THE Chinese have been in Malaysia for centuries, and a group of young people are telling the story of their evolution in this country through a musical.

Led by 25-year-old Joys Tan, Nation-Building Pioneers Association of Malacca or PPBN have spent the past two months scripting, writing songs and rehearsing for the upcoming musical, entitled We ‘R’ Malaysian – There is Hope.

The musical will take the audience on a journey through time, from the 1400s when the first Chinese arrived in Malaya to the present day, where many of their youth are faced with the choice of whether to stay, or pursue their dreams abroad.

The idea for the musical comes from the sentiments of Chinese youth, a subject which Joys and her team of nation-builders have been examining over time.PPBN has previously conducted road shows in schools and colleges under the We ‘R’ Malaysia campaign to create awareness about nation building and to promote the value of “many but one”.

“During roadshows we noticed that many of the youths would declare that they don’t believe in the country and say that there is no hope for them here,” said Joys, who co-founded the organisation.

“We did not realise how much Chinese teenagers feel the sense of rejection and non-acceptance. We want to change that by saying, you know the problem, you can complain, but will you stand up and make a change?”

The musical aims at giving the audience a taste of what Malaysian-Chinese are about, and how they evolved into what they are today.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do with the musical is to look at the Chinese as part of the Malaysian flavour, and how they help form society,” said Joys, who notes that the musical is made up of a multi-racial cast and crew.

“Some of them are not even acting, they’re actually voicing out their feelings.”

“We are Malaysia, no matter what happens, we were born here and whatever race you are, nobody can deny you’re Malaysian,” said Joys. “We hope the musical will encourage people to reflect and ponder, and we hope they will relate to the messages in the music.”

The musical tackles issues that will resonate with Malaysians – Chinese and non-Chinese, as well as people of all ages. It gives the younger generation a glimpse into the past and lessons learnt from it, it addresses the challenges that today’s youth face, and promises to be thought-provoking, but in a light-hearted way.

The We ‘R’ Malaysian musical will be staged on Dec 4 at 8pm, at Dewan Lee San Choon, Wisma MCA, 163 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Admission is by donation. To find out more, go to the We R Malaysian Facebook page or visit


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