Hitting the face to make it look more prosperous

My late father was from China. In that part of China that he came from (Jiangsu province), there is a saying ” da zhong nian bi chong pang zhi’. Dont worry if you cannot pronounce that sentence because it simply means that “hitting the face to make it puffy so that the face appears fatter”.

In the old days in that part of world, to be fat means  a person was prosperous whereas  to be thin means that a person was struggling with his life and hardly had enough to eat. So some thin people tried to don many layers of clothes to appear fatter but how to make the face look fatter? Well, some of them resorted to hitting the face to make it appeared swollen and thereby fatter and more ?prosperous.  Whether this was really practised , I have no way of verifying this. 

 Of course we know now that the fatness of a person has nothing to do with whether he is rich or poor. It has more to do with genes as well as eating habits and activity level..

To understand the gist of the meaning of this saying, it is best to use real life examples. One of the best examples may be this:   to spend hundereds of millions to buy a seat in a space craft of another country in order to send one of its citizens to space, just so because it can boast  that it has  a cosmonaut in the country which has no space program , not even an aeronautical program, is like a poor person  trying to masquerade as a successful prosperous person. When you have not reached that level, but spend precious maney to pretend that you have attained that level, it is like a thin man hitting the face to make it look fatter.

I hope now you have a better understanding of what this saying means.

There are many other examples. Recently, the announcement of spending 1 billion to finance a F1 team to compete in the F1 circuit , when there are still so many people living below poverty lines and many household without basic amenities such as water and electricity, is akin to a poor person trying to look successful.

To have  a F1 team would definitely make the nation  more famous. No doubt about it. So can spending a fraction of the money to promote the country overseas with well made advertisement films. 

 The contention here is therefore not whether spending a billion would make the country more famous., but rather whether this  justifies the huge initial cost of haivng a F1 team, not to mention the maintenance which would not be cheap. Is this the right way of managing our finances ? Are we rich enough to support this sports? What about those hard core poor that are  still aplenty?

 Tell this to the hard core poor when each day is a struggle to keep themselves alive. Tell this to the odd job worker who does not know when and where  the next meal will come from. Tell this to the parents of those  students who could not pursue their education simply because they have no money. Tell this to those people who have no pipe water but have to cart water from kilometers away. Tell this to those who have to use kerosene lamps at night to light up their houses.

One of my commentators, klm, think that there is an agenda behind this move. This is what he commented:

The F1 program is another political move to create the feel good atmosphere.

What the BN govt is doing is akin to what the Roman emperors were doing in staging spectacles like Gladiators fight in the Coliseum. These expensive spectacles were staged so that the emperors could gain favour and support from the Romans. It was like feeding them opium to numb their feelings. It was creating a feel good atmosphere to divert miseries from the Romans mind.

Maybe he is right. In that case, it would be worrying, because Roman Empire disintegrated after having this sort of sports..

BUt whatever the reasons behind the setting up of this team, this is a clear case of hitting the face to make it look more prosperous.

Knowing our leaders’ mentality, this will not be the last case either.


26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mccann105
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 19:58:13

    the feel good malaysia boleh since pak lah and now…does it make us feel better despite of all these contradiction..and super duper news…?
    we spend 6 months to 9 months a year..in our business dealing..we classified ourselves as singaporen , sometime as thai…since 1986 till 2001, alot of chinese bi man and chinese state owned companies have very low opinion of our country. 1993 till 1998 dr tun m led many biz delegations to china..many of our corporate big wigs signed many many m o u..n back home share market surge on market rumours…and with all these f one n hype,,,we are wondering are we bulid a credible (commerical) reputations?
    with alot of formula one. sper multi corridor and corridors on the north south east west…? it more of publicty stunt or some avenue that some people make a great kill ?

    as dr hsu , put it rightly,,these stunt wasnt the first…niether be the last.. this is sickening..we shld focus on soft wares and human resources..i think these up stair peope have no more stories to tell….


  2. Justin Choo
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 20:56:15

    Yes, if ever the bridge that is to connect 2 countries across the Malacca Straits becomes a reality, it will be the ultimate slap on one’s face.

    Let it not ever happen!!


  3. romerz
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 22:16:04

    Hmm, taking part in F1 through Proton. How about making Proton a desirable brand first without protection then talk about high-end engineering?



  4. A voter
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 08:57:51

    More by-elections on the way even before Bagan Pinang started?



  5. clearwater
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 12:00:37

    Is this not similar to the local ‘syiok sendiri’ syndrome except that hitting one’s face sounds a much more painful experience? Unless of course it’s not their own face they are hitting but the taxpayers’ and they don’t give two hoots that it may hurt now and long into the future. Someone has to pay at some point in time for all these financial follies and self delusions. F1 program……shoot, Malaysia can’t even build a decent car. Korea can, yet they know their limits. What does it say about our leaders?


