Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lowbrow Chinese humour insults intelligence

There are many a great thing about Chinese that are highly admirable and enviable but their sense of humour is certainly not one of those. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Chinese-hater, far from it.

I enjoyed watching old funny movies from the likes of The Hui Brothers, Karl Maka, Dean Shek, Richard Ng, Raymond Wong Pak-Ming and even Chow Yun Fat. When they were still active in the Hong Kong movie scene, it coincided with the golden era of Hong Kong's film-making; as far as comedies were concerned.

But with the lying low of most veteran stars; from then on, the humour being churned out from Hong Kong degenerated into nonsense comedy (mo lei tau/无厘头). This brand of humour was pioneered by none other than Stephen Chow Sing-Chi.
His overwhelming successes in producing box office movies spawned new generation of film-makers and actors eager to be part of the mindless and slapstick humour which became the rage until today.

Unfortunately, this comes at a great cost as the supposedly funny movies being produced now border on complete idiocy and outrageousness. What's worse, the young generation of Chinese especially those educated in Chinese schools here in Malaysia find these movies very hilarious.

I tried seeing some of these sub-standard movies but sat stony-faced throughout the torturous sessions while my fellow cinema-goers burst out laughing non-stop with tears welling in their eyes at the mind-numbing and downright stupid antics shown by the protagonists in such movies. Frankly speaking, I find their pathetic sense of humour most disconcerting.

I often wonder what the other races think of the Chinese with their low level humour, which they unhesitatingly recycle countless times in different productions. More worryingly, this brand of humour is now all too pervasive even among the Malaysian Chinese as evident by the informal jokes they share with friends. Even our local TV commercials could not escape this outbreak of retardation.

Taste is in the pudding. As such, do view all 4 videos as attached above. You will witness Stephen Chow's hallmarks present in all four advertisements. Those who appreciate the humour in these advertisements, I can only sympathise with them. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Star is only half credible.

You would expect our nation's top selling English newspaper to be credible but recently, their report all but confirmed their lack of impartiality.

A Malaysian honours graduate from Melbourne University by the name of  Khairulddin Mohammad Yahya made news in Australia and Malaysia for his unruly behaviour onboard a flight to the Victorian capital.
While The Age, a respectable newspaper reported as it was, our very own The Star saw it fit to report only the half truth.

If one was to read The Star only, he would think this gentleman didn't behave too badly but in reality, what this engineer did in his state of stupor; was not only shameful but also put his fellow passengers in great and unnecessary distress.

Inebriated, he kept on leaving his economy seat to be with his mom in the business class. His choice of words were colourful too,  ''motherf*****'' and to ''f*** all of you''. So uncontrollable was he, that he had to be restrained with handcuff and his ankles tied with tape. This terrorist-like behaviour was very unbecoming of an engineering graduate from one of the top universities in Australia.

Funnily, The Star chose to overlook these important details and even blacked out the part about his state of drunkenness.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Strangeness of Malaysian Politics

        "Do not forsake your friend or your father’s friend,
                         And do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you;
          Better a neighbour nearby than a brother far away." - Proverb 27:10

"Better be kind at home than burn incense in a far place." - Chinese Proverb

The aforementioned proverbs share the same meaning in that it is more beneficial to have kind neighbours than relatives who live faraway especially in times of emergency.

However, our government seems oblivious to this as they are more interested in safeguarding relationship with the Indonesians rather than with fellow Malaysians; logic being that they are of the same racial stock or what they will favourably term as "serumpun". But most often than not, respect between the two nations is not reciprocal and relationship is not on an even keel.

It has always been mind boggling that our politicians never fail to show excessive deference, obeisance and kow-tow to the Indonesians. Undeniably they are of the same stock but over-sentimentality must stop since Malaysia is a fully independent nation, not the 34th province of Indonesia.

Perhaps, it is with this overt and extreme respect accorded to the Indonesians, they dared to defile our flag, threw faeces at our Malaysian embassy in Jakarta, stopped supplying maids to us and threatened Malaysians with harm. Their media lapped it up by spewing venom at us. Yes we are now in a lull but there is no guarantee the Indonesians will not find fault with us again.

Our politicians should take a cue from America and Australia. Peoples of Anglo Saxon origin in these countries, after emigrating Great Britain; took great pride in their new identity. They do not show extreme and unreasonable deference to their country of origin.
More admiringly, they stopped referring to the British as "Brothers".
Even the Bangladeshis after attaining Independence from Pakistan in a bloody war, now take pride in their newfound identity without holding on too much to emotional baggage.

