Non-Malays’ Malay Agenda

25 06 2010

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Here are two articles written by non-Malays touching on the Malay Agenda. They provide an insight into what these non-Malays perceive as the Malay Agenda.

The first one appears as a sincere attempt to find solutions to the problems in this country. The second one appears disagreeable with the Malays’ 30% corporate equity and uses the term “racist” Malay Agenda.

The third article, written by an “unliberal Malay”, asks the Malays if they have forgotten their Agenda.

However, the last one, also by a non-Malay, is part of a long story showing that the Malays have no agenda – perhaps merely wanting a proper share of the riches of the country – and a Malay even regards two Chinese boys as his own sons, together with his several children.

As usual, let’s talk about them. Say anything you like, within the confines of decency and the law.

The meat is in the pie. But it’s also in the comments and the replies. Do read them as well. Doing so will give you the full picture and perhaps make you feel swell.

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Building genuine Malay greatness
by Nathaniel Tan who “believes this world is full of people, he was born to love them all”. He blogs at http://www.jelas.info and tweets @NatAsasi

June 25, 2010

What would a universally acceptable Malay Agenda for Pakatan look like?

As a follow up to my previous article on this subject, I wanted to begin by responding to views that pursuing such an agenda would run counter to the spirit of Pakatan and result in playing to Barisan Nasional’s race-based tune.

One of the main reasons I decided to throw in my lot with PKR many years ago was the fact that for all their (sometimes seemingly innumerable) faults, they were (and remain) the only party with a truly multi-racial composition.

It seemed to me that such a party was the only way out of the race-based political paradigm infecting our nation. I felt that as long as there were racially-divided parties, there would be endemic racial division in society.

A betrayal of principles?

My view on this has not changed in the least. How then, am I advocating a Malay Agenda?

I posit two reasons.

The first, as I have written before, is that perhaps a “Malay Agenda” is not essentially any different from a “Fisherman’s Agenda”, a “Perakian Agenda”, a “Feminist Agenda” or, for that matter, a “Malaysian Agenda.”

Society is naturally divided into any number of segments. The folly is to believe that any one segment — such as race — is more important or fundamental than any other.

I think it is acceptable to pursue agendas for each of these different segments as long as we always remember that such segmentation is but one of many, and that we should pursue development and betterment not only for different segments, but for all types of segments.

Secondly, I feel the acceptability of a Malay Agenda pivots on the content of said agenda.

I have previously described Umno’s version of the Malay agenda as supremacist and crutch-centric; even then, it may not be as bad if it weren’t for the fact that it in fact hides Umno’s true Malay agenda — to keep the Malays poor and as ignorant as possible in order to maintain some semblance of political relevance.

(After all, if the Malays really did progress to greater economic standing, would anyone need Umno and their “the Chinese are stealing everything” rhetoric any more?)

Kemajuan melalui keadilan: Agama, akhlak, adat

Thus, in this article, I hope to articulate some possibilities for what a morally upstanding Malay Agenda might roughly look like (I am far from qualified to really map out a fully detailed agenda that speaks to the Malay heart and soul).

I feel the right context for such an agenda is how to build on the many strengths of the Malay community towards overcoming the obstacles that have prevented significant economic progress and actualisation of an immense amount of potential.

Perhaps something along the lines of “Kemajuan Melalui Keadilan: Agama, Akhlak, Adat” (Progress through Justice: Religion, Integrity of Character, Customs/Culture) might serve as a starting point.

This return to some core values within the community signals a return to what makes Malays great — an enduring Islamic faith, a belief in the sanctity of just values, and an abiding respect for culture, customs and tradition.

What has held a large portion of Malays back over so many decades is the endemic and truly cancerous corruption that has pervaded Umno for so many years.

How can the masses progress when “leaders” are stealing so much of what rightfully belongs to them, in order both to enrich themselves and to keep development levels low?

Agama, Akhlak and Adat in the Malay context all point towards a strong and lasting commitment to integrity — the true cornerstone of genuine greatness. These can serve as a rallying call to wage an untiring jihad against the evils of corruption.

Umno’s blatant disregard for the tenets of religion, the importance of honesty and accountability, as well as a true respect for Malay customs have made a mockery of Malay values.

Level playing field for all

A return to Agama, Akhlak and Adat could be the first step in inculcating the fundamental commitment towards fairness, equality and justice, that is required to create a level playing field for all Malays.

That level playing field, free from the blemish of rent seeking, feudalism, nepotism and cronyism is all Malaysia needs to see the Malay community flourish in every social and economic field.

On one hand, this equality requires a commitment from non-Malays to provide equal opportunities, especially in private sector jobs that are dominated by non-Malays; on the other, the commitment to justice in a Malay agenda must include fair treatment of all races within a Malay-led paradigm.

I do truly believe that given the opportunity, a clean slate, and leaders of impeccable character, there is absolutely nothing to prevent both Malays and Malaysians from limitless accomplishments and standing shoulder to shoulder with any nation in the world.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/article/building-genuine-malay-greatness/

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New Economic Model or Never Ending Policy?
by James Chin who is “a Malaysian academic. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of institutions he is associated with”.

June 24, 2010

It is almost certain that Najib Razak will call for a general election this year. He is in trouble politically — many Umno members do not like his New Economic Model (NEM) and used the Perkasa platform to force him to accept the sacred “30 per cent” mandatory Bumiputera shareholding rule.

The only way out for Najib is to win big in the next general elections so that his critics in Umno cannot move against him. This is consistent with past practices — Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not really do anything until he won the 1982 general elections.

Pak Lah squandered his huge political capital after the 2004 general elections; instead of using the political capital to push for new policies he decided to sleep on the job!

Najib has every incentive to call for a general election; the economy is growing (thanks to the RM70 billion stimulus package last year) and his 1 Malaysia brand is doing well. The longer he holds off, the bigger the danger that Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa will destroy the 1 Malaysia brand, especially among the non-Malay community.

The question is why is Perkasa so fixated on the “30 per cent”?

Almost all credible academic studies and even the government’s own study by NEAC showed clearly that the mandatory 30 per cent policy has failed miserably.

Najib himself gave the figure of RM54 billion worth of “bumi” shares sold almost immediately after the IPO. It was, at the most basic level, a simple way to reward political supporters and create instant Malay millionaires and in some cases, Malay billionaires.

Perhaps the answer can be found if you dig a bit deeper into the workings of the NEP. For example, there are approximately 1.2 million civil servants in Malaysia. If you add on the employees of GLCs , there are probably up to three million people whose employment are tied directly to the present government.

Needless to say, we can assume that more than 80 per cent of this group are Malays and Bumiputera. When you count the dependents, the figure will probably go up to about five or six million.

The overwhelming majority of this group think that their present job is linked to the NEP and “special rights.” You can’t blame them for thinking along these lines — after all, BTN has been preaching this for the past 20 years.

Hence, the NEP is directly feeding close to 20 per cent of Malaysia’s population.

This group will never accept the argument that you need an element of meritocracy to bring Malaysia to the next economic level. For them the issue is “race” — I get this because I am of this race. Period.

There is this irrational fear that if they give up any element of the NEP, they will lose political power and be dominated by the Chinese. It does not help that a former PM is also telling the Malays the same thing. Perkasa is using this fear as its main cement.

After four decades of racist policies reinforced by racist politicians, I suspect there is no political force in Malaysia that can overcome racism and racist ideologies in this country.

The irony, of course, is that after 40 years of the NEP, the non-Malays are also becoming more racist. Their sense of being second or third-class citizens are so strong now that some are using direct action and more racism to fight racism.

The sudden rise of Hindraf is a perfect example. The Americans call this “blowback” — there are consequences to every policy.

What we need now is visionary leadership to take us out of this vicious cycle of racism and more racism. Many people thought that the previous PM was such a person but since retirement, he has shown himself to be just another petty politician who rides on racism to retain political influence.

At the rate we are going, we are heading towards the Pakistan and Egyptian model where racism and religious bigotry are the order of the day.

