Thursday, 27 August 2009

THE CHINESE, THEIR HOUSES HAVE NO WINDOWS

Note: This is not my piece but it was such an interesting piece, I am sharing it with you. Everything below to the very end has not been altered
"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 kuet 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 became a ‘dirty word’ in our home; being 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. (ofcourse, we know now it is more nutritious to eat sweet potatoes than rice. Sweet potatoes, the red variety, has carotenes-vitamin A precursors-other nutrients & fibre. Polished rice has mainly carbohydrate)

My grandmother sewed 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 too that the ‘passport to heaven’ was 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.

3 comments:

vinnan said...

The Chinese were way ahead of the Malays and Indians for it was they who fought the Japanese and then the British. No more will they be the cannon fodder of Malaysian politics.

GobloKing said...

I only published yr comment so that I can reply. History is history & I beg to disagree. NOT ALL Malays supported the other side during the war.

Like now. There are many Malays who are for all of us to be united & is respectful & honorable. Some prominent bad ones do not mean we should generalize.

If we fall into the same trap as the ultras, we are no better but just as bad.

MANY Malays did not show their hand when they helped the other races during WW2 by providing supplies & hiding them.

I know. My late father told me that is what happened.

So even though I am Chinese, above all I AM MALAYSIAN. For me personallyl, I would advocate No slamming one race agst the other. No saying who's better than another.

vinnan said...

'MANY Malays did not show their hand when they helped the other races during WW2 by providing supplies & hiding them.

I know. My late father told me that is what happened.'

You see this is what I meant by the Chinese being the cannon fodder and being way ahead of the other races. The Malays were more than willing to let others do the dying for them but when it comes to equality among the races they will bring out their religion and 'social contract' Never again will we allow ourselves to be the sacrificial lamb for the Malays. We will fight with the other races against the bad politicians but this time the other races must contribute their fair share of sacrifices. How many Malays do you know of have willingly given up their Malay Special Rights so as to allow the non-Malays to stand shoulder to shoulder with them? I have yet to meet one. If the Malays want justice they must serve justice first.