The phrase 'tilting at windmills' is sometimes used to describe confrontations where adversaries are incorrectly perceived.
Shuzheng who authored Malaysian First requires doing a Ridhuan Tee drew slings and arrows of outrageous comments from some mindless readers (more about them later) when the piece should have been catalyst for a modicum of intelligent thinking.
The writer, more than anyone I've read on the topic, managed to debunk the Malaysian First naivete with an unparalleled and incisive finesse.
Shuzheng wrote: ‘... Malaysian First requires the sacrifices of (once again) the Chinese (and Indians); to do a Ridhuan Tee for instance. To suggest that the Chinese banish their identity for the sake of an 'inclusive' Malaysian-ness is to invent, for the second time, another 'social contract' ...’
The idea of ‘doing a Ridhuan Tee’ can actually be concretized with real-life examples.
One such is Bobby Jindal. He's the Governor of Louisiana. Just like 'Ridhuan' is an adopted name for Tee, so is 'Bobby' for Jindal whose birth-name is Piyush Amrit. His parents are Punjabis who emigrated to the US from India. Bobby was raised in a Hindu household but converted to Christianity while in high school.
Another is Nikki Haley who was born Nimrata Randhawa. Haley is her married name. Her parents are Sikh immigrants from Amritsar, India. Nikki will be running for Governor of South Carolina on the Republican ticket. She converted to Christianity in her mid-20s.
What Ridhuan, Bobby and Nikki all have in common is that they adopted new monikers more congruent with the customary names in the country they live in, converted from the faiths of their parents to the dominant religion of the country, and speak primarily the language of their country.
The other thing the trio have in common is that they are supported by the majoritarian community to which they have adapted themselves. Like Nikki, Bobby is a Republican; both are endorsed by the white establishment.
In fact, when detractors cast a racial slur at Nikki, the Republicans rallied to her defence because they see her as one of them – an English-speaking Christian.
Similarly Ridhuan's fan club comprises Malays, and he's never been able to portray himself as a Chinese, and nor would he be accepted by the Chinese community as one. So then, Ridhuan must be the Malaysian First-est one of all because it's inconceivable that anybody would ask him to 'Balik Cina'.
Match this idea to Shuzheng's astute observation that the proposed DAP solution to the Chinese Dilemma had Lim Guan Eng invoking the Malaysian First deal, pleading: ‘... The Chinese have no China to return to if they're no longer Chinese but Malaysian First.’
Bobby and Nikki left their Hindu and Sikh faiths respectively. Would Americans have elected Barack Hussein Obama president if he was not a Christian but a Muslim? Or conversely, would a religious minority (i.e. Muslim) have been acceptable in the White House?
Pakatan Rakyat people also have to ask yourselves this, given the mockery you heaped on P Kamalanathan when during the Hulu Selangor by-election, he claimed that he spoke good Malay. You derided him as a liar and refused to credit that he could speak better Malay than Zaid Ibrahim.
Would any American even imply that Obama couldn't speak English as well as Hillary Clinton or John McCain? After all, Obama is the son of a pendatang. Has Obama's family spent more years in the US than Kamalanathan's family in Malaysia, if we were to compare timeframes for their acculturation? Doing a Ridhuan, as outlined by Shuzheng, also encompasses acquiring language competence, which the Obama scenario exemplifies.
Shuzheng is spot-on to point out that ‘this 'beyond race' politics is conducted purely by the Chinese groups, DAP most fervently’. Let me add that DAP didn't even get their basics right.
Where I intersect with Shuzheng is our questioning the wisdom of the course being pursued with such ardour by DAP. I'm not a mind reader to clarify Shuzheng's stand (and I won't try), but for my own part, I'm all for Mandarin and vernacular schools. And thus, I do not see how DAP's Malaysian First ambition can square with the continued existence of Chinese schools.
As another letter writer has pointed out, Shuzheng's critics have not addressed his arguments but merely launched personal attacks.
I hope that readers who have come this far with me here will now return to Shuzheng's letter and re-read the comments directed at him and see if they've been grossly unfair if not mean-spirited and hurtful. Do the readers' comments there reflect the standards that we aspire to in public discourse?
There is no need for those of us who appreciate Shuzheng's invaluable insight to fight battles on his behalf. However, I have to say just this to the commentators who challenge Shuzheng to open his blog to their comments.
Going by what you've written here as a sign of more to come, why might Shuzheng care to waste his time and energy moderating your calibre of comments? Commenting in his blog is a privilege you clearly have not earned.