Social Mood Deteriorating: Malaysia Race Riots; Free Catalonia; Mosques Burn

The Economist: Playing with fire
THE close-packed shops on Petaling Street (pictured), a dim warren in a Chinese quarter of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, often throng with bargain-hunting tourists. This month its mostly ethnic-Chinese stallholders faced crowds of a different kind. Riot police prevented a mob of redshirted protesters—ethnic Malays with a host of grudges—from marching down the street. They eventually dispersed loiterers with water cannon. One protester was filmed calling a journalist a “Chinese pig”.

...Malaysia’s broad ethnic mix, in part the result of British colonial immigration policies, has long coloured its politics. After a murderous race-riot in 1969, in which mobs burned Chinese shops, officials devised a slew of measures aimed at defusing tensions. Their aim was to reduce inequality between Malays and their richer ethnic-Chinese compatriots. Malays were guaranteed a quota of places at universities and the right to own shares in all listed companies, among other benefits. Though billed as temporary, many of the measures are still in force.
Sometimes I wonder if the editors of the Economist read their own magazine as they currently advocate more migration into Europe, and the guaranteed race riots and ethnic tensions that will follow.
Since then Malay incomes have risen rapidly (see chart). But greater equality has come at a cost. Critics say that state-sponsored favouritism has hooked Malays on handouts and government jobs, and helped to enrich the country’s elites—at the same time as enraging ethnic-Chinese citizens, and driving some of the most talented of them abroad. There have been growing demands, among Malays too, for the rules to be scrapped, or at least refocused on the neediest regardless of their race. When he came to power in 2009 Najib Razak, UMNO’s president and Malaysia’s prime minister, sounded as if he agreed.

All that changed after a general election in 2013, when the government retained power despite losing the popular vote. UMNO itself managed to gain seats at the polls. But voters deserted the small ethnic-Chinese and Indian parties with whom it rules in coalition, fleeing to a resurgent and more ethnically balanced opposition. Instead of trying to lure them back, UMNO has focused on refurbishing its reputation as a champion of ethnic Malays and of Islam, their traditional religion.
Which brings to mind this:
One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.”

Pro-secession parties pushing for Spain's northeastern Catalonia region to break away and form a new Mediterranean nation won a landmark vote Sunday by capturing a regional parliamentary majority, setting up a possible showdown over independence with the central government in Madrid.

..."I have wanted independence ever since I was young," Perez said after voting in Barcelona. "During three centuries they have robbed us of our culture. We have reached the moment that the Catalan people say `enough is enough.'"
Why settle a 300-year issue now? Negative social mood.

Migration in Europe is still having major impact.

Two teenagers held on suspicion of arson after London mosque fire:
Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire engulfed part of a south London mosque said to be the largest in western Europe.

At the other end, Holland now allows child brides as long as it's legal in their home country: Dozens of Syrian child brides en route to Ter Apel ('Tientallen Syrische kindbruiden onderweg naar Ter Apel')

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