The only real hope for this country is the middle-class. If the middle-class can look beyond petty politics, they can be a force for good. The other group we can count on are young people. There are clear signs that they are sick and tired of all the racism and religious bigotry. What they lack is an organisation to represent them.

Najib has all the pedigree to bring about a profound change for the better. The question is — will Umno allow this to happen?

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/article/new-economic-model-or-never-ending-policy/

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ARKIB : 21/06/2010

Wahai bangsa Melayu, sudah lupakah kamu?

HASSAN MOHD NOOR

HARI ini 21 Jun 2010. Apakah istimewanya tarikh 21 Jun ini? Bagi sesetengah ahli UMNO atau orang Melayu mungkin akan ingat tetapi kebanyakannya sudah tentu lupa. Maklumlah selepas sembilan tahun, ramai yang mudah lupa. Sebenarnya hari ini genap sembilan tahun, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yang ketika itu sebagai Presiden UMNO menyampaikan ucapan menarik yang ditujukan khusus kepada orang Melayu. Ucapan dasarnya pada Perhimpunan Agung UMNO 2001 itu bertajuk ‘Melayu Mudah Lupa’. Malahan Selak minggu ini juga meminjam ungkapan terakhir dalam ucapan dasar Dr. Mahathir itu sebagai tajuk tulisan minggu ini.

Pada hari ketiga Perhimpunan Agung UMNO itu, semasa ucapan penangguhan atau penggulungan, Dr. Mahathir pada akhir ucapannya juga membaca sajak bertajuk ‘Melayu Mudah Lupa’. Jika ada yang terlupa atau buat-buat lupa eloklah diteliti semula sajak tersebut. Dalam ucapan dasarnya pada 21 Jun 2001, Dr. Mahathir antara lain menyentuh isu-isu berkaitan pencapaian Melayu masih rendah, Melayu di zaman penjajah, kelemahan Melayu, Melayu sudah lupa perjuangan dan ubah sikap untuk selamat! Dan minggu lalu, Dr. Mahathir juga menulis mengenai Melayu melalui blognya, kali ini bertajuk ‘Melayu Ke Mana’. Perkataan Melayu mudah lupa tetap ada di situ. Banyak reaksi diberi terhadap tulisan beliau. Isu yang dibangkitkan dalam ‘Melayu Ke Mana’ adalah mengenai Melayu majoriti yang sudah menjadi minoriti kerana perpecahan.

Melayu berpecah kepada pelbagai puak dan parti politik. Seperti yang diperingatkan oleh Dr. Mahathir dalam ucapannya sembilan tahun lalu, Melayu memang mudah lupa padahal ‘orang dulu-dulu’ sudah mencipta pelbagai peribahasa, simpulan bahasa, perumpamaan untuk sentiasa mengingatkan orang Melayu supaya mereka lebih bersedia menghadapi pelbagai cabaran. Boleh dikatakan semua ungkapan yang dicipta oleh orang Melayu pada masa dulu sudah berlaku ketika ini. Malangnya semua ingatan itu sekadar catatan dalam buku-buku berkaitan untuk tatapan pelajar-pelajar. Begitu juga dengan pelbagai kiasan dan kisah untuk renungan seperti Pak Pandir, Pak Kadok, Lebai Malang dan Mat Jenin. Tidak lupa juga tentang Kitol dan Raja Mendaliar. Semuanya ini juga bertujuan memberi pengajaran kepada orang Melayu. Tetapi malangnya Melayu sudah lupa semua cerita dan kiasan tersebut.

Orang Melayu lupa tentang bersatu teguh bercerai roboh. Ketika ini Melayu berpecah kepada pelbagai puak termasuk dalam politik. Akhirnya mereka menjadi ‘minoriti’. Mereka lupa pesan orang dulu-dulu sebatang lidi mudah dipatahkan, seikat lidi sukar dipatahkan. Ada yang mengaku mereka mahu bersikap liberal yang mahu hak sama rata dan sama rasa di kalangan pelbagai kaum. Mereka mendakwa orang Melayu pada masa kini sudah mampu menari di tanah rata dan tidak lagi memerlukan ‘tongkat’ untuk berniaga dan belajar sedangkan hakikatnya ketika orang lain sudah mampu menari dengan baik tetapi ‘tarian’ orang Melayu sebenarnya masih sumbang dan keupayaan untuk berjaya dalam ekonomi dan pendidikan juga terbatas. Ada pula Melayu yang mempersoalkan Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB), mendabik dada dengan kejayaan yang sudah dinikmati. Padahal mereka yang berjaya hari ini juga kebanyakannya disebabkan oleh ‘tongkat’ DEB. Tanpa ‘tongkat’ itu mereka tidak mungkin menikmati apa yang dimiliki sekarang. Malangnya apabila sudah berjaya, mereka bagaikan kacang lupakan kulit.

Dalam politik hari ini, orang Melayu sanggup melakukan apa sahaja asalkan mereka mendapat sokongan yang diharap-harapkan. Bak kata orang marahkan pijat, kelambu dibakar, tidur terdedah.

Jika dulu bermusuh, kini bersahabat. Begitu jugalah yang berlaku sebaliknya. Jika dulu tidak boleh rapat sekarang sudah boleh berpeluk di atas pentas politik. Baguslah begitu… mengeratkan silaturahim. Tetapi akhirnya mereka gagal untuk mengenali musuh dalam selimut, gunting dalam lipatan dan musang berbulu ayam. Mereka lebih selesa mendengar guruh di langit, air di tempayan dicurahkan. Maka ramailah juga di kalangan orang Melayu yang menjadi seperti Pak Pandir, Pak Kadok, Lebai Malang dan Mat Jenin. Apa yang dikejar tidak dapat yang dikendong berciciran. Lebih malang, Yang dijolok tiada jatuh, penjolok tinggal di atas. Habis madu sepah dibuang. Ketika ini juga untuk berjaya, Melayu sanggup pijak kepala kawan dan tikam belakang.

Sedar atau tidak, orang Melayu ketika ini diasak dari pelbagai sudut disebabkan perpecahan dan kelemahan mereka sendiri disebabkan kepentingan politik masing-masing. Ketika orang lain bersatu untuk kepentingan kumpulan mereka, ada pula Melayu yang sanggup membuka pekung di dada dan meludah ke langit.

Amat mendukacitakan sudah tidak ada perasaan cubit paha kiri, paha kanan pun sakit juga. Cubalah cubit paha sendiri dahulu, baru mencubit paha orang lain. Kita mengharapkan orang Melayu tidaklah menjadi seperti Pak Kadok, menang sorak kampung tergadai.

Ketika orang lain dalam politik bersikap diam-diam ubi berisi menjelang pilihan raya umum akan datang tetapi orang Melayu pula seronok bertelagah sesama sendiri. Ada pula yang bersikap bertelur sebiji riuh sekampung. Melayu tanpa kuasa ekonomi nampaknya masih selesa sekalipun akan hilang kuasa politik.

Sebenarnya banyak lagi ingatan yang sudah ditinggalkan oleh orang Melayu pada masa lalu untuk diambil ingatan. Tetapi Melayu tetap leka dan lupa.

Apakah orang Melayu masih berpegang kepada Melayu takkan hilang di dunia seperti diungkapkan oleh Hang Tuah? Memang Melayu tidak akan hilang di dunia tetapi Melayu mampu hilang dunia. Maka ketika itu, nyanyilah puas-puas lagu Warisan yang antara liriknya menyebut bumi dipijak milik orang. Dan jika Melayu sudah hilang dunia maka sekali lagi Selak meminjam tajuk tulisan Dr. Mahathir iaitu ‘Melayu Ke Mana’.

http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2010&dt=0621&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Rencana&pg=re_10.htm&arc=hive

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Two ‘budak Cina’ in a Malay household

IN this poignant tale that grew out of a eulogy for his late elder brother Say Teik, MARTIN LIM recounts their extraordinary teenage years – two “budak Cina” growing up in a Malay household in Kampung Teluk Wan Jah, Alor Star, and the lessons he learnt that have shaped his life. The story, invested with delightful details, transports us to a gentler era around the time of the declaration of Independence.

