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Standing Against Divisive Remarks: A Defiant Response To Racial Insensitivity

Standing Against Divisive Remarks: A Defiant Response To Racial Insensitivity

A netizen sarcastically suggested that the local council be renamed Majlis Perbandaran Beijing in reference to a Chinese calligraphy competition in Taiping.

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In a recent tweet that has caught the eye of netizens, netizen Muhammad Najib underscored the enduring ethnic harmony in Taiping, a place with a significant Chinese-majority population that has remained constant over the years.

Muhammad’s tweet highlighted the town’s name origin, Taiping, derived from the Chinese characters 太 (tai – ‘great’) and 平 (ping – ‘peace’), reflecting the town’s historical ethos.

He noted the appropriateness of Taiping hosting Chinese calligraphy competitions, an art form deeply rooted in Chinese culture.

“Taiping, a name meaning ‘Great Peace,’ is fitting for a town known for its cross-cultural camaraderie,” Najib wrote.

He also pointed out the friendly nature of Taiping residents, who are known for their welcoming attitude towards people of different ethnic backgrounds.

In a direct response to another user identified as @solisidtor, Muhammad dismissed the need for racial divisiveness, implying that the spirit of Taiping stands in contrast to such sentiments.

The tweet has sparked a conversation online about Malaysia’s multicultural fabric, with many praising Taiping as a beacon of racial unity and a reminder of the country’s diverse heritage.

Numerous netizens concurred with Muhammad, emphasizing that the cultural association enhances Taiping’s importance as a hub of lasting ethnic unity and intercultural solidarity.

@solisidtor sarcastically suggested that the local council be renamed Majlis Perbandaran Beijing instead of Taiping in reference to a Chinese calligraphy competition in Taiping.

He added that the original competition poster had overlooked the use of the national language.

This led others to caution him against being easily provoked.

The Historical Harmony Forged from Conflict

The story of Taiping’s Chinese community dates back to the 19th century when the discovery of tin deposits drew thousands of Chinese migrants seeking fortune.

These pioneers, many of whom were Cantonese and Hakka, braved perilous journeys and worked tirelessly in the tin mines, enduring hardship and adversity.

The town owes much of its early character to two secret societies: the Ghee Hin and the Hai San.

Taiping’s name, which means ‘Great Peace’—is a moniker that belies its tumultuous origins but encapsulates its present. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

The Ghee Hin and Hai San were originally formed by Chinese immigrants involved in the tin mining industry in the 19th century.

These societies supported and protected their members in the often lawless settlements around the mines.

However, competition for control of the lucrative tin deposits led to violent conflicts known as the Larut Wars.

READ MORE: From Gangsta’s Paradise To Nature’s Sanctuary: Taiping Lake Gardens Was Once Home To The Triads

Allying with these Chinese factions, Malay leaders such as Ngah Ibrahim, who teamed up with the Hai San, were instrumental in shaping Taiping’s history.

The Malays’ alliance with the warring societies was pivotal in the eventual peace established through British intervention and the Pangkor Treaty of 1874.

Despite the bloodshed, their resilience transformed Taiping into a thriving mining town and laid the foundations of a community characterized by a strong work ethic and close-knit familial ties.

The house of influential Perak chieftain Ngah Ibrahim continues to stand tall in Taiping. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

While the mines have long since closed, the legacy of these early settlers lives on.

Today, Taiping is celebrated for its well-preserved colonial architecture, tranquil Lake Gardens, and as the home of Malaysia’s first railway and museum.

Yet, it’s the town’s cultural tapestry that truly warms the heart.

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