Saturday, 27 December 2008
C. P. Lim's Lament
Thank you gosmusik for Gilbert O'Sullivan's Why Oh Why Oh Why.
One man's meat is another man's poison. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist!!.. To the British, the IRA is a terrorist outfit but the Irish (at least the Catholics) have a different perspective on it. And by the way, the Irish troubles have always been dressed as sectarian violence, not religious, as between the Catholics and the Protestants. It's to do with the 'flexibility' of the English language.
Ong Boon Hwa, alias Lim Chin Peng, is a freedom fighter in the eyes of Western academics, old-fashioned Socialists, present day Liberals, chauvinists and self-loathing 'liberal' Malays. Let's chew on this a little:
The British Government, both Labour ( left-wing, so called) and Conservative (true blue right wing) were happy to bed with the Chinese Communists in Malaya when they were outclassed by the Japanese during the 2nd World War. It also became respectable for Winston Churchill, Roosevelt and de Gaulle to be holding hands with Stalin for the purpose of defeating Hitler. This is sleeping with the enemy under the 'selimut' (blanket) - cosying up before the knives are drawn once the alliance has outlived its usefulness. This was exactly what happened after the defeat of the Japanese in the Peninsula. The partners in this marriage of convenience parted and went on with their own agenda and guess who paid the price?
As early as 1943, MPAJA had drawn up a plan for a People's Republic of Malaya and it was endorsed by the international Communist setup. No Malay, be they the nobility or the rakyat, knew that their homeland had been given away without consultation or permission. And by the end of the war nearly 10,000 armed, trained and disciplined Chinese remained in the jungle.
Let's now look at LCP's credentials before we anoint him as the Malay Peninsula's liberation fighter. Born in 1924 in Perak, educated in Chinese and English, he joined AEBUS (Anti-Enemy Backing Up Society) to send aid to China in response to Japanese aggression in China. It's equivalent today to joining a Muslim Organisation to liberate Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Palestine from the Alliance of Judaeo-Christian Nations! The MCP is not a Malay Peninsula political and national force . The leaders are Chinese with Chinese names. Albeit there are Malays in it, like the precursor of the Ali Baba Syndrome. However one only has to look at the table above and judge the involvement of the Malays in the MCP.
LCP and his setup are nothing like Gandhi's in India, Sukarno's in Indonesia, Ho Chi-Minh's in Vietnam or Garibaldi's in Italy.
It had no support from the Malay peasants - the proportion of Malay guerrillas was 1 in 20 and this figure does not indicate whether this was pre- or post-Japanese defeat. But certainly the MCP was supported by half a million Chinese squatters - and Chinese 'farmers' squatting in agriculture, of course, was rare before the Economic Slump of the 1930s.
We need to ask this question. When did the Chinese (or the Indians for that matter) begin to see the Malay Peninsula as 'home' - in the sentimental, spiritual and traditional sense? Or has it just been the Goose that laid the Golden Egg, a temporary accommodation for enterprise and profit, which by the way also benefitted the British. Again a flocking of similar birds of passage.
In fact in the 1950s the Chinese were claiming the right to be loyal to Malaya and China. The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce petitioned the Colonial Government for status to give them full citizenship rights in Malaya while remaining citizens of China - good try but the Brits were not buying.
If there was a negligible number of Malays in the MCP, this was paralleled by the scanty existence of Chinese in the Security Forces.Up to 1952, 20 Chinese enlisted in the Federation Regiment. Between 1 April to October 1952 there were 505 Chinese in the Federation of Malaya Police Force which is 0.089% of male Chinese population of 19 years and over. Before the Emergency, one could describe the attitude of the Malays to the Chinese as derived from envy. But now there was the element of anger. They bore the brunt of defending their homeland and protecting the British and Chinese Corporations from the terrorists. They had to leave their kampungs and agriculture unattended and the economic boom of the 1950s brought no benefit to them.
We all know what transpired with LCP when the Emergency 'ended' in 1960. He travelled to China to get permission for ending the armed struggle but Deng Xiaoping told him that "South East Asia was ripe for Revolution" and so the CPM maintained the 'war' for decades after. Following the 1966 Cultural Revolution in China, a sort of "verification" programme for Mao to purge his rivals, LCP's CPM in 1968 split into 3 factions accompanied by similar purges, mass trials and executions. Even though he was by now living in Southern China, Communist insurgency did not end. When the Cold War ended, i.e when the free market and capitalism did not remain a dirty word in Russia and China, LCP returned to southern Thailand for the 1989 Agreement. He vowed he was still a Marxist-Leninist, a dying breed in the rest of the world. He could claim to be so because Malaysia does not force people to recant, and publicly apologise and purge themselves of their 'sins'. He also wanted to carry on with his party activities.
Why does he want to come back to Malaysia? Leon Comber who served with the Special Branch during the Emergency had this to say.
I met Chin Peng in 1999 at a conference at Canberra.....He was like a towkay...spoke English, Malay and Chinese ...seemed forthright but who knows what he held back. In retrospect he was probably gathering information for his history (Chin Peng's book, 'My side of the Story' was published in 2003)
The problem with him coming back is that he is still adamant that he is a Marxist and unapologetic over the Emergency. My own view is that he just wants a place in history.
In October 2oo4 LCP was invited for a 3-day conference at Singapore's Institute of South-east Asian Studies and in June 2008 he failed in his appeal to return to Malaysia.
In May of this year at the street near my home in Leicester, Lely and I were confronted by racist taunts from 12-13 year olds , yes they were that young. They were half-black, half-Asian and full Asian kids. They yelled from across the street very proudly that they were "born in England". I replied and yelled "so are monkeys". I felt no pride in saying that because I was old enough to be their grandmother. They start very young nowadays.
There is a marked difference between being a person of Malaysian origin and a Malaysian citizen. You may have all the documents at hand but those years of insurrection and treason against the Malay Peninsula together with the deaths of 12,000 (?) civilians should make you a pariah and a persona non grata in any self-respecting nation.
LCP should just keep to writing and making speeches like ex-Prime Ministers and ex-Presidents do. He has a greater cache among the New Liberals and a more exciting tale to tell. If some Malaysians and Malaysian film makers are desperate in finding A LOCAL HERO, come and talk to Osman and Aisha.