THE year was 1955. Alor Star was your typical small town in pre-independent Malaya. Seemingly quiet on the commercial facade, but buzzing with life behind its private residential walls.

…..

An hour or two later, I was back in the house. My brother, Say Teik, had come by my classroom, and in between sobs, announced that our father had passed away.

Even though my father had only recently been baptised a Catholic, his subsequent funeral and burial, three days later, was in traditional Buddhist, all to the tight-lipped insistence of Lim Eng Hoe, our strict grandfather.

Our paternal great-great-grandfather, Lim Hua Chiam, was a past president of one of the more prestigious Chinese kongsis in Penang at the beginning of the last century.

He was the “pendatang” in our family lineage, the first to emigrate out of Fujian, China, to Malaya.

We only learnt, quite recently, that he might have been instrumental in leading the Hokkiens to fight the Cantonese in a well-documented local communal uprising, sometime during the start of the 20th Century in Penang.

How we ended up living in a Malay household

We were staunch, traditional Chinese, although Peranakan by choice. Babas on our father’s end, Nyonyas on our mother’s. We grew up learning never to stray from our established roots. Inter-racial marriage was a constant no-no reminder.

Skin colour was a segregational determinant in our dating. “Chinese we are and Chinese you will stay!” almost became the family cry.

Therefore, it was a heart-wrenching commotion when our mother, Ooi Ah Ean, divorced our father, converted to Islam and renamed Fatimah binti Abdullah to marry Abdul Rahman bin Shamsuddin, a Malay. As a consequence, she was disowned and ex-communicated in our Chinese family.

Naturally, my brother and I felt threatened. It was an unimaginably difficult situation to place two unfortunate young boys in. However, we somehow survived the ordeal. And, now, three years or so after that traumatic change in our household, my brother and I found ourselves, once again, in a new predicament, the death of a much revered father. How could anybody replace him, let alone a Malay and a Muslim?

It was not easy, to say the least, in view of the racial, cultural, religious, and colour barriers we had grown up with.

Luckily for us, we had spent time with this “pak-tiri” before, on a number of occasions, on school holidays, in Langkawi. He had been posted over there. We had also met and shared many happy days with our step-siblings, Meh and Kak Nab, scaring them with made-up stories of “orang minyak” (oily man).

Some of the preconceived notions we had constructed began to be demolished, unconsciously remoulded and altered because of these earlier contacts. We were both treated with unusual kindness, patience, thoughtful attention, inclusion, trust and non-threatening approaches to our learning and gradual adaptation to a Malay family.

But still, the thought of having to move in with the Malay “Pak-cik”, the new term for us to address our step-father, his Malay children, our “jib-huan” (in Hokkien, a convert) mother, in Teluk Wan Jah, a very Malay kampung, left both of us close to tears, uncertain of our own future.

Moreover, we did not want to risk hurting the vital linkage to our Chinese family either.

Fortunately, when the moment came to move in, Pak-cik was receptively warm and welcoming. He was aware of our teenage plight, confusion, and vulnerability. He quietly made us feel wanted, took time to assure us and more importantly, gave us a lot of personal space to learn, observe, and grow in the new Malay family.

Above all else, he never forced us into Islam. Clearly, here was a man who fervently placed religious choice on a personal level. The Holy Quran, as I remember, was always placed prominently in the glass cabinet in the living room. Respectfully, this was probably our step-father’s way of inviting all of us to inspect its contents. He always made himself easily accessible if we had enquiries.

Learning ‘adat’

Our introduction to Malay customs started with placing our footwear outside the door. Our mother explained that shoes and slippers tended to carry all kinds of unwelcomed dirt, and wearing them into the house would have dirtied the living space.

Moving barefoot in the house also meant we had to keep our feet washed and clean. We found out only too quickly how merciless the household rats could be, sleeping on the floor with unwashed feet. Those nocturnal creatures would nibble our toes until they bled. We would wake up in agony.

Washing is a very essential Malay practice. We familiarised ourselves with the term “najis” (excrement). We washed our hands before a meal. We washed ourselves after using the toilet. We ceased using toilet rolls.

Sarongs now replaced our customary shorts and pajamas when home. We learnt to position the correct designed part of the kain in the back, overlap the front fold and to neatly roll the top down uniformly with measured tightness. Then there was the cultured way of sitting as opposed to, as my mother would put it, the uncivilised way.

“Jangan-lah ‘dok kankang … Lipat-lah kaki hang ‘tu … ‘dok-lah sila,” our mother would drum into us. (“Don’t sit with your legs wide apart. Cross your legs”.)

She would converse in Malay with us; but would use Hokkien frequently too. She was quite adamant about our Malay. “Cakap pun macham ‘apek’. Cuba cakap macam orang Melayu,” she would tease us, even though her own pronunciation, often times, needed our giggling corrections.

(“You both speak like a Chinese ‘uncle’. Try speaking Malay like a Malay.”)

She was right. Respect and amazement usually attend the one who speaks a language foreign to him commandingly.

Speak English like an English or don’t speak at all,” one past colonial headmaster at the SAHC used to boom at us.

Our mother was no religious slouch either. She did her share of daily observances, went for her pilgrimage and, faithfully continued her Muslim practices until her passing in 1997.

She continued to educate us in Malay manners during our teen years. “Kaki-tu yang bisa sekali,” she used to emphasise. “Kepala pantang sunggoh! ”

She said to the Malays, the leg or foot is the most insulting (part of our body), while the head the most esteemed.

Never point your toes at a Malay, or for that matter, at anyone. This is totally unacceptable. I once smacked the outstretched foot of one of my impudent college students, here in the USA, off the front table, much to his consternation, and my resentment.

That was not my normal behaviour. I had felt instinctively insulted. Of course, he was customarily ignorant of his action. I did explain to him, quite elaborately (including a geographical map), the cultural significance of his foot-placement, in Malaysia, a country I had come from.

I would like to think that he learnt a rewarding lesson that day. And, never, never touch nor slap the head, even in jest. As a matter of fact, I recall someone telling me, following a question from me, some 50-odd years ago, as to why Malay men wear the songkok. He told me, in earnest, that it was more of a religious reminder that Allah was that high above the head, notwithstanding that there’s where our brain is also located. I took him at his word, and never thought about authenticating his explanation.

It was my step-father who pointed out to me that the threshold of the front door to a Malay house is quite sacred.

I was sitting in our silent, tidy living room, one hot, humid, stifling afternoon, when a stranger walked up to our front door. He asked, somewhat rudely, to see Abdul Rahman. I went to the back to fetch my step-father. When we entered the front-room, he suddenly let out a fierce yell: “Celaka! Orang ta’ dak adat! Kurang ajar! Keluar dari sini! ” (Person without custom. Poorly brought up. Get out of here.)

With that, he shoved the shocked “guest” out of the door, and slammed the door shut.

When he had calmed down, he explained: “The visitor had it coming. He crossed over the threshold of our front-door. He had done this once before, uninvited. I had warned him, then. It is customary that if you are a guest to a Malay home, you wait outside the threshold to the host’s house, until invited to enter. You never cross it. Failing to do this, you insult the host.”

This is true of many other cultures. He also told me “to wait at the main door until the guests have all departed before shutting it. Do not insult them by closing the door before they have left.”

Even to these days, I still wait at the main entrance to our home, much to the amusement of some of my American guests, waving, until all have completely driven away.

We were also instructed, as a gesture of respect and politeness, to bow with one hand stretched down by the side, in front of people older than us whenever we walk pass close to them. Our mother used to kick our butt playfully, as a reminder, anytime she caught us not doing this. “Tunduk! ” she would order.

When I first arrived in the USA, I remember passing by my daughters’ late maternal grandfather, Fred Voigt, one evening in their home, outside Brownsville, Oregon, when he tugged on my side, and asked why I did that each time I passed by his wife or him.

I explained. He was impressed, but lamented its absence in their American culture.

Our mother continued to be the cultural teacher. She was always reminding us of the Malay proverb, “Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat! ” (The importance of customs and manners in the Malay culture outweigh even the value of one’s child, in a manner of speaking).

