Friday, June 5, 2015

The shame of the Malays

The shame of the Malays

 | June 6, 2015
Malay leaders need to change their ways. Perhaps then the community will follow their example and get back its good name.
COMMENT
najib_malays_600As a Malay, I’m a little hesitant to say what I need to say here. My focus is on
the shame of our entire community, but generalisations sometimes miss
 specifics that may be important. I acknowledge that not all Malays share
the same sentiments about everything, but I believe that in quite a number
of ways, we are more alike than we’ll admit. So, alang-slang menyeluk 
pekasam, biar sampai ke pangkal lengan (if you’re dipping into the
fermenting pot anyway, you might as well dip all the way up to your elbow).
Let the chips fall where they may.
So here it is. Najib and his administration are the shame of the Malay
community. The public spats. The open condescension displayed by his
administration. The scandals. The dirty smear tactics. The bare-faced
bribery during election periods. None of these are values traditionally
associated with the Malays, and yet they seem to be espoused so readily
by our government and the ruling party, Umno, which claims to represent us.
Our history speaks of noble, honourable leaders, from Parameswara all
the way to Tunku Abdul Rahman. They did their utmost for the people
they ruled and they served with integrity and efficiency, taking Malaysia
into periods of incredible growth and advancement. Despite what others
may say, we used to be a hardworking race, used to labouring for long
hours in the fields. And yet, even as our politicians squabble in our name,
we languish under the radar, unable to use the “advantages” set out for us
by the government.
We used to be traders, hunters, farmers, fishermen, miners, sailors,
adventurers, warriors. Now, the most prominent members of the community
are associated with corruption, inefficiency, laziness, arrogance, and many
other unsavoury descriptions unbecoming of our heritage. We have forgotten
our pride, and more importantly, the wisdom that comes only with humility,
as enshrined in the proverb“biar ikut resmi padi; makin berisi makin tunduk”
(follow the way of the padi; the plumper it is, the lower it bows).
We are torn apart and divided by the political machinations of those who use
our religion as a tool to divide and not unite. Our Prime Minister, the most
powerful member of our community, pays lip service to the idea of unity,
while dragging our name through the dirt with smear campaigns against his
rivals, implementing policies that effectively rob the rice from the people’s
plates, all the while protesting his innocence despite mounting evidence,
forgetting that “kalau tak ada berada, tak akan tempua bersarang rendah”,
meaning there’s no smoke without a fire.
As our representative not only on the national stage but the global one,
Najib has shamed us. His practice of saying different things before different
audiences shows a weakness of character and a lack of principle. We can only
shake our heads as he paints rosy pictures of our country when the reality is
not quite as pretty. Our community is diplomatic by nature, but we are, or
were, not given to outright lying, and Najib has come close to doing that
often enough when he addresses the international stage. How, for instance,
can we claim a position of leadership in the field of human rights when we
are barely, if at all, compliant with the standards agreed upon by civilised
societies?
We used to be more than this. We have forgotten the roots of our culture,  
“seperti kacang lupakan kulit”(like the peanut that’s forgotten its shell),
and we find ourselves heading down the same direction as our leaders.
Our leaders must be the ones to light the way for the rest of the community
because, for as long as they feel it is all right to indulge in corruption, in
blatant disrespect for the laws and for the common decency of mankind,
so might the rest of the community. After all, politicians represent the
most prominent members of the Malay community.
Pride, honour, and humility were once synonymous with the Malay
character. They were once inseparable from the Malay identity,  
“bagai kuku dengan isi” (like the fingernails and the flesh), which
makes our current sorry state even more disheartening. I believe these
characteristics are still in us, deep down. Our leaders need to pave the
way, to set examples so that the worst among us may be inspired to
mend their ways. I fear a time when we become past saving as a people.
Well said, Sharil, Umno/BN has to go - their culture has corrupted 
all of society so that whoever takes over will do the same or even worse.
Now we should make Ku Li as PM, and then let him form a new 
political party to take over Umno/BN rule.
All MPs, PR, even Umno/BN people with a conscience should vote 
or make him PM. I cannot see anyone other than Zaid of those of 
the Malay race who can do good for this country. 

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