-This is the edited version, with academic citations and references
(Preface - This article was originally written in Mandarin. Unfortunately I have not gathered enough courage to post the mandarin version, having anticipated personal attacks from Chinese Chauvinists in Malaysia. I took a lot of advicies from wise people, as well as reading various academic publications before putting my thoughts together in this post. In the spirit of Malaysia, I shall share my thoughts with you. I dedicate this post to every Malaysian, especially our brothers and sisters from different races and ethnicity.)
“I was listening to “ 黄河怨 (Grievance of the Yellow River)”, a Chinese orchestral masterpiece. The wordings of this song reflected the grievances and mournings of the widows and children of Chinese soldiers who were fighting against the Japanese intruders. They were painful, saddening, and full of regrets.”
1) The Great Divide - of Northern and Southern Chinese Immigrants
Being a chinese malaysian/ Han Malaysian, whenever you come across another fellow Han it is very tempting to supplement another question on top of the basic “hellos”. You would ask a question that Malaysians from other ethnicity wouldn't common asked : "What is your dialect clan"?
Are you a Hokkien? Are you a Cantonese? are you a Hakka? Are you a Fuchiew? Are you a TiewChew? Are you a Hainanese? Or are you a Kwongxi? Nontheless, many wouldn't go all the way to ask if you are a Kwongxi.
If you’re Hakka, a clan that is nomadic in nature, a fellow Hakka would then ask, if you are a “Tai Pu Hak”, “Wo Poh Hak”, etc.
Have you wondered that NO ONE ever asked, if you're a : Shanghaies, Sichuan-ese, BeiJing-nese, Nanjing-nese, HeBei-nese, ?
During the last two “Qing” Dynasty 清朝 under the reign of the last two Manchurian Emperors Aixin Jueluo Zaitian 愛新覺羅.載湉 Aisin Gioro Pu-Yi 爱新觉罗.溥仪, China was troubled by the growing influences and bullying asserted towards it’s political landscaping by the 8 nation-alliances on China (八国联军）, as well as persistent civil war lead by Kuo Ming Tang’s founder Dr Sun-Yat Sen. As such, many Han Chinese, who forms the majority of the Chinese population could no longer bear with the consequence of utter political instability. Most were living in absolute poverty while suffering impoverishment, and the middle classes realizes that business is not going well. Deep inside the Han-Chinese guts, they couldn't swear absolute loyalty to their emperor, who were of a different ethnicity of the North - ethnic Manchuria, who practices distinct culture from the ethnic Han from almost every aspect.
Northern middle class chinese were commonly known as the 官人 (the rich/upper class). If you bother to trace the root of English word "MANDARIN", you will then realize that it came from the ancient Sanskrit connotation of "MENTRI/MENTERI", which means "of the upper class". Mandarin, was known as the "dialect of the northern upper class". People who speaks Mandarin dialect, were the beijing officials from north. - I will elaborate further on this late or alternatively, do read it from here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Southern Chinese, like the Hokkiens, Fuchiew, Hainanese, albeit adhering to the same writing system of the language, spoke it differently. These were the farmers, petty merchants, or commonly perceived as the "lower class" among the ethnic Hans. They long succumbed to the fate that northerner who speaks the upper class dialect (官语）-which later was known as the "mandarin" dialects were superior and richer.
As mentioned above, the political instability and sufferings from poverty and impoverishment drove Chinese (during that time) away from mainlain China.
However, don't get it wrong here, thinking that every Chinese left China for the same reason.
The Northern Han-Chinese left China with the intention of migrating away for good. Some were of the lower and middle class Chinese aristocrats, merchants, traders, but most were the rich with abundance of wealth. They feared that their assets would not survive the persistent internal conflicts, oppression by the Manchurian Government, Japanese Intrusion (Sino-Japanese war), and decided to bring everything along with them to "better places", such as the USA and Europe. Of course you have those who left to become gold miner in the USA but many were of the middle class.