She would advise us on how to address various relatives and friends in the kampung – mak-lang, pak-lang, chu-Darus, pak-Mat, mak-Tam, mak-Embon, together with their acceptable protocols in greeting and salutation.

There were days in Kampung Telok Wan Jah, when someone in the neighbourhood would bring a dish of special food to share. Mak-Mah, our mother as she was known by the children, would place some sugar in the clean plate after it was washed and dried. When asked about the sugar, she said it was customary among the Malays to thank the giver by either returning the container with food, or if none was available, a lump of sugar. One never handed back a gift-plate empty.

Our diet at home also changed, in due course. The food we were eating “mutated” and became spicier and spicier. It gradually obliterated the blander food we were accustomed to. The sambal-belacan for our daily ulam intake took on a new mixture of cabai-melaka mixture. Each dish grew “hotter”. So did the curry. It was not good enough unless we slapped our thighs in blistering pain, with every gulp. Only the daun-kadok santan remained cooling to our flaming tongues. The enjoyment by the entire household over our mother’s cooking was close to being festive.

Thankfully, she passed this skill on to our adopted sister, Zaini.

We helped raise and mould her. At the age of three, Anak-ku Sazali, became her signature song. We taught her to sing that. She is now in her early 50’s, happily married to Putra for the past 29 years. They have five children.

When Say Teik, her “bang-Hor”, was dying in the hospital of lung cancer complications, in June, she sat faithfully in vigil, never leaving his side except for prayer, the powder-room, or home for the night. But she would be right back early the following morning, sitting by our brother, shedding her share of tears. That’s dedication and love.

Memories of ‘berkhatan’ ceremony

The Hari Raya celebrations and the performing of the puberty rites, known as the sunat or berkhatan (circumcision) are probably the two most anticipated occasions in a Malay boy’s life. Lighting the oil-lamps to mark a path to the house and spreading them on wooden posts around the house was as exciting and memorable as the sumptuous, colourful array of kueh-mueh (dessert) on all the clothed tables.

The puberty rites of my two step-brothers Fuad and Feisol remain etched in my mind. There’s the long yellowish looking banana-tree trunk lying in the living-room, close to the kitchen entrance. The Tok-Mudin from the local madrasah and his assistant sat on opposite sides of the trunk. In between them were what looked like two bamboo skewers, the size of regular chop-sticks.

These stayed implanted, menacingly, in the shape of an ‘X’, into the trunk. There were only a few of us privileged witnesses present. The prayers began. Twelve-year-old Fuad, one year younger than his brother, Feisol, was led, gingerly, from the kitchen by the Tok-Mudin’s helper to the appointed spot.

Fuad, covered only in a fresh white sheet of light-weight cotton cloth around his waist, knelt nervously on the man’s instruction, close to where the two sticks stood waiting, stuck on the trunk. The pious man continued reciting Quranic verses, as he subtly reached out for the young man’s prepuce, pulling it through the opening made by the straddling bamboo. The skewers were, then, pushed down quickly, over the foreskin, until they held it tightly in place.

Anticipation was written all over Fuad’s face. More, quicker verses followed, and, at hardly the blink of an eye, the Tok-Mudin, tugging on the extended epidermis with his left fingers and thumb, lopped it off with the small, sharp scalpel he had been holding in his right hand out of sight all this time. It was over. The boy became a man. He did not cry. He merely winced in momentary pain. Feisol’s turn came the year after.

Our choice

Say Teik and I lived with our Malay family until the end of 1959. By then, the Malay neighbours had grown accustomed to the two “budak Cina” in their midst. You could say they eventually, adopted us, and finally, made us one of their own, jokingly but fondly, nicknaming my brother, Yusof, and me, Halim.

Meanwhile, we kept our visits to our Chinese family, as often as permissible. That was important to us. It would be disingenuous of me if I failed to indicate here, that while we were growing up in the Malay house, the Chinese relatives of ours in Penang never interfered but never ceased to monitor our daily well-being either.

It is important to point out also, that it never occurred to us that we had to accept the living situation then, because the alternative was worse. We had an uncle, our father’s older brother, in Penang, and cousins to boot, who would have willingly taken us in. We had a choice.

I left for Brinsford-Lodge, England, in December 1959. My elder brother departed for training in the Health Ministry. I returned after two years and began teaching at SAHC, my alma mater. My brother completed his training, and was appointed a full-fledged health-inspector. He and Wong Foong Moi, a Seremban girl, also a health nurse, tied the knot in 1964. I was his best man.

I stayed on for two more years in the Telok Wan Jah home after returning from England, before moving into the SAHC hostel as one of the hostel-masters. I married a Peace Corps volunteer, Joan L. Voigt, in 1966, and migrated to the US at the end of that year.

The bigger picture

Two Chinese, living as Malays, with Malays, among Malays. Is there a bigger picture to be seen in all this? Possibly.

Other than the usual sibling rivalry, and suspicion among step-children, one begins to accept the idea, very quickly, that the real trick in getting along with people different from yourself, is not so much in your differences, but in your similarities, such as sharing common needs and working together to achieve those needs. Living with identical problems, and solving those problems, together.

Solutions must be based on the merits of total honesty, integrity, fairness and equity.

If it’s within a family, then the unity, security and success of that whole family become its overall consideration, not just the individuals in it.

Our own experience in co-living taught us to be cautious when making judgmental calls. All may not be what it seems.

Initially, my brother and I had to consciously suppress our innate and cultivated fear. Fear that we will be forced to convert our religious belief was foremost on our mind. Many well-meaning friends and relatives would shake their fingers at us as in warning as they voiced their suspicions to us. Time went by. What we feared did not materialise. Our uneasiness was allayed. We were encouraged. Our step-father became our trusted mentor. Mistrust, as we are well aware of, can be so insidious.

Pak-cik’s no-nonsense honesty, together with his ever-positive outlook, gave us ample reasons to emulate him in many ways, so that all those misgivings and warnings we had been hearing, quietly dissipated.

In the absence of those two formidable walls – fear and mistrust – we were able to verify the real condition ourselves. We grew more adventurous. We found ourselves more open to learning and instructing. The kampung folk reciprocated, in turn. With new confidence, we started to visit the different neighbours in their homes more frequently, putting to use what we had learnt at home, the greeting, the bowing, the proper sitting position, the polite invitation before drinking or eating, until the final leaving.

We played with the boisterous children in the village, and, before too long, our spoken Malay improved. We began to speak Malay more like Malays. This was particularly important to me. Its fluency allowed me to blend into the family and community, provoking a sense of belonging. In exchange, we shared our Chinese background and practices, when asked by the curious, translating a host of everyday Malay usage into Hokkien.

As we settled in and grew more comfortable with ourselves, we realised that much of what we had been told in our previous “pre-Malay” period, were hearsays, innuendos, rumours, generalisations, passed down.

It would however be utterly naïve of me to pontificate that even though our personal observations dismissed a good amount of the negative assumptions we had heard in the past, that life in our kampung home was all peachy.

On the contrary, we had our fill of family “pecking” orders, including your everyday dissent and dissatisfaction. Every community comes with its share of builders and demolishers. People who either help garner the general good of the group or cause its demise. The Malays are no exception.

But it would be wrong to suggest that they are generally lazy, inefficient, unintelligent, manipulative, corrupt, non-ambitious, “earth-diggers”. Their own achievements through the years are testimonies to their prowess.

Within the scale of the kampung children I grew up with, there’s Din-garu, who went to work without shirking; Umak-siam, who, feeling obligated one day, enlisted in the army, and left our kampung, to fight in the Congo; Kassim, Mak-Tam’s younger son, ended up a general in the army. My step-sister, Kak Nab retired a teacher, was herself Kirkby-trained. My step-brother, Feisol, academically successful in SAHC, was awarded a scholarship, went to Dublin, graduated from one of its fine universities, returned home, and has been doing very well ever since.

