Friday, February 10, 2012

The Anti-Chinese

Fear not, this isn't going to be a raging diatribe against the shocking likes of Perkasa, the infamously bigoted pro-Malay supremacy non-governmental organization! Though they are quite obviously anti-Chinese no matter what they might steadfastly claim.

This is all about our very own Malaysian Chinese.

Or at least those unfortunate enough to land in our hospitals as sickly invalids. Let's just say, their sheer reluctance to speak in the national language irks me greatly. Comes as no surprise that my nurses frequently mistake them for mainland Chinese immigrants since most of them flatly refuse to speak in the local Malay language.

Much to the distaste of the local natives, some don't even bother trying! So much for our vaunted national integration!

Nurse : Why are you here today?
Patient : 请给我挂个内科.
Nurse : What did you say? Are you in pain?
Patient : 我肚子疼了两天了,有时候很厉害,有时候不疼.
Nurse : What? I don't understand Chinese. Do you speak Malay?
Patient : 救命啊!
Nurse : Translator!
Paul : Good God. Not me again!

Faced with their cantankerous refusal to reply in form, you can imagine my nurses' growing frustration. To my conscience-stricken nurses who are barely conversant in the different Chinese dialects, obviously what they hear is an unintelligible gobbledygook of rambling ching chongs and ling longs.

Enough to make them turn anti-Chinese.

Call!
You talking to me?

Look, I'll readily excuse elderly China-born immigrants for being unable to converse in simple Malay. They still get a free pass despite the fact that my own surprisingly well-versed grandparents would probably chide this unschooled lot with a disappointed tsk tsk. Since the rest of these old folks weren't brought up in this country - nor were they educated in our gradgrind schooling system - it makes sense that the common Malay patois they picked up along the way isn't quite the best.

But what about the obtuse citizens around my age? Malaysian Chinese born and bred? How do we explain their unforgivable lack of comprehension? Surely after more than a decade of compulsory education in the Malay language - with a smattering of mediocre English classes, there should be a small dint of retained knowledge, no matter how paltry. Perhaps not enough to publish an instant literary classic but certainly enough to answer the simple straightforward questions posed by my nurses.

Barely past the usual greetings, these befuddled patients would be crying out for a competent Chinese translator. Pathetic as my lamentable grasp of the different Chinese dialects may be, I'm still the closest they can find.

Has our education really failed so badly that a significant number of our population can barely converse in the national language? Or do the people just not make the effort to learn?

10 comments:

Ban said...

Does this happen only in Miri, or back in KL as well? I'm noticing certain cultures in Miri which may no longer be present here.

rotiboy said...

Well the Malay people as I know are generally kind and not anti-Chinese, despite they have this Perkasa. But the Chinese people as I know are generally anti-Malay and they don't even need a Chinese version of Perkasa—most of them automatically behave like members of one. Many despise everything about Malay blatantly without apparent reasons. I think family influence plays a great but devious role on this. When being brought up in such an environment, they don't put in efforts to learn or use the language. It's really hard to change such a perception in many Chinese even the younger ones. I always scream inside myself and feel ashamed when hearing anti-Malay remarks in daily conversations of Chinese.

ooi2009 said...

ROTIBOY , I DO NOT KNOW YOU , BUT I AM SUPPORTING U 100% ...way to go to say that . I have seen that many a time also ., the chinese these days are getting bad to worse . I have seen some nasty remarks made towards my indian friends . I blame it on chinese schools and the arragonce that the chinese(my culture itself) think they/we are the best in 3 aspects ...WEALTH , LOOKS , AND EDUCATION . This arragonce is plaguing the mainland china . And unfortunately this will bring the downfall of our race .

said...

well, my grandparents are from China too, they can communicate some simple Malay and English~

john chen hui long said...

very interesting post! as a chinese-filipino i have witnessed the worst of reverse snobbery where the disenfranchised feel (and behave) superior. and i see it on both sides! i think education has little to do with it; more of the constant threat of being screwed.

savante said...

Thinks it does happen back in KL as well, ban. Not solely represented here.

Well perhaps not as blatantly racist like you say but yeah, I have heard a few as well, rotiboy and ooi.

Same here, L2. Wish the younger generation would do the same.

Think the constant threat of being screwed over makes us even more likely to be defensive, john.

P

Kenny Mah said...

I think part of it is falling into a self-fulfilling prophecy or trap of playing the victim, of (literally and otherwise) having the other party not "understand" us. :(

Kayson said...

I tend to hate mostly Chinese people. But I think that that's just cause most of the people I interact with are chinese.

Wait... I had a point but I forgot. LOL

Anonymous said...

I refuse to use the term 'Malaysian Chinese' because its wrong..it should be Chinese Malaysian where Chinese is the race & the next word denotes the nationality.

So the reason why those patients refuse to speak in Bahasa is because they are Malaysian Chinese, not Chinese Malaysian. They prefer to be citizens of China.

Yeang said...

I have to add in my 2 cents opinion. The majority of Malaysian Chinese are extremely conceited, irreverent, chauvinistic, very stubborn, boot-lickers, cowards, degenerates, always in denial, charlatans, incredibly irascible, self-righteous and humbugs. I know because I am a Chinese too. Humility and integrity are rare traits among us. Actually, we are too damn smart for our own good.
What the Chinese want is RESPECT but we don't want to earn it. We either demand or buy it. Most of the Chinese parents encourage their children to be uncouth, bigots and apathetic. We don't want to talk about our own flaws but we love to highlight others'defects. As a result, we love to give false hopes to ourselves. Amen. A prayer for the Malaysian Chinese.