Friday, 18 January 2019

And in the beginning ............


Yesterday the husband of  " Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom ........... Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith "  i.e.   the Christian Faith,  was involved in a bad accident.



Worries and prayers were expressed by the Ugandan-born Bishop of York, Bishop John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu.




Perhaps if Malaysia (old or new)  had a Christian Royalty,  some of her rakyat and elite might be a tad more respectful, tolerant, understanding and accommodating towards having a "Yang di Pertuan Agong" as Head of State.  Let's take more steps backwards -  to more than 61 years ago , to just about 65.

Note the unctuous deference to the British Queen in pre-independence Malaya, specifically 1953.

Supplicants from Penang

And by the way, that loyal and humble subject Dr Lee Tiang Keng plotted secession for Penang to break away from the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Federation of Malaya) and join forces with Singapore - why kowtow to Malay Sultans?

As for Singapore:



Looking at the non-white membership of the Singapore Legislative Council, no wonder my Chinese fellow undergrads  at Singapore University mocked the title of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Ash's experience at Singapore University from the early to mid-1960s.



So, this contempt for the institution of  the  Malay monarchy has a long, long pedigree.  People like Eric Liew and Richard Chung and countless others are simply carrying on with the tradition of their forefathers.

Insults and jibes at Malay institutions, religion, culture and all things Malay will never end especially from the likes of   highly educated and well heeled "Bangsa Malaysia" ......



.....  who  contributed his thoughtfully reasoned analysis (after all, he's a university graduate) on the Agong's  resignation.  I see no need for me to repeat his masterpiece.

Besides all the others - Malays and non-Malays - baying at this  Institution of Monarchy, we have the classic, oft-repeated pecuniary rationale of   "we pay the most tax, so we have the greater say!".




Perhaps Eric and Richard and all those of their ilk might ponder on the price we pay to be  a  Rakyat  of Malaysia.   Bishop John Sentamu for example, demonstrated and expressed his loyalty and gratitude to the country that gave him succour and security and citizenship

There are after all, many other Malaysians who have made "contributions" and paid a different price for sustaining the well-being of Malaysia.

" The ethnic profile of police officers has been traditionally disproportionate compared to the national ethnic profile with a significantly higher proportion of ethnic Malays especially in the earlier decades.  However the number of casualties involving ethnic Malay police officers are statistically higher overall due in part to the high mortality rates involving the ethnic Malay community during the Malayan emergency in the 1950-1970s, and in part to the ethnic composition of the police force."
From the above Table, the Malays paid in 1,016, the Chinese 98, the Indians 27 and the Eurasians 69 - LIVES, not ringgit and cents.

You could say that those members of "Bangsa Malaysia" who eventually became today's high-rate taxpayers were given the luxury/opportunity to study, work and prosper in peace because the Malays were protecting their rice bowl.

Enough's said.

So, we can look forward to a new Malaysia pledging to undo all the mismanagement and miscreants of old Malaysia.  The past 61 years have been rubbished.

But let's learn from an old Malay poem.



CHERITA  SI KATAK  PELAHAP


Dahan ! Dahan !  kenapa bengkok ?

Sebab terhinggap burong.

Burong ! Burong !  sebab apa hinggap dahan?

Hendak melihat ikan timbul.

Ikan ! Ikan !  kenapa timbul?

Sebab ada lembu masok sungai.

Lembu !  Lembu ! kenapa masok sungai ?

Sebab ada orang memukul.

Orang !  orang ! kenapa di-pukul lembu?

Sebab lapar, hendak makan nasi.

Nasi ! nasi !  kenapa engkau mentah?

Sebab api tidak bernyala.

Api !  api !  kenapa tidak bernyala ?

Sebab kayu habis basah.

Kayu !  kayu ! kenapa habis basah ?

Sebab di-timpa hujan.

Hujan ! hujan ! kenapa engkau turun ?

Sebab di-panggil katak.

Katak !  katak !  kenapa sudah memanggil ?

Sebab haus berkehendakkan  ayer.

KATAK CHELAKA !  BUKAN - KAH CHUKUP AYER

MINUM DALAM PERIGI DI-BAWAH POKOK ?


The bough (dahan) of this Malaysia will remain bent and crooked because the country still embraces the incompetent, stupid, arrogant and nefarious birds, fish,cows, humans, fire, firewood, rain and most of all, the cursed voracious frogs.

SELAM (AT) KAN MALAYSIA !  









Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Insolence from a 4000 year-old Value System.


The barely 200 year old (dating from 1789) Semenanjung Tanah Melayu aka Malaya aka Malaysia  is made up of some of these peoples from Asia.

TYPES of PEOPLE from ASIA : From "Wide World Reader".  The Malay and the two members of  two great civilizations are circled in red.