Our cousin-sister, Jumaah, is a lawyer by profession. Loyal to both her Malay and Chinese relatives, she is one highly motivated Datin. These are all very genuine, ordinary folk out of one small, insignificant kampung, taking on what some might consider quite extraordinary feats. They reached their positions and goals, despite their race, not because of it.

Our dear old childhood friends, Syed Salem Albukhary, whose nomadic ancestors walked “the vast region comprising lands of Jazira al-Arab right through the sky-piercing ranges of Central and South-Asia”, and Wan Ahmad Sobri Wan Tajuddin of humble Acheh-mix, come immediately to mind, as other figures whom this incredible category of high-achievers with very modest beginning, fit.

Fully aware of the ramifications, the people I am familiar with had to work even harder to prove their mental and professional worth. I had to do the same here in the US. I had to slog to maintain a high GPA (grade point average, academic achievement grade) throughout my university study, to convince the local folk (with their own racial bias, very pronounced at that time), that one’s skin colour, looks, or race does not ultimately determine the measure of his intellect or personal character.

Generally, speaking, I see no glaring difference, growing up as a Chinese in a Chinese home, as opposed to a Malay one. Apart from their respective moral bearing, cultural cloak and religious conviction, both could be as ambitious, disciplined, capable, inventive, purposeful, patriotic, and fiercely competitive, given the appropriate equity, fairness, incentives, hope, aspirations and opportunities.

Within the confines of the family-building, there is no special treatment accorded to one member, and not the other; no extra share of the fortune or loss; no more chances than another; no more burden to one, and not the other; no one-sided reward; no lopsided punishment.

Since all have equal stakes in its success, all should have equal or equitable opportunities and responsibilities. The family head must lead inclusively, not exclusively.

The true culprits lie in oneself, our arrogance, our unwillingness, our close-mindedness, our envy, our jealousy, our selfishness, our convoluted bias, and our fears.

Race has very little to do with it.

Martin Lim Say Leong resides in the United States where he teaches. He still “balik kampung” whenever he finds the time.

http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=37488


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27 responses

25 06 2010
Aysay

What, 30% equity target oso you want to make noise ah? You want to grudge that, iri ati and all? Cannot la. Be reasonable la. They are not asking 60%. They have not spoken about other forms of wealth. Dont grudge grudge la. After they ask for more lagi susah lah.

26 06 2010
SSS Admin

Aysay,

It is unreasonable for anyone to expect the Malays to accept anything less than 30% corporate equity ownership in the country. Whatever form of administration or leadership there may be. If the means to acquire that is removed and not provided for in the New Economic Model (NEM) and the 10th Malaysian Plan (TMP), dissatisfaction, grudges and ill feelings will develop among a large sector of the majority population in this country. That does not make a happy and united Malaysia, does it?

As can be seen in the comments expressed in this blog, the more the 30% is questioned, the more the asking of more than 30% and in other aspects of wealth comes out. In asking for more, more and more, people should not ask the Malays to take less, less and less. That is not only being unreasonable, it is being downright unfair. The sad fact is that in this instance it is being said by “an academician”. No wonder his qualifications and details of the institutions he is attached to are not spelt out. Perhaps those institutions would not agree to the writer’s opinion and writing. Yet the publishers publish the writing. They are being mischievous, aren’t they?

26 06 2010
Kura

Bukannya Melayu mudah lupa bang …. Melayu banyak sangat agenda ….. agenda sendiri ………………………….. agenda WANG………. banyak lintah masyarakat ……… duit rakyat disapunya ………. DEB tak bagi dengan betul ……… gomen mesti ambik tindakan ……… keras keras ………

26 06 2010
SSS Admin

Kura,

Banyaknya “agenda sendiri” atau “agenda peribadi” Melayu ada berkaitan dengan politik wang. DS Najib sudah membuktikan bahawa dia telah mengambil tindakan keatas gejala ini. Beberapa orang nama besar UMNO telah disiasat dan dikenakan tindakan oleh Jawatankuasa Disiplin UMNO sebelom Perhimpunan Agung UMNO yang lalu. So’alnya ialah sama ada itu tindakan stratejik atau tindakan politik atau sebaliknya. Kerana bukan pakar politik, kami tidak dapat memberi pendapat yang tepat bekenaan perkara ini.

Telah juga disebutkan disana sini timbulnya gejala “warlord”, suatu istilah yang tiada pun definasinya diKamus Inggeris Oxford. Ini mungkin bermakna ketua-ketua puak atau kumpulan didalam parti, saperti Ketua Bahagian atau sekumpulan ketua-ketua bahagian. Saperti diPakistan dan Afghanistan, warlord ini besar pengaruhnya dan susah mahu mengenyahkannya. DiAfghanistan banyak warlord yang berkuasa sebab pegangannya diatas penanam dan pengeluar candu yang diseludup keluar kemerata dunia dan yang membuat warlord itu kaya, siap dengan angkatan tentera yang bersenjatakan berbagai senjata api. Mungkin diMalaysia senjatanya ialah wang Ringgit. Ini bukan sahaja didalam UMNO, juga MCA, PKR, DAP dan sebagainya. Banyak telah diperkatakan perkara peruntukan RM500,000 bagi setiap Exco Selangor dihabiskan dengan cepat, ada yang disiasat SPRM yang melibatkan kematian Teoh Beng Hock tempoh hari.

Oleh itu amat pentinglah pemerintah mencoba sedaya upaya mengawal, kalau boleh, mengikiskan peranan dan pengaruh warlord itu didalam politik. Kerana begitu kuatnya pegangan warlord itu keatas ahli-ahli yang memegang undi sebagai perwakilan kepemilihan-pemilihan pemimpin parti, gejala ini nampaknya akan berlarutan. Perlu ada keazaman politik atau “political will” yang kuat untuk mengikisnya. Bukan sahaja pemimpin Melayu tetapi juga pemimpin Cina dan lain-lainnya. Politik wang dan korupsi itu bukan eksklusib atau khas kapada kaum Melayu sahaja. Marilah kita terus menyeru dan menggesa pihak-pihak berkenaan sebanyak mana dan selalu mana yang boleh mengeluarkan keazaman politik itu. Maka ini perlu menjadi bukan sahaja agenda Melayu tetapi juga agenda bagi semua. Demi kesejahteraan negara kita.

26 06 2010
Yeop

The “Malaysian academic” James Chin talks about “an element of meritocracy to bring Malaysia to the next economic level”. What is he talking about actually?

The liberalization of the various sectors of industry as done by DS Najib is not sufficient? You want the Malays’ 30% equity target out so that it can go to you and the likes of you?

Is meritocracy without limits? Is there no merit in the Malays being left behind getting a fair share of the eonomy? Is there no merit in their being assisted because they have no background and experience in business unlike the Chinese who have been at it for thousands of years?

Come on, la, Mr Malaysian academic. Be reasonable, man. Even in US President Obama helps the Blacks, Hispanics and poor others to get affordable health care under his Health Plan.

You baca mana, Mr Malaysian academic?

27 06 2010
SSS Admin

Yeop,

He is one of those who want speedy progress towards a developed nation status no matter what. Regardless of the social factors governing that progress. Irrespective of the need for bridging the gap in wealth etc between the Chinese and the majority Malays. Thoughtless about the need for harmony and unity in the country. To him, the end justifies the means. Et tu brute?

No details of his academic background. His thinking appears to be like those extremely selfish, greedy and gullible who think only for their own interests but not of the others. Especially when he also expects that the 30% Bumiputera equity target be dropped from the New Economic Model. Responsible and peace loving non-Bumiputeras acknowledge and accept the need for the 30% target to continue, don’t ask or expect it to be put aside. After all, the Malays have not as a community spoken about a higher target and really asked for targets in other aspects of the economy.

By all means have meritocracy in all spheres of economic activity. But the playing field must be levelled first. It’s plainly unfair to have one team play on uneven surface against the other whose ground they step on is always level and has much less risk of tipping or falling down. Politicians in this country must recognize that. From both sides of the political divide. Failure to do so would lead to unhappiness and discontent among the 70% of the population. This is not good for harmony and national unity.

