Reality..? What Wave Will Hit Sarawak..??

Too many theories, too many cooked up”political hear-says”,too many unwanted hands ‘if you know the meaning” involved and mosts of all the rural constituencies of Sarawak will take a battering from PKR are the words from mosts political analysts after being fed with seemingly FACTUAL BUT ONESIDED ACCOUNTS OF THE PEOPLES FEELINGS IN AND AROUND SARAWAK.

Sarawak, is so much unlike the other states in the Peninsular as this state is so vasts and the rural areas are  so isolated and communication is one but many a problem for mosts campaigners. Many have said PKR has made inroads in the rural bastion of BN. What really caught my eye this morning was at breakfast when a Senior member of SUPP branch said,” The people just want to change the colours and its virtually impossible to brainwash them back to BN.” Is he afraid? Yes ,it seems and I could tell from his eyes and his body language.  He even told me to refer to this Malaysiakini article where he said briefly “ONE OUTCOME ” and I extracted it out,”  

Such are the political sentiments of Malaysians today.The majority of Malaysians no longer support UMNO because the party is perceived as being arrogant, racist,corrupt and out of touch with the rakyat.If Najib was to calla snap poll after taking power in March,there would likely be only be only ONE OUTCOME.

Even his SUPP President who announces his intention of not being included in the lists of candidates did not make him feel comfortable. Also with audie 61 providing him the consolation that SUPP will include NEW FACES in the lineup did not bring even a glimmer of hope nor a smile to his face. He then pointed to the article in the local tabloid,”PIASAU will be ours in the Next State Polls,says PKR”

What was written was that the branch publicity secretary of PKR has indeed ruffled and up the ante at SUPP’s seemingly Miri bastion. The optimism is based on the party receiving increasing support from the leaders in the national level and there are many other plus factors.”Things seems to be in our favour,and the chances of winning are good.”There are more manpower going down on the field to help and now the PKR is more popular among the people and more are joining as we speak.

So it seems that the “Last Emperor of SUPP” has backdown on the challenges thrown to him? Dr.George feels that new SUPP leaders in Miri will be able to counter the threats of PKR. Many SUPP members have said that George is doing it to keep the party afloat but on the other hand they are some who said he is ‘Abandoning the Fight to protect his Face” Could it be just another camouflage? COMETH THE HOUR,COMETH THE MAN,”The party needs me to go with them into battle” You never know with politicians,do you…?

On July 6th 2008 PRS President Dr.James Masing did mention that in 2006 PRS lost one of the seats contested because of its internal disputes and the unfriendly elements.”Such unfriendly attitude is not healthy especially when exhibited by those who claimed themselves to be members of BN family.” How very true.!! audie61 have time and time played up the issue of HIDDEN HAND involved in BN and Pakatan and the persons do not know where they belong. They are opportunists to the core and they only bring with them their brand of politics of conflict and distrusts.

In local analogy they are call,”THREE HEADED DRAGON IN THE SKY” They think they know it all,done it,seen it BUT they do fail to see ITS DIFFERENT TIMES and NOW we Have more advanced APACHE HELICOPTERS. PRS President James also said this unfriendly BN elements will be hovering around like vultures ready to strike if we show any signs of weakness.

When KU Li wrote which was published also in Malaysiakini  ,”UMNO leadership is part of the problem” it goes beyond that but what he questions are truth and the TRUTH will prevail if answers are not forthcoming.

Simple questions,”Can Umno change? Of course it can. Umno is made up of people and people can change if they really want to. The writing is on the wall, Umno.”The people have spoken, “Change, Umno, or the rakyat will change you.”

Is PKR or DAP in Sarawak pushing the envelopes to the edge for the people to accept? Can the people do it or will they rally behind BN again in their destitute hour of need? It seems its the same old faces coming into play for the opposition parties and the people/voters will vote for practically someone new no matter WHAT  party they belong in the next State elections. Which Wave..? People’s Perception. Believe and Trust me …………….

PKR”Multi Racial Dream Team Lawyers” taking them on..

It’s On.This full report in which MP Gobalakrishnan has applied for leave for a judicial review on his entry ban into Sarawak last Christmas Eve. February 6 2009 has been set for the leave application or notice for the judicial review.

According to the Dominique Ng, who is the lawyer handling the case ‘a multi-racial dream team’ of PKR lawyers, including Orang Ulu lawyers Baru Bian and Harrison Ngau, Shankar Ram and himself will handle the case. “More  lawyers  are being sought to join the panel.” 

