Feeds:
Posts
Comments

White boy, heartbroken Paul Sonne who can’t speak a word of Malay and wants to talk to Malaysians: to him the English literary culture is the world’s finest standard.  You’re sorry? Go get a hanky, boy.

Above is Paul Sonne’s supposed apology, which he would – naturally – preface with a caveat about his actual intent: he didn’t mean to generalize about the English standard of Malaysians. That is, of course, as idiotic as it gets. Why should Malaysians be upset over their bad English; it can’t be worse off than Sonne’s Malay. And if that wasn’t it, what was Sonne’s point then in being sorry? If setting language standard wasn’t his intent, what was it?

Paul Sonne probably can’t tell apart motive from intent, nor reason from intent. Heartbroken? Nay, he just took a spit, a racist spit, and that flew back into his own face; now he wants us to wipe it for him. So that to apologize, he first lies about his intent. No, no, go yourself to get a hanky, boy.

Recall that in the earlier note, after spitting at the standard of Malaysia’s English, he said, ‘Wonder what they signed.’ Also recall that for two days he tried defending his racism by excusing himself, saying he spoke in person with the Malaysian delegation so he knew their English wasn’t up to his mark. Now, suppose the Malaysians got Barack Obama or the US State Department to proof-read the deal documents, would Sonne then had said the same about the delegation?

Sonne is no surprise in American MSM and, by extension, American politics and foreign policies: everybody else, the colored especially, is suppose to take an exam in English and pass Anglo-Saxon literary culture; everybody must kowtow. Fail any of that, they’d spit on you, low class and inferior.

Here is the other point Sonne doesn’t get: since he wasn’t generalizing, which was manifest, why did he pillory a puny, faraway country like Malaysia and not, say, Ukrainians or Russians or even Dutch? Brown skins, without either intellectual power or language ability or both, should never be depended upon to deal with white people? Malaysians are never suave and smooth enough for international deal-making?

As unadulterated a racist as they get in the Wall Street Journal, they prefer to call places like Malaysia Third World when they mean Third Rate; that is, brown skin, yellow skin, dump, lowly, inferior, and in places like WSJ they’d get them in young for that sort of mind wash. There, such places are full of them, the Sonnies, bigots with double-hearted bigotry, camouflaged in ‘independent’ journalism, while pretending – now lying – to be sorry.

Sorry? Unacceptable. So fuck off, Sonne boy.

Everywhere, there’s this ‘scary’ Yuki thing: that ‘rotten’ piece of Ng Wei Aik’s wife, like the ‘useless, son of a bitch’ John Berthelsen, cannibalizing (below) the death of MH17.

***

Malaysia, your time has come: show the world how you do things…

‘in the service of a better outcome’

America would have waited – indeed love – for it to happen: Death. Especially since the death of MH17 had claimed Malaysia, so chummy with that evil nation called China, for it was a death spewed onto another soil, not American (thank God), ‘strife-torn, rebel’ held and so near Russia.

Never mind if there were no Americans on board – dual citizenship have no standing – because the legality and the religious morality of the American finger pointing, without the nationalism, bite just as well.

Since Death had visited in the hundreds, it was all for the better, to America that is. Even if there were (just?) 298 dead it didn’t matter because everything had happened in one swift strike. The New York Times and the others could then write, very confidently, ‘almost 300′ for that is a whole lot more journalistic punch than delivering ‘more than 200′.

Yuki Tan, you see, isn’t the only rotting and rotten piece of wife. That she is from DAP Malaysia is hardly a surprise; her assemblyman husband Ng Wei Aik, her employer Lim Guan Eng, her party colleagues and friends, Hannah Yeoh, Teresa Kok (all these Christian women!) are themselves notorious for their uselessness and scariness.

So it isn’t that Yuki’s words are ‘distasteful’ or ‘insensitive’ or ‘unpatriotic’ (according to Gerakan’s J Puspanathan). The meanings in her Chinese-to-English translated words – rotten, useless, scary – simply didn’t make sense in MH17′s destruction, like her Bible which had been used to teach her, like the existence of her ‘Allah’, or like that of Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman of PAS Youth (a vengeful Allah – and not humans alone – had caused the destruction of MH17); pity God, blamed for everything under the sun, including mass murder.

None of them – yes, none at all – make any sense.

It is with this capacity to take apart anything and everything, including God, that logic is a powerful tool of analytical knowledge, explaining why persons like Yuki and Tarmizi are so easily refuted.

But it is humans, not god nor faith, that had deployed the philosophy of logic, that is the logical system, then developed by the Christian West – developed because it was initially used to buttress the existence of a Jesus god since declared dead by Nietzsche and Hegel before him. This logicism was used, in its turn, against those who had started it all. And the results were devastating, so devastating that god and religious morality came to become empty phrases, a human construct, and associated with it the morality words like rotten, scary, useless, tragedy, catastrophe. Neither God nor its morality could in any way be a part of this logical system, nor did it nor could it belong to the natural, objective world that dovetails so well into it.

All this tells why the Christian West, inheritors of the logical system, and their local imitators in the like of Yuki or Hannah or Petra Kamarudin or Tarmizi are so easily found out. They are read and so filled with so much un-reason. So manifestly false and so ridiculously absurd are they, you can tell them right away.

Take this Time magazine headline, ‘China’s Response to the MH17 Tragedy? Condemn the West‘ which was rehashed by Petra in his Malaysia Today. Take apart that line and note the words, ‘tragedy’ and ‘condemn’ in particular. The deliberate destruction of an airline has become a ‘tragedy’? So what is it to condemn a tragedy? And since when is a tragedy deserving of condemnation?

Instead, replace the verbs and the noun words then try this as an alternative Time magazine title: ‘America’s Answer to the MH17 Killings? Blame Russia‘. Make sense now?

Of course, the Time magazine’s circumlocutory sleight of hand has far more sophistication than Yuki Tan Poh See’s one-liner banality. Yet both draws from the same Death: deploying a mass murder to give an  appearance of their own, personal morality.

One question, therefore, but the same one phrased differently: what does it say of the Time magazine twisting, with which it had made a case against China and Russia, a two-in-one swipe? What does it say of Yuki’s one-liner speech that, in ‘almost 300′ dead parts strewn over God’s sunflower and wheat farms, she now has a case against the government of Malaysia, and by extension Barisan Nasional and Umno?

Justice is not a flying Yuki-Yankee thing: Malaysia will demand for it then deal with it in its own way.

***

Stupidity – no, no, actually mendacity and malice – is not just a Yuki thing. Yes, Puspanathan is right to have asked to nail her; it should not be for the reasons such as patriotism but for lying and for her malevolence.

That white Australians and banana Singaporeans (KTemoc) routinely and invariably lie (saying, for example, MH17 deliberately took a dangerous route), they would further attempt to misrepresent their malevolence when found out (other airlines, including Lufthansa, use the same route, considered safe at over 28,000 ft, routinely approved for flying above 32,000 ft, and MH17 flew at 33,000 ft). Against these evidences, the intention in their mendacity couldn’t be attributed just to an insensitivity or to thoughtlessness, as Puspanathan might wish to suggest. It has to be something else. What?

Here is Australian prime minister Tony Abbott: “This is no light thing; this is not something that can just be dismissed as a tragic accident when you have Russian proxies using Russian-supplied equipment to do terrible things.

Those remarks refute the Time magazine assertion that MH17 was a tragedy, whereas Abbott is saying there is nothing tragic in the tragedy. The word Russian is, on the other hand, mentioned twice in a single breathe: they do ‘terrible things’. Even as the west – and this includes Australia – and China and Malaysia had called for a complete investigation into the murder, and the investigation hadn’t even started, Australia is already regurgitating the American condemnation of Russia.

