Sunday 6 February 2011

HMV (His Mentor's Voice)

Mind you, it's so tempting to throw contempt at Lee Kuan Yew's rantings on how Malays in  Singapore should be less 'Islamic'.   Read

If we set aside his Minister Mentor role, it's so easy to see him as a sad old widower hankering for attention in a world that's fast passing him by.

As someone who lived in Singapore for over 30 years , it heartens me to observe how Malays in Singapore have borne themselves with much dignity in their response to this self-righteous diatribe.  There was no Hindraf-style rampage on the streets - even if that's possible in this island Republic!

There is nothing as depressing as watching a man way past his use-by date trying to revive the old glory days, strutting his opinionated  versions of what should be.  It's like an addiction, having people sitting at your feet waiting for more drops of wisdom to emanate from your mouth.  Just like the Mandarin Scholar (Sifu) or the MahaGuru from days of yore.  His latest pearl of wisdom however, only revealed a suppressed and pathological contempt for the Malays - be it in Singapore , Malaysia or throughout the 'big Malay pond '.  It always works -  inculcate a 'siege mentality' to keep a fragile organization alive and kicking.

In the 1960s when LKY was flexing his political muscles, our Hokkien shopkeeper at Pasir Panjang Road confided  this opinion of  Singapore's future Prime Minister  to my father.   "Itu Lee Kuan Yew - dia Hakka - hati banyak busuk."  Really?  Still, as a Chinese he may not be too far off the mark.  But, we Malays also subscribe to generalisations about  orang Jawa, orang Melaka , orang Johor and so on..... and at times they do apply.

During those days LKY learned to speak in Malay, took up lessons in Mandarin, but despite this, many did not take him to their hearts,  This was an ambitious man, impatient for power, who believed his oyster should not be limited to this little island, this Pulau Ujong.

His lamentations about  Malay-Muslims are nothing new.  LKY's policies with regard to holding back the Malays for National Service and  recruitment into the Navy and Air Force are carefully co-ordinated with corralling the Malays into HDB housing estates where the Chinese keep their 75% majority and Malays are limited to no more than 15% of the community.  But that arrogance and prejudice did not begin and end with LKY.

The Chinese, with their 3,000 years of history as LKY is wont to remind us, have always looked down on the 'indolent and easy-going Malays".  Of course this perception was also part and parcel of British imperialism.  Although -  living in Britain for the past  30 years - I observe that laziness and indolence is also a British trait. Already the Brits are paranoid about the 10-15 % of immigrants on their island - and especially the Muslims.  The British would be ground to the earth if they inherited a 75% Chinese majority!  Tell me about the Chinese Diaspora!!   Tell me more about their fear of the Republic of China!

For over 200 years, and especially on the coat-tails of Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialism the immigrant Chinese  learned how to manipulate the Muslim-Malays.  In terms of trade and commerce they had the field to themselves (except for the parts 'belonging' to the Caucasians) while the Muslim-Malays  - due to their  ignorance and unsophisticated short-sightedness, were pushed to the periphery, waiting for crumbs.  However,  the Muslim-Malays also had their own turncoats and desperados who were happy to sell their people for a song, like the way Singapore was 'acquired'  from the Johor rulers.  And this Wayang is still going on today.

At the risk of being pedantic, I hesitate to use the term 'Singapore Malays'.  I prefer Malays in Singapore just like you do not describe the Caucasian natives of Britain as British English or British Welsh or British Scots. They are as a matter of course, the English or Welsh or Scots.  Just like the Malays in Singapore.  For both these people, these offshore islands are where they originate.

There have always been Malays in Temasek, or Pulau Ujong, or Singapura before their island abode was re-founded by Raffles.  As a maritime and riverine community they are often on the move.  Today, we acknowledge the needs and rights of  aboriginal tribes to a nomadic life - a culture with no man-made boundaries, no immigration checks and no passports.  The Malays were once thus - although their cultural and catchment area was circumscribed by the rivers and the seas of South East Asia, the Malay Archipelago - what they now describe as Nusantara.


It is very difficult for LKY and his culture to appreciate or recognise the waves and ways of the Malays.  His tactic is to enclose them into little pockets of natives surrounded by 75% Chinese.  You can see where his paranoia comes from because he has done to the Malays just what he fears they might one day do to him.  So the Malays are given their 'bread and circus ' in their cosy, modern high-rise abodes to  keep them sedated and quiet - but  more circus, perhaps, than bread!

Despite his attempts to re-sinify himself  (and the Chinese) , LKY is essentially  an Anglophile - in his education, politics and economics.  When he took on the Malays to be less Islamic because they get in the way of 'integration' he is singing from the same hymn book as David Cameron and the leaders of Europe to manipulate and master Muslims into their mould.  Yesterday in Munich, when Cameron ranted on  about how multi-culturalism (he meant the Muslims)  has failed to integrate Britain he sounds like an echo of the venerable LKY.  He did not envisage a respect of differences.   He did not want a "salad" of a variety of colours and taste.  He wanted a melting-pot of "soup" where the dominant culture will swallow up the minor ones.

