"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Some people, mostly Singaporeans insecure about the Great Chinese Tradition (TM) and wondering if it is dying a lonesome and pitiful death, think that the mere fact that someone is of Chinese descent means that they must speak Chinese with at least a modicum of fluency. A few even think that ethnic Chinese must conform at least superficially to their rigid notions of what "Chinese" must be. Those who do not are derisively labelled "Bananas": "Yellow on the outside, White on the inside".

Leaving separate the fact that most Singaporean Chinese cannot even speak a full sentence in Chinese without lapsing into English for some of the more difficult nouns - words like "weather", "game" and "TV", what is there about race that obliges people to conform to certain archetypes?

To avoid accusations of being turncoats, how far do ethnic Chinese have to conform? Must they like eating Chinese food? How about believing in acupuncture instead of quack Western medicine? Do they have to bind the feet of their women? Prefer sons over daughters, perhaps participating in the great Chinese tradition of infanticide? Must they even worship the traditional Chinese Gods? How about ethnic Arabs? Must they be Muslim?

Anyhow, Mandarin (or Putonghua, if you prefer), is not the only tongue spoken in China, arbitrarily selected by the central government to be elevated above the rest (primarily because it is a Northern Tongue). The true language of the forefathers is actually the dialect of your respective dialect group.

People accuse who accuse many Singaporeans of being Bananas (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) presumably think it better to be yellow through and through. Incidentally, that describes urine.

Maybe I should start reading the Straits Times again so that, in addition to learning who got killed, raped, molested, knocked down by a van or conned into buying a Magic Stone, I can find out the latest subjects that obsessive idiots rant shrilly about, and rant equally shrilly in reply.
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