It is like this, you see: the US supplies the weapon of morality, Australia fires it; those Ruskies, they do ‘terrible things’. Sound like the DAP when Lim Guan Eng or Hannah Yeoh speaks?

Those contradictions in the logicism – biting off the mouth that feeds on it – is repeated by the Asia Sentinel and its editor John Berthelsen, neither of who could nor would they wait to pronounce their moral indignation. This is possible to them because they have what is known in journalese jargon as ‘analysis’ and an ‘op-ed’ entitling them to lie about anything they wish.

Here is the Asia Sentinel, nailing Najib for being gutless: “The failure of Najib to criticize Russia demands explanation.” It’s the Russia word again, Russians do ‘terrible things’. To Asia Sentinel, being full of guts is to criticize, Russia especially, never mind about what.

Then the Asia Sentinel extols the virtues of Barack Obama liberalism in another, but underlying form: “Thus the fact that President Obama has condemned the Russians and the US produced strong evidence of the missile attack becomes a reason to disbelieve this story.

‘The fact’? And what’s the fact? Russians fired the missile? Because Obama said so, therefore Najib Razak is obliged to believe him?

Asia Sentinel‘s reflection of American nationalism and imperial arrogance goes further, and here it is, again, in yet another twist to the disaster then turning it into a signature sign of local politics: “(Najib) lacks the guts to speak up, to lead Malaysia into the real world, not the make-believe world inhabited by many Malays long protected from reality by racial preferences.

Like Obama, Asia Sentinel would never give a thought to the MH17 victims so that to ‘speak up’ is to berate Russia and their Ukrainian friends; it isn’t American bodies that are at stake after all, why then would they give two hoots whether the bodies are returned and the black boxes recovered. Already, MH17 represents a moral, military victory for the west without they firing a shot and without any dead American. Whereas, and this is in contrast to the west, Najib, coming from a different world, so different from American bellicosity and aggressiveness, would say things like: “Sometimes we have to work quietly in the service of a better outcome.

If Asia Sentinel‘s utter indifference to death and to its disrespect of those alive wasn’t bad enough, it went further, talking about the ‘real world’. So macho is American journalese and power, it is as if only they know what is it to be ‘real’. And, with that, the Sentinel‘s editors manage to wriggle the destruction of MH17 into a domestic political and racial issue. It is to infer that Najib is unreal, suffering perhaps from make-belief delusions; in a word, Najib is mad.

What then is it to be real about this world? A world ruled by Americans with John Berthelsen as propaganda head honcho in a re-balancing of Asia?

If it isn’t just the incredulity in Asia Sentinel’s assertions, what then is it that they – people with names like Yuki or Hannah or Steven or John or Berthelsen – despise about us, Chinese or Melayu or Russians even? (Recall that neither Hannah Yeoh nor Yuki nor Ng Wei Aik consider themselves Chinese.) That because the Yukis and the Berthelsens belong to a higher order specimen, upright and moral, whereas we are a really, low class people (Hannah’s words)?

In yet another one-word description, John Berthelsen is as racist as is Yuki Tan.

They – Yuki, American journalists, Malaysiakini editors, white Australian professors and politicians – would have loved to mutilate MH17 with which they then have a subterfuge in their cause, a morality point of view (they call it an ‘analysis’) that could rally others towards their mendacity. It is that they just don’t like us.

John Berthelsen, above: Najib is gutless for not cutting off his tongue. Paul Sonne, below, who speaks not a word of Malay: Wonder how he spoke to Mohamed Sakfri; wonder what he wrote about the MH17 deal in the Wall Street Journal.unnamed

Malaysians are inferior because the delegation of Kol Mohamed Sakfri who dealt with Ukrainian rebels don’t speak English as well as Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Sonne. Sonne then said this: “Wonder what they signed.” And that was to cast doubts on both the authenticity of the Najib-MH17 agreement and the integrity of its contents. In Sonnie’s racism, the Russian language counts for nothing, and Malays count for even less: all that matters to Sonne is that English and Anglo-Americans are the world’s only standard for language, culture and integrity.

For the Asia Sentinel editors to choose to misrepresent Najib Razak’s silence as gutless rather than as reticence and circumspection, they would be very American, very cowboy, shoot first, think later. America’s military, routinely (and that word is not an exaggeration), take civilian groups and buildings for the enemy, and these are not even moving targets. They then shoot first: other people’s lives have less worth than the American so its editors respond to American crimes with nothing more than a news blurb. Americans make mistakes; other people commit atrocities. But it has been like this, with them, ever since there is imperial America and ever since it gets into wars, in the former Yugoslavia where a Chinese embassy was completely destroyed from the air, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Latin America especially.

Here’s another contrast in veracity using the language of Alexander Borodai of the Donetsk People’s Republic after it was reported that some among the MH17 dead might have been robbed of their property: “I don’t exclude certain cases of looting. Sons of bitches can be found everywhere.

If ‘sons of bitches’ are everywhere – Borodai probably means anywhere – and in this case we, Malaysia, should begin to apply hudud on the bitch Yuki: chop off any five of her fingers; she gets to choose which ones.

After which we’d pick up those Sons of Bitches named John Berthelsen and Paul Sonne whenever they turn up at Malaysian airport immigration. Berthelsen is right: Malaysia, and Najib in particular, should show some guts, slice off his tongue and return it poste restante to Obama – With Our Compliments. Signed the Peoples of Malaysia.

Xior the Rubia cordifolia, a rhizome which grows to adult human height.

***

The closest transliteration of the name Sheila is 石蜡 or shila which is hanyu pinyin for paraffin wax. Next in line for another phoneme is 西拉 xila, but that misses the shhh sound. Instead, another character-word 茜, also pronounced xi, is typically used in the phoneme transliteration which, since it is not exact science, thankfully, could use the yardsticks of art and beauty to render a Malay name into Chinese (or vice versa).

In China, they call her 茜 Xila for Shila Amzah, KL-born, who has a Sina Weibo account of 2 million followers. (Hannah Yeoh, try beating that! You’d be a big bloated grand mama at 60, if you live that long, looking like a whale beached in PAS Kuala Selangor, and still won’t reach 200,000.)

(In pre-PAS glorious days) Shila’s father Amir Amzah Salleh himself sings and plays the guitar while her mother Fauziah Sarman has taken on some acting stints, all of which is to suggest she comes from a DNA-family of artistes and performers so derided by the PAS ulamas.

Now, the sad part: few or no Malaysian, the Melayu in particular, no artiste or singer, could flourish in Malaysia under its present overbearing religious/political environment (no thanks to Umno and PAS).

Shila has succeeded in China where few Malays would give a thought of entering a market people commonly mistake as an easy one. Despite its human numbers, physical vastness and geographical diversity, China is not easy: there’s the language hurdle and, especially, there is the competition. Shila is up against even younger and far more experienced competitors, not just from the mainland (and they are dime a dozen) but also from Hong Kong and Taiwan and that’s not to count Malaysia and from among the Chinese diaspora.

They couldn’t have picked a better Chinese name 茜 for Shila because 茜 is the short name for the Rubia cordifolia (the Common madder), the roots of which, dried and turned into powder, is used as herbal medicine in blood detoxification. (茜 is itself a composite of the radical stroke 卄 atop the character for vessel 西; blood vessel?) And la means ‘to pull’, as pulling a bowed instrument such as a violin.

