Were we ever united as a country, truthfully?

Below is a 100-year timeline.


There was generally no social interaction between the races in Malaya.

By the 1920s, the Malays were starting to feel uncomfortable with the huge presence of alien workers. This discomfort was expressed through the Malay publications and writings of the time.

In response to the Malay unease, the British colonial government began taking steps to curtail the inflow of Chinese emigrants by enacting the Immigration Restriction Ordinance in 1928.

Kwong Wah Yit poh


Malays and Chinese in Malaya had no shared living space. Both resided in different neighbourhoods.

Not only did they lead separate lives but the Malays were feeling increasingly threatened by the large numbers of Chinese swamping them. At the turn of the third decade, the ratio of Chinese to Malay was four Chinese for every 4-and-½ Malays.

1931 Malaya population census

Malay – 44.7%

Chinese – 39.0%

Indian – 14.3%

Malaya 1931 census

In 1933, the earlier 1928 immigration ordinance was replaced with a new legislation called Aliens Ordinance which came into force in January 1933.

The Indians in Malaya were not regarded as aliens because they were British subjects since India was at that time under colonial rule. Malays were recognized by the British as the indigenous people.

It was the Chinese who were categorized as “aliens” and viewed by the British as “temporary migrants”.

On their part, the diaspora primarily saw themselves as “overseas Chinese” and their feelings of nationalism were still orientated to China. When the Sino-Japanese war broke out in 1937, Chinese in Malaya supported China’s war effort against the Japanese invaders of their motherland.

Malayan Union 1946


The mass immigration over the previous decades had created, in the west coast of the peninsula, many Chinese-dominated towns surrounded by poor Malay rural areas. The two races did not inter-mix nor intermarry.


During the power vacuum at the end of World War Two, i.e. after the surrender of the Japanese occupation forces and before the return of the British troops, there was a brief period of anarchy and bloodletting.

Called the ‘Interregnum’, all hell broke loose from 14 Aug to 3 Sept 1945. The communists guerrillas emerged from the jungle, seized the towns and kampungs and proceeded to torture and slaughter the Malays and those Chinese whom they termed “running dogs”.


The Malays reacted with amok and their massacre of the Chinese in 1945 was on a scale much more terrifying than May 13.

It was also because of the lingering bad blood of the Interregnum that the Malays objected so vehemently in the following year, 1946, to the Malayan Union which granted citizenship to (would be) Chinese applicants on loose terms.

The massive protests against the Malayan Union should also be read as a strong rejection by Malays of the Chinese in their midst.

communists 2


Sino-Malay relations were hostile. The Emergency was in effect throughout the 1950s due to the communist insurgency.

Chinese communists took up arms against not only the British government but also against the Malay rulers and wanted to take over the country. If the communists had succeeded, then Malaya would have become a republic like China and the monarchy abolished.

Communists were identified with Chinese in the Malay mind.

The anti-communist Briggs Plan introduced the forced resettlement of Chinese sympathizers into fenced and guarded New Villages. This move sought to isolate them from the terrorists and deter logistical help from reaching the cadres who were waging a civil war.

In the main, Chinese and Malays had very little, if at all any, social interaction with each other during the 1950s.

tunku tan cheng lock

The elites of Umno and MCA worked together to achieve Independence – that’s true. But you mustn’t forget that MCA founder and president Tan Cheng Lock was a Malacca Baba (above).

He was unlike the majority of his fellow Chinese and in any case, the Babas and Nyonyas are today on the verge of extinction, if not already.

You could say that Tunku Abdul Rahman was ‘conned’ if he had optimistically believed that the majority of the two million Chinese given Merdeka citizenship (1952-1960) en masse could be assimilated into Malay culture like his Baba buddy Cheng Lock and the other top MCA leadership who were Straits Chinese.


The Straits Times, page 1 (15 July1964)Malaysia continued to be an ethnically polarized country in the 1960s. The race and religion fault lines remained the same.

There were Sino-Malay clashes in Bukit Mertajam, Penang in July 1964. Also in July and additionally in September the same year, race riots broke out twice in Singapore, which was then a part of the Federation of Malaysia.

Chinese and Malays fought each other in Kuala Lumpur too in early 1965 as well as in Penang in November 1967. The Penang riots were also known as the Hartal riots. Hartal Penang Nov 1967

A month before the watershed date of 13 May 1969, there was a Chinese-Malay prelude clash in Penang in April 1969. Obviously the Malay polity was unhappy and angry, and their anger reached its peak in May 1969 in Kuala Lumpur.

With all that rioting, who actually believes that race relations were ever warm and fuzzy?

BELOW: 14 May 1969 front page banner headline


According to the White Paper on May 13,

“Sino-Malay distrust runs like a thread through the nation’s recent history. Racial incidents of various types have been catalogued. The pattern that emerges indicates that the major incidents normally took place in Chinese-dominated areas with strong secret society organizations and most of these incidents inevitably began with a secret society/Malay hoodlums clash.”

The mistrust between Malays and Chinese mentioned in the National Operations Council official report on May 13 has never been dispelled.



The NEP went into full swing. It provided Lim Kit Siang with more ammo to tell the Chinese that they’re second-class citizens.

