On Wang Gangwu

March 12, 2011

Wang Gangwu: Junzi and Scholar with Intellectual Honesty

by Terence Netto @http://www.malaysiakini.com

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah used the occasion of a book launch ceremony in Ipoh last night to castigate former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad‘s memoirs as “political lying”.

In lauding the “intellectual honesty” of the Surabaya-born and Ipoh-raised Professor Wang Gangwu, the scholar gentleman alluded to in the book’s Mandarin subtitle ‘Junzi’, the Gua Musang MP lamented the quality’s dearth in the political atmosphere that he said prevails in Malaysia today.

Of ‘Wang Gangwu: Junzi’, the one-time political nemesis of Mahathir said an initial perusal of the book left him with the impression that it “reflects a scholar with intellectual honesty.”

“This is a rare commodity these days, particularly in the political atmosphere that we face today in Malaysia where political lying has become pervasive,” offered Razaleigh.

The UMNO gadfly was more scathing as he expanded his criticisms of ‘A Doctor in the House‘, the memoirs of Mahathir which was launched in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week.  “Political lying comes through the media and sometimes by writing books of memoirs. One book was recently launched under a pseudo title called, ‘A Doctor in the House’.

“I say ‘pseudo’ because it is a copy-cat title of a famous British comedy film of the 1950s based on a novel by Richard Gordon. Perhaps it was deliberate, as it does reflect some comedianship, apart from political lying,” said Razaleigh caustically.

Dr M’s attacks not new

He said Mahathir’s book made allegations against him which were not new. “Again I am accused of bringing the party [UMNO] to court. I am also alleged to be involved in money politics during the 1987 party contest,” said Razaleigh.

He then went on a peroration of denials that dripped contempt for his accuser.”I do not have that sort of money. I have no cronies. In fact, I am against money politics. As Allah is my witness, I have not done all those things. Yet, I have always been returned every time I stood in Gua Musang.

“I never steal. I never cheat. Those who steal and cheat will have their conscience pricking them all the time, the rest of their life,” asserted Razaleigh.

Almost as an afterthought, Razaleigh adverted to Wang Gangwu’s lifetime of scholarship distilled in ‘Junzi’ (noble man), which is compilation of interviews of the professor to felicitate him on his 80th birthday last year.

Like Wang, Kota Bharu-born Razaleigh is an old boy of Anderson School in Ipoh. The book launch was held in the clubhouse of ex-alumni of the school.

The interviews for ‘Junzi’ were conducted by Asad-ul Iqbal Latif, a visiting research fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies in Singapore (ISEAS), the publishers of the book. Professor Wang is chairman of the institute.

49 thoughts on “On Wang Gangwu

  1. Yes Tengku Razaleigh,, we know Mahathir is a great lair and egomaniac. Too many years in power had gone to his head. He behaved like an emperor rather than a PM. And acting like an emperor for too long made him behave like one. Anyone who did not suck it up to him are treated like an enemy. My suggestion is that you write your own memoir and let the truth be told.

  2. I don’t read much on WGW, merely some excerpts rambling about SEA Chinese emotion attach to China, which I think is over simplistic base on his academic caliber. Not sure yet what his view of the new century in a globalize world. Similar to some here that keeps on reminding us to be Malaysian, a stretch of delusional notion that are without deep understanding of our constitution and culture divergence.

    Why not they vote with their feet and move to any Middle East country, see if they still persist with that same belief.

  3. while he divert us with lies, his family and cronies continue to plunder millions by the day.
    that man is a curse to the country with his cronyism and racism.

  4. ” I never steal,I never lie. ” That’s a real stretch for a politician of his vintage and time to say. Perhaps less of a cheat or liar compared to Old Mamak. But cheats and liars they all are. UMNO/ BN and the bulk of the present crop of politicians in the opposition ( perhaps again a matter of degree)has to undergo a generational change and a transformation of the system, before Malaysians can see some semblance of honesty and transparency. Prof Wang Gung Wu is mired in Chinas historical past, so just wondering whether his memoirs is worth a read in a fast changing environment

  5. Dr. Wang Gungwu, CBE (simplified Chinese: 王赓武; pinyin: Wáng Gēngwǔ) (born 9 October 1930) is an academic who has studied and written about the Chinese diaspora, although he has objected to the use of the word diaspora to describe the migration of Chinese from China, because it is inaccurate and has been used to perpetuate fears of a “Chinese threat”.He was born in Surabaya, Indonesia, and grew up in Ipoh, Malaysia. He studied history in the University of Malaya, Singapore, where he received both his Bachelor and Masters degrees. He holds a Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1957) for his thesis on The structure of power in North China during the Five Dynasties. He is a former teacher at the University of Malaya (in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur) before going to Canberra in 1968 to become Professor of Far Eastern History in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at Australian National University. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong from 1986 to 1995.

