The Leaders Are Always Right

April 29, 2015 by Suara Kebenaran

Category: politik

“I am very shocked at what Salleh Keruak has said about Tun Mahathir. Has he forgotten the fact that Mahathir has contributed tremendously to the development and well-being of Malaysia?”

“You need to practice and implement the fundamental Malaysian tradition, that you respect your leaders. If you have any difference of ideas, seek advice or guidance from your leaders instead of lashing out in public.”

“I’m dismayed that you have not changed for the better.”

That was what Robert Phang, the founder and chairman of the Social Care Foundation, said to Sabah Speaker Salleh Said Keruak in his Blog today.

I am currently studying the early history of Singapore over the last 200 years to understand how that tiny island-state became an economic powerhouse. It is a most interesting study because undoubtedly it was the Chinese in collaboration with the British and the Johor Royal Family that made Singapore into what it is today.

The Chinese had their own administration and laws, the British had theirs, while the Malays, too, had their separate system. In other words, 200 years ago, there were three Singapores in one.

The British part of Singapore was ruled through India. But the Colonial government in India did not put much importance in that island and left it very much to its own devices with very little financial support. So the British administrators of Singapore had to look for their own money to finance public works.

This was where the Chinese came in. The main players in Singapore were the Baba Chinese (who spoke Malay or a bastardised Hokkien-Malay that was neither Hokkien nor Malay), the Teochews and the Hokkiens. They controlled all the business activities. The main activities were trading, plantations (mostly in Johor), gambling, opium and prostitution.

The Chinese were split into three communities and each had its own leader. The Babas, because they spoke English, were closer to the British so the British appointed compradors from amongst them to manage the Baba community. The Teochews and Hokkiens had their own paramount leaders who laid down the laws and had power of life and death over their people.

In short, the British, Malays, Babas, Teochews and Hokkiens all had their own leaders and the people had to listen to their leader or face death. Chinese girls aged 11-13 were bought (yes, bought) in China and then brought to Singapore to work the brothels owned by the various clan kongsis. They also traded in opium (grown in Singapore, Johor and Batavia), which was not only exported to China on British ships but was also a form of salary for the Chinese plantation workers. Yes, the plantation workers were paid in opium, not cash. The prostitutes were not paid anything, of course, because they had been purchased as slaves.

The Chinese then paid tax to the British, who used this income to develop Singapore. And when China tried to stop the British from bringing opium into China, the British declared war on China and took Hong Kong by force and turned it into a British colony. In fact, the British ships that attacked China came from Singapore.

So the Chinese in Singapore, who had come from China just a decade or two before that, were very much involved in the opium trade in China. They financed the British through taxes on opium, prostitution and plantations to not only develop and run Singapore but to wage war against China as well, a very important market for opium, plus a very important source for girls aged 11-13 to restock the brothels in Singapore.

You see, these girls started work between 11-13 but in just a couple of years many died due to suicide, opium and diseases. Almost all the girls had the pox and would die in just a few years. Those that ran away were hunted down and killed. The Malays and British did not interfere. And the leaders decided what happens and anyone who questions their leaders or even dares to raise his face and look the leader in the eye would be executed.

You needed to look down to the ground when you addressed your leader and you prostrated on your hands and knees in front of your leader to demonstrate reverence and loyalty.

This was probably what the Chinese would have said 200 years ago:

“I am very shocked at what Zeng has said about Baba Tan. Has he forgotten the fact that Baba Tan has contributed tremendously to the development and well-being of Singapore?”

“You need to practice and implement the fundamental Chinese tradition, that you respect your leaders. If you have any difference of ideas, seek advice or guidance from your leaders instead of lashing out in public.”

“I’m dismayed that you have not changed for the better.”

I suppose Robert Phang would have fit in wonderfully to old Singapore. This was Singapore and Chinese culture of 200 years ago. You never raised your face or looked your leader in the eye. You do not question or contradict your leader. If you do so you die

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