ISSUE Magazine

Stereotypes of a Complacent Race by Kamarul Anwar

BAHASA MELAYU

1. Sebijik-sebijik perkataan keluar daripada mulut ex-colleague aku bila dia speaking, stok budak ‘ambil galah tolong tunjukkan, saya budak baru belajar, kalau salah tolong jolokkan’. Dia tanya, “I am sorry to make you guys wait. Is it OK if I wait for my brownie?”

2. Aku bajet dua lagi ex-colleague aku tu dah tak sabar dah nak balik ofis tang malam-malam buta ni, pasal client tak approve lagi iklan yang diorang suruh buat. Gua pun nak gerak gak gi jumpa kawan-kawan lain, tapi tunggu je lah. Sepotong brownie je pun, dua-tiga suap settle ah.

3. Tapi lembab la sangat servis kat restoran tu. So aku saja la usik kawan aku:

4. “Kau nak makan brownie, pegi la makan kat Rasta siaalll…”

5. Dia heran aku cakap tu. Aku sambung lagi.

6. “Korang budak-budak UiTM kan asyik lepak kat Rasta je. Ramai-ramai sewa Kancil, RM30 sejam – enam orang sekali naik satu kereta – pastu gerak gi Taman Tun.”

7. Dia blow.

8. “Uuu… Kuang hajar sial lu! Kuang hajar!” dia naik suara. Lepas tu dia tuduh aku hina dia ngan bebudak UiTM lain.

9. Sekarang aku lak heran. Dulu dia yang citer kat aku; dia ngan kawan-kawan seantara UiTM dia slalu lepak kat Rasta, zaman-zaman student dia. Aku sendiri pernah nampak ramai bebudak UiTM naik Kancil sewa (confirm ah sewa) datang lepak situ. And then ada sorang lagi kawan aku yang bagitau berapa sewa Kancil sejam.

10.Aku cuma cakap stereotaip je, bukan mengutuk la dol.

11. Dia dah kenal aku setahun dah, takkan la tak biasa ngan perangai aku kowt. Aku cuma suka ungkapkan stereotaip sesebuah masyarakat, tapi bukan ada niat jahat pun. Itu cara aku bergurau dengan mesej, “Weh, gua rasa perangai korang kelakar. Takde la gua nak terasa ke, meluat ke; gua terima la korang seadanya.”

12. Kalau Cina boleh je gelak bila aku buat cerita pasal stereotaip-stereotaip diorang (kalau kelakar ah) – dengan aku pun gelak kalau diorang balas balik dengan stereotaip-stereotaip Melayu – awat la abang Malay Ultra sorang ni nak naik panas lak? Aku pun Melayu – kalau aku masuk UiTM pun, confirm aku pun sewa gak Kancil, pastu bahagi la RM30/sejam tu dengan enam orang. Bazir karen la bang nak ludah ke langit; nanti kena gak muka aku balik.

***

13. Tapi itulah stereotaip orang Melayu: kita ni tak senang duduk bila orang cakap pasal kita, apatah lagi bila ditegur oleh orang lain. Tak lari daripada ahli politik dan raja-raja kita; ada je orang kritik, ZASS! kepala kena cantas, ataupun benda-benda tidak berperikemanusiaan lain yang orang mengamuk akan buat – seperti ISA.

14. Yang peliknya, kita orang Melayu ada lak power nak tegur orang lain, perli orang lain, caci orang lain. Kita cakap ‘padan muka’ kat Hosni Mubarak bila dia dijatuhkan, tapiiii… fuhh… Orang-orang Ostrolia buat petisyen luahkan ketidak-puasan hati diorang pasal Anwar kena tuduh main bontot second round, melalak orang-orang kat Parlimen cakap Mat Saleh ni takde hak nak masok campor, sampai Ah Jib Gor cakap, “Mereka tidak tahu hal sebenar kes ini,” dalam tona suara orang kaya berbicara dalam Bahasa Malaysia dia, stok yang Jalaluddin Hassan pakai dalam Idaman.

