Monday, February 13, 2006

Kunming, Yunnan, People's Democratically Popular Republic for the Liberated Freedom or Whatever of China

More often than not I slap myself on the forehead for my idiocy but this time I can pat myself on the back, scratch myself behind the ears and give myself a biscuit for having a good idea. Even rarer are occasions where I find that sharing a tiny cabin with 3 sailors was part of a great experience.

The boat trip up the Mekong was tremendous fun and one of the most scenic border crossings I have witnessed. I left Thailand a week or so ago after many a tedious hour faffing around the docks waiting for a boat to be loaded up and depart. After a long afternoon watching some guys load the top deck with beat-up Thai cars destined for Burma I got the all-clear to run up to immigration and get my passport stamped. The spirits were high on the dock and my last encounter with a Thai was a swat on the arse from some merry docker using the short sticks they use to count up what has been loaded. I must have looked a bit huffed as he made a show of swotting all other backsides within range whilst smiling at me to impress that he had not singled me out.

The human cargo on the boat consisted of me, a woman who taught French in China and 4 monks who were escorting a statue of Buddha and some ceremonial bells up to Myanmar. We went up to where the Thai authorities have built a large statue to mark the Golden triangle border and I noticed the sharp contrast between the neons and karaoke joints on the Thai side and the vast amount of fuck-all on the Burmese side. Sailing at night at this time of year is too dangerous due to low water levels so we only got a few klicks north before tying up for bedtime at a floating petrol station that seemed to also be a bar and mah-jong gambling joint.

For the best part of the trip I distracted myself by getting the captain’s kids to teach me Chinese pronunciation and tones, trying to ignore the wrecked and stranded vessels along the way and watching the amazing scenery. Fun breaks in the routine were provided by rapids where the sailors (all from the mountains of Sichuan) scrambled along the rocks of the bank to hitch a rope that was then used to winch us up.

One happy distraction was going with the crew into Burma to fish. They used a pack made of a plastic jerrycan rigged up with straps and 2 car batteries that connected to a rod. They ran current through streams in the hope of stunning the shrimps. This failed but it did let me add Burma to my “countries entered” list even if this was just for an hour. I am also proud to have done it illegally and without coughing up the visa fee for the paranoid brutes who run the place. Fighting tyranny in my own small way.

After 2 days we stopped at a Burmese river port where the monks got off (only after the scrounging gits scabbed some of my fags) and, after a few hours wondering what was going on, the French lady got the crew to fess up that we would be stuck there for 4 days because of some chap not showing up to collect the dodgy cars. They were unfazed by this but we pointed out that our weird foreign background made dossing around in a hammock near a concrete pier for several days a bit annoying. They shrugged as if to say Tough Luck but just as dinner was served and I had niched out some dollars with the perspective of hiring a speed boat they got us to scramble our crap and hop on another passing boat.

Finally we got into China where our bags were thoroughly searched though for what I don’t know. They mainly seemed interested in my camping crap and my shaving kit. They looked at my books though and I was glad I had given my copy of Chris Patten’s East and West to a comely Dutch girl in Thailand as I thought she was interested in geopolitics and also as a creepy way to ingratiate myself to her for she was rather yummy. We then caught a bus to the small (by Chinese standards) town of Jinghong.

The bus trip was another beautiful introduction to China as it raced along crappy mountain roads sometimes braking suddenly to pick up bags of meat that the Chinese carry around for the New Year feasts and that had fallen off other buses. The driver was well chuffed with this windfall and sped up as a result. The fear was alleviated by the discomfort of the tiny seats, the smell of 20 people in a minibus all chainsmoking and the uniquely Chinese background noise of people hawking loudly before spitting out the window or on the floor.

I was also introduced to Chinese toilets; a legend in their own right. A culture based on the importance of the group, overpopulation and commie ideas about privacy have made for interesting bog etiquette. Toilets consists of a series of yard long trenches running perpendicular to the wall. In the more luxurious ones a 2 foot high wall separates these but that’s as much privacy as you will get. Nature’s irrepressible call as well as loads of chillies for brekkers helped me overcome years of cultural taboos about being alone when taking a dump. To add the joy of this pleasant new experience I was confronted to Chinese (and male) curiosity and the fact that they see no rudeness in staring. Cultural enlightenment at its basest.