The southern Chinese however, were "less" affected by the Central- political instability, not being located in the crux of the game of thrones as much as the northerner. They were more affected by the Southern China’s Tai Ping rebellion Civil War (1850-1864), (Stephen R. Platt. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War.). On the other hand, they were also those who seek to "Change" the fate of their family. With that in mind, they went down south, as brought and offered by the British, to the Nusantara. (British was one of the 8 country alliances that dictated a lot on China's politics).
They were brought in as Miner, labourer, and petty merchants to Nusantara countries, in order to work for the colonial masters' economical favour.
They were clinging on the hope that one day, upon gathering enough wealth, they could bring back their wealth here to China, and change the lifestyle of their Family in China. - Based on Journal of South-East Asian History, Volume. 2, No. 1 (March 1961), page 48 and 50 by Joyce Ee, the average length of stay for Chinese Migrants in Tanah Melayu between 1896 and 1930s, is only 7 SEVEN years, in which upon gathering enough wealth, they would then make their way back to China. On the same Journal, it was also mentioned that most of these Chinese labours were male, with significantly lesser female Chinese labours.
They suffered through the difficult passages to commute down south through massive ships, squeezing into the cramped little room for 1 month with technically minimal hygene provisions, just to get their way to Malaya. This “travel of nightmare” is duped as “卖猪仔” Mai-Ju-Zai (Cantonese), which is literally translated as “piglet sales”, metaphorically described the condition on how they were squeezed into ship/vessels like little piglets.
They, were our ancestors.
2.) Do you know that most of your ancestors do not speak the language you are speaking now?
MY great grandmother Chan Seong Lan, who died 3 years ago at the age of 105, was one of the migrants. I had the privileged of hearing 1st hand experience from her regarding her journey. Granny Chan came from TeowChiew.
When i was young, I had terrible communication problem with granny Chan. I spoke mandarin eloquently. but She doesn't. She speaks perfect Hakka and Teow Chiew, but never mandarin. To be honest, I've never heard she uttered a single mandarin phase. (what made me proud was that her MALAY was really good. She always "sembang" with the lady who sell laksa in front of her house, so i was told).
Our ancestors came down to Malaya with their dialect and language. they were very ignorant over the mandarin dialect, or 北方官语 Bei-Fang-Guan-Yu (Mandarin) (common acknowledged as a "language" in modern days). They do not even think that there was a need to learn mandarin. Most of their cultural practices and behavours were defined by their dialects, such as the Hokkiens and Teow Chiews' "Pai Ti Gong" ceremony on the 9th day of Lunar New Year or the Hakka's food like "Son Pan Zi", "Hakka teoh Fu" etc.
They came in with the simple thoughts of gathering Money, and bring it back to China so that it would benefit their relatives and family up in China. If you still have relatives above the age of 85, do ask them if they have siblings in China, and why didn't they go back to reconcile and reunite with them. we shall explore "why" they didn't go back in the next discussion.
3.) British practiced divide and rule. Really?
Not really. It was the huge influx (in numbers) of the Han-Chinese that allows the Han-Chinese immigrants to divide themselves from the foreign cultures (Native Nusantarian/Malay/Asli). (Blythe, History Sketch of Chinese Labour in Malay).
The Chinese migrants prefers to “live” among themselves, and with their huge numbers they can afford to build their own silos (later on, developed into “towns”). (Professor Khoo Kay Kim, “Racial Harmony and Conflict in Southeast Asia : The Example of Malaysia” – 1973, page 11)
Bear in mind, before independent our country practices THREE different legal system : Malay Rulers adviced by residents (head by Resident General in Singapore) in Federated Malay State / Negeri Melayu Bersekutu – as a result of the Pangkor Treaty, Malay Rulers adviced by advisors in Non-Federated Malay States / Negeri Melayu Tidak Bersekutu, and Crown Colonies – Ruled by the British Queen in Straits Settlement / Negeri Selat / Penang/Melacca/Singapore. These three different political systems would later results in different impact on the socio-ethnic relationship between Chinese and Malay. For instance in Non-federated/Federated Malay states, the Ruler, namely their royal Highness the Sultan were the head of state, and British roles remained as “advisers”, albeit influential one (Dasar Campur Tangan). In Strait Settlements, the head of states was the King/Queen of England, represented by the Governor General based in Singapore. People who’re borned in Penang/Melaka were conferred British Oversea Citizenship. Don’t be surprise if you dig your great grandmother’s drawer and found out that her passport (if she was born in the straits) bears the British emblem – if she has a passport.