15. Bila Johan (Jozan) tu tiru slang stereotaip Cina tang nak buat lawak, kita gelak. Kita tak terasa, tada hal. Tapi Harith Iskander cerita perangai pemandu Malaysia, ada je komplen cakap ‘Ni boleh bawak gaduh’ la, ni la, tu la. Harith cakap pasal semua orang Malaysia kowt – Melayu, Cina, India, Lain-lain. Yang kita je terasa ni asal lak?

16. Siapalah kita yang orang tak boleh kritik kita? Anak Tuhan ke apa?

17. “Nauzubilliah min zalik! Engkau baca Bible Bahasa Melayu ke apa? Dalam Quran dah tulis, ‘Allah tidak beranak, dan juga tidak diperanakkan.’ (112:3)”

18. Aku tahulah…Itu cuma metafora sahaja…

19. Ish, kau tengok? Ni lah lagi satu masalah Melayu: Pasal kita Melayu, kita Islam… kita nak betulkan semua orang, pasal kita fikir kita je la betul, kita je la mulia. Kita guna alasan pasal kita orang beragama, kita tak boleh kejar kejayaan duniawi. Lepas tu kita salah-gunakan agama untuk memperkecil-kecilkan orang lain dan menaikkan ego kita sebagai insan mulia di sisi Tuhan. Tak cukup dengan tu, kita eksploitasi pula hak Bumiputera kita untuk hidup dengan selesa, dan secara langsungnya kita membantutkan kemajuan negara.

20. Kita orang Melayu ni (dan secara automatiknya kita Islam, at least dalam IC ar) tak habis-habis bangga dengan Ibnu Sina pasal dia ialah salah seorang pakar perubatan moden dan ilmu hisab. Sampai dalam buku teks Sains memuji pasal dia.

21. Aduh, tu dah lebih daripada sealaf la. (‘Satu alaf’ tu bersamaan dengan seribu tahun ye. Lama, kan?) Apa kejayaan yang kita dah kecapi sekarang? Makin mundur tu ada la.

22. Takde sapa nak pandang la kejayaan lama. Lagipun, Ibnu Sina tu bukan orang Melayu pun. Dia orang Parsi.

23. Apa yang kita buat sekarang ni? Menyibuk tepi kain orang lain je; suruh orang betulkan perilaku diorang, cari salah orang, suruh orang jadi lebih beriman.

24. Menyibuk je.

25. Bila orang bukan Islam tengok perangai kita ni, memang tak kagum la diorang. Kita cakap agama Islam ni adil, tapi kita suka je suruh orang ikut perangai dan perilaku kita, sebab cara orang lain salah. Semut dekat luar boleh nampak, tapi gajah depan mata buat donno je.

26. Kita ni nak je cari kelemahan orang supaya kita boleh rasa kita lagi elok daripada diorang. Alang-alang dah tak buat apa-apa benda best kat dunia ni kan?

27. Kalau Allah nak semua orang jadi beriman, puff, dah settle dah la. Tak payah kita nak sibuk-sibuk, macam ayat dalam Surah Yunus ni:

“Dan (bukanlah tanggungjawabmu wahai Muhammad menjadikan seluruh umat manusia beriman), jika Tuhanmu menghendaki nescaya berimanlah sekalian manusia yang ada di bumi. (Janganlah engkau bersedih hati tentang kedegilan orang-orang yang ingkar itu; kalau Tuhan tidak menghendaki) maka patutkah engkau pula hendak memaksa manusia supaya mereka menjadi orang-orang yang beriman?” (10:99)

28. (Aku pun tau jugak petik ayat Quran.)

29. Daripada menyibuk nak cari kelemahan orang, menglecture orang supaya pulang ke pangkal jalan, lagi baik kita majukan diri sendiri. Bukan dosa pun cari kejayaan dunia ni. Baru orang pandang tinggi dekat kita – dan agama Islam. Macam Ibnu Sina. Allah tak akannyer campak selonggok emas kat kau, sebanyak mana kau doa dengan sembahyang hajjat. Usaha kena ada jugak.

