Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Conversation with Robin (A Serial on Malaysiana) ………

I have regular chats with a casual non-Malay friend whenever I can. I will call him Robin.

Robin is a typical 40-something middle-class ethnic-Chinese citizen of Malaysia. Born in Penang. Studied in Australia on a PaMa scholarship. Worked there as an auditor for a decade and returned to Malaysia to work in a smallish MNC in Subang Jaya. His wife is in advertising. They have no kids. He was a product of Chinese vernacular schooling, but his preferred home language is English.

He has never uttered a proper word of Bahasa Malaysia in all the years I’ve known him, although I know he is sufficiently conversant in our national language when I “caught” him in a mobile phone conversation with an IRB officer on some tax issues (it went something like: "… ya Puan, saya sudah isi semua punca pendapatan saya di dalam borang B …") a few years ago.

He was a BN-type fellow until a couple of years ago when his views became more “radical” and he became more opinionated on issues a typical ethnic-Chinese Malaysian would hitherto never touched, at least not publicly, and especially not in the presence of a Malay. His views are essentially a repackaged a la carte smorgasbord of typical ethnic-Chinese grievances littering the blogosphere.

I will relate these views and my conversation with Robin in an occasional serial in this blog.

The subject today is police corruption, a classic grievance of the ethnic-Chinese and a main topic in NameWee’s Negarakuku racist garbage.

Robin told me that the Chinese are victimised by the (Malay) police, with regular RM50 kopi money expropriated from them at every opportunity. He went on and on about these injustice and parasitic affliction reflective of the Malay “tongkat” culture.

I finally decided to engage Robin, to dissect and synthesize the core logic of this Chinese urban legend.

So I asked him:-

- When the traffic cop pulled him over, he must have broken the law – speeding, illegal U-Turn, entering a no-entry zone. Robin admitted that much, protesting that he had to cut queues and drive fast to be at work on time after the notorious Subang crawl.

- I said that the fine is typically RM300. He agreed.

- I told Robin that he could always accept the ticket and pay the full fine. But no, he decided to bribe the cop RM50.

- I told him that this is not extortion or expropriation. I don’t recall any story of Malay traffic cops getting RM50 from ethnic-Chinese motorists at gunpoint. Robin voluntarily gave the RM50 to settle the issue – in his own words, to Kau Tim. See, Kau Tim -- to selesai the easy way out -- has become part of the Malaysian vocab, courtesy of our ethnic-Chinese citizens.

- I told Robin that I regard traffic policemen -- irrespective of ethnicity -- who take bribes as crooks and lowlifes that must be weeded out of our society.

- But I also told Robin that he was the bigger crook, in fact by a factor of six. You see, Robin bribed the Malay policeman RM50 in order to cheat the nation of RM300 in uncollected revenues. Multiply this by potentially thousands of transactions per day and thats a pretty hefty amount of revenues foregone. No wonder Robin can splash on many of life's comforts while bribing his way through the fast lane of the Rat Race.

- I told Robin, I’ve never bribed a policeman in my life. When I get pulled over for speeding, two possibilities ensued: The policeman either gives me a verbal warning which I accept quietly; or the policeman gives me a speeding ticket, which again I accept quietly. No money asked, no money offered, no money given. I told Robin of my rule of thumb when I get pulled over anywhere on earth: When the cop starts to write a ticket, just shut the fxxk up. Game’s over at the street level. In fact, when it comes to the LAPD, you better not twitch lest Officer Tweedledumb might suddenly discharge his Glock 22 .40 caliber in your pretty face.

- Within the 30-day compound period, I would make my way to the district traffic police headquarters to plead for a reduction in the compound, and usually the RM300 goes down to RM80. I duly go to the counter, pay the compound, take my receipt, and continue with my life. That is part of life lah! Same thing anywhere on this planet.

- Bottom line: I broke a traffic code, I got busted, I faced it like a man. I saved RM220 legally. The country gets RM80 in revenue.

Robin interjected, “Haiyaa like that susahlah. Where got time? I need to earn a living maah. Just pay-off the cop lah.”

Come again ….? What is wrong with this picture? Can you see the disconnect here?

