Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Other kids put on man-sized kain pelikat making them look manly and ready for whoever it is behind the door of a room where you go in one by one according to the name they call out in the clipboard. I want to run away. I don't want to have anything to do with Aunt, Grandma or Cousin, or go back to the house where there isn't a single man there who can lend me his kain pelikat so I'd look like the rest of the boys. All I have to put on is one of Aunt's batik sarung which make me look sissy in front of the boys now talking among themselves as if this whole thing about having the extended part of you sliced off is nothing but just another story to tell. I sit next to Aunt in a bench hating her for doing this to me. For not thinking in advance of getting me a kain pelikat. I want to be a man. And it is impossible to take the first step to being a man in a Pekalongan batik sarung.
A man with a thin moustache calls out my name.
I go in to a room in batik sarong looking silly as a goat that has eaten too much pucuk ubi that it got him all tipsy in the head. An orderly comes in with a tray of equipment that make a lot of noise in a quiet room where they slice the extended part of you as if that extended part of you is a tail of a fish which you have to cut before smothering it in garam kunyit to be deep fried. A nurse comes in. They are talking but I can't make out what they are saying. And then I feel one of them take that extended part of me to prick a needle in it. A few minutes go by and I feel that extended part of me getting big as the trunk of a coconut tree.
In a trishaw I curse and curse Aunt, blaming her and everything in my view for having to wear what she has for me to wear. Now that I'm like a stupid prince in a trishaw on a royal tour of the kingdom while my loyal subjects stand at attention to line the street to have a good look at me in batik sarung, I felt like jumping off the trishaw and run into the woods so I could hide in a cave and live there all by myself.
Grandma greets us at the door but I'm not in the mood to smile. I hear Grandma and Aunt hush hush which got me pretty mad that I yell out to them to get me apples orang putih or I will burn the house down. I must have yelled pretty long that I dozed off until the next day.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Shall We Continue With The Malay Thing?
Writing as a Malay about something as familiar as 'The Malay Thing' should be a ride downhill on a full-suspension bike. That's what I thought. Now I am beginning to have second doubts about writing too close a subject to my heart that I'm inclined to leave it unsaid, unwritten, mind my own business and just let the subject flow easy on down the way you'd shake onde-onde in the coconut flakes. Or the way you roll the kerepok lekor into a three-foot long sausage before sliding it down easy into the boiling water. But the subject won't leave me alone because out of the blue it hit me like a train. I've decided that something as close to my heart as this should be dealt with in a way that can get a lot of people with high blood pressure really mad that they had better call up a couple of funeral houses to obtain the best quotation for the final journey to a place address unknown, no such number, no such zone. Elvis should know better since he's a permanent resident there now.
This whole thing about Malay is a simple concept. Nothing complicated. Not in the least scientific, nor philosophical. You are either a Malay, or a non-Malay. It is not the kinda stuff you can conveniently describe as being 'the-state-of-mind' because it isn't something you can simply imagine, or conjure up images in your head. Being one is a full-time job, and it is as real as it can get. As real as having a piece of meat lodged in between the teeth that it could take hours to get it out with your tongue which could get the tongue triple the size by the time you're done. And you'd better be prepared to do a bit of hard work to maintain your Malayness. Of course you can never lose your Malayness no matter how orange you dye your hair, or how hard you scrub your eyeballs blue, however much you eat all kinds of cheese in the world, or drink all the wines, or however you twist your tongue to speak either in Irish, American, British or South African accent. If you born Malay you might as well live with it because in a way you are caught between the moon and downtown Dungun. There is every likelihood that you'd die a Malay and the chances of you going down otherwise is as remote as kerepok lekor as the most likely substitute for the meat in a hot dog.
And so I write...
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The Malay Thing.
Copyrights for the title hasn't been officially obtained from the owner.
(Warning: Maybe be racist to some.)
There's nothing to be ashamed of if you are born Malay. It's not your fault. Neither it is your business if people keep saying you, a Malay, are as lazy as a guy can be. I've never bothered to take this kinda stuff seriously because I have achieved the highest level in being a Malay that nothing people say or do can inflict me any good, or bad.
First of all Malaysia is the country designed and built with the Malays in mind. This is the only country in the world where Malays can be as lazy as they want and as far as they are concerned, it is their business and if that is a problem to everyone else it is just too bad. The Malays are not lazy actually. They pretend to be so, to give the others the impression that they are a bunch of no-gooders who feed on government subsidies. Actually they are damned smart.
They let others work like mad. Tax them. Give them a hard time. And then use the proceed to finance Malay economic and social agenda. It's a brilliant plan. Executed with finesse that others can't even see the big picture. In the meantime, they continue to be masters and let others work to the bone, and just when they are doing all right, becoming rich and stuff like that, the Malay come in with a big stick in the form of the law that would enable them to milk maybe 30% of the wealth others have created. It's brilliant.
