Tun M’s chopsticks analogy offensive to Chinese community in Malaysia: DAP Sec-Gen Guan Eng

Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 13.12.2021:

DAP regrets that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has used the analogy of the Chinese community using chopsticks to highlight the challenges in assimilating the non-Malay population in the country, and as proof that they identify with the country of their origin. Tun is wrong to focus on assimilation instead of integration and that using chopsticks instead of adopting the Malaysian way of eating with their hands is one of the reasons leading to separation amongst the people. This is not only simplistic but offensive to the Chinese community here.

Tun should be reminded that not just China or Taiwan but countries such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam also uses chopsticks. As Tun is a proponent of the Look East policy that encompasses these countries, Tun has never brought up eating by using chopsticks as an issue.

Does that mean a Malay using chopsticks or  fork and spoon to eat loses his Malayness? In fact, many non-Chinese Malaysians and Westerners are proud of their ability to use both chopsticks as well as fork and spoon without any loss of their national identity.

For Tun to talk about assimilating the non-Malay population, he forgets about the non-Malays amongst the orang Asli and native population of Sabah and Sarawak. Is Tun saying that the non-Malays in the Borneo states such as Iban, Dayaks, Melanaus, Kadazan Dusun Muruts must also lose their character and identity to assimilate?

Even his Tun’s Bangsa Malaysia recognises the diversity that is Malaysia and talks about a Malaysian people regardless of race and religion. Instead of assimilation, the focus should be on integration of the rakyat similar to integration of Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaysia to achieve unity in diversity as a Malaysian nation.

Eating with chopsticks does not make any one less a Malaysian. Malaysians of Chinese descent born here are proud of our loyalty to Malaysia and have no wish to return to a China growing with wealth and prosperity, even if given an opportunity to do so.

The Chinese community in Malaysia have always identified itself with Malaysia and never with China. Even the 2 million Malaysians who migrate, just like other Malays and Indians, choose Western countries because of better pay prospects and equal opportunities. And yet Tun does not say that the Chinese community here identify with Western countries.

Helping one or two Chinese tycoons is like helping any tycoon from other races and cannot be equated with helping the Chinese community. The contributions of the Chinese community should not be questioned or discriminated against just because of the different language, customs, names, lifestyles or even the way they eat. The problem is when politicians refuse to accept what they are and are more interested in who they are and where they come from.

Even Tun’s example of America’s former president Dwight David Eisenhower who was appointed as the commander in chief of the Allied army forces that won against Germany in World War II, underlines the difference in that Eisenhower not only sees himself as an American but was fully accepted by others as an American.

The Chinese community see themselves as Malaysian but unfortunately there are those who are unwilling to accept this fact. The time has come to put past prejudices and such divisiveness behind by accepting the Chinese community as Malaysian citizens with full rights as enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution. Then only can we work together to realise our full potential to make Malaysia fairer, more prosperous, free and upholding justice for all.

LIM GUAN ENG


民主行动党秘书长兼峇眼区国会议员林冠英于2021年12月13日在吉隆坡发表文告:

前首相敦马哈迪以华人群体使用筷子的比喻,突显我国在同化非马来人时所面临的挑战,并用此证明这些人的身份认同为自己的原籍国。针对这样的比喻,民主行动党深感遗憾。敦马关注同化而非融合是错置重点,它认为使用筷子吃饭而没有沿用马来西亚习惯的用手抓饭,是导致族群分崩离析的原因之一,如此的说法是不正确的。这样的分析对这里的华人群体来说,不仅简单粗暴,而且深具冒犯性。

敦马应该知道,不仅中国或台湾,日本、韩国和越南等国家也都在使用筷子吃饭。敦马曾提出向东学习政策,而这些国家恰恰是我们的对象,过去敦马也未提及使用筷子吃饭有什么问题。

这是否意味着当马来人使用筷子或叉子勺子吃饭,就会失去了马来人的民族特征?事实上,许多非华裔马来西亚人和西方人为他们能够同时使用筷子和叉勺而感到自豪,他们的民族身份并没有因此而遭到改变。

敦马言之凿凿地谈论同化非马来人的问题,他似乎忘记了非马来人外还有原住民以及沙巴与砂拉越内的土著。敦马言下之意是不是说,婆罗洲内的各州非马来人,诸如伊班人、达雅人、马兰诺人、卡达山杜顺人等,也必须失去他们的民族性和身份认同来被同化?

即便是敦马先前倡导的大马民族概念,也承认马来西亚的多元化,并要大家不分种族及宗教,以大马人为先。与其谈论同化,重点应该放在人民的融合之上,就好像把沙巴、砂拉越与马来西亚半岛融合在一起,以让马来西亚这个多元化的国家能够紧紧地团结在一起。

用筷子吃饭不代表我们就不是马来西亚人。出生在这里的华裔马来西亚人效忠于大马,也为我们身为大马人而感到骄傲,即使有机会,他们也没想要回到一个已经日益富裕和繁荣的中国。

马来西亚的华人群体一直认同的是马来西亚,而非中国。即使是 200 万迁移民出去的马来西亚人,包括马来和印裔同胞,大家皆是因为更好的薪酬前景和平等机会而选择到西方国家去。然而,敦马却没有因此认为这里的华人群体认同西方国家。

帮助一两个华裔大老板,就像帮助其他种族的大亨一样,不能等同于帮助华人群体。华人群体的贡献不应因为语言、风俗、名字、生活方式甚至饮食方式的不同,而受到质疑或歧视。如今的问题在于政治人物拒绝接受他们的身份特征,并且更在意他们是谁?以及他们来自哪里?

敦马甚至举了德裔美国前总统艾森豪被任命为在二战中战胜德国的盟军部队总司令的例子,这恰恰突显出艾森豪不仅将自己视为美国人,而且还能被美国完全接受其不同之处,承认他就是美国人。

华人群体认为自己是马来西亚人,但遗憾的是,有些人不愿意接受这个事实。现在,正是时候消除过去的种种偏见,停止再次分裂,接受华人群体作为马来西亚公民的一份子,并享有宪法赋予的权利。只有这样,我们才能共同努力,竭尽所能使马来西亚迈向一个更公平、更繁荣、更自由,并能为所有人伸张正义的国家。

林冠英

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