A necessary riposte to Dr M – the Chinese know their place


If the Chinese really were after political power, they would have have done so along the lines of your paternal ancestors – became Muslims and married locals and morphed into Malays. They would then control UMNO – instead of the Indians. And Ridhuan Tee would not have the platform he now struts on. 

Ice Cream Seller 

Dr M’s latest tirade about the Chinese wanting political power assumes we are mostly naive and ill educated to see otherwise.

What a load of codswallop from someone who seems to be in a time warp of his own. There is an Afghan proverb that says that what you see in yourself is what you see in the world


1) Chinese do not appreciate their gains upon independence?

What gains is he talking about? A white master was replaced by a brown one. In the process, we lost an excellent education system, a well respected judiciary, our moral fibre, were given an economic system so convoluted that only the bacteria of corruption thrives. 
To say that DAP argued these issues on behalf of the Chinese gives the DAP unnecessary credit.

2) Under the British, the Chinese were not allowed to go beyond becoming petty traders and shopkeepers?

Lets not forget that we are talking about the 50s and earlier. What shopping malls were there then? Then, many Chinese were still poor. Still, the people had reliable water supply, electricity that was cheap – even without petroleum income; there was no need to go to private schools and universities to get a better education than what the government provided, no need for private hospitals – we had excellent doctors, nurses and administrators and the police force was multi-racial. Being a shopkeeper gave one a dignified existence and they served all races – even giving credit to customers. 

They were in no position to take on the British firms then but have demonstrated that today DESPITE the handcuffs of the NEP, they can take the world stage.

3) Government procurement had to go through crown agents

What’s the beef? The crown agents existed then and today it is no different except that we have our own crown (Umnoputra, Bumiputra or whatever putra) agents. In fact it is our own putra agents that have benefited by leaps & bounds to scales never imagined in the exercise of rent seeking. If the British crown agents were indeed still around, our submarines would be able to function properly, there will be less Mongolians dead, our indelible inks would not be edible instead, our public transport would be better and there would be no PROTON.

4) British Banks with government accounts, Chinese banks (OCBC, Ban Hin Lee) not doing much business with the government

Just replace the British banks with Maybank, CIMB, Affin Bank, RHB Bank and a host of others. See the same picture (maybe in different colours now?) On top of it, Ban Hin Lee Bank doesn’t exist today – no thanks to post independence policies. And the British banks were PLCs – not GLCs where bailouts are an easy option.

5) Replacement of British firms by Chinese firms

This line of argument is part of the problem. Don’t you see it as MALAYSIAN firms as opposed to (Malaysian) Chinese firms? In any case, its not like that the Chinese got government loans or grants to buy over the British ones. Some took loans to buy over the businesses – others pooled their resources. In any case, I am sure the British firms would only exit if they knew that, amongst other considerations, the new owners would be able to sustain or grow the firms.

6) Independence has clearly benefited the Chinese much

Looking at the Chinese in Indonesia who had their backs to the wall (until unfettered by the half blind Gus Dur but with better than 2020 vision), the Chinese in Thailand where there was no independence from any colonial master to speak of, this argument holds as much water as a Malabari fishing net. How does one explain the success of the Chinese diaspora in Canada, Australia, the US, the Philippines, Burma and even in Mauritius? Because of Malaysian independence?!!

Dr M for one, was probably the greatest benefactor of our independence by having 22 years to steer the ship. On either side of the 22 years, he was and is pulling the strings to some extent or other as an adroit puppeteer. But alas, on his watch, the ship was steered on a journey beyond our shores and Kerala only to benefit a select group. 

7) Chinese success under the BN ‘kongsi’ government

Yes the Chinese became billionaires and started getting involved in businesses globally. I would argue that it was DESPITE the shackles and hurdles were imposed on them. Look at the Singapore companies operating globally – is it because of an UMNO style ‘kongsi’ in Singapore? I dare say that had it not been for the ‘malimplementation’ of the NEP, our MALAYSIAN companies (Chinese owned or not) would be streets ahead of Singapore. Instead, our brains just walked and left to help make Singapore what it is.

8) Chinese not well represented in government administration because they do not like salaried jobs / distinct dislike for uniformed services

Who then runs the government in China and Taiwan – Africans? As a boy, when I went to a government department, Chinese were well represented. In schools, they probably made up half the number of teachers (and they didn’t do tuition on a private basis big time either). The army and police had visibly a good number of them. So many nurses in the government hospitals were Chinese – and pretty good looking too!!

Today, the Chinese are simply absent because of the lack of promotion prospects, the impression given that they are not trusted/welcome, and also the kind of work culture that permeates such establishments.

9) Chinese colleges and universities

Restore the quality of education we had up to the 60’s and you will see the demand for Chinese schools diminish. They send their children to Chinese schools simply because the ordinary schools have become sterile, ineffective, with poor quality teachers, fear of Islam forced upon their children in subtle and not so subtle ways and a host of other reasons you are actually familiar with. Besides, in Chinese schools, the canteens never close – so no need to eat in the shower rooms.


It is not correct to say that the Chinese aspire for political power via DAP. The MCA simply lost support because the Chinese were fed up of a corrupt government that the MCA helped stay in power. If the Chinese really were after political power, they would have have done so along the lines of your paternal ancestors – became Muslims and married locals and morphed into Malays. They would then control UMNO – instead of the Indians. And Ridhuan Tee would not have the platform he now struts on.

My arguments above are not motivated because I am of Chinese ancestry. I am not. My extended family and close friends include Chinese, Malay, and others. In fact, the biggest group of my extended family have roots as deep in the same district as your paternal ancestors. Fortunately, that is where the similarity ends.