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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An open letter to Ibrahim Ali: “Choy, choy, choy, pak kam!" or Red Forever!


An open letter to Ibrahim Ali: “Choy, choy, choy, pak kam!" or Red Forever!
Dear Ibrahim Ali,
Life is never boring in Malaysia with eccentric people like you around.
I heard that this Dragon Year will be very tough for all of us; thank you for bringing some laughter into our living rooms.
Over the weekend, you threw an open house in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, for 300 senior citizens to celebrate Chinese New Year. You gave them food and money. How ironic of you to host a party for the same people you often taunted as “pendatang” or “illegal immigrants.”
This kind and noble act of giving food and money to the old and needy will surely earned you a place in Heaven later on when you die, hopefully.
Why red?
I am sure by now, thanks to Internet, most of us knew who you are and what you stood for. Many even compared your organization to the Ku Klux Klan in the United States. They said Ku Klux Klan and Perkasa are like twins – both championed racial supremacist. As the Chief or Leader, you are bloated to hear that, don’t you?
It is known globally that red is the lucky color for people of Chinese descent. Everywhere you go, you can see red color – red lanterns, red dresses, red shoes and red flowers. Some sexy females even spotted red lingerie and nails. We love to paint the entire country red this time of the year, whether you like it or not.
What is so special about red color, you might ask. Red symbolized happiness, good fortune, abundance, rejuvenation and dynamism – things that everybody earnestly wish and pray for.
That is why, for thousands of years, it is a practice or custom among the Chinese to give money away in red envelopes. It is believed to bring good luck to both the giver and receiver. Better still, utter good wishes as you give the red packets. All these goodness will come back to you, one way or another, sooner or later. That is what we believes.
Why not white?
But instead of giving away the money in red envelopes as was the practice, you purposely choose to give them away in white envelopes. What is so wrong about that, you may ask.
White, besides black, is a color of mourning, to the Chinese. White means grief and sorrow. If you have been to a wake or funeral before, you will be obliged to give some cash in a white envelope to the bereaved family. It is called “pak kam” or “white gold” and this donation help to pay for the coffin, the services of nuns or monks to chant prayers for the deceased and other expenses incurred during the bereavement.
So when you gave out money to 300 senior citizens in white envelopes, it is akin to you giving these old folks “pak kam.” When this erupted into a furor, you gave a lame excuse that you are ignorant of Chinese culture. I don’t buy that. Most people do not either. We know you have lived in this country long enough to be ignorant of this custom. If you wanted to lie, learn to lie better next time.
“Choy, choy, choy!”
Come on Ibrahim Ali, surely you have an adviser, don’t you? If you haven’t got one, then the next best thing is to do some research first. It is so easy to Google anything you are not sure of. Or check Wikipedia. Don’t be so lazy. You are putting your guests in a very difficult position. To decline your “white packets” is rude of them but to accept it is downright insulting.
If my grandma is still around and she was one of your guests, she would feel disgusted and growl scornfully in her favorite Cantonese phase of condemnation “Choy, choy, choy!” accompanied by her spitting into your face. My grandma, despite being old and poor, is a person with dignity and self-respect. You cannot deceive her with money. Of course some people are greedy but not everyone is.
Save all the stupid excuses. Stop being so fake. We all know what a wicked man you are. All you wanted to do was to sow discord among the citizens of this country. Everything you are doing is not out of sincerity but with malice.
Keep the 'pak kam' for yourself, dear Ibrahim
Keep the white envelope to yourself, Ibrahim Ali. You will need it someday. Decent citizens like us do not need to have our dignity stamped on like that. Not on Chinese New Year season, not on ordinary days. We are not selling our souls, you know.
Oh yes, please bear with the red color for another week, okay? Our celebration will not be over until February 6th, also known as Chap Goh Mei, a day when many of us will wear new dresses, let off firecrackers and have the lions to prance around with drums, gongs and cymbals. All of them comes in red, of course.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Thanks for your patience.

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