Shila to detoxify Malaysia…?

For the moment, Shila is a rave; she’d go from Hunan where things had begun for her in a provincial television to, now, a Shanghai concert where she is scheduled to perform on August 16; price 380yuan to 1280yuan (RM200 to RM1150). Here is a pre-tour promotional, over-written write-up. In informal situations when filmed on Hunan television, she has that demureness of a Melayu and that makes her more endearing to the audiences. Her Chinese fans are nation-wide, Henan to Guangxi.

Those deranged, dying Arabian PAS ulamas and the old, imbecile Zainuddin Maidin, that Malaiyoo doyen of Malaysian journalists (and ex-journalists), have nothing to worry: she is Islam-compliant; her Melayu-ness is intact. One person here, China or Malaysia, a young person who likes nothing more than listening to a good song delivered movingly, has more sense that ten thousand Hadis or Zaidins assembled in some Kelantan pantai or a Sungai Besi Riong Street. Celaka...!

Shila the Bold, above, and below, Shila the Demure.

Of citizenship, state building, liberalism and a new Moral Order

Yes, tolak Pakatan, but does Umno even know what and who is the future Malay?

Once upon a long, long time, the Malay was a Malay and he told stories of hantus and Java and made wayang. Then came the mullah and, now, the ubah.

***

From its beginnings, ethnicity – in another word, race – was central to defining Malaysian citizenship no matter how much the Constitution has attempted to gloss over this reality. Few other countries in the world are like this, not even America, never mind what local reporters write when they copy their BBC/ABC/Asia Sentinel western masters to say that America is a ‘melting pot’. It had begun as white and western, its native population exterminated, Anglo-Saxon culture ruled over daily lives, and English came to supersede all other languages.

With ethnicity, culture matters. And, here (as opposed to America) they are very distinct, half a dozen or more thrown together and then were flushed in with English law and overseen by institutions entirely western. As a result, justice became a morality of vengeance but this is cloaked in the language of fairness whereas in, say, Taiwan, justice is a matter of pay-back, tampered only occasionally with concepts of mercy. In contrast, Singapore, also Chinese, went the opposite direction: Lee Kuan Yew would turn it into another English town, not the pastoral kind but set in a steam of sweat and in a cloud of mosquitoes. Whichever way, the Chinese diaspora had it easy coping with foreign influences.

But not the Malays. This is in part because they were never a distinct group to begin with. For evidence to that, go back to the Constitution which defines Malays (hence, Malaysian citizenship) not on the principle of jus sanguinis, that is, right of blood. Malays had to struggle with importing then coping with two foreign cultures: Arabs through Islam on the one side, English on the other.

Few Malays, if any, could have imagine that the Arab side would triumph over the English today, 50, 60 years after independence. One consequence is this: Zaid Ibrahim (apologies to him) is a Malay very different from Hadi Awang or even Bung Mokhtar Radin. Zaid positions the Malay place in the sun in the English notion of fair-play and temperance, whereas Bung Mokhtar (and Ibrahim Ali) is all about Hail Melayu! Or in Zaid’s place, imagine Tunku Aziz or, better yet, Petra Kamarudin whose only solid claim to Malayness is Islam since his royal ancestry is only one half his lineage, while his preferred custom is western rather than Melayu, and the thinking in his language is 17th century old, suffused in Cartesian subjectivity instead of the Asian concepts of duality.

Little is published or documented about this ‘constitutional Malay’, his life, his past, what it is, or who they actually were prior to the Europeans. And this is partly because the idea of the Malay was, after all, a late, colonial creation and a legal invention. Perhaps it is this absence of a historiography that explains why Malays (Mahathir Mohamad most notorious of all) are at pains to claim Malaysian citizenship as equal to the indigenous inhabitants even though no Chinese or Indian had ever contested that claim: if the house is yours, it is yours.

Thanks now to PAS ascendancy (assisted by the DAP, egging the Chinese) and thanks to Anwar Ibrahim for kissing the feet of some Iranian mullah, the Malay identity, Malaysian citizenship by extension, is no longer hinged on who they once were. It is what they had become: an ummah.

With the arrival of Pakatan’s (disingenuous) ‘race-free’ politics, the last thread in the race-citizenship nexus has at last broken, shifting to religion instead, specifically Islam, and this then is used – solely and entirely – to dictate the terms of being Malay. Hudud, the A-word, the bible seizures (Hallelujah!), death and children abductions, and Abdul Hamid Mohamad – all of which have in combination and in their separate ways appear to question the rights of other Malaysians, hence their citizenship.

But what if those acts and events were intended, surreptitiously enacted then played up, to reassert and to reestablish the Malay identity claim so that even Indonesian Christians (one of who was charged for khalwat) would not be spared. If true, it raises the question: against who, if not the Malays, were those events being trolled out? As a lesson for some political bigwig, like how the Chinese is often thrown into ring for the sacrifice each time some Malay groups staged a Kelantan cock fight?

Spot the Malay

***

In November 2009, Najib Razak visited the South Sulawesi town of Makassar then said, “I feel like I am returning to my roots.” Najib might be reaffirming his roots of a so-called and a fictitious Nusantara but, in such a Sulawesi town, they go by names like Ichsan Limpo, wear clothes called bodo, get titles like Mappadulung Daeng Matti­mung Karaeng — all very foreign to the Malays in the Indonesian island of Riau or Malaysia — and they call themselves people of the Gowa kingdom from which Najib is a royal descendant.

No other prime minister before him has been more forthright about their actual root-identity and that, in its turn, stirs question marks about the Malay claim to equal indigenous status. Mahathir, that piece of kutty, didn’t like it one bit. Ever so ready to spill his mouth about so many things, he makes little or no play about his South Asian (Tamil?) ancestry in order not to diminish his Malay credentials. But, in Najib, it comforts the pendatangs to know that their prime minister is really not much unlike them and that they share a a long, long history of kings, kingdoms, and customs descended from palace grounds. They also don’t share any desert history.

Viewed in the eyes of Malays, Najib’s home journey would have raised eyebrows because its inference would fundamentally affect the meaning of Malay and, after which, the notions of building a multicultural state on the backbone of a dominant Malay ‘race’. Would it signify policies that will make Malays and the Chinese equal one day? Can they? Will it be allowed? Are they even the same in their immigrant identities?

Neither Anwar nor Lim Kit Siang nor Hadi Awang nor Malaysiakini made things any easier for Najib, each taking turns to chew at his credentials to rule and then to spit at his live-and-let-live philosophical approach towards citizenship. Those men simply played democracy’s political game, completely oblivious and naive to the underlying reality that the adversarial ground rules used in the west shouldn’t – and couldn’t – be made applicable in Asia, Malaysia in particular, even if it’s for no reason other than to keep the peace. They were being liberals.

In the visit’s aftermath, then followed by Najib’s national policy (1Malaysia) initiatives to reconcile a fractious country, there has to be, surely, a re-examination of what it’s to be Malaysian. And if the Malay is indeed the existential core, the basis for Malaysia’s (or Malaya’s) creation and for establishing its statehood, and with which everything else is build around it, then any change in the Malay identity would, invariably, mean a shift in defining the terms of Malaysian citizenry. In another phrasing, change the Malay and you’ll change the Chinese in Malaysia and Malaysia changes.

This isn’t for the first time the idea of the Malay, that is, his existential identity, is shifting. It was, after all, never a fixed, inviolable notion from the beginning, unlike the Chinese or Indian. A Chinese is a Chinese no matter how much a man such as Ridhuan Tee may wish otherwise. One look at him and the answer is there. On the other hand, Kadir Jasin, the former journalist now electing himself to give state policy advise was once asked by his blog readers, which came first, the Malay or the Muslim in him, as if the two are distinct.

