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“If you don’t like them just be honest with yourself”

By C C Pung
The writer is a Sabah Justice of Peace and Tokoh Wartawan Sabah and Labuan.

Why are the Jews hated?

There’s just a few million of them in a tiny country surrounded by haters some of whom swore to eliminate them (the Jews).

By contrast, dictators and sadistic war-mongering  despots  killed millions in the last century alone but they aren’t hated.

Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution caused the death of millions of his own people and he’s a national hero.

Josef Stalin killed millions in Russia, but I haven’t seen any marches condemning him. America dropped two bombs in Japan to end WW2 and killed hundreds of thousands of civilian Japanese.

Today, US and Japan are allies, and countries around the world can’t wait to kiss America’s behind.

Israel, or the Jews, hasn’t done any of that.

But their nationality is equivalent to hate, slander and contempt. I know friends who, like Malaysia, hate Israel.

Israel is, according to my passport, the only country I’m prohibited to visit.

I don’t think many Malaysians have even ever have a Jewish friend.

But if you put your discerning nose to work, you’ll detect very thick anti Jew sentiments.

Here’s how I try to understand it

I used to know two friends who rose to lofty positions in Sabah politics.

They’re UK-educated, well spoken, hard working, honest and dedicated.

You’d think they would be hailed and celebrated.

But the reverse was true.

Instead of being allowed to focus on work, they found themselves surrounded by jealous haters and constantly having to fend off schemers seeking their ouster and downfall.

I remember them wondering aloud  ‘Why?”

I told them light heartedly that because they were better than most of their contemporaries,  they spoke sense and they worked, their very presence in any meeting with their allies from other political parties simply saturated the room and made their detractors choke.

They could very well have farted!

Mine was just a tongue-in-cheek answer coming from the little I know of the characters and quality (or rather the lack of these) of the politicians at the time.

But I think it is true what psychology scholars described as ‘the uninvited voice of conscience’ in a crowd of mostly inferiors.

I think that we can unwittingly  become the object of hate and resentment simply because we represent an opinion or position that our haters disagreed with but yet couldn’t deny nor counter it.

It may be a bit strong, but I think that the Chinese in Malaysia are a hated group for the same set of flimsy, unsubstantiated and, at worst, manufactured  fears and ‘reasons’ that the Jews are disliked, distrusted and targeted.

What have the Chinese done to be called ‘Cina babi’ (Chinese pigs’, or ‘pendatang’ (immigrant’) or told to ‘balik China’ (go back to China) when they are bona fide Malaysian citizens?

A certain former Malaysian leader recently suspected the loyalty of the Malaysian Chinese  (they are about 20% of the population) purportedly because they refused to be assimilated.

Assimilate into what? A Malaysian society? But isn’t the Malaysian society multi-racial?

Jews make up less than 1% of world population. That this ‘people’ remains distinct and holds its own after centuries of bitter, colourful hardship is a testimony to its character.

I know many are offended by what I say. But never mind …

Malaysian Chinese are descendants of a people whose civilisation and character evolution  dates back over 5,000 years.

Even if it had been politically exigent or that they wanted to, I don’t think the Malaysian Chinese could have been assimilated, or morphed into a characterless community at the utopian fantasy of that former prime minister.

I’m a Malaysian Chinese and will, in most likelihood die a Chinese in Malaysia, the only country I belong to.

This Dr Mahathir takes offence that I called myself ‘Malaysian Chinese’ because, I think, he chose to conceal his Indian roots and  did not want to be known as a Malaysian Indian’.

He prefers the politically correct and convenient identity called ‘Melayu’. That is his choice. But he shouldnt have tried to pintificate about loyalty.

Should he? And his ancestors are probably turning in their Kerala graves.

No, I didn’t wake up today and decided to write something to make you hate me, and neither did I have a desire to make you like me. No, what I say or do will not determine the Chinese fate. What the Chinese do collectively will.


Editor: The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of

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