30. Tapi sebab kita ni kaum yang tak boleh ditegur, kita tak akan sedar nyer kelemahan kita. Sedar tak, dah empat dekat dah Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB, atau singkatan Bahasa Inggerisnya yang lebih fofular, NEP) diperkenalkan, sampai la ni tak sampai target kerajaan untuk dapatkan Melayu miliki 30% bisnes-bisnes di negara ni. Walhal diorang ingat boleh capai sasaran ni pada tahun 1990.

31. Dalam biografi Tun Dr. Mahathir Doktor Umum (A Doctor in the House) ada dia tulis pasal NEP ni sebenarnya untuk membantu orang Melayu yang tak terer ni. Tapi kita fikir NEP ni diberikan pasal kita la tuan punya tanah ni. ‘Orang bukan Melayu, jangan sekali-kali mempersoalkan hak Bumiputera,’ cikgu Sejarah aku pekik macam puting dia kena cubit masa duduk dalam bilik ada air-con.

32. Tak sedar ke kita kalau nak maintain kita nyer kehidupan ni, ada la wang yang dibazirkan? Duit kerajaan la yang habis. Pastu kita tak pulak nak menyumbang kepada kemajuan negara. Lagi la tak maju.

33. Ada orang ni cakap kat aku, bagus la ada kuota untuk orang Melayu dalam tiap-tiap syarikat besar, supaya tak payah kita susah-susah nak berebut kerja dengan orang Cina dan India.

34. Tu dengan secara tak langsungnya dia dah mengaku ah kita ni lemah.

35. Kalau orang tu jadi boss, mesti dia nak amik orang yang terer je sebab nak majukan bisnes dia. Takde kerja la dia nak kesian dengan orang yang sama kaler kulit ke apa.

36. Kalau la kita ni sedar yang semua orang – tak kira la kaum apa pun – manusia jugak, nanti kita takde la rasa orang Melayu ni lagi elok daripada kaum lain. Asal, pasal kita tak makan babi, kita ni lagi suci? Pasal kita mandi lebih daripada dua kali sehari, kita ni lagi bersih? Tolong ah, kalau mandi banyak-banyak pun, tapi tak salin tuala, nanti tuala tu jadi lembab pastu melekat gak bau sembab tu kat badan. Egh.

37. Aku tulis ni bukan pasal nak kutuk kaum aku sendiri. Tapi aku fikir, kalau kita ni bukak telinga kita dan terima kritikan orang, kita tak akan hidup dalam comfort zone ni. Bukannya kemalasan tu termaktub dalam DNA kita, macam Mahathir tulis dalam buku The Malay Dilemma. Kita boleh jadi maju, dan majukan negara kita. Tak mati nyer la bro kena kritik.

Pasal takkan la Melayu hilang di dunia, kan?

38. Selamat Hari Merdeka.

ENGLISH

1. “I am sorry to make you guys wait. Is it OK if I wait for my brownie?” my former colleague asked everyone at the table, enunciating every syllable slowly like Tarzan’s early attempts at speaking English to woo Jane to bed. (At least, that would be my motive if I were Tarzan.)

2. The other two former colleagues of mine, I was sure, were anxious to get back to the office as there were advertising copies still waiting to be approved by the client at this ungodly hour. I, too, needed to bounce to meet my other friends.

3. But waiting for a mere piece of brownie won’t kill us, even though the service at the restaurant moved at a snail’s pace. Still, I couldn’t help but quip:

4. “If you want to eat brownies, go eat them at Rasta.”

5. He looked at me, nonplussed.

6. “You UiTM students have a penchant for Rasta, I’ve heard. Six guys riding a rented Kancil – RM30-per-hour  – to get to Taman Tun.”

7. He snapped.

8. “A rude motherfucker, you are! Rude!” he said in a tone louder than usual. And he continued, saying that I had just insulted him and other UiTM students.

9. Now was confused. He was the one who had confided to me that he and many of his classmates often went to Rasta during his student years. And from my observation, there are loads of UiTM students who go there in rented Kancils, and it was another friend of mine  from the same university who had told me the rate.

