Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A little more about me

I was born in Ipoh in 1971. My parents moved to PJ in 1976, but we continued to make many balik kampung trips, so I have lived some of Lat’s “Kampung Boy” and “Town Boy”.

I had excellent teachers at Methodist Primary School and a great education at La Salle PJ (thank yous, some posthumous, to Puan Maimon, Mrs Murugesu, Mrs Cheah, Tiger Thong, Mrs Chan, Mrs LC Choong, Mr Clement, Mr Rex Michael …..). I learnt discipline and diligence at MPS and acceptance and a broader view at La Salle, a melting pot of ethnic groups and social classes – the No 1 student of my year was in my class, so was the barely-literate last. I wish my children would be able to have a similar education, but that’s a pipe-dream after years of education policy mismanagement.

I have “done well” in the conventional sense, winning two scholarships for study in the UK (for which I am grateful to the University of Warwick and the British government), having lots of paper qualifications (a first-class honours B Sc degree from Warwick, a Cambridge MBA and the CFA charter) and a career which involved jetting around the world business-class and being whisked around Stockholm, Milan, London and New York in chauffeured cars.

Malaysia is my home, and has been home for my family ever since my great-grand father boarded a ship from China. I am third-generation born in Malaysia, which makes my roots deeper than some very senior UMNO politicians. My grandfather, my grandmother, my mother and all my parents’ siblings were teachers or civil servants contributing to nation-building while some of today’s bumiputeras were still growing up in Indonesia.

My family tries to practise low impact living. We do our best to minimise plastic usage – we use our own containers to “ta pau” food and take plastic bags to the pasar malam, we recycle where we can and make compost at home (which is a modest 2-storey terrace), I drive a diesel car (and continue to yearn for better-quality diesel), … but I’m far from a pleasure-denying ascetic. I enjoy teh tarik, canai and daun pisang, sambal belacan, ayam masak merah and nasi kerabu, and yes …. siew yok and wine .. my musical tastes range from AC/DC to Ramli Sarip, Search, Jackson Browne and Theresa Teng …. My guitar heros include Bala, Julian Mokhtar and Angus Young …

Everything in moderation is my philosophy … and I wish all of us can get together AGAIN and ENJOY Malaysia’s diversity rather than just tolerate the differences. “AGAIN”, because my childhood fun included so many birthday parties in so many homes with everyone eating and playing without thought of immaterial differences.


a malaysian in riyadh said...

Chi Cheng
All the best in your new challenge. Let Penang be the envy of all the other states. Show them the way.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Sorry for the typo, Chi Chang.

the seminarian said...

Hi Chi Cheng
you're those few who dare to take the plunge after having a successful career and now willing to do more for society. that's how it should be for all of us yet most of us remain - behind the fence not daring to take a stand for what we believe is right. i sincerely hope you will do well in your new role and that you'll be a source of inspiration for all Malaysians. i believe DAP will one day rule Malaysia but then i hope it will be a sensible ruler of the nation and not be parties of what we have today. i'm so frustrated with what i see today but i must admit economically i am unable to stand up and speak but silently i will do my part for a better Malaysia and a Malaysia for Malaysian.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog and suddenly a great sense of disgust began to envelope me.
I wondered what is the big deal about travelling in Europe more so with business class?
You of all people should brag about what you know about Malaysia and not some countries far away. I can only equate people who takes false pride in travelling 'business class' in Europe with people who suffers from acute interiority complex.You claimed to believe in a Malaysia for Malaysians. I wondered how much of Malaysia you know?

Anonymous said...

First, thanks for volunteering to help DAP. It is always good to see good people like you around to help build and strengthen the party.
You have good paper qualifications and I cannot deny your achievements.
However I feel that you oversold your self a little too much. Maybe a short and brief introduction would have suffice.
The key word here is humility.
Anyway, welcome back to Msia and hope you will find your journey in DAP a fruitful and meaningful one admist all the tortuous challenges.
Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.
You will see light at its brightest form in its darkest moments.
Best regards
Malaysia for Malaysians

Anonymous said...

Hi Chi-chang,

We met the other day over buka puasa at one restaurant on the edge of TTDI. Didnt know that you blogged. BTW, the "I'm the nth generation Malaysian" thingy is becoming more and more important nowadays. It's like a justification of sorts that since I am the nth generation, so I have the right to comment on situations here. This, I think is the putcome of that Penang immigrant politician's outburst. I think the "pendatang" thing should be openly debated, deliberated, chewed, swallowed (or spat out), and get over with once and for all. Let us all know where we and everybody stand. By this I mean, if you are the nth generation and I'm the xth generation, it just does not mean a thing. We all are here now and let us make things work.

By the way, I can easily trace my ancestorship to mid-1700's. That makes me at least the 11th generation Malaysian.


Unknown said...

Hi Chi Chang,
It is good to be able to read your writings/analysis again. I used to read your reports while you were in CLSA (it was CLSA,yah?)Darn - that was a long time ago. I remember you because you asked if I was in your mum's English class??:)
More importantly, I think it is wonderful what you are doing now and Malaysia certainly needs more forward,constructive arguments. Good on ya!

Anonymous said...

thanks for helping us. hope that you can achieve your goals of helping Malaysians.