Ng told Malaysiakini today that the application for judicial review in the Gobalakrishnan v state director of immigration,state attorney-general and the state secretary are being served with the sealed copies of the application for notice for judicial review of the matter.

Our earlier report on December 27th 2008 mentioned that thelocal tabloids even quoted ,”a news portal Malaysiakini played up the issue since Dec 24,the latest being a claim that Sarawak may use its immigration powers to deny entry to more Peninsular Malaysia based politicians,including de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim in the face of what is seen as growing local support for the opposition.

The MP Gobalakrishnan according to political sources have irked the CM Taib and his family as he touched on infrastuctural development particularly that of Kapit and of Hulu Rejang,corruption,oil royalty and NCR(native customary land) in Parliament. Our full report can be read

This full episode happened when  Gobalakrishnan was denied entry on Dec 24 at 5.30 pm when he flew into Kuching from Kuala Lumpur on a social visit. He told Malaysiakini that it was politically motivated and intended to take legal action against the authorities concerned.

He related then that the moment he reached the airport, immigration officers told him that he was not allowed to enter due to instructions from the state government.

“The immigration officer gave me a notice which reads ‘Tuan bukan rakyat Sarawak, tidak berhak untuk masuk ke Sarawak tanpa permit atau pas Akta Imigresen 1959-1963’ (You are not a citizen of Sarawak and are not eligible to enter Sarawak without a permit or immigration pass)

So Dominique its now in your hands,”Dream Team.vs the Government Enforcers..hmmm”  Who will come out Tops..??


Politicians in Sarawak are back with a bang after the welcoming the year of the Earth OX and celebrating Chinese New Year with their families and loved ones. SUPP  in this malaysiakini report has indicated it is ready to drop unpopular leaders at the next state elections.Party President Dr.George Chan has earlier announced he is not going to seek re-election to his Piasau state seat.

The partys losses in the last state elections which saw the party losing ground in the Chinese Majority constituencies especially when the partys long serving incumbents in Kuching were soundly defeated is one of the reasons the party needs to look at NEW and FRESH Faces. It needs to RE-INVENT and thus Dr.Chan says that the party needs to stay together and move forward to wrestle back the losts seats.

Meanwhile a former PRS SG Sidi Munan was taken to tasks by Anaklu of audie61 as whether he has joined PKR? “No,no,no Hmmm,he replied.” However he says that BN needs to look closely especially at multi racial parties and use KT by election as a BAROMETER of where the Sarawak voters are going to vote in the next state elections. He said that many who have left PRS for PKR shows that the ones joining are not to be taken lightly. He said he, himself is already the grand old man of Sarawak politics as he is nearing 73 years old and he will not be able to campaign like in his younger days. Is it true that PRS has losts many members close to 17000 as reported in the mainstream media asks Anaklu? Of course, it depends on how the party leadership takes it and they must know how to consolidate themselves. I have done my part as the Founder President of the Party and my work is already done. Just then an sms was received from a reliable source from PKR Sarawak.

The sms received at 11.09am reads,”Bintulu PKR Dinner 21 Feb.2009. Venue: Lot 2026,Sg,Nyigu Industrial Estate formerly site of Heavy Machines Expos in Bintulu.” So work is already gaining momentum for the visit of  Anwar Ibrahim de facto leader of PKR and Sarawak and Sabah state chief. The last dinner function in Kuching was a runaway success which attracted close to 4500 at the sit down dinner while thousands more stood outside in the light drizzle listening to the speeches. It may be 3 weeks to go but all arrangements are progressing as scheduled says the PKR spokesman.

Expect the Sarawak political landscape to heat up in the coming weeks. The political parties in BN Sarawak , PKR and DAP will try to outdo each other and gain popular support with their respective programmes to gain the necessary political mileage to stay close to the PEOPLE/VOTERS in their respective constituencies.

PKR can claim that they have moved inwards to the Rural dayak Bastion of BN Sarawak while DAP will try to penetrate into more urban BN SUPP seats eventhough SUPP goes into reinventing itself.

Related source

Facts and Assumptions..Yeah,right..!!