Chinese with professional qualifications and capital did their hop, skip and jump to the next country like the birds of passage that they are.

ISA ops lalang


Race relations were still fractious. The ISA crackdown codenamed Ops Lalang was launched to stanch the cyclic racial and religious tensions.

Preachers and church workers were detained in Kamunting.

The J-Star, covert voice of the subversive opposition, was suspended by the Home Ministry.


1990s – 2010s

Some 95 percent of Chinese children are enrolled in vernacular school SRJK(C). The race divide has widened even further.

Tsunami and the ABU-ABU-ABU beat goes on. Are there any signs that the rift between Chinese and Malays can be mended?

So pray tell, when was it in our country’s history that race relations between the Chinese and the Malays were akin to a Yasmin Ahmad feel-good Petronas ad?

Please read:

Are the evangelistas willing to make peace with Islam?



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50 thoughts on “Were we ever united as a country, truthfully?

  1. Helen ,

    Never in our lifetime ,unless some drastic changes are made in the current policy ,especially regarding education and many many other things.

    Do away with slogan ,it’s just a waste of time ,money and effort .

  2. The communists Mao Tse Tung (PRC) and Lim Chin Peng (MCP) corrupted Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s republican ideals when he liberated China from the decadent Manchu dynasty some 80 years ago.

    Dr. Sun (ROC) upheld the “3 Principles of the People”:
    Nationalism, Democracy and the People’s Livelihood; He was also a patron of the traditional religions and culture of Chinese civilization.

    The Muslim generals of Sun Yat Sen’s Kuomintang forces

    Here in this country DAP’s romance with Chin Peng thus marks them out as radical Maoists or anti-traditionalists. It’s clear they do not represent Chinese civilizational values; over the years they have also co-opted Christian Zionists into their upper echelons, as well as kicking out the Indians from there.

    Now what would you make of their dearly cherished beliefs these days?

  3. In the 80’s and 90’s relationship among the races are good as both had come to accept “tolerance and respect for each other”. I am very sure it was because BN was then very stable and ISA is there to nab the racial crooks. Preaching of love among the races was at its height.

    It was when certain opposition leaders who wanted to take over the country by hook or by crook using all means necessary to divide the races and to spread hatreds, that we are now experiencing the fragility of racial harmony. They knew that to take over the country, they must divide the races and particularly the malays.

    They come togehter masquerading the name of “real” democracy and freedom and that was when all hell broke loose with the abolishment of ISA and the use of internet to create chaos with foreign aids.

    Most of these opposition clowns always talk about malay this, malay that, chinese this chinese that, playing racial politics at every opportunity. Racial disharmony is fledging its ugly head and instead of asking the people to come togehter for the sake of harmony, they continued blaming the government, adding hatred for the government and therefore disharmony among the people.

    The tolerance among the races had been damaged and must be repaired immediately but dirty politicians are adding oil to the fire.

    Singapore is very smart in maintaining ISA and with good effect. Peace and security is what normal good citizens want from a ruling government, not ultra democracy without any border.

    1. re: “In the 80’s and 90’s relationship among the races are good”

      Perhaps you’re right that race relations were more stable under Tun Mahathir’s watch. This is however ironic considering how the Dapsters vehemently insist that he is racist.

      1. Helen,

        Tun though is merciful and tolerated many insulting vibes at him(such as Mahafiraun) did not tolerate racial remarks.

        Tun would “cantas” any semblance of racial problem before it grows out of hand. Even UMNO members were not spared. many forgot that even Dr Zahid Hamidi was once detained under ISA.

        That is the beauty of living under the rule of a firm and principled leader.

      2. re: “In the 80’s and 90’s relationship among the races are good”

        No. This is rose-tinted nostalgia.

        The only difference between now and then, is that in the 80s and 90s, we bad-mouthed each other in secret. Now, we do it openly, publicly, on the Internet where everybody can see.

        As counter-intuitive as it may sound, that is progress.

        You cannot fix a broken relationship until both parties are willing to be honest about their grievances. Baru boleh nego!

        All Tun M did was sweep the problem under the carpet, and then punished whoever brought it up. Which, arguably, was the best course of action back then.

        But now, it’s about time we fixed it for real. And we cannot do that unless people speak up, and say what they really feel about each other.

        1. re: “unless people speak up, and say what they really feel about each other”

          I’m afraid doing that would invite sedition charges. Do you really believe your suggestion to be advisable?

          1. Haha… I’m not really suggesting anything. Because it’s what people are ALREADY doing.

            Superman’s doing it. Jeff Ooi is doing it. Abdullah Zaki is doing it. Ali Tinju, Red Shirts, RBA anons everywhere, random FB guys…

            Seriously… Jeff Ooi’s “adios” remark. He can spin it however he wants, but cat’s outta the bag. It’s pretty clear what he feels about Haron Din’s passing.

            Which is good to know. If DAP fields him again, and if he wins again, those become new data points we get to input into figuring out our race relation equation.

          2. Ok. To address your sedition point a bit more directly.

            There’s already a lot of arguably seditious stuff out there. I dare say, even on your blog. But no sedition charges yet, right? (Touch wood.)

