Friday, 21 June 2013


To take refuge from the oppressive heat the two of us tend to spend most of our time - in the afternoon after lunch and in the evening after dinner - in the cool of the largest room in the house, the bedroom-cum- spouse's mini study.

Health-wise, it has not been a good time for AsH - but as the spouse often reminds me, we are into our seventh decade and we have to go with the flow of decrepit old age.

No matter what, the grey matter ( the head, not the hair) needs reinforcing and is still capable of rejuvenation.

In the artificial coolness of the afternoon and evening I keep company with Zaini Hassan's CUIT *  Dilema Melayu Moden  Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd,  2013,  - a gift from the author himself, just a few weeks ago.

I find much to ponder and to digest in this book of 676 pages.  Zaini has brought the politics in Malaysia of the past 4-5 years up close - something I really need to learn especially after  GE 13.

I must admit this is my first attempt at reading what is a sober and thoughtful book about Malays - in Malay! Zaini's style is lucid, his analysis is critically sharp yet tinged with empathy and also regret at the recklessness of his - my - bangsa.  He echoes my feelings about the Malays shooting themselves in the foot because of their disunity.  Zaini sees six parts to the split : the Melayu Liberal, Melayu Ulama, Melayu PKR, Melayu DAP, Melayu Atas Pagar and Melayu UMNO.

I especially agree with him about Melayu UMNO.

Golongan pejuang UMNO dulu adalah aktivis yang jati diri mereka cukup hebat.  Mereka tidak mewah, mereka tidak gelojoh, mereka tidak tamak, seperti generasi UMNO sekarang.
From Melayu Bukan UMNO Lagi, Melayu Sudah Minoriti.... 24 September 2008, 23 Ramadan 1429,  pg,13.

As he succintly puts it, the Malay majority have turned themselves into a minority.

In many ways the author's views about Bangsa  and  Negara coincide with mine and I think I could spend much time talking to this Abah of Four about our hopes and fears for the Malays - with one difference.

He is young enough to make a difference!!

This passage from page 605 is especially poignant and touches a nerve in my psyche.

Hujung minggu berada di Tunjang, kampungku sungguh mengasyikkan dan menginsafkan  .......

Kehidupan orang kampung berjalan seperti biasa.  Jarang-jarang yang bercakap soal politik perkauman.  Tiada yang bercakap yang bukan-bukan.  ........ 

Kita kaji kehidupan orang kampung kita yang amat dicintai.  Kehidupan orang yang masih lagi menjadi majoriti Negara ini.  Orang Melayu kampung yang masih kais pagi makan pagi dan masih mengharapkan belas ihsan bumi tercinta untuk mengeluarkan hasil terbaik.  Hidup mereka bukan macam rakan kita di bandar dan pekan yang kemewahannya melimpah ruah.
From Orang Kampung: Inilah Langit Yang Kita Junjung,  01 September 2010, 21 Ramadan 1431.

And Zaini Hassan reminded me of that most gentle soul - Usman Awang- who I had the privilege of meeting in 1986.  This is an extract from Usman Awang's poem Melayu.

Malanynya Melayu itu kuat bersorak
Terlau ghairah pesta temasya
Sedangkan kampung telah tergadai
Sawah sejalur tinggal sejengkal
Tanah sebidang mudah terjual
Meski telah memiliki telaga
Tangan masih memegang tali
Sedang orang mencapai timba
Berbuahlah pisang tiga kali.

Melayu itu masih bermimpi 
Walaupun sudah mengenal universiti
Masih berdagang di rumah sendiri

From Bacalah, Hayatilah Demi UMNO-PAS, 10 Jun 2009, 16 Jamadilakhir 1430, Pages 374-375.

It's such a shame that the future of the Malays often needs to be couched in terms of a dilemma. A dilemma refers to "a solution that is difficult to decide, where all the choices are equally good or equally bad".  But what is certainly true is that the easiest choices, the short term ones ( the ones so many take) are almost certainly the worst ones ............. in the long term.   Tutup lobang, korek lobang!

The thinking, concerned Malays know where the solution lies but they lack what the Chinese have, the unity and commitment of  tong pao  (of the same womb).  Ugama, which is meant to bind has become the seeds of dissent.

As for Melayu Moden, I think there's no such Malay.  They are still serfs - economically and certainly culturally.  Instead of the nobility and royalty, they now tug their forelock to the icons of their Westernised and Arabised overlords and they have forgotten or are too embarrassed and too arrogant to be Orang Melayu.

Finally Zaini, thank you for your book - for keeping me company and sustaining me during such weary days.

Sekarang, orang Melayu sudah tidak buta huruf tetapi masih buta akal.

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