A war between two ideologies

Updated version:


September 21, 2013

SEPT 21 — The Chinese have a saying that “if a leader succeeds, he will be hailed as a hero, but if a leader fails, he would be called a bandit.”

Both the late Tunku Abdul Rahman and Chin Peng actually fought for the same cause, that was to gain independence for the people of Malaya after the Second World War.

The difference was that they subscribed to different ideologies, and at that time, there was in fact a greater war being fought between those two ideologies.

While the Tunku subscribed to Western style democracy, and was instrumental in winning local elections and negotiating successfully with the British to grant independence to the country, Chin Peng chose another way. But his choice should be viewed within the context of that time.

Chin Peng, in fact, was honoured with an OBE during the Second World War for leading the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese army. This hero status was changed when his forces turned against the British to fight for the independence of Malaya. His OBE was withdrawn by the British authorities then.

Chin Peng’s fault was that he chose Communism as a vehicle for his struggle. Communism has proven to be a failed ideology, and most so-called communist states today are now adopting market economy.

I do not support Communism, nor do the majority of the people of Malaysia and the world at large. As an ideology, it has failed.

The threat then, however, was real. State after state fell to Communism at that time, and there was this domino theory that had most of the democratic nations worried.

In the end, it was their intrinsic ideological weakness in managing the economy that led to the demise of the whole Communist ideology. The two biggest Communist powers, China and Russia, have all turned to market economy and are practising a modified market economy.

But at that time, during the 50s and 60s, the Communists played up the sentiments of independence for the people against colonial powers, and many youngsters succumbed to this attraction, and joined the struggle not so much because of their belief or understanding in the ideology, but more for the struggle to push out the colonial powers.

As a result, all over South-east Asia, wars were being waged. In Korea, in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos Thailand and Malaysia, wars were being fought between the Communists (supported by the USSR and China) and the non-Communists (with the help of their Western allies). It was in fact an extension of the bigger war being fought between the Communist giants and the Western allies.

In wars, there are bound to be casualties and atrocities. While what the communists under Chin Peng did should not be condoned, it should be seen in the context of a war. Many innocents were killed. In fact, a prominent headmaster from my alma mater, Chung Ling HIgh School, was murdered by the Communists.

But in war, once there is a peace accord, both parties must look forwards and not backwards. As an example, once the Second World War ended, the US even helped to rebuild West Germany, and Japan.

Even China and Japan re-established ties and exchanged ambassadors. Malaysia, one of the countries occupied by Japan where thousands were killed and beheaded, also became friendly with post-war Japan.

Another example is the Cold War. All the fights in South-east Asia were actually an extension of the Cold War, a war between two major ideologies. Once the Cold War ended, the past was forgiven and bridges were quickly built between the former Communist states and the democratic world.

To bar Chin Peng’s return was understandable, even though it was against the spirit of the peace accord.

But once a person dies, there must be a closure to everything.

As a nation, while we should not forget about the past, we should not be obsessively vindictive too.

Furthermore, how are we going to enforce the ruling to prevent his ashes from coming into Malaysia?

So I would join in the chorus of appeal including those from Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng, a top police officer involved in the fight against Chin Peng and his people, to allow his ashes to come back to Malaysia.

Let us be magnanimous and forgiving as a nation and move forward.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/hsu-dar-ren/article/a-war-between-two-ideologies#sthash.pxkdEirc.dpuf


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. HY
    Sep 20, 2013 @ 22:08:15

    i dun know if we shd call it a ‘fault’, since almost half of the world population at one time commit the same ‘fault’.

    4 of my cousins were detained in kamunting while one ‘missing’ in the jungle, i dun see any of them perceive themselves as chinese at that time like what some idiot choose to allege, they r just communist. however i think all of them would not hesitate to declare that they r chinese (msian) today, after the many years under the marvellous bn ruling.


  2. Phua Kai Lit
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 10:07:41

    An error in the article:

    Contemporary Russia is no longer Communist.
    In fact it has been called a “mafia state” !


  3. Desmond Thia
    Sep 23, 2013 @ 18:00:43

    “To bar Chin Peng’s return was understandable, even though it was against the spirit of the peace accord.”

    I am actually quite surprised that you are of the opinion that it is understandable to break an accord unilaterally. That would be no different to supporting the stabbing the back of a party you just conclude an agreement with. You cannot have that value system in you!.


  4. James Loh
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:22:21

    Communism is too altruistic and unrealistic. It was a great ideology, but it failed because we human beings, after going through millions of years of evolution, are basically shelfish animals.


  5. Dr Hsu
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:53:22

    Desmond chia,Chin Peng. Somewhere in this blog much earlier I have blogged to support the return of Chin Peng. When I mentiond “To bar Chin Peng’s return was understandable”, I refer to the power that be and I can understand why they did everything to deny Chin Peng’s return, that is why I mentioned in the next sentence that it was against the spirit of the peace accord.

    At no time, I support their cat of barring Chin peng, especially in view of the agreement signed.

    I am sorry if the article conveyed a wrong picture..


  6. Dr Hsu
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:54:55

    Prof Phua,
    I should have added the word “former State of” Russia.. I thought it was understood.


  7. Wave33
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 11:50:09

    I am not sure whether it was the fear of communism or other matters. If UMNO has been living in the caves, they might not realise that nobody favour communism nowadays. Everything is branded with communism when it does not concur with UMNO. DAP is consider as an extension of communism. The poor kampung folks are suckers for such claims, because the only news is from TV3 and Utusan Malaysia. The kampung folks do not watch CNN nor read Time magazine.

    Communism is long dead for the time being. Even Taliban regime is losing it grounds in middle east.

    Only in MALAYSIA, everything is in reverse.


  8. Li Li Fa
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 23:07:14

    Ideologies are orientations that shape the thinking and actions of a group or nation. Ideologies can come and go. Human beings are continually changing and evolving in their thoughts, aspirations, needs , wants and visions.

    A very good example is Germany, which is today a united nation of modern, successful democracy. The other part of the country, which was formerly communistic, had given up its ideology and now joined the favoured half to forge ahead a progressive nation.

    China, which has its Maoist days of classless society, has now embarked on a practical social approach. Their society has progressed by leaps and bounce. There are uncountable rich people in China today. Their leaders have subscribed to the idea that it does not matter which ‘cat’ catches the mouse- white or black cat, as long as it catches the mouse. They all have been catching ‘the mouse’ to build the nation.

    The Japanese who came to Malaya marauding through the land, inflicted pain and suffering on a lot of people, have today been welcomed with open arms. Japanese foods are common fares in this tropical country. Japanese schools have flourished on this land once again, as the country has looked East for quite a while. The Japanese have had, at one time wanted this land to themselves. Today they are friends, and they have embraced the idea of Malaysia as a Second Home.

    Likewise, to be able to let bygones be bygones is a noble characteristic of a nation that yearns to practice moderation. Hopefully this can work with moderation of action, mind and deeds. Do we hope to be the best democracy in the world, a show-piece of moderation? Our PM has gone to the UN General Assembly to preach this philosophy.


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