Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Malay Diarrhea: Secret Invasion

Humans, as a species, are suffering from identity crises. Crisises? What's the plural for crisis? Crises. That's it.

Fuck the humans, let's look at something I do know about - Malays.

Malays suffer from identity crises. Compounded, perhaps, by recent developments when the Indonesians start saying that all the cultural heritage of the Malays here in MALAYsia are theirs.

Well, if the Indians ever figure it out, they would start claiming some or most of Indonesia's culture as their own. I mean, Anduman (Hanuman)? Garuda? Jentayu (Jatayu)?

Garuda and Jatayu are Hindu Gods. I found them in the Mahabharata. Even the Malay and Indonesian languages of this region, were heavily influenced by Sanskrit, which came from India. Also, by the Dutch and Portuguese(beranda/verandah, tuala, sabun, biola, etc), the Japanese way, wayyy before World War 2 (cawan) and especially the English (nasional, basikal, etc)

Malays of this region - and related clans - were pagans first, then Hindus and finally, Islam. And some Christians to add flavour.

Si Tanggang (Malim Kundang in Indonesia) used to eat barbecued monkey until the Islamisation of the 1970s changed his favourite food to the 'halal' smoked bananas.

The act of bersanding and tepung tawar were remnants of a Hindu past. Walimatul Urus, an act of announcing marital bonds to ensure less slander and suspicion of legit couples fucking each other, was carried over from Islamic Arabic culture.

The only three original words in the Malay language, according to a lecturer (I don't sleep during lectures) were Padi, Api and Babi. The only things you need to survive.

A hot meal of pork chop with rice.

And so today, I see the poorer Malays pretending to be Arabs. The middle class Malays wanting to be English or American. And the rich wanting to reconnect with their roots by claiming to having come from poor families. To be Lat's Kampung Boy.

Boy, you don't know what poor is. You don't want to grow up in a kampung. I would have much rather plonked down RM400 to buy some Yu-Gi-Oh cards and play truant to watch a movie than go through bushes every day and playing with snakes.

The Malays of this country are the best adapters to their environment. I only know this one single race - the Malays - that can affect accents almost as effectively as any native speaker.

My Japanese teacher said that no one can replicate the sound of 'tcschu' - the 13th letter of both the hiragana and katakana. We could.

I have never met a white dude or dudette who could get the 'idgham' and 'ikhfak' sinus vibrations right, when reciting the Koran. I mean, 'izhars' and 'mads' are easy, but when the double stroke 'tanwins' meet the 'waus', I have only heard a majority of Malays get it right.

I am sure there are some. Anyone can do it, if they try hard enough, but this natural affinity for languages, I have only found in Malays.

It doesn't stop there. There are several silat disciplines which actually derive certain philosophies and techniques from the Chinese Wing Jchun.

The fact that Malays can draw from so many influences and assimilate so many cultures into our own is not a weakness or something to be ashamed of. And I am not justifying.

Why re-invent the wheel? One trait the Malays have been accused of is that we are lazy. I say, yes. We are lazy. So we think of short cuts. Why suffer? Why crave pain? And then complain about it?

We Malays are a lazy bunch. So we think of ways to make our work easier, whenever possible. And we sure do love parties. Even during demonstrations, Malays are the first to assemble, and the last to go home. Why? Cause we love to par-tay!

And our assimilation of other cultures show an all-embracing acceptance of our role as cosmopolitan citizens of the world. A role everyone should embrace.

We even put that into the constitution. Malays are the only race in the world, perhaps the entire universe, not bound by genetics. Anyone can be a Malay. Doesn't matter if you're Chinese, Indian, mat salleh, Klingon, Vulcan, Jedi, whatever.

You go by the criteria of said constitution, and you are a Malay. For over 50 years, this has been the only way to really eradicate racism - by crossing a boundary no one has ever crossed before. Fuck DNA.

Why? Because Malays are shape-changing Skrulls(Marvel Comics)! No! We are Borgs(Star Trek)!

As Bruce Lee said, "A rock is hard, but a water, it can be soft, and sometimes it can be hard. SO hard, it can break rocks. Be water, my friend. Be water." SOmething like that.

And yet, somewhere along the way, some of us took a turn somewhere. Instead of embracing other cultures, they resist change and anything which has not been in place for at least a few decades.

Somebody wrote a book about cultural identities, called Routes. It was an answer to Alex Haley's seminal work Roots. The non-fiction book followed a race of Bedouins who supposedly were unchanged with the passage of time.

These desert nomads have, over the years, accumulated different cultural practices based on which area they have been to. And they consider that - a culture of assimilation and absorption - as the one true culture.

And believe it or not, that is the world culture.

Don't tell me the Chinese came up with the British curriculum. Don't tell me Indians invented men's shirts with buttons on the right(a remnant of the past when men dress themselves and women get help from maids. Hence, blouses almost always have the buttons on the left).

Who invented noodles? The Chinese, or Italians? Was Marco Polo the culprit?

If we are truly staying true to our culture, please reject electricity. Faraday, Edison and Tesla and others were the ones responsible. Not Mat Sabu. Not Eddie Kurniawan. Not Joko Suprianto.

What was one day merely invention, may someday be a part of culture. Take the television, very much part of world culture as song and dance.

Mozart did not invent music. Neither did Beethoven, Elvis Presley nor Eminem. And definitely not the Jonas Brothers.

Books were not invented by JK Rowling or Tolstoy.

We all, as humans, share a rich heritage. Don't waste it by fighting over our inheritance, as we are wont to do.