While I was in the States, i met a cab driver who was an ethnic Chinese American originally from Taiwan.

When I entered his taxi, he asked me in typically American accent : you a Chinese? I answered: Chinese Malaysian. Then he said that I must be able to speak Mandarin, and from then onwards we conversed in  Mandarin.

He said he was originally from taiwan, and among his university classmates, there were many Chinese Malaysians, and that is why he knew that many Chinese Malaysians could speak Mandarin.

He migrated to the states more than a decade ago, mainly because he was fed up of life back home, among them  the amount of corruptions taking place.  He is happy with his life as a cab driver, earning a decent living, and in the States, every profession is respected as long as you put in a decent effort to earn your living.

Then we talked about Malaysia. He said what he has read about a case, a woman who was whipped for being caught drinking, and asked me how we can live in such conditions where no entertainment and drinking is allowed.

I told him he was misinformed. I told him that it was true that the woman was sentenced to be whipped but she was pardoned. I told him that Malaysia, at least in the cities, is as advanced as any modern nations, and we even have a casino in Genting, which , even though is smaller than those in Vegas, shows that Malaysians are actually free to do a lot of stuff , same as the Americans.

Only certain religion disallows certain activities, just like in some Christian sects , certain rules have to be observed strictly.

Then he mentioned that he heard that corruption is bad in Malaysia. I have to admit that, and he even knew about the French case, and the Mongolian lady.  I have to defend my country so I said that even Taiwan has its “Ah Bian”.  But when he mentioned that Taiwan has a very free press, which can report on any wrong doing, and thus effectively acts as  a public watchdog, I have to concede that Malaysia  still have a long way to go. I have to conced that even if Malaysia has a “Ah Bian”, the probability is high that he would go scott free.

That is how negative some people view Malaysia..This is a view from a common person on the ground, and he has lots of friends in Malaysia.

While  we also have made some snail paced reform, with ISA being replaced by certain other law,  our press is still not free.

Worse, as things go, there will be more and more restrictions even on the online media. The new Evidence Act is a killer. It is meant to stifle freedom of expression on the net. It is something akin to some criminals, who committed a crime in your house, and while the criminals escape, you as the owner of the house is being held responsible.

Say someone came in and robbed patients sitting in my waiting room. while the robber got away, I would be held as responsible for the robbery happening onthem. It is ridiculous, and no one would agree to that. Extrapolate this to the Evidence Act, and it is actually the same thing.

While the proof of guilt should be the responsibility of the authority , it is now reversed and it is now guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.. How on earth can someone do that without the resources of a enforcement force and its availability of crime-solving methodology and technique.

It is like there is no more common sense up there anymore.

And news of government considering another round of handouts?  News of accusing those who attended Bersih as receiving money? I was there among the hundreds of thousands, and I do not see anyone who came because they received money.. What an insult to the 200,000 people that day, and million others  who had stayed at home but in their quiet way, supported Bersih.

How disconnected they are with the people on the ground, and yet they still think Big Brother knows best?


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. HuaYong
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 14:33:43

    “But when he mentioned that Taiwan has a very free press,”

    this is so true, hope taiwan n hk can continue to preserve this precious freedom as exemplar of the rest in asian, especially to china, spore and msia.


  2. Phua Kai Lit
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 16:16:36

    “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”

    Bolehland turning into la la land ?

    “the banality of evil”


  3. Phua Kai Lit
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 16:17:53

  4. Li Li Fa
    Jun 20, 2012 @ 22:43:44

    Dr. Hsu,
    The learned cab driver you’d met is well informed. His friends here must have kept in close touch with him, presumably through social networking and the internet. I presume he could not have missed the whole-world-wide Bersih3 support and that would add up to his store of interest about our nation.

    If he can be so informed of the truth in this country, what more people of the higher echelons of society , be it in the social, economical, political, governmental arenas? As a matter of fact, the Queen of England, shows that she is aware of what goes on in this country, when she wore yellow in the reception room decorated with yellow flowers when she granted an audience with you-know-who.

    News travels fast, within a touch of a button in this technological advanced world.

    When there were more than 200,000 people who staged the sit-in at the dataran, one of our leaders chose to count wrongly at only about 20,000 people. Certainly, ‘they’ professed that ‘they’ know best when the WWW has better calculators, calculaters, and news-circulars.

    Incidentally, the date of the coming GE13 is held close to the concerned’s chest, indicating that ‘he’ again knows best. He wants to keep everyone guessing, while ‘he’ shores up votes and waits for the opportune time to strike. Even if the date is announced, will it be drowned by the excitement of the Malaysian-French-Mongolian story?


  5. WildCard
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 05:47:21

    For reasons not so clear to many, Malaysia seems to have a lackluster reputation compared to country such as Singapore, Korea, Japan, or Taiwan as far as USA is concerned.
    There was one time I return to USA via San Francisco airport and I had some moon cakes with me, given by friends in Malaysia and Singapore, just a few. The customer officer asked me where I got these moon cakes. I said they are from Singapore and before I could clarify some were from Malaysia, the officer went on saying that moon cakes from Singapore were OK but not those from Malaysia! I have never able to figure out why the difference but I know US custom officers are among the most professional ones I have seen around the world, they must know something I do not.
    The other thing is the Malaysian passport itself also can attract extra attention at border crossing into USA, sometimes.
    Why wrong the reputation of our beloved motherland, Malaysia?


  6. HuaYong
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 08:23:06

    wildcard, i guess it is more likely malaysia is perceived as muslim country hence the paranoia, similar to many malaysian that are extremely sensitive to anything communist, even if that is already a grandmother story.


  7. Dr Hsu
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 09:23:53

    This trip I went through San Francisco again. I brought several packets of curry powder and some herbs including somepackets of Bak Kut teh. I delcaled on the custom forms all these stuff. I was prepared to throw away all these if the custom disallowed me from bringing in all these.

    After claiming my bags, there was a custom officer who scrutinised all the customs forms and decide which lane the visiotrs will have to go. The custom officer looked at my form and decided that I could go to the ‘green lane’ where I just walked out without any checks, or having the bags x-rayed.

    i supposed honesty does pay in this case.


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