I think the lesson learn from Amy Chua’s first (and perhaps more influential book on the long-term), world on fire is that Democracy tends turn on it’s model-minority sooner or later.
I was just hosting someone from KL and he was (obviously) Malaysian Chinese and it seems that downtown KL is easily 50-80% of the population. Sid mentioned “minorities prospering in Pakistan” and used the example of the Parsis. The point is that certain economic minorities may be demographically marginally (case in point the Parsis) however have huge sway on their respective classes. Virtually the world over (with the possible exception of the US) social and economic class correlate and whereas the Chinese in South East Asia is fractional (and assimilated in the case of Thailand), probably in the regional middle and upper classes their numbers are probably multiple of that.
There are only a thousand Parsis in Pakistan but most of them are in Karachi and virtually all of them are at least upper middle class (if not comfortably well-off like the Avaris). They have kith and kin in the West, Middle East & India and go to the best English language schools. Furthermore being members of the upper class means they glide through Guccistan, which is still a reality removed from Pakistan (the most religious people tend to go is wear Sufi necklaces and Islam is still very new age). The same process is happening to the Christian minority, in bits & spurts (I remember in Islamabad Christians were quite predominant in education and of course were the Dalit underclass as well). Furthermore while the mainstay of the Pakistan upper classes remain traditional majority populations; it is still far more religious diverse than mainstream society (simply because non-Muslims remain far more aspirational, open-minded and education focussed than Muslims). As an example the “Sindhi Hindu Pakistanis” are quite prominent in the Dubai scene though it’s a bitch for them when they “intermarry” with “Sindhi Hindu Indians” from a visa and passport perspective.
The reason I mention all this is that not all minorities are the same. Shah Rukh Khan and Azim Premji are represenative of a thin sliver of Muslim India (Afghan Pathan & Bohra), which doesn’t obviate the fact that the vast majority of Indian Muslims essentially have the same issues as their Dalit forbears. Much in the same way I’m wary of using the Parsi (and by extension the Baha’i) successes as minorities improving in Pak (once you ascend up the class structure the safer you are from mainstream society and the easier you ensconce within the walls of the elite).