There are the natives, the bangsa Melayu or Malays of the Semenanjung,  the bangsa Cina  from China and bangsa India from the Indian sub-continent.  The last two groupings belong to two of the four great civilizations of the world - with a long pedigree behind them.  (Babylon and Egypt are the other two).

It is puzzling that the peoples of these two great civilizations should find themselves cast into the Malay Peninsula, this finger-like extension of the Asian continent. The Semenanjung, before the penetration by Christian Europeans was known as quite an inhospitable area of dark forests, muddy rivers, hot and humid climate and almost  uninhabited except for the coastlines,along the river-banks and estuaries where Malay chiefs and Sultans had set up their own territorial Sultanates sometimes in conjunction with other Malay chiefs and Sultans from the Southeast Asian Malay Archipelago.  This political and cultural setup was in many ways very similar to the beginnings of the history and culture of the countries that make up Europe today.

Europe 12th century.  In the Malay Archipelago, we have for instance, the Riau-Lingga Empire, the Sulu and the Brunei Sultanates and the Malacca Empire.

Europe at the beginning of the First World War which was actually a bloody European Civil War , nothing to do with the World but which engulfed the rest of the World nevertheless.  Note the map of the Races of Europe.  You could do the same map of the Malay Archipelago with the various component 'Malay' races.  Like the Europeans, the Malays are SERUMPUN.

Who knows, if we had been given as much time and freedom from Colonisation as the European nations : the Malays of Nusantara could have 'developed' their  Archipelago politically and advance the existing trading and mercantile network between their various entities.  Perhaps like in the history of Europe, which was peppered with many infightings,  wars, deaths by assassinations, guillotines and being drawn and quartered, internecine squabbles, rapings and lootings and having an incorrigible King like Henry VIII of England who changed the country from Catholicism to Protestantism just so he could divorce his first wife;  the Nusantara might have gone through such a colourful tapestry of 'development' and nation building.


The Malays and their Sultans , their Admirals, Generals and merchant class could have had  a right old wild and gory romping history- just like the Europeans.  Alas they were denied the political and economic 'rite of passage' that other civilizations went through.  Because,  along came Western firepower, Capitalism and Christianity and the huge import of foreign workers to service the purpose of the Empire.  The Malays were  emasculated  into (so they claim) boring, lazy, indolent, untrustworthy, shameless people; and everything else you can throw at us, including the kitchen sink and our Value System!

The Malays they reckoned. should be left as padi farmers, fishermen, policemen and also cannon fodder to protect the Empire and later their Tanah Air.  Oops, I forgot.  When the Malays leave their cosy villages for the urban centres, they can be assured of vocations like becoming a driver, a  gardener, servants (but not chefs because you see, they have this particular aversion to the pig!) and if they can read and write, maybe they can be employed as peons and office boys and mailmen.

Just think what the EC is all about - to re-patch and unite the old warring nation states.  One feature, amongst others,  that member states are unhappy with is the freedom of movement of people across the borders within  the EC.  Wow, I thought.  They inflicted that licence (for people who are as different to the Malays like chalk and cheese) on to our part of the world and we have to live with the toxic consequences.

What is all this preamble about?  I wanted to set up a background scenario for what is happening to this Golden Chersonese, to the insolence  coming from the descendants of 4000 years of culture and civilization,  from those who in our peribahasa , 

Datang tidak di jemput,

Pergi tidak di halang.

....  for the likes of Eric Liew.



You did not just make "a rude comment".  Thank your lucky stars that you are in the land of DYMM  Yang di Pertuan Agong and not in Thailand. You have perhaps validated this version of the sayings of the great  Chinese philosopher Confucius.

... except in your case your bete noir has not done anything "unto you".  In fact you and your fore-fathers  have had a free run to " do unto" this country  and prosper.


The ultimate question is, "How did this multi-racial,multi-lingual, multi-religious democratic country foster the foment of such renegades?"

WHO LET THESE DOGS OUT?







REFERENCE

The maps in colour are from A New Atlas of World History by W and A. K Johnston and  J W Bacon, 1956.  The one in black and white is from Wheatons Atlas of British and World History,1949.








Monday, 7 January 2019

AsH's Grove

I was taught this song during Music Class at Crescent Girls School during the late 1950s.




On 23 December last year came three visitors to grace our home.  What a soothing finale for 2018, for Ash and spouse.  Two of them, Mr Yuwrajh Durgude and Mr Charles Beale came from New York via Singapore just to "catch up with the Buchanans".  We last met Yuwrajh in May last year ........

https://anaksihamid.blogspot.com/2018/05/my-celebrated-settee-and-yuwrajhs-pop-in.html


............  but we had not seen Charlie for nearly ten years.  What a grand reunion for these two youngsters from Generation X and the septuagenarians from the post-War baby boomers.

Yuwrajh and Charlie excelled themselves as guests.  They not only belanja us for breakfasts and lunches but they also did the washing up!

From New York I only requested one Calvin and Hobbes but they brought me four.