To satiate the existential angst among them, Kadir couldn’t just turn to the Constitution where the answers – religion, language and custom – when not banal are also not useful since the qualities of Malayness are so narrow and, worse, they aren’t ranked. After a period of silence, he gave the only answer possible, one that could stand up to scrutiny: he is Muslim first and foremost.

This seems like quite a shift in thinking, but that’s only because the question was rarely ever tackled before. For the Muslim Kadir to precede the Malay Kadir he would have to shove custom and language down one rung. But, more important than that, it makes the Malay almost as sacrosanct as his religion. Questioning the the Malay today is as blasphemous as questioning Islam: both are now inviolable. (Pity Zaid Ibrahim: each time he calls, critically, on the Malay he has to first issue an introductory caveat, an apology of sort.)

In this circumstance and in the re-working of Malay-Muslim identity, the biggest threat to Najib Razak’s political career comes not from Anwar nor from the Chinese turning to the DAP and away from MCA. It comes instead from Malays worried that, when the Malay character shifts in the ground beneath their feet, whether or not they still stay at the top of the pecking order. What would the like of Sakmongkol, Dyana Sofya, Haris Ibrahim bring to the future of the Malay identity? If there exist only Malaysians, all equal and so on, and if the Malay identity is so nebulous, so vulnerable to interpretation, how will the Malay end up? Once the political fights – PAS vs Umno, Malaysian Malay vs Malay First, liberal Malay vs ultra Malay – starts to rock the foundations of identity and assault the Malay soul and loyalty, where shall the Malay stand? What is he to do? In the end, when dust settles after the assault, is the Malay soul going to be intact? Is it worth anything? Is there even an indigenous Malay soul? Or, is it, in its nature, actually something else? Or Javanese?

Kampung life was, once upon a time, simpler when no questions are asked. It’s the Faustian dilemma: the more one knows, the closer you are to the devil.

From existential doubts such as these, it explains why organizations like Isma and Perkasa, and persons as different as Kadir Jasin, Abdul Hamid and Abdullah Zaik should talk so much about safeguarding Malay and Islam: the redefined Malay is no longer the kind of Malay Mahathir wrote about in his pseudo-sociological tract The Malay Dilemma. It explains why religious authorities routinely defy the state – since Malays don’t belong to Umno – then the civil government, the judiciary and the police because, at stake, is no more about what makes the Malay and the power and influence he wields over the Chinese and others. Those are a given, handed to them even before Umno’s existence. It is whether there is going to be a future for a Malay as an ethnic group, what that future looks like, and how much its power will deliver, to what purpose and to serve whom if not the Malay.

Kampung life gets complicated as it gets political.

After which, when politics from the city demand from the Malay a decision – whose side you are on, the Chinese or the Melayu, Tunku Abdul Rahman or Mahathir or Harun Idris? – Malays convulse into camps and camp for war. Muhyiddin Yassin warning of another May 13 had intended the message for the like of Najib and his transformation agenda, suggests Zaid Ibrahim and there Zaid was correct. When Malays break into warring camps, as it had happened during the May 13 days, one side invariably picks on the Chinese for the sacrificial slaughter.

So the DAP and its Malaysiakini minions, never knowing when to shut up, will capitalize on Muhyiddin’s faulty tongue to drive home its political slogans of an oppressed minority, now threatened with death and mutilation. They will hand over even more ammunition to one Malay camp to start the slaughter simply because the dead on the streets won’t be named P. Ramasamy for he is safely ensconced in Penang, but some poor sod of a shopkeeper or noodle hawker in Kampung Baru.

Above and below: Malays before and after transformation, but both are ignored or dismissed in the Hamid-Muhyiddin projection of the new Malay; no wayang, no aurat, no rock n roll, no more looking to the jungles and the sky, more prayers (think of Hannah ‘Lives for God’ Yeoh), more god, more power and more influence.

Abdul Hamid, the former Chief Justice, seems like an odd addition to the list of free thinking usurpers but not if one listens to how he, like Ibrahim Ali, douses the Malays in the same sanctimonious language as PAS mullahs and DAP apparatchiks would give to Islam – it is the Ramadhan month. Turning the Malay sacred is a work-in-progress.

But blasphemy is a Christian cultural invention, popularized today as a western liberal value which even British-educated intellectuals like Kua Kia Song term, mistakenly, as a ‘universal’ value. In legal form, blasphemy became sedition, landing persons like Karpal Singh in the dock. In the bully media pulpit of Malaysiakini, it is considered blasphemous – and racist as well – to label the child of a Chinese mother Chinese (Hannah Yeoh). Like Malay or like God neither of who can be spoken ill of, race has become a taboo-word. No different from Umno politics, Pakatan, because it is supposedly race-free, tills the Malaysian political soil in seeds of liberal standards.

Liberalism in Malaysia is neither an attitude nor a style of politics; it is moral dogma not unlike PAS Islamism or Hannah’s Christian evangelism. This explains why the DAP (or PKR) is as authoritarian (aside Norman Fernandez, Kua Kia Song, Lee Lam Thye, et al were also its victims) as is PAS, and they welcome the like of Hannah Yeoh, people schooled in and indoctrinated by Anglo-American liberalism where surveys after surveys show that 95 percent or something of its professors vote Democrats and not Republicans.

Both sides, Islamists and Pakatan liberals, sitting so well together, don’t make an aberration in Malaysian politics; they collaborate so well because their dogma are sourced from the same absolutism of religious intolerance, and because dissent against and views opposing the party (again, think Norman Fernandez) and their leadership are treated as blasphemy and is met with the same heavy-handedness as the law. In popular online culture this blasphemy and its liberal authoritarianism (for examples, see the comments section in Malaysiakini or Malaysian Insider) are tweeted and expressed in venomous, mocking terms and in a virulent, moral language: Evil! Evil! Evil! Racist! Bigots! Extremist!

These methods of intolerance against opposing views make Umno’s domineering ways pale in comparison.

Zaid Ibrahim or Tunku Aziz or Norman Fernandez were shown the door because they were as politically naive as they were deluded in their own perceptions of liberalism. They didn’t think that liberal contraptions like the free man or equal rights are as illusory as the place called heaven and such concepts were never, to begin with, grounded on the actual human conditions nor on reality but were plucked from the Abrahamic faiths instructed from the mountain top: ‘Thou shall obey the Lord God Jehovah and no other!’

But politics is about making trade-offs so that, if the neighbors don’t wish each other good morning, they at least won’t quarrel over Hannah’s dog shit found on the driveway; politics is an artistic enterprise. Since Pakatan’s arrival, its ubah politics has turned this humanistic endeavor – recall Barisan’s live-and-let live philosophical approaches – into an absolutist and morality bully pulpit platform so that it’s strongest effect on the human heart is felt not in the Chinese swing in votes. No, it has to be found among Malays themselves. Given all the foul things said about the government, their government (the Chinese presence in it, because they are just furniture, represents another Umno failure), Malays must have asked, Are we such a bad people?

Equal to its bullying postures (recall Anwar: ‘if you don’t change, we go to the streets’), liberal morality is so well policed only because its ideas were never regarded as worthy to be won on merit (neither Christianity nor Islam win adherents by appealing to humanity or reason). But they are instead bulldozed into your consciousness so that ad hominem attacks (poor Helen Ang) is typically their weapon of choice: Hell has known no fury but a liberal scorned. Here’s a typical Malayskini headline, reflecting this liberal bullying that’s heavy in moral tone and full of pious judgment: ‘How did Abdul Hamid came to be a top judge?’ It reads as if Abdul Hamid, having shown his hand and his prejudices, has blasphemed against a kind of moral order determined by the liberal editors of Malaysiakini.

