Yes, The Chinese Are Short-sighted and Selfish: The Difficulty with the Chinese Vote

22 12 2007

This was originally posted as my comment in response to the post “Are the Chinese Short-sighted and Selfish? Pt. 1” on Sagaladoola‘s blog. Sagaladoola hits the nail on the head with his frustrated post, making reference to this article. I strongly recommend reading Sagaladoola’s post before this to better understand the difficulties facing the Malaysian opposition and civil society in overcoming the paranoia, inertia and apathy of Malaysian society in general.

The following is my reply to Sagaladoola (with a few new insertions):

I’m Chinese myself, and with much frustration, I’d have to agree with you: the Chinese community are by and large, fundamentally selfish and shortsighted. More than any other community, the majority of Chinese are driven more by personal fears and incentives than by the greater issues – the result of pragmatism tending towards the mercenary.

The Malaysian Chinese are basically divided into 3 camps: the dedicated opposition camp; the BN government sycophants and mercenaries; and the kiasi/kiasu/kiachenghu/bochap (afraid to die/afraid to lose/afraid of the govt/just don’t care about anything outside their ricebowl) paranoid-apathetic camp – which makes up the majority.

As the article mentions: while there is widespread discontent amongst the Chinese, it is still an open question whether this will translate into opposition votes at the next election, especially if there is a danger that some foolish auntie’s shopping trip might be jeopardised by ‘instability’. This chronic myopia (willingness to sacrifice their rights for false short-term promises of stability) is what allows UMNO to keep playing the race card to bully the docile Chinese back in line.

I run into enormous resistance in the form of paranoia, inertia and apathy when trying to raise political awareness even amongst my own family and friends (who mostly fall into the paranoid-apathetic camp).

In this coming election, I believe the Chinese vote will be decisive. From my observations: PAS and Keadilan together will be able to secure a significant block of the Malay vote – at least 33% = 20% of total votes by proportion. The Indian vote is gone to the opposition I’m sure, which gives another 8%. That’s a min. 28% in the bag, with potentially more from the Malay bloc.

That leaves the Chinese with a critical 25% vote block.
From this, at least 5% are hardcore opposition and can be relied on to deliver the votes. 5% are mercenaries and will vote BN.

The remaining 15% will decide the popular vote. Unfortunately, this is the paranoid-apathetic camp.

The Chinese vote will be decisive in the upcoming election. We must capture this block, or risk losing the reform momentum built up so far.

No more sitting on the fence, my Chinese compatriots. Wake up, it’s time to make a choice.

The activists and citizens out there on the streets are fighting for the rights of all Malaysian citizens. Last I checked, ‘Malaysian citizens’ means you and me too. The street protests are happening because there is simply no other way to get through to a regime so bloated on its own corruption and hubris that it cannot or will not hear any dissenting voices. And I will point out that every single recent street protest has been well-disciplined and peaceful right up to the point when the police initiated unprovoked attacks on the peaceful protestors. The real criminals and ‘terrorists’ are the ones in uniform, not the civil protestors.

Statements like ‘Indian grievances are none of my business’ and ‘the BERSIH protests are inconveniencing me’ are criminally stupid and selfish things to say. Nobody WANTS to protest on the streets; they protest because they have no choice. If you truly believe the BN propaganda then you deserve to live under the boot of UMNO-BN.

You can decide to vote for the BN menagerie and live on under the false pretence of stability, hoping every day that your UMNO masters will deign to throw you another table scrap, while your rights are slowly torn away from you and cancerous corruption consumes the country;

OR, you can decide to throw out the whole festering, irredeemable mess that is the UMNO-BN regime. Cut down the BN regime at the next election, and rebuild a country where all are equal, and the institutions of the country exist to protect, not oppress, the people. Bring in fresh, honest blood to rebuild and reinvent the country. Malaysia is a country rich with talent, it’s just not in UMNO-BN;

The choice is literally in your hands, and you need to decide, NOW.

What’ll it be?


The Hollowness of Symbols: Why I Won’t Be Flying The Flag

28 08 2007

One of my oldest, closest friends mocked me and some other friends today, for the fact that we are planning a Merdeka Day gathering, outside Malaysia, no less. Gathering and singing Negaraku to mark Merdeka Day is, in his opinion, the lamest thing to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t me he was mocking, and it wasn’t Merdeka or the anthem he was mocking;

It was the futility of clinging to a symbol that no longer represents what it once stood for, and his contempt comes out of enormous disillusionment and rage, not disrespect.

Let me be frank: I agree with him.
Symbols mean very little to me.

The national flag, the anthem, the Rukunegara. All these mean little to me in truth.

They are nothing but a colourful graphic, a reasonably dignified musical piece and a well-written list of aspirations and commitments; they are nothing but hollow symbols, if you strip away the original meaning. And that is exactly what UMNO-BN has been insidiously doing for so many years.

What does mean a lot to me is on the ground. Where it’s real.

Can I talk to my Malay neighbour without the awkwardness that comes with “talking to the enemy”? Can I stop myself from reacting negatively if in future my daughter says she’s dating a Malay or Indian boy? Read the rest of this entry »

Bangsa Malaysia: The Event (Pt 1)

27 08 2007

[ photo above courtesy of TV Smith, via MageP’s Lab. Original poster art by mob1900 ]


Someone at the forum last night (Jordan I think) quoted:

it is better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness.

And that is what we did last night, at the Bangsa Malaysia Merdeka forum and gathering:

We lit a candle. We took a small step. Forward, mind you.

That’s a direction we haven’t tried in a long time.

What did last night prove? Read the rest of this entry »

M for Merdeka; V for Vendetta

24 08 2007


One of the most memorable films I have seen in recent years is the noir political graphic-novel adaptation ‘V for Vendetta‘ (2005), directed by the Wachowski brothers and starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. For those who haven’t seen it, the story is set in the UK of the near future, where a fascist government has taken over the United Kingdom and controls every aspect of the lives of its citizens. Like the earlier black satire ‘Brazil‘ (1985) directed by Terry Gilliam (which I will write about in a future post), the arrogance of the government is such that it believes it can even control the thoughts of its citizens by controlling and ‘spinning’ the flow of information — literally writing and re-writing the flow of history — to suit its political purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

UMNO Fascism: A Checklist

23 08 2007


Dear readers,

You all know the disturbing pictures above. For several years now I have been referring to UMNO-BN’s increasing tendency towards inciting racism and suppression of dissent as ‘fascism’ and ‘UMNO Nazism’, and the tendency has become even more pronounced with recent actions such as UMNO Youth’s continuous racist threats (abetted by the crony-collaborator-lapdogs in BN, particularly the MCA and MIC), government impunity from wrongdoing and media suppression over the Islamic State debate and the ‘Negarakuku’ controversy.


Gestapo cum Waffen SS Chief Nazri ‘The Nazi’ Aziz

What is fascism?

Several days ago, I came across the reader Frank&Honest’s post in Jeff Ooi’s ‘Screenshots’ blog here, which refers readers to an article written by Dr. Lawrence Britt. Dr. Britt’s article gives a clear, point-by-point definition of ‘fascism’, which gives us a checklist to measure how much UMNO-BN has moved towards fascism and totalitarianism. Dr. Britt’s article can be found here.

I reproduce Frank&Honest’s post (and his follow-up post) and the article by Dr.Lawrence Britt in full below, and will post my point-by-point response to this later:

Read the rest of this entry »