The scarf, another gift from Mexico City makes a nice wrapper for me and for my C&H.  
By the way, I've read them all and all the rest of the C&H issues.  Any more ... please?

They had an odd Christmas with us when we went for a walk at Bukit Ampang

Lost at Bukit Ampang on Christmas Day.
.
I sent a local guide to look for them.

Had to give the guide a bag of peanuts for doing a good job.

And of course we must have that 'selfie' though the spouse did look a bit lost trying to understand the technology of the Smart Phone.

Yuwrajh and Charlie, do come back. Your room is waiting for you, here in KL and in Leicester.

For us, in this December good things came twice.

Two old friends who have lost touch for over 30 years, two boys from my teaching days of 1975-1977,  met on the 23rd.  I watched and listened to them exchanging tales and experiences from their
last few decades and I just felt like the most privileged teacher on this planet.

Yuwrajh and Din (and friends) forty years ago.


Din, Yuwrajh, Charlie - bless you all and your cotton socks.  Sob, sob!

Here's another song from my colonial style education days.  Very, very apt.





Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Al Fatihah Muhammad Adib bin Mohd Kassim - Perwira Bangsa





They pulled you out of the Fire Engine vehicle and beat you up into a pulp.

You were treated in the best Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, where Malaysia's great and good are also treated.  But despite all their efforts and the prayers of your beloved family your battered body had very little chance.

You gave back to Malaysia and the Malays especially, their sense of pride and dignity in these difficult times when your people are being tarred and tarnished for the agenda and benefit of the opportunists looming large in the Semenanjung.

No child should depart this earth before their parents.  But your parents have given us and sacrificed their "anak yang salih", for "Nusa dan Bangsa".

Our gratitude and doa for you and for them too.


Untuk Cucu Ku Sayang ( as I am old enough at 74) .  You have lived up to ( and died for ) any parents'  aspirations for their child.   The above is a poem  'Ɓnakku Sayang ' by Dharmawijaya.

As for those snivelling and bloodthirsty cowards and their 'sponsors',  and all those involved in the Bollywood Saga of the Sri Mariamman Temple,  may they choke each day on their self-righteous hypocrisy and opportunism.

 Finally, it's quite unthinkable that the law in this country, in this Malaysia Baru would release two of the four suspects on a $2000 court bond for a deliberate attack on a member of the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Station's Emergency Response System (EMRS) officer who was just doing his duty.  The other two were released on police bail.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Temple+Riot%3A+Four+suspects+released+from+Remand+(NSTTV)&oq=Temple+Riot%3A+Four+suspects+released+from+Remand+(NSTTV)&aqs=chrome..69i57.48663j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8


What is $2000 worth?   Osman, our road sweeper friend earned half of that in one month!! It means you can be a suspect in beating  up half-dead , any serving public officer and be released on a bond worth just two months of a road sweeper's salary.  It certainly makes no dent in the pocket of the bonder or bailor if the suspect absconds.

The Attorney General in the UK will most certainly face the ire of the British Press and public if the suspects of  such a  ferocious  attack on an Emergency Fireman are treated with kid gloves like in Malaysia.



Thursday, 13 December 2018

Merak di Sangkar

I have not been active for the past two months because of commitments that take priority over everything else in AsH's domain.

But I have to get back now  because I have an apology to make to my Malay readers when 2 months ago I wrote this - out of despair.

..........  ( and sadly, maybe for the last time) the Malay Worm decided to turn.


But I am so pleased to be proved wrong, ...  and how !!!!!!!

Mingguan Malaysia 9 December 2018.   The red text is an extract from the song 'Merak DiSangkar.


It's quite astounding to look at this gathering of Malays which had been dismissed as irrelevant by Lim Guan Eng, inappropriate by Anwar Ibrahim and as for Mariam Mokhtar they're just a mob of  insecure bullies and racists!

Well, the Malays have been smeared for some time now as lazy, untrustworthy, thieves, dishonest, complacent, incompetent, ungrateful, lacking good values and ethics, not ashamed of failure etc, etc.  But at least they can put on a helluva demonstration!  And they even left the streets clean, even cleaner than before they came.

Muscular young Malay men did not indulge in cross-dressing like wearing yellow brassieres.  Malay SYTs (Sweet Young Things) did not jump up and down on the pictures of the Government's top echelons.  They have been quite good, lazy people.

Maybe they can now ask from their betters:  to quote  Gilbert O'Sullivan, from his song Nothing Rhymed;

Am I being a good boy?
Am I your pride and joy?
(Mother or Father) Please, if you're pleased,
Say I am!

Yes, AsH for one, reckons you have been good.  But you have more to learn like from this poem "Anakku Sayang" by Dharmawijaya.


Anakku Sayang by Dharmawijaya.


                                                     =========================


For years this particular CD has given me a lot of pleasure.