  6. OrangKampung
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 12:27:15

    Sad to think and Sad to say most of the mentalities of Minsters in Asean are not interested the well-being of the People but
    to serve their POCKETS and EGO, (I am the
    LORD. Say no words to displease and hurt
    MY PRIDE) and Religion and Racism are the


  7. ong
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 13:10:06

    Dr. Hsu,
    Have you heard of the saying (applicable specifically in Malaysia)?: “Style mahu, kalah ta’ apa”.

    This saying was first applied to a certain group of people in Malaysia in the early 60s. Today, 47 years later, “Style mahu, kalah ta’ apa” is still applicable to the same group of people. Simply amazing!


  8. foo
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 13:34:45

    Priorities not right, basic things not settled like housing for all, food supply and affortable prices of essentials , job creation ,good education system, feeling of security and peace in homes and on the street, basic human freedom of speech, religion and etc.

    Get the basics in place,then talk about the luxuries. Eg in Singapore almost everyone have a place to stay , food to eat and jobs to go to , no vagrants or beggers. When they have their F1 and casinos few complained. Majority agreed it is for the good of the nation.

    The mentality here is ” Gaya mahu, Mati tak apa “. Style over substance.

    Another PKFZ in the making. All the writings and reactions of netizens are negative and the worst part is our arrogant BN government is ignoring them. Pouring our hard earned monies into a large expensive hobby / hole called F1.


  9. A true Malaysian
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 15:32:02

    All the while I was asking the BN government to spend a small ‘fraction’ of these ‘posh’ or ‘look good’ or ‘feel good’ projects for education (like what Mr. Koon Yew Yin is doing), public transportation, and some peanuts to alleviate rakyat’s livelihood.

    Are these so hard to do? A small ‘fraction’ or peanut, mind you.


  10. William
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 15:39:04

    RM1 billion is the cost of maintaining an F1 team PER YEAR and this doesn’t include the set up cost. The bulk of it will have to come from Petronas as who else is rich enough? Certainly not the money losing Proton or the not-yet-super-rich Tony Fernandez.

    There is yet another reason for a Malaysian F1. It may have less to do with promoting the country than with siphoning out Petronas money. Maybe the goons see the writing on the wall that they only have another 3 years left at most. Desperate times call for desperate measures!


  11. klm
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 16:39:37

    William. I think you got a point. Many people are saying this. According to a news report, the FI 1Malaysia team will be based in England. So lots of money have to be sent out. Also, I think the F1 Malaysia team will employ many mat sallehs.


  12. Nick
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 17:46:11

    Malaysians suffer from a “short-cut” syndrome. We delude ourselves thinking we are the best in this and that. That’s why we have our own ‘Malaysian Book of Records’. I saw the M.U. match at Bukit Jalil and the first match played had a good score of 3-2. Malaysia did itself proud scoring twice. But what happened, FAM congratulated itself and it seems their mission for this year has been achieved. C’mon, Malaysia is ranked 152 in FIFA’s world ranking lah (out of 203 nations). S’pore is 127 and HK is 128. We are even worst off than India (128). Indonesia is 133. Take our examinations systems, we lowered the standards until our students have now become Brilliant in scoring A’s and it seems over 1 generation, we have managed to uplift our education standards to levels unheard of. Maybe, our leaders think our countrymen are easily fooled by cosmetics changes. Buy a submarine and shore up our security. Send a kampung boy into space. What a waste of precious finance resources!


  13. Nick
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 17:47:31

    Sorry, India is 149


  14. peter wong
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 21:41:45

    Malaysia is like a Hollywood set. Everything looks rosy on the outside. Foreign visitors are impressed when they initially hit our soil, particularly the journey from the airport to the city. Freeways and gleaming high rises.

    I have spoken to many expats who work for MNCs. They become disillusioned after staying here for a while. Among their grouses are the inefficient civil service, poor quality of local graduates , ‘mat rempit’ attitude of local drivers, filthy taxis and rampant crime. Buildings look posh on the outside but the maintenance inside is deplorable. Universities appear grand but produce unemployable graduates and plagiarised research papers. Gleaming malls but staff who have little or no product knowledge and speak broken English.The only saving grace of many restaurants and hotels is that they employ foreigners whose work attitude is examplenary, compared to the lackadaiscal disposition of the local staff.

    The annual one billion dollar F 1 venture is another of the many examples of ‘ Style over Substance’. This can only accelerate our economic demise.

    “A wise man can see through the trickery but is a fool nonetheless as he will still end up paying for the follys of the trickster.”


  15. A voter
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 22:53:45

    Malaysia is becoming ‘infamous’ not ‘famous’ as intended to be.

    No one is famous in the Najib cabinet but ‘infamous’ with their own unique ways.


  16. mycuntree
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 23:46:42

    I do not believe that the plan to form Malaysia’s own F1 team is an attempt for the “feel good” thingy. I am more in agreement that it is just another mammoth scheme to siphon funds out of the country by those who knows that they probably do not have a lot of time to do so, and the normal everyday “make hay while the sun shines” philosophy.