    Currently Dr. Wang is University Professor at the National University of Singapore, and also Chairman of the Managing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He is the Chairman of the East Asian Institute. He was a Distinguished Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies where he is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is also an Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University, Canberra.–wikipedia

    I studied Chinese History under Prof. Wang Gungwu at MU in 1960. He was an outstanding academic and I was pleased to see him again at the ISEAS Regional Forum a few years ago. In 1960s we had a group of other excellent history professors and lecturers at the Arts Faculty like John Bastin, Robin W. Winks, Anthony Short, Mary C. Turnbull and William R. Roff.–Din Merican

  6. Huh? Why me?
    George Soros? Why him?
    Prof Wang? Yup, my pop taught him how to play marbles..

    Kurt Vonnegut’s advice:

  7. The book launch was not held at the the Old Andersonian Club as claimed by Terrance but at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh on Friday, March 11. The two locations are far apart.

  8. I studied Chinese History under Prof. Wang Gungwu at MU in 1960. He was an outstanding academic ….. in 1960s we had a group of other excellent history professors and lecturers at the Arts Faculty like John Bastin, Robin W. Winks, Anthony Short, Mary C. Turnbull and William R. Roff.–Din Merican

    Those were the days. I still remember Prof Wang in MU campus. Prof Wang and others like Prof Ungku Aziz, Ching Fung Kee of Engineering Fac, Syed Hussein Alatas, etc.

    Since the time of the 22 years of the senile old man’s prime ministership until now, the MU faculties are manned mostly by kangkung professors whose only interest is to gather titles in front of their names, and not behind. They make good researchers on the art of “bodekism” and how to play UMNO politics to become Deans and Heads of Depts.

  9. correction

    Those were the days. I still remember Prof Wang in MU campus. Prof Wang and others like Prof Ungku Aziz, Ching Fung Kee of Engineering Fac, Syed Hussein Alatas, etc. WERE pillars upholding the highest academic standards in our part of the world.

  10. C.L. Familiaris, Learn from ‘Wang Gangwu!- rightways

    An overseas chinese idiot trying to give advice to others.

  11. Yup Frank, mine was Prof Danaraj and others who punched holes of humility into us.
    Their favorite phrase was: “You blaaardy fools..!”
    Those days we were all equals, no matter what faculty – except when it came to booking the tennis courts! Our faculty always lost. Sixth College – quite far from the rest and where Bean used to “smell”.

  12. These people Musa Hitam.. Tengku Razaleigh and others just jealous no people want to write them book…. They said people are liar… they are one that ask to get back in the BN… no principles… TDM take them back… bunch of loser and you people want to believe these loser… yup because you also a loser…hehehe… ;p

  13. C.L. Familiaris,

    I think 6th College did not exist during Mr. Bean’s time.

    The smellers were hanging around 3rd and 4th College. If not, the NHOs will hang around the cafeteria between lectures. Somehow, the prettier ones seem to be located in 4th College.

    1st college was called: Kampung College
    2nd College – Mad House
    5th College – Zoo

  14. “The smellers were hanging around 3rd and 4th College.” – Frank

    Best of both worlds, you see. The women in 3rd and the best food in 4th.

  15. Hmm.., no wonder – i felt right at home when loafing around in the second. No wonder Bean’s always keeps on mentioning the UH car-park! There were certainly better places to ‘hang’ around..

    aiD_kamikuP, you should try the food in sixth – and recall all the jokes about hospital food.

  16. aiD_kamikuP,

    the best food in 4th ???

    Never heard of that one before. But the best panty raids were done in 4th.

    C.L. Familiaris,

    5th College only opened up in 1965/66, if I remember correctly and at that time, it was located in an area surrounded by jungle and behind the agriculture faculty. The wild ones were sent there.

    The mad ones were sent to 2nd College.

  17. Dear Dato’ Merican,

    I do not know why we are now giving this Man (note, Man with a capital M) such a high position now. After all he is another one of those Malaysian Rejets who became a diamond under international pressure.History, is now a compulsory subject for all Malaysians irrespective of race, colour, or creed. Now, moving forward we must at least profit from our own history.

  18. Rightways, Thank you for taking the trouble to present that article by G. Soros which never saw the light of day in MSM Malaysia. But as YAA Tun attempts to re-write his history it is now being widely circulated in the internet.

    PS I hope that YAA Tun will reply to those commnets made by G. Soros.