            I suspect it’s really a matter of resources for PDRM. They can’t target every single seditious statement out there, so they focus on the most egregious ones, or the ones most likely to incite unrest. (Not really sure if that’s their criteria, just a hunch.)

            I think sedition is both a crutch and a blunt instrument. In time, we won’t need it because we’ll have a fully-functioning, free marketplace of ideas. Where bad statements are countered by good statements, rather than by force of law.

            In fact, I think DSN and his team believed that we had already reached that stage, hence his tentative attempt to repeal the Sedition Act. Of course, it didn’t turn out that way.

            Still. Keeps me hopeful. We’re close, just a matter of time now.

    2. I agree with you.. in my opinion, there never was any racial harmony, there was only racial tolerance. Now the tolerance is vanishing really quickly…

  4. You are absolutely correct, Helen. I’ve always disputed nostalgic stories of Malaya/Malaysia being a racially harmonious country back in the 1950s and 1960s.

    The late Tunku was living in a denial of the simmering discontent amongst the Malays back ten when their plight was not taken as top priority. Tunku was satisfied that Malays were kept as being kampung people and should continue to be “experts” fishermen, farmers, pencari files, peons, etc., while he let the Chinese to continue dominating the economy and had access to high education.

    May 13 1969 riots was the penultimate event stemming from years of systematic marginalization of the Malays by Tunku. He failed to advance the Malays.

    We are never a nation of integrated races and we will never be one until the politicians have huge political will to lead the way towards racial integration.

    They can start by integrating the primary and secondary school systems. The current school systems separate Malaysian kids from young.

    1. re: “we will never be one”

      Yes, we’re poles apart. Those who preach otherwise have been drinking too much J-Juice.

      Credit must be given the BN for managing our race relations rather well – i.e. playing the hand (deck of cards) that we inherited and with a realistic acknowledgment of what is the real nature of the Chinese and the real nature of the Malays – that there was nothing worse than May 13 which happened to us.

      Outsiders did not expect Malaya to hold together. An editorial in The Times (of London) on 2 July 1957 said:

      “… one need only look at the Constitution [of Malaya] and the latest amendments incorporated to be reminded how great is the divide between the Malays and the Chinese.”

      Going by the logic and law of averages, Malaysia should have become a Yugoslavia or Lebanon long ago. That we did not is a testament to the compromises arrived at by Umno essentially with the MCA and MIC.

      The greedy DAP and their evangelista cabal have destroyed the BN formula. The Chinese are reaping the destructive seeds that the DAP evangelistas sowed. The Low Yat riot is an early manifestation.

  5. This is a democratic system. It means the majority chosen party will rule the government.

    When there’s a majority, there’s also a minority.

    In every policy, decision, action, and ruling made by the majority government, there would be some people who are affected and not happy for whatever reason. That’s very natural.

    When DAP was insignificant then, they had already made effort to look for those people who are not happy with the government’s policy, decision, action and ruling, and capitalised on every issue that they can find. They created dissidents along the way and the number increases.

    Over the years, being a Chinese chauvinist party they have focused on issues affecting the Chinese. To fan up the anger of the Chinese against the government, naturally DAP would resort to Chinese chauvinism, in the same time accusing the government of ill-treating and ignoring the right of the Chinese , failing to regard the Chinese as being equal as citizen of the country.

    And BN being a political party has failed to contemplate their problems ahead, and not only they are now politically bankrupt, they are way past their expiry date. For whatever good that they might have done to the country, they have served their purpose, and they are no longer needed in Malaysia.

    Indeed, the longer BN stays in power, the more harm they would do to the country. Please bury BN in the next GE, if not now.

    It’s only upon the demise of BN will the country see a new horizon, and better people will emerge to lead.

    As for DAP, I foresee that the demise of BN will bring the annihilation of the DAP especially the evangelistas. It would then be hell for them and I would be too happy to see that happen.

    1. “It’s only upon the demise of BN will the country see a new horizon
      I foresee that the demise of BN will bring the annihilation of the DAP especially the evangelistas. ”

      My question is.. Who would then take over from BN ? DAP is the strongest among the opposition and we have Pasma as the puppet to be installed as a Malay Prime Minister. If BN was to demise, It would be a field day for DAP and believe me when i say all chinese and indiand would be rallying behind DAP to take over the country. We will have an apartheid of the 21 century. Like south africa then with 4 million whites and 40 million blacks…but it was the whites who run the country and made the blacks destitudes.

    2. KJ10Q,

      “it’s only upon the demise of BN…

      Yup . The country will see a new horizon. BUT WHAT KIND OF HORIZON?

      GErakan is almost dead. MCA lives through the charity of UMNO. DAP’s constant attack on Malays, UMNO and any Malay led institutions such as Tabung Haji, Felda, PDRM, SPRM has swung the malay votes to UMNO.

      What we are having now is that a Kerajaan Persekutuan that survives even without Chinese votes.

      1. SA,

        DAP’s biggest mistake is that they showed UMNO that BN can survive without the Chinese votes. That Barisan Nasional can survive as “Bumiputera” Nasional.

