Monday, January 23, 2012

And words are all it takes...


Two wrong words by Ceylyn Tay in a speech that appeared on YouTube led to a barrage of personal attacks that has left the novice politician devastated. But she is confident that she will overcome the experience.

IT is about 7pm on a Sunday and Ipoh City councillor Ceylyn Tay checks the comments on a YouTube video linked to her Facebook page.

In the video, Tay, a virtually unknown Gerakan politician, was giving a 20-minute speech in Cantonese to about 3,000 people at a 1Malaysia function in Ipoh on Jan 7.

The comments included “Ham ka chan” (a Cantonese proverb which means to curse someone’s family an entire generation to death), “This stupid woman is selling off the Chinese”, “kepala cacat” (mentally handicapped), “I’m ashamed of you and I’m ashamed of your mother” and “we’ll get a bunch of guys to #$%& you”.

Some of the vulgar words, according to Tay, are Chinese phrases which are too hard to translate into English.

The 36-year-old mother of two daughters felt her temperature rising.

“Wow! What’s this? I was very, very upset. I blanked out for a moment,” Tay recalled in an interview in Ipoh on Thursday, four days after her YouTube video went viral.

“When I watched my speech again, I felt that I did not say anything that could have hurt anyone.”

“And I realised that I was attacked because I was speaking at a Barisan Nasional function.

“If I spoke at a Pakatan Rakyat function, that would be another story.”

She cried. And she did not want anyone around her.

“Even later (that night) when my husband (a 44-year-old businessman) returned home, he asked what had happened and I told him ‘Don’t ask’.

“He wanted to comfort me but I said: ‘Don’t touch me!’”she said.

The novice politician added: “Even now I am still upset that my friends have joked that they want to send me to Tanjung Rambutan.”

The next day the YouTube video was taken down after about 16,000 views. But then – in Tay’s words – “all sorts of edited versions” were uploaded to the video-sharing website.

The statement, according to Tay, which riled the viewers, was: “Malaysia is a multi-racial country and we can’t have a two-party system, unlike the US and England as these two countries have a single race.”

“I used the wrong words ‘single race’. What I meant was the US and England have homogeneous societies,” explained the Malacca-born woman who grew up in Ipoh.

“Some viewers commented ‘Are you saying that (US President) Barack Obama is not black? That he is bleached!’

“What I actually meant was Americans share the same language, religion and culture.”

During the interview at the office of Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn, Tay was accompanied by four “bodyguards” (Gerakan members).

They were there to give her morale support and to answer her phone calls.

Her iPhone has been ringing non-stop as her phone number was posted on her Facebook page. And she has received so many prank calls and text messages asking for a date.

“Does it help that you have a pretty face?” I asked.

“I don’t think I have a pretty face,” said Tay, who is a singer and emcees events.

“Then why are some men excited over you that they want to date you?” I asked.

“Maybe because that night I was wearing a red top,” she said.

“Maybe because in Barisan there is no other lady from the Chinese community who can speak quite steadily.

“Unlike other politicians who are quite conservative, I am very open in my speech.”

“And I say things in quite a funny way. For example, (Perak DAP) Nga Kor Ming has mentioned several times that if Pakatan ruled it would waive the bumiputra quota and I said: ‘Nik Aziz (Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat) might not agree and he would buy RM5 worth of kerosene and burn the DAP’.”

“Do you think you’ve become a national figure?” I asked.

“Kind of,” Tay said. “I can see that there are people, not only from Perak, but Johor, Penang and Sin­gapore who want to add me to their FB.

“That’s how I know the video is spreading.”

“Is this negative publicity good for you?” I asked.

“I think this is a very good experience. Not everyone has this chance that within a few days everyone knows about you,” she said.

“Many people want to make me weak but I feel if I can overcome this, in the future I can overcome anything.”

“Now the attacks I’ve received are from Facebook. It will get worse if the Opposition politicians start attacking me.”


Anonymous said...

Funny tht no one from the Oppo parties attacking her. maybe she too insignificant to be attacked.. or the oppo parties fellas trust the people to do the job..