This is also LKY's  ambition.  In their playground, the bully boys will set the agenda and  move the goalposts as they please.

However, what is more frightening is the fact that his opinions and diktat are not his alone -  they have, after all, long been whispered into the ears of this ageing autocrat.   So it will not end with LKY.   This chauvinism will be sustained for a long time to come.



Anonymous said...

What an article! Amat terasa pedasnya. Let give back to LKY his own medicine.

Kah,kah, kah ... auntie you really hit it on LKY's forehead ..." watching a man way past his use-by date trying to revive the old glory days,..."

Anyway, the rasa sayang song is very nice siap dengan baju kebaya dan baju melayu sepasang dengan samping sekali.

Auntie, you really make my day today!

Anonymous said...

Woh, if i may quote so here ... "hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn."

Rightfully, though :)

And you are right on the dot where LKY is concerned. Way past is used-by date. Ilks of his kind should be as extinct as the acronym WOG ... as dead as dodo birds.

Like this piece exceedingly.

- A Malaysian -

Unknown said...

I would not agree with the generalization that the Muslim Malays are indolent, ignorance, unsophisticated and short-sighted and thus the Dutch, Portuguese, British, Japanese or Chinese served them right with just the bread crumbs.

Islam is simple. Its basic doctrine is an interest free economy for a society who is “siddiq (benar)” and “amanah (jujur dan telus)”.

The detail Islamic way of life is engraved in the holy Al-Quran Nur Karim and the Sunnah.

No Ma’am, it is thus difficult to integrate the Muslim way of life with others irrespective whether it is in Singapore, Britain or Malaysia. If I may borrow your words: This chauvinism will be sustained for a long time to come indeed.

BUT it really astonishes me when John Maynard Keynes, in his book ‘General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, mentioned that there was a society established about 1400 years ago which should be dig out of the oblivion and worth learning.

Yes Ma’am that is the society of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. (Peace Be Upon Him) in Madinah Al Munawarah. Opinion and diktat was not his but it is a divine guidance whispered into his ears by guardian angel Jibrail.

jayaid said...

LKY has certainly past the use by date in Singapore. By the same token, you have to acknowledge that Mahatir Mohamed in Malaysia has to be 'muzzled' as well.

Rockybru said...

I am still struggling to finish the book Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew, which I bought in October last year. And I bought it, believe it or now, because of Mahathir's review that was printed on the insider cover. Mahathir describes Lee as a "big frog in small pond". Your own description of Lee as someone who wanted to rule more than Temasek is so consistent with Mahathir's view. I guess in that sense our Mentor has been quite transparent.

I have to rush the book on Kuan Yew, like it or not and no matter how fluffy and pretentious I find the content to be so far, for next week the same people who run the Giants of Asia series (under which the "Conversations .." books are produced) will launch "Conversations with Mahathir".

Let me know if you'd like a signed copy.

Peace, ex Teacher.

anak si-hamid said...

Anonymous Feb 7, 4.05am

Thank you. Am glad you enjoyed it, especially the 'rasa sayang song'. I discovered it over a year ago and it has been put to good use.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you, A Malaysian,

You know, the WOGS are everywhere and still on the prowl.

I left Singapore and a steady, well-paid job in 1978. They say 'if you can't take it protest with your feet' - and I started my nomadic life like the way my ancestors did long, long ago.

It was my best friend, a Chinese girl who said to me "Maz, as a Malay, you have no future in Singapore. If I were born in Malaysia, I would leave Singapore today." That was in 1975.

anak si-hamid said...


Thank you for your perceptive comment and I do appreciate another view from our Koran.

I admit to being a complete ignoramus about the intellectual contents of our Holy Book and your contribution is always an eye opener.

However, in this part of the world, in the West, any comparison and connections to religious precepts, especially Islam, is dismissed. That is their folly.

For me, my tactic is 'tit for tat'. For every underhand, below-the-belt attack I can dig up the same about the opposing culture. I will do it for anyone and any group, any underdog - not just the Malays and Muslims Well, I try.

anak si-hamid said...

Jayaid, thank you,

I totally agree with you. If ex-PM Mahathir ever pronounce that Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Confucianists and Baathists (hope I have not missed any others) have to dilute their religious practice to ensure an "integrated" society in the mould of that of the dominant culture - then, like the English kings of yore, we can say "Off with his head!"

anak si-hamid said...

Still the same 16 year old Din!

You took your own sweet time to finish that 'fluffy' book.

Whatever the 'old guards' were - on both sides of the Causeway - they were and are transparent, unlike the devious, sly, hypocritical and self-serving politicians and political leaders of today. They are everywhere, East or West, North and South.

Yes please if you can get us the book. Never mind if it's not signed - it's the contents that matter.

And we would prefer to pay for it but as my birthday is coming do owe me a birthday present!!!

Love from Teech and Uncle

L_J said...