        I mean, with the current demographic trends, it was bound to happen anyway. But DAP may very well have brought it about sooner. Ironic…

  6. Thank you Helen for having highlighted this important issue of racial integration in our beloved country called Malaysia. I am 72 years this year and had gone through the ups and downs in living up to the expectation in this country. I was born a Singaporean but later took up Malaysian Citizenship in order to serve my nation and country for almost 34 years after having graduated from Singapore University through their off campus program. I served 4 years in the Johore Senior Civil Service at Executive level under the MOH. Later after my dropout from myna law Studies, I managed to join the Malaysian Diplomatic Service from 1971 to 1998. In between for 9 years I was seconded to be the Senior Aide to a Federal Cabinet Minister cum Secretary General of UMNO.

    In absolute honesty, the only time when Malaysians were threatened with the racial clash was May, 13th 1969 and thereafter there was none of the kind of racial riots to the magnitude like May, 13th. I do not consider the recent Low Yat incident as a racial riot, which was started by a group of Malay hooligans in defence of their Malay friend who was accused of having stolen a hand phone. What a shame for being accused as a theft and then trying to defend his guilty! The Malays should be shameful of this incident but should not turn it into a racial clash in order to seek sympathy. In a nutshell, there is no racial riots in Malaysia and nobody is being threatened…the Malays, Chinese, Indians and others.

    1. The theft is not the issue. We all know the so called traders at low yat and many other handphone outlets cheat their customers “legally” or illegally.

      Its like scratch and win scam. My son was given a china made iphone ostensibly the original iphone. Worked for 2 months went defective. Brought it back to theae so called traders, they confidently say pay extra rm500 for repairs. They have no fear of reprisals because they have their thuggish service friends who would vouch it was an original iphone. Not until my son slapped them with a tribunal order that they took matter seriously and coaxed my son to retract the tribunal claim.

      Go to Seremban terminal where you can experience the nepalese bangladeshi and indonesians were coaxed into a promotional package of which even when explained to me as a malay i could not understand the bahasa malaysia explanation… imagine can the nepalese and bangladeshi understand ? This i term legal cheating.

      Low yat was a case of malay nicety teaching a threshold and broke. Theft was the catalyst…

      1. Quote: Low yat was a case of malay nicety teaching a threshold and broke. Theft was the catalyst…

        Why should stealing be perceived as an innate response for justice when talking about certain race?

        Would you apply the same if say a Chinese or Indian were caught stealing?

        As for unethical vendors, I agree they should be dealt with by the authorities. Let’s say I know LY well. It is always safe to buy from Concept stores. These stores are owned by the brand itself unlike those independent vendors selling multiple brands.

        Fact is, people are swayed by the minuscule discount offered by outside vendors and the syiok sendiri factor of their haggling successes.

  7. DAP tetap busuk dan jahat selama lamanya walaupun ahli mereka masuk masjid dan bergaul sama orang Islam.Agenda dan niat mereka untuk menghancurkan kuasa orang melayu Islam di Malaysia.

  8. It will happen IF we want it to happen. Tak payah nak tunggu orang2 politik suruh buat, be it dap bn bersatu etc

    thats just my opinion.

    Racial intergration is not realistic at the moment ( even though there seems to be more interracial marriage these days…no stats just general observation & im a product of one myself).

    racial tolerance however is much needed.

    Because as mentioned by many, this tolerance, between all races, is getting thin really fast.

    A weak leadership ( in combination with aggressive opposition) is the cause of this. period.

    1. Absolutely no need for racial integration let alone assimilation. Completely in agreement with you. Neither there is need for single stream education. The present set-up in which the malays speak malay and the chinese speaks chinese dialects are distinctively unique. It simplifies the decision making process of the government in giving grants, scholarships, permits, etc.

  9. Ms H. Even in a homogenous society there will be infractions, thefts and human conflicts. It is only natural. Comparatively, our Government has ruled in recent years quite admirably considering the fact that street demonstrations were raised with the intention to taunt and to start something ugly. Nothing untowards happened. This shows that there are still experienced men and women at the helm of responsiblitlity in charge of security. In a beloved country like ours, the Government has a paternal role to play. Infractions of the rule of law should be dealt with firmly and swiftly. Take the case of the latest infraction of the invisible line which is observed by most citizens. This particular MP crossed it in an area which has nothing to do with him, an Honourable MP. I am indeed hopeful that our beloved Malaysia will be united as one as time goes by. We must not forget that it took Switzerland over 800 years to do so with her German, French, Italian and Romansch peoples. I believe they still make snide remarks behind each others back. Even after 300 years of United Kingdom, the Scots want out. All in all, the expected schism of the Federation of Malaya did not take place soon after Merdeka 1957. And we held together after 13 May 1969 through the wise and sincere efforts of our great Statesman Tun Abdul Razak and his aide YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and the UMNO Youth. The MCA was in the dog-house from 13 May 1969 to April 1974 because of one mistake. They withdrew from the Alliance at 2.30 pm and returned at 10 pm during which the Chinese were needed most to stand firm with their sworned partners. Maybe this time, for those who believe in history, to learn from the cogent lessons that MCA will sink or swim with the BN. It is the deeds of personalities like Ms H here or communities which will make or break a Nation. So, I cannot see any cloud on the far horizon to dispel this optimistic view. Maybe I am a born optimist ! I see only the good in a person. Fortunately,I believe the good will prevail over the bad.

