On May 13, 1969, riots broke out on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. These were racialized riots, between the majority Malay and minority-but-still-sizeable Chinese factions, a result of racial and religious fractioning between political parties of the people. Malaysia was still a very young country at the time, and had not really had much time yet to grow used to its multi-cultural identity now that the overwhelming British influence was gone. I would still argue that the Malaysian identity is still in flux; cultures take a long time to change and syncretize with each other.
Since then, May 13 has become a force under which we have all rallied to do away with race-based politics, with a certain degree of success. We recognize now that we are Malaysians - born, bred, raised in similar environments and contexts, with a shared history (that can also be called propaganda), in a particular cultural context that is similar but not quite exactly the same with neighbouring nations.
Unfortunately, it seems also seems to have become a weapon for those who have privileges they want to maintain. Do not question the status quo, because it will, as it inevitably does, lead to questioning the current state of equality between races, which will lead to discussing the racial discrimination faced on institutional levels, which will lead to anger of many individuals, who will go on to cite the many different incidents of racism they or their friends or their friends' friends have gone through, and it all ends up in this unproductive black hole of people getting mutually angry at each other and ending up with harsh generalizations.
Malaysia's Identity Crisis