We are more than a month into the war between Russia and Ukraine. It’s not a pretty scene when Russian forces start shelling and shooting indiscriminately in an attempt to break the stalemate. Millions have lost their homes and fled the country. Refugees keep pouring into neighbouring countries. An untold number of Russians and Ukrainians have been killed or injured. Teachers, musicians, dancers, sportsmen and even a comedian are risking their lives to defend their country. Meanwhile, the propaganda machines in two countries keep churning out lies and fake news.
Under the current circumstances, it’s hard to imagine anyone not sympathising with Ukrainians. That’s why many people are shocked by the number of Malaysians supporting the invasion of Ukraine. Interestingly, this support is not direct but comes by association. I’ve mentioned before that Malaysia is a hotbed for 五毛 and brainwashed pro-China individuals. A lot of it comes from the feeling of estrangement marginalisation on the part of ethnic Chinese Malaysians. Does this problem affect us here in Singapore? You bet.
On 20 March, our very own Straits Times had a report on the rise of pro-China Singaporeans and what it means for Singapore. The report came with a video. 3 recently “converted” Singaporean men were interviewed.
I was like wow. Finally, our official newsPAPer addresses an issue that has been bothering me for quite a while – the rise of 五毛 and CCP-brainwashed ethnic Chinese Singaporeans. Near the beginning of the video, we have a gentleman (a teacher no less) by the name of Michael Tan telling us about how “cool” and “interesting” former Chinese diplomat Madam Hua Chunying is.
Cool? Yao mo gao chor ah? Since when has Madam Hua ever refuted an accusation with evidence? Mr Michael Chan thinks that all the evasive, arrogant, derisive and sometimes imbecile remarks are “cool”? Does this woman even have the basic decorum of a foreign ministry spokesperson? Let me take a recent video I made on Hua Chunying’s statement, trying to convince everyone that the Taliban has changed for the better. Does Mr Michael Chan also find her statements on the Taliban cool?
Having said that, I can appreciate Mr Michael Chan’s acknowledgement that he is an outsider and he even revealed that he has been tempted to play 五毛 but rejected it. The second guy, Rodney Tan is the real joker. Take a holiday to find out the secrets of Xinjiang? Yao mo gao chor ah? By taking a holiday, visiting the sites that they allow you to go on a holiday and you can disprove the evidence that journalists found by interviewing insiders and escapees?
Winston, the maker of the video below has spent 14 years working in Shenzhen and he has also married a woman from China. He used to be completely anti-Falungong because he was having such a great time in China and didn’t agree with people saying bad things about the country – until the system screwed him up and he got enlightened. I’m glad that I went to Xinjiang when China was a lot friendlier, less suspicious and intrusive. This is Xinjiang today. Watch your back.
Of course, Mr Rodney Tan also mentioned that as long as it doesn’t compromise Singapore, it (meaning supporting China’s narrative and denying accusations by the West) is OK. However, he probably realises by now, of the subordination that the regime in Beijing expects of overseas Chinese, now suggestively known as 中国海外侨胞. He said he disagrees totally. How can you disagree totally and still not recognise the hegemonic regime for what it is? If not for the US and Australian navy, we would need to abide by China’s intrusive maritime laws passed in September 2021 every time we enter the 9-dash line.
Folks who do not know much Chinese like Mr Rodney Tan have a very serious blind spot. As I’ve once pointed out to Singapore’s toilet king Jack Sim (an unabashed sinophile), China’s negative press in the Chinese language far exceeds that in the “Western media” in quantity and severity. I guarantee any one of those YouTube channels linked below is cooler than Hua Chunying.
The list is by no means exhaustive. And the term “Western media” is really an ignorant label because unlike Xinhua, People’s Daily, CGTN etc which can only trumpet the official narrative, Fox News, CNN, Reuters, ABC, BBC, Bloomberg etc etc can have different viewpoints and perspectives. They often don’t agree.
The “delicate balance” between ethnicity and nationality mentioned by Mr Tan Ming Hui is probably the most worrying part of this growing pro-China trend, because to me, a Singaporean who happens to like Chinese culture and history, there is no “balance” to strike at all. I have friends and relatives in China. I know where my ancestors are from. I enjoy exploring about the culture, the history and the beautiful scenery, but the opaque, inhuman system of government is not to my liking.