  10. ‘With all that rioting, who actually believes that race relations were ever warm and fuzzy?’

    Damned right, Helen. I’m sick and tired of reading and hearing all those sentimental, feel-good, faux-nostalgia stories about how people of all races were chummy as hell over Hari Raya, CNY, Deepavali etc when in reality, it was like in ‘when was it in our country’s history that race relations between the Chinese and the Malays were akin to a Yasmin Ahmad feel-good Petronas ad?’

    Sure, and IIRC things were much more liberal back in the 60’s right up to the mid 80’s, even with the implementation of the NEP in the 70’s and people got along better because of that but the whole sopoleco scenario has changed drastically since then. The Malays have mostly made it good and will continue to progress with the Never Ending Policy and the Chinese as usual, want to be one up on them (the kiasu/kiamsiap combination).

    And with that, the dormant mistrust and latent anger of the Malays at the Chinese who’ve been acting up again since 2008. Dah naik kepala, so to speak.

    This reminds me of what my late, UK educated but patriotic, socialite, AMN recipient father (who had two Chinese sister-in-laws) who was witness to the May ’69 riots in KL and dragged out of his car by a Malay mob (but released when they discovered he was an Indian) once told me.

    “Never forget that you can always live and work (cari makan) with the Malays but never the Chinese. Never trust them.”

    Of course, he was incorrectly generalising. I have good Chinese friends today who are of the sane variety, like you but for the most part, he was right.

    Even the Malays seem to think so.

    1. Indian. Sir. Mother India is the finest example of inter-racial relationships despite of her huge population of 1.1 billions. No one can ignore India when it comes to good governance of a mass of diverse peoples. I was there as a boy refugee. My family was treated with kindness, friendliness and hospitality which I never forget. We interacted with the Hindus, the Muslims, the Parsees and the Anglo-Indians. Even in those days of 1942, the bazaars were full of mingling crowds. And there were Chinatowns in Bombay, New Delhi and Calcutta. Even a Chinese restaurant in Mussoorie, UP, 7,000 feet high in the Himalayas.What made India ticked ? It is her firm belief in the Rule of the Laws and the commonsense practice of intercommunal living for centuries amonst her diverse peoples – the invisible line or unwritten rule in basic every day living amongst different peoples. We now see for ourselves on TV how difficult it is in the EU and the United States to adjust to inter-communal relationships.If India can do it with her practice of Democracy why not our beloved Malaysia ?

      1. Mr Kalashnikova,
        I agree with some of your opinions but beg to differ with the others.

        To say that India is “the finest example of inter-racial relationships despite of her huge population of 1.1 billions” is a gross understatement. Present day India and Pakistan are creations of conflict and Hindu-Muslim-Christian communal conflicts AND violence continue to this day despite the good democratic governance and respect for the rule of law for which India is famous for (not for nothing is it called the world’s greatest democracy, too).

        I agree with you unequivocally however that it is the firm adherence to the Rule of Law that has enabled India to become what it is today DESPITE religion based communal differences.

        If you were there in 1942, you would have undoubtedly been aware that 1942 was the year that Gandhi launched the “Quit India” movement against the British. In the following days, Gandhi announced his “Do or Die” policy for India against Britain. He, Nehru and many other leaders of the Indian National Congress were then arrested by the British Government. Disorderly and non-violent demonstrations took place throughout the country in the following days. The arrests then led to mass demonstrations throughout India. Thousands were killed and injured in the wake of the ‘Quit India’ movement. Strikes were called in many places. The British swiftly suppressed many of these demonstrations by mass detentions and more than 100K people were imprisoned. I expect you were aware of this?

        This was just the beginning, right? Violence escalated very badly upon Muslim League’s Mohd Ali Jinnah’s declaration and insistence on a separate state for Muslims, Pakistan. Gandhi’s 21 day fast in 1944 was actually to plead for peace between warring Hindus and Muslims. Events leading up to Mountbatten’s reluctant agreement to India’s partition and the partition itself were dressed with the blood of marauding extremists and more importantly, that of an untold number of innocents.

        The memory of those events exists in the minds of Hindus and Muslims till today and continues to manifest itself in the context of both past and present events, in communal conflicts and violence. Yes, without the supremacy of the Rule of the Law, India would still be in the Dark Ages today. Indians do have something to thank the British for.

        I cannot help but draw comparison with Malaysia and its memory of its racial conflicts having consequential bearing to the state of affairs in the country today.

        I’m aware of Chinese migrant communities still thriving in parts of India today. They speak fluent Hindi and whatever other local language well enough to conduct their businesses but apart from that, they have not really assimilated themselves into the fabric of India. There are virtually no mixed marriages with people of Indian origin outside their community.

        What does that tell us about the Chinese in India?

