What it really means to be Chinese in M’sia

Opinion  |  James Chai
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Last Friday, MCA President Liow Tiong Lai wrote a piece in The Star Online called “What it means to be Chinese”. Liow started with a moving recount of his family’s struggle to break out of the cycle of poverty, and how the history of Malaysian Chinese is one of pride and joy. The piece was sincere.

Despite the fact that “MCA” was only mentioned once in the 890-word article, Liow’s main takeaway was for us to think about what it means to be Chinese before voting in the 14th general election.

Hard work and independence

I agree with Liow when he said being Chinese means being hardworking and independent. While I don’t agree that these qualities are natural, I do agree that they form an intrinsic part of the Chinese cultural legacy.

But being Chinese is also about being aware of the reality that hard work and independence do not guarantee success. Circumstances around you, which the government has a role in shaping, are crucial as well. And these circumstances have deteriorated.

Most Chinese today are concerned with the rising prices of goods, pressures of life, and low wages. Talk on the ground is filled with abomination of the GST that has sliced profits and put many small and medium Chinese companies out of business. The weakening ringgit, unemployment, and underemployment have added insult to injury....

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