Those wanting a bigger representation in government and places in non-governmental or corporate entities should be willing to give something in return. Like more places for Bumiputeras in privately owned businesses and sogososhas. The argument that one is the public sector while the other is privately owned does not hold water. The Malays are not asking for their wealth or businesses. It’s only places of employment just like the Chinese are asking for more places in the government sector they are asking for. Goodwill is a two-way street. It needs be expressed and practised for harmony and unity that the country badly needs.

26 06 2010
Sayong

Apa kepala hotak dia cakap “irrational fear”. Teman yang tak pandai sangat cakap omputih ni pun tau dia mengarut. Nak sindir Tun Dr Mahathir pulak. Nak menomah Perkasa pulak. Orang tak boleh nak pertahankan hak kita ke? Ape ni?

Cakap pase 40 tahun dasar rasis kononnya. Dia dan kumpulan dia tu tak rasis ke? Rasis dari rambut ke tapak kaki sebenornya. Teman tak tahan dengor deme ni mengarut selalu sangat.

27 06 2010
SSS Admin

Sayong,

Mereka yang mengatakan 40 tahun Dasar Ekonomi Bahru (DEB) itu “rasis” adalah lebih rasis daripada yang mahukan DEB. Mereka langsung tidak hiraukan sejarah negara ini dimana mereka juga telah mendapat bantuan “affirmative action” dari pemerintah Melayu saperti Menteri Larut Ngah Ibrahim dan dari pemerintah kolonial British. Sudah banyak diberi penerangan berkenaan perkara ini didalam blog ini dan dipos dan komen sebelom ini.

Sesudah medapat kekayaan dan menguasa ekonomi negara ini, mereka langsung tidak menolong kaum yang ketinggalan jauh dibelakang akibat keadaan disebut diatas. Disebaliknya, mereka mahukan lebih, lebih dan lebih untuk diri mereka sendiri, tidak mempedulikan yang lain. Bukan kah itu rasis amat sangat?

Tambahan pula, mereka seperti hamba Allah yang menulis rencana diatas mahukan hak Melayu dibawah DEB seperti 30% sasaran kekayaan korporat diketepikan. Bukan kah itu sudah keterlaluan?

Rasisnya lebih ketara bila dilihat dari segi Hak Istimewa Melayu diPerkara 153 Perlembagaan. Ianya adalah balasan bagi kerakyatan mereka yang sudah dipersetujui oleh nenek moyang mereka dimasa rundingan dan dimasa mendapat Merdeka. Mereka sudah dapat kerakyatan tetapi sekarang enggan menghormati Perkara 153 (DEB digubal darinya) dan tidak mematuhi apa yang dikatakan sebagai Kontrak Sosial. Bukankah dengan demikian mereka so sial? Mereka perlu lihat Kamus Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka untuk mengtahui makna perkataan ini.

Kita perlu meneruskan mengkritik dan mengkeji pendirian mereka seperti itu dengan harapan mereka sedar dan jangan sesangat rasis. Kita perlukan suasana saling menghormati diantara satu sama lain dinegara ini.

26 06 2010
Warta

The “Chinese boy” teacher said, “We only learnt, quite recently, that he (his great-great grandfather) might have been instrumental in leading the Hokkiens to fight the Cantonese in a well-documented local communal uprising, sometime during the start of the 20th Century in Penang.”

The Hokkiens and the Cantonese fought each other. I read somewhere the Hakkas also fought other clans.

28 06 2010
SSS Admin

Warta,

Fights, communal uprising, revolts, rebellions, secret societies, thugs and gangsterism are common features of Chinese history in mainland China. Those running away from such terrible conditions of life were not spared those maladies of Chinese society. Those who came looking for a better life included the nasty ones who wanted to exploit the poor, miserable souls. They were prone to such activities. As if they were part of their culture. Those tendencies were inherent in them, brought from mainland China.

Fights and communal uprising mentioned by the writer refer to clashes among the clans and sub-clans of the Chinese. Clan warfare was a prominent feature of Chinese history. Perhaps it originated from the fact that the northern Chinese and the southern Chinese were originally not of the same Chinese race. South China was originally settled by the T’ais, Miaos and other tribes many of whom fled to the hills and the mountains when the northern Chinese expanded southwards looking for additional pastures and agricultural land. According to C.P Fitzgerald in his book on the cultural history of China, south of the Yangtze Valley, “differences of character are defined by varying dialects”. The Fukienese are “darker and shorter than other Chinese, are certainly a separate stock slightly mixed with immigrants from the north and Yangtze Valley”. Fukienese is “the most peculiar of these (southern region) dialects”.

The Cantonese of Kuangtung Province speak a dialect using pronunciation quite different from that used by people in the north and central provinces. The “colonisation” of Canton and the hinterland by the northern Chinese became thorough only in the 7th Century A.D. (Fitzgerald pg 5).

The Hakkas were from northern China who ran away to the Kuangtung Province in the south “to escape the terror of the Mongol invasions in the 13th Century”. In the Mandarin language, they are called “guest families” although the Cantonese “despise” them. Fitzgerald described them as “They speak a peculiar dialect, do not marry Cantonese – by whom they are despised” (pg 9). They appear to be despised by other Chinese even in Malaysia and have sometimes been referred to as the dog-eating ones.

Secret societies were born in Canton to prepare the way for revolts against the Manchus, foreigners who conquered and ruled China for hundreds of years until the 20th Century and, later, the British (Fitzgerald pg 487). British encroachment led to the secession of Hong Kong which was returned to China only in 1999 . It is not clear whether this phenomenon is limited to only a certain clan or afflicts all clans and sub-clans. It appears to have made the Chinese rather secretive and exclusive even in their business attitude, making it difficult for others to learn about business from them.

It is hoped that the Chinese, with their system of exclusive clan associations and business guilds, could in the course of time be a little accomodating and give the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak, and others, who are left far behind them economically, the opportunity to learn their ways of conducting business and of assisting one another through such organisations. That would certainly help in the promotion of goodwill, harmony and unity in this country.

26 06 2010
dinturtle

Salam tuan Admin,

Bahasa Malaysia TIDAK PERNAH menjadi keutamaan kepada puak2 kiasu terutama Bapak kiasu Malaysia Lim Kit Siang, ada saya tulis di blog saya. Begitu juga perpaduan antara kaum. Segala yang dilaung2kannya hanyalah retorik demi kuasa politik.

Jika LKS menghentam Melayu diatas apajua yang bisa disalahtafsirkan sebagai rasis, maka gunakanlah peluang diatas kealpaan LKS untuk menghentamnya kembali.

28 06 2010
SSS Admin

dinturtle,

Blog ini sentiasa memperjuangkan Bahasa Kebangsaan dan mempertahankan apa yang dibidas pihak lain berkenaan isu-isu yang meregangkan lagi perhubungan diantara kaum. Lm Kit Siang telah memikul cogan kata “Malaysian Malaysia” – yang dicipta chauvinis Lee Kuan Yew – selepas LKY dan Singapore dikatakan “ditendang keluar” dari Malaysia ditahun 1965. “Malaysian Malaysia” berupa subversif kapada Perkara 153 Kedudukan Istimewa Melayu. LKS pernah ditahan dibawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA). Oleh itu perlulah kata-kata dan tindakannya kearah itu dibidas kembali. Tujuannya hanya bagi mematahkan hujah-hujahnya. Memang biasanya dia dan sekutunya mensalahtafsir keadaan, kata-kata dan tindakan orang lain. Itu semua perlu dikawal dan dibendung. Kita perlu selalu memberi tahu mereka bahawa mereka tidak boleh mengatakan apa sahaja, dimana mana sahaja, kekadang secara keterlaluan. Contoh keterlaluannya: SPRM tidak boleh dipertanggung jawabkan diatas kematian Teoh Beng Hock selabgi sebab kematiannya belom dipastikan. Memang belom dipastikan sehingga sekarang.