Next you ask me, what are the numbers of the “Huge Influx” of Chinese immigrants? (for the purpose of convenience, I shall show you the Banci 1931 where I merge Chinese and Indian immigrants together)
Federated Malay States
Malays : 593,791
Chinese and Indians : 1,091,536
Non-Federated Malay States
Malays : 1,055,853
Chinese and Indians : 441,808
Technically if you excluse out the Crown Colonies of Penang/Melacca/Singapore, which is run 100% by the British under their monarchy, where majority of the citizens were Chinese (peranakans) and Indian (Chitties) the ethnic composition of Tanah Melayu was :
Malay : 1,649,644 (51.8%)
Chinese and Indians : 1,533,344 (48.2%)
If YOU include the populations of Strait Settlements (Singapore, Penang, Melacca – mind you ,before 1962, Singapore was considered part of the Tanah Melayu “coalition”)
Malay : 1,962,021 (44.7%)
Chinese : 1,709,392 (39.0%)
Indian : 624,009 (14.2%)
Where if you add up the Chinese Population and Indian population, you get 53.2%! more than the Native Malays!
In fact, the British authority was so worried that the Chinese’s “exclusiveness” and refusal to integrate/adapt into the local natives would compromise the socio-ethnic landscape so much, that they publicly endorses the “special position” of Malay rulers and the native Malays/Nusantarians which would later develop into the “new Economic Policy” that gives legitimacy to Bumiputra’s privileges. (Victor Purcell, the Chinese in Malaya, 1973 – Second Edition, later adapted into the publication Second Malaysian Plan, 1971-1975, Government Press).
So much so, that the Deputy parliamentary Secretary of Colonial office, W.G.A Ormsby Gore, reiterated Sir Clifford (Governor General of Straits Settlement) in 1928, that the British will respect and follow the wordings of the treaty (pangkor, and other treaties with Sultans) that the state must remained “Malay states” and the main focus of the colonial office is to ensure that the Malay’s welfare must be taken cared of so that they are “in par” with the Chinese. (Emerson, op citation, page 174).
The British made it a point to ONLY ensure free education on Malay and National English Schools. (Victor Purcell, The Chinese in Southeast Asia, 1965, second edition, page 278), where as ALL Chinese school were funded and sustained by the Chinese community alone without any help from the British Government. (Paul Chang, Planning Education for a Plural Society, UNESCO, Paris, page 27). If the British was to divide the Chinese and malay and rule them separately, why would education made free ONLY to English or Malay schools?
So did the British actually divide and conquer the Chinese and Malay, or was it that the Han-Chinese were “divided” by their own accord and freewill, that the British was merely adapting to it for their own economic interest with the Malay’s interest as native in mind?
4.) Our ancestors who wanted to go back to China, did not go back. Why?
As mentioned above, their main reason of coming down to Malaya/other south east asian country, was not to settle down permanently, unlike the northern Chinese who migrated to Europe or the US.
Our Ancestors taught us a thousand year old virtue, of " Ru Xiang Sui Su 入乡随俗“ ( if you're in another foreign/alien land, you integrate into the culture and practices of that society). "Ru Xiang Sui Su" was the guiding principle and teachings by the Chinese’s ancestors, to those who wanted to permanently migrate into a new society. You see the American Chinese migrants adapting Christian name, going to US schools, reading their news papers (of course you still have chinese circulations or chinese foods in China town of these countries, which will be discussed later - as in the comparison between the china town of Chinese who wanted to settle down in new society permanently and the china town of Malaysia – almost every town in Malaysia has a “china town”!). The Chinese in European countries too, were incorporated into the european culture fairly quickly, especially in the UK (Ie, HongKong citizens prior to 1997, where “ability to speak in the Queen’s English is a matter of pride”. They have not forget their root of being ethnic chinese/han, but in terms of lifestyle and cultural adaptation, they were quite integrated into the society they've migrated to. You see that in places like Japan, Korea, or Thailand too for that matter.
