Malaysiakini - The end of the road for the keris.
I am glad Hishamuddin has come to his senses, at least on this irritating issue.
While the keris may be part and parcel of Malay history and culture, to draw it and at the same time claim it’s not threatening is nonsense.
Drawing a sword (or keris) to kiss it is NOT a Malay tradition. It’s Western and alien to us Asians, whether Malays, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc.
Officers of the Malaysian military draw and kiss their sword on parade only because our armed services were trained by the British, and continue using the British military drill procedures.
When a Malay or Chinese warrior draws a sword/keris, as the saying goes, the weapon has to ‘drink’ blood, so a Malay or Chinese should not fool around with that action.
Please read my earlier post on historical events associated with the keris - Hishamuddin's keris stabbed UMNO & BN
But let me pick one item from that post for re-publishing here. I had written:
One and a half years ago I posted The Curse of UMNO's Keris? where I mentioned that Adnan Yaakob, an UMNO supreme council member and also the MB of Pahang, had asked for the symbol of the keris to be removed from the UMNO flag.
He said that the keris is a weapon denoting quarrels, and could have been the cause of the numerous quarrels in the party. In other words it’s bad feng shui for UMNO to have such a nasty weapon as a party symbol.
Adnam stated: "There were 20 major quarrels in UMNO since its formation 60 years ago. The symbol may signify the party’s struggles but it also means quarrels."
He reminded us of the acrimonious internal disputes involving the late Tunku Abdul Rahman (with Tun Razak), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (with Dr Mahathir), and of course Dr Mahathir (with Ku Li, Anwar and AAB).
Maybe we ought to add in Onn Jaafar (with Tunku). Then there were state leaders such as the late Harun Idris, once touted as a PM, who fell foul of Hussein Onn.
The keris in the UMNO flag is drawn, which, according to belief not just unique to the Malay world, must 'taste' blood. Eastern superstition demands that a weapon such as a keris, dagger or sword must never be drawn unless one intends to 'feed' it with blood.
It is believed that the word keris originated from the old Javanese word ngeris which means 'to stab'.
As I had also written: We Malaysians are also familiar with Taming Sari, a Javanese keris with magical powers that would protect its owner …
… though it didn’t save the life of the original eponymous owner, a Javanese warrior who was killed by Hang Tuah through deceit, as was Hang Jebat.
Tuah appropriated the Taming Sari after killing the owner, went back home to Melaka to one day kill his best friend at the behest of a tyrant.
Kill, kill, kill, die, die die … and all dead! That's what a keris or Chinese weapon is supposed to do, 'coz that's what it has been designed for ...
... certainly not for decoration!
In an unhappy ending to the story, Tuah finally threw away the keris … though the Perak royal house claims it still holds the Taming Sari …
… OK, and guess what has just happened to the once-august and highly respected royal house of Perak?
And in the Indonesian legend of Mpu Gandring and the keris for which he cursed Ken Arok for seven generations, someone generations later had to throw that keris away into the Java Sea, to stop the endless chain of chaos and death.
So, will Hisham quietly (like Tuah) throw away a symbol of war, which in Malay/Indonesian folklore and history has been associated with cruelty, death and Greek-like tragedy?
Only he knows.