Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Discarding own culture and history?

Dr P Ramasamy, also DCM II of Penang, asked of Professor Mokhtar Saidin, apparently a prominent Malaysian archaeologist, and rather sarcastically if I may add, is there really No scientific proof of Hinduism-Buddhism in Bujang Valley?, this news article being published by FMT.

a candi in Bujang Valley archaeological site

would it be like the one Parameswara prayed at? 

a Buddhist-Hindu candi in Muaro Jambi Sumatra

would it be THE one Parameswara prayed at? 

The tone of Dr Ramasamy's query (don't forget a rather sarcastic one, wakakaka) unhappily questions Prof Saidin's argument that in our famed Bujang Valley (as reported by FMT) animism rather than Hinduism or Buddhism was the dominant form of worship in Bujang Valley more than 2,500 years ago. Second, that Bujang Valley stands no chance of being gazetted by Unesco because there is no scientific research to date to verify that the temple ruins were Hindu or Buddhist structures.

Please read the FMT article yourself, but I wouldn't be wrong if I gather from Dr Ramasamy, and indeed I share his suspicions, that there is a gargantuan reluctance by Prof Saidin to admit Hinduism and/or Buddhism were practised in those ancient times in Bujang Valley.

Additionally, and perhaps because of this, there is also a home-grown reluctance to have a Hindu-Buddhist site gazetted by UNESCO, rather than UNESCO being reluctant to do so.

If Dr Ramasamy's (and indeed my) suspicions have grounds, then I really don't know why there is this local academic reluctance about admitting the Hindu-Buddhist heritage of Malaya, when virtually everyone knows that the founder of the golden Malay civilisation in Malacca was a Buddhist, namely, Parameswara, late of the Buddhist Kingdom of Srivijaya who scooted off from his Empire's capital in Palembang when Hindu Majapahit troops were hot on his heels.

It was even said Parameswara did not convert to Islam as history books have it, though how would we know when that's hundreds of years ago.

The Indonesians have never been ashamed of their Buddhist-Hindu heritage, nay, in fact very proud of it. They still maintain and indeed flaunt their proud heritage, a simple everyday example being in their names such as Parameswara (obviously), Purnawarman, Prabowo, Kertarajasa, Soekarno, Soeharto, Megawati, Rachmawati, Ratna Dewi, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Joko Widodo, Panggabean without the need to Arabise their identity in order to prove they are Muslims.

Recently there was an academic forum on the worrying Arabisation of Malays and Malay culture in Malaysia. Malay scholars suspected that one of many contributing factors to this cultural colonization has been some Malays' low esteem of themselves.

The Malay Mail Online reported in its Forum explores creeping ‘Arabisation’ among Malays that Self-loathing, ignorance and insecurity were among the main reasons for 'Arabisation' taking root in Malaysia’s Malay community. 

Sociologist Syed Farid al-Attas was quoted as saying: “For some reason the Malays often feel very low about themselves. So when they ape the Arabs they believe they are the more authentic (Muslims).”

“What we are importing is not the faith but the practices and beliefs from a culture from Saudi Arabia.

“So what it is actually is not Arabisation, but the salafisation or Saudi Arabisation process… this is dangerous as this narrow interpretation of Islam can undermine (the diversity) of our religion.”

Another historian Eddin Khoo said: ... that prior to the Arabisation phenomenon, the Malays were known for their ability to “internalise” Islam with their own culture. The result was a rich mix of identity that became unique to this region.

But much of it, like Kuda Kepang and Dikir Barat, have been systematically erased as the community became more eager to prove who is the more “authentic” Muslim.

There is an internal struggle within the Malays… Malay culture has become the victim of the battle between factions vying for control over who is more Malay (and Muslim).

He was referring to the political rivalry between nationalist Umno and Islamist PAS.

On this note, we should remember that PAS has banned the wayang kulit in Kelantan because of the cultural shadow-play's narration of stories from the Hindu Ramayana and Mahabharata.

My fave person, Marina Mahathir, who was also a panellist at the forum, argued that one of the reasons why Malays want to appropriate Arab culture is because they ignorantly equate the community with Islam, whereas Arabs made up just 15 per cent of the world's Muslim population.

“Malays have this simple thinking that everything Islam is Arab. But there are so many types of Arabs in the region… so when we try and emulate Arabs, which one are we talking about?”

In my personal opinion wakakaka, the most notable (or notorious) of the Arabisation indoctrination has been the example given by one particular mufti on the required obedience of a exemplary Muslim wife who must accept her husband wishes even if to bonk on the back of a camel (why not a kerbau or a car?)

Thus Dr Ramasamy's queries on Prof Saidin's seeming reluctance to consider Hindu-Buddhist worship in ancient Bujang Valley are timely and welcomed, and perhaps even succinctly on target.

candi in Bujang Valley archaeological site 

animism worship?



