On Bauxite Vietnam and some Vietnamese websites just ran an article titled “Being forced to be Chinese people” written by a Taiwanese newsman in which the author cited the story about a Chinese-origin American scientist, the 2008 Nobel Winner in terms of chemistry, that “being asked by Chinese correspondents with such questions as “Are you a Chinese people?” “Can you speak Chinese?”, “ What sense does this achievement of yours make for Chinese scientists?”, he replied in English: “I don’t know how to speak Chinese. I was born and grown in United States, I am not a Chinese scientist”. Correspondents from China were offended by his reply…”
Ten years ago, when first time meeting with some Chinese –origin Singaporean people, I made a slip of the tongue when saying that they were “Chinese people”, immediately they rejected: “No, we are not Chinese people. We are Singaporean people, citizens of an Asian country speaking English.”
While living in good harmony with other ethnic groups in Singapore, it is the pride of the Chinese-origin people to have formed the most strong and prosperous community in this country while they never forget their origin. They may not unnecessarily conceal such pride from other Singaporean people. But facing Vietnamese, American, Japanese or even non-Singaporean Chinese people, they may never say “I am Chinese” but always say “I am Singaporean”
This does not happen in Singapore only. The story about the Chinese-origin American scientist as mentioned above is a typical example for this. Don’t believe that he forgot his origin with his saying “I’m not Chinese”. I believe that when facing other people of the same American nationality as his , he may not refuse his origin.
I also believe that almost well known Chinese-origin people living in advanced countries said the same in the similar situation. Their community spirit is so strong. They always try their best to protect and help each other (a good lesson for our Vietnamese), and on the other hand know well how to protect the image of the countries of which they are proud of being citizens. In these countries, they are always well aware of their Chinese origin but not being “Chinese people”. Of course, Peking have found all ways to take advantage from these well known Chinese-origin people by “forcing them to be Chinese people” such as the story mentioned above about a Chinese-origin American scientist.
Some decades ago, being influenced by tone of propaganda voiced by state’s mass media against Chinese-origin people when Vietnam-Sino relationship was down to its worst level, a lot of Vietnamese people have been thereby obsessed so heavily that that they still think Chinese-origin people anywhere to be Peking’s spies, to be a “fifth army” ready to rebel against the governments of countries where they are living. There may be some Chinese-origin scientists who are also China’s spies but they are only the few. Pro-Peking movements once rose in some countries but finally they were almost crushed or self-dissolved as no land existed for them to live on, even they were boycotted by most Chinese-origin people living there. Peking-supported communist parties in Malaysia and Singapore led mainly by Chinese-origin people rapidly broke up. Peking’s plot to lure Chinese-origin people to rebel was true. But this was only Peking’s ambition and has never been successful. The whole South East Asia should have become “red” for long time already had Chinese-origin people followed this direction of Peking. But we cannot deny that no matter where they are living, it is the tradition of Chinese-origin people to strongly unite with each other, always look towards their ancestor’s country and give financial support to their compatriots living in China. But it is impossible for Peking to politically attract them.
If you have read memoirs of the former Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (also being a Chinese origin), you may feel the pride of being Singaporean citizens of the inhabitants living there despite their origin being Chinese, Indian or Malay. A chapter of this book told a story that Singapore was once full of China-published books and magazines and this had an impact upon the Chinese-origin young people so strongly that that they launched a movement insisting the Government to let them freely visit China (at that time, Singapore – China relationship was still at its low level and the Singaporean government implemented a policy to restrict Chinese-origin people from visiting China). At the outset, Singaporean government reluctantly satisfied such requirement of Singaporean youth, fearing that the influence exerted by Peking would be much heavier on those who once visited China. But after Mr. Lee paid his fist time visit to China and he found with his own eyes what was happening in China much different from what was being propagandized by Peking, he decided to abolish the policy of keeping Chinese-origin people from going to China. Mr. Lee thought that the best way to make Chinese-Singaporean youth be quickly free of Peking’s influence was to encourage them to visit China as many as possible. As a result, after a period of implementing the new policy by the Government with a great number of Chinese-origin young people going to China and coming back to Singapore, the influence of China on such people became negligible
A warm place would attract birds from everywhere to build their home on. And no one could incite them to spoil their such new home land.