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Why I’m not watching Ola Bola

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It will be too sad to sit through the movie to see how far we have regressed as a nation in terms of racial unity, says Teo Chuen Tick.

“I am not watching Ola Bola not because it is not a Chinese who scored the winning goal.”

I can still remember, somewhat, the pride of our nation qualifying for the 1980 Olympics.

“The movie made it clear in its opening credits that it was not a true-to-life documentary.”

It will be too sad to sit through the movie to see how far we have regressed as a nation in terms of racial unity. With the government of the day the main mover in the divide-and-rule policy, it will be torture to be reminded of all the policies in place that are keeping us, the citizens, apart.

Those of us from the independence era have enough real life memories to reminisce about those days gone by – when we see our friends as friends (not bumiputras and non-bumiputras); when sitting down and sharing a meal does not involve halal vs non-halal ramifications.

My first introduction into the privileged world of the bumiputras was in my Lower Six year at Victoria Institution. Some of them were ‘parked’ in my class while waiting to leave for their further studies overseas. Until then, in the innocence of youth, all my school friends, were friends. Period.

When I applied for local varsity entrance, the race factor stared me in the face. There were courses for which my HSC results qualified me for, but because of the racial quota I wouldn’t be accepted.

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Those with the resources and perhaps those more resourceful went overseas. Thus began the brain drain from our country that has not abated to this day. Many chose not to come back for they can see the very same discriminatory policies in place.

I understand this issue is not a black and white one. There is indeed a need to give a helping hand to disadvantaged students from rural areas but the policy over the years has been fine-tuned to be discriminatory to the non-bumiputra students.

When I bought my home more than 27 years ago, there was a 7% discount for bumiputras. After all these years, no matter how high-end the development, we see the same discount offered to bumiputras. If this is not discrimination, I do not know what is. No citizen would dispute it if the discount is given on a needs-based basis – which means all Rakyat should be eligible.

“As well as being a timely social commentary and rallying cry for unity amidst our current crisis.” So says Hazlan Zakaria, a Malaysiakini journalist.

But to me, it is a cry across a bottomless canyon.

When the institutions of state like the BTN are used to sow the seeds of racism, efforts via films like Ola Bola are all the more laughable and meaningless.

But I am happy to note, I am in the minority here and Ola Bola has been quite a success at our Malaysian box office.

“‘Ola-Bola’ is also an apt social commentary of our times and a galvanising cry for unity that Malaysia sorely needs.”

This is doubtlessly true. Yet, until change comes to our nation’s political scenario, that cry will be in vain.

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Until the Rakyat can see through the lies propagated by the Umnoputras – that they alone can govern our country- and accept that the way forward is a nation founded on fairness and justice for all, we will continue to rue for what could have been in this beloved nation of ours.

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