Bernama reported that the special Chinese tea ceremony, which originated some 2,500 years ago, was witnessed by 2000 representatives of the country's Chinese organisations and that the tea costs RM3,500 per kg with a cupful costing RM35.
In his speech later, Mahathir said he was touched and honoured by the gesture. He said: ‘I understand that the Chinese are very loyal citizens”.
In modern-day 21st century Malaysia aspiring to be an information superpower, the 2,500-year-old Emperor’s tea-ceremony for the Prime Minister must be most “jarring” for many Malaysians, including the Chinese in Malaysia.
Malaysia would have a more meaningful 44th National Day to celebrate over four decades of nation-building in a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation if Mahathir could retract his baseless attacks on those who supported the 1999 Suqiu Election Appeals (which was as good as the entire Chinese community) for being “communist” and “terrorist” than the Emperor’s Red Robe tea ceremony redolent with psychological feudalism.
Mahathir should realise that no number of ‘Red Robe’ Emperor tea-ceremonies could undo the damage done to the Malaysian Chinese psyche by his most outrageous and divisive Merdeka Day message last year where he made the completely baseless and unworthy charges that Malaysian Chinese who supported the Suqiu Election Appeals were like communists and terrorists like Al-Ma’unah, when it was the Chinese voters who had been largely responsible for ensuring that the Barisan Nasional was returned to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 1999 general election.
If all that the first Chinese political secretary which Mahathir had appointed in his 20 years as Prime Minister could think of to undo the damage which Mahathir’s Merdeka Day message last year had done was to rake up a ‘Red Robe’ Emperor’s tea-ceremony, it would only mean that form would take precedence over substance when what Malaysians want are not pomp and pageantry but the restoration of justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in political, economic, educational, cultural, social, religious and all fields of nation-building in the country.
Is Mahathir prepared to concede that the Suqiu Election Appeals was a bona fide expression of loyalty and love for Malaysia and the Cabinet, which gave it approval in principle before the last general election, prepared to schedule a special meeting to consider adopting and implementing them?