Asian Rare Earth Sdn Bhd - a joint venture involving Mitsubishi Chemical Industries Ltd (35%), Beh Minerals (35%), Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji or the state-owned Pilgrims' Management Fund Board (20%) and other bumiputra businessmen (10%) - began operations in 1982 soon after Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister. It took the residents of Bukit Merah more than 10 years of unrelenting struggle to get this lethally hazardous operation shut down. In the process, community leaders at the forefront of the protest against ARE were even arrested and detained under the obnoxious ISA by order of the vindictive home minister, Mahathir Mohamad...
This meaty piece by Farish is so succulent and juicy I simply have to share it with my readers...
No, this ‘Babi’ will Not ‘Balik Cina’ By Farish A. Noor
I have just read the reports on the internet about the goings-on that led to the disruption and early closure of the public forum organised by the Bar Council on Conversion in Malaysia over the weekend. Apart from the other rather offensive remarks that were featured in the various reports that I read, I also chanced upon a rather curious revelation: Apparently during the commotion caused when some of the so-called ‘defenders of the faith’ had entered the room where the forum was being held, there were calls for a certain ‘Babi’ to ‘Balik Cina.’
Now I have checked and double-checked all the photos that are available on the internet and have seen no image that corresponds to the ‘Babi’ in question. Therefore for the sake of academic consistency and objectivity, I am compelled to ask the Bar Council this: Was there a pig in the auditorium where the forum was held? And if so, how could the Bar Council invite a pig to attend a forum that was open primarily for Malaysian citizens (who are overwhelmingly human, as identity papers and passports have not been issued to pigs or any other non-human species as far as I know)
Furthermore I need to ask how the demonstrators knew that the pig (if one was present) was of Chinese origin? Did it carry a Chinese passport, and if so, why was it in KL when the Olympic games were being held in Beijing and the world’s attention was focused there? [*ed. I can only assume that this was a rather anti-social pig from China who had come to Malaysia to avoid the throngs of tourists who have overtaken Beijing, which would be a sensible thing that I would have done myself, so I confess to having sympathy with this mysterious invisible pig.]
Lest there be any offence to pigs from China, I would like to remind the demonstrators who made that remark that there are enough pigs in Southeast Asia and that pigs are, in fact, a native species in the region (including Malaysia). To ask this mysterious pig to ‘Balik Cina’ was therefore offensive to say the least, as it overlooks the fact that it could have been a local Malaysian pig and therefore has every right to be in Malaysia. Though what it was doing at the Bar Council’s forum is anyone’s guess.
Here are some categories of local pigs (genus: Sus, subfamily species: suinea (Latin)) that have shared our very same bumi for centuries:
In Malaysia we have the babi hutan, babirusa (genus: Babyrousa) and wild boar (genus: Sus scrofa) that have been long-time residents of the peninsula.
In Indonesia, there are also many types of local pigs such as the Sulawesi Babirusa, the Warty pig of Sulawesi (genus: Sus celebensis), the Timorese Warty Pig (Genus: Sus Timorensis) and the Javanese Warty hog (Genus: Sus verrocosus).
In Vietnam there is of course the Sus bucculentus, otherwise known as the Indo-Chinese warty pig, while in the Philippines there is the local Sus cebifrons that hails from the Visayas Islands.
So how dare some people go around making wild allegations about the alleged foreign citizenship and/or origins of a pig that may or may not have been present at the Bar Council forum? To assume the foreign identity and origin of an individual merely on the basis of appearance and behaviour would reek of the highest form of prejudice, and points only to the ignorance of those who simply do not know: PIGS are not foreign to Malaysia or Southeast Asia. They are as localised and normalised as Durians and Corruption in this country.