It contains a collection of  "lagu lagu ghazal dan Melayu Asli" but one particular ghazal by Noraliza Idris has struck a deep chord in me.  That song is 'Merak diSangkar'.

This extract is taken from the notes accompanying the CD.


I'm disappointed that I can't show (which I could before) the video without the  'distracting'  background but here it is.




Monday, 1 October 2018

MALAYAN UNION BARU

We are now in Malaysia Baru, and the stench of the "odious and odorous" (Shakespeare's words) Malayan Union is beginning to waft in through the windows of our days.  Besides the puerile  attempts at marginalising the National Language (Bahasa  Kebangsaan, aka Bahasa Malaysia  aka Bahasa Melayu)  there are whispers and  self-righteous bleatings about questioning and controlling the validity of the Monarchy in Malaysia under the guise of transparency and combating corruption.

This we can see recently in ..........


The Cynthia and Steven Show

Uber Liberal Government Minister demanding a 'transparent' Monarchy.




For comparison, no BBC (British-born Chinese), even if  (and especially if) he is a Government Minister, would dare pronounce that the British Monarchy should be more transparent.

No ABC (Australian born Chinese) or New Zealand born Chinese would dare suggest that their Head of State, the Queen of England, be subjected to scrutiny and assessments of their persons, their Royal Purse and Royal expenses.

As for Cynthia and Steven, if they were holding British, or Australian, or New Zealand or even Canadian Passports they wouldn't even have the guts  to show the top of their heads over the parapet and yell "the Royal Family should be subjected to scrutiny by the forces against corruption and cronyism"!!!

Our Disroyal Minister of Yoof more or less, with pointing finger, told our rulers "This was the direction taken by the country" and you have no choice.  When and who decided that this would be the Country's Direction?  Was this in the Manifesto of Pakatan Baru?  Was this part of the 100-days' promise?

Well let's put across a couple of straight facts to the questioner in that Forum, the YAB Yoof Minister and Cynthia Gabriel, from the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) and others of their ilk.

C4's crusader, Cynthia Gabriel.

The latter sounded out her crusade-
From "Raja-Raja Melayu Open to Criticism Says Pakatan Harapan" - Malaysia Today, 25 Sept 2018.

Here are several aspects of the Malay Sultanate system that our Anak/Bangsa Malaysia may not be aware of.


There is no room in the Semenanjung  for Republican heroes (and agitators) like Dr Sun Yat-sen, founder and father of the Republic of China who took up cudgels against the Qing Dynasty in  1912.

For those among the Anak/Bangsa Malaysia who aspire to take on the robes and ideas of Dr Sun Yat-sen, they should be aware that as a Chinese Nationalist, Dr Sun was bringing down not only an Emperor but even more,  a non-Chinese Dynasty and a "Tartar barbarian" who had ruled over the Han Chinese for 268 years.  

Dr Sun's drive for financial support  from the Overseas Chinese in the Semenanjung and Penang and Singapore at the turn of the 20th Century was pretty successful.  He was very much revered in our part of the world. 

From Wikipedia.







As the above is not clear enough, I have re-written this below.


"In George Town, Penang, Malaysia, the Penang Philomatic Union had its premises at 120 Armenian Street in 1910 during the time when Sun spent more than four months in Penang, convened the historic "Penang Conference" to launch the fundraising campaign for the Huanghuagang Uprising and founded the Kwong Wah Yit Poh, this house, which has been preserved as the Sun Yat-sen Museum (formerly called the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base), was visited by President designate Hu Jintao in 2002.  The Penang Philomatic Union subsequently moved to a bungalow at 65 Macalister Road which has been preserved as the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Centre Penang.

As dedication, the 1966 Chinese Cultural Renaissance was launched on Sun's birthday on 12 November.

The Nanyang Wan Qing Yuan  in Singapore have since been preserved and renamed as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.  A Sun Yat Sen  heritage  trail was also launched on 20 November 2010 in Penang."



Coming back to the Semenanjung: any desire, suggestion and/or policy for a replication of Dr Sun's successful overthrow  of the Monarchy in China or even to fiddle and muck about - and treat with contempt  a Malay Institution and Heritage will be met with appropriate  opposition. Malay Sultans are not descendants from any line outside of the Gugusan Kepulauan Melayu (Malay Archipelago) .......


 ......  or from any 'XYZ  barbarian'  (like the Dynasty overthrown by Sun Yat-sen) - at least not in the eyes of the Orang Melayu.

The Sultan and Sultanate system were well established long before the coming of Francis Light in Penang and  Stamford Raffles in Singapore.  As for the Malacca Sultanate, it was a strong commercial and political entity in the Archipelago before it was smashed (by sheer firepower and a bit of treachery in Melaka) by Catholic Portugal.  The Melaka Sultanate (before the invasion from Europeans) was an acknowledged centre of Malay commercial and political power and relations with China were relations of mutual respect.

