budget presentation. How much does the Chinese, Indian and Malay community get? Some even do the math of exactly how much each race was given every year.

There is no way of us escaping the racism mentality if ‘we still need to fight for our race’. To me, the only race that we need to fight for is the human race. Afterall, global warming, pandemic and other natural disasters does not kill based on which ethnicity we are.

But I guess that racism is an issue that is very difficult to solve totally. And the problem still appears in every country in the world.

A country which is considered established and one of the biggest powers in the world as the US is still suffering from racism. People are still fighting for the Whites or the Blacks. Ironically, that is more important than curing the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Ironically, racism is simply a problem created by us humans, that comes from a single subspecies, homo sapiens.

About 2.5 million years ago, humans first evolved from East Africa. These groups of apes then left their homeland for a journey and settled down in the areas of North Africa, Europe and Asia. 

The different location, climate, geographical conditions have made that specific species evolve into slightly different ones.

Those who have left for Europe and Western Asia have evolved into Homo Neanderthalensis who are more bulkier and muscular. The eastern regions of Asia were populated by Homo Erectus. On the island of Java, Indonesia, lived Homo soloensis, which underwent a process of dwarfing while there is another species in the island of Flores which is only approximately one metre in height and weight no more than twenty-five kilograms. They are the Homo floresiensis.

Scientists also discovered another species back in 2010 in Siberia, which is the Homo denisova. There are also a few other smaller species such as Homo rudolfensis and Homo ergaster.

Since the birth of the Homo species, science has proven that there are at least 6 subspecies of Homo that have walked on this earth. Subsequently whether it is the interbreeding theory where different Homo subspecies interbreed or whether it is the Replacement theory that suggests the Sapiens have got rid of the other subspecies to a certain extent; the Homo Sapiens remain as the sole survivor of the Homo species, which are us. 

As civilization grows and homo sapiens scattered around the massive globe, we were soon segregated by different languages, religion, urban development, borders and many more factors. And all these are created by homo sapiens, which ultimately is supposed to be from the same species. The differences have then turned into the source of arguments, conflicts and wars.

And today, we are arguing and fighting over something that we have created ourselves. But the homo sapiens just keep blaming each other for the ones causing it.

History is for us to learn and correct ourselves, and yet we are becoming worse off than our ancestors.

If we do not have the courage to face that we are the ones causing the problems, then when on earth are we going to correct it?

By the way, the movie Babi has received nominations from the Berlin International Film Festival, Bangkok International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and also the Golden Horse Awards. Aren’t we supposed to feel proud as a Malaysian instead?

Whether we are Babi or not, or whether we get offended by the word, really depends on our own mentality.

This article is published in Kwong Wah Yit Poh in Chinese dated 24 November 2020.