Anyway I am now in Yunnan’s capital of Kunming. It’s big and charmless so I have bugger all to say about it. The only thing I like about it is that it’s cold and provides a welcome change from oh-so-fucking hot SEA. I will soon head north to the scenic towns of Dali and Lijiang as well as attempting to hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge in winter before heading to Zhongian, aka Shangri-la on the border with Tibet.

On a final note, my blog is inaccessible in China so I have to use creative ways provided by geeks to get around this so, if this gets through, I would like to say a big Fuck You to Cisco systems et al.

Take care,

Arabin

3 Comments:

Anonymous human book said...

List of racial discriminations in Malaysia, practiced by government as well as government agencies. This list is an open secret. Best verified by government itself because it got the statistics.

This list is not in the order of importance, that means the first one on the list is not the most important and the last one on the list does not mean least important.

This list is a common knowledge to a lot of Malaysians, especially those non-malays (Chinese, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli, Tamils, etc) who were being racially discriminated.

Figures in this list are estimates only and please take it as a guide only. Government of Malaysia has the most correct figures. Is government of Malaysia too ashamed to publish their racist acts by publishing racial statistics?

This list cover a period of about 48 years since independence (1957).

List of racial discriminations (Malaysia):

(1) Out of all the 5 major banks, only one bank is multi-racial, the rest are controlled by malays

(2) 99% of Petronas directors are malays

(3) 3% of Petronas employees are Chinese

(4) 99% of 2000 Petronas gasoline stations are owned by malays

(5) 100% all contractors working under Petronas projects must be bumis status

(6) 0% of non-malay staffs is legally required in malay companies. But there must be 30% malay staffs in Chinese companies.

(7) 5% of all new intake for government police, nurses, army, is non-malays.

(8) 2% is the present Chinese staff in Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), drop from 40% in 1960

(9) 2% is the percentage of non-malay government servants in Putrajaya. But malays make up 98%

(10) 7% is the percentage of Chinese government servants in the whole government (in 2004), drop from 30% in 1960

(11) 95% of government contracts are given to malays

(12) 100% all business licensees are controlled by malay government e.g. Taxi permits, Approved permits, etc

(13) 80% of the Chinese rice millers in Kedah had to be sold to malay controlled Bernas in 1980s. Otherwise, life is make difficult for Chinese rice millers

(14) 100 big companies set up, owned and managed by Chinese Malaysians were taken over by government, and later managed by malays since 1970s e.g. UTC, UMBC, MISC, etc

(15) At least 10 Chinese owned bus companies (throughout Malaysia, throughout 40 years) had to be sold to MARA or other malay transport companies due to rejection by malay authority to Chinese application for bus routes and rejection for their application for new buses

(16) 2 Chinese taxi drivers were barred from driving in Johor Larkin bus station. There are about 30 taxi drivers and 3 are Chinese in October 2004. Spoiling taxi club properties was the reason given

(17) 0 non-malays are allowed to get shop lots in the new Muar bus station (November 2004)

(18) 8000 billions ringgit is the total amount the government channeled to malay pockets through ASB, ASN, MARA, privatisation of government agencies, Tabung Haji etc, through NEP over 34 years period

(19) 48 Chinese primary schools closed down since 1968 - 2000

(20) 144 Indian primary schools closed down since 1968 - 2000

(21) 2637 malay primary schools built since 1968 - 2000

(22) 2.5% is government budget for Chinese primary schools. Indian schools got only 1%, malay schools got 96.5%

(23) While a Chinese parent with RM1000 salary (monthly) cannot get school-text-book-loan, a malay parent with RM2000 salary is eligible

(24) 10 all public universities vice chancellors are malays

(25) 5% - the government universities lecturers of non-malay origins had been reduced from about 70% in 1965 to only 5% in 2004

(26) Only 5% is given to non-malays for government scholarships over 40 years

(27) 0 Chinese or Indians were sent to Japan and Korea under "Look East Policy"

(28) 128 STPM Chinese top students could not get into the course that they aspired i.e. Medicine (in 2004)

(29) 10% place for non-bumi students for MARA science schools beginning from year 2003, but only 7% are filled. Before that it was 100% malays

(30) 50 cases whereby Chinese and Indian Malaysians, are beaten up in the National Service program in 2003

(31) 25% is Malaysian Chinese population in 2004, drop from 45% in 1957

(32) 7% is the present Malaysian Indians population (2004), a drop from 12% in 1957

(33) 2 millions Chinese Malaysians had emigrated to overseas since 40 years ago

(34) 0.5 million Indian Malaysians had emigrated to overseas

(35) 3 millions Indonesians had migrated into Malaysia and became Malaysian citizens with bumis status.

