How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why are we interested in British royals? (Something for The Star columnist, June Wong)

I read June Wong's article  in The Star 'Let the Will and Kate show begin! this morning ( ) and here are some reasons why I think Malaysians are fond of the British royal family...

I think it is hard to explain why Malaysians are generally interested in the British Queen and her extended family. While citizens of some former European colonies are resentful of their colonial masters, Malaysians seem fond of Britain and anything British, judging from the many students who have studied there and continue to do so, despite the unfavourable exchange rate.

Though the British as colonial masters, were deemed to have taken advantage of our natural resources to enrich themselves, they had left behind excellent administration system and good quality schools, and though the political system seems based on 'divide and rule' which we have yet to overcome, it is democratic and we have only ourselves to blame if we continue to have 'colonial masters' in local guise.

From my personal experience studying and working in Britain (1973-1981), it was educational in changing my outlook and my interaction with the British was generally warm and friendly.

In mid-1920s, my father was a part-time caddie in Sentul Golf Club (closed, now part of Sentul Raya West), where he got to know some British engineers and executives and found a job as an apprentice in Sentul Workshop (KTM). His impression of the British was typical of Malaysians in that era: known locally as 'Tuan' or Boss, who as expatriates, got to enjoy all the luxuries which the locals could only envy and wish for. He also got to know their Hainanese cooks who excelled in western cuisine and years later, introduced me to dishes like 'Chicken Chop' and 'Pork Chop' found in a Hainanese restaurant on Jalan Dang Wangi (formerly Jalan Campbell) in KL.

Fast forward 50 years later, when my parents visited me in Britain. One morning, he was watching some British binmen collecting rubbish from houses where we lived. He kept telling me with disbelief, that he was seeing 'Angmo' (or 'Red-haired' as westerners are commonly referred to in Hokien dialect) doing manual work! His idea of 'Angmo' as 'Tuan' in Malaysia, was so ingrained that it was unimaginable to him that there were British doing unpleasant manual jobs. One thing he was not aware was that such workers earn as much as, if not more than, some gentlemen working in pleasant offices.

One of the reasons for our long established British link was education. We learned English and many were able to succeed as professionals and in businesses, and became the local 'Tuans' in British colonial clubs like Selangor Club, Ipoh Club, and so on. The British also influenced our taste in clothes and many other aspects of our lives too. This has the effect of 'snob appeal' in being able to speak impeccable English and behaving like British aristocrats. So we now have a class of Malaysians who are rich and influential, and who behave like British, even though they are Malays, Chinese or Indians! Some call such Chinese, 'bananas' because they are 'yellow on the outside, but white inside'! Some got carried away and tend to look down on those who cannot speak English as well as them. So we have other groups of Malaysians who were educated mainly in Malay, Chinese or Tamil, who actually admire those who speak good or excellent English! For a fact, I know of a widow who inherited a tidy sum from her late husband, who is now learning English and other things to acquire the necessary grace to go with her newfound wealth!

If we can find many Malaysians who look up to the British for knowledge and taste in fashion, it is therefore unsurprising to find Malaysians who are avid British royal fans, especially having been fed the wonderful fairy tales, Christmas and other celebrations, from young. Personally, I now enjoy watching the television serial, Downton Abbey, which was based on a novel and filmed on location at Highclere Castle near Newbury in Berkshire. I enjoy the display of the British social structure during the First World War, based on the aristocratic 'upstairs' and the working class found 'downstairs' of the Duke's castle. While the aristocrats speak Queen's English, the staff downstairs generally speak with their Scottish, Irish or Cockney accent, depending on their origin.

While some may find the retention of old buildings like palaces, castles, churches and so on boring, many like Britain for the old architecture and long history. After decades of absence, if one were to visit London again, one can find one's way round because nothing much have changed! Even the Queen has remained after decades of reign. The British monarchy still uses original horse carriages for their grand functions like royal weddings and anniversaries. The pomp and pageantry on such occassions had been admired and emulated all over the world.

By the way, my grandniece, Wai-Jun will cherish her meeting the Queen as a baby...

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