        1. Indian, Sir. I was a pre-puberty boy wearing shorts up in the High Himalayas. However, I did hear about hartals in the bazaars in Mussoorie. There was a hartal by the Indian Air Force in Bombay after the World War II ended on 15 August 1945. I saw IAF Thunderbolts flying in a line over Bombay. Only in recent times, I discovered there was a Great Famine in Bengal in 1943 and millions of Indians died which you did not mention. You underlined my praise for Mother India by saying it was an understatement. This I agree with you wholeheartedly. I always say the best curries I have ever eaten was in India. We both agree that it is the Rule of Law and her practice of Democracy which make India ticks today. Acheh !

          1. ‘Only in recent times, I discovered there was a Great Famine in Bengal in 1943 and millions of Indians died which you did not mention.’

            You’re right. I did not mention this. For obvious reasons.

            The famine was a result of failure of policy by the then British administration and it had little to do with communal unity or conflict, which I assumed was the subject of our discussion.

            It was not communal violence that killed people but hunger, plain and simple.

            Anjua, unker?

            1. Indian Sir. Have you read ‘Freedom at Midnight’ ? The British employed only 500 Civil Servants to control the huge sub-continent. This shows that the inhabitants of Mother India were generally peaceful and law-abiding. The Indian resistance movement began in the 19th Century in the interregnum between the decline of the Mughals and the ascendancy of the British after the defeat of different resistance battles by the British. With cunning, the British recruited the best Indian fighters into their ranks, the Rajputs, the Sikhs, the Gurkhas etc.We now see the former imperialist countries pay the price in Europe. Man proposes. God dispose.

          2. amartya sen seem to suggest that the absence of a free press and opposition parties meant there was no one to sound the alarm ie famine. in our case, no one know what the pencuri, penyamun dan penipu did with the rakyat blood n sweat money if our democracy not functioning as it shd be, or when our press is no more free.

            1. HY. The brilliant Indian Nobel Prize winner, Amarya Sen presented the paper to debunk Lee Kuan Yew’s assertion that a dictatorship is required to create national development. Lee’s argument is obviously self-serving because as with all dictatorships the whole political and socio-economic facade cracks up on the departure of the Dictator eg. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Tito, Ho Chi-minh etc without exception because the people were either in awe of these great figures or held to ransom by them. In Lee Kuan Yew’s case, within 100 days of his departure, a new allotment of 1,000 pigs from Sarawak was approved over and above the 2,000 pigs imported daily by his brother Freddy and the 3,000 pigs daily by others alleged to be his relatives. Then, this was followed by the open altercation between the two Lee Kuan Yew siblings over the direction of his legacy. Man proposes. God disposes. HY my friend. vide.http// . Further, for political expediency Lee Kuan Yew took great pains to tell the World he was a Hakka. But the real fact was he was a Straits born Chinese (nonya/baba) or a yellow banana, yellow on the outside and white inside (Chou En Lai – 1956). This explains his mental attitude throughout his life.

            2. Therefore I find Uncle Ak’s optimism for Malaysia’s social economy perplexing: Mr Najib’s administration is presently being pulled into a downward spiral of its own making. His overbearing manner of governance underscores Malaysia’s notorious 2nd place ranking in global “crony capitalism”. Uncle, I beg your pardon, but it is impossible to see what you envision: that this Malaysian administration be capable of leading the socio-economic progress of ASEAN in the near future or anytime at all.

              A nobel laureate once remarked: “Where there are too many policemen, there is no liberty. Where there are too many soldiers, there is no peace. Where there are too many lawyers, there is no justice.” Meaning, that civic minded folks do not practice vigilantism; harmonious communities are not founded upon armed forces; and a proclivity for litigation will defeat the cultivation of moral conscience. I would venture to add: “When politicians breathe realpolitik, the people will disavow principles.”

              Dr. Lin Yutang, China’s greatest cultural ambassador and Kuomintang loyalist also said: “Today we are afraid of simple words like goodness and mercy and kindness. We don’t believe in the good old words because we don’t believe in good old values anymore. And that’s why the world is sick.”

