Today I had over 4000 clicks on this blog…something that has not happened for quiet a while. Three posting, “The Malays will not survive another Najib or another Anwar,” “Where does UMNO get these Malay idiots from?” and “Tell me what does this guy do for sex?” took the lion share of those clicks and right now, early Saturday morning, I realize that these postings were all about the Malays…or to be blunt…about me deriding the Malays, their leaders and those who have been privilege enough to lead the Malays by their pedigree or by their birth.
At this time of the night…or very early Saturday morning (whichever way you prefer to call it!) I am either about to fall asleep or I am as fresh as a daisy because I want to put to words the thoughts that are now in my head. Truthfully I am somewhere in between lanes! Listening to some great music by that wonderful Ibrahim Ferrer has nourished my body and soul too much to not let my mind wander where it wants to go…and where it wants to go now is to write what is in my heart.
There was never a time in my life when I was not proud of being a Malay! Whether in KL, London, Bombay or any parts of Australia - I am always a Malay first while I adjust to the realities of the place I am in. In the beginning it was difficult in London because in the early 60’s when I was first there, everything was so different from the life I have had before. Difficult to be grounded and not start socializing in pubs and almost impossible to keep away from the excesses of London then. I did get married to my wife there and did abandon any pretence of studying but I returned to KL still a Malay…a Malay without a decent education and less chance of earning a decent living but nevertheless a Malay.
Being Malay while living in Australia was much easier. This land down under is so laid back that any attempt by me to be Australian will be put down by the Aussies themselves. I did consciously start to talk like the Aussies but nobody cared! The Aussies celebrate diversity and you win more points when you sound foreign – so perish that attempt by me to try and be more an Aussie than Malay.
Strangely I was under more duress for being a Malay when I am in KL!
I am a Malay with a foreign wife and with children that look more Malay than the Greek that their mother, my wife, is. I have never asked how it was for my children to be in that situation but in as far as I can recall I was the one who is forever pleasantly surprise when I hear my daughter speak Malay. She speaks Malay more often than me! I have yet to hear my son speak Malay but then his education has always been in Australia…though he does understand it more than he speaks. My wife does speak Malay when she meets my aunties…but in all this the blame for any of them not being good in Bahasa (if any blame is to be alloted) is me. I am just being a Malay whose ‘tidak apa’ attitude leaves my family to choose who they want to be. But in all this I am always a Malay.
It is difficult to be a Malay in KL because it makes me so aware of how things are around me. Everyday at prayer time – five times day – I have to make sure that I do not disturb the sensibilities of those who pray, because I don’t. This is impossible not to do on Fridays and during the fasting months. Not to pray at these times will earn the wrath of those who do! And so I acquiesce. And as you and I know everything changes during Ramadan. Need I say more?
Earning a living as a Malay is perplexing. In business you are damm if you do use that Bumiputera ‘advantage’ for your gain and damm if you don’t. Damm if you do because I personally am too aware about the ‘unfairness’ of what I do and damm if I don’t because that seems to be the best way a Malay can get ahead in business in KL.
In dealing with the government, as a Malay businessman, I am trying to find a middle way as to how to ‘talk business’ with those I deal with so that the “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” thing can be done away with asap to advantage both of us. In short it is far easier to do business with government officials if you are not a Malay because bribes are hard for me (a Malay) to talk about to another Malay – not impossible but hard to talk about between Malays.
Can you see what I mean when I say it is harder to be a Malay in KL?
And every time a Malay politician lies to the people that he serves and become insanely rich while in office, every time a Malay traffic cop takes a bribe, every time UMNO rears its ugly head and wave that keris with the promise of spilling Chinese blood on the streets of Chow Kit and every time Ketuanan Melayu and Royalty is mentioned…it is me a Malay that cops the lot!
But in spite of all this I am still a Malay. The Malays by and large are decent and polite people posses of a noble spirit that respects and gives reverence to others with whom they live with. Malays by and large are not arrogant. Self interest and selfishness is a trait to be frowned upon and if practiced by those they love, then it will be apologized for on their behalf. In days gone by you would be hard pressed to see a Malay leader – a Malay political leader to be exact – who would promise much and deliver little. Malays leader of the past do their work in government for the common good of the people they serve……for their country and for their King. I still remember a time when I stood to the Negara Ku with pride and joy in my heart because “Tanah tumpahnya darah ku” was then still a decent vibrant country that I was proud of……and I was the Malay in that country you all call Malaysia.
All this has changed…that is why it is now harder to be a Malay in my own country. Of course it is harder still to be a Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Dayaks and anybody else who still calls Malaysia home. These realities are hard to live with….and this is why I now call Australia home….because amongst other things; it is easier for me to be a Malay here!