However, this virtue of "Ru Xiang Sui Su" did not apply to southern Chinese who've migrated to Tanah Melayu. This is simply because they never wanted to stay permanently. (refer to point 3) – Average length of stay for Chinese Migrants in Tanah Melayu between 1896 and 1930s (before the close door policy and world war 2), is only 7 SEVEN years!
Furthermore, the fact that our ancestors started Chinese school in early 1900, (first being Foon Yew High School in Johor) , the launch of the first Chinese Press (Kwong Wah Jit Poh, which is much earlier than Utusan) proved the irrebutable fact that our Ancestors WANTED to ensure that their next generation to be "well equipped" with the Chinese language and culture/customs, so that when they are back in China they would be able to adapt into the norms/culture in China easily. If you look at Kwong Wah Jit Poh’s History, the word “Kwong Wah光华” means “Glorify the Hua Xia 华夏 race – general terms to refer to the Chinese Race in total, not just Han-Chinese” pretty much suggest the kind of sentiment of Han-Chinese in Malaysia – Nationalistic/Patriotic, to mainland China!
the role of KUO MIN TANG – 国民党 lead by Dr Sun Yat-Sen 孙中山, the “Father of China”, who founded the Kwong Wah Jit Poh in Penang.
The 1928 laws on citizenships in China, recognizes Malayan Chinese as “citizens of the Republic of China”. Bear in mind that for that period of time, Mainland China was ruled by the Kua Min Tang party (later defeated by the Communist Party of China and retreated to Taiwan Province). The then Governor General Sir Clementi quickly banned Kuo Min Tang party movements in Malaya, fearing that it would allow the Chinese to use Malay as a base for their revolutions and later-on, claiming of land ownership. There were few branches of Kuo Min Tang in Malaya (I Kid you NOT!!!) during the 1920s. The Chinese Malaysians loyalty back in the 1920s, as harsh as it sounds, was to China. Never Malaya. (R.s. Milne and Diane K. Mauzy, Politics and Government IN Malaysia, Page 24,25)
Chinese who migrated with the intention to permanently settled down in a foreign country, never really started Chinese school or Chinese press in the scale that our ancestors did in Tanah Melayu. Back then, Chinese school was not unified. You have Penang's "Fu Jian High School", which conducts it's lesson in Hokkien (currently, renamed "Penang Chinese Girl School/ Bin Hwa High School"). The name of the Chinese schools also pretty much reflect on our ancestor's "reminder" of the fact that their presence in Malaya was temporary. you have "中华CHONG HWA". Chong Hua is the abbreviation of the "Chong hua/ tiong hua" race (not ethnic), which then is an abbreviation for the phrase 中土大园的华夏民族 (the Hua Xia (deepest root of the chinese) race from the main land ground). Contrary to popular believe, Chong Hua is not derived from China's Full Name "中华人民共和国“'s "Zhong hwa". in fact, both China's name, and CHinese School's name in Malaya derived from the first root of Chinese race (again, not ethnic Han), which is the "Main colossal Land's Hua Xia race 华夏 race).
What was the reason that they then stayed permanently?
If you read my previous blog post of "bumiputra, for non-bumiputra" ----> Link https://www.facebook.com/
Not long after the immigration influx from China to Tanah Melayu between 1900s to 1930s, a series of conflict happened : the world war 2 started. Japanese invaded China, and there were civil war in China between the Communist fraction and the Nationalist (Kuo Min Tang) fraction, before recapturing China from the last manchurian emperor shows how deep an affinity between the Chinese in Malaya and China (of course he got his later funding from many oversea Chinese in Europe and USA as well, but he started in Penang, Malaysia).