  19. Yup. 5th’s creepy. Still had a troop of starving monkeys the last time i visited a year ago. Have you guys been back recently? Better soon, cuz i heard some developers angling for that piece..
    I remember trying to identify mosquitoes caught thereabouts, to see whether they were malarial vectors. Nowadays, you just had to go to Pulapol or NS camps.

  20. He was born in Indonesia, lived in Ipoh, educated at the Anderson School, why is is he holding eminent positions in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia (only a lecturer at MU). With his qualifications he should be a top shot in the Malaysian Academia. Oh sorry lah he is a “pendatang” so cannot lah.

    On George’s coverage of the Mamak Kutty, well its diamond cutting diamond. Only the Jewish diamond cuts harder and deeper.

  21. George Soros?

    Another member of the international Jewish conspiracy!

    Didn’t the Doctor enlighten us all at an international conference in Putrajaya just before he left office that “Jews rule the world by proxy”?

  22. Phua Kai Lit ,

    Rightways quoting George Soros ?

    One who believes the gentile world hates all Jews

    The other who believes the world is out to crush China and re-introduce the opium trade the chinese.

    Two birds of the same feather (only different color).

  23. Sixth College??

    The late ’60s were interesting times at UM Campus. We could screw the girls up on the roof top of the Big Hall (Dewan Tunku Chancellor as it was more popularly known), in parked cars at ‘Lover’s Corner’, in the backseats of cars in the isolated Medical Faculty car park and at the Medical Library. You can smuggle your girlfriends in late at night if you have single rooms (which I had) and smuggle them out early morning.

    At other times when we had Balls (as they were called) at the Dewan Tunku Chancellor, we could puff the magic dragon, drink all the beer and joined lips with our partners on the dance floor and nobody would give a shit.

    Times have changed. Now you get to see loud speakers, public address systems and undergraduates walking with their hijab and their ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Those days we had the likes of Lucy sitting in the library without panties on. Whatever happened to the good times? When we would have panty raids on our own girls and those in the 3rd and 4th colleges? When we would bring our trophies (some with holes in them and room numbers) back only to hang them on palm trees in front of the library? And to have some re-claimed by the girls.

  24. Mr. Bean Esq,

    You are really crude. You never kiss and tell. You have single-handedly brought down the name of Universiti Malaya as it stood in the late 50s and early 60s

  25. Hahaha.., Bean crude?
    Yup, those were the days!
    That’s what they call the single rooms nowadays, Bean. The other colleges were shared.

  26. For speaking the truth, I’m crude? I’d rather be crude.

    And yes, her name was not Lucy but Ivy Goh and Frank being a nerdy NHO must have heard.

  27. Menyalak-er,

    Single rooms had to be earned. You had to be a sportsman representing your College before you could be allocated a single room. It was a way of honoring our best and brightest. My sports was playing balls with Rosmah.

  28. Dato’ Merican,

    I do not know how you tolerate this.
    Anon, it is not tolerance, but we need to expose the man’s flawed ideas and self serving schemes. Taib Mahmud told the MACC to investigate Mahathir for corruption, implying that if he is corrupt, Mahathir is many times more corrupt. But so far the former Prime Minister is apparently above the law. The MACC seems unwilling to even investigate him over the Correct, Correct, Correct VK Lingam matter. The RCI report is ignored by MACC.–Din Merican

  29. Actually Mr Bean, sounds like you had a normal growing up at Uni ! Now everyone is uptight about race religion etc etc . Everybody aorund the word is uptight . Trying hard to be holier- than- thou. As for M’sia, who knows where they are heading!

  30. You have single-handedly brought down the name of Universiti Malaya as it stood in the late 50s and early 60s – Anonymous – March 13, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Silly rebuttal. Those were the glorious and proud days of the University of Malaya. We knew who we were, where we stand and we had the country at heart. During the May 13 1969, Tun Razak and Prof Ungku Aziz described the MU campus as an Oasis of Peace while the thugs were killing each other outside the campus gates.

    The people who brought down the name of the University are the kangkung professors in the campus who are only good at piling titles infront of their names. Their research works are plagiarised from works of their students and from cut and paste downloaded from the internet on other people’s work.

  31. Dewan Tunku Chancellor, we could puff the magic dragon, drink all the beer and joined lips with our partners on the dance floor and nobody would give a shit.- Mr Bean

    You bring back great memories… My favourite drink druing a Saturday Ball is BGA ( it cost at that time about RM1-2 per glass). BGA = brandy ginger ale.

    Before you can smuggle your GF back to your room, you got to be very friendly with the jaga first. That is the first thing you do when you arrive at the college…get to know the jaga very well and buy him packets of cigarettes.