There is no contradiction to liberalism to hear a Malay such as Abdul Hamid, speaking solely in favor of Malays and Muslims. He was, after all, cut from the same cloth as Hannah Yeoh’s (low class?) legal education in Australia, schooled and trained in English law, and a senior judge to boot.

One way to see their commonality is to picture Abdul Hamid alongside Dyana Sofya, DAP’s failed by-election candidate for Teluk Intan: two generations apart, with two seemingly different ideologies. Yet they employ the same language of political rights and of economic and social entitlements. That is to say, they till the same grounds, farm and harvest from the same field. Abdul Hamid is what Reuters or Bloomberg might call an ‘ultra’ Malay and Dyana a liberal Malay. But their differences are hardly fundamental. (Americans say, scratch the skin of a Democrat and a Republican, they’re the same.) Both or either must ultimately fall back on the Federal Constitution and the Penal Code, so that even if Isma (or PAS or Umno) want hudud they are merely acting on ground rules and on entitlement set out from the beginning by liberalism.

PAS mullahs are no less liberal for their Malay-Muslim only proposals and for the full flowering of Islam than Dyana for her anti-hudud legal position as a part of her (DAP) version of a new moral order. Where their differences lay, it is in speaking only to different subsets of ‘the People’; each, on their own terms, defining their version of what it is to be the future Malay. On the one side, the Malay is told they must fall back to Islam, the more hudud, the quicker the better because it’s the only way to sustain – or to regain – the past, political status quo and this had kept the peace, in the kampungs in particular. On the other hand, that is, Dyana’s but with script written by Lim Kit Siang, the status quo had turned Malay farm hands into factory pinheads; all are equal in law, yes, but equally poor; fret not Melayu! we have a new Messiah, his name, Anwar Ibrahim.

To call Isma ‘more dangerous’ than Perkasa, because the former employs Islam as a cover, Parit Buntar PAS MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa uses the same moral, ‘racist’ label as would the DAP and PKR on Umno and its minions. But, Mujahid omits to say that PAS also uses the same Islamic cover to wield power, and like Umno, employs ideological orthodoxy to police acceptable behaviour and conduct. Their methods, committed through Islamic agencies in particular, include open shaming (khalwat raids), public prosecutions, re-education (for apostates), abductions (children and the dead) and mass rallies. These might seemed shocking but those methods copy liberals in the west who, by harnessing offenses, against minorities especially, then dousing these grievances in their own morality, have leveled everything they touched.

Thus, when Hannah Yeoh or Lim Guan Eng returned from Australia, they would politicize every piece of indignation, cloak these in moralizing terms and direct mob responses to anywhere they dislike. Like Umno, like Nazi Germany and like Stalinists they mastered at creating enemies against whom anger would be harvested then used to pave the road to power. Since race is taboo in their new politics, Guan Eng would resort to religion so that, on one Wesak occasion, he went as far as urging Buddhists to side with Christians in order to rise up against Malay-Muslim power. Mujahid, by chastising Isma for using Islam, was simply reflecting Pakatan’s methods.

Like Guan Eng, Muhyiddin would invoke May 13 as a means to warn Najib not to be another Tunku Abdul Rahman: not enough Malay in him, not enough Islam, too much Bugis, and too much a friend of the Chinese, you see. Chinese in the MCA could see that piece of wayang – pointing to the mulberry while scolding the plum tree is a classic Chinese idiom – but not Kit Siang nor Steven Gan, they being liberals and Anglophiles that they are. Bananas, like KTemoc of Australia.

But it isn’t just politicians and liberals. Even more than Umno, Muhyiddin, Hamid and their pro-ketuanan bloggers (think Helen Ang), Ridhuan Tee especially exemplifies the shift from the citizenship-race connection into another nexus of citizenship and morality. That he is (was?) Chinese, and that he reflects the new Moral Order, and even the new kind of race-free politics and citizenship that migrates into Malayness, Pakatan is especially powerless to fight against. And, mostly, they’re speechless in their rebuttals towards Ridhuan. PAS rarely, if ever, say a thing against Tee for he epitomize what it is to be a Malaysian: masuk Melayu.

Citizenry is a western invention as a legal device for it to be made punishable, with death for treason, when the state is violated. In ancient China, notably during the Han and Tang eras, citizenry was never acquired, and held no meaning once the grain and salt taxes and military obligations were fulfilled. Insurrection is against the ruler not the state which, at the time, was subject to so many shifting military alliances that loyalty to the state made no sense. Today, Chinese citizenship is actually trust upon you but parents who break the one-child policy are content for the second or third child to live without the IC by not registering their births. Nobody has problems with that, for they are still Chinese, whether by citizenship or by ethnicity. With a payment – from each according to his ability – sympathetic county officials look the other way, arrest no one, but liberal, western reporters label such acts as corruption.

In all cases, statehood is still the highest expression of citizenry, that is, belonging to a country, a concept perfected by German philosophers since Friedrich Hegel.

Umno Malays: ‘You were poor, we gave you citizenship. Now, we made you rich, you don’t vote us.’

If this wasn’t convoluted illogic, it would be unreal, so unreal that Umno minions (Ahi Attan, Abdullah Zaik, Kadir Jasin) still can’t see why the party is paying so dearly for its failures. And the failures include the revolt happening within. Even some Malays see no sense in Umno - if 52 percent of the population didn’t vote Barisan, that would be a lot of Malays among them and not just ‘some’. Meanwhile, other Malays wonder: Are we such a bad people?

***

In Malaysia, citizenry (even for Malays) was conceived as a trade-off among the races. This is as if a Malay state had existed beforehand, since the beginning of time, and that such a state had preceded citizenship when it should have been the other way around. Recall that the word Malay is not defined in the Constitution on any physiological basis like one would give to a Chinese or a German or a Japanese. No; being Malay is an acquired thing, not born with.

This might explain why Ridhuan Tee, having acquired Malayness, is such a hotshot among Malay audiences especially since he has learned to say his prayers in an Arabic language and he could, simultaneously, kick the Chinese and then escape moral condemnation as racist. For Ibrahim Ali and Abdullah Zaik to say the same Tee-things about the Chinese, they were acting predictable like so many Umno people before them. But A-Tee is special; he is a new birth of the Malay.

If Malaysia is indeed a Malay state (it never was) then it was an invention, hammered together on the pinheads of legality and threats of punishment, for how else could the British extract themselves from a strip of peninsular they no longer want? When the British quit Hong Kong, it was needless to declare it a state. So, if they didn’t leave behind a ‘Malaya’, a working state, to what and to whom is independence given? And what populates it?

In the experiences and in the history of early Chinese there was never a cause to argue why it should matter to who independence is granted. Or in whose and in what name. This emperor or that ruler made no difference once they came down to asking for tax money and teenage boys to fight their wars.

But westernized Malays (think Mahathir and his fanboys like Ahirudin Attan and Kadir Jasin) would interpret the Chinese indifference to statehood as a sign of loyalty to the motherland and not as a gesture of deferring to the Malays in their demand for political dominance. As if that wasn’t enough, these kutty Malays would, in their English ways of thinking, extrapolate that indifference into a sign of disloyalty to Malaysia. It’s all very abstract – loyalty to Malaysia – but such attitudes in Mahathirism persists even today. So Chinese are disloyal towards what, exactly? But now they have said it plainly: The Malays did the Chinese a favor, giving them a country, a state (not land though which the Chinese must still pay for at a premium over market price) and yet they are not voting Umno or Barisan.

