Archive for September 1st, 2015

Abdul Aziz: In Bersih, Chinese Asking for Another May 13

(updated; scroll to end of article)

Tunku I’m-No-Racist Aziz: Dulu, with Chinese, ‘shared values and ideals’. Kini, they ‘deliberately challenge the Malays’.


In ‘At What Cost the Greater Good‘, Tunku Abdul Aziz begins with apologies — (a) I owe nobody nothing, (b) Malaysia is everything to him — after which he adds two more, (c) I won’t be politically correct (he doesn’t say, what that is), and (d) I’m no racist, I’ve helped others without discrimination.

All of which leaves you to wonder, why bother with the apologies when the Chinese — the ones he would make minced meat of in his essay — are nothing to him, anyway, and since they are a bunch of arseholes, compared with Aziz himself, the patriot.

Because Malaysia is everything to him, Aziz feels he is therefore entitled to smear the Chinese anyway he likes, the Chinese being a people who ‘have never identified with Merdeka‘ (Aziz’s words). Of course, the Chinese in Bersih4 have rights, he continues, but those rights end where Malay sensitivities begin. He, on the other hand and having established himself as non-racist, can however ‘trample on’ Chinese sensitivities. For him, why should there be limits to cursing the Chinese since Malaysia is above everything.

Those contradictions say that Aziz alone defines the rules of the discourse, his rules, then declares himself inapplicable under them. Why? For the answer, you then have to return to the apologies.

The other and easier thing to answer Aziz is to gently point out to him where his assertions are like labels on empty bottles; where his version of history is actually a sack, collapses when empty; where his facts are those of a lamp post on which a drunken man leans for support rather than illumination; where his talk of rights is like a carpenter using nails, hammering away coffins rather than opening them; where he uses his vitriol as opinion; where he can’t tell the difference between actual points of law and interpretations of law; where he is confused between legitimate political activity and outright or even armed subversion and where his invective puts on a maid’s apron — the apologies — so as to shield himself from the agitations and provocations he would stir in a 2,260-word polemical pan. In short, Aziz would mix truth and fiction then baking both in a flour heap of contradictions.

But what would be the point to tell him all that? What would be achieved if it is just to tell him he wasn’t just plain wrong but he, at age 81, is actually no wiser; that is, he is just a dumb old man who is better ignored until he dies.

We have heard all his points before, anyway, for they have been repeated time and again, except in a different language, at different times, coming from different people. So, it is not as if he wouldn’t know the kind of rebuttals he’d get. He does. Which then leaves the question: What are his motives?

Intent matters. Because, if all the participants were Malays, or the majority are Malays then Aziz would simply have said the same thing, adopt the same language, replace Chinese with the term ‘ungrateful’ Malays (sounds familiar), and then end by saying those Malays, no fault of theirs, have just been misled after being in the pay of some rich Chinese towkays (again, familiar?)

Which is also to say, Reason serves the Will. He could even say the earth goes round the sun. And since, he doesn’t have to prove it, the claim is all that matters. He has his apologies to substitute for proof. Hence, he can say he is not a racist – relying on some vague claims of some vague past – and then proceed to further argue how the Chinese are a bunch of arseholes out to pick a fight with Malays.

Spittle costs nothing, you see. Patriotism? Like a scoundrel, he can dangle it from his groins by the barrels.

Aziz’s intent, therefore, isn’t to make a case for why he thinks Bersih risked been turned into another May 13 race war. No. He is actually saying, it is. His assertions are plainly stated: “this undeniably Chinese funded and organised demonstration had chosen carefully the dates to flex their muscles and to show their complete and utter disdain for… millions of Malays.” Then: “this provocative and racially insensitive act is arrogant by any reckoning and something which I will long remember as a deliberate challenge to Malay sentiments and sensitivities.

He will ‘long remember’? ‘By any reckoning’? In other words, Chinese now waiting to pick a fight with the Malays, they’d have to first get past him. Aziz a warrior?

If the instigation in Aziz had come out the way it is, then that’s because the language is from Tunku Abdul Aziz, no less: a small man, pretending upper class in the English aristocratic tradition, speaking his small English, telling bellboys inside a lift at The Ritz, carrying his luggage and towering over him, that he has read all of Shakespeare, showing off his tall hat that fell into his little Malay neck, cane swinging in his tiny arms as he strolls down Oxford Street, conveying in his imagination he is some sort of hallowed English gentleman. Today, in post-colonial times, one might see it as white man imitation; in his era, he probably thought he was real, an Englishman. He is aristocracy after all.