  1. Did you know that the NRD has taken to rejecting Muslim parents giving baby names which are not Arabic-based, e.g. traditional Malay, but non-Arabic names ?

    The entire Malay cultural milieu is moving towards Arabism.
    A kind of Arabia by the Malacca Straits.

    The wannabee Arabs are very, very uncomfortable with the idea that their ancestors were once Hindus and Buddhists.
    Anamism - OK, gives them a smug moral superiority of Islam saving the Anamist "savages" souls. But practicing another one of the world's great religions is a no-no. In fact they find the idea revolting.

    Just as Saudi Arabia has made a special effort to deny and destroy all traces of pre-Islamic Christianity and Judaism on its land. In the 1970's, during the Oil exploration boom, they found ruins of long-abandoned Christian villages far out in the desert. The image of crosses on the walls and floors were unmistakable. These were dynamited, and then fenced off.

    Animists are not known for building chandis. The existence of those buildings is virtually objective proof that the Ruling Class , at least , of the Bujang Valley civilisation were Hindus or Buddhists.

    It is quite possible it coincided with a common populace which also practiced Animism among them. Historically, Buddhist rulers , and to a lesser extent Hindu, have been tolerant of adherents of other faiths among them.

    That is also how Islam diffused into South-East Asia. Notice that once the Rulers converted to Islam, the subjects completely converted very quickly....wakakakaka...

    Islam, just like Christianity, has a very strong "You are either with us or Against Us" mentality.

    Malaysia's constitutionally-mandated tolerance of other religions within Islam as the religion of the Federation is actually a historical aberration.

    To be brutally honest, Islamic countries historically only tolerate non-Muslims as 2nd tier citizens, subject to additional taxes, and limited participation in government.

    I fear for the future.

    1. Arab is a race not a religion and they(The people of Sheba were children of Shiva) were also once a Hindu and even nearer to the Indian.Kaaba were once a Hinduish temple.Even the Sheikh of Dubai did Yoga with Baba Ramdev and they banned Yoga for Muslim here but not anymore. Malays were Ma-lo-yueh an Indochinese race like the Chams,Vietnamese, Burmese and Cambodian.Some Arabs like the Yazidis (who were the descendent of Hindu Kush in Arabia) severely tortured by ISIS.Parameswara Shiva Raja(12 Century AD) of Kedah Sri Vijaya was long ago descendent of South Indian Prince Vijaya around 500 BC.Don't blame the Arabs not all of them are ISIS and not all Muslim in Malaysia agreed with hiding the facts that Bujang Valley is Hindu- Buddhist Kingdom. Ask Kedahan royalty the Mahawangsa is a chronicle which manifest in the Mahavamsa of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.Kedah( 500) BC was a Hindu Kingdom until Asoka converted to Buddhism and hece it's first capital near the Jerai Mountain is called Langkasuka.Lang(Indo chinese word for land) and Asuka is Asoka.Hence if you visit Kedah Hindus some of them put the Photo of the saintly king Sultan Abdul Hamid next to lord Ganesha. The rulers are very open but some of the PAS people wanted Islamic state.The current Agong officiate the Hindu Buddhist Archaeology Museum in the Bujang Valley.The late Tunku A.Rahman the 1st PM also supported the Museum.

  2. Orang kampong semua tahu sebelum islam, hinduism-buddhaism was the belief of some huannas in malaya. Orang asli practised amimism. This ramasamy bloke, apa masalah dia?

  3. Hey K Temoc, if you male member cannott perform not find solace in denigrating other races or religion la......pigi la urut

    1. aisehman, ni pendapat Sociologist Syed Farid al-Attas lah, maka jgn marah saya wakakaka

  4. I see you don't monetize your blog. Don't waste your traffic, i see one opportunity to earn extra cash on your website, search in google for: money making ideas by Loocijano

  5. Uh...Ohh...another post that I have to confess to agreeing with Ktemoc.....wakakakakaka..

    This is really becoming a bad habit , which I must put a stop to....wakakakakaka...

  6. Figuratively speaking, you two, KTemoc and Doraisamy need a brain lasic surgery.....your hatred or perhaps deeprooted jealousy towards the accomodative native of the land, made your grey matter see distorted images thru your racist glasses

    1. my dear bogbong, I refer you to Sociologist Syed Farid al-Attas lah so don't be mad at me wakakaka

  7. Dear KayTee, if you want to see islam of the masses do not see thru the lenses of of Farid Al Attas, Marina Mahathir and those the source.....

    By the way are your style resemble that of Michael chick (the psuedo historian)

  8. Unesco world-heritage listing is difficult, requires a lot of solid research, tenacity, and good old-fashioned "selling". This includes not only presenting objective evidence, but also marketing-style persuasion and promotion to the Unesco council as well as the international community.

