Commander (Rtd) S. Thayaparan, Royal Malaysian Navy, is a regular kopi-tiam kaki of mine. He graduated from the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1965. His tour of duty saw him as Commanding Officer of KD Tombak, KD Gempita, KD Ganyang and Executive Officer on Training Frigate KD Hang Tuah.
Through self-study he qualified to read law at Lincoln’s Inn and was the first Malaysian Naval Officer to be called to the Malaysian Bar in 1985.
Commander Thaya was the prosecutor for the Navy in the case of the collision between K.D. RAJA JARUM and M.V. SHOUMARU, and acted as Defense Counsel in the case of the sinking off the petrol vessel K.D. SRI PERAK in the South China Sea, both making front-page news.
Since retiring from the Navy, his expertise were sought in Timor Leste supervising both Parliament and Presidential elections and as a UN Volunteer Sri Lanka. He is currently with Yayasan Salam, an NGO.
His articles often appear in the Mainstream Media. He sent me this article as a blog-post. It is a rebuttal to ANAS ZUBEDY:
1. Openly acknowledge that we were sired from a Malay polity
Without an iota of doubt, make it clear that you completely accept history that this country is sired from a Malay polity; with a history, religion and way of life that are from the Malay-Islamic tradition. Only when you make it very clear that you acknowledge this history, communication lines will begin to open.
1. Firstly, who do you mean by “we”? We as a nation? We as a culture? Who comprises this “we”? We are a diverse group of people seeking shelter in a country not our own. The only people who can legitatemely say they are “natives” are the Orang Asli and the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak. Perhaps it is you who should acknowledge that before the arrival of Islam, “you” were Hindus. Perhaps it is “you” who should acknowledge that your culture contains aspects from both Chinese and Indian Culture.
Perhaps this should be acknowledged in our history books and taught to our young. Perhaps when you acknowledge this like many other Malays, you would be able to empathize with the rest of us who acknowledge the polyglot nature of our culture. Just ask the Baba Chinese or the Chittys of Malacca. I assure you when you acknowledge this; you will find communication much easier.
2. Appreciate that the Malays shared the land
Generally, the Malays are a gracious people. They are more inclined towards giving than taking. They showed this when they agreed to share Tanah Melayu. They see it as a sacrifice. You must learn to understand why they feel that way.
2. I appreciate that the indigenous people shared their land…….Not that they had much choice in the matter.
I think grace is shared by most people in this country. I suggest you read up on how the Malay rulers negotiated this “giving” of Malay land. I suggest you educate yourself on who helped build the infrastructure of this Malay land. I hope some day you understand the sacrifice of the Non-Malays who contributed in a very significant way during and before the coming of the British to this land you seem to think the Malays shared with us.
They agreed that from 1957 onwards the communities who came here initially
to earn a living were automatically promoted from "immigrants" to co-owners
of the land. They welcomed millions as fellow citizens. By doing so, the
Malays agreed to become a community among communities. All they asked was to
be assured of two things - that their Malay Rulers and that their religion
Islam are respected.
Who has disrespected Malay rulers and denigrated Islam. Who has curtailed the powers of the Sultans? Who has made a mockery of the great religion which is Islam? Yes we are different communities living under the umbrella of certain principles , the most important of which you mentioned but the fact is, it is UMNO and UMNO alone who is responsible for the lessening of power of the Sultans and the injudicious way Islam is applied. Anyone who becomes a citizen is expected to follow the laws of the land. The non Malays have honored this. I suggest you look to UMNO who claim they represent the Malays who have usurped the powers of the Sultan and denigrated Islam.
A show of appreciation for this act of sharing will make a big difference to
the Malay community. If you and the
the Malays shared the land, the hearts of the Malay community will open to
you. Just a simple acknowledgement, a simple thank you, would have warmed
Why should the
3. Get to know the Malays
You (Guan Eng) and the
their idiosyncrasies, just like there are idiosyncrasies in any other culture.
