Namewee from a Chinese perspective

Namewee is in the news again for his just released movie Nasi Lemak 2.0 and his reported attempt at getting a meeting with the prime minister. (Movie review here.)

A controversy magnet, Namewee has also at the same time attracted the anticipated brickbats and belligerent threats from the usual suspects.

没 有 天 那 有 地

没 有 地 那 有 家

没 有 家 那 有 你

没 有 你 那 有 我

Lyrics from the classic hit 酒干倘卖无 in which a girl sings about her adopted father: “Without heaven how can there be earth, without the land how can there be home, without home how can there be you, without you how can there be me …”

Namewee’s rap in Negarakuku recalls to me some echoing words in almost the same cadences:

我 愛 我 的 國 家

有 國 才 有 家

有 家 才 有 我

站 在 這 邊 跟 你

大 聲 唱 歌

(Translation: I love my country, [only] when there is country there is home, [only] when there is home there is me, now [standing] here singing song loudly to you…)

DAP Christian politician Hannah Yeoh in tudung

It strikes me that Namewee expresses himself in a Chinese way you will not encounter from the likes of DAP 2.0’s newly minted currency – called the Hasnah Yeop political coin.

It may surprise you that in his controversial Negarakuku released in 2007, Namewee begins the rap by professing his love for Malaysia to which he later adds the wry 這 個 國 家 我 佷 喜 歡 “this country I like very much”.

Namewee’s ambivalence is genuine of the generally conflicted Chinese here rather than the one-dimensionality of the Firsters and their “I’m-more-Malaysian-than anyone else” chest thumping .

Embedded in the Chinese language and thus its ethos (remember, ‘bahasa jiwa bangsa’) is the concept of jia 家 (home), around which form the words ‘family’ and ‘country’.

Hannah Yeoh with her God-walks-with-me tweets fawned over by 30,000 faithful followers is on a totally different plane from the Mandarin-and-Hokkien speaking Namewee who pursued his tertiary education in Taiwan.

In fact, the Chinese school student unable to get a seat in local universities is one of Namewee’s grouses aired in Negarakuku.

Caring for the Chinese? Nah

Do note that the DAP does not take up the above type ‘Chinese’ issues.

Therefore it boggles the mind how the party’s detractors (read: Utusan/Umno bloggers) still keep claiming that DAP favours the Chinese. In truth, its leaders favour whatever is advantageous for themselves first and foremost. Whatever it takes for them to retain and expand their clout (power has gotten to their heads) so that they can continue to enjoy the perks of office.

After all, in Penang which DAP controls, Lim Guan Eng takes so much pride in awarding bumiputera contractors 98 percent to 100 percent of the state tenders (quoting the chief minister’s own boast).

Thus, rhetorically speaking, DAP should have no issues either if 98%-100% of local varsity places were to go to bumiputera.

So how can we expect this Anak Malaysia-sloganeering party to membela nasib kami orang Cina when DAP is so plainly contemptuous of our Chinese ethnicity and at the same time so deceitfully eager to elevate the Malay race and religion in order to please a pivotal vote bank?

The struggle of Umno, according to its founding principles, is to resuscitate the Malay (‘Hidup Melayu!’). The struggle of PAS is for Islam whereas MCA and MIC have ‘Chinese’ and ‘Indian’ in their party names respectively. What values do the DAP stand for?

The mean and petty DAP

It is the much maligned MCA instead that recently managed to pull off the UEC coup, the matter of university entrance for holders of the Chinese school unified exam certificate — which Namewee complained about in his rap as [previously] being treated like a worthless piece of paper by our authorities, i.e. the qualification accepted overseas but not recognized by Malaysia.

But is DAP happy with this UEC positive development? Nope!

As you know, DAP and friends aren’t at all happy either with the announced repeal of the ISA — a civil liberties breakthrough which they’ve been at great pains to undermine.

The naysaying on both issues is for the same reason that it is their lame tactic to find fault with everything (see The Star, Sept 10) that might just put Barisan in good stead with the people.

News that the ISA will be abolished is surely a relief. Yet it’s been dismissed by the wet blankets with the same ill grace the opposition treated other Najib-driven reforms that have been trotted out.

The opposition cold water response and negative spin to the ISA rollback is nothing but petty. This mean spiritedness is not in the Chinese nature, merely the DAP 2.0’s character.

CONTINUED: Recovering from evangelical politikus our hijacked Chinese voice


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15 thoughts on “Namewee from a Chinese perspective

  1. Whew…. are you the same Helen Ang that writes about yummy Penang food??

    If so, I think I like you better as a food writer. Why are you bashing DAP? Granted many of us don’t think they can govern but we need to bring about a change in this country. So far, I’ve heard only praises heaped on LGE. Funny though that UMNO Youth is saying he is not giving enough contracts to Bumiputras –

    And Hannah Yeoh? What do you have against her? Hope you’re not really such a crabbie person as your article portrays. Pardon me.