In Malaysia, one cannot say that the Sultans and the Sultanate system is peculiar only to the Malays However, in this multi-racial country, there are some who feel that the Monarchy in Malaysia is as alien to them as the Qing Dynasty to the Han Chinese.  There are also some others who feel more culturally attuned to British Royalty like during the period before 1957.

But, for these disroyal Malaysians, Kings and Emperors and Maharajahs have been embedded in their culture, heritage and history for centuries  Here are some of them ......





In the history of  Malaya, Francis Light and Stamford Raffles did not simply arrive and 'founded' Penang and Singapore - they had to seek permission from the Sultan of Kedah and the Sultan of Singapore respectively.  To be more realistic the two Sultans were tricked, threatened and persuaded to sign the dotted line.  In this context, I hope our Anak/Bangsa Malaysia will recognise the place of the Sultan and the Sultanate system in the history of Malaya/Malaysia.  They are as relevant and valid as Queen Elizabeth II and all her ancestors from when we were still part of the British Empire!

With the acquisition of Melaka and especially Penang and Singapore the British  supervised and encouraged massive immigration from China, India and Ceylon to 'develop' their three imperial entities which were later integrated into the Straits Settlements.

But planting and trading in gambier and pepper and other exotic jungle products were not enough to feed the appetite and fill the coffers of the the British Empire and the coloniser-settlers.  I have earlier written about how the discovery of oil became a curse in the Middle East when it became a battle ground for competing western interests in the exploitation and control of oil.  Similarly, the occurrence of rich deposits of cassiterite (tin) in the Malay states of the Semenanjung - especially Perak and Selangor -  turned into a scourge for the Malays.

Before British "intervention", every state in the Semenanjung had a ruler (or sometimes two competing rulers) - a Malay-Muslim Sultan with all the trappings of a bona fide state - a free (in terms of security from control and conquest) and independent entity.  It may have lacked the niceties of  a 'civilised' western state because of practices like "slavery" (still legal in Britain when Raffles arrived) and with much to be desired in terms of law and order (as in contemporary Britain) - but still a state with a Sultan that had to be reckoned with in any attempts to cross their territory.  If the Malays had not have this 'backup' we might have found ourselves like this at the hands of the British and the settlers: (See image below)

A tragic treatment of Australian Aborigines by white Australian colonial-settlers.  This could have been the fate of the Malays if the Malay States in the Peninsula were leader-less with no established system of authority to represent them.

The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 marked a watershed in the history of the Melayu and the Semenanjung - when the British legitimised their domination of the affairs of the Malay states.  In other words, British Imperialism and all its perfidious ways and purposes now held sway over much of the Malay Peninsula and its resources.  The Malay Peninsula was now wide open  for greater 'development' and exploitation by the British and  the businessmen (both European and Chinese) from Penang and Singapore.

One could say the supplication exhibited in this Petition by Chinese traders and merchants was the Pandora's Box that opened the door for unremitting commercialization of what was basically a subsistence peasant economy.

Note the homage to the Monarch - Empress Victoria - "our Most Gracious Majesty the Queen".  This petition was submitted in 1873 and despite protestations of reluctance by the British, the Pangkor Treaty was delivered the following year.  Eradicating piracy and "the lawless and turbulent" have always been the most popular reasons for subjugating a people, for Imperialism and the Empire.



Pax Britannica would let loose the hounds of Capitalism and Mercantilism into this bountiful land.  The Malays, hit by this onrush of 'diligence and entrepreneurship' from forces led by the omnipotent  Orang Putih, remained in a state of semi-torpor as the jungles were slashed away, as the valleys were scraped and flooded for tin mining, as the rivers were polluted with the entrails of dredging and palong mining, and as towns and roads and rail began to criss-cross the land.  We have this quote from L.A.Mills (British Malaya 1824-1867, JMBRAS 1960), pg 251)








After tin, along came rubber and other forms of commercial and plantation cropping.  The wheels of a lop-sided and inequitable progress rolled on and on. "Progress" under the Union Jack; aided by the hardworking and enterprising immigrants ........




became, in the words of E.E. Cummings a "comfortable disease".  Today this "advance" festers in the Malay psyche as a malady, an ailment caused by too much comfort and ease.  They have been seduced and corrupted by the propitious "bread and circus", by this palliative drug which keeps them quiet - but which also turns them into avid consumers of goods they do not need and cannot afford and worse of all, of excessive 'exotic' food that consumes their health.

This is all you need to know about the Malays (and other Malayans), according to a Colonialist in 1911.



Again and again Malays have been castigated as lazy, unreliable and indolent.  We cannot expect anything different from our non-Malay fellow-rakyat and their mentors like the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew from Singapore. When said often enough especially by our own brethren, we begin to believe and even live it as it becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.  They are the same abuses and brickbats that are thrown at dispossessed people like the Maoris in New Zealand, native Indians of North and South America, the American Blacks in the USA and the Australian Aborigines.