Who’s fault was it again?

The Malay policeman? The “repressive” law? UMNO people? PAS people? Dr. M? Khir Toyo? The “country”? Global Warming?

I interjected: “Or maybe, Robin, it was just tiny little infinitessimal …….. YOU!!” Yes -- Lu. Engkau. Hang. Awok. Mung!

YOU are THE factor that crippled the system. Your quest to cari lubang keluar without paying your true dues induced this breakdown. But would Robin admit to this fact hanging out like Dog’s Balls for all to see? Of course not.

To the ethnic-Chinese of Malaysia, they are beyond reproach. They are the embodiment of the perfect being. This state of kesempurnaan is tampered only by the thick undergrowth of Malay mediocrity that curtails the Chinese quest for wealth and fortune. Thats their standard issue gospel from the time Robin entered Standard One at the SRJK(C). Amen. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.

I said ........ Podaah!

You Chinese are crippled by "thick undergrowth" alright ……. by the thick poisonous weeds of your own make-believe ethno-chauvinist propaganda. You have become a race of whiners. You complain about everything in this blessed land called Malaysia. You view yourselves as a race that has done and can do no wrong. You hate the police, but you use the police and ask for police protection. You condemn the law, but you use the same law to sue people. You tell the world that Malaysia is undemocratic, but you partake in the democratic process
like an addiction.

You have become a race of contradictionists living in ambiguity underpinned by a dichotomous existence. In other words, you are a confused lot.

But what do you do?

blame it all on the Malay majority.

See, our ethnic-Chinese citizens view the World from their Chinese-tinted glasses, where they are always betul while the Malays, the government, the laws, the constitution, indeed, the country are always salah.

Lets go back to Robin’s case:-

They break the law – by speeding.

They break the law – by bribing the policeman.

They break the law – by depriving the nation of this “social revenue.”

They break the law …. again … by speeding away in disgust after the payoff.


They break the law -- by spewing seditious spins to the above stories for all the world to read.


They think they are the victims.

They are persecuted.

They are discriminated.

The Malays need their duit kopi to survive.

They think they are model citizens and above even an iota of criticism lest they will throw tantrums that reverberate across the world with shrills of "help us world, the Malays are repressing us, we got no rights."

In other words, they are the new untouchables of Malaysia – hypersensitive, hyperprotective, hyperdemanding, hyperselfish, hyper-ethnocentric, hyper-chauvinist .......... yeah, and jump queue at the Hypermarket as well!

Question: is this mindset sustainable? Is this the kind of people our founding fathers envisioned as Malaysian citizens? What actually went wrong?

Well, since the non-Malays nowadays take pride in their frankness and think there are no sacred cows in our complex socio-political framework, I will be frank as well. When the Duli-Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja-Raja Melayu agreed to the wholesale dishing out of Malayan citizenships -- even inexplicably waiving Bahasa Melayu proficiency tests -- to a million and a half unwanted, abandoned stateless Chinese (and Indians) in 1957, could the Duli-Duli Tuanku have envisioned that the descendants of these desperate huddled masses would after 51 years become an unintegrated community of lawbreakers; a community infested by crooks and thieves and counterfeiters and pimps; a community that not only tidak terhutang budi to the Duli-Duli Tuanku for the precious kewarganegaraan, but now had the audacity to challenge every single tenet of Duli Tuanku's instruments of nationhood, not least the Bahasa Malaysia and Adat-Adat Melayu and the keris and the songkok and the sacred principle of Negara Dalam Arca Melayu held dear by Duli-Duli Tuanku.

Should we treat these pathological lawbreakers leniently? Give more muka and perhaps a piece of our peha on top of all the tanah, bukit, balak, pasir, sungai, and timah that they have siphoned away for the past abad or so? Do we need to kumpul and cuci anymore sampah, sisa, hampas and habuk in the bumi gersang and padang jarak padang tekukur left in their wake?

They deserve to be viewed as equal partners in nationbuilding? Heck, they don’t even recognise or comprehend the fundamental tenets of nationhood of our Tanah Air Tercinta.

What then?

You tell me ……..