              1. Chris. Of course you are right quoting all those platitudes of good people. It is good also we learn from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. For sure, the greatest mistake is to ape Lee Kuan Yew and his 47 failed Policies which some pretenders are doing. We as Malaysians must be original, creative and innovative with a Vision. Please note that most of the comments on this distinguished Blog desire things human or otherwise to be done in haste. In terms of human endeavour, 50 years is just a dot or a comma in the development of human history. Mistakes are made all the time whether it is RM 1 or RM 1 trillion. Take the case of Singapore in October 2008. At that very point it was officially announced Singapore’s Temasek and GIC lost US$ 108 billions ( RM 432 billions when Malaysia’s reserve was US$ 120 billions ) on Wall Street.There was not a squeak from Singapore’s citizenry about this loss to this very day. Regardless, these two agencies carry on as if nothiing had happened. In the case of Malaysia’s 1MDB, for years and time and time again I have said that it was the closest aides who had done the mischief with their own agendas. I strongly believe that our Prime Minister YAB Dato Seri Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak is not responsible. He was misled by his closest aide like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister and was misled by one after another of his closest aide. One closest aide now collects Stradivarius violins at US$ 5 millions a piece which he on-lends to the Singapre and Shanghai Philharmonics but not the KL. He laughed at us behind our backs in Singapore by saying he had the ear of the good and the great to Dr Goh Keng Swee in front of my relative. He could only afford a Samsonite brief case once ! I should know all this because I was given a task which I found it could not be done. I was the first ! And I said so. There was no closest aide scandal. The only one because I had no secret agenda to make money out of the Rakyat. I am certain the present Government recognises what is good and what is bad. Given time money lost if any will be re-created or recovered. When you fly over Malaysia, all below is green. This is our wealth. This is what our 13 State excos do – converting raw land at 20 sens psf to RM 2 psf. This is why Lee Kuan Yew is jealous of us and of course also our unlimited supply of water. Think deeper, this is why I always say there are many options for us Malaysians to achieve peace and harmony and that we have come a long long way compared with other emerging countries. There is plenty for all ! How to achieve a balanced view ? Gather all sorts of information from near and afar. Your brain will give you a good answer if you are born good and vice-versa if born bad, sooner or later. Do not forget, the Opposition has their secret agendas too ! Do not forget that it is NOT EASY TO BE A POLITICIAN if a person is not rich, very rich. Just look at the political dynasties around us. They were not born out of a rock. Each and everyone of us has a history, sometimes good or sometimes bad. I believe our Prime Minister will show us the way in time. He still has many rabbits available out of the hat. Of course, the naysayers will have lots of things to say. It is good because in Malaysia we have the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of thought within the rule of the laws. Do you know ? The strongest character in the Chinese vocabulary is “PATIENCE”.!

                1. Uncle, good people do not blurt platitudes; only pretenders and hypocrites do that. Good people practice what they preach.
                  I suppose to lose $108 billion from the national treasury requires a whole lot of raking from the people’s coffers to cover up in the aftermath. But which closest aide in that case, would have been guilty of wanton negligence or gross narcissism – that would absolve the great leader of misgovernance? Singaporeans are still reeling from its after-effects. Really, it’s a 1st world economy run on 3rd world wages – with a huge and cheap foreign workforce gradually replacing home-bred Singaporeans in all sectors of the economy. Of course, throngs of Malaysian workers happily treble their Singapore monetary units for purchasing power back home haha.

                  Uncle, it isn’t easy to be a politician just as it has never been easy for anyone to lead by example nor to sacrifice oneself for the sake of others. Like someone commented recently, it really does go beyond the intelligence quotient!

                  Said the great Abe Lincoln in his first political announcement:
                  “Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition, is yet to be developed.”

                  It was no platitude. The President walked his talk until the day of his assassination.


                  “President Lincoln in his conversations with his friend Charles Chiniquy expressed how honored he was to be leader of the U.S., what a privilege it was to be able to free millions of slaves in the same way Moses led the Hebrews to freedom, how he loved the Lord Jesus and his word, and like Moses, how he knew he would not be able to see the Promised Land. In spite of what Lincoln knew would be his impending death, Chiniquy saw that Lincoln was at peace.”

                  1. Chris. You are right again on the platitudes. In my whole life I never look up to any person. I do my own thing with confidence. Because each of us have a different destiny. Man proposes. God disposes. We can only try to work out something 99% of our hard work. You will find that precious 1% is beyond our reach. Whether you call this luck or God’s will depends on your religious inclination. As for Singapore, I feel Singapore has a great future because without Lee Kuan Yew and his obstinate brilliant ways to make a fool of himself, the leadership should have the commonsense and wherewithal to put Singapore on the right track with Malaysia and ASEAN. It is towards ASEAN Malaysia and others can quickly gain socio-economic momentum when the rest of the World is in disarray. For example, Lee Kuan Yew bought out Thaksin’s business for US$ 1.3 billions so that Thaksin will not build the Isthmus of Kra Canal. Don’t you think this is not only silly but caused the Free Thais to be divided into two groups and at the end of the day there were two military juntas arising from the deaths and injuries to innocent Thai men, women and childre. ? Not a squeak from the Singaporean citizenry to this very day. Did Lee Kuan Yew get permission from Uncle Sam to do this ? Lee Kuan Yew’s 19th Century thinking on the Kra Canal is way off the mark ! I always said that if the construction of the Canal is announced today, it does not mean it is there tomorrow. The construction may take 10 years or more. The main beneficiaries are Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Why ? Singapore is the best logistics centre in terms of skilled workers and materials for the Canal. During the 10 years, Singaporeans will benefit tremedously and will be able to re-invent itself from a lumbering 19th Century port into a 21st Century skilled supplier of all things required. There will be no pressure to increase the GDP and with less FTs and PRs, there will be plenty more for Singaporeans. There will be no necessity with a huge military. The ASEAN waters will be the most popular region for cruise ships due to its immense historical, cultural and human diversity. The options to win and progress for Singapore are all there hidden in the recesses of the brains of the elites. As long as they think like Lee Kuan Yew, the Singaporeans will suffer until kingdom come. My relative who worked for an O & G company got retrenched in Singapore after working for 10 years. That’s Singapore for you with their conventional Lee Kuan Yew thinking hat on. Mind you ! I always said that Lee Kuan Yew was frugal, hard-working and honest like our Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