Walaupun pandangan2 sdri tentang LKY dan kelakuan, komen2 dan sikapnya terhadap Melayu Singapura tidak boleh dinafikan sama sekali, saya rasa perbandingan antara kelayanan (treatment) orang India Malaysia (di Malaysia) & Melayu Singapura (di Singapura) tidak begitu tepat dari beberapa segi.

Untuk ketika, saya hanya suka kemukakan suatu perbezaan ketara. Perbezaan ini berkaitan dengan situasi perkerjaaan dalam sektor awam di Malaysia berkenaan India Malaysia (di Malaysia) & Melayu Singapura (di Singapura). Kebanyakan perkerja2 Melayu Singapura telah diserapkan kedalam sektor awam (baik pemerintah, lembaga-lembaga berkanun atau GLC). Saya kira lebih dari 70% orang Melayu Singapura berperkerjaaan di dalam sektor tersebut.

Walaupun tidak dinafikan bahawa jawatan2 yg dipegang oleh mereka bukan jawatan2 tertinggi, dari pandangan tertentu, ini merupakan suatu subsidi dan dari pandangan yang lain keadaan ini mencerminkan kedudukan orang Melayu di Malaysia dan merupakan suatu keistimewaan yang Melayu Singapura tidak akan menolak dengan sewenang2nya. Lantaran dari itu, majoriti besar Melayu Singapura merupakan penyokong kuat PAP sejak kemerdekaan negara itu dan komen2 mutakhir LKY tidak akan mengubah keadaan sedia ada.

Akan tetapi di Malaysia, India Malaysia tidak mendapat layanan seperti itu dalam sector awam yg semata2 (hingga 90%) untuk Melayu Malaysia sahaja dan ini melanggar Perlembagaan Persekutuan Malaysia

Ini hanya suatu perbezaan yg saya ingin menampilkan, walhal ada banyak lagi yg saya boleh kemukakan jikalau sdri berminat untuk tahu. Walaupun begitu, izinkan saya menyentuh suata lagi perkara. Ramai Melayu di Malaysia percaya bahawa Melayu Singapura miskin, dan ini pada amnya ternyata, tetapi pada masa yg sama terdapat beberapa jutawan2 Melayu Singapura. Ini hakikat dan boleh diperhatikan bila sesesiapa pun mengunjungi masjid2 waktu solat pagi adhil fithri dimana2 masjid di Singapura, khususnya parkir2 (car parks), yg dibanjiri kereta2 mewah!



p.s. Sebenarnya, peratusan imigran2(minoriti ethnik) di UK adalah hanya 8%-9%.

Yem said...

It's been a while such an article tantalized my most humble intellect. What an article indeed!

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you for your comment L_J.

Because of my educational and working background, I am more at ease with comprehension of articles in Malay, instead of writing it. I reckon (though I may be wrong) you are in the same spot where English is concerned. So, to give a thorough answer to this comment, I shall write in English.

Firstly this posting id NOT about comparing the predicament of Indians in Malaysia and Malays in Singapore as referred to in paras 2 and 4 and especially para 1. I would not dare to pontificate about the live and livelihood of Malaysian Indians. I leave that to the experts.

I made just one reference to Hindraf, to compare the different ways available for Malays in Singapore and Malaysian Indians to express their grievances. LKY's criticim of Malays is tantamount to a Malaysian Minister chiding Malaysian Hindus to dilute their religious practices - like not acknowledging their taboo against eating beef.

Secondly, you suggest in para 2 that 70% of civil servants (including those in the Statutory Boards) are Malays? Given that Singapore leaders do not trust the loyalty of the Malays, 70% is either grossly irresponsible or complete nonsense. And if by any stretch of the imagination that the number is correct - then these Malays must have got in because they deserve it - entirely on merit - in this Meritocratic Culture. They are not there as a favour, or as a form of subsidy. I taught in Singapore for 20 years and know that any application for a 'subsidy' like free education for Malays is scrutinized with a fine toothcomb.

Thirdly, you claim in para 3 that since Merdeka a majority of Malays have been supporters of the PAP and you go on to say that LKY's jibe will not affect their loyalty. In that case why should LKY so desperately want the Malays to be "Islam Celup"? Anyway, in this democracy where voting is compulsory and opposition parties are strictly managed, every PAP victory is a walkover, a rubber stamp for the Government.
Acquiescence is not acceptance.

Indeed in the eyes of all Malaysians, Singaporeans, including the Malays, are "rich". The rate of foreign exchange is in their favour. The spending power of say, a Singapore Malay teacher in Johor Bharu would be bountiful. Ask him about his cost of living in Singapore.

You say, in the last paragraph, there are several (beberapa) Malay millionaires in Singapore. So what? There are also many Singaporean Indian millionaires and thousands of Chinese Singaporean millionaires - but their ability to 'integrate' is not challenged. They are left to get on with accumulating more millions like the millionaires in Malaysia and anywhere else.

Malaysia's second richest man according to Forbes, is Ananda Krishnan who is worth 8 billion US dollars. Should Malaysian Indians be expected to be content with that achievement?

