When one reads or talks about the Malay unity, the thoughts/reflections or discussions could possibly lead to the story of Hang Tuah and his warrior-brethren. And we would be particularly intrigued with the puzzle of the Tuah–Jebat fratricidal conflict.
But let us skip the vexing yet perplexing question of why and how Tuah could bring himself to kill his warrior-brethren, his best friend, a man who actually loved and defended him and his honour against a tyrant who wanted to execute Tuah. Ironically Tuah acted on the orders of the very tyrant.
Let us instead mull over the seven conditions that the legendary Puteri Gunung Ledang (the Princess of Mount Ophir) set as pre-marital conditions for the tyrannical sultan who lusted after her. Apparently, as the story tells us, Tuah was the emissary for the royal proposal of marriage.
The Princess demanded seven impossible conditions, far more unachievable than the 12 tasks Heracles was required to accomplish. They consisted of golden and silver bridges to be built to span the distance between Mouth Ophir and the sultan’s palace, for her to travel to and back from Malacca, two feats admittedly less demanding than Dr Mahathir’s crooked bridge to Singapore, wakakaka.
Some of the more ridiculous demands were seventeen barrels of tears from virgin girls to bathe with, seven trays of the hearts of mosquitoes and a bowl of blood of the sultan’s only son.
‘Twas a set of conditions to carry the subtle message of the Princess’ ‘No’ to the sultan’s proposal of marriage, but like Yen Yen, he thought it was a ‘Yes’, wakakaka.
But you know, given the fratricidal murder or slaying of Jebat, I wonder whether the Princess would have set an eighth (impossible?) condition, one perhaps judiciously omitted by the original author or folklore story teller, that of Malay unity?
In recent times in the desperate high stakes of the coming Malaysian election, where the winner regardless of its winning majority will take all, we have been pounded ceaselessly with calls for Malay unity, mainly from UMNO but also from some PAS politicians while some in PKR might possibly have pondered over UMNO's invitation seriously but covertly, wakakaka.
Over at The Nut Graph, sweetie Jacqueline Ann Surin posted an article titled The problem with Malay unity. I recommend it as sweetie has come up with an interesting approach to her doubts about Malay unity.
To buttress her point, sweetie wonders, for all UMNO’s bleating about Malay unity, why the so-called Malay or Muslim unity hasn't been at work when UMNO itself experienced (maybe still experiences) internal splits, and as the hypocritical author of the ethnic clarion call, demonises and attacks PAS or when as the government, persecutes Muslims or denies them their constitutional rights.
However, the thrust of her message alludes to a far darker portent, as follows:
That’s not to say that some Malays and some Muslims cannot unite in the true sense of the word. They can when there is a solid cause which draws people together because of a shared ideal. But when unity is called for solely on the basis of one’s racial or religious identity as a Malay or Muslim, the basis for that unity is founded on shifting sands. Since there are so many kinds of Malays and quite a few types of Muslims, what kind of Malay or what kind of Islam are the adherents of unity advocating for?
My uneasiness with calls to vote a particular way or to merge parties for the sake of Malay or Muslim unity stems from the underlying, and often unstated, purpose of such encouragement. What are Malays and Muslims supposed to be uniting for and/or against?
Implicit in the call for unity is the need to armour up against non-Malays and non-Muslims. If the Malays don’t unite, the argument goes, non-Malay Malaysians will politically and economically overwhelm the Malays, no matter that the majority of our population are Malays and that Malays hold power in nearly all arms of government. And if Muslims don’t unite, the threat from non-Muslims, Christians in particular, will strengthen to Islam’s detriment.
And so, the rallying cry for Malay or Muslim unity can actually be heard as a clarion call for pitting Malaysians against one another. Hence, advocating for Malay or Muslim unity is really a call for disunity and distrust in Malaysia, where Malays and Muslims should only think about their own interest at the expense of other citizens.
Even more troubling for me is that the way to go is apparently to vote UMNO or to merge with UMNO. Yes, vote in, or merge, with the party that wants ‘ketuanan Melayu’, has not closed the gap between rich and poor Malays, … […].
Much earlier, RPK has also written on that nebulous and questionable unity for Malay and Muslims, an unachievable state worthy as the eighth condition that should have been (maybe even was) set by Puteri Gunung Ledang as a prerequisite for her marriage to the Malacca sultan.
|Bridge of Death 2 - also in PAS country|
Pengkalan Pasir village near KB
UMNO, where's Malay unity?
