Saturday, September 24, 2005

Conversation With a Tai Ko

Foreigners can often get away with saying things that citizens can't or won't say. BBC's Jonathan Kent reports on the triads in Malaysia. Scariest part of the interview with a prospective tai ko:
Ah Hing makes no bones about his world and his life. "I admit that I am a bad guy, and that I'm a gangster," he said.

"So who runs your world?" I asked - to which he gave a simple reply : "The government".


=] said...

"When the economic downturn of 1998 hit Asia, many Malaysians turned to the triads for work.
It allowed thousand to fill their rice bowls." Is it true? It reads like every other Ali, Ah Chong, Muthu (or rather Ah Beng, Ah Chong, Ah Seng) are part of the triads.
"Malaysia is thought to be the world's largest producer of pirated optical discs" Even the pirates have the Malaysia Boleh spirit! On a serious side, it's rather worrying that the common man is supporting the triads by buying pirated vcds in the bulk..

sashi said...

whoa! the part about authorities setting boundaries for crimes... sounds a lot like how the Patrician runs Ankh-Morpork, don't ya think?

3rd Chimp said...

Eeee-yew, Sharon, what a stinky mess. Interesting slant on the pragmatism involved. But I think it's more than the authorities just settling for contained crime -- I assume they are 'enjoying' access to the prosties and the drugs, etc. Thanks for posting it!

bibliobibuli said...

square smiley - exactly right about the vcd's ... actually I don't buy them at all because I can't stop thinking about who the money is going to

sashi - goodness, it's time I read Discworld

3rd chimp - probably are!

Anonymous said...

Well, if it's true, this group he calls "thousand" must eat a lot of rice :)

I think it's strange that he said this "Ah Hing" with his "spiky hair", "tattoos" and "cheap shoes" looked like "many working class [sic] Malaysian Chinese." Methinks either he's very much mistaken or I've not been noticing all the spiky-haired, tattooed and cheap-shoed nine-to-fivers in KL.

Incidentally, did you notice how many mistakes there were in he article ? "working class" should have been "working-class", "thousand" should have been "thousands" etc. I never thought I'd one day find this sort of thing in the BBC. I mean, it's _the BBC_.

I sometimes look at this, and at the NYT accepting fake stories, and I wonder if the world hasn't completely turned upside-down.

About the boundaries, wish I knew. I _do_ know that every country I know has a police force, yet every country I know has crime. I have no idea why that is.

In some countries, there really _are_ boundaries. There're areas you don't walk into because they're controlled by armed gangs. Interesting thing is that it's cheek-by-jowl with the nice neighbo(u)rhoods. You'd be driving along looking at the nice houses, and then suddenly ahead of you there'd be graffiti on the walls. It's like there's an invisible line -- the graffiti actually _stops_ at one point.. and beyond that all is goodness and light. It's like what you said.. maybe there are boundaries. I've not seen this happen there though.

The Discworld series is very "pythonesque" :) in that most of the books revolve (or should I say evolve ?) around characters that are very well defined. And he has the gift of being able to show you and not tell you, and in doing so not come across as being preachy or sanctimonious.

bibliobibuli said...

Porty - I think you're right on much you say but wrong about the hyphen. british English has largely dropped them, tho' US English uses them more. There are no hard and fast rules anyway. (Don't challenge me on this, I did a linguistic analysis in my other life.)

MJ said...

How does 1 recognize a gangster or a baddie anyway? They can be any1 from the rubbish collector to the high officials in the government to the rich company owners..