Thursday, March 8, 2012


By Mansor Puteh

I find the article on the poor, poor Chinese of Malaysia, published in a local English language daily to be pathetic.

It smacks of chauvinism and the denial that the Melayu living in the country had not done much to elevate the plight of the small group of Chinese who she considers to be poor for earning less than RM3,000 per household per month.

What more does she want for the Melayu to do for the Chinese?

After so long, does she think the Melayu still have no other better things to do other than to continue to support the Chinese, at the expense of helping themselves?

How many billionaires does the write want the Melayu to create from amongst the Chinese in the country?

First of all, Rita has failed to realize that there are at least 30% of the Chinese who rejected their Chinese ancestry to become Melayu. All of my relatives fall in this group.

And we are not proud of our Chinese ancestry or even China, which had caused our ancestors to flee from South China to come to Tanah Melayu to seek pity and a new home from the charitable Melayu and kind-hearted Muslims.

I stopped speaking in Hokkien or eating with chopsticks and my family also stopped observing Chinese cultural festivals even before they became fashionable to the non-Chinese to do so.

My ancestors would not be lucky if they had chosen to go Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar or Thailand or even Vietnam or Cambodia instead of coming to Tanah Melayu, where they had no choice but to fully assimilate with the locals so much so that there is no chance for them to exert their Chinese identity, name, culture or language.

I made a trip to China for the first time in March, 1997 with a group of Chinese, with the tour leader, a Melayu who could speak excellent Mandarin.

I tried to be cheeky with the other Chinese in the group by suggesting how nice it would be to live and work in China. All of them squirmed.

There are not many Chinese in Malaysia or anywhere in Nanyang who would like to return to China even as tourists because they will feel guilty for not looking up at the Melayu who had helped their ancestors to live and to prosper. Many of them had died though.

Many Chinese also do not know that those who had left China were considered 'traitors' and if they returned to China, they would be arrested and sentenced to hang.

Those Chinese who left China were all told to assimilate with the locals and not to 'bring China to these countries'.

My ancestors were true Chinese in this sense, as that of the father of a friend of mine who in the early 1920s had sold off his shop in Fujian Province and came to Melaka with his elder brother. Once they got there they did not want to be considered Chinese anymore.

Most of the Chinese in Malaysia today are basically still immigrants in many ways; even though they hold Malaysian passports and citizenship, but they are still psychologically speak still in China.

It is ironic when one sees how the foreign workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar and even Vietnam who are willing to assimilate with the Melayu more than the Chinese who claim to be the third or fourth generation of Chinese, yet, they still exhibit immigrant traits.

There is also no other country in the world where the Chinese and also Indians are allowed to have their own political parties other than in Malaysia.

The two Chinese men married Melayu women. And when they grew up being grandparents, the elder man suggested to his younger brother to make a return trip to their ancestral land, but he refused, saying that China had not given them anything but misery. Tanah Melayu and the Melayu had given them a life.

Yet, there are many Chinese today who have not said so. No Chinese has ever said how grateful they were to the Melayu for providing their ancestors who had come to Tanah Melayu wearing the same clothes and smelling like shit. They were willing to do anything to earn a living and pity from the Melayu, including working as night-soil carriers.

There were some who wanted to try their luck by going into the jungles to join the Communist forces, hoping that they could turn Tanah Melayu into a Communist territory of China.

So if there are some Chinese in Malaysia who want to write his autobiography and truthfully, chances are they can trace their ancestors who were night-soil collectors or Communist party cadres.

Singapore did it the ‘democratic way’ by seizing control of the state by virtue of the overwhelming majority of the immigrant Chinese population.

They are still many Chinese today who are still demanding the Melayu provide for them. If they are poor, not earning RM3,000 per month they expect to be given financial assistance.

They do not care if there are many more Melayu who earn less.

They also do not care that the survival of the Chinese petty trading businesses depended on the support of the Melayu customers, without which their business would fail.

In fact, all Chinese establishments and shopping centers will go bankrupt without the support from the Melayu customers.

Yet, the Chinese are still ungrateful and they still want to demand more, especially from the government to provide them with financial and land allocations to expand their vernacular Mandarin schools.

Whereas they had earlier on exerted how these schools would become ‘independent schools’, when there was pressure for such schools not to be incorporated into the education system of the country.

When they got these schools, they slowly use political leverage to demand financial and land allocation from the government, or else they would vote for the opposition.

In fact, the Chinese take the allocations and still vote the opposition in order to be able to demand more allocations from the government which is seen to be a Melayu one, which they think is a soft one too who will meet with their every demand.

Yet, at the same time, they refused to assimilate and create a colony of China in Malaysia today.

It is pathetic how people like Rita and the many others who can still look at the issue without showing any gratitude to the Melayu that the Chinese today can be where they are.

If they are still poor, it is because they have the 'immigrant' mentality. They chose to study in the Mandarin vernacular school which does not guarantee a future for them if they drop out of school early so they are not conversant in Melayu as well as in English. In fact, the Mandarin they speak is 'street Mandarin' with no class. They are mostly illiterate.

No wonder many Chinese are involved in vice and other illegal activities such as prostitution and the peddling of illegal DVDs.

So it is good for the NST to offer space for someone like Rita to express her stilted views on racial assimilation and the plight of the Chinese Diaspora.

And from her name one can see how much she had lost her Chinese identity.

The Melayu did not force her to use an English name, she did it herself as much as the many other Chinese who have all gotten rid of their identity this way, because they are ashamed of their original Chinese name, which to them sounds backward or 'sinkek'.

It is also not surprising to how many Melayu who now look Chinese with single-eyelids, while the Chinese are having surgery to allow them to have double-eyelids.

1 comment:

himmler said...

perfectly said