This Malaysiakini report in which it headlines,”Syed Hamid: Don’t see criminals as heroes,cops as demons” will trigger of course a lot of political talk in and around the country. If the countrys number one enforcement department has had learnt its lessons that there are different ways of interrogation techniques Kugan would not today be “DEAD”

Kugan was to many who knew him a WHITE PAPER and never had any brushings with the law. Fair Game,too this time to the Home Minister when he said to bernama,”We will not conceal the facts” as what he said if it is not followed through will come back and haunt him. Of course I will not hide from the facts i.e.”THE BALLOT BOXES” the people  are the masters in this final jigsaw and our honourable minister will know that the BN government is facing its toughest hurdle with low public confidence in BNs administration. 

This next statement extracted from the same article in Malaysiakini,”He said no one was above the law and added that action would be taken against those who broke the law, even if it was the police. Even Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail said that Kugan’s death had been classified as murder.

Here, we do not want to teach the Police or the Home Minister to do their job. They should know what needs and what needs not to be done. They should not be anymore coverups. Imagine when we were young we were told by our elders or fathers,”Police are Good People

Today we are saying ,”They are Good Police and they are Bad Police”. The difference is Police in the Malaysian publics eyes are Police and not People anymore. Though they are as Human as we are but once they enter the Police Service they seem to change. Some change when they are in uniforms and some even use their positions to enpower themselves.

Maybe just a suggestion,”Please look closely at the British Metropolitan police force closely as before the  Riots of 1981 the POLICE  were strongly disliked and seen as largely reactionary and distant.” After it happened,279 police injuries and 45 members of the public were injured; over a hundred vehicles were burned, including 56 police vehicles; almost 150 buildings were damaged, with thirty burned. There were 82 arrests. Reports suggested that up to 5,000 people were involved in the riot.

It was no surprise after the incident a royal commission was estblished and findings,new measures,new attitudes flowed through the police force. The Police were back to be as HUMAN as they come and not as “BAD POLICE.”

 We hope that Kugans death will be a start for the Police force to do a lot of soul searching and we also pray that the Home Ministry will come down firmly on the department which is just under their nose. Something needs to done fast as the public is already losing confidence in the Police administration.People believe in FACTS and not assumptions any more.

 It only takes one more silly mistake or an idiotic act to further tarnish the Police force name and it will take years to “REPAIR”. The damage has been done and now the REAL WORK needs to carried out to get it back on track…..

Just Say This for Bro.Kugan

Todays Malaysiakini report “Will Kugan get the justice he deserves?” and the full text in which it said,”‘ This has happened so many times in our country. Why would this case be any different? The life of an average Malaysian has become chillingly cheap.’ 

Yesterday Natasha of audie61 played up the report of Malaysiakini’s  in which it was mentioned that the Selangor Police Chief Khaid said,” Do not turn Kugan Ananthan’s funeral into a political rally.”

Also to further reinforced her story a telephone call was made to the PRS Indian Bureau Chief Narashima Barathy who clearly said to Natasha,”,”Let’s see WHAT the Police are going to take actions against the ONES who have committed the offenceMURDER” according to the Attorney General”.


AS a mark of respect and to those of other faith audie61 and the crew would like to say this together with other fellow Malaysians.Say it LOUD, Silently or Just in your Heart but READ it for Brother Kugan as if to light a candle.,

Do it when you read this and when everyone prays for his soul the sadness and unhappiness on the family will be lessened.


Narashima Barathy, PRS Batu Lintang Indian Bureau Chief when interviewed by Nathasha of audie61 said,”Let’s see WHAT the Police are going to take actions against the ONES who have committed the offenceMURDER” according to the Attorney General”

In this Malaysiakini report  the Selangor Police Chief Khaid said,” Do not turn Kugan Ananthan’s funeral into a political rally.”

 He also warned those attending the funeral, scheduled to be held tomorrow afternoon, not to participate in any illegal gathering or carry banners and posters.

Narashima Barathy received also similar SMSes urging “all Malaysians to come for the funeral and give support to Kugan’s family.” We will be asking our immediate families and some PRS members who are holidaying with their families  in the nations capital to make an effort if not just line the street as a mark of respect.

We are very lucky that the law is not taken into their own hands. Riots,Chaos and anti-Police rebellion could have occurred. At least the people have matured considerably. Natasha asked Narashima whether he remembered the Brixton Riots in London in 1981? Yes,he remembers it as he was in his early twenties and it was splashed over in a lot of newspapers. He fears that if  it is not under control it might spark a major unrest. 

