The sheer size of China is astounding. Malaysia can fit inside China almost 30 times (see overlay map below).
China’s population is more than 1.3 billion.
As pointed out previously, China movie heartthrob Chen Kun has a Weibo (Chinese equivalent to Twitter) following of 72 million, which is more than double the number of inhabitants in Malaysia.
Hishammuddin Hussein recently went on Weibo too. In a single “mind boggling” day, he picked up “crazy 70k likes” from 70,000 Chinese language-speaking Weibo followers.
Straits Settlements Chinese
In the recent past, the expansion of the Chinese in Malaya was “mind boggling” as well.
From 1881 to 1931, the Chinese population in Penang, Singapore and Malacca – collectively known as the Straits Settlements – expanded by almost half a million (489,191) compared to an increase of a mere 90,847 for the Malay population.
In 1881, Malays had outnumbered Chinese in the Straits Settlement states. By 1931, Malays were the majority only in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
The 1931 Malaya census found that in Penang, Singapore and Malacca, Malays were 22.5 percent of the population compared to Chinese 59.6 percent — see population figures in table below.
When the census was first taken in 1881, the Malays were 194,469 in the Straits Settlements. Five head counts down the road (1931), the Malays were 285,316 while the Chinese had reached 663,518.
In 1931, a total of 113,000 Chinese immigrated to Malaya at a time when the population of the Straits Settlements was 1.1 million.
Although the decennial (once every 10 years) Malaya census was not conducted in 1941 due to World War II, popular literature on demography nonetheless says that in 1941, the Malays numbered less than half of the population.
Chinese sought more political power
The Great Depression started in the West in 1929 and hit rock bottom in 1933. This widespread economic downturn helped fuel the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany after its predecessor the Weimar Republic imploded from hyperinflation and massive unemployment.
Against the above backdrop of economic turmoil, the Chinese in the Straits Settlements clamoured for a greater role in government and administration.
Or to put it in simpler terms, the global economy was doing badly, the Chinese were also affected, and when the Chinese began to fare badly from the economic standpoint, they started to turn their attention to attaining political power because political clout translates into economic clout.
Never ever able to assimilate
In 1931, the Chinese population was almost 2-and-½ times that of the Malay population in Penang, Malacca and Singapore.
In the following year, the Straits Settlements annual departmental report (1932) said:
“It is questionable whether such a preponderance of any foreign race which is largely unassimilable and which retains its own customs and language is in the interests … of the people of the country”.
In the 1960s, the Chinese still dominated the big towns. You can see from the pictures above of the Chinese shops in George Town and Jalan Tun HS Lee in KL that what the Straits Settlements report had said, more than three decades earlier, was accurate — the “largely unassimilable” Chinese still rejected the national language. The business signboards were in Chinese.
Fast forward another half century into the present new millennia and assimilation remains an anathema to the Chinese.
For every rejection there is an equal and opposite action
In 1932, the British authorities stated their belief that the Chinese “foreign race” in Malaya was “largely unassimilable”.
Interval of 37 years …
In 1969, the ticking time bomb that the British left behind them detonated.
Interval of 44 years …
In 2013, the Chinese tsunami swept away the BN Chinese parties.
Let’s just look at the development of the Chinese in Malaya over the last 100 years.
A century ago in 1911, there were some 695,000 Chinese in the peninsula at a time when the population numbered 2,340,000. The Chinese were 30 percent of the population then, and about a quarter currently.
For this sizeable ethnic minority …
… assimilate — no way
… integrate — not much
… accommodate — debatable
Refusal to integrate with Malays and Indians but readily assimilating into Hannah Banana culture
- How can the Dapsters thump their chests as Anak Bangsa Malaysia when they require interpreters to communicate in the country’s national language after staying here 100 years?
- How can the Dapsters stand on the Malaysian First soapbox when according to Isma, ‘Pemimpin DAP dan PKR burukkan Malaysia melalui media negara China, kata Ketua Wanita MCA‘?
- What kind of Malaysian Malaysia is in store for the rest of the country when the evangelistas fingerpoint at everybody else – MCA, Umno, MIC, Perkasa (see Hannah Yeoh tweet above) – but never at themselves?
- Why is it that the Chinese thumb down the national flag but willingly embrace and uplift something as alien as the City Harvest Church Subang Jaya?