26 July, 2016

Mao vs Chiang

China experienced a deadly civil war early in the last century. Millions lost their lives. Even today Chinese are still divided into two camps: Communists and Kuomintang. Russia helped Mao and USA helped Chiang to kill one another. Mao won in the end and Chiang took up permanent residence on a small island off the coast of China. Many books have been written about these two men.

Unlike today, 100 years ago, we do not have comprehensive news coverage of what exactly happened in the world. All the books were written based on one sided information. To obtain a balanced view, we should perhaps also read some of the books written in the Chinese language by a communist. Barbara Tuchman's version is pro communist; also one sided, but that is the best we can do, trying to understand what was going on in China so very long ago when the Manchu emperor left the Forbidden city.

I grew up in a British colony, Sarawak. I do not read much Chinese because I studied in an English medium school set up by missionaries. Very little Chinese history was taught in these mission schools. In 1963, Sarawak joined Malaya, Singapore and Sabah to form a federation called Malaysia. From a British colony we became a Malay colony (jumping from the wok into the fire). Very soon, education was conducted in the Malay language. Islam became the official religion. Hence I left Malaysia in 1995.

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