A regular reader by a given pseudonym of Apocryphalist had sent a commentary in my previous posting. It was quite relevant to the issue at hand here that I had to publish it as a posting on its own. I have also created a new category called ‘Kindred spirit’ which in the future, may consist of selected writings of regular readers which I think deservedly be given some further buy-in from the readers at large. Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha. Jebat Must Die will return on Wednesday. Thank you.
The way I see it, the unreasonable demands heaped upon the pribumis, as Jebat had so highlighted, is pegged on the very issue of Ketuanan Melayu. With respect to bloggers like http://duniatiger.blogspot.com/ or our ever mirthful http://cendana287.blogspot.com/ who either think the issue is “basi” or no longer relevant, THIS is one issue which I swear upon anything holy, is not going to go away that easily.
In fact, the din is going to increase in magnitude the more parties chip in to have their say. I even seem to realize now that it’s some kind of a Catastrophic Theory effect: the more a system is under intense pressure, the stronger the back-burner reaction is going to be. For example, last week’s stunt involving Chua Soi Lek and the GGMM (who are these? It doesn’t matter. If there exist not any body that counters the issue, one will just be created overnight), even though onlookers surmise (whether accurately or not is besides the point) that Chua Soi Lek is trying score some points by pulling a stunt after being … err pulled down by a previous stunt of his, all the GGMM members are too young to even realize what the Ketuanan Melayu is all about.
Nevertheless they still do pertahankan, by mere fact that they are members of a race who feel that they’ve been stepped upon. We don’t have to look far. Just follow links in here and you will notice that Ketuanan Melayu is very much a living issue, a valid issue, and an issue lots of people are ready to sacrifice for. Perhaps the rabid racists that subscribe to the nonsensical MalaysiaToday fandom shy away so much from being schooled in reality existing in the following very sensibly-argued fans of Ketuanan Melayu:-
plus many others that escape my scrutiny.
Of course the other side would always quote the tanggangs of modern malay politics who, in the midst of their race being bashed in English in the blogosphere, feel a sudden embarassment and sheepishly shy away from feeling any sense of belonging. They would sooner disown their own type than face the quandary of being ridiculed in public opinion. Of course, the easiest way to do that is by chanelling everything that they find embarassed about to that age-old scapegoat, UMNO. Its like, “No I didn’t say it. THEY said it.”
Well people, I, for one, say that there IS and SHOULD be a Ketuanan Melayu and that there’s nothing to be embarassed about. And the following is my take:
First and foremost, there is a mistranslation. Ketuanan Melayu does not translate to “Malay Supremacy”. Nor does it mean that. Nor does it imply that. Nor was it meant to be implied that way. Nor is it even true. The closest transliteration would be “Landlordship”. As in “Tuan Tanah”. This in no way implies the relationship of Master to Slave: even presently my Tuan Tanah from whom I lease my sorry shack of a dwelling is a chinese and I never have a problem with that, except that it’s already the 6th and I still yet have to pay the rent. Oops I’d better be reminded.
So, unbeknownst to both malays and non-malays alike, people who keep using this misnomer have a dark, diabolical purport behind it. They wish to equate Ketuanan Melayu, translated as “Malay Supremacy”, with other abominable notorieties such as “Aryan Supremacy”or “Jewish Supremacy” etc.
By asservating this concept and harping on its prevarications, what some parties had hoped for is to shed the malays in the international public opinion as the agressor, oppressor race preying on other minority ethnic groups. One look by the misinformed foreigners at how these “minority ethnic groups” are allowed to become billionaires, drive around in German cars, live in million-dollar homes or have huge financial empires while some of the “malay supremacy” inhabitants languish in their own lands, with a substantial number below the poverty level and ride kapcais to work is enough to dispel this DAP-backed misnomer as untrue.
The Malays have never been taught that their race is superior. Especially after their conversion to Islam, it had been ingrained in their psyches that superiority , as promulgated by the prophet Muhammad, is only by virtue of Fear of God and good works. Yes, we do have a slight first-string complex about being …err … more successful, more rewarded, more blissful in the hereafter due to our faith, but it goes without saying that that’s part of the dogma of any religion, is it not. Other races/faiths who want to believe that in their heavens, angels with harp playing Bach fugues will welcome them, or that they could drive around in paper Mercedeses once they are dead, are all welcome. No one will give a hoot.
Having said that, malays have never been taught that their race is inferior either, or that other races can be free to assert their false-sense of superiority over them. In fact, the malays have very high pride, very high sense of self-dignity. Part of the malay dictum is that they would rather face difficulty and hardship than be portrayed as somewhat “fallen” in dignity. In fact, a dangerous malay is a malay who is experiencing a sense of “jatuh maruah” or “jatuh air muka”. The unpredictable backlash of a malay in such a predicament could sometimes be cataclysmic. As a matter of fact, only two traits of the malays make it to the Britannica: that of “Latah” and that of “Amuk”, both of which are a tad less admirable but nonetheless they exist, like it or not.
