When I was young, I got the impression from my elders that 排华 or purging Chinese people was purely an act of racism/xenophobia. I was made to believe that ignorant and unreasonable natives in certain countries were prejudiced against their Chinese immigrants and thus staged revolutions to purge and persecute them.
But the rapid dilution of our local scene by mass immigration in recent decades dragged me into the native’s perspective. With spare time to delve deeply into the culture, history and politics of the region in recent years, I realised that the trigger behind 排华 was not as simple and shallow as xenophobia/racism.
While most of the immigrants are decent folks and the natives are not saints themselves, only the most unscrupulous and unprincipled businessmen would welcome anything that brings wealth – without any 底线. The audacity of some ambitious immigrants, if left unchecked, can turn any society on its head. No dignified native person can accept that.
In response to the surge in Chinese immigration, illegal business operations and money laundering, the Thai authorities have now taken steps (probably viewed as racist by some) to stabilise and placate Thai society and prevent 排华 from getting out of control. Should we take a closer look at our super rich immigrants?