Penang Hokkien - the escape route to be myself.  

Posted by Nigel J. W. Ong

from http://johnong.com/images/PenangHokkien300x300.jpg

living in new zealand requires me to continuously learn and adapt to social customs and practices, and by doing so, have make me practice things quite different that what i was brought up with, and that includes speaking one hell lot of english, little mandarin, and almost no hokkien.

to be honest, i feel like myself when im speaking hokkien, and i miss speaking it. and here at NZ, how am i suppose to find a hokkien speaker? i do know some, but as they are doing the same thing as i am (learning and adapting), they worry that speaking in hokkine might result in their English going backwards. so where and who did i turned to to fulfill that desire to speak/listen to hokkien?

Penang Hokkien. just as its title suggests, its a weekly podcast in entirely Penang style hokkien. almost im from terengganu and i speak a version of hokkien that might be quite weird to penang folks, but i enjoy listening to it. especially when i work 7am in the morning on mondays. topics discussed could range from social situations, to life experiences (eg. wash clothes, being cheated by bad businessman, your favourite teacher at school).

the host for the show is a Malaysian currently living in US, in the name of John Ong. his guest speakers are mostly penang folks, either still living at Malaysia, or is expats overseas.

the webpage for the podcast is at http://www.penanghokkien.com . if you have any gadgets from Apple, the podcast is downloadable from iTunes for free.

check it out!

A reply to 中华文化(Chinese Culture).  

Posted by Nigel J. W. Ong

the following writing is my response from an article titled "中华文化" or Chinese Culture, posted by a friend of mine. I felt that the writing really expressed who i see myself as, and i think should be shared with everybody.

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hey bro, how you're doing?

i agree with the fact that when you are a Chinese, you cant run away from it, no matter where you were born, and how you were brought up. If you're not Chinese culturally, you'll at least be Chinese from the biological standpoint, with the trademark black hair and slanted eyes.

from your writing, you sort of imply that you resent the fact that Chinese people are no longer "Chinese" enough. for me, its just an inevitable process of assimilating with the local culture of the host country, including us at Malaysia.

Don't you think that no matter what race or ethnicity you are from, once you have immigrated to a new place, you should try your best to assimilate or at best adapt to their culture? and not continue to expect things to be the same as your home country? don't you think by continuously championing only your cultural values around a society alien to it will only cause you to rejected by the mainstream society?

just look at actions of Dong Jiao Zong, or those groups such as Suqiu or perhaps, DAP and MCA. despite being at Malaysia for almost 200 years, we are still not fully accepted as Malaysians because were just not trying to be one. We still have students, even parliamentarians who cant speak proper Malay language, we despise those Chinese folks who married Malay woman and have converted to Islam, were not allowing reviews to be done on Chinese schools education in Malaysia, too many examples to be said here - were just not trying hard enough.

the fact that the world is globalizing does not really gives us a space to champion racial ideals as people tend to mix around more, and having contacts with people other than their own racial background. i think that the world is shifting away from racial ideas and are moving towards a nationalistic idea for everybody regardless of their race. Americanism, Pancasila from Indonesia, or even rukun negara should be good examples. anybody can subscribe to the "freedom to pursuit their happiness" ideal rather than "zhong hua jing shen" which is obviously very Chinese, since an Indian or Caucasian will never be able to subscribe to it.

however, that doesn't mean you should get rid of anything Chinese in you. i will personally allocate "Chineseness" to some of my cultural space, but being a Malaysian is more important to me. for example, ill let my child learn Mandarin, but ill make sure that he/she will have an excellent command of Malay (its about being Malaysian) and English (youll need it to survive the world).

just to let you know, i myself am a 4th generation Malaysian Chinese, and i can proudly say that my allegiance is with Malaysia. if China is going to war with Malaysia, il personally take up weapons and fight with Malaysia. What about you? im sure you are at least a 3rd generation yourself.

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*P/S will provide the link to the posting once i received an ok from the writer.

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