    I must admit that Namewee is not exactly a tantalizing personality but he’s quite a fun person and to be able to make out those songs is another something… and you have to admire his guts.

    The one that writes about yummy Penang food is Helen ONG. — Helen

  2. “The one that writes about yummy Penang food is Helen ONG” :)

    Helen, you are incredible and mind boggling at the same time! How could you lump Nawanee and DAP into the same piece of writing? The first half would make the Umno devotee geram while the second half could have the same effect toward DAP aficionado, very naughty la you.

    Are you sure DAP award 98% state tender to Bumiputra? Wow! Perhaps now is the turn and good time for LGE to indulge in self-pity “I don’t understand what the Penang Malay want” just in case the Malay do complain. :)


    Hua Yong, the Pg contract awards info is from LGE’s own web page. I had linked in the article above but anyway, here it is again (screenshots & urls provided), Pg: Bumi contractors RM61.4m, non-bumi 407k

    As for making both sides ‘geram’, well, from their comments history, you’ll also be aware that while the defamation from the DAP-Pakatan hardcores stoop to gutter level, the Umno devotees (at least in their responses to my postings here & to articles in the portals) maintain their civility. Cheers. — Helen

  3. Helen, live with the reality that Malaysia majority is Malay and Muslim.
    And they will continue to be the majority for the foreseeable future, in fact the other ethnic population will become less in terms of %.

    It may be news to some, but Penang actually is already a majority Malay states. Therefore, UMNO is not entirely wrong in demanding that CM position from Gerakan.

    If Malaysia is ever to change, it will have to be a big change in the Malay’s perspective and obviously their votes.

    A kid can tell you that, and obviously the politicians, being the political creature they are, knows where their vote going to come from.

    You seems to have a personal vendetta against DAP for whatever reasons. Don’t simply paint a negative picture on the whole lot, just because of your personal issues with some of them. I doubt that you even know many of those you condemn.

    From your blog, you seems an intelligent person, however, keep harping on race and religious issue, just makes you out to be another chauvinist.

    1. The irony is Helen Ang condemns DAP for not putting Chinese first and foremost at detriment of other races, while Umno condemns DAP for being Chinese chauvenists. It clearly appears the ‘chauvinists’ are people like Helen who are really writing for the MCA.

      FYI, Namewee supporters (young people) are likely to vote n support opposition. It doesn’t take a PhD to know what the 2.0 in “Nasi Lemak 2.0” actually references to…

  4. Dear Helen,

    DAP 2.0? Firsters? Hannah Yeop? Can you please compile all these terms that you use into a glossary page? Thanks.


    Firsters are opposition supporters having a very small vocabulary range & not knowing many other words besides “racist” that they insist on labelling all those who do not chant “We’re M’sian First, Chinese/Malay/Indian/etc last” like they do.

    DAP 2.0 is the chameleon party post-March 2008 whose politikus have put on the new Hasnah Yeop skin.

    Hasnah Yeop is the nickname Rocky gave Hannah Yeoh.

  5. The Bar Council said that the govt. need to provide the contents of two new acts to replace ISA before we can know whether the abolishment of ISA is a big deal. The Bar also suggested the govt. to use the draft already available from Suhakam to replace ISA.

    1. Bar Council shoud register itself as a political party~ since there seems to be lots of political animal inside.

  6. “The struggle of Umno, according to its founding principles, is to resuscitate the Malay (‘Hidup Melayu!’). The struggle of PAS is for Islam whereas MCA and MIC have ‘Chinese’ and ‘Indian’ in their party names respectively. What values do the DAP stand for?”

    Helen, it is not a secret that DAP stands for a political ideology that does not recognise race nor religion.

    Nice try, but anyone that reads would already know that. Thus this post will not win your master any supporters.

  7. Petty Helen picking on Hannah’s wearing a piece of cloth called tudung!

    So why are Chinese school students unable to get a seat in local universities? I’m sure Namewee knows the fault lies with kulit-fication. Too bad loh. Namewee may have the qualification to enter local U but his kulit doesn’t qualify even though his spoken BM is pretty good. Who can fault him for being born an ethnic Chinese?

    But then again, Namewee has choice. In Malaysia, he can change his race according to Article 160(2).

    That’s the beauty of Malaysia! ;)

    1. There are many ways to ensure that only some can get into local universities, ranging from income levels of parents, selection of courses, interviews, contacts and connection. It is never a level playing field !

      By not selecting the best and able, you can see the decline and lower productivity compared to other more merit based countries especially so in the bloated public sector.

