Sunday, December 13, 2009

The myth of homogenous ethnic Malaysians: The case of Chinese Malaysians

An interesting analysis has been done by Rita Sim, the Deputy Chairman if MCA's think-tank, INSAP, in a piece entitled, Untangling complexities of Chinese community where she proposed a framework of segmenting the Chinese Malaysian community into the following categories:

A proposed framework for segmenting the Chinese community is the "G1, G2, and G3" model. The majority can be identified as "G1s". They identify readily with traditional ideas of ethnic Chinese culture, language and expression. This group wholeheartedly supports Chinese media and schools. The existence of Huazong, Dong Zong, and other organisations -- including the MCA -- depends very much on the G1s.

The "G2s" are English-educated Chinese. Predominantly, if not exclusively, middle-class and urban, they identify more with specific civil society issues and are more likely to forge alliances with like-minded individuals or groups (church groups, for example, or Lions or Rotary Clubs) than with any of the traditional Chinese associations.

The "G3s" exist between these two groups in an overlap. G3 Chinese are those who, through language or work, have moved from one group to the other and survived, and perhaps even thrived.

The G2s and G3s are unlikely to associate themselves with any "Chinese" platforms at all, and may move in circles that are markedly multiracial as a factor of class and education. They are unrepresented politically by the MCA, as traditional communal dynamics cannot appeal to them.

This approach has been critically examined by Dr Daphne Loke in a 3-part series in the Malaysian Mirror.

Part 1: Political representation in M'sia

Part 2: Public issues and political actors

Part 3: Political representation in M'sia

The issue, essentially, involves the process in which one Malaysian community, the Chinese Malaysians, have sought channels through which their voices and aspirations may be heard.

The interesting insight offered in the above analyses is that formal political parties, be they BN or Pakatan, are a mere fraction of the channels through which Chinese Malaysian communities have used and, are using.

This should serve as a stern reminder to political leaders of all shades that like the Indian community, the Kadazans, Dayaks and other Malaysian communities, the Chinese Malaysian community is NOT homogenous in spite of all the racial stereotyping and profiling that political leaders often descend into. In the process of politicking and policy-making, the politcal players will find that the various Malaysian communities will defy ethnic and racial profiling and classification.

Malaysian political parties of all shades need to understand that the way forward is very likely to be that of preparing programmes that appeal to various Malaysian communities NOT on the basis of ethnicity but more relevant categories such as demographics, income-level, education and geography.

Failure to adjust to this reality will result in outright failure.


Anonymous said...

There r many little known facts about the Chinese M'sian in general that hardly been scratched by anyone!

This site eloquently stated one of that fact;

So, its doesnt matter where does one categorized the Chinese M'sian - G1,G2 or G3.

Deep down there is a sense of identity - ancestor root. This cut across all man-made boundaries - be it religions, countries & pseudo-intellectualism.

Perhaps that trace is more evidence with the G1. But then G1 members cut across many socio-political generalization.

G2 & G3 r perhaps more masked by their self-preservation - mainly economical, based on the CURRENT socio-political shows that go around now in M'sia! No?

There are many such worldly examples - so they r not unique to the Chinese M'sian;

"I'm a American patriot, but I'm proud of my German root. Without that root, I'm nothing" - known who said that?

"My contribution to the world economic reforms is purely due to my upbringing, that's steep in my ancestor's origin. My adopted country only provide me the means to achieve that end" - By who?

So there r many Chines M'suian pariahs, more so those 3rd kind human category - Enough said.

walla said...

Anonymous said...

GGM (Goodness Gracious Me).

G1, G2, G3.....Gn

If this is how INSAP, the think-tank of MCA categorize Chinese Malaysians, MCA will go the way of the dodo.

Race based political parties are fundamentally flawed, divisive and anachronistic.

marion said...

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