1. 1972/1973. While going through my 'junk' in Leicester a few weeks ago, I found this poem in Sekolah Menengah Yusof Ishak's School Magazine.
As they say: from the mouth of babes (well, from a 14/15 year old) - you read an expression of such despair from over 40 years ago!
"Puas di asoh dan di didek, Dengan tenaga yang tiada bersukat, Tapi tiada datang budi, Dengan pimpinan yang dulu2 itu.
Begini-lah hidup, Lantaran tak punya asohan budi. "
Dr Mahathir's despondency over the Malays as 'knowing no shame' - ( Read : https://my.news.yahoo.com/dr-m-look-east-policy-faltered-malays-still-095400553.html ) has more to do with the near collapse of the old Malay values of Budi. As 14/15 year old Norziah had concluded - the Malays " tak punya asohan budi".
Asohan Ugama has jumped by leaps and bounds since Norziah's teenage years. Pilgrimages for Haj and Umrah proliferate. Levels (though not necessarily standards) of education are claimed to be (nearly) world-class. Universities and number of academics and PhDs have mushroomed. But in the mad rush for more and more manna on earth and a place in heaven after earth, the Malays - unlike the Japanese - have not been true to their forefathers' and foremothers' wisdom and prescience.
My unschooled ( both religious and secular) mother brought us up on sayings from pantun pantun Melayu.
|At Kampung Chantek 1948, (from left to right), Maznoor, Mak, Mustapha and Maznah. Mustakim was to arrive later in 1949|
Pisang emas bawa belayar,
Masak sa-biji di-atas peti;
Hutang emas boleh di-bayar,
Hutang budi di-bawa mati.
Pulau Pandan jauh ke-tengah,
Gunong Daik berchabang tiga;
Hanchor badan di-kandong tanah,
Budi yang baik di-kenang juga.
Bunga melati bunga di-darat,
Bunga seroja di-tepi kali;
Hina besi kerana karat,
Hina manusia tidak berbudi.
While we live to offer budi, we have to accept that:
Puas aku bertanam padi,
Beras maseh datang seberang;
Puas aku berbuat budi,
Emas juga di-pandang orang.
But this stricture was drummed into us from childhood to adulthood. Buat baik berpada-pada. Buat jahat jangan sekali.
Anyway, the absence of shame is not the monopoly of Malays. All other racial groups in Malaysia (or anyone one else in the world for that matter) are guilty of that - it all depends on how the nature of the 'shame' is displayed or disguised.
Furthermore these miscreants are located not only among the dregs of Malaysian society (like the Mat Rempit and petty thieves); they also thrive among the upper and middle echelons of the Civil Service, the educated professionals, the business tycoons and taukehs, the directors of multi-national companies, the politicians and political leaders and even among the religious bureaucracy.
And just look at the shenanigans going on in the land of the Mother of Parliament, in Britain.
2. 1961. In 1961, at Crescent Girls' School, a group of Malay-medium students had to 'park' at our school because there weren't any Malay Secondary School in Singapore then.
And this was one of their contributions ......
...... to the School Magazine.
My take on all these? Wither the Malays. Whither the Malays?
Here are some other aspects of Malay 'ways and purpose' as related to budi. There have been studies and dissertations written on Budi in Malay culture. For instance ....
|Abstract of "Budi as the Malay Mind" by Lim Kin Hai 2003|
|1963 - 5th Edition|
What is missing among present-day Malays is " bangsa Melayu yang budiman".
Let me conclude with a personal touch.
Pisang nangka di-masak pengat,
Kait2 banyak duri-nya;
Macham mana saya ta'ingat,
Orang baik dengan budi-nya.
When in September 1982 my youngest brother Akim, passed away, this 'manusia baik budi' from Leicester was doing his fieldwork in a remote Adivasi village near Kashele, India. He walked one mile to get the bus for an hour-long trip to the small town of Karjat. This was followed by a two-hour train journey from Karjat to Bombay and from here he flew to Singapore to comfort my mother. (Even today, he is petrified of plane travel.) After a day or so, he took another plane journey to Bandar Seri Begawan where I was working.
His was a comforting shoulder to cry on.
|The Dynamic Duo - many, many, years later - December 2013.|
I taped this song "Serunai Malam" by the Sumatran singer Hasnah Tahar (orkest Saiful Bahri) in 1983 from this album.
I treasured the cassette tape and in winter 2013 I sat down to load all of these songs from tape to cassette player and onto my own clumsy video. In this way, I can keep on listening to them without causing wear and tear on the tapes and the Irama vinyl album.
These lines from "Serunai Malam' sum up the relevance and significance of Budi for this Malay.
Dari mana datang rasa kasih sayang,
Dari mata ke hati lalu di kenang.
Kerana budi menjadi tunangan, sayang,
Sumpah setia disaksikan bintang.
Bercerai mati batas nya di dunia, sayang.
Di akhirat kita berjumpa pula.
NOTE: All the pantun are taken from Kalong Bunga, Buku 1 - oleh Za'ba , 1964.