Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's go back to my story. In 1968 was the first time I entered school. I was in Kindergarden. We have just move to Federal Hill. My Kindergarden was at Jalan Syed Putra along the Federal Highway. It behind the temple. The Temple is still there but the Kindergarden is no more. I entered proper school in 1969. I went to La Salle Brickfields. That year was watershed in the history of this young nation. They was a race riot where hundreds were butchered and killed, Malay and Chinese were fighting in the heart of the city. The tragedy that struck on May 13 would result in the resignation of the prime Minister a year after. It resulted also in the brain drain that occurs shortly after. Many Non Malays were appalled with the policy of NEP (new Economic Policy) that was introduce after the May 13. It was model after the affirmative Action introduce by President Kennedy in the 1960's to help the blacks in America. This policy aim to restructure the society which was base on colour and creed so that Malays(Bumiputras) could enjoy 30% of the country's wealth by creating and redistributing the wealth to favour the Malays which at that time, although constitute the majority of the population only enjoy 2.4% of the total wealth. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_New_Economic_Policy for further details. The New Economic Policy itself is not bad, it wanted to structure the societies so that everybody has an equal chance and it also want to eradicate poverty regardless of race colour or creed. These ideas was slated in the policy but over time this was not to be. Abuses in the name of Malay rights and now Islamic rights were trumpeted. I was from that era, I watch close hand at the disparity that exist economically between the races. You can't see Malay businessman be it in the construction or in the retail and if you found any you can count on your fingers. Professionals such as Doctors Engineers are rare and if you are not top Government Official you are nothing. That is way the Malays was, most were in the Government service even than the top positions of the management are mostly non malays because of their credentials. I am not racist per se but this was the fact of life then. I understand the policy because I was there watching first hand my people as they were during the 70's. They were poor, some were gifted but most needed a push and a chance to succeed. When we achieve our independence we have Tunku as the Prime Minister, a fatherly figure but sadly lack the touch of the malay masses. Our independence was not won by war but through negotiation. This was the greatest achievement that the country has achieve but then it sadly lead to lack of National Identity. We identify ourself as Malay, Chinese or Indian instead of Malaysian even now after we achieve our 50th anniversary this coming 31 August 2007. We achieve it through the cunning of Tunku, a prince from Kedah, the son of a Sultan. Even then it was the malay ruling class who got the independence for Malaya not the masses. The Tunku story could be read herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunku_Abdul_Rahman I was 7 years old then all I know I would stay home for 2 weeks. No school and that's what matters. After all at School the Teacher, a Chinese lady, use to can me for writing with my left hand. Because of that I am adept at writing both in the right and left although I am a left handed.
So having a break was nice. My father was away when tragedy struck, he was in Malacca attending a course at the Customs School ( Later it would be College and now known as Academy- he will head the place and become the longest serving Principal(Director) at the College and retire there). Luckily we were secluded because at that time Jalan Kelantan Federal Hill we were surrounded still with lots of greens unlike now. I could still see hornbill flying by and I remember our pet gibbon "si Hitam" having a good time. Hitam or Blackie would later escape to the hills after being scolded by my father. I remember Pony our dog at the house biting the Bread man and he would go for stitches. This was my idyllic life in Jalan Kelantan and I got my first stitches there too after falling from a bike. I wail not because it was painful but because of too much blood. Yes, I was a big sissy! but it is funny when you look back you realise how everything seem so surreal. So when tragedy struck, to me it was just another holiday. Later, I would realise what have happen but being young I was not aware of the killings and butchering of innocents civilians. I was not even aware of my colour or how different I am than the rest. But 1969 would change all that, malay and malay rights was in the air. Tunku couldn't hold the country any longer so in September 1970 he resign after being the Prime Minister for 13 years. The British would hold him in high regard even the Queen when she visited Kuala Lumpur would insist on meeting him. In 1989 when Tunku was already frail and hard of hearing, and also by that time, he had already a fallen out with Tun Mahathir the Prime Minister, the Queen insisted in meeting him, and she did in Penang. When he died in 1993, he refuse to be buried in the Capital Mausoleum but insisted to be buried at the royal crypt in Kedah. To him the country that he founded base on the principle of fair play has deserted him. I am sorry for his death but I guess the malays buoyed by NEP and after lynching the Chinese, proven their mastery, gave way to greed and more greed. The Malays as describe by Sir Frank has lone gone in return was the new Malays who has forgotten their roots and especially good manners. In their haste to modernise themselves they forgotten their culture and embracing the 'arabise' culture as their own. Some would dissent my point of view but it is the truth. Ask any Malay about Mak Yong, Boria Menora, Wayang Kulit, Main Gasing, Main Wau or Main Puteri etc. They don't know most would associate these as khurafat and totally disregard them but these were your identity. Why can't you be like the Japanese or Chinese evolve the tradition but still maintain them as part of your heritage. Or be like your neighbour Indonesians who are of your root but never forget their culture. Malays in Malaysia are to me like lost lamb trying to find its Shepard.
I lamented the fact that the Malays forgot their culture but try to adopt the Arabs. They forget even up to early Abbasiah period Islam was in fact ban to be preach to non Arabs. It was considered than an Arab religion just like Christians were Jewish originally so too were Islam. They forgot when our forefathers became Muslim about 500 years back the preachers from Arabs never question our culture, in fact Wali Sembilan the 9 preachers from the Malay Archipelago, uses Wayang Kulit to attract the Javanese to Islam but now we throw them out as a use toilet paper but these were our identity. If we believe the saying of Muhammad didn't he foretold about his Ummah which has grown apart from him. This Ummah are from the generation like us, who believe what we doing is right but we are not. Are we saying those learned Man who teaches the way of Islam is not aware of our transgression? If we say yes, then why did they let it occur. Because Islam is in the heart not on what we wear but what we do. I pity my race, because I love my Malay Arts. To me, it is what that give me my identity, My melayu, not my religion which gave me faith but who am I without my culture? A lost lamb in the world of darkness.


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