Saturday, August 30, 2014

Titah

'Titah' in the Malay language means 'royal word or command', thus when a Malay ruler speaks, he is said to 'bertitah'. And when the ruler 'mentitahkan', it means he commands or decrees. Thus it's not a word for commoners, as you hoi polloi and kaytee are, wakakaka.



'titah' holds much reverence for Malays, especially those of conservative outlook and even those of the younger set who advocate ethno-nationalism in preference to multiculturalism and liberalism, perhaps out of fear, hatred or whatever emotional reason.

To ignore a 'titah' in Peninsula Malaysia including Penang and Malacca states invites not just criticisms but also much outrage and in some isolated incidents, even possibly violence.

Okay, there's no denying that the politically opportunistic had and still have ridden on the back of such a characteristic allegiance to a ruler, of course for their own political interests rather than that of the liege lord.

Today, in our nation which was borned out of social consensus, federalism, Westminster democracy, secularism (but uniquely recognizing Islam as the nation's official religion), and constitutional monarchy, the power of 'titah' still remains steadfastly strong amongst the Malays.

Even Malays who support the democratic system in a constitutional monarchy feel awkwardly uncomfy when a 'titah' clashes with constitutional limits of a monarch, effectively a clash between cultural affiliation and democratic process, such is the deep set devoted allegiance of Malays to their liege lord.

Such allegiance is not unique among the Malays. For example, the Chinese were also similarly loyal to their emperors.

However, with the Chinese there was one difference, call it an 'escape clause' if you like. They have what was termed the 'Mandate of Heaven'. An emperor ruled only by virtue of the Mandate of Heaven he had received or was blessed with. When he lost the Mandate, he was emperor no more [or when he was emperor no more, he had lost the Mandate], and a new emperor (who had since been blessed or received the Mandate) reigned.

Thus if a Chinese emperor was cruel, tyrannical and an unmitigated despot, and needed to be deposed, exiled or even killed, the perpetrators would pass the word that His Imperial Majesty had lost the Mandate, usually indicated by some signs of suffering among the people, preferably from natural disasters like flooding, drought, locust devastation of crops, earthquake, eclipse (but must still be associated with national massive suffering), or even man-made disasters such as famine, etc.

The seditious words then passed around to remove the tyrannical ruler was not unlike modern political (negative) campaigning

On second thoughts, it would seem the Malays once (perhaps twice, wakakaka) might have shared such a similar belief, and was even expressed poetically, though not a la the Chinese's Mandate of Heaven.

When one of Malay-dom's greatest warriors laid dying in his Best Friend's arms, he gave it straight right to the very guts of Best Friend with his dying breath, and in words that rhymed too: "Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah".

Warrior's philosophy about royalty was totally at odds with his Best Friend, who was completely loyal to this ruler. One today wonders whether those last words to Best Friend were advice, criticism or bitter sarcasm?

Why bitter sarcasm? Please read on.

Best Friend was ordered by the ruler to be summarily executed on the basis of mere salacious gossip, that Best Friend was bonking Ruler's fave concubine.

But he was not executed because the Bendahara Paduka Raja (PM) knew the gossip was bullsh*t and a rather sinister celaka fabrication. So PM secretly removed Best Friend and hid him safely away - no, no, no, the PM was not Ah Jib Gor but someone in the 15th Century. Please pay close attention - we are talking about events 500 years ago, wakakaka.

Not realizing his absent Best Friend was still alive, Warrior sought justice for Best Friend in revenge and created havoc and chaos for the ruler, who he considered an unjust tyrant for executing Best Friend on the basis of gossip.

Warrior ignored every 'titah' to cease and desist. But no one had the fighting skills to match or overcome Warrior so he continued f**king around unfettered (in some instances, literally). Ruler panicked, asked PM for help a.s.a.p.

Abracadabra, Best Friend was then brought out to defend the ruler and he immediately obeyed the 'titah' and succeeded in killing Warrior, BUT ONLY after some sly dishonest cheating in getting a magic keris back from Warrior's possession. Hmmm, would the moral of this particular section of the story be that cheating succeeds?

Yessir, Best Friend killed the very person who had defended his honour against injustice.

The irony of Best Friend killing his buddy Warrior in compliance with a 'titah' was because Best Friend was completely devoted and loyal to his ruler, so much so that he ignored their friendship and the fact that the man he killed for the ruler was the very man who defended his name against the ruler's injustice.

Can you think of a person today who would be that loyal to a ruler, even against the imperatives of democracy, personal honour and friendship?

But let's move on as I don't want you readers to waste your time mulling over the intriguing dilemma of a 15th Century story, wakakaka.