As for the appropriate figure for immigrant population in UK,
1. You are right as far as Wikipedia is concerned. 8.3% refers only to those who are foreign-born and that is only the 2001 figure.
2. The figure for 2007 is estimated to be 10.6%.
3.It does not include those born in UK to immigrant parents.

It all depends on how you define immigrant - first, second or third generation immigrant. There is a lot of myth surrounding statistics!!

Finally, you say, just look at the luxury cars in the parking lot of Mosques in Singapore. So the faith and dignity of a people can be measured by the odd Mercedes or BMW parked around the Mosque. This, to a Muslim, is just "harta dunia".

I really don't think you understand the seriousness of LKY's taunt in the eyes of Malay-Muslims in Singapore. But then, perhaps, you are too much of an outsider.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you , Yem.

I am driven, - like my late father and spouse and late father-in-law to speak up for justice.

Now that I'm 66 I have less to fear.

why.jamil said...

I know it's off topic .. but do you by any chance accepting application for gay admirer? I love, love, love your writing. I am sorry but I do. Intelligent, succinct .. well, just fabulous if you ask me!

anak si-hamid said...

why.jamil, thank you,

Why Jamil should I or anyone question your 'application'? Gay, straight, unhappy, mad - Ash's door is always open.
But no admirers please - we're all learners, even at 66.

L_J said...


Terima kasih atas jawapan yg sungguh lengkap di atas.

Walhal, saya tidak sekali2pun memperkecilkan cemuhan LKY terhadap orang Melayu Singapura dan memahami bisa yg dikandungi di dalamnya.

Perbandingan antara Melayu Singapura dan India Malaysia menimbul dari komen sdri bahawa “... it heartens me to observe how Malays in Singapore have borne themselves with much dignity in their response to this self-righteous diatribe. There was no Hindraf-style rampage on the streets...”. Komen itu – saya harap dengan tidak sengaja - mengandungi suatu pertimbangan nilai (value judgment) antara “dignity” orang Melayu Singapura dan “rampage” orang India Malaysia ala Hindraf dan itu lah saya merasa tidak sesuai atau tepat. Oleh kerana itu, saya menerangkan bahawa layananan yg diberi kepada kedua2 bangsa itu sungguh berlainan.

Dalam pada itu, tak payah lah kita masuk perbincangan tentang penghinaan2 yg di lontorankan oleh pemimipin UMNO terhadap kaum India Malaysia selama ini, jangankan kelayanan terhadap kaum tersebut di Malaysia.

Berkenaan hujah saya bahawa lebih 70% orang Melayu Singapura berperkerjaaan di dalam sektor awam, saya mengaku bahawa angka itu tidak dapat disahkan dan boleh jadi tidak tepat tetapi dari keterangan anekdotal (anecdotal evidence) memang ketara bahawa sebilangan besar Melayu Singapura diserapkan kedalam sector awam dan ini dapat diperhatikan bila sesiapapun mengunjungi mana2 jabatan pemerintah, badan2 berkanun dan sebagainya. Saya begitu yakin bahawa pemerintah Singapura (secara langsung atau tidak langsung) adalah majikan terbesar untuk Melayu Singapura.

Saya bersetuju dengan sdri bahawa Melayu Singapura disangsi oleh pemerintah oleh kerana itu jawatan2 dalam sektor awam adalah rendah, namun begitu ia merupakan suatu saluran perkerjaan yg amat penting untuk kaum tersebut.

Dalam pada itu, walaupun bukan senang untuk membuktikan pandangan saya bahawa ini merupakan suatu subsidi (dan ini tidak akan sekali2pun diakui oleh pemerintah secara terbuka), memang ada suatu perasaan yg kadang kala dibisikkan oleh pemimpin Melayu PAP bila mereka mengadakan perundingan pintu tertutup dengan pemimpin2 masyarakat Melayu Singapura.

Walaupun saya tidak menafikan bahawa ada beberapa sebab mengapa Melayu Singapura mengundi PAP, saya percaya satu dari sebab2 pilihan ini dibuat pilihan raya demi pilihan raya ialah kerana pemerintah Singapura ialah majikan utama kaum itu.

Berkenaan komen saya tentang segelintir jutawan2 Melayu Singapura saya hanya hendak menunjukkan bahawa di Singapura ada orang2 Melayu yg telah berjaya dalam sistem bermeritokratik dan contoh kereta2 mewah hanya suatu lagi kes keterangan anekdotal (anecdotal evidence). Dalam konteks ini bilangan Melayu Singapura yg telah mencapai kejayaan besar berdasarkan kebolehan dan amalan kuat kerja mereka sendiri (tanpa NEP) dalam beberapa bidang2 yg penting pun kian naik.

Dalam konteks ini saya terdapat kenyataan sdri bahawa “This, to a Muslim, is just "harta dunia"” sungguh melucukan hingga saya tak tahu apa nak sebut. Dalam pada itu, kenyataan yg saya “too much of an outsider” pun begitu tidak diperlukan (i.e. gratuitous)!



p.s. Perangkaan yg saya kemukakan tentang peratusan imigran2 ke UK meliputi semua orang yg dilabel “minority ethnik” (yakni, bukan orang putih) tidak kira bila mereka mentiba di negara tersebut (i.e. in termasuk “those born in UK to immigrant parents”)!