RPK didn’t confine his article to the Malay environment but reached back to the humongous split between Abu Bakr and Ali, respectively the father-in-law and cousin (& also son-in–law) of the Prophet Mohamad (pbuh). The result of an unsatisfactory settlement between the two as to who should inherit the Islamic leadership from the Prophet (pbuh) led to 1500 years of irreconcilable schism between Sunnis and Shiites.
There have been very bitter wars between Sunnis and Shiites ever since, to an extent that today Saudi Arabia considers Shiites as far greater enemies than Israelis – and doesn't that just say something about the hatred between Sunnis and Shiites.
So much for Muslim unity, and don’t forget that when the Boxing Day tsunami occurred with approximately 350,000 Indonesians killed in the Muslim stronghold of Aceh province in Sumatra devastated, a number of oil-rich Gulf countries came up with pathetic donations in sharp contrast to Western nations, China and Japan, etc.
An example of the missing Muslim unity or brotherhood was Midas-rich Kuwait giving a measly US$2 million (one-fifth of what Michael Schumacher, a German Christian, gave as donation to the tsunami funds; another Christian individual, Sandra Bullocks gave US1 million). As if that was not pathetic enough, it added insult to injury when its mullahs from their Friday pulpits condemned their Muslim brethren in Aceh for being punished for their decadent sins by Allah swt.
Now get this, the same Kuwaiti government immediately donated US$500 million (without any patronising moralising sermon of attribution by Allah swt for wickedness) to the USA when New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Presumably the people of New Orleans were not as sinful as those poor Muslim fishermen and farmers in Aceh, Sumatra.
|New Orleans, USA, where the people are less sinful than Acehese|
Australia, a principally Christian nation, provided AUS$1 billion (yes, billion, not million) to Indonesia. Look, maybe those were Western conspiracies to make the Muslim Arab-Gulf countries look bad.
Locally of course we have witnessed in UMNO the schisms between Oon Jaafar and Tunku, Tunku and Tun Razak, Mahathir and (in turn) Ku Li, Musa Hitam, Anwar Ibrahim, Pak Lah, and of course some internal UMNO sabo-ing against Ali Rustam, KJ, etc, not that the latter two deserve any sympathies at all, wakakaka.
Then there’s UMNO versus PAS and PKR, where both have been UMNO splinter groups born out of acrimonious wedlock with the Mothership.
Within PKR we witnessed bitter relationships between Anwar-Azmin against (in turn) Ezam Mohd Nor, Johari Yasin, Abdul Rahman (PKR membership No 3), Zaid Ibrahim, and even a still serving PKR member, Badrul Hisham Sharin (Chegubard).
Incidentally, should I consider former PKR VP Chandra Muzaffar as a Malay? If I may, then add his name to the list above.
Since its last party elections, PKR in reality has been a house divided, very very much divided. Jonson Chong (admittedly not a Malay-Muslim) like Zaid Ibrahim left PKR in frustration over the alleged dodgy-ness in the party election process, and in parting, advised Dr Wan Azizah:
"If the president still does not take some serious action to remedy this situation, then I'm afraid the party’s days may be numbered with or without a new line-up. And let me unequivocally state that I am not addressing the de facto leader on this matter because I no longer recognize the validity of that position."
That PKR internal rivalry hasn't ended where we currently hear of Team A (headed by Azmin Ali and 101% back by Anwar Ibrahim – the team comprises PKR’s ‘inner coterie’) in acrimonious rivalry with Team W (headed by Wan Azizah – the team has Nurul, Khalid Ibrahim, Faekah Husin, etc).
See also my post Talam - DAP & PAS rescue a PKR MB while PKR act dunno. It's rumoured that Khalid Ibrahim doesn't even know where he stands (literally) in the coming state election. And we read of Azmin Ali (not Wan Azizah herself) informing us that Wan Azizah won't be standing even as a candidate in GE-13, not even for a state seat - for more, read FMT's Wan Azizah tidak bertanding PRU13.
Where’s the party unity, let alone Malay unity?
Referring again to sweetie Jacqueline’s article, I left a comment there which I reproduce below, but in a much expanded version to address the default limitation in length of comments at The Nut Graph blog.
UMNO in using the term ‘Malay-Muslim unity’ in the Malaysian context is, to borrow a religious term (me being an atheist), seditious blasphemy against the nation because as Jacqueline wrote, it is a call to pit Malaysians against Malaysians on the basis of ethnicity and religion.
The so-called threat to Malay-Muslims has been an unscrupulous concoction when the real threat is the potential political defeat of UMNO the party.