When some time ago, Tun Dr Mahathir described Malaysia as a "pariah state",  it needs to be remembered that it did not just happen to occur during the early decades of the 21st century.  It had its beginnings with the Pangkor Treaty in 1874.    But we must also remember to differentiate between the "pariah-er" .....  and the "pariah-rised".

After 1874, the British wasted no time extending their clutches.    Twenty-one years later, in 1895, the Malay Sultans were rounded up into the Federated Malay States (FMS).

Note the absence of the business moghuls and entrepreneurs.  They must be  too busy setting and moving the wheels of progress under the patronage and protective umbrella of  the British 'Raj'.


In 1909 the Sultanates of Kelantan, Trengganu, Perlis and Kedah were ceded to the British by Siam.

In 1914, the Sultan of Johore 'accepted' a British adviser.

In 1946, all the above territories, except Singapore,  were 'united' in the infamous Malayan Union.

This was the formal imposition of British colonial power over all of the Malay Peninsula, including Penang according to their template which sought to protect their chosen compradores.  The British gathered all the Malay rulers to "get their approval" .  Under pain of dethronement and accusations of being collaborators during the Japanese Occupation, the Malay Rulers caved in.  ONLY the Malays protested and took to demonstrations to denounce the theft of their rights in their country, their sovereignty and the abolition of their Monarchs. 

For once, and at last, (and sadly, maybe for the last time,) the Malay Worm decided to turn.  The rest is history.  Alas, history has a habit of repeating itself !!

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.    George Santayana 1863-1952.

But here is something more sinister from George Orwell.

He who controls the past controls the future.  He who controls the present controls the past.

                                                       **********************

Malaysia is composed of various races.  They are diverse - and as different as chalk and cheese.   Let's not deceive ourselves into thinking that stark racial and economic differences do not exist and do not matter, that we can over-ride this by inventing such a misnomer as Bangsa Malaysia.

Those who take pride in being rakyat Malaysia have to learn and relearn how to respect and not merely tolerate one another.  Manufacturing new wine and pouring that into new bottles is not the solution.  "How do you prove your loyalty to Singapore?"  asked a Singapore Minister.  The willingness to die for your country is one yardstick.  It does not imply the blind faith of "my country right or wrong"   But at the very least one should be able to declare a statement of loyalty: that .......

Dimana bumi dipijak, disitu langit ku junjung.  

Inscribed into that saying is the element of respect.

 The composition and mix of Malaysia's population is hardly of the Malays' making, maybe with the  exception of independent Johore, which was spared the imposition of a British Resident until 1914.  The imbalances, the disparities, the almost institutionalised income gap in the Semenanjung between the Malays and the non-Malays, between the urban and rural inhabitants and even between states on the east coast and the west coast have been long-standing  and quite unacceptable. Admittedly some advances have been made ....

Mean Monthly Gross Household Income by Ethnicity and Strata.

.....  but the gap and the rate of growth is not very inspiring.

One factor not included in the above table is the growing gap between rich and poor Malaysians across the board, notwithstanding their ethnicity.  We glorify our rich, their takings and lifestyle and their influence but we do so at our peril if we ignore Anuar, Ah Heng , James (from East Malaysia) and Maniam who live from day to day and from hand to mouth and struggle to make ends meet in this land of plenty.

The British and many of us too, regaled the legacy of the Empire in terms of the practice of democracy, the roads and railways and schools and the Civil Service.   But these were not done out of altruism - but to serve and service the wants and needs of the Empire.  They left more or less the same legacy in Uganda and South Africa but we know too well what took place as soon as the Union Jack was lowered.  Idi Amin kicked out the Indians and because of their passport the British had to reluctantly take them in, instead of an India that didn't want them, and which they didn't want.  In South Africa, apartheid and the gross inequality between the White settlers and the native Blacks almost tore the country apart.

Malaya was more fortunate but what the British left behind became ingredients for the sustenance of systemised inequalities which eventually culminated in the racial riots of May 13th 1969, twelve years after Merdeka.  It is to the credit of the leaders and the people of Malaysia that they eventually made good despite the critical imbalance of demography, economics and politics.


Here, the role and contributions of the Monarchy need to be recognised.  Although the then Sultans (who were the only symbols of authority for the Malays) had been stripped of most of their power by the British (except for religion), they kept their cool and dignity by refraining from interfering in the workings of the elected government - they took no part in menangguk di ayer yang keroh during the dark days following May 13 and they reached out to all their rakyat in their own states.