        2. Indian Sir. On the Chinese in India especially during those early years of the 1930s and the 1940s, they were there because they control the leather monopoly. The Hindus do not harm the cattle. The Muslims avoid harming the cattle in their respect for the Hindu religion and culture. The Chinese stepped in and controlled the leather industry for many decades until their younger generations gave it up. I do not know of the state of this business today. As for the Chinese restaurants, the Indians love Chinese food. You will find a Chinese restaurant in most Indian hotels today.And many Indians frequent Chinese restaurants in KL>

            1. Indian. Sir. Go to the Bunga Raya Restaurant (halal) Royal Lake Club or Auntie Nat, (halal) near Sri Hartamas, Petronas, the corner coffeshop opposite the Kari Ikan Kepala at Lucky Garden, Bangsar or No 18, Swizey Chinese Restaurant, Plaza Damas, then you appreciate how the Indians enjoy Chinese foods. Bunga Raya is packed most nights with Indian and Malay families ! I suppose you missed these restaurants.

              1. ‘Go to the Bunga Raya Restaurant (halal) Royal Lake Club…’

                I’ve “dined” at the different restaurants at RLC since childhood but not the others you mentioned.

                Mostly because I live in Tokongland and we Indians here tend to eat with our fingers at places like Minah Restaurant (Malay) and Mamak nasi kandar joints.

                Incredibly, we’ve also learned to order our food in hokkien and eat with chopsticks at Chinese hawker stalls and restaurants all over this little Hong Kong.

                Btw, kari kepala ikan is Indian in origin.

                1. Indian. Sir. For everlasting Unity, we begin with the easy part, appreciating each other’s cuisine. I remember eating the almond yoghurt sweets bought by my sister at a New Delhi bazaar.

  11. Ms H. it is good, very good that through your efforts the true history of our beloved Malaysia is known to all. And not only history beginning with Lee Kuan Yew who will be down-graded by historians who have not been brainwashed by him. History will show that the Malaysian Chinese were not that badly treated but left alone to their own devices and cultural practices by the British. Any over-activity in politics by any Chinese, the person would be banished to China. The Malayan Union as proposed by Labour Party’s Clement Attlee in 1945 would have been a time-bomb waiting to explode. Fortunately, the British Advisers alerted the Sultans and the Malay populace and UMNO was born in 1946.. This was to the good because of the Malay bias in politics, culture and religion throughout the whole Peninsula through the centuries with the exception of the towns. Tragic events of long-standing which happened in other countries were avoided. Comparatively, our beloved Malaysia can still stand proud and tall through the rule of the laws and the Constitution, the Yang Di Pertuan Agong and the Royal Sultans, the Dewan Rakyat and the State Legislatures. Why the noise from the nay-sayers now ? Simple. Malaysians have become richer especially those who are politicians. Foreign funds are sloshing around find trouble-spots to make a mark in their interests. One personality with a set of 2 rooms is now ennobled and recognised in OZ just by walking the hot and humid streets of KL once. Politics through the years in Malaysia have become another worthy profession. In the past, it was just passion drawing its ranks from another noble profession, the teachers. Let our Free Malaysian Style Democracy with our loyalty and devotion to the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, the Royal Sultans, and the Consititution reigns with a Malay bias. This was successful since 1957 and with time, another 59 years. Lest we forget, Singapore practises the Lee Kuan Yew created godless Neo-communist Political and Social System supported by Apparatchiks and GLCs. These two Systems of former British administered territories is like chalk and cheese.

  12. Helen,

    Were we ever united as a country?

    Well, it depends on where you live.

    Out in the countryside where my folks come from, Malays, Chinese and Indians mixed freely.

    My elder sisters, my uncles, my aunties, the older folks in my village will tell you of the days back in the 1960s when Malays, Chinese and Indians gathered in the kopi tiams in the afternoons and evenings to drink coffee, tea, beer and play mahjong in the backrooms of the kopi tiam.

    Yeah, Melayus drinking beer in the open was fine in those days but mahjong was a big no-no and playing mahjong had to be done in the back.

    Strangely, the imam and the police never seemed to hear the noise of the mahjong pieces being shuffled.

    Malays, Chinese and Indians would eat in each other’s shops, except that Malays and Indians would insist on “no pork” in their char kway teow.

    One of my sister’s Malay teachers who is 80+ y.o. now was famous as a good scotch drinker. Today, he is a respected PAS leader in our village so I guess he has changed his “evil” ways.

    So, to answer your question on whether we were ever united as a country, the answer is “yes” if you lived in a rural setting and that is according to people who have lived thru it.

    1. Fair enough.

      So if you’re a Cina bukit, you might have had exposure to hidup bermasyarakat pelbagai.

      Unfortunately, Dapsters are Cina bandar concentrated in suburban enclaves such as Jerusubang.

  13. Why the need for unity when the present set-up is so ideal not to mention unique? There can no better system then the chinese speaking poorly in BM but doing much better in mandarin and other dialects. Its makes the decision making process much easier. This country cannot ask for better.

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