Unknown said...

Puan Maz,

The Malay population in S'pore is about 5%-6%. But it is nice to know that the first president of S'pore is a Malay. It is also noble for S'pore to preserve Istana Kg. Glam as the heritage of the S'pore Sultanage.

In terms of corruption S'pore is almost clean. That's is very Islamic indeed. In terms of quality of leaving S'pore is better than UK. Although you may be living in the HDB flats, the management is superb and efficient which translated into a hygienic, healthy and disciplined living environment. Again, this is very Islamic indeed.

S'pore is a developed country compared to Malaysia who aspires to achieve a developed country status in year 2020 (except for Melaka which was declared a developed state on 10.10.10...ROLF).

There is a lot of good mosques in S'pore where you can hear the calming and soothing voices of azan. Singapore pilgrims during Haj in Mekah are more presentable in many aspects compared to other pilgrims.

It is not that the Malays are stupid to give the island away to the Chinese but the time has not come yet for a Malay(s)to lead the S'pore cabinet.

melayudilondon said...

Kak, I was waiting for your commentary on this with bated breath and it didn't disappoint. Thank you.

The response in SG had been varied - from "let's turn the other cheek and recite doa for hidayah for MM Lee" to a sensational suit against Lee for sedition and promoting disharmony.

For me, I think it is timely that the Malay community in SG take a long hard look at the cards they are dealt with. Too often they think they have it fantastic; often with a smidgen of arrogance against their neighbours.

I too voted with my feet - twice. on the second time because I could not swallow the injustice that the Malays in SG had to face.

eddy said...

Simply awesome post kak.

I note the part about LKY's HDB policy, its like "ethnic minimizing" just a watered down version of "ethnic cleansing".

Anonymous said...

Lky did what he had to do!He knew the malays pretty well and you all needed that push or else Singapore will have poor malays like those hawaians playing their guitar in Marina Sands for a living!
He was'nt wrong is'nt he? Please accept the truth and why he was asking it.Its hard work and survival for Singapore so the malays have to flow along ...Get it mama!!!
Thank God the malays are so different from the rest in Malaysia.Can the malays of bolehland survive without hand outs?It has
become a way of life now !period .
Stop saying the malays in Singapore are traitors....The malays have given the religion of Islam a bad rep .....and not LKY or others.

Anonymous said...

Hope LKY read this interesting writeup.TQ for the writing.Hope there are more nasty things about LKY.LKY is only good at reading poems.


Anonymous said...

One of ur masterpiece indeed.
Btw...there are a lot of luxury cars at the mosques because most of the drivers in s'pore are malays, who drives for the rish ang moh and chinese towkays.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you saudara/saudari L_J,

I wish I could find a precise English translation for "Menegakkan Benang Yang Basah".

I feel that any more panderings to your opinions would be mere nit-picking - a waste of your time and mine.

As you feel so strongly about your views, pass on the details of your blog so that we can learn where you come from - by that I mean what inspires you.

And do try to rise above anecdotes.

anak si-hamid said...

Danial Haziq, thank you.

Didn't your lecturers tick you off for not getting your facts right? 13-14 % of Singaporeans are Malays.

I think I have to put on my teacher's hat here.

1. 'As for quality of leaving Singapore is better than UK.' Do you mean standard of living?

2. 'A lot of good mosques'. What is a "bad" mosque? Are you thinking of one with luxury cars in the parking lot?

3. 'Singapore pilgrims during Haj in Mekah are more presentable in many aspects compared to other pilgrims' This is new to me. I didn't know that there's a 'beauty' contest, a kind of competition going on when you go on the pilgrimage. How very Singaporean!!

4. The Malays certainly 'did not give the island away to the Chinese'

Honestly! Go back and do your homework.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you eddy,

You might find this interesting.

King Louis XIV (1638-1715) said

L'Etat, c'est moi.
"I am the State"

A guide to Kings and Emperors and Dynasties.

anak si-hamid said...

Anonymous Feb 8 2001, 2:19 am.

Thank you.

"It's hard work and survival for Singapore so the malays have to flow along. Get it mama."

Tu Kia, I can't fathom your gibberish.

Can't believe you're a product of Singapore's superb education system.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you wawa,

I fought such battles in Singapore when I was a teacher.

Firstly to stand up for my Malay kids in Yusof Ishak Secondary School.

Secondly,at Jurong Secondary School - 'protecting' my English stream kids from the bullies in the Chinese stream.

It's 30 years since and the power play is still the same. And prejudiceand bigotry will not end with LKY.

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Anonymous 6.48 am, thank you,

That's a very perceptive point about the luxury cars at the Mosque's car parks.

How sweet of these white and yellow tuans to let their drebar use their designer cars.

Anonymous said...

