1. When some Malays ask the Chinese, for example those unable to speak the national language, to “balik Tongsan”, some Chinese get angry.
But when the Chinese ourselves talk about how popular-destination Western countries treat minorities better (i.e. ostensibly no colour bar) and how it’s better for Malaysian minorities to emigrate, then the idea of relocating (to New Zealand, say) doesn’t make Chinese angry compared to the indignation at being told to relocate to China.
So now what if instead of “balik Tongsan” the Malays were to say “pergilah Kanada”. In this case, how would we evaluate the implied ‘pendatang’ nature of the Chinese? After all, these same folks are bragging about their kids getting Canadian, British, American or Australian citizenship.
2. Many Chinese appear aggrieved that Indonesians can jump queue to become Malaysian citizens and thereafter obtain bumiputera status.
I’ve a Sept 2011 posting in this blog titled ‘Do you Malays hate us Chinese?‘.
It’s in the form of a question. I asked because I don’t know and wanted to find out. And I did not rebut or interrupt any of the replies (64 comments so far) because I’m willing to listen to all views.
The problem is we tend to presume too much. However if we were to just ask directly the persons concerned, we might learn things that are contrary to our initial assumptions.
On several and different occasions I asked Indonesian workers who’ve been here 10-15 years whether they have plans to settle down in Malaysia permanently.
Their surprising answers were mainly ‘No’.
One guy even told me that when he courted his local Malay wife, he’d made it clear that at some point in the future he wished to return home. So any children they might have would be Indonesians. She agreed to his terms of marriage.
Why, I ask them their reason. They generally say that Indonesia is where their heart is and where they belong.
And some of them have done well. With savings from their earnings in our country, they’ve managed to buy land in their kampung and built houses (with their parents as caretakers) or started farms.
The ‘bumiputera’ incentive did not sway a decision to wanting to remain.
3. The Firsters are thumping their chest loudly that they’re most Malaysian and most patriotic.
Unlike the Bangsar Malaysians, I do not fly into a righteous fit at the ‘balik Tongsan’ jibe.
My Malaysian cousin is living and working in Guangzhou, China. More and more Malaysian Chinese are going to university there or doing business.
India has a special scheme for citizens of other countries who are of Indian ethnicity. Holders of its People of Indian Origin (PIO) card are conferred a certain status when they go through India’s immigration.
This arrangement shows that India has a special relationship with its diaspora.
Similarly the Chinese diaspora are termed ‘overseas Chinese’.
A recent leader, i.e. opinion-editorial in The Economist is titled ‘In praise of a second (or third) passport‘ (7 Jan 2012). The article talks about how multiple identities are natural and citizenship laws should catch up.
4. The international weekly magazine is proposing a flexible and forward-looking view.
On the other hand, DAP is forcing its own rigid idea of a single Malaysian First identity (created by the party post-2008).
Identity is NOT an issue of unequal opportunities or discriminative state treatment. But these factors make up the DAP sales pitch.
Identity has more to do with what language we speak, what culture we practice, what religion we profess and how we live according to the societal ethos we inherited or have been taught, and our shared history and ancestral memories.
Race quotas and constitutional ‘special position’ are political issues. Unfortunately in Malaysia, unequal treatment is legally and institutionally intertwined with race, and by extension identity.
To solve the Chinese dilemma, we have to impose divides in our political space, e.g. something like the concept of separation of Church (religion) and state, not try imposing a fusion like what the DAP is doing.
Show his photo to anyone anywhere in the world, say in Osaka or in Oslo. They’d say he’s Indian too. Who would know he’s Malaysian?
He’s Hannah Yeoh’s husband. Yet in their child’s birth cert application form, he wrote ‘Anak Malaysia’ when filling in the ‘keturunan’ blank. His wife also put ‘Anak Malaysia’ when other people her skin colour would write ‘Chinese’.
They’re the DAP ‘Malaysian First’ flagbearers. They tried to erase ethnicity and replacing it with a merge of race and nationality.
5. DAP politicians holding the minority votes cannot approach our problems of inequality by attacking ethnicity and demonizing identity.
Those of us who yam cha, yam seng, like our bah kut teh, refuse to wear songkok and do not have names like Hasnah Yeop or Umar are likely to see ourselves as Chinese.
It is a big mistake for Malays to label DAP a ‘Chinese chauvinist’ party.
Take Hannah Yeoh’s infant the DAP mascot. DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng even issued a statement on baby Shay Adora but there’s nothing Chinese in the name Shay Adora. There’s nothing Malaysian in the name either.
Namewee is someone the Malays are calling a Chinese chauvinist. He raps in Chinese. But there are no chauvinistic racial allusions at all to Malays in his song (the Rasuah video — see lyrics HERE).
The racial slur “metalik hitam” was uttered by DAP’s David Nga Kor Ming who spoke in bad BM and who’s pushing the Christian evangelist agenda. Cina totok bukanlah beragama Kristian.
Vernacular school students are accused of being Chinese chauvinists by the Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua group. Yet the SSS petition to the Education Minister complained about the alleged race-polarizing behaviour of the online commentators who are Anglophiles.
Whatever provocative comments read by the SSS petitioners were not accessed in hanzi (Chinese writing) or in BM. They were comments made online in English.
There’s the link in people’s mind that Umno is Malay and Malay is Umno.
It will hurt the Chinese community if a link is established inextricably in people’s mind that DAP is Chinese and Chinese is DAP.