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|Friday, 14-Apr-2006 00:00
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THE MALAYS : Of Lazy and Contented
It was during my last visit to my former high school.
A friend was talking, maybe about life after SPM, to a curious student.
I was looking at students' presentations nearby when the friend pulled me along.
He introduced me to the young lady,
as a Japanese educated who knows a lot of things about studying in Japan.
Excited, the girl blurted out questions,
I couldnt recall the exact words she said but I remember one of those which obviously sounded like ,
"Payyoh dok ngaji Jeppong? Orghae Jepong ghajing dih, ado kor hok mallah serghupo orghae Melayu ?".
I laughed a little and remember replying with,
" Demo tuh maknusiyyo jugok, serghupo jah "
I don't like the stereotypical idea of labelling the Malays as " lazy ",
and when the word came out from the Malays themselves, my heart breaks.
Even though I would like to basuh her much more,
but thinking that perhaps she was only exagerrating her anxiety over her future,
I decided to end up the conversation after a few exchange of harmless words,
away from the subject I deemed sensitive, for not causing further confusion up in her young mind.
But her words did hit me hard at the right time.
About a month ago, I found this article in the local newspaper.
The comment stole my attention so I decided to have it scanned and kept for future reference.
This erroneous perception of Malays is
the result of a misunderstanding of the psyche of the Malays.
Most Malay farmers, fishermen and hawkers are hardworking individuals whose
only fault is that they are contented.
I love the word " CONTENTED " which the writer used.
Perhaps that is the magic word that explains all.
I like how he made up his point by simply putting it as a matter of simple philosophy which is
" wise, pragmatic, balanced and requires a certain presence of mind ".
He even argues that it also " gives more equanimity to one’s outlook on life "
and that " no philosophy that measures success only in monetary terms can be superior ".
Then, there is this old handbook on Kelantan written a hundred years back which I read and would love to recall,
the author, in his honest view on the Malays' working culture, used the very same word - contented !
Maybe I should have told the girl that way
that we are under estimating ourselves to an extent that everything we do and live by are all erroneous, worth lamenting.
I have no further say on this matter.
The article and the book had already made some excellent points againts the popular stereotype.
Therefore, I rest my case.
When the Bapa Penulisan Melayu Moden, Abdullah Munshi
wrote in his " Kesah Pelayaran Abdullah Ka Kelantan " ( 1838 ) that the Kelantanese men are a lazy bunch,
an Englishman, Walter Armstrong Graham, the former Siamese appointed British Advisor to the Court of Kelantan ( 1903 - 1910 )
Amazing isn't it ?
I have no idea the real reason why Abdullah Munshi had to put it that way
but it is indeed amazing to see the Mat Salleh aka the notorious penjajah in your history books would came up with such comment which in his time, unthinkable, even to Abdullah Munshi !
( Source : W.A Graham, " Kelantan : A State Of The Malay Peninsula " ( 1908 ), Chap. " The People ", page 19 )
Pokchik Gateih Teksi, panah chae chae pong pokchik ghok gatteih lagih. Ambo tabik ko pok chik.
Ghamma orghae senae nga sumbangae pok chik. Lambae ketabahae nga keghajinae orghae kito.