Such thinking reaffirms a critical point in post-independent Malaysian citizenship: Umno had never offered, Mahathir Mohamad least of all, a chance for the Chinese, Indians and Kadazandusuns to feel like citizens.

On the contrary, citizenship, since it was promulgated as an exchange, as a trade-off, and not for the purpose of state building it became a ready-made political weapon. Notorious for using it a bludgeoning tool are the Malay bloggers (Ahi Attan), failed, present and ex-journalists (Sheridan Mahavera), and religious officials and other mid-ranked officers who can’t tolerate a Chinese never subscribing to a masuk Melayu agenda.

In this context, the PAS offer of national belonging through its so-called welfare state and through the ‘PAS For All’ slogan has so little appeal. Its vision of statehood was not unlike Umno’s Ketuanan ideology; the differences were in their pretenses. PAS casts statehood purely in Islamic language and veils citizenship in terms of its religious, moral uprightness. It is, in effect, extending Umno’s form of sectarian government rather than working to craft a modern statehood that embraces all.

Umno’s style of sectarianism was camouflaged (by inducting MCA and MIC) in a cannibalized form of western democratic liberalism, whereas PAS (PKR and DAP by extension) does a repaint job, covering it up in religiosity for the benefit of its core Malay constituents. Recall how DAP and PKR minders use to apologize for PAS saying that religion is race-free and that, in moral terms, if you do nothing wrong, why fear hudud? The religious quality in this pretense, the lying, is so plain to see, it is no wonder Sabah and Sarawak should so readily reject PAS despite its overtures, now supported there by PKR and the DAP.

Malaysia’s moribund constitution, or whatever its left of it, is the only thread leaving the country hanging. That few people, including the police, give it a damn today is not happenstance in the present political environment: it was never, to begin with, used as a building block for constructing a country and statehood.

Wong Chin Huat (in ‘1946 When It All Went Wrong‘) argues that the constitution is the end-result of a negotiated deal between the Chinese and Malays, intended to slowly ‘melt’ Chinese into Malay. That’s saying about how it is to be a Malay person, not a Malaysian citizen. If Wong is right (but he is not), then the constitution is clearly a farce, a racist project of de-Sinization, and not a statement of statehood and citizenry. Wong’s inference is that the constitutional hold on statehood and on the making of the Malaysian is even far more tenuous than it already is.

In post Tunku Abdul Rahman years, especially during Mahathir’s tenure, citizenship held by Chinese is seen by many in Umno as a burden, a cost – sometime to bear and to tolerate under a narrow-minded racial governance regime. Consequently, its party apparatchiks, including among those of its present-day Chinese supporters (Helen Ang), speak periodically of citizenry only in reference to Umno and at other times in reference to a mythical social contract as if that were a thing greater than the Constitution, even superseding it.

The Constitution may define citizenship but that’s purely in administrative terms and never in the sense of citizenry in its active, participatory sense (voting and paying taxes being obvious cases). Shared language and customs may be even harder to forge, but were they necessary to begin with for a Malaysian to be Malaysian?

Once Umno insisted on hinging citizenship to a single, common identity rather than multiple identities it was, in effect, making yet more pretenses, denying the reality that Malaysia is a federalist state resting on a multiplex structure and a multicultural base. Where else in the modern world are there nine kings in a single kingdom? Where else in the world is there a state build on a hodgepodge of other independent states: Kingdom of Sarawak, the British North Borneo Company (i.e. Sabah), the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States. It is remarkable Malaysia has even come this far, so the credit of national construction, given so far only to Malays, must be given as well to the Chinese and Indians and Kadazandusuns for been reticent about power and for acceding to Malay political demands.

Now, who, or which pendatang group, is being ungrateful?

More than even Malaysia’s federalist, multiplex structure, there is another, and deeper, existential reason to treat Malaysia as a plurality of nations and peoples and it is this: the Malays who constitute the citizenship core, that is, the core of its statehood, are themselves a multiple identity. Malays in Kelantan is one kind of a Malay, Najib a Bugis kind, Mahathir a kutty kind, Ridhuan a celup, Muhyiddin, PAS members are an Arabian kind, and so on.

If only the Malays will see this, then all the breast-beating about safeguarding the Malay would be unnecessary. Abdul Hamid could save his spittle to argue with his Allah why he should have a place in heaven. And Isma or PAS, both trying to collapse the Malay into a single version of an Arabian-styled mullah, would have to be disbanded. No audience, you see.

Instead, statehood is today as ambiguous as citizenship is tenuous. The first left open and left to make any which way one wants of the second. In combination it especially left Umno Malays to make of both anyway they like: only the Malay government give citizenship. One minister once call citizenship (he means it to the Chinese only) a ‘privilege’ – reaffirming the idea that citizenship came from a trade-off, as opposed to a jus sanguinis birth right adopted in much older states like Germany and China.

But this way of thinking and arguing shoots oneself in the mouth. It is to imply there are no Malays by birth or, if they exist, their citizenship aren’t automatic by right. This contradiction is a creation of Umno’s propaganda; what Umno gives Umno can also take away, an idea, a thinking and a practice that have come to characterize one of the core tenets of Malaysian sectarian governance. Small wonder the Chinese don’t feel like citizens, and yet they should be accused of being ungrateful. Pity the Chinese, returning one day, standing in queue at the airport immigration counter, that he should feel and wonder if he would be permitted by the Malay officer into the country. Apanama? Helen Kutty Ang? Is it even his country? But, the Malay immigration man is only doing what Umno has taught him for so long to perceive and to feel: the Chinese is only a pendatang unless his name is Ridhuan ‘Ultra Kiasu’ Tee.

We’re all Malaiyoos? Over your dead body, A-Tee!

Malaysiakini, sued by Najib Razak, was for defamation against his person, which is his standing as a legal entity, to sue and to be sued, whether he is prime minister or just another person is another thing altogether. Whereas Malaysiakini‘s rejection of the suit is grounded on two premises. One, personal comments possess the same legal (constitutional) position as news in the editors’ list of democratic (and human) rights, and with that position views have the same sanctity as news, freedom of expression especially. And, two, like in news, in personal comments made by a third party, i.e. Malaysiakini‘s readers, against a person of Najib’s stature and position, freedom of expression demands to given more clout and leeway for criticisms, slanderous or not, and never mind the intention. News equal views. Like news, Malaysiakini is merely a carrier.

How had Malaysiakini‘s Steven Gan, et al, arrived at those premises? How had Steven Gan predicated his person into a legal right to offend and after which to confer on those rights the same sanctity as news then transfer them on to his readers?

Phrase in such a way, it is easy to see how Steven Gan should see himself, and his editors likewise, as quite nearly untouchable. Like as if he were a High Priest, Steven Gan anoints himself in clergy class of democratic morality in which journalism is his weapon of choice against an intrinsically immoral government. It is today nearly blasphemous, irreligious, to say bad things against the Press. News and views become a new piety, a sacrilege to denounce and molest.

The task of Malaysiakini journalism is no longer, thereby, confined to news (as defined by the editors) but as gatekeepers of permissible governance and impermissible morality, both according to some standards. But by what legal and moral standards, of what era, and from whereof had Steven drawn them? Touch them and they will cry out its censorship; sue them and they’ll will say its government bully; shut them down they will say their freedom is violated, like it were the freedom to proselytize Christian beliefs, to pass on to the pagan class of Chinese, Malays and Indians to save their souls as if selling Jesus Christ is a matter of right, never mind the beliefs of other peoples.