What happened then? On the evening of the 10th, at around 17:15, a black youth who had been stabbed in an attack was being helped by a police patrol in Atlantic Road. As he was being helped, a large hostile crowd gathered. As they tried to take him to a waiting car on Railton Road, the crowd intervened. The police were attacked and the struggle only ended when more police officers arrived; the youth was taken to a hospital. The crowd is reported to have believed that the police stopped and questioned the stabbed youth, rather than help him. Rumours spread that the youth had been left to die by the police or that the police looked on as the stabbed youth was lying on the street. Over 200 youths, black and white, reportedly turned on the police.

Narashima then said to Natasha that this also could have turned ugly as it could have been used as a racial issue. Narashima asked us to repost this subject

We just hope that all sides will practised tolerance and restrain during this very sad day for the family and not to be overzealous in their actions. audie61 thoughts and prayers are with the family in this very trying times and we will do whatever in our capacities to ensure that justice is done.

UGLY HEAD-FIGHTING BACK…In 1977 when I left for England I thought it was for the better. Education! Rat Race! It’s any young persons dream of acquiring the necessary knowledge and thus putting him in a better commanding position for job prospects. Unknowingly I stepped into the world of education at the worst of times in the United Kingdom. Why…?

The influx of ten of thousands of Asian immigrants and the Pursuit of Higher Education were mainly by Asian and Middle Eastern origins. It was also a time when there was deep depression and jobs were hard to come by. Council housing areas were breeding grounds for hate,racist overtones and Asian bashing movements. I was among the very few of Asian students about 10 of us from different countries in a school of around 800 co-ed students. Sure I was called different names i.e. Chinky! Prawn Balls! Slit eyesYellow Skin!  Wild man of Borneo! and to top it up there is usually a flavouring like Chinky..Go Home or Wild man of Borneo..Go back to your jungle.

Little did i know this was also racial education for me. It is only fair as they were protecting their territorial rights i.e. their highly acclaimed education system. As a matter of fact i thought at that time they have colonised us and why can’t we as servants come to the house of our masters to learn? If that is so simple they would not be any racist feelings anywhere in the world. I also had first hand experience on the Guildford, Brixton,Greater Manchester riots of the 80’s where the whole Paki-Bashing and Whites rule was at its peak.Sad but after experiencing all this happenings the people of UK have become “More Tolerant.” Even Her Majesty’s Metropoliton Police Force was transformed to being more “People Friendly” and it was an really an eye-opener for British politicians and Law-makers. 

8 years (1977-1985) of living in a world of uncertainty and having the privilege to stay together with an Englishmen,Welsh,Irish,Jew, Black Muslim and Scottish in the same house for 3 years does help me in tackling this ugly head we call “Racism.”

Former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr.Mahathir put it nicely,” one should be loyal to the religion, the race and the country.” If you want to read more are so much racial undertones in his recent address at a gathering where  he warned that they ‘Malays” stood to lose much in the new political environment where the non-Malays were unafraid to make demands. He continued by saying that if they choose to keep quiet,don’t speak up,other races will take over.

Ugly Head“. I don’t think so at this instance as when a former MP Jawah Gerang(Lubok Antu) told me specifically If I don’t speak for the Ibans in my constituency  who would? I cannot speak for the Indians as there are none. So of course when I go to Parliament I speak for  my people. It’s call to me, fighting back for the people who put him there and he was a 5 term Member of Parliament. Whoever and whatever anyone calls him I have the greatest respect for this former MP for he has served his term and electorate well.

A former Gerakan Wanita Chief Datuk Rhina Bhar cited racial Lines in the party for her quitting Gerakan. I was quite taken aback and I called one of the leaders of Gerakan up in Penang and he said’ She has served her bests and she is past her bests”. Obviously some grassroots leaders in Gerakan and MCA has voiced their concerns over their disastrous showing in the march 2008 elections and they are quick to point out that both these parties are Chinese-based Parties.

The concept of Gerakan is multi-racial but the majority is still Chinese. It goes without saying Parti Rakayat Sarawak which was in the headlines for too long and  for many reasons is predominantly an Iban based party. An elected Sarawak Assemblymen once commented ,”The party might have the concept of multi-racial but it is the majority that rules” and this is very true of SPDP,SUPP and PRS Parties in Sarawak. The people’s interest comes first and that is what they need to do to be retained as elected representatives in the coming terms. Sometimes the parties takes the racial lines and we know its for that particular instance and time only.