Not all Chinese think and behave like lky, esp. younger Chinese.
We see his great faults too and many do not admire what he is doing to Singapore. To lky anyone of any creed or colour is his enemy if he/she don't believe or agree with his actions and thoughts. He is really getting more and more irrelevant to our society - all of us- whatever our creed or colour. I regard all Singaporeans as equal fellows with every right to their own way of life as long as it is carried out in a peaceful, friendly and respectful ways. These are the rights of all men. All men are brothers.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your article. as a singaporean chinese, i feel that LKY's comments are ridiculous and harks back to his insecurities about singapore being a red dot in a sea of green - i guess thats why male citizens have to serve ns even though there is no imminent threat.

i also think its ironic for him as well as everyone to talk about integration from such a racist point of view. its just like trying to ensure peace by giving everyone guns.

anak si-hamid said...

Dear Anonymous Feb 8 5.51 pm and Anonymous 7.16 pm,

Thank you for giving this old lady a chance to re-live the life she had growing up in Singapore with her Chinese and Indian friends and neighbours.

We were friends and asked no questions about who we were. We popped into each other's houses, showing respect to our respective parents with nods and smiles and words like 'auntie' and 'makcik'. I would climb up rickety stairs to Yop Pooi's little room above her father's tailor shop and Loo Lee would spend weekends at our house lolling in my bedroom and waiting for my mum to feed us mee goreng and epok-epok.

One afternoon, when I was in Form 1 CGS, after my weekly injection at the Health Institute (Outram Road), I popped in to visit Lim Ah Moi who was living at the Tiong Bharu flats.
She knew I hadn't had any lunch. So she said, "Maznoor, I cook you an egg okay? No pork, you know. So don't worry."

Fast forward to 1982 at the Boon Lay Flats. My youngest brother had just passed away. I had just got out of the lift to go to my car. Chong Min Fah, one of my students from Jurong Secondary School came to me and said, "Miss Hamid, please don't be sad." I went to him, patted his shoulders and told him, "I'll try , Min Fah" and quickly walked away because I did not want him to see my tears. They were tears because of his sweet concern.

I loved teaching in Singapore, I adored all those kids of mine, of all shades of colour and beliefs.

I have never taught in any of the pukka schools where teaching is relatively easy. It was a form of punishment for me being what they regard as a bolshie Malay. But that was the best thing that they ever did for me. For these kids from the 'working class' were just like the ones I grew up with in Pasir Panjang untainted by racist pride and arrogance.

But politics and ambitious men lusting for power destroyed that world. In 1978 I left Singapore for good, no regrets but it left a hole in my heart.

I'm sharing these memories with the two of you because you remind me of those times.

God bless you.
Once again, Kam Sia. ( My Hokkien was not too bad in those days)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5.51 : Anonymous 7.16 : AsH 5.55

This is the spirit that I grew in in my childhood. Race and religion were never in our minds. We just respect and no walls existed AT WALL between us.

What happened along the way ?

Guess AsH has given the answer. Bloody ambitious politicians who'll stopped at nothing , who'll used every dirty tricks to get what they want !!!!

May they bloody rot in hell when they die....soon hopefully...and may we regain what we lost ....though I quite doubt it....


Anonymous said...

anon 'February 8, 2011 5:51 PM '

When I lived at Paya Lebar we have Malay neighbors on both sides. our houses were just beside the original PL Rd.

We always looked forward and relished the 'goodies' from the Malay neighbors - one was very good with the traditional Malay and hot dishes while the was very good with cakes and kueh. We reciprocated with our Chinese lunar non-pork new year tidbits. We often dropped into each others' kitchen - the doors are seldom close - for extra ice!

I and my brother got lost once in Kampong Wak Tanjong on the way home from school in the evening, having wandered into it as we were new to the area. When a Malay young man noticed our predicament as we were closed to exasperation finding our way home, he led us all the way home on the main road!

It is true that the HDB while solving the housing problem resulted in the lateral damage of dismantling our 'kampong' spirit. I was brought up in my younger days in a multi-racial kampong in Joo Chiat - Chinese, Malay, Baba, Indians and Eurasian all living together, including gangsters aka 'yankees' from all the races! It helped us to understand each others' ways and mores. Those were the days indeed!

Unknown said...

Dear Puan Maz,

1. Please refer to the Mercer 2010 Quality of Living Survey (Not Standard of Living Survey). It shows Singapore quality of living is better than UK.

2. Okay, I made a mistake on the Malay population numbers in Singapore because in haste and with HINDRAF in mind,I have quoted the Indians population in Singapore instead.

3. Synonyms to presentable is respectable, personable, acceptable, neat and tidy. There are pilgrims who are scruffy and ill mannered when they are in Mekah as the guests of God.

4. You can take away the word good before the mosques. It is just an expression. There are some mosques that are well built but not well kept and unfit for prayers.

5.From the record Malaysia (predominantly Malays) gave away Singapore (predominantly Chinese).

Have a good day.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you manamanu,

What do you do to the system that robbed us - Chinese, Indians, Malays, Eurasians, Sikhs - of our camaraderie?