10. I was simply pointing out stereotypes, not passing judgments.

11. Since he has known me for a year, he has definitely heard me state societal stereotypes before, just for fun. It is my way of telling, “Hey, I can see the humour in your idiosyncrasies, so I can totally accept you for who you are.”

12. My Chinese friends can laugh when I make fun of their racial norms (if the jokes are funny), and so will I when they make fun of mine. But this quasi-Malay Ultra ex-colleague of mine construed what I said as something incendiary, when in fact, I am Malay as well.

***

13. Or quite simply, most Malays can’t stand being talked about, let alone criticised. I am certain we picked up this trait from our beloved leaders and kings. The moment someone criticises a Malay – ZING! – The latter goes amok and decapitates the former with a machete, or does something else violent.

14. Ironically, we Malays give ourselves the authority to censure or poke fun at other people; we can condemn Hosni Mubarak’s tyrannical run, but Australians cannot show their dissatisfaction with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s being accused of sodomy for the second time. (They don’t know the exact details of the case, Datuk Seri Najib Razak cavalierly dismissed.)

15. We laugh at Johan (of Jozan fame) whenever he speaks in a stereotypical Chinese accent, yet some of us get all riled up by Harith Iskander’s jokes about Malaysian drivers. (He talks about every race that makes up the Malaysian population, so why are we the only ones who get sensitive about it?)

16. Who are we – the Malays – to have this privilege of being exempt from criticisms? God’s children?

17. “Blasphemy! Don’t you read the Quran? ‘He begets not, nor was He begotten.’ (112:3)”

18. Yes, I know. I was only speaking metaph…

19. Ah, see? This is another common problem of ours: By being both Malay and Muslims, we fancy ourselves as superior to othersWe’ve been saying that being a Muslim is the reason we can’t chase worldly successes. We’ve misused Islam to denigrate others and inflate our self-esteem. We have also been exploiting our Bumiputera status to live comfortably, at the expense of our country’s progress.

20. We Malays (who are, by default, Muslims as well) keep on bragging about how Ibn Sīināa (Avecinna) was one of the pioneers in modern medicine and mathematics. Whoop-de-do. Wow. Amazing.

21. That was more than a millennium ago. What grounds have we broken since? What feats in whatever field have we achieved? Nobody gives a cockroach shit about who gets the early lead in a race. Only the first to cross the finish line matters.

22. (And by the way, Ibnu Sīinaā was a Persian. So please stop pretending he’s our homeboy.)

23. In the interim, we are so concerned about proselytising people to Islam and “correcting” the ways of our Muslim brothers and sisters.

24. Bitch, please.

25. Why would non-Muslims feel compelled to convert to Islam when they see the stupid things we’ve been doing? We talk about justice and fairness, but we act condescendingly towards the “infidels” and the so-called less pious, even when we are still plagued with our own flaws.

26. We’re acting so preachy because it’s a way for us to feel better about ourselves, by undermining another person’s personal character. We know that we’re not doing any substantial shit in this world, so we anoint ourselves as God’s publicists and moral police.

27. Not that Allah wants to, as He said: ‘And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed. So, will thou (O Muhammad s.a.w.) then compel mankind, until they become believers?’ (10:99)

28. (See, I can quote the Quran, too.)

29. Instead of nitpicking on the blunders made by other people in their personal relationship with God and telling non-Muslims to join Islam, we could have done ourselves – and Islam – a favour by improving our own lives and progressing the society’s well-being. Make a mark in this world. Be Ibnu Sīināa. Don’t just sing his praises. No matter how much you pray, God won’t drop a pile of gold onto your lawn.

30. Unfortunately, our sensitivity towards criticisms blinds us from seeing our mistakes. Our racial supremacy is merely an illusion; four decades has passed and we still haven’t met the National Economic Policy’s (NEP) target of 30% participation in local businesses – when the policy was supposed to end in 1990.

