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By Rita Sim

Community suffers from misconception that it is succeeding economically because of hard work and discipline

A padi farmer in Sekinchan, Selangor. Chinese working in the agricultural workers are not covered by social safety nets like insurance or social security.

IT is a popular but mistaken perception that the Chinese-Malaysian community has always been affluent. It may not be an offensive pigeonhole, but it is a misleading idea nonetheless, one that fails to acknowledge the struggles of the poor Chinese and their need for assistance.

Even the Chinese themselves have been known to say: “Even the chicken rice seller is rich-lah, can drive Mercedes.”

It is true that the hawker stall operator should be given credit for his determination and hard work — traits also generally attributed to the Chinese community — but this unfortunately, gives rise to another perception: that the Chinese do not require assistance from the government because they have done well for themselves.

There is no denying that the Chinese community value financial security and wealth. Even today, the young Chinese in Malaysia remember the stories of hardship, passed down through generations, […]