Our Ancestors had NO CHOICE to go back to china and reunite with their siblings, family and loved one because of these conflicts and war. As soon as the war ends, Communist party defeated Nationalist party lead by Chiang Kai Sek, and practiced "Close Door Policy". the whole of China, like North Korea, was sealed. No one was to enter and no one was to leave (technically) without being subjected to tight restriction and scrutiny.
Malaysian ethnic Han/Chinese will have no choice, but to negotiate for a settlement plan. They GRIEVE and MOURNE over the fact that they could no longer go back and reunite with their family in mainland China. But settlement in Malaya, was never meant to be perpetually initially. That's why they actually agreed to alot of terms that were seemingly compromising meritocracy on their part, but INSIST on venacular education. (read my previous blog above for an understanding about citizenship en mass). Venacular education, is the ONLY way they can ensure that their descendant like you and me, would be able to converse in our native mother tongue used in China, so that we could adapt the China's society when we're back. This was our ancestors grieve and despairs, which created the LEGACY of “Chinessness”. The legacy was passed down from one generation to another, so that the “Chinessness” can be maintained and persevered. Younger generation has never understood the reasons for such legacies to prevail, but on the other hand, they never doubt these legacies. Perhaps, they should start by looking at how SINGAPORE ends the legacy of such grievance and mourning by creating a single integrated Singapore identity, something that Malaysia hasn’t achieve yet. (For a Start, SINGAPORE closed down ALL venarcular school. I ask Chinese-Malaysians who always compared KL with Singapore, ada berani tak?)
The LEGACY of such grievance and despair were then, as I mentioned above, passed down from generation to generation in structural form of Chinese Press, Chinese Education, Chinese Assocation, Chinese Guild, all to “PRESERVE” the “Chinessness”. As a matter of fact, Vernacular education, nation wide press circulation, Race based Guilds, Associations, Clans Associations, were things guaranteed by the Native Nusantarians community in light of the "great trade off" of being treated differently in light of the “special position clause” in article 153 of the Federal Constitution . Back then in the 30s and 40s, native Nusantarians had no problem giving citizenship to integrated Chinese/Indian/Europeans as long as they do not withhold their loyalty to their country of origin. Much to the Malay's dismay, the chinese back then had almost all loyalty, in my humble opinion to China (refer to the point where I quoted R.s. Milne and Diane K. Mauzy above). Those who choose to integrate would then be known as "Peranakans", who speaks and behave like native Nusantarian. the Nusantarian would treat Peranakans as part of them. But because of the technical definition of them being "Chinese", they were bound by similar fate of the 1900s Chinese Migrants’ fate unfortunately. The Seranis (eurasians) were not included in the "CHinese/Indian" package deal in the constitution. they assimiliated into the Nusantarian culture and was accepted as part of the “native”. Again if you want to attack on this point, do read my previous blog first (Bumiputra, for non-bumiputra ---> https://www.facebook.com/
Therefore It's suffice to say that our ancestors, who wanted to prepare their next generation to go back in their stead (they couldn't because of the close door policy and world war two), instilled their "Legacy" of mandarin, the very gateway language to go back to China in future (their hope to reconcile with their family and homeland!)
5.) Chinese School : To protect the 5000 years old culture and knowledge, or its just about the language being the consequence our Ancestor's LEGACY to become a gateway to go back to China, without us (Chinese Malaysian) knowing the reasons and stories behind the conception of such Legacies?
I used to ask my friends from Chinese school, independent, or took UEC exam without SPM, on why would they go to Chinese School Instead of an ordinary National School.
i got 3 kinds of answers.
a.) The Chauvinistic answers
- Chauvinist (沙文主义） would tell me that it's our duty to protect the 5000 years old wisdom and culture. thats why we have to send our children to Chinese school.
what these chauvinists failed to convince me, is how going to chinese school would ensure that they would protect the 5000 years old history, culture and knowledge?
- I asked them, do you know the "Si Shu Wu Jing (四书五经）, the four main literature and 5 great mantras of the chinese. They couldn't even quote me the title of the 9 most important literature work of the chinese literature.
