Friday, March 23, 2007

I Yam what I Yam! And Thats all what I Yam! But, Leave my Religion Alone!

Hi All!

I thought no one was interested in discussing a topic I posted so I decided to produce other topics, my apology, don't know if I can but I will try to re write it, when I wrote it I was pretty pissed off over easy remarks made by half-baked morons who can say thing like "my parents taught us to be a Muslim first and Malay second", well sorry about your parents, possibly a product of a very stupid and skewed education system!

It was indeed a beautiful overcast and cloudy Thursday morning when I woke with the sound of birds singing! The second generation magpie, we called Mabel (we knew it was her), came to nest and lays her eggs in the bamboo torch holder on my balcony without hesitation, even when my beautiful cat was there basking under the morning sun!

Mabel's mum was more protective and angry at first as when we stepped on to the balcony she was screaming and cursing in a magpie language I am sure! She was laying her egg, and ergo Mabel!But now Mabel is laying her eggs for the third generation to come! I am sure she will tell her children that they must always be proud to be a magpie and nothing else!

It gets me every time when I hear Malays saying "I am Muslim first and Malay second" without really thinking the impact of the statement made. My generation we were and are still proud to be associated with the Malay race, a race filled with rich tradition and custom. Today more Malays are trying to be another entity rather than being what they are!

That beautiful morning, I was reading the NST but gave up after reading about rape, murder and mayhem and that insinuation the world is not a safe place to live but "never mind the government is there to protect you" crap! assurance! So I picked up this glossy new magazine given to me to read and I swear I could not follow the article which is purportedly written in "English" so I threw the magazined away.

Then somewhere that morning I saw this article written by this writer, or at least I thought she was. She said she spent time abroad with her diplomat father and both her parents taught her and her sibling that they should be "Muslim first and Malay second".

The Arabs tried Pan-Islamic Nationalism to fight Israeli Zionism but could not find a united front, so they changed it to Pan-Arabic Nationalism and realise the fight began to take shape. So you see not all Arabs are Muslim! The Kurds fought for their independence against the Iraq, Turkey and Iran based on their ethnic identity and they have somewhat won the war.

The Serb, Croat, Bosnian, Chechen, Afghan, Kashmiri, the Basque and many more ethnic groups fought for their rights based on their ethnic identity, but the fact that they are Orthodox-Christian, Catholic, Shiate, Sunni is just incidental.

Back to the Malays, they want to be identified as just Muslim and I find there is something that is not right with their mental well being and psyche! As for me I am a Malay first, but my religion has always been part of my ethnic identity, but it is definitely not second. It is part of me that I will say only between me and my God! As a Malay professing Islam as the religion I have no problem in fulfilling the tenets!

But when anyone ask me I will have no problem saying "Yes I am a Malay first and proud of it", as for my religion? Who are you, you sanctimonous bastard, to want to be reassured every time as to what religion do I profess?

To MRH,C and Anonymous! I guess what I am trying to say is Malays should not be ashamed to be Malay first, and you will always have your religion, and be cool man! Fight for your ethnic identity or forever hold your peace!



Anonymous said...

Hi Pasquale
Ethnicity is what each and everyone has that is fixed from birth till death, surer even than taxes. Including the rojaked ethnic ancestry, mongrel, hybrid etc. It is what I am, and I'll be damned if I'm going to apologise for it. Matter of fact, more than religion, its the true tinderbox of wholescale violence and slaughter.
Sad that some souls have to attempt find identity in religion in misguided reasoning that equality is assured perhaps. I say misguided, and stand to be corrected, because even in the religion there are the people of the book and there are they who are converted by free will or otherwise. It is inherent in human nature the bias and bigotry. More pure by virtue of being descendent of the book, and inferior to be a convert??
Further this trend to hijack the religion to talk about clash between a religion as a monotheistic entity (when in reality there are as many interpretations as there are ways of worship as there are places of worship) versus a country or a continent or this undefinable geography of western/eastern/northern/southern and all other permutations.
Man starts war not religion, schizophrenics also hear the voices commanding them to kill but at least schizo's don't insult your intelligence by offering putrid rationalisations
I am what I am and will always be

Chindiana said...

Hey Magpie dude, officially for me religion and race go together hand in hand to define a person wether they are Malay, Chinese, Indian or a Martian.

I'm still getting over the fact that the ascerbic Pasquale actually used the words "my apologies" to prelude one of his commentaries!

Pasquale said...

Dear Anonymous!

I rejected your posting because who ever you are, you wrote that I am Rusdi and I am not him, I am assuming you thought I am Rusdi Mustaffa(?). I am not him and I can be anti-anyone if I chose to, and bloggers need not be a gentlemen, as you are asking me to be, since the word bloggers imply that in a cyberspace you can be whatever you want to be, and if I appear to be anti-paklah or pro-najib, or vice versa I can be that one as it is my right to be so as I am an interested party in this country, and where the leadership is taking to country to. And as for Khairy, I assumne you meant Khairy Jamaluddin the deputy Umno chief, repeat the Deputy Umno Chief, when you mentioned if I am Rusdi (Which I am not) and does he know whether I am him/Pasquale, I do not give a damn as I don't really care who he is and what he thinks, what else! Oh Yes! If you can just accused a blogger by name as though you are sure that he is who you believe he is, you moron can at least identify yourself!