Paul said...

I am always amazed that the Malays who controlled the trade in Southeast Asia for much of the 15th and 16th centuries are described as indolent, non-entrepreneurial etc....

It has just been three hundred years of slumber - a bit like China during the Qing dynasty

anak si-hamid said...

anon Feb 8, 5.51pm,

Thank you for your reminiscence of our Camelot. (I'm a hopeless romantic.)

Those of us who still remember won't be around for long.

It's so depressing, to have to endure the robots from LKY's manufactured Singaporeans.

I went back to do Relief Teaching back in 1989 when I had time on my hands.

It only confirmed to me that I made the right move. I "got out of the kitchen not because I can't stand the heat". The smoke and the smell was too overpowering.

Still, I treasure the memories of those old days.

anak si-hamid said...

Aah Paul,

Don't forget. In South East Asia, along came the merchants, the missionaries, the soldiers and carpet-baggers from Spain, Portugal, Holland, Britain and much later the Americans with their zealous guns and rapacious entrepreneurship.

Even Imperial China was left reeling from these 'invasions' by the 'red-eyed devils' during the 18th/19th century.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

your article has made it to the kopi shops in singapore but there are more who are worried about commenting in your blog, in case their ip address is being traced back!
well, that's the quality of living in singapore :(

Wan Sharif said...

Look like you have a full house of good comments here.. ;)
Wishing that both of you good health and His blessing always..

Anonymous said...

It is very difficult for LKY and his culture to appreciate or recognise the waves and ways of the Malays. His tactic is to enclose them into little pockets of natives surrounded by 75% Chinese. You can see where his paranoia comes from because he has done to the Malays just what he fears they might one day do to him. So the Malays are given their 'bread and circus ' in their cosy, modern high-rise abodes to keep them sedated and quiet - but more circus, perhaps, than bread!

Anonymous said...

let me congratulate LJ for pointing out the facts rightly...

To pick anak hamid para below: "It is very difficult for LKY and his culture to appreciate or recognise the waves and ways of the Malays. His tactic is to enclose them into little pockets of natives surrounded by 75% Chinese. You can see where his paranoia comes from because he has done to the Malays just what he fears they might one day do to him. So the Malays are given their 'bread and circus ' in their cosy, modern high-rise abodes to keep them sedated and quiet - but more circus, perhaps, than bread!"

doesn't this situation reflect exectly what is happening to the Indians in Malaysia?
When it happens to the malays in another country is it atrocity but when the malays do it to Indians in is justice?

Chinese dominated Singapore cannot give more to the Chinese but Malay dominated Malaysia must give everything including discounts for buying the Chinese in Singapore enjoy discounts for buying houses..?

LJ - you must be a malaysian indian - let me tell you this...i am proud of you. Your malay is excellent. You have put anak hamid to shame so much so she cannot even reply you in her own mother tongue...and to say the least Malay is not even your mother tongue..(if you are not Malay that is)

Anonymous said...

anah hamid,

"It was my best friend, a Chinese girl who said to me "Maz, as a Malay, you have no future in Singapore. If I were born in Malaysia, I would leave Singapore today." That was in 1975."

does this apply to the Indians and Chinese in this Bolehland?
Is it why hundreds of thousands of non-malays have already migrated from this Bolehland?

"do unto others what others do unto you"


anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Wan Sharif,

Hope you and the family are fine. We're in good shape and enjoying the cool.

What's the weather like back home?

anak si-hamid said...

Anon Feb 9, 12.52, thank you.

You're very brave or very foolish to turn up in my comment page, knowing what you know.

But what's new!

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Feb 9, 4.08pm and 4.13 pm.

As there's only 5 minutes difference between the two, I'll treat it as one.

You must know something I don't - to be able to tell that L_J is a Malaysian Indian. On your assumption I shall say this.

Indeed I take off my hat to him/her to be able to read and write in Malay and most likely in English and his/her mother-tongue Tamil as well.

If he/she is Malaysian as well, isn't it wonderful that my 'tanah air' provides such a generous educational allocation, to enable them (and the Chinese) to be trilingual, even though Indians make up just about 7% of the population. 14-15% of Singaporeans are Malays and all they have is Istana Kampung Glam and theme-park style Malay Village to shout about!! And some of the youngsters can't even speak proper Malay. Sit in the MRT and you will hear Malays speaking 'Singlish' instead.
"Why you cannot sit quiet ha?"

However I cannot say I'm ashamed I cannot write in Malay. As an ethnic Malay I speak well enough to be understood in any Malaysian occasion. It's in my blood, so I am aware of, for instance, when to use 'aku', 'engkau', 'awak', 'tuan', 'puan', 'bahalol', 'goblok' and so on. I write better in English but I am not deracinated.

You see I was not fortunate enough to be provided with proper Malay language education in Singapore. During secondary school, we Malay girls remained in the class while our classmates were having their Mandarin lessons. We stood up to say, "sen sen, chau an."

As for the issue of migration, people move about for many reasons. It could be because of the 'push' or 'pull' factors or both.