- I asked them, do you know the different school of thoughts between the confusionism 儒家思想, taoism 道家思想，or Mahayanian Buddhism 大乘佛理. they couldn't even distuingshih religion rituals and philosophical ideology behind the Chinese Culture-based religion
- I asked them, of the 4 great dishes in Chinese Culture, 四大名菜，京菜，粤菜，闽菜，and 川菜 (Beijing culinery culture, Cantonese culinery culture, Fu Jian culniery culture, and sichuan culinery culture) , how many dishes can they name? they couldn't even name ONE.
- I asked them, do you know the different between our Ethnic Han's tranditional costume, the HAN FU (汉服） and the Manchurian Bannerman's CHEONG SAM/ KEI PO （长衫， 旗袍，旗服) ? they thought that our traditional costume was Cheong Sam/ Kei fuk / Kei pou ), which was a disgrace to our ancestors. we were ethnic HAN with HAN surname like Tan, Lim, Chong, Teoh, but we called the Manchurian's costumes as our traditional costumes. Manchurians have surname like Yehonala, Nurhachi, Aisinjeoro. Not LIm, Tan, Chong. They didn't even know that.
Having said that, I , who camed from a Malay school, knew more about Chinese Culture, History, Wisdom and knowledge than them.
Their defence hence became obsolete, as you DON'T NEED Chinese school to defend the culture/knowledge of the 5000 years old wisdom.
b.) For the language, Economical reason since China is big.
That reason is even worse. Singapore has ZERO Chinese School, but mandated everyone to brush up their mother tongue. Singaporean ethnic Chinese ended up speaking good English, and good Mandarin, as well as preserving their Dialect/Mother Tongue better than many Malaysian students who went to Independent Chinese School. They didn't even need Chinese school to achieve that kind of outcome.
If Mandarin is there for economical and practical reason, they SHOULD acknowledge that and promote mandarin's learning through the right way. Not the chauvinistic way that has the consequence of creating barriers among people of different ethnicity. I went to Malay school, but took up mandarin all the way to SPM, ended up knowing more about mandarin, the language, and Chinese culture than many of the Chinese School graduates. On the way, I was also exposed to the native Nusantarians/Malays’ culture, thoughts, behaviour, routine, religion, and other vital/important socio-ethnicity factors that were important knowledge for every Malaysian to know in order to stay united.
c.) Don't Know, just follow my parent's wish
That is the most dangerous part. This is exactly the very reason many chinese are living in our ANCESTORS' LEGACY derived from grievance and despairs of not being able to go back to their motherland, and to make sure that their descendants are at least well equipped with the language so that if they have an opportunity in the future (their future) to go back to their motherland they would be able to adopt at least in terms of language.
Chinese Education, is different from Chinese Education system. I think it is important for people of every ethnic origin to keep trace of their cultural route including language.
But we MUST not create an Education system purely to accommodate that aspect alone. Our Ancestors had valid reason to create a separate education system for Chines,. but now that their legacy is done and over, and that we are permanently settled down in Malaysia, we should defend our mother tongue as a "language to trace our root", but not a SEPARATE SYSTEM altogether that would alienate a racial group from another throughout their growing time.
6.) Zhou En Lai, Chinese Premier meeting Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak in 1974
in 31st May 1974 Malaysia and China formally recognizing each other as sovereign state, and started the diplomatic ties, of which a 6 point treaty was signed.
Point 5) of the treaty mentioned that Chinese that has acquired Malaysian Citizenship will ceased to able to resume their Chinese citizenships.
I shall quote you the passage
In the same bilateral meeting, Chinese Deputy Premier, Li Xian-Nian, mentioned that “Chinese Malaysian should swear their loyalty to the Malaysian Government” which was then quoted in a Joint statement
I quote you the joint statement in Mandarin
That should be the END to the LEGACY of the grievances and despairs of our ancestors. No more going back to China.