Only in Malaysia can a Malay do this. That's why you don't find lazy Malays in England, or New Zealand. Like the next guy, the Malays are as resourceful, hardworking, intelligent and creative when they are not in Malaysia. They know pretty well that they can't afford to live like a Malay in a foreign land because they know that those countries are not designed and built for the Malays. That's why I don't buy it when people keep saying Malays are lazy. I don't buy the concept that one race is created to be more hardworking and intelligent than the other. There's no such thing. Maybe nature vs nurture has something to do with, but it is not biological. No way.
And so this is the prelude of the entries under 'The Malay Thing'. Once I've got the copyright to write, that is. Otherwise this shall remain a plan, angan-angan. After all, I'm in Malaysia and being Malay, I can afford to be lazy...provided I can find others who can work this out for me and tax as much as 50% in the form of blogger gain tax. Malays are born with this gift. The gift to be masters in their own land and let others work their bones off and die miserable, disillusioned. The Malays have driven quite a lot of people out of this country this way. And they are not bothered. It's not their problem.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Islam Is Good...the white woman says so.
A lot of Muslims out there believe Karen Armstrong is doing a better job at explaining to the west about Islam than all the Ulamaks in the Muslim world put together. And so they took her in, hang on to her every word as if she's a new prophet speaking on behalf of the Muslims since the Muslims are not capable of speaking for themselves about Islam to anyone especially to the white folks.
Karen Armstrong must have figured long time ago when she decided not to pursue her calling to be a nun, that since the Muslims can't even describe what Islam is all about, she might as well take up the job going around the Muslim countries speaking about Islam to the segment of the society, the segment comprising folks who consider themselves learned, cultured, intellectual and smarter than the average Muslims whose mind is filled with the notion of Jihad, pro-Osama, pro-Al Qaeda, anti-Israel, anti-Bush, anti-Blair, anti-Lina Joy.
Karen Armstrong is pretty smart and she knows what she's doing. To the folks belonging to that segment of the society her books are better than the kitabs written by Ulamak Muktabar, and therefore the folks belonging to this segment of the society rant and rave about the books they've read and you can bet your whole head that these folks have probably never opened Kifayatul Akhiar, Ihya Ulumuddin, BahrulMazi, Al-Azkar, Riadhussolihin, MinhajalAbidin, or learnt anything in a formal class about Soheh Bukhari, or Tafsir. To the folks, these Kitabs are not good enough, not as good as books written by the white folks like Karen Armstrong. If you count the words these folks read, you'll probably end up with a number like:
Karen Armstrong - 70,000 words.
Soheh Bukhari - 20 words
Tafsir - 5 words.
And so these folks arrived at the final analysis that, yup, Islam is good because the white woman says so. As a matter of fact, they further deduced, since all religions want you to do good, it doesn't really matter if you practise Islam, or Christian, or Hindu, or Buddha, or Baha'i, or Judaism, or whatever religion that comes along as time goes by. As a matter of fact, the whole concept about religion is interfaith and so what's the big deal? Yup, religion is good, Karen Armstrong says so. Oh sorry, Islam is good because the white woman says so.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
THE BOSS OF THE BOSS.
Uploaded by Bergen:
They gotta see The Boss so bad that when the cinema didn't run the movie after waiting for more than five hours, they went berserk, minds short-circuit going bzz bzz bzz that they took it upon themselves to take over the role of Sivaji and do what The Boss himself would do under the circumstances.
Had I been at the cinema to wait for five hours for the movie you can bet your left ear that I would have done the same thing too, breaking the chairs with fire extinguisher and having fun with it before the riot police come in with the water cannon. I'd probably spend a couple of hours in jail after having paid the compound which could amount to RM50.00. Heaven knows how many compounds I have paid and how many times I've had to sleep in jail for brawling. Not to mention the money I had to pay the doctors to fix things in my body that got broken.
I am not a big fan of Clint Eastwood anymore on account that he doesn't go around from one-horse town to another where tumble weed a-blowin', to walk straight up into a saloon for a shot of whiskey and chat up the women with flowers in their hair. After that he takes the prettiest girl in the saloon to go up the stairs to a room to do what a man gotta do with a woman pretty as cup cake with a single cherry on top. Of course all this isn't free. But it's different with Rajinikath, or Sivaji The Boss.
He doesn't do all this immoral things on account that there's no one-horse town in India. Besides he's too busy fighting the bad guys, the corrupt politicians who got nothing on their mind except to build more Smart tunnels, and the fat police officers on the take to close one eye to the illegal things going about in front of the police station. Sivaji can solve all these problems. And that's why when his movie didn't run on time, more than 800 Sivajis went ballistic.
Sivaji The Boss - Worldwide release 15 June 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Nothing To Be Cynical About.
