MaltaToday | 13 April 2008 | Chinese workers never die

OPINION | Sunday, 13 April 2008

Chinese workers never die

Anna Mallia

It seems that the Chinese have a mysterious way of battling old age and defying death as we never read of hear that any one of them died, except in the case of an accident.  I was surprised to read on the local papers last Friday that at the Addolorata Cemetery there are graves of a number of Chinese who are buried there because we hardly read or hear about any of such deaths. 
It will be interesting if the authorities can give us some statistics of how many Chinese have died in Malta in all these years, as there seems to be something in their culture or their traditions on how they manage to keep such deaths secrets.   
This is something that baffles me but it seems that this question is raised by everybody works wide. I was reading a paper lately by Ellen Rosskam who argued that it is true that, on paper at least, that the Chinese workers have discovered immortality. 
I am not surprised at all this because even in Milan, the local council there took up the issue when they noticed that there is never a burial of a Chinese in the Milano region and when went deep into the matter, they discovered a whole mafia working on replacing photos but keeping the same names on their documents.
Now it is true that in Maltese we say “mitt Ciniz wicc wiehed”, and it seems that this proverb or idiom applies around the world as the authorities world wide have so far failed to break this phenomenon of the immortality of the Chinese workers. 
What enticed me to write on this subject is also the increase in separation, annulment and recognition of paternity cases that I am witnessing in the family court, which also means an increase in social security benefits forked out of our pockets to these people and to all other nationalities, whether or not they pay any contributions to the local coffers.
There is no doubt that the number of Chinese people is increasing in Malta and there is also no doubt that the majority of them are all employed as chefs, even though they are not asked by the authorities to produce documentation that they are actually qualified as chefs.  There is also a mystery about how these people manage not to die in a country other than their own, and this mystery never seems to be solved. As they say, “old Chinese cooks never die, they just wok away”: and this is precisely what they discovered in Milan.
That the old Chinese are “woked away” in secret and replaced by new faces on their visa documents, so that it is business as usual.  I am not saying that the same is taking place in Malta: what I am saying is that the immortality of these workers has also reached Malta and it is very, very strange how none of these people either do not grow old in Malta or do not die in Malta.
I have nothing against the Chinese community but it seems quite odd how the Chinese community is increasing in these islands. They are now inter-marrying and mothering children from Maltese fathers and it seems that the one-child, one-family rule is not applied in Malta.  How and if they are using this eventually as a tool for safe prosecution in their country, I do not know; but I will not be surprised if they use this defense so that they will be able to stay here, all for the sake of fundamental human rights.
The Olympic Games this year are brewing the issue of fundamental human rights and the freedom of Tibet, and it is a shame how many developed countries who proclaim themselves to be champions of freedoms sell their soul in return for good investments and trade from and with China. 
 So far only Sarkozy of France and the Prime Minister of Australia have shown the courage and the stamina to criticize China for flagrantly flouting human rights and suppressing Tibet. In Malta, our President who fought so bravely against what he called stifling of fundamental human rights during the 1980s, found nothing wrong in what the Chinese are doing.  I cannot understand how he concluded that the government of Malta had infringed the fundamental human right to association, while China does not. 
I cannot understand how he says that he fought to restore these rights in Malta and that now that we are members of the European Union, his mind is at rest that there will be no replica of the 1980s. Is his mind at rest with what is happening in China? So far the Maltese government has kept silent and apparently they do not wish to itch China in any way.
I do not agree with the Olympic Committee when it says that sports and politics do not mix. First of all, if you look at the way the members are appointed you will see that there is a lot of politics there and secondly, sports is not meant to be used to promote tyranny and suppression but to promote freedom. 
But the same people seem to have different definitions of freedom and they do not use the same measure for fear of losing out financially. It is money nowadays that defines freedom: if you let us make money from or with you, we will not touch you.  But if you do not, hell will break loose and crusades will be run against you for breaching fundamental human rights.
The West seems to be so helpless towards China when it does not show the same energy and vigour it used against Saddam Hussein or against Fidel Castro. Because let us face it, if Hussein and Castro were suppressing their people, I see no difference in the suppression that is used by the Chinese government on its people. But for the West business with China is more important than fundamental rights and freedoms.
In the meantime we continue to invest in our athletes in China; China continues to work on proving to the world this summer how gigantic it is; the people of Tibet continue to be suppressed; people of Taiwan and of Hong Kong continue to hope for independence, and the Chinese continue with their wave of immortality in the West.

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