By conflating the political party with the entire Malay race, UMNO cloaks its own unpopularity, as a result of its government’s mismanagement & waste, corruption, cronyism and arrogance, with an ethnic-based clarion call to defend the Malay race (and Muslim community) against the hordes at the gates, which incidentally happen to be Malay-based or Malay-dominated political parties (respectively PAS and PKR).
But that, UMNO's political opposition/threat being mainly Malays (PAS and PKR), was swiftly glossed over. As UMNO made the Chinese-dominated communists the bogeymen behind every Malaysian bush in the past, today it has done likewise for DAP, to frighten the Malay heartland into rallying behind the UMNO banner as the only defence against the threat of The Yellow Peril.
And there seems to be no limit or responsible diligence to its scare tactics, as it ratchets up the scale and degree of bigoted scare-mongering and lies to instil a siege mentality in the hope-for faithful.
While Perkasa is the front for UMNO to farm out its politically-driven racism, and perhaps Ridhuan Tee Abdullah its poster boy, there has been disturbing evidence of like-mindedness in PAS as well.
We are already familiar with Hasan Ali, Azizan Abdul Razak, and Nasharuddin Mat Isa, but recently, we came to learn of the terrible mindset of Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad (PAS ADUN for Gaal, Kelantan).
My favourite PAS man, Nizar Jamaluddin asserted that the UMNO-controlled media had spun Nik Mazian’s PAS-centric statement into mischievous news that the latter preferred an UMNO candidate to a non-Malay non-Muslim Pakatan candidate. Nizar matey, I'm not so assured as already there have been indications of more than a few PAS politicians who demonstrated their uni-ethnic proclivity rather than Islamic cultivation.
In this, perhaps we should congratulate UMNO for convincing Hasan Ali and Nasharuddin Mat Isa to join its ‘cause’(?) for Malay unity, while PAS moans its loss because of UMNO’s Malay unity. Hah, the paradoxical outcome of Malay unity, wakakaka.
While seeking to mine the darker side of the Malay psyche with the seditious call of Malay-Muslim unity, all for its own political gains and nothing to do with bangsa, UMNO would ironically be diminishing the confidence and general mental well-being of many Malays, with the longer term effect of destroying Malaysian society.
And that’s why I speculate perhaps the eighth condition imposed by Puteri Gunung Ledang could be the achievement of Malay unity, wakakaka, an impossible condition to frustrate the amorous advances of the Malacca sultan.
If we are prepared to humble ourselves and take a better look at our Indonesian neighbour, we would find their founding leaders recognized the ethnic diversity in the Indonesian people and commendably aimed to unify them, at least in the aspirational sense, with their national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika.
Translated from old Javanese, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika means ‘Unity in diversity’. Here, we see that the call of unity, to achieve the state of being one, has been directed towards unifying all Indonesians, regardless of ethnicity, creed, colour or religion, totally unlike the UMNO clarion call which promotes divisiveness between Malay-Muslims and non Malay-Muslims.
In tracing the origin of the Indonesian national motto into antiquity, we would discover the term originated from the Majapahit epic poem Sutasoma which offered reconciliation and promoted tolerance between the two prevailing and competing or warring religions in Java at that time, namely, Buddhism and Hinduism, with the doctrinal belief that although the religions were of different ideology and beliefs, both were truthful to Dharma*. The unifying promotion emphasized on sameness or similarities rather than differences in Majapahit society.
* Dharma in the Indian sense meant a social structure with its principles being Truth, Love, Fortitude and the famous Ahimsa or Non-violence.
|Prambanan - Hindu temple in 9th Century Java|
By comparison or more correctly, by contrast, the UMNO Malay-Muslim unity is a seditious obscenity in fostering divisiveness, created purely for some politicians’ selfish personal power and gains, and in reality nothing to do the interests of the bangsa. It emphasized on differences rather than sameness or similarities in Malaysian society.
Finally, I just wonder whether UMNO would spin the government’s non action on the Filipinos’ intrusion as Malay unity (I won’t dignify the unauthorized presence of 200 Filipinos in Lahad Datu as an invasion), bearing in mind it depends heavily on many Bangsamoro in Sabah holding blue IC to substantiate its claim of Sabah being its fixed deposit.
Maybe for Malay unity it will even gazette the so-called Sultan of Sulu as the 10th sultan in Malaysia? Wakakaka.
Wish sweetie Puteri Gunung Ledang was still around today. I would love to consult her on today’s impossible politics and the use of her 8th 'condition', wakakaka.
|Look out Hisham, her keris is sharper than your Panca Warsisan|