Alas, our politicians are unable to emulate this. Yet ironically, they have the temerity to accuse the non-Malays that we are distinctive, still identify ourselves as Malaysian Chinese or Malaysian Indians; yet to be fully assimilated into the larger society.

Non-Malay Malaysians are certainly getting a raw deal, aren’t we?

To the politicians, I say get your own house in order first.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rebutting Dr. M again

I read Dr. Mahathir's post titled "Melayu Oh Melayu" with bewilderment and amusement. Anyone who is familiar with his writings knows he favours writing in English but for this particular piece, it is in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia.
It is patently obvious he intends the conservative Malays to read it. The more conservative they are, the better.

Ignorant readers will not question the contents in this article.Instead, they will readily and blindly accept those as sacred truth.
But here I would like to be the devil's advocate and debunk certain myths he tries to propagate.

First and foremost, in his point no. 5; he readily acknowledges no religion is a specific and definite racial marker to any race before expanding it in point no. 6 that a Chinese could also be a Muslim though majority of them are Buddhists. His implied meaning here is that Buddhism is Chinese in origin.

I am surprised that he, like most people are oblivious to the fact that Buddhism was founded by one of the princes in India.
For his information, like the Malays; majority of Chinese profess religions which were once foreign to them, Islam and Buddhism respectively.

The above could be an honest mistake on his part but as you proceed to read his article, you will realise he asserts his belief that the Malays must be Muslims and if they convert out of the religion, then they cease to be Malays.

I am not encouraging the Malays to leave Islam nor do I dare to even think about it but here we can see our former prime minister's inconsistency in his article. Here I would like to ask two questions:
  1. Before Islam came into our shores, the Malay ancestors were Hindus and Buddhists. Were they not Malays?
  2. So, only when the later generations converted to Islam, did they suddenly become Malays?
As a person trained in the medical field; he should know better that it is not religion that maketh a man, but his DNA!
Besides, "Religion or Humanity"; which one came first? This is not too difficult a question to ask, unlike the "Chicken and Egg" conundrum.

I have begrudging respect for Dr. Mahathir but I feel it is purely out of political reasons that he wrote this article, not sheer ignorance.
Could it be that he underestimates the Malays' thinking capabilities with this propagandic article?
Politics and Religion cannot and must not be made bedfellows. Otherwise, the consequences would be very dire to a county's development and cohesion among its citizens.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rebutting Dr. M on Semenanjung Tanah Melayu

It's a crying shame our 4th prime minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir is now a former shadow of himself with his recent views that border on outrageousness and comicality.

Firstly, he tried to ride roughshod over our country's history by implying the Malays have more rightful claim to this country than any other race including even the original inhabitants, Orang Asli.

His audacious attempt at pulling the wool over our eyes must fail since the Malays are undeniably an immigrant race in this country too, much like the Chinese and Indians; only that they settled here earlier.

He may not be wrong on the premise that Malays were the first to put in place a system of government in this country.
Seeking to augment his point, he wilily and craftily quoted several examples of settlers setting up States and Governments in America, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. Thereupon, the settlers are to be recognised as rightful owners of those lands.

Anyone not familiar with his earlier views may be impressed by this latest argument but taken in a fuller context, it actually rings hollow. Consider the fact he used to make that Malays ran the risk of meeting the same fate as the aborigines in Australia and America if there were no policies that favour the Bumiputeras to shield them from the competition posed by the non-Malays in Malaysia.

Is he trying to promote the idea that if the Malays were the original inhabitants of this land, their rights take precedence over those of other races but since that he now finally acknowledges Malays to be settlers as well, aborigine rights are subservient to the Malay rights? This is a sudden about turn!

He also mischievously took an indirect potshot at the non Malays by stating that immigrants in other countries have stopped identifying themselves as German Americans, Portuguese Australians or Italian Argentineans.

Be that as it may but he must realise that in those countries they do not have outright racist policies compared to Malaysia. With the absence of such regressive policies, surely it makes the assimilation of different races so much easier, no?

Moreover, who really accentuates the racial differences among Malaysians in the first place? Time and again, certain segments of Malaysian populace are being reminded that they are "Pendatang".

I would like to remind Dr. M that in America, persons of immigrant stock can rise to become the President of that nation. Presidents who spring to mind are John F. Kennedy (Irish), Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt (Dutch).

What about in Malaysia?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dude, are you really Eurasian?

