Friday 29 November 2013


First posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012

Steadyaku47 comment: This was forwarded to me. Author unknown. Interesting and good conversation starter! A good one for Malaysian Chinese to read...there is some truth in this.

This is so true about us M'sian Chinese in general. We were always a lot more concerned with our own 'rice bowl' than anything or anyone else for that matter. When things get tough, like this writer said, 'we migrate. money talks'. Even now, many parents are quietly telling their children to
  study hard n migrate.

I remembered being a 15-year old girl in a convent school study'g about the Malayan Union in a History class n hv'g a Chinese teacher who told us in between the lines that honestly, if our grandparents etc had supported the British when they wanted to give equal rights to e/one, we wouldn't be in
  this situation we currently find ourselves now. But no, our grandparents were too busy 'minding their own business' to care about politics, not realising that politicians are really the ones who decide where their 'next bowl of rice' were coming from. This is what happens from having a 'tidak apa attitude' most times. In the end, Malayan Union was abolished and UMNO was formed and given the 'rights' to pretty much form the nation the way it is today with special privileges given to the Malays.

I also hv to say I saw these Malays who participated in the Bersih Rally. I was on my way to church that Sat when the rally was held. It had been pouring like crazy in KL that afternoon and many of them were in the LRT I was on. Damn! Was I proud of them :), for having the guts to stand up against their own race for a cause they believed in.

Either we participate in the whole political process and decide how we want the future to be for us and the future generation or others will decide for us and the option to choose will therefore then be taken away from us, and then, we'll hv no one to blame but ourselves for choosing to keep silence.



I looked out the window. And I saw. Thousands and thousands of Malays in the Bersih Rally. They were fighting their own kind for a cause they believed in. And they risk being ostracized
by their Muslim brothers. And they risk much. I looked out the window.
And I saw. Thousands and thousands of Indians holding the picture of Gandhi in the streets. All were teargassed and many beaten with batons. At Batu Caves , they were locked in, pumped with tear gas and sprayed with chemical water.
80 are awaiting trial. 31 are charged for attempted murder of a policeman that attacked them. All their leaders are under ISA. The one that got away fled the country.

I looked out the window.
And I saw.
Thousands and thousands of Chinese closing their doors. Minding their own business. Watching the soap operas. Playing mahjong. Going to the gym. Planning for holidays. Eating bah kut teh. Enrolling their children in private schools. Going for line dancing. Changing to a bigger car. Perming their hair brown. Going to the movies. Shopping.

The Chinese. They don't look out the window.
Their houses. Have no windows.
It is because of 3 generations of 'keeping quiet' that we are in a political quagmire of sorts today.

My story may not be the same for others, but it is no doubt a story of 3 generations of political oblivion -a saga of unremitting
circumstances that has 'trained' us to look the other way - to economic wealth, education and religion. Politics because a 'dirty word' in our home; as a Chinese we should disengage ourselves completely from this 'unproductive' activity.

This is my story.

My grandfather took a ship to join the gold rush in
  San Francisco around the turn of the last century. Halfway on a Chinese junk, he got sea-sick, so he jumped ship at Singapore .. Traveling up the hinterland, he focused on survival. Hungry from famine in Southern China , he vowed never to be hungry again. Politics was the last thing on his mind. Keeping his belly filled was his only priority. It was an obsession that dictated everything he did. My father worked for the British. One day, forced by the Japanese to do 'national service', he was selected to look after food supplies. The family was starving during the war, so he stole rice under his care and hid them in  sweet potatoes when he cooked rice. Our neighbors always thought we were eating sweet potatoes we grew on the fringes of the jungle, when in actual fact, we always had rice. (As a matter of fact, it is more nutritious to eat sweet potatoes than rice(c).sweet potatoes, the red variety, has carotenes-vitamin A precursors-other nutrients & fibre. Polished rice has mainly carbohydrate.)

My grandmother sews clothes for the women day and night to survive and got paid in Japanese currency. When the war was over, these Japanese notes - which were unnumbered - became valueless. The family again struggled to bring food on the table. It was a litany of hunger and fear in our house.

When it came to my generation, my father thought education was the passport to economic freedom for us. He refused for us to be a contractor like him and forced us to study.. In university, he forbade me to get involved in politics. He went as far as to refuse me to study law so that I would not get involved in politics. I was forced to study a course I did not like because he wanted me to be a banker.

Needless to say, I made the same mistake when it came to my children. I told them also the 'passport to heaven' was also to study. But I refused to dictate what they should study but instead asked them to study what they liked. I ensured they got the best education. I also reminded everyone that they do not talk about politics on the dinner table.

My story is not uncommon; such is the struggle and saga common to thousands of Malaysian homes. We are cajoled by our parents to look at bread-and butter issues. We are told that politics are not for us. We are told that our 'houses have no windows', so mind your own business and close the door.
   We are told that if this country is not good enough, you must get a good education and emigrate.

The Chinese? We are told this is not our home. We have no home. We are the Jews of the East. When trouble starts, we ought to look the other way. If it gets worse, we emigrate. Money talks. So long we have money, some country will take us.

100 years of ignorance. Is it blissful? No. It is tragic.

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