Racism is not only calling names or marginalisation but it goes beyond that. My better half did comment to me that sometimes subconciously we forget that we are really ‘racist”. It only needs to be checked and tolerated. The more our younger people are given the oppurtunities to study abroad,live and experience it in a foreign country the less the ugly head will emerge. Our system provides us with the avenues to fight back and we must always believe that we were created as no better than the person standing next to us. 

To me racial lines,racial overtones,also racial “spat“ and practically a “fist in your face to prove your racial superiority” is a way back in time and the fight back for everyone has just begun.



Defections..Najib Crossovers..Anwar..

When news of defection hit the internet blogs the sms received flooded in with “Hidup Pakatan Rakyat”. No more defections to Pakatan Rakyat! This Malaysiakini report “This was the bold pronouncement made by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today following the decision by Umno’s Bota state representative to join Pakatan yesterday.

In another Malaysiakini report Perak MB told Najib not to be too sure. The PAS leader said that three more Barisan Nasional assemblymen were expected to join Pakatan.  He added that discussions with the three assemblymen were ongoing and Pakatan was working at bringing them into its fold.”We did not invite them to join us but they came to see us. We are holding discussions.

The DPM afterall did make his stand clearly,””These are all rumours… I don’t think so.” After the 916 debacle here lies another concept engineered of every two weeks there will be BN legislators crossing over to Pakatan. Pakatan has managed to lure a serving assemblyman to crossover for once. The previous movements involves all the ex-MP or Ex Aduns which doesnt present much threat or even bothered the BN government. 

Wow! What makes it more great for Anwar to say is ,”“Now the Ox has come in, just be patient… we are working hard just like the ox.” What is more important is the political underlining in which the deal has been brokered. Seems Anwar has friends everyway now and Nasaruddin Hashim,Bota Assemblyman is Anwar’s old campus mate.  The HIDDEN HAND that reached out to Nasaruddin must have closed the deal with a few cards left in the pack.

Najib even said this to quell the movements of Anwars Pakatan machinery,”It is not right to abandon the party because of personal problems or dissatisfactions at a time when the party needs our support.” 

Of course ,Anwar would love to turn round and say,”Your strategists and your political boys are not working hard enough?” audie61 have said time and time again BN needs to wake up or else all of you within the BN family will no longer be in your comfort zones. The threat is real and everyone has a price and its all ABOUT TIMING TO CROSSOVER.

Do I need to say more..? If our reports earlier on this subjects of crossover,frogs,political realignment does not make BN feel the cancerous cells fast spreading then it would not be too long before we see the Final battle of Pakatan and BN. Winners will stay afloat while losers will disintegrate and need to reform or be EVAPORATED.

Related source.

George Chan Not Defending??..Wanna Bet

It seems that this Chinese New Year I have received not only a lot of happy and prosperity wishes  but also this rather disturbing news through some sms. George Chan says now he is not defending his seat.

Did he not say that he will hand over the party reigns? Will this also spark Taib,Jabu,James and Mawan not putting their names down to defend their seats? Many questions but very few answers.Lets just see how this political scenario will unfold in the coming months.

This full story extracted from an internet news blog,”Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam confirmed today that he would not defend the Piasau state seat which he has been holding since 1983.

The deputy chief minister said several young leaders had been identified as the potential candidate for the seat in the coming state election, which must be held at the latest by 2011.“Yes, I have said this (not defending the seat), including to the media,” he told reporters at the SUPP Chinese New Year open house here today.

He said SUPP would give attention to strengthening the party, including nurturing young leaders who had good working relations with other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties.Dr Chan, 73, won the Lambir parliamentary seat in 1982. He contested and won the Miri state seat in the 1983 state election and defended it in 1987.

In the 1991 state election, Dr Chan retained the seat, which had been renamed Piasau, and has been its assemblyman ever since.

On the resignation of Datuk Dr Soon Choon Teck as the party’s deputy publicity secretary, he said, party members should not make a big issue out of it.

What was important was for party members to remain united, he said.

He indicated that there would be changes to the SUPP line-up in the near future.“Let’s wait until after the Chinese New Year. We are going to have a new team … a mix of new and old faces to lead the party.”

audie61 says “It seems that George Chan has suddenly derailed the oppositions plan or is it just another SUPP political showcase. ” For the better good of BN Sarawak ,George Chan better keep to his words says a number of component party members.