  32. Young Kathy, now living in Oz, would be shocked to know this was her country then.- Mr Bean

    Perhaps young Kathy should ask her dad.

  33. Ivy Goh- Mr Bean

    Ahhh!!! Ivy Goh and 3rd College’s Hyacinth Goddard…

    Heard last they both are now in where young Kathy has decided to put her roots down.

  34. When it cpmes to personal matters many hearts, many homes, and many friendships have been broken by telling the truth.That is why God has given us good eye lids. But do not get me wrong. When you are in public service and all those who choose to serve the people be it politicians, Judges or the simple policeman will only be free when they tell the truth. No amount of prayer, and I have done nothing wrong will help you.

    Only the truth will set you free.

  35. Frank,

    If you know names like Ivy Goh, Daisy, Adele Koh, Hyacinth Goddard (all English Department girls) Henrietta Impossible ( FEA – unlikely candidate for nocturnal activities but just the name), Bernadette (FEA) in her sugar daddy’s yellow Lamborghini you must have been my contemporary.

    Mana ada jaga lah those days! Only at the university gates.

    The only jaga I came face to face with was the pervert who was watching me in action in the front seat of my car, with my girl on her back and eyes closed! And that was the year after I left campus. I had to button my pants before going after him.

    And yes the popular drinks then were BGA, Bacardi Rum and Coke and Vodka lime. Beer was selling for $1.20 a mug ($15 a jar) and BGA for $ 2-3.00 a pack — and a joint then only cost $2.

    Young Kathy of course had no clue what we’re talking about!

    Looking back we could have come from another country and not Malaysia!

  36. Kat,

    Old geezers could only reminisce about the good times. Nothing can bring back those times — when we had freedom and none of the scumbags like today tinkering with our minds and giving fancy terms to it like ‘socio-economic engineering’ which translates to brain washing pure and simple.

    We were unafraid of race and religion (until Anwar Ibrahim came along and reminded the Malays who they were). But I must confess I stayed away from Malay girls because they didn’t drink nor party and they were the marrying kind.

  37. Sure Mr Bean. I suppose the world has changed so much and every one is being indoctrinated to Fear the “other”. Its ok to be normal . Hoepfully we will come to our sense once again.I hope.

  38. “Looking back we could have come from another country and not Malaysia!”

    Ironically this is the generation that shapes the today’s Malaysia, and unsurprisingly they still have the audacity to write like an innocent kid from a foreign land telling us here we are not ‘Malaysian’ enough.

    This blog is truly amusing and amazing.

  39. If you know names like Ivy Goh, Daisy, Adele Koh, Hyacinth Goddard (all English Department girls)…… – Mr Bean

    Yes I do….

    Adele Koh… I wonder whether she is the same person who married the Premier of South Australia, the late Don Dunstan and who became a journalist and was asked to leave Singapore by LKY and she went to live in Australia. The Adele Koh who married the South Australia premier died in 1978 of cancer. I always thought she is the same person I know back in UM.

  40. We were unafraid of race and religion (until Anwar Ibrahim came along and reminded the Malays who they were).- Mr Bean

    Anwar was a Malay firebrand in MU. He led a group f Malays from the Malay Language Society and paint over the english “Stop Look Go” sign, because the Malay Language Society chaps thought the traffic sign is sexually vulgar. Anwar was an opportunist then and now.

  41. “This blog is truly amusing and amazing.”
    “Would you please release my earlier posts?”

    Yup. But Datuk’s Hokkien has deteriorated over the years.. Literal translations can be funny and deadly.

  42. The stupid overseas chinese idiot still trying to get people to read his silly cut and paste blog of other people’s articles

  43. Yup, Frank. We must be running around the same circle and may have in fact met.

    The mini-skirted Adele Koh was the Malaysian version of Twiggy. All she needed to do to wake up the guys on a lazy Saturday afternoon from their siesta, from the block overlooking the car park was to bend to look at what’s underneath the car bonnet (or hood as Americans say). Never ceased to cause an uproar every time. Sorry she had to go so young.

    Another Twiggy like figure was Daisy who later graduated and married her Malay boyfriend and later was found hanging from the ceiling of her London flat. Poor girl.

    Malaysia then is no longer recognizable from the Malaysia of today. It is sad that the generation immediately following ours, a generation of Malaysians brought up in the wrong tradition, numbed by the abuse of power and corruption, will have to give way to yet another but a different generation of Malaysians who value civil liberties before there can be ‘change’.

  44. Yup, Frank. We must be running around the same circle and may have in fact met.- Mr Bean

    Considering your extracurricular activities in campus you mentioned, we certainly must have met.

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