Critical Discourse Analysis on Chinese Racial Pride Underlying the Malaysian National Identity in “Proud to be born a Chinese”

Khoo Wei Cyn, Malini Ganapathy


The ideology of Chinese racial pride in an online essay “Proud to be born a Chinese” by Dr. Chan-Lui Lee is described and analysed by using the sociocognitive approach to critical discourse analysis (CDA). The research design is based on the notion that Chinese racial pride is a tool to persuade Chinese Malaysians to prioritise their Chinese racial identity over the Malaysian national identity, leading to national disunity and racial fissures in society. This notion runs parallel to the concept of the dynamicity and fluidity of the construction of identity, as explored by Jones, McEwen and Abes in their Reconceptualised Model of Multiple Identities (2007). As the degree to which Malaysians identify with the national identity over other group identities determines the success of national unity (Liu et al, 2002), Dr. Chan-Lui Lee’s essay provides insight into the overall success of national unity in Malaysia. “Proud to be born a Chinese” is analysed through three components: the discursive, cognitive and social components, which not only confirm that the essay prioritises Chinese racial identity over Malaysian national identity using Chinese racial pride, but also that the essay and its strategies are a response to the socio-political circumstances in Malaysia and the creation of neo-nationalist identities in the relatively new nations of Southeast Asia.

Keywords: critical discourse analysis, sociocognition, racial pride, racial identity, national identity, national unity, multiple identities, southeast asia, neo-nationalism, socio-politics

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