Related source

Wishing Malaysiakini Staff a VERY HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR


On behalf of audie61 and the crew we would like to wish all the Malaysiakini Staff a very Happy CHinese New Year. We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers,allies,supporters,bloggers and all my PRS divisional members good health and Prosperity in the Year of the Golden OX.


MP 1982-1995 “Touching Our Lives”

Usually when it comes to stories or tales from the past which involves History personally I would take a great deal of interests. In school I make sure to score high “A’s” especially when it comes to history. Of course not by CHEATING..hahaha. We do not want to get at the wrong side of History BUT there will be days when we just cannot ignore.

Sim Kwang Yang  MP for Bandar Kuching from 1982 to 1995 took great efforts to posts and write his early History in Malaysiakini and I will do injustice to the man if I start giving negative comments on his pasts. My day said my grandfather was a great story teller to me yesterday and none of his siblings or his grand children can even match him. Sim Kwang Yang’s story is worth your efforts to read and impart it to our FUTURE GENERATIONS on how LUCKY and FORTUNATE  they are living now in Sarawak,Malaysia. I extract in full for your reading pleasure. Happy reading…

On this yet another eve of another Chinese New Year, it is only appropriate to skip comments on the serious and often ugly business of politics, and reflect upon the most auspicious festival for the Chinese citizens in Malaysia.



Times are hard and the market is slow. The CNY goodies imported from China are not selling well. The Chinese people have a long and painful collective memory of their suffering in the past, and their knee jerk reaction to hard times is to tighten their belt, even if they have the money to spend.


I too have my personal memory of hard times in the past. I was born in the Year of the Rat, in an address at Jalan Padungan in Kuching, shortly after WW2. My birth was a bad omen for my family, for my father’s business failed.

Kuching was a two-horse town then, and right after the war, there was hardly any economic opportunity to speak of. In 1946, the last Brooke Rajah had ceded Sarawak to the British colonial office for a million Pound Sterling. He had escaped to Australia when the Japanese army poured into Kuching in 1941, leaving his people to suffer the long years of occupation. His departure that ended the 100-year Brooke rule in the Land of the Hornbill was not missed.

Our difficult situation compelled my family to move into a dilapidated rickety two-storey wooden house that accommodated 18 families, each to one room that served as living room, bedroom, and kitchen at the same time. If I remember correctly, the rental was 15 Sarawak dollars per month. Some tenants would miss payment for a few months at times. Money was a rare commodity indeed.

The tenants were mostly Teochew, because this property near the Sarawak General Hospital along the old rail road running from Kuching to the 7th Mile Bazaar was owned by the Teochew Association. This was how one Chinese association had played the critical role of providing welfare for its members in the form of relatively cheap housing, and the spiritual solace of a temple nearby.

The respected Mr Siaw 

I still have varied memories of that over-crowded large house.  Inevitably, there were spates of discord among the tenants, but by and large, there was a lively spirit of community solidarity. Deprived materially as they were, they tended to be generous in helping their neighbours.

The most respected figure was Mr Siaw, a Chinese primary school teacher. I was actually born as Sim Keng Soon. Before I was to start schooling, I had to have a school name, a custom practised in old China. My parents consulted Mr Siaw, and he named me Sim Kwang Yang. Years later, when I was studying in Canada, I was happy to play host to his daughter, who had gone to the Land of the Maple Leaf for further education.

Most of the children walked to school, the Chung Hua School Number 4 along Palm Road, since very few people owned a car in those days. The only chap in my neighbourhood who drove a car was a taxi-driver, one of the very few in town. Most of the cars were British models, the most popular among them being the miniscule Morris Minor. The Vauxhall was considered a prestigious sedan, and I think it is no longer in production. Japanese cars did not make it in a big way until the late 1970s.

We were used to walking to school on foot. Even a bicycle was a luxury that parents could ill afford. For school uniforms, we would just inherit those outworn by elder siblings. It was the same with text books. The school fee was a mere three dollars, and there were times when I had to be shamed in front of the class by a reminder of my lateness in payment.   

On those days when there was money, my parents would give me five or 10 cents for pocket money. The small coin was so precious that I would tie it in the deepest corner of the pocket with a rubber band. With it, I could afford to buy a piece of kueh, to be washed down with water from the pipe during break time.