Sekolah Cina disokongnya. Dasar pelajaran selalu dikritiknya. Maka perlu kita mempertahankan Perkara 152 Perlembagaan berkenaan Bahaa Malaysia sebagai Bahasa Kebangsaan. Sekolah vernakular yang menggunakan bahasa Mandarin dan Tamil sebagai bahasa pengantar adalah bertentangan dengan Perkara 152 Perlembagaan. Sekolah ada lah urusan resmi dan hendaklah menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia sebagai bahasa pengantar. Bahasa Mandarin dan Tamil boleh dipelajari disekolah kebangsaan sebagai mata pelajaran pilihan. Sekolah vernakular perlu diserap kedalam sistem sekolah kebangsaan. Perlu ada hanya satu sahaja sistem pelajaran, tidak tiga seperti yang ada sekarang ini.

26 06 2010
Andrea

I like the idea of a “way out of the race-based political paradigm infecting our nation”. I agree that “as long as there were racially-divided parties, there would be endemic racial division in society”.

Maybe we should give it a try. I hope there will be a truly Malaysian political party in this country. Direct membership, accepting any Malaysian, irrespective of colour, creed and religious belief. Fairly proportionately representing the various races of the country. Is that idealistic or can that be achievable?

I know that there’s so much of words and actions based on race at present. I know it’s because we started with political parties based on race. But can we try changing that and work towards a single Malaysian identity? Can we have that as our agenda – Malays and non-Malays?

28 06 2010
SSS Admin

Andrea,

Perhaps the colonial British have a share of the blame for allowing the registration of political parties along ethnic lines when discussions for independence were started before Merdeka. Leaders of the various communities also have to shoulder blame because Dato Onn Jaafar set up Parti Negara meant for a multi-racial effort at fighting for independence but was not suported. UMNO was registered, other parties based on race followed suit. Look at where we are now.

Now the striving for progress along ethnic lines has become pronounced. One group calling the other racist. No doubt we must try to get out of racial and racist thinking. One political party claims to be multi-racial but the appeal to that concept and to the kind of leadership they have appears questionable. There must be give and take and reasonableness among all Malaysians in order to get out of this quandary. But the there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel yet. The torch is not out yet on issues like wealth distribution among the various races.

We need to keep plugging the line on the need for goodwill, understanding and racial harmony. Even if saying so sounds cliche. We need to hope on the younger generation. Hopefully the single-stream schooling proposal will be implemented in time to come. That would provide the opportunities for all young Malaysians to start mixing with one another, understanding another’s attitude and needs, and develop a sense of togetherness, common values, hopes and aspirations right from their formative age.

26 06 2010
Dal

Selagi kekuatan yang bersauh dalam dada Melayu-Islam adalah serupa dan bersumber sama dengan apa yang ada dalam dada bukan-Melayu-bukan-Islam, selagi itulah agenda Melayu mempan ditulis oleh yang bukan Melayu bukan Islam, dan selagi itulah Melayu undur setapak demi setapak forever on the defensive.

Chess players say offense is the best form of defense.

28 06 2010
SSS Admin

Dal,

Undur atau tidak, yang nyata ialah sejak pimpinan yang dipanggil “flip-flopping, auto-piloting and sleepy” hingga sekarang, pemimpin tidak banyak mempertahankan dan memajukan kepentingan Melayu. Dibiarkan sahaja komen, kritik dan usaha-usha mempersendakan kepentingan Melayu seperti Dasar Ekonomi Bahru (DEB). Sehingga PM yang lalu bersama ketawa bila yang lain sebutkan perkataan sindiran “Tongkat” kapadanya. Sepatutnya dia mempertahankannya. Pada hal dia ada segala kuasa dan kemudahan jentera Kerajaan diKementerian Penerangan, Bernama dllnya bagi menerangkan dan menjustifikasikan DEB dsbnya.

Yang pandai politik mengatakan perlu memberi perhatian kapada kepentingan yang lain untuk mendapatkan undi diPRU 13. Maka sehingga nampak berlebihan kapada kepentingan yang lain dan kurang perhatian kapada kepentingan Melayu. Pakar-pakar politik UMNO telah salah besar agenda atau stratejinya dua kali dimasa yang lalu. Sekali diPRU 1969, hingga timbul tragedi 13 Mei, sekali lagi diPRU 2008, juga menghilangkan majoriti 2/3 diParlimen. Sebagai bukan pakar, tidak dapatlah kami memberi pendapat yang bermakna sama ada betul atau tidak agenda atau strateji pemimpin kita sekarang ini.

Maybe not many Malays play chess to know offence being the best form of defence. Not many play congkak also these days. Communist terrorists in Malaya/ Malaysia had the strategy of two steps forward, one step backward. Although they failed and are now reduced to life in the jungles of the Betong Salient in southern Thailand, that strategy may, arithmetically, get the people concerned to their target eventually. But theory often differs from practice, says the Professor of history.

However, we are not sure what precisely is the agenda or strategy of the leaders for bridging the gap between the economic and educational situation of the Malays compared to the Chinese and for bringing unity in the country. The New Economic Model general outline has been heavily criticized by many, including Perkasa and the 76 NGOs, Gertak and the 58 Trengganu NGOs. Hopefully the details spelt out in due course would be more acceptable to all parties.

27 06 2010
Anak Jantan

Banyak sial Melayu ada terletak pada Melayu yang ngaku dirinya liberal konon. Liberal tahi ayam. Mananya liberal kalau bangsanya yang tercungap-cungap dia tida pedulikan?

Cilaka dia ngatakan confident lah, boleh bersaing lah, padang dah sama rata lah, kepala ….. dia. Tak sedar ke Melayu cuma ada 18% kekayaan koporat? Buta ke mata dia orang bila tengok kedai kedai dikota dan dibandar lain hampir semuanya milik bukan Melayu. Pernah nampak ke dia orang ada banyak perniagaan Melayu ke. Gila punya orang. Songsang punya fikiran.

Saya sokong kata penulis Utusan “Dalam politik hari ini, orang Melayu sanggup melakukan apa sahaja asalkan mereka mendapat sokongan yang diharap-harapkan. Bak kata orang marahkan pijat, kelambu dibakar, tidur terdedah.” Bukan saja tidur terdedah, diaorang kekadang jalan telanjang. Diaorang fikir sudah kaya raya, sudah banyak kuasa, boleh silap mata, cakap dan buat apa saja rakyat sokong. Diaorang tak sedar banyak rakyat sudah telanjangkan mereka dari undinya. Teruklah Melayu padahnya.

29 06 2010
SSS Admin

Anak Jantan,

Bersyukurlah kita bahawa yang mengaku atau merasakan dirinya liberal itu tidak banyak. Berwaspadalah kita supaya jumlah itu tidak bertambah banyak. Marilah kita terus mengeluarkan pendapat pendapat yang boleh menyedarkan mereka kebebasan itu ada hadnya. DiAmerika pun tidak siapa boleh mempunyai senjata api dengan tidak mendaftarnya. Orang bernama Islam tidak lagi dapat masuk atau bergerak diAmerika dengan senang. Dicuriga sebagai penjahat saperti dahulu komunis dicuriga. Ketidak-sama rataan boleh dilihat disana sini. Beza orang kulit putih dengan kulit hitam, Hipanics, Asians timbul diberbagai segi.

Tidak ada masalah orang mahu berpendirian liberal jika menghormati Perlembagaan negara sepenuhnya. Mentafsirkan peruntukan peruntukan yang termaktub diPerlembagaan dengan sewajarnya. Tidak ada pandangan lain bahawa sekolah yang bahasa pengantarnya Mandarin dan Tamil adalah tidak sejajar dengan Perkara 152 berkenaan Bahasa Malaysia sebagai Bahasa Kebangsaan. Dan bahawa Kedudukan Istimewa Melayu diPerkara 153 itu memberi kuasa pemerintah menjalankan “affirmative action” atau tindakan membantu rakyat yang ketinggalan jauh dibelakang kaum Cina yang begitu banyak kekayaan dan menguasai ekonomi negara.