Hell isn't the place where they send middle age blog writers like you who suspect everything, bitter with the world, and at war with the decadent society. And I'm sure it is not a sin to be suspicious of every government project under the sun if you were at one time in your life, a Chief Operating Officer of a GLCs who had to make way for the new generation of managers who took over your job which left you with no choice but to accept the VSSs. And so you rack your brain for a way of starting a profitable business to sustain the lifestyle you were used to. But day after day you began to realise that it is not easy to go into a business with a mindset of a guy who are so used to monthly salary, fat bonuses, profit sharing and stock option. You also realise that friends who promise to back you up in your future plans are busy with the politics of insulating themselves from being taken over by the newer generation of managers.
And so you retreated to your own corner of the world with bitterness and hatred in your heart, ready to pounce on anyone with a different view, or to find fault with everything around you. Under such circumstances, it is only natural that you find solace in religion, to substantiate your argument with this ayat and that ayat which you have just discovered in the translation of the Qur'an. You began to take an interest in the hereafter and develop a mild aversion to things duniawi, and to find fault with everything, including the Smart Tunnel.
You are angry. You've been had, by none other than the very people you voted in the last general election. And so you figured why is everyone so stupid not to see the big picture? Why is everyone so docile, not as angry as you are with the issues that have been bugging the country the last couple of years. Why is everyone willing to allow this country to go this far down in cronyism and nepotism? Why isn't everyone willing to take their anger to the street to bring down this government and replace it with a new one? Why?Why? Why?
And you look in the translation of the Qur'an and arrived at the conclusion that you are the 'ya ayyuhallazina'amanu...' and the rest are the 'munafiqun' 'fasiqun' and 'kafirun'. And boy, that makes you feel good. Because you are not the corrupting kind, or the sucking up kind, or the kind who make a lot of money on the side fleecing the suppliers and the contractors blind for cash or kind. And you fill your heart with the ideals of salvation. And how this world is heading straight for destruction at break neck speed.
You are angry.
And so when the big guy says, The-Tunnel-Works-With-The-Rest-Of-The-Components, you get even angrier, feeling once again, you've been had for the third time and there's nothing you can do about it. And you bet tomorrow, the big guy is going to say, we are going to increase the toll to RM400.00 one way, and we are going to build 40 more tunnels and one of them will run right under your house. By this time your blood goes up and well, well, well, what have we got here? Congratulations, mate, you are now a Cynic. It's not the same as Bionic but it's quite close, phonetically, that is.
I'm not the kind who dispense advice to angry middle age guys like you. Neither do I care if your blood goes up, but as fellow bloggers, I gotta show my human side and say what John Lennon used to say when he was an angry middle age guy: ...all we're sayin', give the tunnel a chaynce...
Monday, June 11, 2007
Part II - Watching The Floods Go By.
They said, the tunnel! the tunnel! That's what the city need to solve this worsening problems with floods each time it rains. They said, build one today and this whole damned thing about floods would be the thing of the past, something you wanna tell your great children about, or laugh about with your friends while having a drink watching the rain clouds up above swirling violently like a mad dervish. They said, you gotta trust us on this one. And so we did. And it rained. And the floods got worse.
They said, the retention pond! the retention pond! That's what the city need to solve this worsening problems with floods each time it rains. They said, don't worry about it. We're in the midst of building a few and as soon as we're done with them you can rest assured that this damned thing with the floods would have been solved once and for all. And so we wait. And wait.
In the meantime, cars got washed away, or went underwater like mini subs on a mission to find the last few pieces of Titanic. And insurance companies are saying, we're not responsible! we're not responsible! because all this is an act of God, as if being alive in itself isn't an act of God.
In the meantime, they're gonna have a meeting to ask for more money since it's gonna cost more money to build whatever it is that they are gonna build to solve the problems that could have been solved if they just dug the river deeper so excess water could flow easy out of the way.
More tunnels! more tunnels! That's what we need to make more money! more money! Don't blame us. Blame the rain for coming down so hard this time of the year when it should be hot as indian summer but the way things are right now with the weather, it might as well be Dungun, December 1970s all over again.
Watching The Floods Go By.
Sometimes I got lucky. Like on Sunday when I decided to stay put when the rain came down hard on the city that I somehow figured someone somewhere had better put the emergency response system on stand-by because I could see the water rising and the river flowing real fast that you'd better think one thousand times before you put a canoe in there for a bit of white water fun.
And so I checked into a hotel and went out again to buy a toothbrush and a tiny tube of toothpaste, a pair of pants and a nice shirt, and a fresh pair of socks. Every where city folks were going about their business eating and sending sms messages or making a phone call on their cellphones. By this time it was pretty obvious that we had a problem but city folks being what they are and who they are, were not at all disturbed by all these signs of danger to react accordingly. I got to the hotel to shower down and put on nice stuff I had bought and went down to have a bit of food all by myself since I wasn't in the mood to buy anyone dinner on account that I might be stuck in the city for a couple of days and I had better be frugal with the money I got left on me.