On my part, I don’t really care if these folks put their money where their mouths are and had all their money dumped into Evergrande projects only to get burned. Let’s face it. It’s easy to get drawn by the charm of China’s prosperity, progressiveness and “coolness”. Even though I’m a backpacker, I enjoy going around on the HSR too. But 2 hours’ drive out of any Chinese city, you’ll see poverty. If you revisit any poverty alleviation programme seen on TV, you’ll see the folks in the countryside back where they started. At the end of the day, “problems” encountered in China, be they rumours of an epidemic, an actual epidemic or opposition voices are, like in the past, still dealt with by crushing with an iron fist, all that glitz and glamour in the foreground notwithstanding. Delicate balance? I just hope these “believers” could volunteer as hostages when we have a Meng Wanzhou incident.
I happen to know quite a few denying but obvious 五毛 and almost every single uncle at the barber shop I visit regularly thinks that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is an American creation and the vaccine is meant to control Chinese people. These folks would believe everything the Chinese media (CGTN, People’s Daily, Xinhua, 抖音, Weibo) tells them. I don’t think that many of them receive money to play 五毛, but they will never admit that they will place China before Singapore. It’s just that China, unfortunately, will always be that “ideal” country they wish they could belong. By identifying themselves as Chinese, they could almost feel that a bit of China’s greatness rubs off on them. If these uncles can’t live on their own past glories, they live on the glory of their “relatives”. Mr Michael Chan should consider himself lucky that they may only be gracious enough to consider him 远亲。He wouldn’t want to qualify as 韭菜.
The biggest obstacle faced in getting these folks to wake up, is China’s apparent prosperity which somehow glorifies those who identify themselves with it. This is materialistic Singapore after all. The other day, one teacher posted something quite stupid on his FB timeline. He said that when the USSR broke up, Russia adopted democracy. When China opened up, the country remained communist. Since China is economically more successful, that means communism is better than democracy.
It’s appalling to note that many people buy this argument. They don’t realise that when Russia “democratised” (it’s actually a dictatorship just like China), state enterprises were bought up cheaply by the then young entrepreneurs. Over time, they controlled the country’s fortunes, morphed into oligarchs, worked in collusion with former KGB men like Putin and caused massive hyperinflation in the country. That’s a very short summary. We can read Putin’s People by Catherine Belton if you’re interested.
What did China do differently? The country held on to its state enterprises. It’s private sector was not created from its state enterprises but by massive injection of funds and investments from its diaspora. On top of that, there’s the WTO and the evil West didn’t bother to kick China out even though they did not abide by the rules. That’s the other culprit. 没有WTO就没有新中国。 I won’t go into the details, but I certainly expect teachers who claim to teach critical thinking would look a little deeper beyond the surface.
China during Deng Xiaoping’s 韬光养晦 time was a very different country compared to it was during Jiang Zemin’s 闷声发大财 time when a study group glorifying Mao Zedong had all its members arrested. Even during Hu Jintao’s time when Jiang Zemin was still very much in control, China changed. If not for the 2008 Olympics, the melamine scandal would not have been dealt with in such a transparent manner. After the 2008 Olympics, China became confident, dictating its own terms (which are often unfair and bullying) and started blocking international platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and then Google.
Today, Mao is gloried once more. A member of the group that once got arrested is now running tours to North Korea and promoting a system that Deng tried to put away. The editors of a periodical exploring history without political overtones 炎黄春秋 had its entire editorial team replaced by CCP sycophants. Mao’s wife Jiang Qing who was persecuted during Deng’s time had her tomb opened to the public while Deng’s fellow reformer Hu Yaobang’s tomb is now blocked. Interestingly, many of these pro-China folks are totally unaware of all these swings in ideology and how it has reached toxic nationalism in recent years. The next swing could smash into their faces. Remember, all “problems” are settled with an iron fist.
My concern is not that these believers would lose their shirts from investments in what is believed to be the biggest market in the world. Or they might bruise their noses, getting into trouble with the authorities like overenthusiastic Winston did. I don’t even care if they are trapped in a snap lockdown in Shanghai and have to fight with their “distant relatives” over food supplies. My greatest concern is how these folks’ sense of “pride” (Chinese chauvinism) will affect Singapore’s racial harmony. A Chinese person once told me that Singapore should use Mandarin as its official language instead of English. We should feel proud of being Chinese and not being former subjects of the British. I explained that we are a multi-racial society. She argued that we are the majority. In China, all the minorities have to use Mandarin. I wonder if any of our pro-China folks would agree with her. I believe Mr Tang Liang Hong has been misrepresented when he was accused of being a dangerous man and a Chinese chauvinist. I certainly don’t look forward to the day when Singapore really gets a dangerous Chinese chauvinist opposition that believes that communism is better than democracy.