For instance, the Chinese migrated to Malaya at the turn of the 20th century because of political insecurity, poverty and land shortage in China. I've often wondered, why Malaya and not India?

I was watching a BBC2 Documentary last night about the 'migration' of Chinese from China to Africa. There was this Chinese chicken farmer in Zambia who told the reporter that it was easier to make a big profit in Africa because it was too competitive in his homeland.

I can empathize with Malaysian Chinese who leave Malaysia for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain, USA. These countries happily take them in because these Malaysians are well-educated and they can afford the financial requirement for entry, from the capital accumulation they made in Malaysia. Is this due to the push or pull factor, or both? Nevertheless, good luck to them. And good luck to the Malays in Singapore who want or have to leave.

As for the Hindu Indians, I do feel sorry for them. They did not migrate to Malaya of their own free will. The British took them away from their villages and towns to make them work as coolies in this very foreign country.

I think the British Monarch and British Government should do the decent thing and compensate them for their sufferings so that they can return to their ancestral villages and towns and escape the 'atrocities' in Malaysia.

After all, the German Government had to pay an enormous compensation to the victims of the Holocaust so as to enable them to start a new life in Israel, or USA.

Everyone's on the move. Pakeha Kiwis are moving to Australia because they cannot cope with colleagues from the migrant community. The Brits who have a similar problem depart for NZ, Australia and USA. White South Africans are found all over the western countries.

In fact the young man working at our local supermarket Spar was saying to me the other day. "I'm British-born Asian. This country is so f....ked-up (economically) I'm going back to India."

In this extended post-comment, bear in mind that I'm only responding to queries and assertions made by my 'visitors'.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Feb 10, 12.50 am,

I hope my reply will generate some light and not more heat.

Anonymous said...

AsH : 4.44am

After reading all the comments, I noticed one glaring point. Very few, if any , that disagrees with your posting, actually substantiate their opinions ( which is just that...opinions)
I am driven to write this after reading your comment above.
The fact that you published all these comments speaks volumes of your sense of fairness and your answers to some of the blind comments which, I feel , you should have just deleted anyway.

I can relate to your being better in English ( which doesn't mean you are hopeless in BM (?) Bahasa Melayu (?)), because I too remember how I had to attend a subject called Moral Studies while my Chinese classmates had their 4-5 hour Chinese lessons weekly when I was a young student in Singapore,in probably the same era as you.


anak si-hamid said...

Thank you kookie,

Moral Studies?? .... instead of Malay????

I'm sure you turned out to be a very nice person after each lesson.

Maybe this should be re-introduced in all schools in Singapore and Malaysia.

Perhaps call it Sensible Studies?

anak si-hamid said...

...and Kookie,

In your time, does it mean that the students doing Mandarin had no Moral Studies?

That's a very interesting subject substitute. Don't teach them their language - 'let them eat Moral Studies' This sounds just like the statement 'Let them eat cake' which was (wrongly) attributed to Marie Antoinette - as an arrogant dismissal of the hungry peasants who had no bread to eat - just before the French Revolution.

Jon Tham said...


Interesting article. And you & jayaid did not have to wait long for Mahathir to attempt to show Lee who is the bigger bigot..

To me both Lee & Mahathir are carbon copies of each other. Both are just two old men putting out occasional pearls of wisdom, but mostly outdated & racist slop.

However, Lee was the more successful one...
- more successful in developing his country
- more successful in creating world-class infrastructure
- more successful in uplifting living standrds of citizens
- more successful in creating a world class economy
- more successful in repressing opposition
- more successful in brainwashing his citizens
- more successful in creating blind obedience

All this mahathir also tried to achieve but was not as successful

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Jon Tham,

You might want to look at my posting of Feb. 11.

Anonymous said...

L_J : 12.11

"Dalam konteks ini saya terdapat kenyataan sdri bahawa “This, to a Muslim, is just "harta dunia"” sungguh melucukan hingga saya tak tahu apa nak sebut. Dalam pada itu, kenyataan yg saya “too much of an outsider” pun begitu tidak diperlukan (i.e. gratuitous)!"

Just shows you're not a Muslim ... thats why you can and never will understand that statement.

Meluckan ? I found allowing cows to litter the streets of Indis with their droppings also 'melucukan'.....but then, I'm not a Hindu...

bleh blahlah

Anonymous said...

I know its been way sometime, but I'm wondering.
2 years and still L_J has not given his blog. Afraid I guess.

Hi...cakap ...parrots pun boleh cakap..But it doesn't mean it understands what its saying.


Anonymous said...

May 2014......and I'm still waiting for L_J to tell us his blog.... Its a coward that 'rejam batu dan sembunyikkan tangan.'



Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a local Chinese son of the little red dot south of the Malaya peninsula. And thank you for your insightful words. I've to admit that a lot of my socialisation is due in part to the social policies of the country: Chinese good; other races not so good. Thankfully when I entered the work space, I was able to cast aside my prejudices and make friends with Malay and Indian folks. My life has been greatly enriched through those interactions and friendships.