And then it happened. First class flood the kind the city hadn't seen for a long time coming. Brown, brackish water flowing fast and furious. Cars pushed by the water, moving by themselves as if in a disaster movie that I couldn't help but admire the scene before my eyes because you don't get to see something like this everyday for free. I am not a registered volunteer rescue worker to be out there helping people, pulling the destitutes out of the water to put them in a Zodiac. Besides, I don't want to ruin the new pair of pants and the shirt I had bought since these clothes cost me quite a bit of money on account that I am such a weakling when it comes to branded clothes that I didn't figure to buy something cheap so I could get into the water to help people. And so I went up to my room to watch a bit of movies and looked out the window every now and then to see the mayhem on the street that looked as if the whole city was going to be inundated in water that I might as well brush my teeth just in case the water came up to the 12th floor. Who knows I might die tonight and the best thing I could do, at least, is to brush my teeth.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Big Time Snatch Thieves.
Now that it is no longer fashionable to snatch handbags from women walking down the street, the thieves have started to think big by snatching ATMs from the banks using trucks with hydraulic lifter. Now THAT is really going global but unfortunately most of these thieves are too lazy to work out the logistics of uprooting an ATMs out of its casing, push it onto the hydraulic lifter of a waiting truck, raise the floor board to the level of the truck bed, give it a last push, drive away to a workshop, get the prying tools going, tear the machine up, share the money, spend it as if money is going out of style, and when the money runs out, look out for another ATMs to snatch.
It can take a good 15 minutes to set everything ready before you can yank an ATMs out of its housing. I use the word yank hoping that you can imagine the sound this whole operation will make. If you do this at 3am, you might as well multiply the noise by 4 times. And then, if you managed to yank it out, you'd better know how to deal with the alarm system connected to something as valuable as the ATMs. You have to be smart to know that ATMs are like a mini bank and therefore its security system works the same way to that of a full fledged bank.
Unlike the conventional snatch theft where it can be done in a blink of an eye, in principle, carting away ATMs is just like snatching handbags. The only difference is, the new trade requires a bit more efforts like you gotta figure where to get the truck with the hydraulic lifter. Unlike snatching handbags where all you need is a kapcai and a willing wing-man to do the job of snatching handbags from unsuspecting women, snatching ATMs is a serious business. The trade calls for sophisticated tools and you'd better know how to handle these tools. Or you may sub-con the job to hired hands to pry open the machine but that would mean compromising on the secrecy of your operation and what's stopping these hired hands from talking to their missus or girlfriends who may have brothers or sisters in the police force investigating the colorful characters who have given a whole new definition to the concept of snatch theft.
The ATMs snatch thieves, sooner of later , are going to pick up a few tricks from their failed mission. After all, we learn from mistakes. Maybe sooner or later, the police are going to make it mandatory for every truck with hydraulic lifter to be registered. In the meantime, you wanna watch out suspicious looking people working out like crazy in the gym lifting weights. They might be training to lift ATMS with bare hands now that it is such a bother to cart away one with a truck.
To these ATMs thieves the choice is pretty simple. Either a truck, or hernia. What's a little hernia compares to the big money in the ATMs.
It's a pretty confused world out there.
A Friday Weekend.
This country has given in to the Christian long enough for the Sunday weekend and it's about time the Christian show their divine side by giving in to the Muslim for a Friday weekend. And then, after a century or so, the Muslim will show their divine side giving in to the Christian for a Sunday weekend. The Christian can have the Sunday weekend back again as if nothing ever happened. But through it all we will have fostered real friendship, a respect for each other's beliefs, learn each other's holy book to find similarities instead of arguing on the differences until hell freezes over. Don't you think this would be good for the country now that Loga is dead which is a bad thing because he was the only guy who could have unite all the races in Malaysia with his songs and music. Badminton won't be able to keep us together because I can't remember we won anything the last couple of tournaments. Hockey may have a chance but except for Minarwan, I can't name the luminaries in the sport that could get us all excited the way the names like Mokhtar Dahari, Santokh Sing, Arumugam, Soh Chin Aun or James Wong would have us all proud to be Malaysian because these were the very names that put the fear of god in the Korean. But that was a long time ago.
And we've had Sunday weekend for a long time. I don't have the record but it could go as far back as 1511, or thereabout. I'm sure you'd agree with me 500 years is a very very long time. Given this fact I don't think it would be right if you accuse the Muslim of being intolerant. 5oo years of giving in to the Christian is as good as giving up your mother for a complimentary prize in a county fair, or a circus.