Anonymous said...

Er... Pasquale
Not sure which thread u referring to in terms of Anony and Rusdi
Mis-post to this thread ah??
Anyway, very sad that k-economy or e-commerce or whaterver slogan dont seem to understand that honest feedback usually not as(s) very pleasant to the ear as it can be. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, the converse is equally applicable.
Important to accept that cyberspace allows one to share one's thoughts without the usual sugarcoated considerations.

Pasquale said...

Dear anonymous on March 26 at 8:39am!

Dear anonymouys!

Some one sent me a message and I deleted it as it was very offensive!
He wrote something like this:" I know you are Rusdi and does Khairy knows that you are Pasquelle, and I know you are with Najib and why are you so anti-paklah, you must be a gentleman blogger and why are you writing under the name Pasquelle" or something like that!

First of all I am not Rusdi (Mustaffa) if the writer was referring to him., secondly this is not the Soviet Union under Stalin where pro-government trying to muzzle freedom of expression! I will give you a hint as to who I am, my father was a known PMIP leader from Kelantan not PAS, but PMIP! PMIP stood for Pan-Malayan Islamic Party, until some moron hijacked it and turned it into PAS!

PW said...

Hi Pasquale, some more comments for you… I always thought (and so far this has been proven by my life experience – though not too big, but …) that person’s opinion of the religion is something Personal and should not be mixed with the national concepts of being of the one (big, great, oldest in the history, most suffered, “the only right”) nation in the world.

And therefore, leave those commenting on the religion to have their own opinion as far as it is not interfering others (making obstacles, preventing the growth, discriminating). Because, majority of problems in human history came just from this point – I am the right and you are the wrong, aren’t they?

Mat Rempit Hubris,Carthage said...


Questioning the worth of one’s own culture, tradition and history is
quite symptomatic of societies that have been colonized or defeated. In fact it is quite normal.

This lost of faith in their own culture, can take many forms ranging from mimicking the ways and habits of the colonial masters or/and to an outright condemnation and hostility to the merits of anything remotely indigenous in nature. In one form or another, and to a lesser or greater degree, the collective self- condemnation of the colonized and the defeated, has happened among the Indians, Arabs, Philipinoes , Algerians ( Berbers ), Africans and to a lesser extant the Chinese.

And of course, as u well know, and as the example your post highlights,in this regard the Malays were also not an exception.

In fact, questioning and even condemning one's own traditional values and race can even afflict people who were not technically colonized but merely suffered defeat at the hands of foreigners. The following quotation from the Japan Herald dated 9th April 1881, when the humiliating forceful opening of Japan by Mathew Perry was still fresh in the collective psyche of the Japanese, is symptomatic of such a reaction:

"Wealthy we do not think Japan will ever become: the advantages conferred by nature, with the exception of climate, n the love of INDOLENCE n PLEASURE of the people themselves, forbid it. The Japanese r a HAPPY race, and being content with little, are NOT LIKELY TO ACHIEVE MUCH"

(Pasquale, I have deliberately written some words in bold. Those words sound familiar right? Indolent, pleasure seeking, lack of ambitioned,fatalistic,etc-etc, are all part of the standard vocabulary used by the Malays, including UMNO leaders like Dr M, when attempting to explain the reasons for Malay backwardness.)

This happens because of two reasons; one obvious and natural while the other develops more insidiously.

The former happens, because being defeated by any foreign entity is by itself, a humiliating process, what more being ruled by a foreign interloper. With regards to the latter, in Malaya for example, in their attempts to ensure that their presence was met with as little resistance as possible,(apart from ruling under the auspices of the Malay Monarchy) the British had introduce an educational system whose structure and curriculum was intended to make the Malays blame themselves for being colonized. It was a classic case of reversing the appropriation of blame from the victimizers to the victims. And of course, when taken together with Winsted’s stated policy of limiting Malay education to standard six, which would have the effect of making it impossible for them to participate in the colonial economy, the political and economic emancipation of the Malays was complete.

Furthermore, due to the fact, that the poverty stricken Malays were surrounded by non- Malays who were far more economically developed, after a number of decades, in the minds of many ( both Malays and non), the poverty of the Malays was given a racial dimension.
For many Malays, Malay-ness was soon synonymous with backwardness. For them, to be Malay was to be poor, fatalistic, lazy, moronic, ugly. In short the Malays felt that they had inherited a culture of poverty.( this situation, whereby the Malays blames themselves for their predicament instead of the British apartheid policies towards them, facilitated British rule)

This general mindset continued throughout the colonial period and extended even after Merdeka.