Journalism was a western invention, today an American-founded institution, hence made to be equal to freedom of expression. For it to become answerable only to itself became inevitable. This is why they prevail with so much power, so much that The New York Times, seen as the universal standard in Malaysian journalism, has gotten away time and again with impunity, news are fabricated and slander disseminated as views (read this, for example: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118114/chris-hedges-pulitzer-winner-lefty-hero-plagiarist). It becomes a political weapon, like Malaysiakini exists as a political weapon no matter how much Steven Gan tries to camouflage that fact in obfuscating Orwellian-style slogans (‘news and views that matter’) and language (Steven: ‘we gave equal opportunity for Najib Razak to rebut those comments, but he chose instead to sue us’).

Hence, they get away with the degenerate in which, says one comment (from Alain de Botton): ‘A bombing that kills thirty people is thought more newsworthy than a quiet day in a fishing village, an outbreak of a tropical disease that tears its victims’ lungs apart in three hours is considered to be of greater interest than the peaceful collection of the harvest, ….’

Steven Gan won’t even blink an eye to this astonishing perversity; his conscience is the conscience of a New Evil, contributing more freedom today to the like of Isma and Perkasa, generating even more evil in the process. It is time that the like of Steven Gan take stock of themselves; he thinks too much of himself as his own god and those Malaysiakini and other journalists (think Sheridan Mahavera of Malaysian Insider) are as odious as Abdullah Zaik Rahman.

Steven Gan, Pakatan’s apologist extraordinaire:

DAP vice-chairperson Teresa Kok would be made to apologise if anyone can prove that her Chinese New Year message video was anti-Islam or anti-Malay, said DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang.

Got proof but no payment, no money … please buy me a brick. Or else a ‘shining’ lamp.

***

林吉祥先生:

This letter to you is in English because your hanzi is elementary although your English is worse. Unless Steven Gan and his Malaysiakini editors don’t know their English, were they right to say you had asked for “proof” — proof as in verifiable evidence? Or was that your word? This matter of ‘evidence’ is strange because, as the Englishman says, the proof is in the pudding. That is, it is in the result. Teresa Kok’s 2014 chunjie video clip is the result — hence the evidence.

Perhaps what you need are specifics; in other words, exactly which part or segment of the clip’s content is anti-Malay or anti-Islam. In the clip Teresa, herself, spoke to her Chinese audience while referring to the Malays as malai 马来. Here, is to repeat (because of your elementary hanyu): Teresa did not address the Year of the Horse as 马年. She said malai 马来. And the Chinese, both in Malaysia and the motherland address the Malays as malai. (Not your motherland, of course; you have no motherland; maybe not even a mother. Here, it means the motherland of the shuzheng authors.) After which she goes on to list how the Malays — meaning the Umno government — are 犀利啊, in Cantonese saile ah!, a colloquial expression intended as the opposite of its literal meaning, great or fantastic.

This has to be its backwash inference, a throwback, because Teresa cannot mean the malai to be great or ‘hebat’ (Teresa’s word) if, after saying it, she goes on to list all those pathetic things, starting with the ringgit’s value. Check the ringgit: who’s the face on it? Dare you say, because of Malaysian First, it’s not a malai face? Teresa could only have meant the Malays and not even the Barisan Nasional government because, as your Son in Heaven Guan Eng says, the MCA (and the MIC and everybody else) are just Umno’s running dogs, subservient to a master*. For a detailed explanatory (‘proof’), check this out: DAP’s New Year Festival of Mockery.

Now that proof is shown: slap that bitch. Please…. Why? The ringgit has little value (so says Teresa), her spit worth much less, she might just refuse to obey you, and apologies aren’t good enough.

*Endnote: Since you’re so ready with apologies, see this other letter; it offers a case to apologize to the MCA as well. (In your footsteps everybody has taken in to ‘open letters’, like yours to Najib Razak. Three in a month? Holy Moses!) BTW: 肏你妈.

Yours sincerely,

小弟

***

For 马来 malai:

Teresa Kok’s Chunjie & the Chinese

Yi people, top; Han old style, middle; Han new style, below.

***

Is Teresa Racist?

Often in China and occasionally in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the question that is directed at the Malaysian Chinese goes as follows: “So you’re 马来人?” Or simply 马来. In pinyin, the hanyu phrases read, respectively, as malairen and malai, either of which means Malay.

On nationality terms the description is correct — malairen being short form for Malaysian — but incorrect ethnically. Umno and Anglophilia Malays, the Malaiyoos, would like the term to work on both counts, nationality and ethnic, and we shall return shortly to this issue that’s at the heart of the Teresa Kok chunjie or CNY video. DAP’s Hannah Yeoh (herself an Anglophile and Christian to boot) and Lim Kit Siang’s Malaysian First would, on the other hand, disown both; they being non-existent; there are no Chinese or Malays, only Malaysians. It reads in pinyin as malaixiya, adding the suffix ‘xiya’ to ‘malai‘.

Here’s the problem with the terminologies: it isn’t in how Malaysians of different stock see themselves, which is after all subjective; to each his own. Rather it is how others, the foreign nationals, see Malaysians. Why? Why do the Chinese (in China) see a compatriot Chinese as Malay? This question is to suggest that they tended to subsume ethnicity into nationality or, in another phrasing, ethnicity is a matter of nationality. Hence, Han Chinese (98 percent of China’s population) and the Yi peoples of Yunnan and the Miao of Sichuan are Chinese in nationality and racial terms, but they are culturally different. This means that, in China, culture is altogether a different thing from ethnicity although in Malaysia the terms ethnicity and culture are synonymous: Lim Kit Siang (also DAP) is Chinese culture and Najib Razak (Umno) is Malay culture.

A Han Chinese is a Chinese by culture and only different from the Yi people by some facets of their cultures — that is, differing in mundane things as village customs, diet and spoken language — but not in other, fundamental ways. Han Chinese and the Yi would therefore share common attributes which are Confucianist in outlook, upbringing, and in Daoist world view; for example, the family comes first, land is important, proper, well-defined social etiquette is indispensable, and hierarchical customs are prevalent and the same across China.

One conclusion to be drawn from this comparison says that China’s way of viewing peoples, which separates ethnics and culture and nationality, is realistic in its root form and therefore more accurate than it is in Malaysia. Hannah and Kit Siang may be Chinese ethnically (they may even speak hanyu and observe chunjie), but their sensibilities are entirely western, the product of the La Salle schools, the Bible, PPSMI, Reuters and the BBC, any of which would extol the English way of life, its god and Christianity in particular. This is not without a counter-effect because, if the West is the preferred way of life, something else, Confucianism and Daoism in the Kit Siang case, has to give way.

Petra Kamarudin exemplifies this western acculturation, the conversion from Malaysian to English, when he, on account of a morality principle, refused to pay off a policeman to get his son out of lockup. On the contrary, he bragged about it to Malaysiakini, Pakatan’s mouthpiece and expert apologist, inferring inter alia that his western morality, that is zero corruption, is greater than his paternal obligation to his son, which is also Confucianist. Hannah’s Christianity calls this conversion, the rejection of an existing set of values for another set as being ‘born again‘; it’s a new life wherein the existing one is spurned, made to look inferior and so spit out.

