On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Use the best of both worlds

One possible explanation for the preference of these white
men could be their bulging wallets or our Malaysian women's misconception that
these foreigners are more romantic, having watched too many Hollywood movies.

But it is the preference for a foreigner, somewhat a novelty, in their arms
that is the more likely reason for the increasing number of “sarong party

Like satan-worshipping, it is a sign against local convention and Asian
traditional customs and religious rules.

Local political satire Politik Kedai Kopi naughtily claims the preference for a
Caucasian male partner is particularly prevalent among Malay women.

It describes foreigner-worshipping as among the sins of the Malays, besides
being involved in poison-pen literature and getrich-quick schemes.

But Malaysian men ought to share the blame too. After all, they are unlikely to
take these often well-endowed “sarong party girls'' home to introduce to their
mothers as prospective brides.

My Malay colleagues also wonder why the more religious Malays prefer to dress
up like Arabs with serbans and long flowing robes.

Besides Caucasians and Arabs, young Malaysians, particularly the Chinese, seem
to imitate anything Japanese these days.

I thought Malaysian youths only have black hair but these days, they come in
red, brown, orange, red and even blond.

It is terribly confusing for someone like me, who still thinks he is
liberal-minded at 40 and having grown up with Saturday Night Fever. I am
finding it hard to comprehend this fondness for multi-coloured hair.

Hong Kong used to be the benchmark of youngsters from Cheras and Kepong. No

When the Prime Minister initiated the Look East policy, where we were told to
emulate the industriousness of the Japanese, he certainly did not have in mind
Frankenstein-like platform shoes.

My Indian colleagues are still trying to understand why their younger brethren
within the community prefer to dress and talk like they have just stepped out
from a Bronx ghetto in New York although they are from Brickfields and Sentul.

With their clean-shaven heads and poor attempts to sound like a soul brother,
one can sense the underlining admiration and adoration these youngsters have
for American blacks and their desire to hide their Indian roots.

It's a crying shame because the Tamil culture is rich and is recognised for its
intellectual history.

But that has been sacrificed for some mindless rap talk which is a pale shadow
of the Indian heritage.

Tune into our radio stations and there is no shortage of disc jockeys who think
and believe that speaking correct English means sounding like a white man or a
black man.

We laugh at our Malaysian-accent English but strangely, and without thinking,
we embrace the French and the Spaniards for their heavily accented, even flawed
English, with the misguided belief that they sound romantic.

And many of us think they really sound good simply because that has been
grounded into our minds by the media.

Paris is perceived as a romantic city simply because that's what the media,
especially the movies, say.

Never mind the fact that Parisians are snooty, rude and refuse to acknowledge
English-speaking Malaysians struggling to buy a croissant, which is tasteless
compared to the local roti tissue.

There's no end to foreigner-worshipping, really. Many of our hotel
receptionists and restaurant waitresses are guilty of giving preference to
foreigners, especially whites.

I am sure many of us, at some point, have experienced the contempt of some
hotel workers for locals.

But thank God, our Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry officials have more sense
than our hospitality services workers.

Malaysia is being aggressively promoted in India, China and West Asia because
tourists from these areas have a passion for shopping, which is good for our

The older white tourists prefer to sit by the pool with a book, the middle-aged
prefer the sex industry in Phuket and Bangkok while the young are backpackers
with tight budgets.

Having said that, Malaysians should be mindful of not encouraging racism or
xenophobia, the hatred for foreigners.

It will be myopic for us to be inward looking. History is filled with leaders
who bring disasters to their country because of their narrow nationalistic

Malaysia needs to be wary of politicians who refuse to accept the importance of
English or orthodox religious types who preach against liberalism. Worse still
are those who think circus acts are immoral.

Let's take the best of foreign values and assimilate them into our local
context. Not everything foreign is wrong and not everything Malaysian is right

Devil-worshipping or foreigner-worshipping aside, nothing will stop many of us
from watching the Red Devils at work tonight.