Malaysia is a melting pot of different races. Apart from the 3 major races, which we are all too familiar with; we also have the Kadazans, Muruts, Orang Asli, Dayaks, Eurasians and yang lain lain. This article as its title suggests, is about the Eurasians. Just precisely who are the Eurasians? Simply defined, a Eurasian is a product of mixed parentage between a European and an Asian parent.

But seriously, are all Eurasians; really Eurasians? My bet is that not all of them are. Don't be fooled by certain individuals who profess the Christian faith (especially Roman Catholicism), having surnames like Sta Maria, Fernandez, Gomez and some other Anglicised names at the end, to be Eurasians just because they say so. If you do, you are hopelessly naive.

Many who are Christians and have English sounding names are in fact, different race altogether. In actual fact, these people can only trace their ancestry to a vast country in South Asia. Their forefathers came to Malaya as menial labourers and peons. Majority of them were classless in the caste system, something tied to their religion. As long as they followed the religion they were born into, they would be treated as outcasts by their brethrens who occupy higher strata in the highly discriminating caste system. To escape such an identity marker, some converted to Christianity where the caste system is not present. But just converting to a foreign religion is not enough, they had to completely change their names too. And so they changed their names and adopted the English sounding ones. After changing religion and names, what's left for them to do was to call themselves Eurasians and that's what they did.

Their descendants in turn started calling themselves Eurasians until today.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chinese Chauvinists should grow up.

Chinese race can be found in almost every part of the world is undeniable due to Chinese Diaspora. Prior to the founding of The People’s Republic of China in 1949, they migrated en masse in search of better lives due to upheavals of various kinds in their motherland.

Many eventually chose to go back to settle down after making good whilst many others decided to take roots in their host countries. What is interesting to note here is the descendants of this migrant Chinese now are not only very different from each other but distinctive too due to the process of acculturation. This brings us to mind the nature vs. nurture argument.

Closer to home, there are also different Chinese and I’m not talking about the various dialect groups they belong to but the Chinese educated and the non Chinese educated groups. This being the case, the former group tends to view their counterpart with unease and disdain because the latter are not seen as Chinese enough. The main point of contention here is the inability of the non-Chinese educated Chinese to speak and read in the Chinese language. This gives rise to the derogatory moniker of “Bananas” given to the non-Chinese educated Chinese, yellow on the outside but white on the inside. Is Chinese literacy the ultimate measurement of whether one is Chinese or not? Frankly, I find this unfortunate viewpoint to be simplistic, shallow, condescending and reek of hypocrisy.

It’s a bold statement on my behalf but nevertheless, one that is not without basis. First of all, we must appreciate the fact that the overwhelming number of Malaysians of Chinese descents belong to the Southern Chinese stock. There are the Teochew, Hainanese, Hakka, Hokkien, Cantonese Chinese, amongst others. Each group speaks their own dialect and I dare say with unshakeable conviction that the Mandarin language is not and can never be categorised as the mother tongue of the Southern Chinese stock.

Historically, Mandarin was a dialect spoken mainly in the northern part and southwestern provinces of China, concentrated mainly in Beijing. As China is a vast country, many dialects are spoken and are mostly intelligible to other Chinese. Unfortunately, many Chinese chauvinists are ignorant of the fact that Cantonese nearly became the China’s official language but was edged by Mandarin by a mere vote in 1911, during the founding of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China after the Xinhai Revolution. The late Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the modern Republic of China, was a Southern Chinese who wanted Cantonese to be adopted but out of political expediency, he persuaded his countrymen in the Congress to give up Cantonese. The then Mandarin dialect then took precedence. Since then, it gained currency and is now a unifying language that binds the diverse Chinese groups.

Against this backdrop, the Chinese-educated Chinese must not use the command of Chinese language as a yardstick to judge their Chinese illiterate brethren as being less Chinese. If language really was the unquestionable marker of a Chinese race, how can we justify those foreigners who have not a single drop of Chinese blood in them to qualify as ethnic Chinese just because they have impeccable command of the Mandarin language? Between an ethnic Chinese who doesn’t speak and a Negro who speaks Mandarin, who qualifies to be called a Chinese? Since I speak English and Bahasa Malaysia as well, does this mean I’m English and a Malay all at the same time?

The Chinese chauvinists conveniently overlook the fact that there exist the older generation of mainland Chinese who don’t speak, write and read Chinese but they are Chinese nationals nonetheless. Based on this premise alone, these mainland Chinese are surely more Chinese than the Chinese chauvinists we so readily find in Malaysia.

Therefore, in all earnest; I fervently implore these Chinese Malaysian chauvinists to stop judging the so called “Bananas” as being less Chinese because your insistence on doing so will only expose your sheer ignorance.