    I remember when Penang was actively pursuing the Unesco listing, they took bus-loads of international historians, cultural experts, food critics and academicians around to taste the best Penang food. The guides were explaining how the influences of Malay, Chinese, Siamese, Indian, Javanese and Arabic cuisine combined to produce uniquely Penang recipes. Ultimately, Unesco recognised that the unique "Straits Settlement" culture and architecture of Penang and Malacca was of world-class significance, and appropriate for listing.
    This was like rah-rah commercial marketing, but you need that to sell your "Product".

    The Bujang valley historical remains are not well preserved and not well promoted. Some years ago, a site which was on private land was destroyed by a developer's contractor. The Kedah state government , in fact, has the power to order the preservation of historical sites, even if sitting on private land, but they "forgot" to declare it a protected site, even though it had been discovered more than 20 years ago.

    Even within Malaysia, the sites are not well known and not promoted, unlike Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, that every Thai schoolchildren know about. A large part of the reticence, I suspect is the tremendous reluctance and discomfort to admit , let alone promote a site representing Malay civilisation that was likely Buddhist or Hindu-based.

    Well....forget about World Heritage listing, then.
    You can't have your cake and eat it.

    I'm one of the "weird" guys who goes visiting museums and historical sites in cities and areas that I travel to. My other half , to this day, can't understand why I can't be like other "normal" people, and just go shopping and sightseeing...hahaha..

    I have been most fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit so many of the World Heritage historical sites. Angkor Watt, Ayutthaya, Sukothai , Bagan (Myanmar), the Acropolis, Pompeii, the Palatine Hill...

    There is none in Malaysia.
    George Town and Malacca are cultural sites, the Mulu caves are natural features.

  9. The word "Kedah" is not a root word of the Malay language; but of the Tamil language. The Tamil people were to a great extend worshippers of the God Siva. In that era Kedah must have been still a part of Thailand, thus the Indian colony of traders must have lived there. In the early 80's Siva lingam images were found in Bujang Vally and a few of my friends took photographs of them. The icons went missing by the early 2000 during our next visit. The Government is systematically destroying the heritage and history of this country.

  10. Why you and the Ramasamy fella so kepoh one ?

    The Prof was just explaining the difficulty in getting UNESCO World Heritage listing. There is nothing to suggest a hidden agenda.

    If the Bujang valley structures were mainly connected to animists, and not to one of the World's great religions, then it is difficult to justify that the historical remains are of "outstanding universal value and a common heritage of humanity" i.e. Unesco listing criteria.

  11. From my own reading and research.. I think the malays were originally from Lingga.. and then expanded to Riau and Johor. In fact Johor-Riau-Lingga was under one Sultanate. There were inter-marriages between the malays and the bugis from Sulawesi.. hence the malay-bugis culture. Johor-Riau-Lingga Sultanate then expanded to Pahang-Terengganu-Selangor-Perak-Kedah where almost all of the Sultanates are of malay-bugis descent. BTW almost 100% of the people of Lingga speak bahasa melayu loghat Johor until today.

    1. Kedah originated from johor-riau-lingga sultanate? Then who was maharaja druber raja and also where did merong maha wangsa come from?

      The bugis that you mentioned, from sulawesei or sumatera?

    2. it was through marriage.. daeng perani, one of the five bugis warriors, had played a dominant and an influential role in the Kedah royal family. He also died and buried in Kedah. The five bugis warriors daeng marewah.. daeng menambun.. daeng chelak..daeng kumasi .. daeng perani.. were all from Sulawesi..

    3. Thru marriage...when?

      Merong maha wangsa &/or maharaja druber raja, cerita dongeng?

    4. i guess your merong epic is in the 12th century. mine is in regard to the origin of the malay and also the bugis influence in the malay sultanate which started in the 17th century. had the british and the dutch did not come here.. the johor-riau-lingga-pahang-terengganu-selangor-perak-etc etc would still be in one piece perhaps. btw, rpk is from daeng chelak's bloodline.

    5. Are you saying the present kedah sultanate is of bugis lineage? Interesting.

    6. Kedah is not a Bugis country they were ancient East Indian and most off all Siamese.Just look at the ancient writing in Bujang Valley, Sanskrit , Prakrit and Pali.Archaeology is truth it's written in stone.

  12. The Malay Peninsular was basically colonised by the Bugis, through military and political means, and through the weakness of the pre-existing Malay rulers. The Bugis Sultans werer basically foreign overlords, like the early Norman kings of England.

    It was a conquest, the Malays don't feel it because of the same religion, compatible culture and the Bugis learnt to speak the local Malay.

    I've been to Sulawesi. The Bugis loghat may have the same roots as Bahasa Melayu, but unintelligible when listening on the spot.

    If these Bugis had Caucasian features and/or were Christians, the Malays would be shouting "penjajah".