Last Sunday, there was a big gathering organised by the Chinese educationists to protest against certain perennial problems faced by the Chinese schools. At least 10,000 people attended.
Whether Malaysians agreed with the cause of the chinese educationists or otherwise, it is immaterial. Since public gathering is an expression of public sentiments that is allowed under the Constitution, this means that we should all support the right to protest and gather in the context of Chinese education.
I am all for the existence of the vernacular schools since it is guaranteed under the Constitution. I also do not think that the existence of such schools is causing the failure of people to integrate better. What is causing the polarisation is actually much more complex and I have gone over that in the past.
Now back to this rally. the whole focus was supposed to be on the perennial problems of not enough teachers who can teach in Mandarin. This arises because there is no systematic training of such teachers, despite the problems being there for more than 5 decades. Petitions after petitions have been submitted, and ministers have come and gone, with each minister promising that the problem would be looked into. Alas, 50 years on, it has got worse, and many teachers who do not even speak Mandarin are now posted to chinese school.The Chinese educationists are afraid that this might lead to a change of character of the Chinese schools; in other words, although constitutionally, the existence of Chinese schools are now guaranteed, it might still go into oblivion if there are no teachers to teach in Mandarin.
The whole objective of this rally is to raise the awareness of the people on this issue. But the whole focus has since been diverted to an alleged attempted assault against one of the guests invited, the Deputy Minister of Education.
Although video footage by the organisers did not show any attempted assault and 2 eye witnesses have come forward to talk to the vernacular press that what happened was someone trying to show the YB the ‘down’ hand sign as well as the middle finger, and this someone might have inadvertently touched the face of the YB because of all the pushing and shoving. There are many who used foul languages and shouting at the YB too, and allegedly some even threw newspapers towards his direction.
I do not condone this type of behaviour of using foul language and signs towards anyone, even those whom we do not like and we despise. Even though many in the crowd and in CHinese community have perceived that this YB has not done enough on this and other issues, that is still no way that we should show another person hand signs and so on.
Nvertheless, this actually gives the YB a taste of what people’s frustrations are towards this perennial issue, and being the 2nd man in charge, he should be able to come out with a more systematic way to train Chinese school teachers.
Now after the rally, this YB in fact held a press conference and informed the press that there was an attempt to assault him, even though the Selangor police too has denied that allegation.
Because of that allegation, he has inadvertently (even though some people i talked to thought that it was done on purpose, I think otherwise) succeeded to divert the whole attention away from the focus of the rally toward that alleged incident.
It is really a pity that this has become so. But given the negative views of many people against this blowing up of small issue to divert attention, he has actually done his party a disfavour.
The support of Chinese community, which is now estimated at about 15% only for the Big Brother, would never go back to the Big Brother given the wide spread reporting of this small-storm-in-a-tea-cup-blown-into-big-publicity-thing and which was not viewed favourably by most who sympathise with the plight of the CHinese educationists.