Just look at the office workers who have to squeeze in lunch and Friday solat in between the hour. They've gotta rush through things, and the Khatib gotta to keep the sermon short, which is a good thing. And they've gotta rush through lunch. By the time they get back to the office, most of them are not in the right frame of mind to finish up the job. You are lucky if you are a big guy in an organization but if you happen to be bean pushers, or dispatch riders, you have a lot of explaining to do if you are a few minutes late returning to work from the Friday Solat. I know of kafir employers who won't tolerate their Muslim staff going to the Friday Solat, and would give all kinds of pressure so as to make their Muslim staff uncomfortable for going as if the Muslim staff owe them a life. Now this ain't right if you want to call this a Muslim country.
If a Friday weekend works for Trengganu, Kelantan, Kedah and Perlis, it is beyond me if it won't work for Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor. As for Sabah and Sarawak, they've gotta decide if they want be part of The Islamic Republic of Malaysia, or to remain status quo.
Am I barking up the wrong tree? I don't think so.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
They'll Never Be Angry Enough.
(WARNING: Not a suitable read if you can't laugh silly at silly things written by someone as silly as a guy who calls himself Bergen, of all the names in the world.)
I've heard it a million times that you don't wanna fool around with the Malays because they are like, sarang tebuan. Maybe you've never seen a sarang tebuan in your life especially if you are a city kinda a guy, I mean born and raised in the city and never ventured outside this metropolitan place to find out what fun you can have if you stand at a safe distance, aim your throw, a stick, right at the sarang tebuan. After this you wanna run like you've never ran before. You wanna run straight to the river, nose dive deep into the murky water and grope your way to the bank, coming out of the water as slow as you can, holding your breath as long as you can, and training your ears for the buzzing sound. It's a lot of fun but it could get pretty dangerous that I got a friend Zul Tebuang on account of a few stings he got on the head trying to catch up with the rest of the gang ahead of him who got into the water first. Of course his mommy blamed me for the whole adventure that she came to the house looking for me creating such a fuss on a Maghrib when Bilal Rosek was calling out the Azan. Aunt kept saying, I'm sorry I'm sorry, but quite frankly I thought she didn't have to do that because it wasn't my idea to plekong sarang tebuang with the stick. My idea was to hit it with pebbles but those guys didn't want to listen. And so I took a stick and send it airborne right at the sarang tebuang and the rest, like they say, is history.
I am not sure where it came from, this sarang tebuan jangan diusik stuff. I know the Malays like to say this a lot, as a warning that one shouldn't over step one's boundary when skirting issues the Malays consider sensitive like, oh I don't know. Putting cream cheese in sambal nasi lemak, or something like that. But this phrase got me thinking, and lately I've been doing a lot of thinking that I'm getting pretty worried myself because I figure all this thinking is going to make me a serious guy who can't laugh silly at silly things no more. But I reckon one more thinking wouldn't hurt me none and so I figure I'd better write about it to get this off my chest. I can't afford have this issue bothering me since it reminds me of Zul Tebuang, his mother and the confusion of it all when everything happened simultaneously i.e Bilal Rosek calling out the Azan, goats in the pen, chicken and ducks putting on a show all of a sudden, Zul's mother screaming at the top of her lungs, and Aunt with her, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Maybe you've used this strategy as way to put fear into your opponent's heart before a fight go down. You know, stuff like, this is your father's head, this is my father's head, if you are a man, try stepping on my father's head. Or how about, do-that-one-more-time-and-I'll-smash-your head routine. 99% of the time, you have no idea how to smash that guy's head with your bare hands but you say it anyway to work him up a little bit. And 99% of the time the guy will just say, try if you dare. You can walk away from this, you know. But that wouldn't be nice. Why miss a chance to get into a fight when you've come this far to make it happen.
Maybe this is a little out of the topic, but I figure, the phrase sarang tebuan jangan diusik doesn't carry that sense of threat it used to carry one time because if I know educated, urban, middle class Malays, they are not the kind who take their anger to the street. Most of the time they write blogs after blogs. Maybe pepper them with expletives, or more threats, or big talks, or being rude for no reason. But that's about it. They are not the physical kind. Neither are they the legal kind who take things to the next level by going to court, or something like that. 99% of the time they have no idea how to get enough angry people like them in a big group to do something that can do justice to this sarang tebuan thing.
You gotta know how to be angry correctly. You don't want to say this sarang tebuan thing but not knowing how to put it into action. First you gotta ask, are you willing to get physical? If you are, you gotta ask the next question, do you know how to get physical? Are you trained for this? Have you trained hard enough to know the basics of getting physical? You see 99.9% of the urban Malays are not the kind of people interested in martial art. They may send their kids to Taekwondo class on Sunday but that's about it. And so I ask this again, do you think you know what to do in a fight just in case you need to settle an issue fist-to-fist because you can't talk coherently now that you are all worked up over a sensitive issue that all you wanna do is get physical.