    My firm view is that this project is destined for failure, the reasons having been stated by many already. Whatever, there is no valid economic reason for the government to be directly involved anyway. Do I have to name all those “projects” that the government put their fingers in that are nothing more than scam jobs for taxpayers’ money and the enrichment of the select few?

    It does really make me sick that this government is so blatant about such abuses of taxpayer’s money. Does not the latest expose of the government’s complicity in the PKFTZ scam tells us any thing at all about such projects.

    Perhaps all right thinking Malaysians must put a stop to such scams by reoccupying the streets to protest such blantant abuses. Getting rid of these scammers will have to wait for the next GE.

    Or should loyal Malaysians revolt, to speed up the process?


  17. casey
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 01:08:28

    WTF, you are part of this stupid wastage of public money.
    You, KTK, and your Gerakan are BN, right?
    Get lost then.


  18. romerz
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 01:59:24

    My guess is that casey of 1:08 am is a new visitor to this blog.

    Whilst I may not agree with Dr Hsu for his continued membership of Gerakan, nevertheless I have utmost respect for his views on all things Malaysian, some I agree with and very little I don’t.

    What happened to respect casey? Respect for the right of others to say what they feel and not censure just because it doesn’t rhyme with you.

    Engage them them then with logical arguments that is if you can! Can you?

    I am anti-UMNO/BN and you are most likely that too but your attitudes only bring a bad name to those of us who would like change for our country by supporting the alternative.

    Sorry to say this you pathetic cunt, but you do a disservice to our cause.

    Anger serves no purpose except to invite more anger in return.

    I do not know if you understand Hokkien but it is all about “lee yew th’ng or lee yew tay” – reasoning long or reasoning short.

    Congratulations casey! You exemplify why it is so difficult to bring changes to this country when you let hatred engulf your desire for change.

    You are your worst enemy and despite your hate for UMNO/BN, I must consider you my enemy as well!!!

    Malaysia does not need anymore hatred. We have enough of that spawned by the ruling elites of UMNO/BN. We need people like Dr Hsu to work in whatever way they are most effective in to dismantle the grip on power by our ruling elites!

    Grow up man casey!!! Rabble rousers we have aplenty but people who can provide the solutions?

    Put it this way, I wouldn’t expect it from you but would rather trust Dr Hsu despite his loyalty to Gerakan.

    I know who genuinely tries to help alleviate the situation and who are the trouble-makers.


  19. Meng
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 02:07:30

    From all the postings by Dr Hsu one should be able to judge his personality and his thinking. He himself has said many times that he is against the wrong doings in BN and is fighting from within the party to right the wrongs. From my point of view he is of a different breed compared to KTK and much more aware of problems and is balanced in his views to criticise where it is seen not right.

    To be harsh on him is definitely wrong


  20. Dr Hsu
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 10:23:03

    romerz and Meng,
    Thanks for defending me.

    i are not upset with casey’s coment, but rather with the fact that malaysian politics is now so partisan.

    … BN has only itself to be blamed for all the brickbats it is now receiving.


  21. klm
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 11:37:48

    Dr Hsu. The opening of your article is so cute. I wish I can write like you. 🙂


  22. clearwater
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 11:46:52

    Dr Hsu,

    Partisanship in Malaysia is not restricted to politics, it is in every facet of our lives so much so it becomes the norm. I see it everyday in the way Malaysians behave, especially the younger set brought up in different circumstances. More used to instant gratification, easy answers and less tolerant of differing views. How did we arrive here? Well, the BN-Umno highway.


  23. Samson
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 13:24:31

    Hit the nail on the head! I was just thinking the same and sorry to say, its more of a urban Malay thinking ‘to look good although you may be penniless’. Sorry if I may ruffle some feathers by appearing to be racist 🙂

    You cannot escape the fact everywhere when we have the Twin Towers which do not have 100% capacity, Petronas paying maintenance, guess who owns Petronas? Sudden sales of luxury cars just before Raya for the ‘balik kampung’ trip…most forecourts are devoid of new cars, come next 2 months and they will be full of ‘For Sale’ signs.

    We non-Malays contribute the most in taxes ie.income tax, so we feel the most when the Malay-led government announces initiatives like these…if the money is to be spent on the poor, irrespective of race, color and religion, many non-Malays would not mind…but for F1 team? The space tourist was one wastage, now another, not sure what else is around the corner? Buying aircraft carriers for the military or space shuttles from Russia.

    We would still need to purchase tickets to see F1 and think of the scholarships than RM1 B can fund or just health clinics and food for the poor..


  24. Taikohtai
    Sep 24, 2009 @ 14:28:38

    F1 reminds me of the Monsoon Cup on wheels!
    Same sh*t, different buckets as Aussies like to say.


  25. kowtim
    Sep 26, 2009 @ 12:50:06

    American Cup is next on the pipeline.


  26. Atila
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 01:46:14

    One day when Malaysia is down broke to the cents, i wonder the BN Govt will start selling the country or concessionaires?


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