The denigration accorded to the Monarchy by our wannabe Republicans is often linked with feudalism and its excesses from the 19th to the  20th century.   However, feudalism is still rampant today -a feudalism based on wealth; a sort of  Secular-Corporate Feudal System.   It also has its Kings; as in the Raja beras, Raja minyak masak, Raja kapal terbang, Raja media, Raja gula, Raja resort pelancung, Raja talipon, Raja kreta mewah, Raja 'bread and butter' kreta,  Raja hartanah, Raja tabung duit, Raja kelapa sawit, Raja kayu balak, Raja minyak petrol and many other shades and shapes of Raja, Maharaja, Emperors and Sultans in our corporate-feudal world.

As for the "serfs", they are now better educated and relatively better off than they were during the old serfdom but they still carry on with the same bowing  and scraping and the age-old baksheesh, the same old nudge, nudge, wink wink in business, and the kamcheng  ideology is as strong and potent as ever.  Now that the old regime of feudal lords are showing signs  of decrepitude and slowly losing their bite to the new lords of the universe in Malaysia, it has become a good time to put the nail in their coffins.  But first we have to remove all their teeth.  Viva the Revolution for a Malayan Union Baru, Malaysia Baru, Rakyat Baru, Bahasa Kebangsaan (tambahan ) Baru. and a Malaysian Malaysia Baru.

The last item is a re-incarnation of the mantra flung about during the  5 week campaign period before the General Election of 8 March 1969.  This was followed soon after by the Race Riots in May.  The dam walls had been breached, the camel's back had been broken.

A Banner floating around Kuala Lumpur in February/March 1969.  This mantra in KL was a keynote agenda of the  Singapore PAP when it was still a member state in Malaysia.  Singapore was ejected in 1965.  But its message was handed over to the DAP, a creation and clone of the PAP.



History, according to some of the millenials and generation X, should be re-scripted, especially that of the Communist Party of Malaya and the Insurrection.  If that is the one focus of  history that matters to them, it's a dreadful comment on their understanding of  history and its analysis. Whatever the approach they wish to emphasise, they must know that theirs is not the only and valid perception.  If  they are so committed to elevating  LCP to a Freedom fighter and the Malayan (Chinese) Communist party as a harbinger of independence in the Peninsula, then I suggest they firstly have to remove their Che Guevara berets and review the history of that period with that of Kuomintang China, the Sino-Japanese War of 1937, the Marxist-Leninist revolution in Russia, North Korea and China (CCP), the beginning of The Cold War in the western world, the development of Malay nationalism after 1946 and the call for independence in all the colonised nations in Southeast Asia and India.  Then, after that, place LCP and the MCP in the middle of that scenario.  How short-sighted and myopic their view of their own country - and of the whole gamut of the history of a country ridden with conflicts of race, religion, and economic inequality, and still laden with the baggage of having been part of the British Empire for well over a hundred years.




May I, as an "Orang Melayu" (whose father was a Civilian Instructor in the RAMC during the Emergency/Insurrection by the MCP),  add another aspect of history to be re-assessed - that leading up to the Treaty of Pangkor and the repercussions of that Treaty?  This will require a drastic overhaul  of the script written by Western and local academics - from today and over a century ago.

An understanding of the Semenanjung's and Malaysian history does not depend entirely on the books available. The cultural background of the observer /reader also comes into play.  This also determines and hinges on where they decide to situate their reference point.  For some the Pangkor Treaty was the keynote:

"When the British flag is seen over Perak and Larut, every Chinaman will go down on his knees and bless God."  quote by Headman of a Kongsi in Perak. (in Mills, 1960)

 But the history of Malaya/Malaysia did not begin with the Pangkor Treaty, or with the wider sweep of the British Empire.

The pre-colonial history of the Malay Peninsula before the arrival of Christian Britain and Europeans has precedence and greater relevance especially for the Native Malay.  For that was also the history of the rise and fall and power struggles of the riverine and coastal chieftains and Sultans, of sultanates and their allies and enemies, the history of their administration and trade and commerce, the history of their religion and culture from the time of Hindu Srivijaya and especially the history of their Rakyat.  All these strands of history define the distinct identity of the Selangor Malay, the Perak Malay, the Kedah Malay, the Pahang Malay and so on ....  and these same strands of history also assert the fact that these are a people who are Serumpun. 


The Malays, like the Europeans, British, Chinese and Indians have a history built around their Monarchs and their landscape.  No one, but no one has the right to demonstrate contempt or to evict them either by force or by law.  They are the monarchs of the Malay Peninsula and represent the heritage and defender of the rights of the Malay people and will remain so unless they act against the will of their Malay Rakyat.   But it is not simply the person or the Sultan per se that the Malay people are protecting.  Rather it is the institution that they want to uphold and maintain - and they will not condone any etching or chipping away of this precious Malay Institution.

By analogy, I remember one of my School Principals in Singapore.  I had had enough of him.   He was an ambitious user of people and a hypocrite to boot. As a bigot he won first prize.  But he represented the institution of the headmaster, the leader of the school and all the teachers and students in it.  So I did the job as ascertained by him even though I despised him, the person.  More crucial than his despicable person, my students and colleagues took precedence over him.  It would have turned out well if he had been replaced.  But the institution of the School Principal and the Headmaster had to remain intact.