If the counterpoise to this false-sense of superiority is in the generic sense, it becomes more so compelling if they force their way through right in this Malay Mother land, especially in lieu of recent assertions based upon the casuistic viewpoint that the malays are as much pendatang as the other races in this country. Letting latah and amuk be the staple sirihs for the threatened Pak Alis of Langsat Tiga Biji, the Meor Basirons of Ulu Mersing or the Haji Kassims of Batang Berjuntai, let us now discuss this issue, historically, anthropologically.
Some people keep getting confused as to the meaning of indigenous people as applied in the case of the Tanah Melayu.
Real indigenous races are those already present in a particular location or region — possibly just an extension of their existence from prehistoric periods. There are the Ainus in Japan, the Aborigines in Australia, the various Indian tribes in the Americas, the Orang Asli in the Malayas.
Now more often than not there are people who are of external ethnicity who would come over and build civilizations in that particular region. The natural non-existence of inherent culture or drive within the autochtonous peoples prohibit them progressing in terms of civilization building: whether or not it was due to their low-IQs or DNA patterns cannot be ascertained for sure.
For example, if the British did not come and settle in Australia, we do not expect that the Aborigines there could build the country to what they are now. There is no offense intended, but if we look at regions where the autochtonous peoples are relatively untouched by foreign interventions, we would expect those regions to somewhat lack in being at par with world civilizations. Papua New Guinea, the various Indian tribes in the Amazon are prime examples.
The social history of the Malay peninsula do not start from the time the Senois, Jakuns and Negritos cross the land bridges from elsewhere thousands of years previous. Rather, civilization building began from when the first Malay Sultanate’s history could be traced back as early as the end of the 14th century in Temasek and Malacca, about 100 years earlier than Columbus sailing into the Americas and 200 years prior to the setting up of the English colonies in Jamestown in 1607. And yet, even though the world over do recognise, preserve and help the peoples native to the region, the recognition of America’s progress and civilization normally do not fall to them but rather, invariably, to the civilization builders who have come from European origins.
Thus the fact that this Tanah Melayu has always been associated to the malays is an undisputed fact, irrespective of what kind of ethnic people were here originally. The Malay Sultanate flourished from the time of Parameswara till the present day, without the intervention or help from the Senois or Jakuns.
“Ketuanan Melayu” is nothing more than the assertion of this fact, and it is perverse to suggest that the chinese and indians have the same anthropological and historical rights as the malays over this region only via re-normalising the common denominator of the Orang Asli. Perhaps we could understand better if, in applying to emigrate to the United States, for example, you remind those emigration officers there in the States (should they give anyone hard times ), that they are as much pendatang as you all are, and that the only original “Americans” are the Iroquois or the Hopis.
If anything, the Portuguese would probably have more Rights in saying that this land is theirs by virtue of conquest, another very legitimate reason for asserting ownership of any region. Unfortunately, that was not to be so because politically they lost. The same goes with the Dutch, the English, the Japanese: ultimately revolutionary wars and nationalistic dissents have kicked each of the aforementioned colonists out and the helmanship of the land has always been invariably returned to the malays. This is the salient point of this ketuanan thing, something that needs to be straightened out and understood first before proceeding on the more social implications of this “Ketuanan”.
We have dwelved only in the historical and anthropological perspectives. Now to SHARE this land and its resources with the indians, the chinese or any other peoples for that matter, is totally another issue: that belongs in the realm of local socio-politics. And for that matter we bring in the more sensitive and often-debated Social Contract. If you allow me, I can dwelve into that deeper still in another posting, but suffice that in expounding the foregoing treatise on Ketuanan Melayu what I had hoped for is to weed out the misnomer from the actual purport of the term.
However, as I mentioned before in Catastrophe Theory, the more pressure one sets to a system, the more the reactionary back-burner will be. And thus, some malays view the anthropologically incorrect assertions that “you are pendatang as well” as something of a pelampau view and the rest is expected: bigotry begets bigotry. The writings of KijangMas and his commenters in http://www.deminegara.blogspot.com, as well as in here in Jebat’s pages show the kind of backlash one can expect from informed and educated malays. Of course there are those malay-blogs which are er… less savoury , very crass with you-racist-me-I-racist-you straightforwardness in this issue.
As in any socio-politics, they are deemed as ultra rights, the perimeter guardians not brought about into mainstream and diplomatic politics, but nevertheless need to be read to really grasp the psyche of the general malay thinking about this issue.