A war between two ideologies

Pearl Lee

Pearl Lee, The Malay Mail

It has been a difficult and tiring time for you since Flight MH370 went missing on March 8. From the 239 passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines plane, 154 were your citizens.

I truly understand the frustration and agony faced by the family members of the passengers. Having followed the tragedy closely since Day 1, I share your grief.

What I do not understand is the constant mocking and anger which has further escalated in recent days. Your artistes, including award-winning Zhang Ziyi, had called their fans to boycott Malaysia and everything related to this country.

That I cannot understand, my brothers and sisters.

Yes, I have every right to call you brothers and sisters for the strong bond between both countries has been evident since the 15th century when Chinese traders, had during the Ming Dynasty era, visited the Malacca Sultanate.

Some of your people settled down with the locals and created a new “race” called the Peranakan. My late grandfather was a Chinese migrant who left China to seek a better life in Malaysia.

Yes, brothers and sisters, many of your family members left the great Republic to seek better opportunities elsewhere. It is still happening till today.

In 1974, Malaysia’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein established formal ties with the communist-ruled China — the first Asean nation to do so — despite differing political ideologies.

The Chinese remain the second largest community in Malaysia and millions in this country continue to study and speak your language.

It is through our openness, we have talents such as Fish Leong, Shila Amzah and Ipoh-born Datuk Michelle Yeoh who have made waves in your country and worldwide. And yes, many of us, including non-Chinese, still love watching your movies.

Yet your celebrities had lashed out at the authorities and even called for their fans to boycott Malaysia.

How is this productive or how would this help in the search for the missing MH370?

You claim our authorities are not being transparent. Yet, you didn’t question the Australian authorities — why did they release satellite images of possible debris, taken on March 16, four days later?

So are the Australians also guilty of hiding information? No, they were merely verifying information received. The same can be said of the other authorities working on what has been dubbed as the greatest mystery in aviation history.

Despite being a superpower with superior assets — both in technology and experts, do explain why China is also unable to track the plane? You demand for openness and transparency, yet Facebook and even Twitter are largely banned in your country. Isn’t this hypocrisy?

Have you forgotten what happened at Tienanmen Square in 1989 where estimates of the death toll ranged from a few hundred to the thousands?

We can go on highlighting such episodes, but where will this take us? The priority remains in finding the MAS plane, hoping to unearth what had actually transpired.

The focus is to cushion the feelings of the next-of-kin. The whole country has been mourning with you as our citizens, and that of other nationalities, were also on that plane.

Make no mistake that if any fault were to be seen in this saga, the guilty must be punished. But even so, there are proper ways of dealing with such matters instead of stoking hatred among one another.

This May will mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China. We are also awaiting the arrival of your pandas Fu Wa and Feng Yi which we promise to take good care of.

The tragedy has hurt many, including our tourism industry. Many would not want to say this out loud but our coffers too have been severely affected.

But the friendship between Malaysia and China is something money cannot buy.

You can continue to lambast Malaysia, your celebrities can mock us all they want. But I hope that you, China nationals, will realise that we need each other to be better people.

We can and will stand up to defend our cause. But for now, we will let it slide. Perhaps, this is our definition of Malaysian Hospitality.

I thank you for your time.

Yours sincerely,

Pearl Lee