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So I saw this propaganda ad on TV. Set in a village, two Malay girls enter an Indian girl’s living room. The conversation goes something like this:

Malay Girl 1: I got engineering at Universiti Malaya
Malay Girl 2: I got architecture at the International Islamic University
Indian Girl: (dejected) I got biotech at University Malaysia Sabah
Malay Girl (not sure which): What why is the problem?

They discussed the cost of transportation and the Indian girl points out that her family can’t afford the distance because her father passed away. The entire, unusually multiracial, village collected funds, and presented it to Indian Girl and her mother. This is the meaning of 1 Malaysia, the ad boasts.

And I’m shitting myself – OMG, did I just see that? The two Malay girls got into pretty good public universities in Kuala Lumpur, the Indian girl a pathetic offer from a backwater university in Sabah (okay, okay, Sabahans, I mean no harm – 1 Malaysia and all). Is there a subtle message the script writer was trying to send?

(If you missed the subtle message, Poor Indian Girl probably had to slog through the ardous 1.5 year Form Six while the two Malay girls probably had it easy with the 1 year Matrikulasi program).

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