The Chinese Community in Malaysia

The Chinese form about 25 % of the population of Malaysia. They came to fill the demand for labour that developed in the tin mines, docks and mills that developed when the British took over the Malay Peninsula in the early part of the nineteenth century. They were mainly from the Southern part of China and soon took over most of the commerce and trading in Malaysia. They were also in majority in the principal tin mining states of Selangor and Perak. Together with their economic well being came political power as most of the Sultans were soon in debt to the rich Chinese merchants because of their profligate ways.
Most of the Chinese worked very hard to build up their fortunes and a large majority of the immigrants stayed on in Malaysia and imported brides from the mother country. This was the origin of the thriving Chinese community which we see today, to my mind the most visible part of the mosaic that makes up modern Malaysia. There were many vicissitudes in between, the communist rebellion was mostly Chinese led and manned, but today they are an important part of Malaysia the country and command the leading heights of the economy despite Government measures to increase the economic clout of the Bhumiputeras, the indigenous people.
I am fascinated by the sheer energy that the Chinese seem to exude. They are the most active salespersons, the most intelligent workers and the smartest and most outgoing of all the people who make up this country. Their work ethic is unbelievable. Wherever you go in Malaysia you see that they are working the hardest and always smiling as they do so. No wonder China is forging ahead at the pace that they are, if this is the average for the community everywhere! There are many advantages of being Chinese. They speak the same language and use the same script. They are a more homogeneous and therefore a more united society. This tends of course to make them more regimented than any Indian would ever be, but adds to their strength as a community.
The women particularly are very advanced and are an integral part of the economy. They are working everywhere. They are CEOs, executives, salesgirls, actors, waitresses, news anchors and what not. There does not seem to be the Indian shortcoming of keeping women behind closed doors. Of course to be fair, all communities in Malaysia have allowed their womenfolk a level of independence that women in India can only dream of.
There are many things that we can learn from the Chinese. Despite their Western dress and manners, they have clung fiercely to their language and their traditions. There are criticisms of course; people say that they are nepotistic, communal and run a closed shop that excludes those not from their community. I have no way of judging the truth or otherwise of these criticisms, but to me they are immaterial. There are many things we can learn from them and that is what we should do. We could be as hardworking, respectful of our own languages and traditions and united. It could be the making of Hindustan.


Anonymous said…
Please write something nice about Malays. They are leaders in witch craft. During the recent Malaysia Airlines incident, their chief witch doctor was able to predict that the aircraft had crashed if it was not in the air. He only had the aid of 2 coconuts and 1 bent stick (010 - binary?)

Popular posts from this blog

Eyewitness to the Great Calcutta Killing

The Teesta Floods of 1968

The Poetry of Shiv Kumar Batalvi