I am aware that Cynthia and Steven will protest that they are not choosing to get rid of the Monarchy. They would be bonkers to attempt to do that.  But the constant bitching, velvet-glove threats and the smug, self-righteous snipes in the name of "transparency" and "freedom" would eventually scrape and weaken the edifice of  a Malay Institution and eventually reach the stage where it becomes Retak menanti Belah.

My working class mates in Leicester had a colourful way of asserting their heritage and history, warts and all. "They may be bastards.  But they are OUR bastards. So, lay off, mate!"

That is why no BBC or British Asian will dare to challenge  and demean the British Monarchy.

Shall I summarise this  in the words of the Penang boatman (in the article above by Mills)? 

"Empress good: coolie get money - keep it."

There are various permutations to this quip :

"Empress good.Coolie get and keep money?" or 

"Empress good. Coolie keep Empress and money?"  or 

"Coolie keep Empress when coolie and not Empress get money." or

"Now coolie get many money.  Empress now no good and must go."


















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Monday, 17 September 2018

Ruth - a matchless woman



RUTH - sometime in the early 1940s.
We have one thing in common, Ruth and I.  We are incorrigible magpies.  Amongst many,many other things, she collected match box labels.

Been feeling a bit down lately - people (well, some) tend to do that to me and to make it worse,  there have been much too much of Malaysia Baru and the strong odour of Malayan Union Mark 2 blowing in the air.

So I decided to indulge myself; ferreting through my own magpie nest - as a form of therapy.  We have been keeping this little basket box (woven by Ruth herself)  ........

Ruth's treasure of matchbox tops.
....... containing her collection of matchbox tops, acquired over a period of nearly 50 years.  It was passed on to us by Bride after Ruth passed away in 2009.  Once or twice I  rummaged through this collection and did not realise what a treasure they were until just a few days ago.  I was flabbergasted by the age and the variety of samples she had been storing.  They were all her personal collection covering the period of her life as a wife and mother from perhaps the 1950s onwards.   Her family life stretched from home in England to Wales ......

Iain, Ruth, Bride, Keith and Jane in Wales where Iain learned to pronounce LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSYLIOGOGOGOCH  in one go.


...........  South Africa, West Africa, Northern Ireland, and finally in New Zealand where they eventually settled.  These match tops also covered her travels in Australia, Hong Kong, Fiji, Malaya and Singapore in the 1960s.

Ruth was only doing what that generation of children were encouraged to do.  Born in 1915, she was taught to observe, conserve and respect nature - all 'creatures great and small' which also included trees and grass and seashells.  That generation had hobbies and interests which were self-made and did not cost any money at all.  That was why she was such a skilled knitter and showed her love by spending hours on knitting projects for family and friends.  She lived according to a "waste not, want not" ethos, which was also expected of us by our mother.

A hand-knitted Cushion Cover - from Ruth to her daughter-in-law.

Iain's Cushion Cover.  Ruth had knitted a coconut tree next to Maznoor and an apple tree next to her son.  Her children call her Haggis - the reason for that is lost on me.

Winter slippers for Iain.  My pair is still up in the loft in Leicester -I'm too decrepit to retrieve it.
52, Tilley Road, Paekakariki, where she lived from 1953 to 2007 when she became too frail to manage by herself. This house was Ruth's humongous magpie's nest and where she did her gardening, knitting, basket weaving, textile collage and umpteen handicraft creations.

I can hear her voice saying, "Come on, Maznoor.  Stop this nattering.  I want to see what you've done with my match top labels!".

Here they are.  If I were still a school teacher, I would ask my geography pupils to note down   the various countries of origin and then indicate them on a world map - but only for schoolchildren of 40 years ago.  Today's kids who are merely computer-literate will not have the foggiest idea on where to begin!



But just three hours before I embarked on this soul-enhancing posting, I decided to look in the kitchen drawer for my matches.

Firstly as expected, I found this one from Giant which I matched with a brand I remembered from the 1960s.



 But this is the creme de la creme.  What an unbelievable coincidence!!

We have here - Safety Matches and Macis Keselamatan.  One costs 5 cents, the other 20 sen.  The one made in Petaling Jaya  has an inscription in Jawi.  The 'modern' match  came from Taiping.  This makes for a 'matching' historical comparison!

Ruth, we've hit the Jackpot!!!!!!  These are matches for our (different) times.

We managed to match 1986 with 2018.  Thank you for lighting the matches along the way.

My mother-in-law always gave away gifts that are handcrafted and associated with her hobbies and came from her own magpie nest.

This gift of a new book on shells was very different and especially touching for the inscription she wrote.



Aaaahh I do feel much better after writing this posting though I still want to ......??.


Thank you Ruth.