By SBH (Malaysiakini)
Yasmin’s vision of a Bangsa Malaysia, one of Unity in Diversity.
Only after her death did we get to know that Yasmin Ahmad’s mother enrolled her in a school where she was the only Malay student and as a result she suffered taunts that Malays were lazy and good for nothing.
When she complained to her mother, her mother told Yasmin to prove her tormentors wrong by studying hard.
We don’t know how well Yasmin did in her SPM but she got a scholarship to study at Newcastle University in the Northeast of England, majoring in psychology.
With that background, we would have expected her to be very Malay or even an ultra-Malay when she returned to Malaysia to contribute to the country’s development.
But looking at her films, it is obvious that Yasmin opted instead, perhaps a little naively, to help bring about a so-called Bangsa Malaysia.
Her childhood tormentors might have been Chinese but Yasmin chose to marry a Chinese.
(One of Yasmin Ahmad’s last public speech over at TEDxKualaLumpur about a month ago.)
In her films which, for some curious reason had all their first showing in Singapore. Yasmin had no qualms about criticising everybody, the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians whose so-called prejudices she claims are impeding the Bangsa Malaysia process.
Yasmin is no Islamic scholar but she did not hesitate to take pot shots at practices which in some Islamic countries would have certainly had her being hauled up before the Syariah Court.
Whatever it is, Yasmin’s Bangsa Malaysia is quite a simplistic one i.e. it need not be based on a single national language let alone a single religion.