You seldom get enough adult students from a middle-class neighbourhood for a martial art class to sustain at least until you've covered the basics. And so when I read about Malays from this section of the society say something like this sarang tebuan jangan diusik, I can't help but to say to myself, you don't know what you are talking about, mate!
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Have We Forgotten To Laugh Silly At Silly Things?
The last couple of entries got me thinking that the world is pretty much a serious place to live. Maybe it is no longer a suitable place for people who laugh silly at silly things. Post something like Micheal Chick's comments and see how a lot of guys got all emotional and angry that I'd better not post something like that ever again because I could get their blood pressure up. Who knows they could get all worked up in emotions that they may decide to burn down a building or two just to chill out.
Quite frankly, I don't think it was necessary to take Micheal Chick seriously. I mean what he wrote. After all one can come up with all kinds of theories about how one came about to being a race, or an individual. For example you wouldn't believe me for a million years if I told you that my ancestors are Norwegians. I come from the long and complicated lines of the Vikings. They were going up North but one of the boats got lost in the storm and ended up in Trengganu. They liked the place so much and call it Doong Gooong. That's the sound of their headache after having survived the rough seas. I believe they made it in December so the sea's pretty rough that time of the year. I swear this is a true story.
Now, this is only from my paternal side. My maternal side is part Aztec, part Maya, and part Inca. The remaining part is from a small community of seafarers who lived by the coast of Dungun. They were fashionable pirates long before Johnny Depp. If I'm not mistaken, and if my memory is correct, Grandma used to tell me how these ancestors of mine sailed the seven seas in 501 jeans. And they coined the phrase 7 seas and got into a negotiation with the manufacturer of a cod liver oil company who bought the rights to the name and that's how they lost their fortunes. Which pretty much explains why I am not a rich guy living off the royalty of my ancestors who were not very perceptive business wise because they were hopeless romantics with the sea, treasure chest, and the promise of adventure.
Every once in a while, a guy digs up a site and claims he's found a bone, or a fragment, to support his theory that so and so race used to walked this way on the way to buy chicken when kabooom! a lightning strike, and they were dead and buried in this here place for thousand and thousand of years. And you know how the deal is. This guy who dug up the site takes the bone to a lab, eenie minniee mo a date on it. He'd agree or disagree with his distinguished colleagues, fellow diggers, as if their agreement or disagreement means something to a guy driving cab or a housewife trying to cook Bamia for her family lunch. They'd go on arguing for a couple more years before a guy somewhere digs something up and found a laptop that ages something like four thousand years. And you know how the deal is, they'd agree and disagree among themselves that this laptop looks like a Mac or a Dell, Or a HP, or a Acer.
I don't mean to belittle people who make a career out of digging up the past, I mean anthropologists. I don't mean to discourage students in this discipline but really, sometimes I believe it is better that we leave the deads alone in their world because as far as I'm concerned, life is what I do today. As for tomorrow, well I try not to worry about it too much. And as for yesterday, it's gone and done with.
You Don't Need To Be A Smart Guy To Rule The World.
Two bloggers are smarter than four train loads of politicians put together. You don't have to believe me but I'm sure you'd agree with me that bloggers have written all sorta things about Abdullah Badawi, Najib, Mahathir or Nazri and politicians, the very people who make a career out of making people's life miserable. Bloggers have called these fine folks stupid, morons, crazy and other things that I wouldn't want to repeat to a cockroach because it's not nice to do that.
Bloggers are really smart people who read books thick as concrete slabs. They watch opera or go to the theatre to watch plays by Ibsen or Harold Pinter, and when they got home, they turn on the tv to catch up on Mr Bean. When they get together with their friends they talk about government policies, arguing and backing up their claims with statistics and facts that leave me completely at sea as to what in the world are they talking about. Yup, bloggers are smart people if you read what they write but politicians know better that these smart bloggers are not going anywhere in life because they are too busy complaining and writing about things that they have little time to do real things like getting close to the people with smiles and hand shakes so the gold folks can put their votes down and before you know it, the dumb guy get elected and he pretty much decide how the rest of us should live.
Politicians are like tough guys with big sticks in the olden days. They go in to a village and scare the wits out of every one there and before you know it, they become the leaders of the community and they pretty much decide whether you are a Malay, Negrito, Malayokunosemangjakun, Chinese, Indian, or others. Meaning people they can't quite put their fingers on because their ancestors inter married with people outside their race that in the end they become such a confused hybrid that it's easier to just call them 'others' or 'lain-lain'.
And that my friend, how this term Melayu came about. It came about as the result of a big guy with a big stick walking into the parliament building to grab the highest seat in the house and says something like, from now on, those who speak this language, are Muslim and have this kind of skin tone which is sawo matang or ular sawa or whatever, shall be called Bumiputera, or Melayu. The rest of you who don't have these physical features from now on will be called 'others' , or 'lain-lain'. Comprende? And we'll make this whole thing legal by putting all these data in your Mykad. Ada fahammmmm?