Pemerintah juga perlu berwaspada supaya jangan “melakukan apa sahaja asalkan mereka mendapat sokongan yang diharap-harapkan”. Agenda atau strateji perlu mengambil kira sepenuhnya kepentingan semua kaum, terutamanya kaum yang terbesar dinegara ini. Jika tidak, undi larian yang dikejar tidak mendatang, undi biasa akan keciciran dan beratlah padahnya.

27 06 2010
Perwira

Melayu tak akan hilang didunia or Malays won’t disappear from this world, says the Utusan writer, quoting Hang Tuah, the famous and legendary 16th Century Malay warrior.

For 5 – 6,000 years already I read some people say. The Malay Family of 350 million people altogether.

Any agenda like Malindo or Maphilindo they talked about at formation of Malaysia?

28 06 2010
SSS Admin

Perwira,

The concept of Malindo (Malaysia + Indonesia) was discussed in public at about the time of the formation of Malaysia in the 1960s. Corollary to that was Maphilindo (Malaysia + Philippines + Indonesia). That was during Tengku A Rahman’s Prime Ministership. He was the one leading the Malaysian delegation talks with the British in London for the independence of Malaya. He, as leader of UMNO had agreed to citizenship for the non-Malays at independence. He, as Prime Minister of independent Malaya had relaxed the citizenship laws e.g on Malay Language Proficiency Test for the issue of citizenship certificates to non-Malays after Merdeka. The Chinese loved him to his grave. Naturally he didn’t entertain, let alone pursue, the idea of Malindo or Maphilindo. Not quite for his love of the Chinese, but out of anger at Lee Kuan Yew, he gave away the entire island of Singapore to the Chinese.

That was such a lousy agenda of the Malays exhibited by Tengku A Rahman – Singapore was given away to Stamford Raffles in 1819, given back in 1963 but given away again by him in 1965. To many Malays, that was Malay treachery of the highest order. It certainly was an anti-Malay agenda by Tengku A Rahman. It was a period of polite acquiescence and almost blind loyalty by the others in UMNO then. By some accounts, he decided alone in London where he went to consider what to do with mischievous Lee Kuan Yew and his so-called Malaysian Malaysia slogan during 2 years Singapore was in Malaysia. Tengku A Rahman returned to Kuala Lumpur with the shocking decision that stunned even his cabinet – so-called kicking out Singapore vide a “Separation Agreement” worked out and signed thereafter .

Whether the idea of Malindo or Maphilindo will be on any agenda in the future is very difficult to say. Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines comprise basically one and the same people. The Malays, the Bumiputeras and all the natives of Sabah and Sarawak belong to the same Malay Family called the Rumpun Melayu, speaking languages that belong to the same Family of Languages, as verified by linguists who did research since the 19th Century and experts in several fields doing studies in anthropology, archaeology etc later, especially in the 2nd half of the 20th Century. These were said so in the book, “The Malay Civilization” by Mohd Arof Ishak, published by the well-established Malaysian Historical Society in 2007. The book also says that the Indonesians and the Filipinos, despite the different religious affiliations, are Malays and belong to the same stock of Rumpun Melayu or Malay Family. The Filipinos call their great independence fighter, Jose Rizal, as “The Great Malay Hero” and had produced a book by that name.

28 06 2010
abu

James Chin “academician” sounds like a modern man using a Christian name. But he is so conservative to refer to the NEP as a “Never Ending Policy”. Ah, he may be the neo-con (new conservative Jewish) variety like in the US. He may be the Jew of Malaysia. Extremely selfish, self-centered and greedy.

29 06 2010
SSS Admin

abu,

In Malaysia, those using Christian names are not necessarily modern in thinking, attitude and values. Some of those Chinese school drop outs also use them in oder to be fashionable, as in dressing and hairstyle.

James Chin does not provide his “academic” background when writing that article. He is also not well known so as to be easily identified when writing using his name. The fact that the article specifically says his views do not reflect the views of the institutions he is associated with suggests that his views are not mainstream and may be isolated ones. Those views do not appear to be based on well-researched facts and carefully thought-out opinions, like “academic” articles usually are.

Those who are against the New Economic Policy and belong to the community that has tremendous wealth and control of the economy are not reasonable. They do not understand or accept the facts of history, the British colonial policies, the struggles for independence, the Social Contract and the embodiment of elements of that into the Constitution. Those claiming to be “academic”, ought to have understood the above. If, having understood but still object to the NEP, they may be “extremely selfish, self-centered and greedy”. Such a description applies to the Jews. That kind of attitude is beyond shrewdness and business mindedness.

Let us keep on urging them to try and understand, be co-operative or at least not oppose the measures for bridging the huge economic and educational gap between the hugely economically and educationally advanced Chinese, and the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak. Article 153 is written in the Constitution after serious deliberations, debates and discussions, and passed by Parliament at Merdeka and at the formation of Malaysia.

28 06 2010
Kura

Aiyya, this “Malaysian academic” oso blame BTN, huh …. Has he try find out from BTN what they actually teach there? …… Have he done research or not? …………..Or he heard what people say and write in papers only. ………He oso use words “special rights”. …………..I read people write no special rights. Only special position…. How man? ………..He really “academic” huh?

30 06 2010
SSS Admin

Kura,

Yes, one would expect an “academic” to have expressed his opinion based on researched facts and reliable opinions of others. He apparently was referring to the opposition criticisms of the Bureau Tata Negara’s courses given to Government Officers. One member of the opposition coalition is the type that finds each and every excuse to criticize the Establishment. He perhaps is a member or a strong supporter of the opposition. And does not want to identify himself fully by stating the institutions he is attached to.

THe BTN has already explained that the courses are designed to bring understanding of national issues and bring about unity. They admitted that there may have been indiscretion or overzealousness on the part of 1-2 speakers when explaining away Government policies and rationalising national issues. As usual, they are adamant. Even Teoh Beng Hock’s death is blamed on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission yet the cause of death is not yet determined by the Inquest until today.

Our hopeful thinking is that he uses the term “special rights” in order to accomodate the Malays somewhat. Article 153 of the Constitution affirms the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak. Special rights may be derived from that Special Position. The lawyers of course may have different interpretation. But then lawyers too have varying interpretations which may be contradictory to one another and they fight it out until the highest court of the land.

28 06 2010
Farid

Kalau lah selalu berlaku macam dua budak Cina tu, alangkah baiknya bagi perpaduan negara:

We played with the boisterous children in the village, and, before too long, our spoken Malay improved. We began to speak Malay more like Malays. This was particularly important to me. Its fluency allowed me to blend into the family and community, provoking a sense of belonging. In exchange, we shared our Chinese background and practices, when asked by the curious, translating a host of everyday Malay usage into Hokkien.

As we settled in and grew more comfortable with ourselves, we realised that much of what we had been told in our previous “pre-Malay” period, were hearsays, innuendos, rumours, generalisations, passed down.

Bukan nak kata nak paksa. Pak Cik tu tak dak paksa pun.

30 06 2010
SSS Admin

Farid,

Nyata dari cerita benar “dua beradik Cina” itu bahawa bapak tirinya tidak ada apa-apa agenda diatas mereka. Tinggal bersamanya, tetapi dia tidak langsung coba mengIslamkannya. SiCina itu pun baik pekertinya. Membuat mana yang patut dan bertanggung jawab menyesuaikan diri dirumah bapa tirinya. Memang elok jika semua orang menyesuaikan diri didalam keadaan yang serupa.

The idea of an exchange scheme enabling children of one race stay with the families of another has been mooted out time and again. But it died out soon after it was mooted out. The Government department concerned with national unity should implement this idea as a policy. Officers like those designated as Welfare Officers can be recruited to go round to selected states to encourage and arrange for children to do that. The co-operation of schools can be sought in getting volunteers to the scheme. Guidelines should be drawn up, discussed publicly first and finalised for use by families wanting to participate in such a scheme so that cultural and religious sensitivities are respected and obvserved by all concerned when the scheme is implemented.

1 12 2010
PTZ IP Camera

First of all, great looking site you have here and great post too. I would like to keep up with your posts but having problem subscribing to your rss.

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