Something happened this week which caused a bit of a furore in the local press. A parent revealed on Facebook that her child and other students were being made to eat in the school's makeshift canteen which was in the shower room. This was bad enough.
What made people upset was that it was implied the canteen had been closed during the fasting month and that the non-muslim students being made to eat in the makeshift canteen were being discriminated.
Which quite understandably led to the public outrage on Facebook and calls for the principal to be suspended. As usual the discussion of race and religion led to a flurry of constructive dialogue between people on Facebook.
Not exactly..this was an internet trolls wet dream come true. It's nice that IRL people seem to get along just fine. If life was based on internet comments it'd be like living through The Purge everyday (don't watch that movie, it's rubbish).
It didn't help matters when the principal released a photo of himself and several other people breaking fast and eating in the shower room. I guess he was trying to show the parents that it wasn't a big deal but the parents weren't having it.
A few days have now passed and the dust has settled and it appears to be just a case of bad judgement on the part of the Principal. Because of the uproar the Deputy Education Minister himself made a visit to the school and told reporters that the issue was not related to race or religion.
According to him “The school initiated the makeshift canteen because of overcrowding” and said that the location chosen was “not ideal”. Which is a bit of an understatement. The canteen is now open again but it's still not over as parents and NGO's are still asking for action to be taken against the principal.
Unfortunately this isn't the first case of a principal being controversial. A few years ago a principal had decided that it would be appropriate to segregate the male and female students in his co-ed school. And then there was the case of a principal who was a bit of a..well..racist.
I think that it's appropriate that we hold principals accountable for their decisions though I personally don't think in this case he was being sinister in his actions. It would have been better if he had discussed the relocation of the canteen with the parents first. And later when the parents had complained he should have apologised for the mistake and taken steps to remedy the situation but that's just me.
Unfortunately, we as Malaysians still have a long way to go when it comes to the matter of race and religious issues. Malaysia is still a work in progress and though dark clouds may occasionally swirl over my head I'm an optimist about the future and the direction we're heading as Malaysians. We may not be "fucking perfect" but at least we're"fucking okay.."
P.S. On a totally unrelated note this week I watched LeFabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain for the first time (with subtitles of course; my French is well..non-existent) and it was the perfect movie. After watching Amélie I couldn't help smiling. I did watch A Good Day To Die Hard later which ruined my day.