Petronas Advertisements And The Way We Were.
The depictions shown are by and large accurate and sometimes funny. However every time I watch one of those ads I can't help feeling sad that we have along the way taken a wrong turn and have ended up now not even remotely representative of those wonderful scenes so well captured on film.
Those who went to school in the sixties will tell you that things were better then. There was a measure of 'oneness' among at least the pupils. There were not many divisive features or issues then except our God-given physical differences. Religion was then completely in the background of the school environment and no one even bothered about what religion one belonged to. It was as if even at that tender age one understood that religious discourse and practice was personal and rightfully belonged at home and not at school where it was confined to the moral/religious studies classes.
Teachers then were generally competent and fair in their treatment of pupils of all races and also judicious in what they said and did. Of course there were among the teachers, racists and chauvinists even then who preached about the 'superiority' of the Chinese and their immense contribution to the nation, in total exclusion and disregard of the rest of the multi-ethnic population of pupils. More often than not their sermons were ignored for the blather it was.
More importantly in the days depicted by the Petronas advertisements, the Malays were actually Malays and not Arabs in Malay bodies, did not have the type of fanatical approach to their religion as well as to non-believers and were excellent examples of the saying, "live and let live."
But sadly somewhere along the way, many Malays lost their 'Malayness' while some of the Chinese couldn't purge themselves of the chauvinistic feelings they had been brought up with and poorer Indians became more marginalised and criminalised.
The end result? Petronas advertisements on a regular basis for us to watch and wonder of what we were like then and what the present could have been while humming to the tune of "The Way We Were." What does the future hold? If we keep going in the direction we are heading now, then not very good news I'm afraid.
In the meanwhile on behalf of all non-Hindus I wish all the Hindu readers of this blog, A Very Happy Deepavalli.