Instead of moving on and , like every other chinese around the world, to integrate, our second, third, fourth, and now, fifth generation ancestors were very confused. Their affinity to Chinese education “System” is now changed, from initially inhering (mainly ONLY second generation, does not apply to third or fourth generation) their ancestors’ legacy of embarcing the affinity to mainland China, to now, purely defending the Chinese Education system. It's like , I am an Alumni from Chong Hwa school, and i would NOT let it be replaced/closed. There are 1297 Chinese school in Malaysia, and every each of these schools have alumnis who would, for the sake of their affinity to the school per se, defend and justify their existence.
It soon became and issue of "Quality of Education".
Chinese School was preferred, in the modern context, mostly because of their quality. I have people telling me, Chinese School has better teacher and better quality, that’s why we send our kids there.
Therefore it's imperative that we do not hide under the facade and hypocrisy of "Defending 5000 years old culture", and admit that the reason they go to Chinese school is because of practical/economical/and quality consideration.
7.) Chinese's ability and willingness to adapt.
The Chinese, in fact, are among those who are most willing to adapt and modify our culture to intergrate with another culture that we look "highly" too. (of course, keeping a trace of our ethnic han route)
How many Chinese couples would wear traditional Han Fu costume during weddings. Westernized much, no?
Why many Chinese would adopt "Christian" name (NOT western, i am talking about name like Michael, Kelvin, Joseph, which are CHRISTIAN name) despite not being christians, and fact that it's very foreign to Chinese culture? of course they keep their enthic HAN route by keeping the surname/given name.
Why so many Chinese are willing to modify our offerings to the Deities? instead of candle light, many are now replaced with, hmn... red bulbs?
Talk about food, do you know that many of the SO CALLED Chinese food like Hokkien Mee, Bak Kut Teh, Hainam Chicken rice, can NEVER be found in Hokkien, or Hainan China? it's a modification and adaptation to the South East Asian Chinese’s taste and preference. If you can modify most of the important cultures, it means that you are flexible!
Chinese has a fairly flexible mode to adapt.
fact that the reason Chinese refuse to adapt to the Native nusantarian culture and behaviour, is very worrying. That's the root of subtle-racism, sparked by misunderstood and subtle chauvinist behaviour.
Have you ever heard of a Zikri Tan Boon Hook? or Fatimah Ng Siew Lai? ok lets try with malay names instead of Islamic /arabic/persian name. How about Mawar Liew Mei Siew? or Delima Ong Mai Ling? no? you see more Christophers, Kelvins, Michaels (no offence to many of my friends who've adopted christians name) than ever.
Why did we fail to adapt to the native customs and culture is something that we have to ponder upon. i WOULD NOT spell the words out here and risk being labelled a "traitor to the race" like what Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim has been treated rudely by the ignorant chauvinists.
For my Chinese Friends who speaks hokkien.
How do you call a Malay person in Hokkien? HUANNA 蕃仔 ? please use baidu.com to find out what that really means. it's a disgraceful and i felt ashamed.
8.) China Town
Have you been to the China Town in US big sities, and also London's China Town? the China town in Western Countries are very China-chinese orientated. It serves as a “memory" and "traces" of the Chinese-ethnic origin for the migrants, as well as , for economical purposes sell off the unique “Chinese culture” to the foreigners. Most Chinese migrants in these country, who're well integrated in their respective native culture, would from time to time, visit China Town to remind themselves of their root, in the form of remembrances more than "embracing" them. This is acceptable in a multi-cultural society.
When was your last visit to the China Town in Kuala Lumpur, and did you feel sorry for it to be called "China town"? There is NO NEED for a China Town in Malaysia. Most towns, big or small, in Malaysia has China Town. Chinese bill boards, Chinese advertorials, Chinese signboards etc. Why is there a need for a stand alone China Town anymore? any Street in Penang or Certain street in KL/ Serdang/Puchong could well beat London's China town as a more "china" china town.
9.) Malaysian First, or Chinese First?
Funny enough, If you ask that question, many ethnic Han Chinese Malaysians would answer you that they are Malaysian first, and Chinese second, without knowing what it takes to be Malaysian first.