This explains why, on the first anniversary of Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa’s death by murder, Tian Chua, ethnically Chinese but like Hannah also an Anglophile, had no problem conducting a public ritual display of invoking the dead woman’s memory, and that was complete with joss sticks and offerings. Tian Chua was all too willing to abuse a Sino-Buddhist ritual for a political cause even though Buddhists don’t do such things. The latter eschew all earthly ambitions and symbols, but if it has to be done then the ritual is held in complete privacy usually at home because invoking somebody’s memory is an intensely personal affair.

Likewise Teresa Kok has no qualms invoking chunjie (CNY), feng shui, shengxiao 生肖 (of which the Year of the Horse is a part) so as to mock and ridicule DAP’s political opponents (who are not only the Malays). This suggests Teresa, like Tian Chua, rejects virtually all vital facets of Chinese culture, think they are voodoo practices that have no place in her Christian life, political or personal, hence fair game for exploitation. Recall, she did not use the day of Christmas to mock the Malays or Najib Razak because Christmas to her is a solemn occasion, a sanctity not to be misused.

Although Teresa’s video presentation might have surprised the party’s heathen rank and file or her constituents — it might instead earn her praise for so-called ‘creativity’ — it follows closely the exploitation of Chinese traditions for a political end by DAP senior echelon, most of who reject Chinese manners and way of life in preference for a western one. Hannah Yeoh is an example. Instead of staying in bed for post natal care or to nurse her six-day-old infant, as Chinese custom would dictate, she was willing to toss out and launder Shay Adora’s diapers in public to score a political and a morality point that the civil service under the Umno government are all racist. When, in countering those who had criticized her clip, Teresa says “we are better than that“, she means exactly it: the DAP leaders with their English Christian ways are morally superior to others, whether Chinese or Melayu.

The above is, as they say, where Teresa comes from in making the clip. Now to her intent….

On accusations she had incited racial hatred against Malays, Teresa’s primary defense, something repeated by Kit Siang, is that of language: the parody had employed Mandarin (i.e. hanyu putonghua) and the Cantonese dialect, although English subtitles were used. (This is for the obvious reason she wanted to rope in the non-Mandarin speaking Chinese, such as Hannah Yeoh and Tian Chua, and they’re numerous.) Such a defense is both curious and disingenuous because, although the contents of the parody are a mimicry on Malaysian hence Umno Malay governance, the parody is on the Chinese, mimicking their chunjie culture and ridiculing feng shui. If she had used, say, English, the parody would fail completely because only in Mandarin (which she calls ‘tiong hua‘; see clip below) can she bring to the fore her mockery of the Malays.

Malai 马来 is, after all, the only phonetic transliteration of the word Malay, just as Malaysia is phonetically rendered in hanyu pinyin as malaixiya written 马来西亚, in literal translation horse/come/west/ya. (Ya is phonetic used as a part of compound words like Asia or yazhou 亚洲.) Any hanyu-conversant or Cantonese-conversant person cannot help but associate malai to the Malays. No matter how much Teresa twists her tongue to escape possible prosecution, malai remains, as it is understood in Malaysia, an ethnic term that refers to Malaysia as a country but not the Malaysian public or nationality. Trying to wriggle herself out of a spot, she gave malai 马来 its conflated and literal translation ‘horse comes’. But, other than coincidence with the Chinese zodiac Year of the Horse, the phrase is rarely, if ever, used. For reference to this lunar new year she could just as well use, without controversy, ma nian written  马年 or ‘horse year’.

All this leaves one question to be answered: what did she say of the Malays or of Malaysia that might be considered seditious? Of Malaysia, its ringgit is cheap, inflation is galloping away, and crime is rampant, all re-hatched stories. Of Malays, the incriminating words are these 马来犀利啊, in pinyin ‘malai xili a!’ Google’s translation: ‘Malaysia is sharp’.  Teresa’s translation: Kuda datang hebat. Common meaning translation: Malays are gungho.

In the last is the catch because Teresa rendered xili 犀利 in Cantonese (malai saile ah!), adding the exclamation 啊 (a!), both for dramatic effect. Hiding behind the Chinese zodiac Year of the Horse, the phrase malai saile ah! was evidently intended as sarcasm with an opposite meaning — the Malay government is useless — because what flows from the phrase clearly backs up a malice in the intention: the ringgit’s depreciation, galloping higher prices and so on. Hence, the opposite of saile ah! — that is, trashy — can only elicit its effect if the preceding phrase malai refers to Malays and not to the noun-verb, ‘horse comes’, which is instead her claim.

Teresa was evidently mischievous in her chunjie parody, but was she malevolent with the intent to cause racial animosity? In other words, did she intent to wish hatred towards Malay?

Because the question stems from a (bad, white man’s) law, the answer is as evasive as it is elusive: on the one part, it depends on who feels injured and, on the other, it is so difficult to verify ‘intent’, unless Teresa admits to it. Chinese (but not Anglophiles) ought to be injured because here is a Christian conducting a travesty of Chinese culture which, ordinarily, no Chinese would commit to. Yet few Chinese are offended. They may dislike it but they (unlike Christian Spain) won’t burn her on the stake; Chinese culture is far, far more tolerant than Teresa’s Christianity. Chunjie is also a joyous time for celebration, yet here is a Seputeh DAP Christian witch who turns it into a Festival of Mockery and then is shielded by the like of Steven Gan and N Surendran, all Anglophiles pretending in their CNY wishes for peace and harmony among peoples.

Malays? Only they alone can sort out their own emotions….

Two paradoxes arise. (a) Although Chinese culture is abused, the Chinese, as represented by Teresa and her portrayal of Chinese culture, are interpreted as spitting at Malays. The Christians win. (b) Although the Malays are not the only target of Teresa’s spite, the Malays retaliate which, in turn, are interpreted by the Chinese as touchy and malicious. The DAP wins.

***

Putar belit? Really? 谁扭曲, 郭素沁?

If Teresa is guilty of racism, Ridhuan Tee, below, would be equally guilty, a man who has made anti-Chinese polemics and racism into an academic specialization and a mini industry (Peter Petra the Piper is the online MT promoter).

Believing Chinese culture to be inferior to Islam, Ridhuan launders his racism with virtual impunity because of his use of the Malay language, his protection by the Malay establishment and his Islamic credentials and because his target, Chinese group is easy to pick on and can’t get even with him — and that he knows.

Teresa, on the other hand, would abuse her Chinese MP position and background to ridicule Chinese traditions as voodoo (by playing on chunjie or CNY; playing on feng shui culture; playing on the Chinese shengxiao 生 肖 or Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Horse) and so exploiting Chinese ways to mock Malay power as superior in spite of the economic record in recent years (the ringgit, inflation, crime, etc). After which, the Malaiyoos would attack the Chinese in revenge; Chandra Muzaffar’s peace plan would be shot to pieces, never mind its good intentions, because he attributes way too much to economic causes for inter-ethnic harmony rather than the other way around.

In this way, slicing and dicing ethnicity, DAP politics, mirroring Mahathir politics, would triumph in a land that its honcho Lim Kit Siang, an Anglophile like Teresa, says should eschew race politics. Kit Siang’s duplicity is incredulous: promoting Malaysian First while openly backing his underlings to offend anything and everything Malaysian: Chinese customs, the malai word, even the hapless ringgit. All this explains why Ridhuan, Teresa and Kit Siang (count in their apologists Steven Gan, Josh Hong, KTemoc) are alike in countless ways although their names differ linguistically and all, according to Malays, are Chinese.

Ridhuan and Teresa So Sim: two names, two religions, two languages, one bigotry.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.