Not too long ago I had to sort out a case of 'pilfering' of my personal photograph/images from my blog AnaksiHamid.
.This cover of the spouse's book "Fatimah's Kampung" ......
....... had been corrupted into this .... by a Homestay business in Malim Nawar.
Aaaah, this is quite a demonstration of business acumen for we 'lazy, indolent and unenterprising' Malays! But in this beloved land of ours, worse has been done in the name of 'entrepreneurship' and audacious money-making. In Malayan history, there have been many such people - petty-minded Malay wannabe businessmen too busy with their own little egos to challenge the incomers and make the Peninsula a world of their own and a world to be proud of. It's truly a shame.
I was quite fortunate to discover that deceitful little gem during my wanderings on the Internet five years ago. I am certain there are many more cases of pilfering and intrusions into my Blog and countless other sites. After all, this is 21st century Malaysia/Singapore. Integrity and probity lie very low on the ground, especially when aided by sophisticated technology and its highly qualified practitioners.
Many of my readers (both past and present), it seems, like my earlier postings about the stories of AsH growing up in the kampung (I spell it 'kampung' and not the Colonial affectation of 'kampong') in Singapore, like Kampung Chantek and Kampung Abu Kassim. I have included in these postings some of the vast collection of my beloved Abah's black and white photographs which recorded lovingly his and his family's happy life. In appreciation of his (and my mother's) life and love, I decided to narrate in this blog the memoir of a Malay family in mid 20th century Singapore. I was also impelled by the desire of my father's grandchildren to learn more about their grandparents and parents as well. I guess I was quite blissfully unaware of the growing trend and pecuniary interests of the Nostalgia Industry - especially in the city-state of Singapore, which has demolished the vast bulk of its heritage in the name of progress and economic development. A land with virtually no tangible signs left of its non-colonial history can only resort and cling to the vestiges to be found in old books, documents and - especially - photographs.
For instance, while the spouse and I were wandering around Leicestershire in the late 1980s we discovered in a little stamp shop this unbelievable Postcard of old Singapore, dated 25 May 1912.
|Malay Shop Singapore - The name 'Albert' inserted on the card must have been written by either Albert in Darjeeling or his Grand Pa in Calcutta. There must be a sweet story behind this communication between a young boy and his grandfather.
It was priced at £2.75 which was equivalent to about 2 return bus trips from our house to Leicester City Centre!
We went to Singapore just a few years later, and in an upmarket Bookshop selling antiquarian books and nostalgia at Tanglin Shopping Centre, a postcard of almost similar age and condition as ours was priced at SGD$50 (late 1980s) !
I guess I'm beginning to sound like the typical Singaporean, obsessed with the query of "How much?".
I'm afraid the spouse and I are also obsessed - with our affection for old things that remind us of our growing up years. That includes books, postcards, comics, annuals, embroidery, vinyls, typewriters, gramophones and more books and postcards. We often joke about how we have to part with them one day, to pay for a hip operation or a brain transplant!
They are a precious collection just like those much loved black and white photographs that my Abah left behind. He did not leave us a legacy of land, property, business holdings, stocks and shares and antique cars. Just those photographs, happy memories, and a good education. These are not the sort of things we would sell for a hip operation. These are my most personal nostalgia, my most personal heritage, my history and identity. They are not for sale. They are not to be abused by people for their own pecuniary and self-serving designs.
So where is all this leading? Well, a few days ago,my brother Mus passed on this link to me from YouTube titled Part 2 Lost Kampongs in Singapore.
I - Click on this video and at 0.01 you will find this picture at Figure 1
|Figure 1 - This photo by my father had been coloured and defaced and abused.
Now go to .......
|Figure 2 - My Abah's original photograph (1)
|Figure 3 - My Abah's original photograph (2)
|Figure 4 - My Abah's original photograph (3)
|Figure 5 - My map of Kampung Abu Kassim
II. Click on the above video at 2.27 and you will find this picture at Figure 6.
|Figure 6 - This photograph belonging to my father had also been desecrated like Figure 1, but in a very despicable way.
Firstly: Sarafian Salleh, the provider of the said YouTube video, a Singaporean Malay and an Australian University graduate in Mechanical Engineering who I had previously never heard of, has appropriated this photograph as his - by inserting his name in the image (see the yellow rectangle). But this image has been and always will be a photograph taken by my father - a Minang man by the name of Abdul Hamid bin Jala. It was not taken by, and has never been in the possession of, Sarafian Salleh.... or his father Incik Salleh......or anybody else on this planet.
So this photograph was never in the keeping of Sarafian Salleh and his family. It is a photograph treasured and lovingly looked after by Maznoor binti Abdul Hamid (AsH) and her mother Kamisah binti Suboh since 1949 when AsH was just five years old.
Who,by the way, is Sarafian Salleh?
Now let's check Abdul Hamid's original photographs.
|Figure 7 - The Selamat Hari Raya Banner and the Two Stars were drawn and made by Abdul Hamid, by my Abah's loving and hard work.
|Figure 8 - The clothes on the washing line (to the right) certainly belong to Kamisah's family and nobody else in Singapore or in any other part of the Nusantara.
|Figure 9 - Enough said!
When I clicked on that "Part 2 Lost Kampong" video by Sarafian Salleh, I could not believe my eyes. The brazen plagiarism and appropriation of my family photographs are quite appalling. As I watched it right to the end, I noticed that credit was given to various names, sources and organisations for the use of their images.
But there was no mention or reference to Anaksihamid.blogspot.com .
My response ranged from anger to disgust to contempt.
How very Singaporean I thought. How very Singaporean-Malay, I shuddered,
In Malaysia I had to deal with a Homestay kampung-entrepreneur who purloined lock, stock and barrel the spouse's book cover of Fatimah's Kampung'.
However this video by Sarafian Salleh takes the cake for another reason. It reveals a kind of 'electronic' chicanery which one would expect had long been wiped out in an efficient, hardworking, enterprising, smart and clean Singapore.
Sikap gaya alah sayang pendekar putri.
Bertepok tangan amboi tangan, tanda berani.
Tiada gentar alah sayang, hai membela diri,
I hate to have to post such a posting - yet again. Seperti meludah ke langit. (It's like spitting at the sky).
Konon- nya orang Melayu adalah serumpun.