I have a Malay friend who is married with two young kids. By day, he works in the office. After work, he takes his car out and works overtime as a Grab driver. He goes home late almost every day.
All this is so his wife can stay at home with his two children and take care of them full time. He loves his family and on Sundays, he makes sure it is family time.
Dia sayang sangat pada keluarganya dan berkerja ekstra semata-mata nak memberi keselesaan yang secukupnya untuk family.
I’m sure there are many more Malays like him, but you would never know their stories because Mahathir is fond of calling Malays lazy.
In politics, the words a leader says is powerful. Repeated usage of these words in our media reinforce the stereotype. For example, when Mahathir says the Chinese are hardworking and pays 90% of the taxes, he reinforces the image of the Chinese as hardworking. And when he tells the whole nation that Malays are lazy, then all of us have this image that Malays are lazy.
Sebab tu saya tak suka Mahathir. Pemimpin yang menjatuhkan maruah orang Melayu, yang sindir dan sinis bahawa orang Melayu hanya tahu minta sedekah dari kerajaan juga menyebabkan kaum lain mempunyai persepsi tersebut terhadap orang Melayu.
But words alone isn’t enough to bring down an ethnic group of people. Before those words can carry meaning, you must first strip the people of their identity.
Orang Cina selalu kata sejarah 5,000 tahun negara China. The Chinese have a lot of folklore and history to tell. The Chinese have Confucius and Sun Tzu to draw inspiration from. The story of the Monkey King is equally famous that it is retold even in Hollywood.
These stories are all mixed with different religious contexts from Taoism to Buddhism, but what is important is that it is inherently Chinese and they give the Chinese a sense of identity, of where they came from.
There’s nothing similar for the Malays. Our education ministers have stripped Malay history from our textbooks into just dates and events and thus, stripped Malays of their identity and where they came from. Who are your heroes? What is your folklore?
Malays – generally speaking – do not know about their Sultans. Ya, kamu marah bila Sultan Melayu dihina, tetapi kenapa kamu nak marah apabila kamu diajar bahawa Tanah Melayu dijajah beratus tahun oleh orang asing dan Sultan Melayu semuanya hilang kuasa mereka? Sultan-sultan Tanah Melayu hanya kembali pada 1957 selepas Malaya merdeka, kan? Walaupun itu bukan kebenarannya, terdapat ramai yang mempunyai persepsi tersebut.
This is why there are Malays too who insult the Sultans. And this is what’s wrong with Malaysia as I see it.
Orang Melayu asalnya dari Tanah Melayu. Malays can be hardworking, kind, gentle, loving and peaceful, but they lack an identity or history because our education ministers erased or distorted that history.
Orang Cina dan India adalah pendatang. And so the Chinese and Indians use the history of China and India to give them identity.
We focus on our differences. We are divided by our faiths. We are constantly reminded of our differences rather than our similarities. Just like the reinforcement of the word ‘lazy’, the non-Malays have other words that describe us as ‘pendatang’, ‘Kristian’, ‘anti-Islam’, ‘Komunis’ etc.
Kalau kita dengar apa pemimpin katakan saja, we are reduced to just a few words. Those who do not know my Malay friend will never see the hardworking family man that he is and those who do not know me will see me as a pendatang, among other things.
There are those who say Malaysia needs to assimilate everyone with a single stream school. That’s not going to work. We are in the age of the Internet – forcing people to do something might have worked before the Internet, but we are past that forced solution.
What we really need are stories of our history told again on popular media like TV drama.
Sidetrack a bit – Malay drama – selalunya menunjukkan cerita orang kaya-raya saja dan bagaimana lelaki ni nak mengurat isteri orang lain ataupun perempuan jahat yang nak merosakkan rumahtangga orang lain.
TV last time was so much better. Dulu saya seronok tengok siri Pendekar dan Pendekar Kundur. Raja Azura and Tiara Jacquelina were so HOT k.
Which also reminds me, I watched the P. Ramlee play featuring Tiara Jacquelina a few years ago – I am not going to debate whether the show was accurate or not in its portrayal of P. Ramlee, but I can say that Malays know how to write and tell a good story that isn’t about some Tan Sri billionaire. Bakat memang ada. Bring that kind of story to TV la.
Anyway, I have read of stories of how the Chinese kapitans and the Malay pendekars aligned to one Sultan would go to war against another Sultan over resources. You may think these are not good stories to tell, but I think they are fantastic stories to tell because it showed our forefathers fighting and perhaps dying together. Tanah tumpahnya darahku.
But I don’t know if these stories are true or not. There are a lot of stories online – but they do not come with proper references.
I have heard stories from my late grandmother about how the Chinese ran from their villages into the woods to escape the Japanese during World War 2. Those who were chased and with babies, they had to smother their babies to prevent the crying from alerting the Japanese troops.
I have also read that some Chinese families, because they didn’t want to kill their baby, gave them up for adoption to kind hearted Malay families. And that is why there are Malays that look Chinese today.
We need these stories told in our history books and shown through TV and movie theaters. Help everyone have a sense of belonging. The saying “Tak kenal maka tak cinta” is most apt here.
I learned to love Malaysia because I wanted to know more about the town I grew up in. Along the way, I met a lot of people – Malays, Chinese and Indians – that told me stories.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Minta maaf ya kalau saya tersalah tulis apa-apa. Peace.
If you want to know more about the Malay Sultanate, read this blog post. The Malay Sultanate had a rich culture, uniforms and an identity. Khas Sempena Kemerdekaan. Raja-Raja Melayu, Merdeka dan 31 Ogos 1957 –
This is a historical account of communists in Selangor with proper references. The communists had Chinese and Malay members – they killed Chinese and Malay villagers. – http://www.wikiwand.com/ms/Sejarah_komunis_di_Selangor
Nukilan Asal: FB Mak Khuin Weng