The Chinese dilema of Kuek Cheng Kang

TIP: Leader(s) of DAP 2.0 hugged around the shoulder by their dearly beloved Tun.


The recent Amanat Mahathir congress predictably triggered an avalanche of existential angst at Sin Chew, the largest circulation Chinese-language newspaper outside of greater China, and Malaysia’s most influential Chinese media.

Sin Chew Daily deputy executive editor Ho Lee Peing clutched at her pearls, lamenting “Should we leave this land out of sheer despair?” See her Oct 14 column headlined ‘Totally hopeless now?’

Ho (pix above) said she could fully understand those agonizing “whether to leave this country for good in search of a greener pasture elsewhere”. She has repeatedly asked herself “whether there is really still hope for this country”.

The Sarawak-based deputy executive editor is also “disturbed by the ‘appeals’ proposed at the congress”, i.e. the clatch of Malay First resolutions tabled at the tribal drum-beating during our current period that Ms Ho considers to be “hostile environment for Chinese Malaysians”.

No hope and no Malaysia Baru lah

Similarly suffering “a deep sense of despair” is the Sin Chew reporter Michel Chng who covered the controversial Amanat Mahathir event in Shah Alam two Sundays ago.

Chng said the hurtful congress prompted her to rethink the Singapore option where she has family members living.

In her viral Oct 8 article, she wrote:

”What terrified me was the tone with which the speakers delivered their speeches. When they made remarks that would hurt the feelings of non-Malays and jeopardize national unity and harmony, the participants – students from these four universities as well as members of PPBM, Umno and PAS – responded with thunderous applause and ecstatic cheers.”

Likewise desperately wringing her hands and even “choking back tears“, Chng too worried, “Is there still hope for this country, the New Malaysia?”

After careful introspection, Chng came to the conclusion that politicians from both sides fervently champion a toxic mentality in order to ensure their own survival.

“Now I know the most difficult part is not to change a government, but the mentality of the people,” Chng concluded correctly.

BELOW: Hannah Yeoh gave disingenuous and self-serving advice to young Malaysians when she urged them, “Don’t change your country, change your government!”

Short-lived, one-term Hope government

Chiming in this week is Sin Chew deputy editor-in-chief Tay Tian Yan through his column titled ‘Something is rotten in the state of Malaysia’.

In Tay’s derivation of the famous Shakespeare “rotten” Denmark quote, the king (Mahathir) who has no intention of stepping down to make way for the Danish prince (Anwar) quickly sends Polonius (Hishammuddin Hussein) to do the dirty.

Oh “the dark side of humanity and unpredictability of events”. Oh Malaysia Baru, where art thou gone?

Summing up a conspiracy theory presently making the rounds, Tay yesterday elucidated:

“And this new version will see DAP and Amanah taken out. How to form a new government without DAP’s 42 seats and Amanah’s 11? Naturally, this shortfall has to be filled by Umno and PAS.”

If emigration has long been an oft-repeated question among the ‘completely disenchanted’ segment of our minority Chinese population, how now when the next and future government of this country will be Melayu-Islam pekat? Err, run for hills?

With friends like Guan Eng, who needs enemies?

The most lengthy rumination on developments sparked by the congress is provided Sin Chew Daily editor-in-chief Kuik Cheng Kang in his column two days ago on ‘The Chinese dilemma’ after Amanat Mahathir touched a raw nerve.

Kuik is rightly distressed by certain vindictive actions of the Harapan gomen of New Malaysia. He wrote: “In these two years, the Chinese community is feeling a new pang seeing the unjust treatment accorded to Utar, which has churned out countless of local Chinese graduates“.

He is also genuinely concerned over the resolution passed at the Amanat Mahathir congress to phase out vernacular schools with the utmost speed.

Squashed between what he lists as Chinese Dilemma #7 and Chinese Dilemma #8, Kuik inserts the following observation, “What an irony to say this is the ‘New Malaysia’ we have!”.

(Helen says: Hey dude. Your community provided the most rabid support for the Hope coalition of which Mahathir is chairman. As ye sow, so shall ye reap and if your harvest happens to be a whirlwind, then you’re only getting what 95 percent of ya’all voted for.)

As for the final dilemma on Kuik’s list, he wrote: “The ninth dilemma is the identity crisis Chinese Malaysians are forced to confront after the 2018 general elections, whether they should identify themselves as ‘Malaysian Chinese’ or just ‘Malaysians’.

And there you have it – an abstract of the lamentations by Sin Chew’s significant men and women.

Be honest with ourselves and admit the truth for once

In my humble opinion, Kuik’s Chinese Dilemma #9 is really a nothing-burger.

Let’s just look to PAS and alif-ba-ta for inspiration. Alif is for Agama, Ba for Bangsa, Ta for Tanahair. The ummah is a global solidarity and borderless. And I personally agree with Islam First party PAS in putting religion as the foremost criterion for triaging our allegiances.

It is a pity that Sin Chew boss Kuik Cheng Kang is taken in by the DAP’s manufactured-crisis ‘fake’ question on whether this country’s 6.7 million Chinese need to identify ourselves as ‘Malaysian Chinese’ or only as ‘Malaysians’?

The answer is quite simple. You rarely hear Melayu calling themselves Malaysian Malays.

Race is immutable. Even should we speak the national language exclusively as do the Chinese in Indonesia, their bahasa fluency did not preclude the May 13, 1998 pogrom in Jakarta from taking place.

Nationality on the other hand is a variable. If Hannah Yeoh’s previous application years ago for permanent residency had been successful – who knows – she might today be calling herself an Australian Chinese.

If the rioting Hongkongers succeed in making the UK grant them the right of abode in London, they would soon be British Chinese. A Malaysian Chinese who moves to Alabama and acquires citizenship there would be an American Chinese and no longer be Malaysian.

So which one are we, Mr Kuik? (1) Malaysian Chinese or (2) Malaysian or (3) Chinese?

You know the real answer as well as I do.
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