Why are Malaysian Chinese the wrong Chinese?

Erna Mahyuni
·2-min read

APRIL 7 — Twitter for me has become a place to commiserate with other non-Malays where we talk about erasure, colonialism and the everyday microaggressions we endure.

I suppose being Malaysian Chinese must be its own special kind of hell.

If it isn't attempts to shut down Chinese schools, it's accusations of putting pork in food or generally becoming the general bogeyman blamed for the troubles of a certain race.

Thus it is galling to watch a minister call China “elder brother” at an official event; ironically the same minister who declared rather violent sentiments towards those of the Chinese race less than a decade ago.

It is embarrassing diplomacy-wise. There are expectations of a minister ― the world stage is not a kopitiam for him to casually call the proprietor dai lo (big brother).

We are a small nation and it does no good for us to needlessly antagonise China as it dangerously veers towards superpower status.

We are a small nation and it does no good for us to needlessly antagonise China as it dangerously veers towards superpower status. — Reuters pic
We are a small nation and it does no good for us to needlessly antagonise China as it dangerously veers towards superpower status. — Reuters pic

At the same time, there is room for dignity, and remembering our own sovereignty as a nation that does not require needless subservience to any one nation.

It is long past due that the feelings of all races be taken care of, instead of this exhaustive pandering to one race.

How have we come to the stage where a PAS politician declares out loud that gerrymandering must be done to ensure that those of other faiths and races are marginalised? The sheer audacity is troubling.

Why must the Chinese be made to feel welcome only in the weeks up to an election?

Why are slurs and threats against the race as a whole never acted against by law enforcement, while we marshall the police, army and religious enforcers to hunt down one trans woman?

I hope Malaysian Chinese can remember this ― you are Malaysian, you are also Chinese. Neither of those things negates the other no matter what some politician says.

To move forward there is only one path ― a path of inclusiveness that embraces diversity and the sooner we elect politicians who understand that, the better.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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