By the by, just a puzzling question on 'titah' then - remember that Bendahara who hid Best Friend away when the ruler wanted him executed? How come the Bendahara was able to get away unscathed from ignoring a 'titah'?

To summarize, such seditious behaviour as those of Warrior, notwithstanding he would today be deemed a Just & Brave Fighter, are considered rare and traitorous in the Malay World, and had happened only twice.

The first significant anti-'titah' episode was in the 15th Century, which we have just discussed in the preceding paragraphs in the Tale of a just Warrior, his so-called Best Friend, a tyrannical Ruler and a disloyal Bendahara.

Wait, why have I considered the Bendahara Paduka Raja disloyal?

Well, didn't he biadap-ishly and seditiously ignored the ruler's 'titah' to execute Best Friend?

Incidentally the disloyalty of the Bendahara Paduka Raja proves that (i) some people could ignore a 'titah' and still emerge spelling like roses and, (ii) some people could belakang pusing by ordering the execution of someone but subsequently feting and honouring that same someone, wakakaka.

The second significant virtual anti-'titah' episode occurred 500 years later, wakakaka, and like the 15th Century Bendahara Paduka Raja, all emerged spelling like roses, wakakaka again.

So, today how does one reconcile a 'titah' which is against the limits of a constitutional monarch?

If one ignores a 'titah' will one be like:

  • the just Warrior who ended up killed, or
  • the disloyal Bendahara but who ended being praised and rewarded?

Share with me your thoughts, wakakaka, and me being a member of the hoi polloi, it's NOT a 'titah' ;-).

19 comments:

  1. Why need to kill a warrior for bonking his concubines? Maybe the Bendahara also was bonking the concubines and felt guilty killing warrior just for that. Birds of the same feathers tend to flock together, no?

    I thought the warrior was Hang Tu Ah and his best friend was Hang Jebat.

    What happen to the Bendahara and Sultan finally?

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  2. wakakaka.... Perhaps 500 years ago they already knew staging and false flag operation too. You see in the end Melaka is without a Raja.

    - hasan

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    1. they're now in Perak and Johor? wakakaka

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  3. An absolute monarch acts according to whims with no accounting !

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  4. Sorry KT.... a bit off topic...but still on the subject of our Royalty. This Seademon claimed we were never colonised ? Betul ke ? and re the MB impasse, the Sultan has the right to ask for more names

    http://seademon.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/masquerade/

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    1. read the history of Perak to know whether the British had colonised a Malay state

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  5. If deconstructionism is to be considered for riwayat Hang Tuah, then the liefmotif would be "takkan Melayu hilang di dunia". The axiom between loyalty, betrayal and the aspect royalty plays in ordinary life of the Malay community. Of course, it can be argued that like so many other works of literature, the core value of these works being seen and reinterpreted by the larger community under globalization.

    However, while making a quiet exit from Malaya, the British were all too familiar with adat-istiadat orang Melayu and the place of royalty, thus the preservation of the royal families under the constitution and their role as in regards to the law and military.

    Therefore, several cases in point:

    1. Students after Mederka had to study the Malay language and its context in royal usage (if perchance "beta" had to meet royalty)

    2. After May 13, the Rukun Negara's second tenet is "kesetiaan kepada raja dan Negara" after believe in God.

    3. Malaysian passports are issued under the grace of the king, not the prime minister or a political party. Therefore, by inference only the king is allowed to strip someone of their citizenship.

    As in the case of Hang Gila, it is to be seen how he will accept the "titah" of HRH. There is another week to allow more rope to be given. If perhaps the former seeks a Taming Keris to preclude his way around matters, its only a mythical allegory of sakti long lost.

    Even the most adventurous Aussie & Kiwi hasn't found a republican Hang Bodoh to lead the charge.

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    1. have you read Kassim Ahmad's book 'Perwatakan Hikayat Hang Tuah'?

      Hang Tuah was the very epitome of Malay heroic loyalty until Kassim Ahmad raised doubts on his iconic status in (circa) 1950.

      Dr Bakri Musa commented on Kassim’s thesis as follows:

      ***In it he challenged the traditional interpretation and made the hitherto hero Hang Tuah as nothing more than a palace hack, and elevated the anti-hero Hang Jebat as the true hero, willing to kill even the sultan in defence of honor and principles.***

      Surely Jebat was the reformer wakakaka.

      Similarly in studies on the Hindu saga, Ramayana, some modern scholars have questioned the true nature of the epic’s typified heroic Rama and his arch foe, the demonic Ravana. The scholars have considered reversing the roles and status of the two principal antagonists, something that would have been previously considered as an unimaginable proposition, namely, that Rama was a cad in many ways while Ravana was a chivalrous hero of sorts.

