Bananachinese’s Weblog

October 12, 2008

Guide to political survival in Malaysia: Guanxi and Mianzi

Ladies and gentlemen,

Its Show & Tell time again! Especially useful for political survival and for activists keen to convey their messages effectively to those in political power.

Today is all about guanxi and mianzi.

Example:
Why Hindraf failed at UMNO’s Open House at PWTC recently, as shown by extract from The Star :

.
Several Cabinet Ministers disapproved of the timing of the memorandum, saying that a Hari Raya open house was the wrong platform for it.

“This is not the time, this is not the correct venue. They can come to wish Selamat Hari Raya and shake hands, but the rest of it, different time, and different date.

“If they come in peace and harmony there shouldn’t be any problems,” said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Hindraf members should have known their limits and not turn up at an open house “like this”.

“There are platforms for you to make your submission. This is not the proper way of doing things. I mean, it’s a Raya do. Today is Hari Raya, it’s got nothing to do with memorandums.

“This shouldn’t have happened like this, especially during this festive season, whether it’s Hari Raya, Christmas, Deepavali or Chinese New Year,” he said.

Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman said such behaviour would reflect poorly on Malaysia’s image to tourists.

“If you are here as a guest, then behave as one. Parliament will convene on Oct 13. They can do so (submit their memorandum) then,” she said.

.

Here’s how guanxi can be adopted by Hindraf to perhaps turn around its Titanic from hitting the iceberg:

“Adopting the Chinese principles of quanxi (relationship) and mianzi (giving face) can help promote greater harmony in a multi-racial society.” (another article from The Star, featuring the sage and ageless advice from PM in waiting Najib Tun Razak at a do featuring Chinese culture).

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End of show and tell for today.

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