Love & Other Hatemail

ASIAWATCH — As part of an occasional series AsiaWATCH is publishing links to the more controversial articles of late and the sometimes terse response they elicited.

AsiaWATCH won kudos for this piece on the Eurozone debt crisis as it spirals from one embattled bond market to the next.

It said; It is becoming clear we are likely heading into a double dip global recession. Whilst economic fundamentals of the United States may in fact be improving, investor pessimism is quickly spreading across the globe.

Headlined: Khmer Rouge: Vietnam Did It!  The Diplomat’s Luke Hunt scored another lawyer of scorn from thos opposed to the Khmer Rouge Tribnal currently underway in Phnom Pen.

He wrote: Old hatreds die hard, and nowhere has this been more evident than at the trial of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders in Phnom Penh. It has been an historic week, with former ideologue Nuon Chea taking the stand while Former Foreign Minister Ieng Sary and one-time head of state Khieu Samphan watched on.

Nuon Chea attempted to portray himself as a noble Khmer. As a young man, he said he had developed a “passion for justice” after witnessing the harsh handling of Cambodian peasants by the Colonial French and rich landowners who “treated them as slaves”.

Leonard R. responded: “I hope these well-paid Europeans feel very smug sitting in judgment here. They were all a safe distance away during the unfolding of the actual tragedy. And I hope they understand what these trials will accomplish. They will dredge up the past and make the Khmer Rouge seem heroic to Cambodians. They are still there you know. In fact, they are still in power.”

Temujin added: “It was Vietnam? Really? It seem more to me it was China, The Khmer Rouge allied with the Chinese Ultra-Maoist to slaughter 2 millions of it own educated and wealthy Cambodians and they are now blaming the event to Vietnamese and the French. In fact, if it wasn’t for the 1979 Vietnamese Invasion, these Khmer Rouge turn Cambodia into hell on earth like Mao Zde Dong did it to China.”

Headlined: Malaysia’s Twisted Past, also in The Diplomat, this piece scored enormous amounts of hate mail predictably from Malaysia’s Muslim community. Equally many applauded the piece.

Nationalism in Malaysia is a peculiar thing. And, at the end of the day, it’s more about being Malay, Muslim and from Peninsula Malaysia as opposed to any of the other religious or many ethnic groups who have called this country home for centuries. Royal connections also help.

The West Malay Islamic influence permeates across the country, often reinventing history with its own spin. Anybody who questions this is to be cast aside with the Christians, Shiites, Buddhist and Hindus who struggle to believe Malaysia is a secular country.

Malaysian writes: “This is a one-sided and extremely biased account of pre-independence Malayan history. There is an obvious attempt in Mr Luke Hunt’s article to whitewash the role of the British Empire in creating this mess in Malaya (presumably due to his racial loyalty), and to shift the blame to the “evil” communists who were trying to “take over” Malaya.”

Ozivan added: — “@Malaysian. A great presentation of a view that is from another perspective. As an ex-Malaysian, it makes me proud that the little that I have encountered of Malaysians writing in with their comments are usually of very high standard.

“What more, western authors should by now realise that Asians are increasingly unwilling to accept history written by foreigners, apologists for former colonialists or victors of wars.”

The NYAsian added in res[ect to both Malaysian and Ozivan: “You two have incredibly low reading comprehension. The author was actually defending the two people as communists and saying the PAS was trying to whitewash this fact. Jeez.”

On Taiwan, under the headline: Ma feeling the Heat, Cain Nunn wrote: A crack team of Taiwanese paratroopers hurtled to Earth from 5,000 feet this month. Their mission was simple: land in a targeted area in front of nationalist Kuomintang President Ma Ying-jou as he received military units marking the Republic of China’s 100th anniversary.

But like most things relating to Taiwanese politics, that’s easier said than done, and by the time Ma’s look of pride had given way to bemusement, six of the team had landed safely and the remaining six were unaccounted for – scattered to the wind. A few ended up on rooftops, some landed in an elementary school a few kilometres away, and one landed on a group of onlookers outside the Presidential Office.

This prompted an eloquent response from Frankie Fook-lun Leung: “George Bernard Shaw said: Traveling only reinforces one’s prejudice. The more the Taiwanese interact with the Mainlanders, the more they realize they are not the same. Hence, not many Taiwanese, if the truth be known, really want Taiwan to be part of Mainland China. Even Deng Xiaoping’s One Country Two Systems is dropped from the lips of the Mainland propaganda machine. China has learned a hard lesson. If she takes up a position in favor of the KMT, it will have a boomerang effect: it helps the DPP. China and Taiwan and each of them have learned to play the game with more skill and delicacy. Just a carrot and a stick is not sufficient or effective for China. The dilemma Taiwan faces is this: if the Taiwanese economy has become so dependent on China’s, how can you convince your troops and other government agencies to maintain vigilance against a power which may one day conquer you. Ma has to walk on a fine line.”



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Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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