And so a couple of intellectuals, anthropologists start to come in with a lot of complaints, and statistics and research to show that it is not right to call this people Melayu because they came from a long line that goes back to China, or Mongolia, or Arab or Eskimo or Masai. And the big guy with the big stick says, who are you? And the smart guy with a university degree says, I'm professor so and so with credits from so and so (and before he can finish his speech), the big guy with the big stick whacks it hard on the professor's head and says, you shut up! Me got big stick so wanna another one?
I reckon that pretty much explains my reaction to Micheal Chick comments. Hey, whaddaya expect. I didn't go to any university to learn anything that can make me a smart guy or an intellectual. I used to work the rig and you don't need to be all that smart to earn good money in US dollars on the rig. All you need is a bit of brain and a lot passion for grease, diesel, saltwater and good food.
You don't need to be a smart guy to rule the world. Look at George W.Bush. He ain't that smart but boy he can make a lot of smart people with PhD bonkers with his policies. But hey, he's the guy with the big stick.
Comments by Mr Micheal Chick
It's been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on an all "Malaysian" free for all. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled "Contesting Malayness"? Written by a Professor of National University of Singapore. Cost S$32 (about). It reflects the Anthropologists views that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with. If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and moved into Borneo (4,500yrs ago) (Dayak). They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Vietnam at 4,500yrs ago.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Oh! Those Fine Nurses Of Assunta.
Gotta remind myself to check straight into Assunta just in case I'm down with fever or a minor cold. Gotta meet up those fine, friendly and helpful nurses they've got there. Oh! those fine nurses at Assunta, wish every nurse in the world is like that.
Don't go thinking the hospital pay me to write this. No one in his or her right mind would want me to do that. Not with the way I write, or the way I spell the words out. A fine establishment like Assunta deserves a polished write up the way Awang Goneng is capable of, or Count Byron. When will I be able to write like these guys, or think like them. Maybe I gotta read up a lot more books but I know this is not possible because I am not much of a reading kinda guy. I can tough it out to finish up a page or two but I don't think I can pull it through for a third. I'd rather you have me do the laundry for three days than try to read up a book. But it's a totally different story if the book is about how to sharpen your carbon steel knives, or how to de-bone a chicken to butterfly it for a good roast. I can handle these kinda books pretty well. But give me a book with a lot of words and no pictures in it and you can bet half your head that I'd be on the couch looking as if I've just gave birth to a triplet after completing a 20 km marathon. I betcha.
Now the Assunta nurses.
I was there to see a friend but after running into a couple of nurses in the hallway on the way to the room where my friend was in, I forgot all about who it was I was supposed to see. In fact I almost forgot who my friend was, or what his name was. For a while he didn't figure in the bigger scheme of things because I was too busy being polite to every single nurse I ran into. The way I figured, I could be polite to them for a week on end and I knew it would do me a lot of good like lower my blood pressure, or cholesterol or free radicals or whatever I got in the body that made me kinda worried every now and then.
After a few hellos, and afternoon, ma'am, I finally found the room where my friend was and I saw how badly he needed a rest and so I said, you'd better get back to rest, I gotta go, bye. And so I was out of the room before he could even open his eyes and I didn't feel guilty leaving him all alone with the wires connected to his body because I was on a mission important to the nation. There were so many nurses to meet and try to get to know them and learn up their names by heart to ask whether they were hungry and would care for something to eat since I got a bit of money to spend and who better to spend it on other than the fine nurses of Assunta. All of a sudden I feel like moving in there as a permanent resident but I knew better that wouldn't be possible because you've gotta be at least one leg less to get in here. I know a heart attack would get you straight in but what's good is a heart attack when you would be busy trying to keep your heart working to stay alive and they'd connect you with wires and put on the oxygen cup in your mouth big as a bowl that you won't be able to see the nurses moving about your bed because they've gotta to keep you alive so you can pay your bills when you come around.
Gotta figure out a way, maybe get myself a class 3 fever. You know the kind mild enough to knock you off a little but not too strong to knock you off completely that you would be completely unconscious to know what's going on around you. Or I could go in to do a physical and hope they crowd around me so I can feel what it's like to be a James Bond for an hour or so but I wouldn't wanna do this on account that they might find something is wrong with me that they may want to put me down for a week and connect all the wires up and put the oxygen mask the size of a flower pot.
I got a plan.
The Last Few Seconds.
Maybe she was still alive when they blow her up. Maybe she was aware what was going on. Maybe she was too weak to fight back because they must have knocked her good behind the head, or cut her throat. Maybe she could see from the corner of her eyes how they stuff the C4 down her throat or sliced open the flesh underneath her armpits to insert it in, connected it to the blasting cap and KABOOOM!
