Saturday, March 16, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

The Chinese Lunar new year ended yesterday, 25 February after fifteen days of festivities, with open houses organized by some political entities on both sides of the divide, and the illegal firing of banned firecrackers and fireworks which had tended to worked up some people including the Chinese who do not favor such a boisterous and noisy activity, which they said they could do without.

These celebrations are no doubt, a cultural festival, and not a religious one, which imposes on the Chinese on who they are, although there are some Chinese who take it as such, by visiting the temples by offering their prayers and perhaps some alms hoping that the new year would turn out to be good, after they had chased the devils who might have caused them to suffer some miseries through the last year.  

But what many others including the Chinese do not know or realize is that they are also for them to know and remember from where their ancestors had come from.

It’s the same with the Hindu celebrations called Deepavali or the Festival of Lights and Thaipusam, which are celebrated with fervor by them each year.

Whereas, the Melayu always have their ‘kampung’ or villages to return to during Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji celebrations or at anytime they want to.

Some however, have not got any, having lost them when their old ‘kampung’ was redeveloped into new townships and residential areas, or their parents and grandparents had passed on and with them living elsewhere near the places of employment.

However, new ‘kampung’ emerge when they start to form new family units where their members would congregate during Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Haji and other family gatherings.

The Melayu always find ways and means to meet and gather.

But not for the Chinese who do not have such places that they could go to, unless if they count the many so-called ‘new villages’ that their ancestors had been holed in, as their ‘kampung’.

And they also did not want to be reminded of where their ancestors had come from. They are India and China.

And the more they think about their ancestors, the more they are affected by such thoughts about how they are still descendants of immigrants from the two countries to Tanah Melayu.

So no Chinese especially, in the right mind would want to return to such places as they are not pleasant places for them to return to.

So no wonder, during the Chinese lunar new year celebrations, many of them flock to the tourist destinations for a holiday with their immediate family members, with the many others not knowing where to go or what else that they can do, after having spent the evening the day earlier for the family dinner with ‘yee sang’ as the main dish.

There are some of them who enjoy firing crackers and fireworks, to annoy everybody and indirectly tell everybody how lonely they are not having anywhere to go to, with no ‘kampung’ of their own.

That their real ‘kampung’ is in South China where most of their ancestors had come from.

This is how many Melayu would want to translate the actions of the Chinese who fire crackers and fireworks during their lunar New Year celebrations.

As for the Indians, they also face similar issues, of not having a proper ‘kampung’ to return to, other than the rubber estates that their grandparents or great-grandparents had been sent to live in.

These are really not pleasant places for them to flock to during Deepavali, especially when such estates have been closed down and the houses their ancestors had lived in had all been demolished.

In the end, many of the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia do not have pleasant memories of their childhood or that of their parents and grandparents, and they now exist in limbo of not knowing who they are and what they are.

The Chinese Lunar New Year and Hindu Deepavali therefore can be very disconcerting to many of them, especially to those who have still not found it expedient to accept reality that they are not in China or India, although many still want to harbor the thoughts that they are still very much there.

Few others want to think so; so they fantasize a lot about how they are still back in China and India.

Fortunately, for them, they have few political parties which are Chinese and Indian-based that they can relate to, which they thought they could hope to get a better life, even though it may be fleeting and slowly losing their relevance in the New Malaysia.

Yet, there are sizeable groups of Chinese and Indians who have accept facts and reality; they know where they are and who they are, so they do not want to make unusual demands.

They are those who have accepted the fact that China and India do not provide them, but Malaysia and the Melayu do.

The younger generation of Chinese and Indians are unlike the older generation; they are accepting reality and facts better.

They speak better Melayu unlike their parents who still could not form a sentence in the language properly and whose Melayu vocabulary is limited to at the most one hundred simple words.

So no wonder they find themselves lost in the sea of Melayu who are slowly encroaching their turf, so wherever they go, they are confronted with the new reality, that they cannot live on their own anymore like they could before, especially when they were in the ‘new villages’.

Now they move a lot more with better transportation and not just that, television has brought them out of their limited confines so that even if they do not go out of the old ‘new villages’ the New Malaysian reality could still come to them especially with the so many nationalist songs which are constantly aired on television that they cannot escape from seeing and hearing. 

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