The National Question: Quebec and Malaysia

Marc Bellemare, a native Quebecker, has written an excellent post on culture and nationalism in Quebec. Go read it yourself, but the central argument is that Quebec’s cultural policies are designed—inadvertently or not—to ensure that Quebeckers remain subordinate to the state and compliant with its demands.

I read this and think immediately about Malaysia about the legacies of the New Economic Policy. Of course the differences are many, but this obsession with the question national parallels so neatly the obsession with bumiputera-ism, as well as its consequences. By emphasizing Malay privileges, Malay education, the Malaysian state may be deliberately creating a class of citizens who really don’t have the ability to choose something other than Malaysia’s status quo. This gives them a stake in preserving the status quo, as I’ve written many times before (e.g. here and here).