Moreover, due to the fact, that the level of understanding among the Malays about their own tradition, history and culture is at a bare minimum, and even then, mostly derived from second hand layman opinion, for the Malays to even have an inkling about another possible interpretation of their history, was almost impossible.

Of course there were exceptions to the general rule like the academician Syed Husin al- Attas who wrote “The Myth of the Lazy Native” and his brother Syed Naguib. The latter especially in his understanding about the spread of Islam in the Malay Archepelago, the role of the Malay language in it and the signal contributions of Hamzah Fansuri and Nuruddin Al- Raneiri in that process is especially instructive in informing us about the richness of our tradition. Then there are the works of Tan Sri Ismail Hussin, Leonard Andaya, Sharil Robert, etc- etc.

But understanding about how Malay history, culture and tradition per se and their interaction with colonialism, which were given far more depth due to the direct exposure to primary and secondary sources that was taking place in the ivory towers, did not filter down to the larger community. This is tragic because the insights of our best and brightest, about our own heritage, were unable to inform the general Malay public, including policy makers. As such, the general understanding of the Malays about themselves and even their religion since colonialism remain low.

Partly it was due to the Malay political masters who were generally disinterested in academic activities. After all, what the general Malay populace knew were what their leaders, thru the mainstream media, wanted them to know. Unfortunately for the Malays, the Umno leadership was(is) by and large non- intellectuals, and their developmental priorities reflected this. And in the haste to get out of our economic doldrums, abstract knowledge about our heritage and tradition was not considered a priority.

Thus, the knee jerk “blaming the victims instead of the victimizer” mindset of the Malays, which they inherited from the colonial period, was passed down from one generation to another.

And in a situation whereby a community, in this instance, the Malays, feels that it has inherited a culture of poverty, it becomes very easy for any party to use religion to condemn and stymie any attempt to use race as a galvanizing force to garner political support.This was more apparent after the introduction of the NEP, when some of the criticism of LKY's Malaysian Malaysia was given an Islamic twist.

Race based politics in general, and Malay based politics and policies in particular, were being cast as unIslamic. Those who used these arguments claim that Malay policies were racist in nature and Islam is against racism in any form. (Though I feel that such assertions are very shallow in nature, I wont record my rebuttals here) They claim that pro Malay policies were assabiyah. (Of course with regards to its compatibility with Islam,the real status of Malay( Umno) politics is far more subtle and complicated than that. Additionally, the fact that the term assabiyah has also been given positive connotations by Ibn Khaldun and is regarded by him as being the main ingredient underpinning civilizational rise and decline, as recorded in his seminal work “The Muqqadimah” is also largely unknown to the majority of Malays.)

Later when DSAI joined Umno, many of the more seasoned politicians like Musa, Ku Li, Rais etc-etc, had already establish a strong following which in some ways was derived from them having a defined platform. Most of these platforms were nationalistic in nature. Thus in wanting to differentiate himself from the crowd so to speak, DSAI decided to have a platform that had a more “Islamic face”.

Nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that the "Islamic Face" of DSAI's politics had the effect at the operational level, of reducing Islam into symbols. The rich and sophisticated moral and intellectual ethos of the religion, which were, by its very nature not easily package and marketed, was relegated to the back seat. More emphasis was being given to the promotion of religious paraphernalia, like the tudung for instance, than a proper explanation of the moral and ethical principles behind it( for instance, the understanding that the tudung, is but an external manifestation of our internal commitment to maintain a certain behavarial standard, rather than a substitute for it )

And of course, though Malay nationalism was never directly condemned, nonetheless, it was never disassociated completely from the charges of assabiyah. In fact in subtle ways it was encouraged.

For instance tv drama, religious programmes and popular magazine articles slowly introduce the idea that there exist a seeming conflict between being a Malay and being a muslim. And in any contest between the two, the latter was of course given more weight. Soon statements along the lines of "Malay is just a race, while Islam is universal" gain a lot of currency and popularity. This was an indirect attempt to discredit and later delegitimize the nationalistic platforms of his competitors. And after the purging of Umno in 87, and the franchising of the paper and tv media to his stooges, Islam ala Anuwar, was given unlimited free reign. ( of course, additionally such a development also served the interest of PISM, which would also jump on the bandwagon of denouncing Malay nationalism as unIslamic)

Thus Pasquale, to me, the shallow and irrelevant incongruousness that some( many?) Malays today see between being a Malay and being a Muslim, and the supremacy that the latter holds in any imagined conflict between the two, originated because of the following factors:

1) the lack of confidence that we have on the worth of our traditions and values caused by being colonized,

2) a lack of understanding about our history, culture and tradition.This was further compounded by deemphasizing the importance of academic diciplines which did not have alot of "economic" merit or whose role in the rapid industrialization process was unclear

3) our failure to control the public debate with regards to the compatibility of Malay nationalism with Islam.

nstman said...

Good piece, pasquale.

Chindiana said...

hey magpie dude (U don't have to post this) you've been quiet for some time. where's the idignant conscience of the Malahysina public?