Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kamalanathan kissing Muhyiddin's hand - bodek-ite or budak baik?

The only hands I’ve ever kissed were those of my teenage girlfriend – then I was only an 18 year-old teenager full of amour.

Kissing the hands of one’s elders is a lovely Malay custom, showing great respect and also reflecting on one’s upbringing – in other words, a credit to one’s parents for bring one up as a well mannered and cultured person. Penangites praise this as 'oo kar see' or 'have been taught manners well', a highly esteemed accolade.

However, in Malaysian politics, when one is powerful as Tun Dr Mahathir when he was PM (and probably still is) you see many people (not just Malays) rushing to kiss his hands.

If you have seen those scenes, you would wonder whether those hand-kissers were respectful to the PM or just bodek-ful (sycophantically obsequious).

Then, when Dr Mahathir was on the ‘outer’ during PM AAB’s era, he commented that people who once kissed his hands were ignoring or even badmouthing him. That sort of confirmed that those hand-kissers (who subsequently ignored him) were insincere Bodek-ites.

Now Kamalanathan, the MIC (or should it be UMNO) candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election was seen, in fact photographed kissing DPM Muhyiddin’s hands. Kamal tried to deny it when asked, but alas (for him), he was photographed in that act.

photo from Malaysia-Today

Was he being respectful or bodek-ful?

One, his denial didn't sit very well on the bench of sincerity. He indicated his embarrassment or even shame, so it may be reasonable to assume he only wanted or preferred that to be a private act between him and his patron and not known by everyone.

How could we then consider him kissing Muhyiddin's hand as a respectful gesture?

Two, if Muhyiddin is as old as Dr Mahathir or Pak Haji Nik Aziz, both eighty-ish, then I reckon it goes without saying that it would be respectful to kiss the hands of such elderly people, regardless of whether we like or dislike them on political grounds, as they should be accorded due respect for their age rather than their power.

And that showing respect by kissing an elder’s hand happens to be a Malay custom is irrelevant – good customs should be adopted by all Malaysians.

However, Muhyiddin is hardly 65, let alone 80. He's still a relatively young-ish politician. Somehow I reckon Kamal kissed his hands because he is the DPM rather than for his age or wisdom.

Is that bodek-ish?

I have no doubt that Kamal will also kiss younger Najib’s hands, but will he Zaid Ibrahim who is more or less the same age group as Muhyiddin and Najib? After all, it would just be showing respect.

Will Kamal also kiss very elderly Pak Haji Nik Aziz’s hands? What about also practising this lovely Malaysian custom on Uncle Lim Kit Siang?

No need to do that with Uncle Samy Vellu because he would expect Kamal to kiss his feet.


  1. Hulu Selangor Malay voter9:23 pm, April 22, 2010

    The photo clearly shows he was kissing his own hands.
    If he did, so what? It's just being respectful.
    My kids also kiss my Indian neighbor's hand.
    But now I am having second thoughts in voting him. Because of Samy Vellu.
    He said on TV tonight, he will quit if BN wins. BUT hear this.... Najib must appoint Palanivel as Senator and Deputy Minister.
    I don't really care if the wig one is whole-life president of a moribund party.
    But to demand for Palanivel is the pits. He lost and has been MP for 3terms. It's ridiculous to say the least.
    If he had been the incumbent MP, then its a tad reasonable as a reward for sacrifice.

  2. you got problem with kissing feet? respect ppl culture lah.

  3. the picture probably wouldn't look so bad if Muhyideen had bow a little and look appreciative of the fact he was honoured. Instead it looked decidedly like a lord standing proudly over his subservient subject and i thought the smile on his face is more of a smirk.

  4. "No need to do that with Uncle Samy Vellu because he would expect Kamal to kiss his feet."

    You mean, his ass!

  5. If ever Ungka Sammy were to drop his dhoti and command his hapless acolytes to kiss him there, then the proper thing to do is to grab a toilet bowl plunger and shaft it up there making sure it is plugged up baik-baik.

    Hotlips Leela

  6. Let's examine the picture closely - note the expression on the DPM's face and his body language, the way his upper torso leans back away from the hand-kisser.

    If a picture can project a thousand words, this picture seems to suggest that the DPM was thinking: Oh my gosh! what's this guy doing - is he going to bite my hand?!!

  7. Anon of 9:35 PM, April 22, 2010 - no, I don't have any issue with Indians kssing the feet of their elders - merely stating a socio-cultural fact to remind Kamal just in case he forgets and tries to kiss UNcle Samy's hands instead wakakaka.

  8. No, the DPM was thinking: Oh my gosh! what's this guy doing - is he going for my #sscheeks after this? Saiful, come help me!

  9. chinese are getting more and more arrogant and cocky!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Besides my parent's hands, Tok Guru's hand is about the only hand in Malaysia I will kiss if I ever meet him.

    The man has been MB of Kelantan for 20 years yet he still lives in a modest "kampung" house . Just compare this to Killed Toyol who was only MB for 8 years yet can afford a Balinese palace worth RM 24 mil.
    Where does the money come from ?

    Once a reporter interviewed him after his Friday prayer, he politely declined the extend of interview time as he was "tumpanging" a friend's car to the mosque and felt not nice to keep the friend waiting for too long.
    He could have just gotten his driver to drive him to the mosque in his official car, yet just got a lift from a friend.

    You just got to respect the man for his honesty and humble way of life no matter from which political divide you are from.

  12. I am an indian...and I am ashamded with that prick for doing that.
    If people start associating Indians with Kamalanathan, I am gonna start calling myself a Bangladeshi and be happy about it.