You need to be trained to be able to blow someone up like that and go to bed as if you've just slaughtered a chicken for family dinner. Ordinary men, or women, who have never slaughtered a goat won't be able to do something like that and move on with life as if nothing ever happened. You gotta be specially trained for something like that. They've got to hardened you up inside so you can look at someone in the eye and shoot him in the head. You've gotta be trained to find great pleasure in seeing the head breaks into a million pieces the way you run your car over a ripe melon. You've gotta be someone special and I'm sure there are a lot of guys like this out there. Ordinary guys who look like a carpenter, or an ice-cream seller, or a taxi driver, or a garbage man, or a delivery guy, or a clerk. They don't look like action heroes you see in the movies. They don't have bulging biceps, or a chiseled jaw that could cut a metal bar into 3 slices in less than 4 seconds.
After they blew her up they probably gave one another a high-five for the job well done, went for a drink the way stock brokers do after a long trading day. It was probably just another job for these well-trained guys. They probably didn't know who it was that they just blew up, some one's daughter, or some one's girl friend. Whoever she was someone somewhere wanted her annihilated and deleted out of this world without a trace. But somehow, someone somewhere talked and retraced her last few days in Malaysia before she met death in one big explosion just like the new year's fireworks.
From the windy plains of Mongolia, she was all alone deep in the secondary jungle in Malaysia and gone forever with just a piece of bone. I'm sorry for you, ma'am. I am truly sorry. This shouldn't have happened to someone as beautiful as you.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
It Can Do That To You.
You'd hear the instructor shouting the command in Korean like 'Chombi!' With this you should stand at attention ready to execute the next move like horse riding stance single, or double punch. Inner, outer, upper and lower section blocks. Or front kick, side kick, turning kick, or back thrust. You'd learn a few other Korean words throughout your training in Taekwondo and that's about it. You wouldn't want to be anymore Korean than this. It won't make you want to pack your back to go live in Korea for the rest of your life.
Taekwondo won't do that to you.
It's the same thing with Escrima. Or Kali Pekiti Tersia. You may master the knife and stick art after a few years of training under the best instructor from the Philippines. Or you may train hard under an instructor from the army for years but this art won't make you any more Filipino than you want to be.
You may love Capoeira for its cool moves and the flexibility of performing the cartwheel to get at your opponent in a deadly sweep. Or you may love to wrestle your opponent in a Judo, bringing him down hard on the floor, breaking the bones using his own body weight. Or you may want to twist the joints of your opponents using Jujitsu. Or fight your opponent with JKD relying solely on your muscle memory to deflect, defuse or counter strike an attack.
But nothing can make you think different, act different and do things different. For this you gotta to experience Silat first hand. Silat can do that to you.
Maybe you are already a member of Silat Cekak (whether Malaysia or Hanafi it doesn't really matter). Or Silat Lincah, or Gayung Malaysia, or Gayung Fatani, or Gayung Pancaindera 9. Maybe you've trained in Silat Sendeng. Or maybe you are a member of Silat Setiabakti. Maybe you have mastered Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9. Let's not talk about Gerak Lian, Lian Padukan, Buah Pukul Mersing or Lian Yunan yet since these are a different category of Silat all together. The truth is Silat can make you think different, act different and do things different. It can make you act different when someone somewhere says something offensive about you. About Melayu. It can make your eyes turn white and all you see is red.
It can do that to you.
And it is very interesting to see the trend where more and more suburban Malay parents are sending their children to Silat classes as a way to revive the spirit of the Malay in them now that it is fashionable among the liberal Malays to consider themselves a notch closer to being Caucasian. A few years ago this was unthinkable. Parents used to be skeptical about Gelanggang Silat being open in the neighborhood. They preferred Taekwondo, or Okinawan Karate since these are sport oriented arts where their kids can compete in and win medals. Some parents themselves signed up for a cool, non-violence art like Aikido. But after a while, reality hit them in the face that martial art isn't just about self defence. It's about the meaning of being a Malay and the willingness to do what you can to defend it from being made fun of by non-Malays. Cikgu Arifin in London has a Silat class going for a few years now. In Holland and Germany there are a couple of Gelanggang Silat taught by the Malays from Indonesia, mostly Silat Cimande style, or Kuntau Jawa.
And tonight a new Gelangang will be established right in the upper-middle class suburban neighborhood. It's good to see that more and more Malays from this section of the society beginning to take an interest in Silat. Tonight's opening ceremony is very special because four Mat Salleh from Holland, and two from Sweden will be joining us to peform the Buka Gelanggang with Silat Cimande which they have mastered after 7 years. They will be dressed in full Penglima Melayu attire. The guy from Holland will perform Silat Keris. They are all Muslims now and they are more Malays than the Malays you find going about thinking they are mat or minah saleh.
Silat can do that to you. It can make your eyes white and see red.