Tuesday, February 09, 2016

PAS man a credit to muhibbah Malaysia

How many of you know Cao Guojiu?

Wait, let me rephrase that - how many of you Chinese know Cao Guojiu?

I can bet you 999 out of 1000 Chinese in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao and especially mainland China don't. Perhaps in Taiwan there may be more Chinese who knows who Cao Guojiu was.

Today we come to be reminded of Cao Guojiu only because poor Mohd Khairuddin Othman of PAS, the ADUN for Paya Jaras (near Kepong) was seen dressed in a period costume allegedly that of Cau Guojiu.

YB had sportingly worn the costume in a Chinese New Year celebrations on the encouragement of his constituents in Wangsa Permai, Kepong, having been informed that the costume was that of a Chinese Emperor.

Cao Guojiu 

Mind, the member of his constituents who told him so was probably acting in good faith, because ... well, for answer/explanation ... please refer to my queries above (at beginning of this post).

Malaysiakini reports in its his constituents in Wangsa Permai, Kepong, had said that the costume was that of a Chinese Emperor that:

Dressing as a "Chinese emperor" for Chinese New Year may land PAS' Paya Jaras assemblyperson Mohd Khairuddin Othman in hot water.

Khairuddin said he is prepared to face censure from the party's ulama council after realising the costume he donned likened him to one of the eight immortals of the Tao pantheon, Cao Guojiu.

According to PAS organ Harakah Daily, Khairuddin said he did not realise the costume had religious or spiritual elements.

"I believed that Chinese New Year is a cultural celebration and had nothing to do with religion," he is quoted as saying.

He said he was informed by local residents who invited him to the celebrations in Kepong that the costume was that of a "Chinese emperor".

He said he did not decline the residents' request that he don the costume out of respect.

be truthful Chinese
how many of you know that Mohd Khairuddin Othman was wearing the costume for Cao Guojiu?
I don't! 

I truly respect Mohd Khairuddin Othman for his muhibbah sporting gesture, to be (excuse the unintended pun) "at one" with his constituents.

I reiterate here that even 99.9% of Chinese don't know who Cao Guojiu was, so let alone a Malay, whether from PAS, PKR or UMNO.

For me personally, while I am aware of the Taoist Eight Immortals, the only two in that pantheon that I am familiar with would be Lu Dongbin and Li Tieguai. I could never remember the other six.

So to Mohd Khairuddin Othman, I would say, don't fret matey, you may be a PAS man but I've great respect for your 'innocent' muhibbah gesture, and that you've been absolutely correct in stating "Chinese New Year is a cultural celebration and had nothing to do with religion".

In fact I posted an article titled ‘bin Abdullahs’ celebrating Chinese New Year! on this issue some 10 years ago in which I quoted Baradan Kuppusamy of Malaysiakini writing in an article Racism alive and well in Malaysia the following:

“Curiously, the survey also showed that many Malaysians have a vague idea, not only of one another's cultures and traditions. but also of their own.”

“Hari Raya Puasa was wrongly perceived as the Malay New Year by 32% of Malays, 84% of Chinese and 45% of Indians - the festival actually marks the culmination of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Similarly, the Chinese New Year was thought to be a religious festival by 57% of Malays, 53% of Indians and a whopping 62% of Chinese respondents.”

Well, that may be 10 years ago but at least Mohd Khairuddin Othman of PAS is far more knowledgeable than 62% of Chinese then, wakakaka, in that the Chinese New Year celebrations has nothing to do with religion.

In that 10-year old post of mine, I wrote that Chinese New Year has nothing to do with religion, any religion, and that Chinese of any religion - Islam, Christianity, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianism, etc - or even without one (wakakaka), would celebrate the start of the Chinese lunar-solar calendar, the beginning of the Spring season.


note Mandarin oranges, symbol of CNY 

In other words it was a socio-seasonal festival which after thousands of years has become a socio-cultural-administrative festival, even for communist China.

Furthermore, the costume Mohd Khairuddin wore would be typically those of the nobility during the Song Dynasty, so the incorrect info he was given was in the end not so incorrect afterall. In fact Cao Guojiu was a member of the royal family. a younger brother of an empress, the wife of Emperor Renzong of the Song dynasty.

UPDATE: thanks to visitor HY, he reminded me that the deity Cao Guojiu has no role nor function in Chinese New Year celebrations, and as a Chinese who celebrated many many Chinese New Year celebrations I can personally testify to that, so I do wonder why there has been such a costume for Mohd Khairuddin Othman to wear? I've to assume it was just a generic period costume and has nothing to do with a Chinese deity. Someone has been fibbing.

