In criticising his comrade YB Lau Weng San for donning a Malay traditional costume for his Hari Raya invitation, DAP Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him has insulted all Malaysians who at one time or another have attired themselves in a traditional costume of another ethnicity. Sim is reported to have uttered that “Lau should not need to go as far as dressing like a Malay person”.
Meanwhile, DAP foul-mouth Superman aka Hew Kuan Yau’s outburst that “should DAP also promote interracial marriages” hits below the belt.
Both these DAP leaders’ degradation betray much deep-rooted racial prejudices within DAP. And the greatest paradox is that Sim represents Kota Melaka - the very heart of a city where diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China were first fostered over 600 years ago through inter-marriages between the Malaccan and Chinese monarchies as well as betrothals between Malaccan and Chinese commoners.
Through such unions, Malay-Chinese costumes have evolved into Malaysia’s much famed baju kebaya which has become the much-recognised and respected uniform for flight attendants for Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
Kota Melaka is also famous for the baba-nyonya community of which Tan Cheng Lock, MCA’s founder and first president and one of the key architects of Malaya’s Independence from the British, is a descendent. Up till the mid 1960s, it was not uncommon for nyonya women and even non-nyonya Malaccan Chinese from Kota Melaka to wear the kebaya.
Baba nyonya marriages in modern times see the wedded couple, family members and relatives attired in traditional kebaya costumes during the wedding ceremony and dinner. Being Kota Melaka MP, does Sim find such a scenario offensive or is he even aware and familiar with baba nyonya heritage which Malacca is famous for?
As Malaysian Chinese, or even any Chinese worldwide, we feel proud whenever we see a non-Chinese attire him/herself in a Tang Zhuang for men or a Qipao for women. When the roles are reversed, why should Sim, Hew and DAP find fault with Malaysian Chinese wearing the traditional costumes of Malays?
If Sim and Hew of the opinion that people of one race cannot attire themselves in the traditional costume of another ethnicity, then they should cease wearing western clothes for work, i.e. shirt, long pants, necktie and suit (if necessary).
Sim, Hew and DAP are either stuck in a cave or still living in obsolete times where they cannot differentiate between self acknowledgement of Malaysian Chinese identity, heritage and erroneously assume that Malaysian Chinese are so feeble minded so as to fail to recognise their own identity.
KOH CHIN HAN is Malacca MCA state liaison committee secretary and an MCA central committee member.