31. Tun Dr. Mahathir states in his A Doctor in the House memoir that the NEP was implemented as a crutch for us incompetent Malays to catch up with other races’ economic progressions. But we treat the NEP like it’s the Visa Platinum cardholder benefits. To the non-Malays, do not question the Bumiputera rights, my History teacher screamed in class, her face crimson– like there were pliers pinching her nipples.

32. Haven’t we thought that our dependence on the policy has been making us, well, complacent and detrimental to the country’s economic progress?

33. Someone – a Malay – told me that it’s good to have a certain mandatory quota of positions in a company to be filled by our race, so that we won’t lose out to the Chinese and the Indians.

34. That just reeks of inferiority complex.

35. Of course that person should be paranoid. If she were an employer, she would like to hire a competent subordinate who would bring manifold profits to her company, not someone of the same race – and much less qualified – just for the sake of helping her own kind. This incompetent candidate isn’t even helping himself/herself.

36. If only we Malays had realised that we are all human beings, regardless of race, then we wouldn’t have this superiority complex. Just because we don’t eat pork, doesn’t make our body cleaner or holier. Just because we tend to shower more than twice a day, doesn’t make us much more hygienic and purer. (Don’t you realise that if we shower too much, our towels will be damp and they will smell like a badly maintained surau? And then we rub them on our bodies, and our bodies will absorb the smell. Eww.)

37. I don’t mean to demean our race. But I believe that if we had listened to our critics, we would get the fuck out of this comfort zone a long time ago. It’s not like indolence is encrypted into our DNA, as Mahathir hypothesised in his The Malay Dilemma slam book. (It’s not scientifically proven. Yet.) We could become more productive citizens and make Malaysia better. Even if you’re not the proud rakyat type, do yourself a favour and better your own life. You won’t die-lah from being criticised.

Takkaaaaan la Melayu hilang di dunia. kan?

38. Selamat Hari Merdeka.

 


Kamarul Anwar is by no means a hipster, despite his currently working from home as a freelance writer (contributing almost exclusively for August Man Malaysia). He writes his articles from an Acer laptop, not Macbook Pro. Definitely not a hipster.

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This entry was written by Kamarul Anwar and published on 10/08/2012 at 05:37. It’s filed under Essays, ISSUE3, Kamarul Anwar, Writings and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Stereotypes of a Complacent Race by Kamarul Anwar

  1. alzaquan on said:

    fuck Kammy, how do manage to think up of ideas like this? I really have to up my game and do something performance-art-ish for next month. Anyway, I read the English bit – being the snob that I am – and immediately understood where you were coming from intellectually, but the left column/Malay bit and its conversational style really does propel it to another level. Also, I’m loving the sheer meta-ness of it. That said, I love how people brandish their Malay-ness,sometimes its a pride flag and sometimes its a threatening keris – and they’re altogether oblivious to what this kind of old school defensiveness is self-destructive. Lastly, I love how you’ve retained the sass of “Bitch please” in “Menyibuk je” haha.

    • kamarulanwar on said:

      Dude, it’s not like I’m trying to pull off the stereotypical “self-deprecating writer” route (because I hate to shoot myself in the foot), but really, this is all because of Lutfi’s arduous editing work. It’ll turn out shitty if he didn’t spruce up these articles.

      Yeah, I know, right? If Freud was still alive and he had observed the Malays, he’d be happy to know that his theory of ‘castration anxiety’ is proven somewhat correct.

      And just a reminder: should there be keris-wielding Meleis go amok after reading this, please tell my parents that I had to leave and I am now somewhere safe. Most probably in Geylang.

  2. Zeeda on said:

    What an awesome piece portraying the true nature of Malays! Loved & laughed at the BM version. Kudos 🙂

    • kamarulanwar on said:

      Thank you! But I hope that someday, somehow, what I wrote here will be proven wrong, or that it was all in the past.

      • Zeeda on said:

        I REALLY hope so too. I ran away from all this, it was getting too much.

  3. Lee on said:

    its is most entertaining and insightful. i enjoyed reading, especially the bahasa part.

  4. Pingback: Sunday Postscripts: Issue Magazine « writersclubkl

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