3. I think Mr. Guan Eng knows the Malays pretty well. After all he was detained under the
It is you who need to understand that Mr. Guan Eng and the
Of course the
They see that both
As a basic start, it would be good to learn and practise Malay peribahasa. Peribahasa has been a part of Malay culture for many generations and it reveals many insights into the values of the Malays. If you use it in your daily conversation, it will give you a medium to gently communicate with the
hearts of the Malays. Another simple thing to cultivate is the habit of wearing traditional Malay wear, especially during official functions. Perhaps you can also organise programmes for your leaders to stay in a Malay kamping. It will be a good eye-opener for them to understand how to relateto the Malays.
I have no idea what you mean by Malay adat and peribahasa. Exactly what has this got do to with understanding Malay culture? Does Mr. Guan Eng speak Malay? Yes he does. Is the manner in which he speaks it rude? No it isn’t. Does Mr. Guan respect the Malay community? Has he allocated funds and resources to help the community? Yes he has. In short, has he run the state he leads competently?
What is wearing Malay traditional dress really mean? What is staying in a Malay kampong achieve? If people are in need regardless of race, an effective leader carries out programmes that benefit them. Your mundane suggestions make it seem as though Mr. Guan Eng is an alien, who has no clue of Malay culture when he has lived here all his life. Perhaps it is people like you who should wear the traditional dress of Non-Malays then maybe you would not feel as though non Malays don’t understand you.
that you respect and value Malay culture. It will demonstrate the
Practicing simple gestures like you describe is nothing but symbolic gestures meant to distract from the real problem of the community. I would rather Mr. Guan Eng concentrate on the numerous social problem that affects the Malay community and by helping remedy such problems, Malays (like you) will realize that substance is far more productive than form.
4. Say sorry
Some of the
in the Malay culture. The Chinese may see saying sorry as "losing face" but for the Malays, saying sorry it is to give the other party "face" - an act of high culture.
4. What does the
Please list out the wrongdoings that the
But seeing how Malays like you, like to say sorry, perhaps you could apologize for Ibrahim Ali, for waving the Keris around, for the systemic discrimination that the Non Malays have to put up with, the constant reminders that we are foreigners even though as I have stated above it is our taxes that are being used for the majority.
Sometimes, to achieve bigger purposes we know that we have to humble ourselves and take the wiser path. In this spirit, I suggest that you apologise for the chauvinistic actions the
Right, now we get to the crux of the matter. You do not think that non Malay culture is equal to Malay culture. Behind your benign rhetoric is really a supremacist, wanting his due. Yes, we are all equal. In other words, you probably are a firm believer in Ketuanan Melayu. I trust you realize that
Once you say sorry, it will not be difficult for the Malays to forgive and to forget. It is part of the Islamic principles that are ingrained in the Malay worldview. Prophet Muhammad also showed the example of a forgiving spirit. The Quran in 8:61 commands: "But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in God."
It amazes me that you advocate Malay supremacy and yet quote the Quran, which is one of the more egalitarian religious books around. I suppose you are Malay first then a Muslim, which is funny because most of the Muslim I know would say that all men are equal before God regardless of race or culture. I repeat unless you have some specific list of wrongs doings done by the
5. Lim Kit Siang must retire
5. Lim Kit Siang must not retire. Again, you are the few who wish to perpetuate this old canard that the
As long as Lim Kit Siang remains in power directly or indirectly, I feel that the
What has Mr. Kit Siang’s leaving got to do with rebranding? The party is rebranding itself with it’s commitment to
You do not have to worry. The only reason why the
6. Be willing to lose out a considerable portion of the Chinese voter base
I am glad that in terms of theory and constitution, the
6. Again, with the fallacious reasoning. The fortunes of the
Exactly who are these chauvinistic Chinese you keep referring to? And what ties have the
7. Merge the
The fastest way for the
Let us be honest with ourselves. The loose coalition of the
The real issue that needs to be solved here is trust among leaders. When it comes to the membership, the majority will follow the leaders. If you and the
7. Why should the
I think your idea of merging the parties is pure nonsense. What Pakatan has got going for it is a diversity of views. You can keep screaming about how you think that
Your idea of a merger while it seems like a nod to multiculturalism is rather about your race insecurities.
Lastly, I felt compelled to respond to your Open letter because it caused great concern amongst the retired Malay Armed Forces personnel I mix with. Has it come to this? They wondered.