The biggest problem I can remember from those days was the lack of facility for decent sanitation. The toilet was an outhouse, a wooden structure with a hole on the floor overlooking an open drum. As I did my business, I tried not to look down to avoid staring at the maggots below. My other friends picked up the filthy habit of smoking at that young age; they said the smoke would relieve the stench in the toilet.

I hated going to the toilet so much that I developed haemorrhoid, which was to haunt me until I went to Canada for my college education.

Auntie lent rice to Mum 

Money was in short supply, and so was food. My father had left to work in Brunei, and he would send some money back to my mother in Kuching. Sometimes the money would come late, and my mother had to borrow rice from our neighbour. 

There was this kind auntie whose husband was working as one of those labourers at the Kuching wharf carrying sacks of rice or whatever goods consigned to him on his shoulders. They were both illiterate, and had many children, all of them girls, making the auntie very unhappy. Without my mother’s advice, she would have given the girls away for adoption.

This kind auntie would lend my mother a cigarette tin of rice a day, even though she was very hard up herself.  With that small amount of rice, my mother would serve up two meals of porridge, sometimes mixed with sweet potatoes. My brothers and I would whoop down those meals in one minute flat, and feel hungry a few hours later.

Meat was hard to come by, and I could count the number of days when chicken or pork was served in a year.

That was why Chinese New Year was so special. There would be a whole chicken, produced as if by magic on CNY eve.  There would be cakes and kueh, produced by the women in the neighbourhood collectively to save cost. We children would squat around the ladies in great anticipation, as they rolled the dough, and baked them over hot plates over charcoal fire, and then storing them in tins.

On New Year Day, we would receive an ang pao containing one dollar, if we are lucky. We would proceed to play poker with this small fortune. Gambling was always banned, except during CNY, during which time parents would never scold their children.

Our living conditions improved somewhat when I was 10. We moved to a one bedroom flat at the Kuching Municipal Council housing estate along Ban Hock Road. At least, there was a clean flush toilet. There, night and day, my mother taught me that life was an eternal struggle, a battlefield on which one could triumph only if one studies hard. I excelled as a student in school.

Our life took a turn for the better only when my second eldest brother went to study in the University of Nottingham in the UK on a generous Shell scholarship. He would send some of his English Pounds back, and even that was a great contribution to our livelihood.

My brother returned to Sarawak as a qualified electrical engineer in those days when there were very few university graduates in Sarawak. He served the Sarawak Telekom all his life, and was its Director and then General Manager upon privatisation. For that, he was awarded a Datukship by my political foe Abdul Taib Mahmud, the CM of Sarawak. His eldest son is a chartered accountant from London School of Economics, and the younger son, a doctor from Cambridge University. They remain my best friends in the best and worst of times.

Why I tell my personal story 

Meanwhile, my childhood friends – those children of illiterate parents – had all gone on to become successful businessmen, professionals, academics, or technicians of various grades. They had all become affluent or middle-class; their children have repeated this success story by outdoing their parents. They are all Chinese, and have no need of the NEP.

As for the auntie who lent us rice everyday, she and her husband are still healthy and alive. Their children treat them very well, in accordance with the Confucian teaching on filial duty. They have many grandchildren and great grandchildren. I pray for them every year around this time.  

Looking back, I realise the person at the centre of my childhood was my mother. She could read, and had great strength of character.  For that, she was treated like an unofficial Tua Kampong in my neighbourhood. She was the one who held my family together. God only knows how much she had to sacrifice just to give her children a decent education and food on the table everyday.

My mother died in 1991, in the small hours of Christmas Day. I was by her bedside when she exhaled her last breath. I had never felt greater grief in my life. 

I seldom get personal in these Malaysiakini essays.  I tell my story on the eve of CNY this year, because I know many Chinese people of my generation throughout Malaysia have a similar story to tell their children. It is a story of hardship and struggle, of thrift and self-discipline, of perseverance in the face of adversities, of family bonds and neighbourly love, of studying hard and smart come what may, and of enjoyment of delayed reward.

For those of you readers whose parents are still alive, remember this commandment for all races: honour thy father and mother!  That is the real meaning of CNY.

Happy Chinese New Year to you SKY and your families. May the year of the Earth Ox bring prosperity and good health to all our readers,supporters,allies,bloggers and all my divisional members in PRS.