Wednesday, May 23, 2018

MCA and Gerakan, Time to Change Course!

When I joined Genting in 1977, Tan Koon Swan was already no longer there and had become a wind-cloud personality in the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). But his legacy loomed large; everyone seemed to speak well of him in Genting. He was also often in the news, when the leadership in MCA was at that time in turmoil.

When I was offered to head an MCA-backed company, I jumped in without really knowing much about the party and the company. I became disillusioned within weeks and resigned. It was my shortest stint in any organisation!

I have never bothered to know much about MCA anymore. Ling Liong Sik and Ong Kah Ting were not the reformation or transformation type; but they did do some good to the Chinese community in Tunku Abdul Rahman College and University Tunku Abdul Rahman. Many, otherwise deprived of a place in the public universities and colleges, have graduated and become successful professionals and businessmen. Chua Soi Lek should have been a reasonably good leader to helm MCA and able to lend some weight in the government if not for “that” extra-marital rendezvous of his.

His successors are really a bunch of write-offs. People like Liow Tiong Lai and Wee Ka Siong cannot see beyond the trappings of ministerial offices.

Gerakan is no better also. It is all downhill after Lim Kheng Aik. Koh Soo Koon exemplified how a respectable academic could at the end of the day become an apologist for the powers that be. His successors are also a bunch of jokers, especially the leader of its youth wing, who seems to give the impression he is a moron each time he opens his mouth.

Now with MCA and Gerakan virtually wiped out in the 14th General Elections of the country, these two parties should kick out their leaders without delay.  Some of the post-election comments or opinions given by the leaders in their youth wings border on infantility. The more the open their mouths, the more their party will lose credibility. They should invite people like Robert Kuok to tell them what to do next! But you don’t really need Robert Kuok to tell them things that are pretty simple to do, right? There are plenty of wise men and women in Malaysia.

MCA and Gerakan should become COMMUNITY WELFARE organisations – MCA opens its door to all Chinese and Gerakan, to all Malaysians! They should advocate good causes and fight for their constituents’ welfare, nothing more, nothing less.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Visit to the Manchu Heartland

The provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang are collectively known as Dongbei (Northeast) of China. They were once Manchu's heartland. I have always been fascinated by China's history and geography. We named our first-born Shen-yang, which is the capital of Liaoning. My wife and I decided to do a 8D7N tour of the region earlier this month. 

Only Scoot offers direct flight from Singapore to Shenyang. Since I am now a handicap, I need more leg rooms. We therefore opted for its Business Class seats. Of course, the service is a far cry from the full service airlines, but I must say it is pretty adequate and punctual.

Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin are, by any standard, huge cities. There isn't much to see really. But they do have their individual characters. Shenyang was the capital of Manchukuo where Puyi was installed emperor by Japan after the fall of the Manchu Dynasty. It was renamed "Mukden" then. Changchun, the capital of Jilin, is the dustiest of the lot. Jilin is the home of China's huge oil fields. Russian influence of Harbin is particularly pronounced, especially on its town planning and architecture. Adjacent to it is the Changbai-shan range of mountains across which is North Korea.

Our tour guide, a young and energetic man of early thirties, is an encyclopedia of Manchu history. The region was the first victims of Japan's atrocities during the Sino-Japanese War. His hatred for everything Japan borders fanaticism. 

The region is pretty clean, but if you think that Malaysian drivers are bad, you have to see how Dongbei Chinese go about with their cars. NOBODY GIVES WAY! Every inch is game for taking advantage of! I was tempted to ask my tour guide this: If there is now a war between Japan and China, how could China hope to win if its people are each for himself or herself?

Shenyang's Forbidden City
The Warlord who detained Chiang Kaishek, is one of the revered one here.

Typically China.... Bad workmanship, poor maintenance, and what-have-you

Western pretensions,
but the whole theme park is largely in a state of neglect!

Care for some dog meat?
Apparently, Dongfei people love it

Heaven's Lake at Changbai-shan - the mountain range that separates China and North Korea

A thousand-year-old tree?

Red Beach at Shenyang