(36) 600000 are the Chinese and Indian Malaysians with red IC and were rejected repeatedly when applying for citizenship for 40 years. Perhaps 60% of them had already passed away due to old age. This shows racism of how easily Indonesians got their citizenships compare with the Chinese and Indians

(37) 5% - 15% discount for a malay to buy a house, regardless whether the malay is rich or poor

(38) 2% is what Chinese new villages get compare with 98% of what malay villages got for rural development budget

(39) 50 road names (at least) had been changed from Chinese names to other names

(40) 1 Dewan Gan Boon Leong (in Malacca) was altered to other name (e.g. Dewan Serbaguna or sort) when it was being officially used for a few days. Government try to shun Chinese names. This racism happened in around year 2000 or sort

(41) 0 temples/churches were built for each housing estate. But every housing estate got at least one mosque/surau built

(42) 3000 mosques/surau were built in all housing estates throughout Malaysia since 1970. No temples, no churches are required to be built in housing estates

(43) 1 Catholic church in Shah Alam took 20 years to apply to be constructed. But told by malay authority that it must look like a factory and not look like a church. Still not yet approved in 2004

(44) 1 publishing of Bible in Iban language banned (in 2002)

(45) 0 of the government TV stations (RTM1, RTM2, TV3) are directors of non-malay origins

(46) 30 government produced TV dramas and films always showed that the bad guys had Chinese face, and the good guys had malay face. You can check it out since 1970s. Recent years, this tendency becomes less

(47) 10 times, at least, malays (especially Umno) had threatened to massacre the Chinese Malaysians using May 13 since 1969

(48) 20 constituencies won by DAP would not get funds from the government to develop. Or these Chinese majority constituencies would be the last to be developed

(49) 100 constituencies (parliaments and states) had been racistly re-delineated so Chinese voters were diluted that Chinese candidates, particularly DAP candidates lost in election since 1970s

(50) Only 3 out of 12 human rights items are ratified by Malaysia government since 1960

(51) 0 - elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (UN Human Rights) is not ratified by Malaysia government since 1960s

(52) 20 reported cases whereby malay ambulance attendances treated Chinese patients inhumanely, and malay government hospital staffs purposely delay attending to Chinese patients in 2003. Unreported cases may be 200

(53) 50 cases each year whereby Chinese, especially Chinese youths being beaten up by malay youths in public places. We may check at police reports provided the police took the report, otherwise there will be no record

(54) 20 cases every year whereby Chinese drivers who accidentally knocked down malays were seriously assaulted or killed by malays

(55) 12% is what ASB/ASN got per annum while banks fixed deposit is only about 3.5% per annum

There are hundreds more racial discriminations in Malaysia to add to this list of "colossal" racism. It is hope that the victims of racism will write in to expose racism.

Malaysia government should publish statistics showing how much malays had benefited from the "special rights" of malays and at the same time tell the statistics of how much other minority races are being discriminated.

Hence, the responsibility lies in the Malaysia government itself to publish unadulterated statistics of racial discrimination.

If the Malaysia government hides the statistics above, then there must be some evil doings, immoral doings, shameful doings and sinful doings, like the Nazi, going on onto the non-malays of Malaysia.

Civilized nation, unlike evil Nazi, must publish statistics to show its treatment on its minority races. This is what Malaysia must publish……….

We are asking for the publication of the statistics showing how "implementation of special rights of malays" had inflicted colossal racial discrimination onto non-malays.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 2:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe as romj says we should wipe them all out right now

Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(talking about the chinks)

Thursday, April 27, 2006 12:34:00 PM  

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