(Caution, if you are a URBAN BANANA, this does not applies to you. according to cense report, there are only 9% of you existing. rest 91% are Chinese educated ) You wake up every morning and watch TVBS Asia, pheonix channel, CCTV4, or hua hee tai. Shows that 80% of other Malaysians who are not chinese will never watch. Tune in to 988, myFM, aiFM, OneFM, channels that 80% of Malaysians don't understand and will never listen to. You reach your office, open up Sin Chew Jit Poh, Nan Yang Siang Pau, Guongming, Kwong Wah Jit Poh, China Press, Oriental daily, something that only 80% of Malaysians cannot understand. you MIGHT have lunch with your malay/indian colleagues, and chat about life and work. once you go home from work, you talk to your family, children in Mandarin, a language that 80% of Malaysians CANNOT speak or understand. before you sleep, you go to facebook and scroll through. You post among your friends, whom 80% came from your ethnic.
in your daily routine, you are only a MALAYSIAN for 20%, but Chinese 80%. and you call yourself a MALAYSIAN FIRST? hmn... then perhaps, you could tell me how would Chinese first or Malaysian first make a different to you? Lets not quote me example of "WHEN YOU ARE OVERSEA" because you know what, how long are you over sea? so you're only Malaysian first when you are oversea? hmnnn.
The goal of me posting this long post, is to ASK for the ethnic HAN chinese Malaysian, to really reconsider our stand on issues pertaining race. Stop being overly/over-zealously “conscious” about “chinessness” and learn how to integrate into the Native society, WITHOUT compromising your ethnic identity. Chinese in UK/ US/ Thailand all did that willingly. why can't we? it's our ancestors' teaching that we SHOULD do that.
WAKE UP from the LEGACY (of course, I hope after you read the first few part you would know what these LEGACIES are) of our ancestors’ grievance and despair of not being able to go back to China (remember, it’s our ANCESTORs’ grievence, not ours). We are done with that. Let the grievance and despair follow our ancestors to their grave. Start rethinking about your stand as Malaysian.
Please LEARN how to integrate into the native culture, and OF COURSE , keep mandarin as a language that would help you to trace your ethnic origin. NOT THE OTHER WAY round or you are still TRAPPED in our ancestor's grievance.
P/s I will write another post on HOW Mandarin, a dialect of the northerner, KILLS OFF our mother tongue (which is our dialect). Mother tongue for Chinese is different, it's not the language, but the dialect that our ancestors used. Do you know that great poet LI BAI 李白 wrote his poem in HE BEI dialect, which is the current "Hokkien Language", and the HE BEI dialect was the OFFICIAL language used in TANG dynasty royal palace and court? and there you think everyone in the movie speaks mandarin it must be the spoken language back then. MANDARIN is killing off your mother tonger. THe language is called HAN language 汉语。mandarin, (formerly 官语，（language of the aristocrats), now 普通话 putong hua, 华语 huayu) is MERELY a dialect of the northener. Chinese language is HANYU + your DIALECT. NOT Hanyu + MANDARIN.
that i will discuss in another post.
1.) Please read this with an open mind, and do not narrowly construe any of my opinions to justify a standalone point. Please take the context in it’s entirety
2.) UTUSAN Malaysia quoted the unedited version of my article, and I am prone to believe that some of the parts were taken out of context. I was assessing the “Chinese Education SYSTEM” as a whole, not vernacular school, by referencing to Singapore where ALL vernacular schools were closed down.
3.) You are not encouraged to do personal attack on me just because you do not agree with my opinion on in this post. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION comes with some basic qualifications, of respects, agree to disagree, in a civilized manner. By blurting derogatory and substanceless remarks against another fellow citizens for voicing his opinion in a civilized manner is most unbecoming, and is an abuse of the freedom of expression.
4.) I would like to apologize for the delayed postings. To put in academic reference I had to search for a lot of reading materials/journals online, or in the public library/UM library/bookstores. I am sorry that I might not be able to lend you these books/journals because I don’t have it. If you want to look for the books/journals, I suggest that you visit the national library/UM library or visit any big book stores.
TAI ZEE KIN
- I dedicate this to all Chinese-Malaysians, who are truly Malaysian First.