I say kudos to Mohd Khairuddin Othman for his truly Malaysian muhibbah attitude as I would also say kudos to KJ for doing a similar muhibbah gesture - read The Star Online's
Khairy surprises with Mandarin CNY message.

Now, a word from my personal sponsor, wakakaka, to wit, my uncle who pays for my Malaysiakini subscriptions - Uncle informed me that years ago, one of his two fave singers, Sudirman Arshad (see my post Remembering a great Malaysian - Sudirman Arshad) together with his regular performing sidekick Noorkumalasari put together a Gong Xi Fa Cai Special program for RTM. Both planned to dress up in Chinese period costumes for their performances.

Sudirman and Noorkumalasari

he was truly a great Malaysian 

Poor Noorkumalasari was harassed brutally, called all sorts of names and bullied continuously by ultras into not donning the Chinese costumes until she broke down and burst into tears. All these were published in a newspaper (Star?).

It's a shame that today, 10 years since the brutal bullying of Noorkumalasari, people still look for the trivial to create controversy.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, wakakaka.


  1. i think 99.99% chinese that read chinese know ba xian, we may not remember all the 8 names.

    many chinese deity is oso historical figure, so its really depend on context whether there is religion connotation or no, for a party like pas under hadi, I prefer their member no more demonstrate their political gesture in anything chinese. let us live in peace.

    1. not talking about Baxan but Cao Guojiu - how many Chinese know of him?

    2. i dun know, but me, definitely.

      know or dun know make no diff i guess. how many historical chinese that worth costume show is not the same time a deity? not easy to find leh.

      however i can agree y some claim the pas mp dress like cao guoqiu? i cant figure out what/how cao have much to do with cny.

    3. you have a good point in questioning how Cao Guojiu came into play during Chinese New Year. He has no religious function nor presence in CNY celebrations. As I mentioned 99.9% of Chinese don't even know who he was/is

  2. It is not a matter of whether the dress is a religious or cultural thing etc. Khairuddin just provided ammunition for those opportunists to disredit him and he has come out with an apology to appease them. (Remember Tunku Razaleigh's case in Sabah?)

    Muhibbah gestures such as this are treated as anathemas ....

    1. true, but I applaud his "singing" and not the "song" per se

  3. Most of these people who called themselves religious ulamas,religious fanatics,religious extremists,pure plain extremists or ketuahnan Melayus are fakes and blind.They are in their dreams of still living in the stone age.

  4. http://www.chinatourguide.com/china_photos/Xian/Attractions/hrc_xian_great_mosque_tower.jpg

    What if Mohd Khairuddin Othman wants to build a mosque exactly like the above mosque in Paya Jaras?

    Aisehman, Prophet Muhammad also had dressed up like Roman Emperor. The Romans are Christians aren't they?

    1. Romans pre-Constantine believed in their pantheon of roman gods (borrowed from the Greeks, like Apollo, Jupiter (Greek Zeus), Minerva (Greek Athena), Diana (Greek Artemis), Venus (Greek Aphrodite), Pluto (Greek Hades), Neptune (Greek Poseidon) etc

      Emperor Constantine exploited Christianity as a roman state religion to control the people of his empire

  5. Years ago, I often sent "Gong Xi Fa Cai" greetings to my Chinese associates.
    However, it was later pointed out to me that "Cai" in the context of Chinese culture has spiritual overtones, being bound up in belief in unseen supernatural forces.
    Look at the extent to which Chinese pay attention to timing and compass directions of New Year offerings.

    Hence, strictly speaking, it is improper for a Muslim to wish Chinese "Fa Cai" for Chinese New Year.

    Nowadays I just wish them Happy New Year, which has no other connotations.

    1. no, "cai" just means luck. when you wish gong xi fa cai to your chinese friends you're merely wishing them luck and prosperity (or rather prosperity and luck).

      As i have written CNY and its associated greetings of gong xi fa cai is just a seasonal festival, to rejoice after the bitter cold and ice of winter, and of course for the agricultural people of china to welcome in the growth of spring

      some chinese have been superstitious (consulting keramats etc) but that doesn't mean chinese culture is underpinned by religious tenets or beliefs, in the same fashion as Islam is not underpinned by Malay belief in bomohs. in fact Confucianism frowns at superstitious practices and beliefs

    2. "cai" mean wealth/money.

      "cai shen" or "cai shen ye" mean god of prosperity.

      "gong xi fa cai" mean congratulate/wish u making lots of money n wealth (in short prosperous)

      1&3 literally mean money/wealth, nothing to do with religion.

      2 is a deity, but I personally think it has nothing to do with religion as well. its all abt making money n wish come true. I see chinese religion as part of culture, not really a religion similar to others.