      For more about a new look at the Ramayana a la Kassim Ahmad's review of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat, see my post "Deconstructing the Perfect Man", wakakaka - http://ktemoc.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/deconstructing-perfect-man.html

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    2. Tsk, tsk... why you so bad? We didn't want the knife sharpen and driven in. Placing the antagonist Jebat in contention to Tuah and on par with the epic Ramayana seems to draw genre comparisons. Wakakakaka

      Will be on the look out for Kassim Ahmad's book.

      But who is the antagonist in this present Selangorian play? Wakakakaka

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    3. Famous Chinese saying,
      "the victor becomes a king and the loser a bandit" !

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  6. KT,

    Enough of yr grandmother’s tale of royalish kind, that happened hundreds of years ago, with part cerita dongeng thrown in for supposed orgasm!

    U should read & research Pendita Zaaba’s books/write-ups about the true feeling of the modern Melayu, vis-à-vis the 50s & the early 60s.

    Know who he is????

    From the 70s till now, the Melayu has lost that Zaaba touch, mainly due to umno’s BTN indoctrinations, & to a minor extent, the lamenting search of a solid residential & territory claims within the ‘Nusantara’ by a section of Melayu with chronic siege-mentality induced inferiority complex. (Bombastic words & yet the closest description)

    Nothing fits in like an old royal dynasty that set the foundation of a race. Of course the inclusion of the Islam helps. But then, Islam is a foreign import, not a home-growth!

    So, better to talk about modern Melayu psych, than those cerita dongeng that no, zilch archeological relic/ancient historical write-ups could substantiate fully.

    U r just trying to re-invent a feudalistic flame that has seen its day & yet still romanizing by a group of crownish curs for reason to hold powers forever!!!!

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    1. Za'aba?

      Please read my 2008 post about Za'aba, wakakaka - http://ktemoc.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/bahasa-mlayu-letter-to-yang-brhormat.html

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  7. The actions of the royals are to be judged by almighty, not the mortal ones, definitely to the lesser men like you. Otherwise, it's Treason. The likes of you will never grasp what is divinity.

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  8. Abdullah Munsyi was one of the greatest writers of the Malay Language.

    He was also a strong critic of the feudalism, especially royal rule, which he saw as a major contributor to the backwardness of Malay culture and society.
    Abdullah Munsyi was an Indian-Muslim residing in Singapore, so he was freer to speak up compared to those who were direct subjects of various Sultans.

    Many of his criticicisms are still valid today, especially amid the attempt by some royalty to erode the system of constitutional monarchy particularly the "constititutional" bit.

    The continuation of modern monarchy is dependent on their relevance and service to the people and non-interference in democratic government. Most European monarchs are well aware of this. Failure to adhere to this will eventually lead to their disappearance.

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    1. Hahaha...the learned Abdullah Munsyi would most certainly be charged with Sedition today, or even under Sosma (illegitimate son-of-ISA). His criticisms of the Malay monarchy and other backward aspects of Malay culture, as well as his monumental translation of the New Testament into the Malay language (yes, he used the word "Allah" in his Bible translation).
      That is why, though his contributions to the Malay language are undeniable, there is a strong movement to disown him in the education system. His "Keling" ethnicity and "treachery" in producing a Malay-language Bible translation (containing "Allah" !) are all being held against him.

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  9. i watched 2 movies recently, captain america 2 n divergent, both talk abt order.

    the chinese n the muslim curse the west bec of their version of world order, however the muslim n chinese have no hesitation to do this to their nationals in the name to preserve peace. all 3 r equally hypocrite.

    jebat reflect the human nature of commoners, tuah is a hypocrite.

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  10. Where are the so-called "Good Guys" in UMNO on this issue ? Elegant silence ?
    Any thinking Malay would understand that a return to feudalism will not do Malay society any good.

    The current argument over constitutional monarchy seems to be carried only by PKR and the Erdogans in PAS.
    UMNO is, however, beyond redemption. It sees tactical advantage in emphasising regressive and reactionary Malay positions. UMNO can't see beyond survival in GE14.
    The PAS conservatives are very comfortable to jump into bed with UMNO, if the price is right.

    DAP Chinese rightly stayed out of this debate other than stating the obvious, that the letter and spirit of the Constitution should be followed.

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  11. A peasant was born as a peasant, blacksmith was born as a blacksmith and king was born as a king. And king is sovereign. He can do no wrong. There is no one above him except his creator.

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