Monday, September 5, 2011


By Mansor Puteh

So now you know why the Chinese who came to Nanyang much later, including to Melaka, had to behave or else those after them would not have been so readily accepted into countries which were Melayu ones.

So few Chinese bothered to go to the Philippines which is not a Melayu or Muslim country. Why?

Were the Chinese then told that the Melayu were accommodative who could look after them better than the others could?   

There are so few Chinese in Palembang now so much so that they have to fully assimilate with the local Melayu. You have to ask if they have Chinese ancestry, or it’s very difficult to tell.

And why did the Indians agree to be brought by the British to come to Malaya?

Was it not because they thought they would be better off living and working in the rubber estates than continuing to live in misery in their own remote villages in Tamil Nadu where most of the Indians had come from?

But they don’t care if they are Chinese or even Indians there since they are so few of them.

Those Chinese in Malaysia and all over Nusantara Melayu today therefore ought to be eternally grateful to the Melayu in the whole region, except for the Filipinos, Siamese and Myanmar’s…who had taken good care of them, so that the Chinese and also Indian immigrants did not feel alienated and dispossessed.

Although some of them did not think highly of the contribution and sympathy of the Melayu so they decided to return to China.

The Chinese in Siam, the Philippines and Myanmar have become so assimilated with the local population that they do not care anymore about where their ancestors had come from. They have local names and only speak in the local language and are also of the same religion of the majority.

There was no craving for them to establish their own vernacular schools or have their own peculiar ways.

The reason being the local governments did not want them to do such a thing; they were then forced to adopt and assimilate fully, because they did not have any political power, no political party to look after their interests. They live amongst the majority and not amongst themselves.

They have resigned to this fact, and are not about to stir discontent. It is too late for them to do this.

The Melayu in Malaysia, especially could have been crude and compelled all of them to return to china, since they did not want to feel belong in the country; they were too demanding and insisted on bringing the whole of china to Malaysia.

However, the buck stops for them in Indonesia, Brunei, Siam, Myanmar and the Philippines because they are so few of them in these countries.

In Malaysia, the Chinese ought to be eternally grateful to the Melayu for saving their ancestors; if not they would not have existed to bare their fangs at the Melayu today to demand this and that.  

And although the Indians are small in numbers, but they think they are bigger by virtue of the fact that they see themselves together with the Chinese as non-Melayu or non-Malays.

On their own, the Indians can’t even speak loudly on anything in Malaysia like their brethren in Indonesia, especially who speak only in Melayu and not in Tamil. 

Therefore, relating Malaysian history is not a pleasant thing. Many of its citizens now are descendants of people from the neighboring countries, and if they feel alien to this land, relating the history of their immigration to Malaysia and the other parts of Southeast Asia would not be a pleasant experience for them to have to bear with.

Till now this aspect of the history of Chinese immigration to Southeast Asia or ‘Nanyang’ as the Chinese describe it has never been told. No Chinese has bothered to relate it to their children, much less to their own community of former Chinese.

Yes, they are no more Chinese but former Chinese.

Even in the past, they described themselves as Chinese-Malaysians. Now they cannot call themselves Chinese anymore, because they are Malaysia citizens and a Chinese is a nationality of China.

It is sat that the ‘Chinese’ in Malaysia does not have a racial background like the Malays and other races.

They can only be described from the dialect they speak, so they are Mandarins, Cantonese, Hokkien, and Hainanese and so on.

The same with the Indians in Malaysia. They are descendants of former Indians. They are now described as Tamils, Malayalam, and Telugus and so on, based on the language or dialects they speak. They cannot be described as Indians anymore because an Indian, like a Chinese is a nationality of those countries.

And for that matter, too, relating the story of Indian immigration to Malaya especially is also not a pleasant thing to do. It is not an experience that many Indians in Malaysia would want to have.

In fact, Biro Tata Negara (BTN) which is now in the center of some unnecessary controversy can never relate the stories of Chinese and Indian immigration to Malaya, without being charged for being indecent.

But they are many non-Melayu who liked to describe the immigration of the Melayu from the other groups from elsewhere to the country. They do so with a lot of venom, to try and say that most of the Melayu who are in Malaysia today are also descendants of immigration.

What those non-Melayu are saying is correct up to a point, and the Melayu admit it. But what they have all failed to realize and admit is that the Melayu were not immigrants to Malaya but were just moving from within the Nusantara Melayu where they have a right to do so.

Whereas the Chinese and Indians had come from different regions and the real and only reason why they came to Malaya and Nusantara Melayu is for economic reasons.

The other reason being that they wanted the Melayu to protect them from physical harm, when they were experiencing the Great Famine which happened in South China and were also facing death from starvation.

It’s the same with the Indians who were brought into the country by the British, to work in the rubber estates as tappers. So they ought to be grateful to the British for saving them from possible starvation, too.

I am writing this without much personal pleasure. I was just pressured by my desire to tell the real truth on the history of early Chinese immigration to ‘Nanyang’ or South Seas Lands, as the Chinese called them. And the story is not pleasant to write.

So no wonder no Chinese who are now citizens of the countries in Nusantara Melayu has refrained from describing how their ancestors might have fled South China to come to this region, almost at the same time, in the late Sixteenth Century up to the middle of the Twentieth Century.

So the Chinese immigrants to Nusantara Melayu can be described as the hungry Chinese.

Worse, they were also fearful of their lives. So they were scared Chinese.

Most, if not all of the young Chinese were men or boys. No women or girls. Some girls came to Southeast Asia because of the flesh trade or prostitution.

And some of them are still doing it NOW! We can watch the news on television to find out just how many young Chinese girls from China are still coming to Malaysia, especially to be involved in the flesh trade, while their handlers are local Chinese men.

Some things have not changed with the Chinese.

Many bet, if the countries in Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia were to open its gates to the Chinese in China, many of them would take the first flight and leave whatever they have behind to work in the country, even if they have to be involved in the flesh trading business.

I have many close relatives and close friends whose ancestors had also come from China, but who are now 200% Melayu. In fact, my maternal was also Chinese.

So which Chinese in Malaysia can blame me for writing this essay, just because they are not interested to know what had brought their ancestors from the remote villages in South China to come to ‘Nanyang’. It was for the reasons I have described above.

There are other major reasons, with some of them who were being hounded by the Manchu agents, while some others who were forced to run away from the Triads.

Yes, gangsterism was rampant in China then. And this activity of the underworld was still very much practiced in Malaya for a long while with the same fervor as before. 

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