So you can see why he and Mahathir Mohamad are two kettles of fish; they wouldn’t have gotten along. And if he is to beat up Bersih using his stiff English upper lip he’d best leave Dr M alone, not only because the latter won’t have let it stand without a rebuttal but also because the latter is also Malay. This contradiction — beating up the Chinese in the name of Malays then beating Mahathir — would leave his twisted tongue choking in his throat.

White people, whether the imitation or the actual types, loathe nothing more than a contradiction. This is of course provided Aziz can tell a contradiction from a consistency. Assuming he can, what do we have here then? Aziz the Great Malaysia Patriot he says he is, or Aziz the Malaiyoo, the imitation Englishman, an Anglophile?

He can only be one or the other. If he is the Great Malaysia Patriot it would be a contradiction to claim that, while Malays boys are being shot at by Chinese guerrillas, he is having tea and scones at The Ritz, fish and chips at the Savoy. Now, can you see why Aziz doesn’t bring up the names of people like Mat Sabu, riding motorcycle pillion, dashing here and there, sleeping on the streets, not The Ritz, towel around his neck while, under the sun, he is peddling votes, giving speeches, pumping hands, and shouting undur, undur Najib. Things a politician is suppose to do.

They are world’s apart — Mat and Aziz — culture’s apart, and this difference is not just generational. If Aziz is not what he has made himself out to be, how then does he see reality? How does Aziz sees the Melayu? Really see? And how does he sees the Chinese? What does he mean by ‘Malay’? What is his understanding of the Chinese because, recall that, after his diet of marmalade and scones and Shakespeare, he has probably never heard of Lu Xun, Li Bai much less, nor the revolutionary wars of Che Guevara or Ho Chi Minh.

If revolutions are a part of life, marching would be small case; people are entitled to march. Or, is it the case in Malaysia where only Malays can March, politics belong to them, whereas the Chinese are better off to sit on the curb and watch. Or is there also a NEP quota to qualify for a protest march? See how a thing as the NEP affects even politics.

Malays had their independence (count the Chinese out, he says) without firing a shot. For that to happen, Aziz must have been relieved because, if it actually came to that, shooting, imagine where he might be today? Or where he might have stood then? Henti! Henti! Orang putih yang kawan kamu. Itu orang Cina yang musuh. Malays see ’emotional and spiritual’ significance in independence? You would thought it should be blood. Not blood, Sir Aziz? Get a baby sucker, boy.

The only reason that this piece of polemic from Aziz shocks Anglophone Malaysia is that it has come from Aziz; if it came from Ibrahim Ali, it would have gotten a yawn. And Malaysians are surprised because the polemic has come in the form it did, the small English spoken by a Malaiyoo. But, bigots come in all colors and sizes. Why should Aziz, because he wears a tall hat and has a cane swinging from his Malaiyoo arm, be an exception? Or any different? Bigots are never trained in Oxford?

To answer Aziz is to answer a bigot, but how does one apologize to a bigot beforehand? Here’s Liow Tiong Lai who, unlike Aziz, is Chinese and beholden to Najib Razak, replying to Aziz: “This has nothing to do with race. Our country is a multi-racial country. Everyone has the right to voice out their opinion, but must do so according to the law. We are a democratic nation….

End note/Postscript  — Who is Tunku Aziz?
On the event Bersih4 where three persons were critical to its success, Tunku Aziz never once mentioned their names in his diatribe, names that were also key people in his short political life, about three years: Mahathir Mohamad (who Aziz despised), Lim Kit Siang (who once regarded Aziz as a ‘towering Malay’) and Mohamad ‘Mat’ Sabu (supposedly partner in Pakatan). Why? The long answer requires drawing a bit each from Malayan history, differences in Malay and Anglophile cultures, and of course politics, both past and present. Two dated articles posted in these pages are pertinent to the answer:
Aziz is unique in his stature to scorn at the Chinese. But he’s never alone. In Bersih4, it’s May 13 all over again for Helen Ang as well (below, smirking in her tidal goggles): “I told you so…. Even the Tunku is saying it. All those Chinese challenging Malays, swarming the streets of KL are asking for it. Melayu, what are you waiting for? Onwards Melayu! Ikut aku…! Paradise is on the other side…. My mama, too.”
Aziz may have his motives to pit Chinese and Malays. But Helen ‘Not-Christian-Name’ Ang? Who knows? Maybe PAS ex-boyfriend came back suddenly one sweaty evening from Songkhla to her side, shouting tadbir! allahuakbar! Some one at last to share those lonely, lonely PJ late nights, so far with just the computer, tap, tap, tap…tap, tap, tap. “Sweetie, pass me a drink before you go to bed. I have to finish this. Got to teach those Chinese char-keow-teoh pigs a lesson. Allahuakbar!”

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