Thursday, December 31, 2009
Malaysian Politicians: We Love Chinese Calligraphy 马来西亚政治家：我爱书法
The Malaysian Chinese have traditionally dominated the Malaysian economy, but with the implementation of affirmative action policies by the Malaysian government to protect the rights of ethnic Malays, their share has somewhat eroded. However, they still make up the majority of the middle- and upper-income classes.
It is therefore understandable that during the general elections, politicians will campaign intensively for the Chinese vote, reminding voters of issues affecting the Chinese community.
When Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister and currently leader of the opposition, was at the height of power, he took an effort to learn mandarin and Chinese calligraphy. He popularised a saying in Mandarin when he was in the United Malays National Organisation, or Umno: wo-men doushi yijiaren ("We are one family". see diagram 1). As a slogan coined by a Malay leader, elected and re-elected by Umno to be the next prime minister, the slogan was a novel declaration of Malaysian multiculturalism, no less appealing than Mahathir Mohamad's idea of a Bangsa Malaysia sharing Vision 2020.
Is the next general election coming soon?