  8. “the Pg contract awards info is from LGE’s own web page.”

    Bumi vs Non Bumi, Melayu vs Non Melayu, hmmm….Interesting. I first thought it should be Anak Malaysia vs Non Anak Malaysia?

    Haha, you’re eagle eyed to have caught on. Let’s see how long the Firsters can keep their house of cards standing. — Helen

  9. Helen, you failed to give better answers to the many questions posted to you above.

    Steven, what’s your question? — Helen

  10. I find your articles quite interesting, contrary to comments left on the site that it appeared in and it was ironic that one of your article was about the ‘comments’ themselves. From a reader’s perspective it appears to be the usual posting and the usual round of exchanging insults. But after a while one gets the feeling that those comments/exchanges are by parties known to each other, hence the ‘anonymous’ tag or pseudonyms. It’s more than a possibility that it’s multiple entries by the same person under “anonymous.” (And those comments were there to try to keep people believing that a large majority supports that view.)

    I find your article, ‘Namewee from a Chinese perspective’ thought provoking. The English title of the film that the lyrics of the song was taken from was called ‘Papa, can you hear me sing?’. The film tells the tale of a man who brought up an abandoned girl. The Chinese title was literally “Took the wrong (vehicle) bus” or “Dap Chor Chè” in the Cantonese dialect. (If it is still politically correct to describe myself also as Malaysian Chinese Cantonese as it may still be a bit of a guess even if one’s name were to be Tan Ah Kow or Lee Siu Loong).

    Between these 2 titles, the Chinese title speaks more of the moral of the story but the film dealt with the issues of the day confronting cohabitation, the town vs city life /folk and the challenges of the younger generation due to global influences. The song was a tribute to the sacrifices of the single parent who let go of his daughter to pursue her ambitions and the daughter whose pursuits and ambitions blinded her (the wrong bus) to her father’s sacrifices.

    If I were to take it as a member of the Chinese community and if one has felt the benefits of government whether through one of MCA programmes or through higher education made possible at TAR college, it is essentially reflecting on our ‘beginnings’ how everything was made possible (“Without you how can there be me”).

    What made the film a success was the music and there was even a discussion whether it was the film that gave the music the success or the music that gave the film’s success. So the view from here is one could not have done without the other.

    I can also relate to Namewee’s lyrics. The general working population in urban areas are from smaller towns. Come every major festival and we see an exodus of the migrant workers back to their hometown. They think of their ‘roots. As for those who are abroad either to further their studies or work, there is this reminiscing feeling of our ‘roots’ too. When one’s abroad for further studies like Namewee was, it would have been quite natural to feel homesick and ‘country sick’ as well. I can see Namewee’s reflected and voice his passion for Malaysia in this respect in his lyrics. I am not an artist but if Namewee’s use of the tune of the national anthem to make his statement and declaration of his love of Malaysia, it would obviously raise a few eyebrows, but it has been done before. (The Spice Girls has performed the haka and there was a controversy about that.) The vinyl collector & capitalist in me still wishes I will find a copy of the infamous Sex Pistols’ single.

    The second part of your article dealt with another issue. For anyone who reads around the blogs we more or less know how the opposition will pour ‘cold water’. Take another comment that I came across about the Klang High School drama that the prefects are now “of one particular race”. I thought of asking if they were “of one particular race” before their predecessors resigned (en masse)? If they weren’t, they are now. Under such circumstances that the prefects resigned, would any other student of “another particular race” be stupid or brave enough to “fill” their shoes?

    Your description “of the generally conflicted Chinese” struck a chord with me. If we only know what and how ‘conflicted’ that meant and perhaps from how one’s upbringing, socio-economical and educational background has the effect of how we think (and vote). How many of us have only an exclusive Chinese or English Medium education or a split Chinese/English Medium schooling or are the preceding generation of National school education?

    From an English medium education Chinese perspective and there is also a large percentage of us who has not benefited from a Chinese language background (except for the “People’s Own Language” class in primary school) so we tend to digest everything either in English or Bahasa Malaysia. So not surprisingly, we gravitate towards the Internet for more knowledge and either got better informed (or misinformed). According to some news articles there was in this sector of demographics that a significant swing in votes happened in the last election.

    We can wear berets and hope that the voters will see us as Che Guevara or Picasso, or a saffron robe and people will associate as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, or try to model oneself as an Aung San Suu Kyi clone. But will that work? Give the voters some credit. They are not dumb and they could be thinking they are quite smart because they see what I see.

    As the English title of the film says ‘Papa, can you hear me sing?’, the title accentuates the theme of redemption. But whatever medium that we were schooled in, there’s no denying that we are also ‘fond’ of our country and we should think of our ‘beginnings’.

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