Loyal Followers

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Interlok Quagmire

The political and social typhoons caused by the book "Interlok" had come and apparently gone. A "solution," in the form of a compromise, has, as is usual in Malaysia, been found and announced.

I have not read the book. From whatever I had read in the past few weeks on the subject, as I understand it, the book is a mandatory read in our school as part of the Malay literature curricular. The objections taken against the book is the fact that it contains the dreaded "P" word, which is deemed demeaning by Indian Malaysians.

Interlok is a book authored by our National Laureate, Abdullah Hussain. It was written in 1967 as an entry for a national writing competition commemorating the 10th anniversary of our independence.  Apparently in the 1970s, the book was already used in our schools as a text book for the Malay literature subject.

Quite frankly, I can't for the life of me remember that book although I was in Form 4 and 5 in late 70s. If I recollect, the modern Malay literature mandatory reading at that time was Sandera (which had also won some sort of a competition to commemorate our independence - I remember that book well because it was one of the worst novel I had ever read!) The non-prose mandatory book then was a poem anthology called Di Penjuru Mata Mu, which was a gem of a book, if I may add.

From various reports, I gather that Interlok's theme was one of unity between Malaysia's three main races, the Malays, Chinese and Indians which ran back from the 1900s. In other words, it is a period story, which is a story set in a certain era in the past.

Why the sudden outcry, if I may ask?

It has been around for so many years and now suddenly it has become an issue. Why?

The arguments against the usage of the book, among others, is that it contains the dreaded "P" word (well, heck, this is a blog, and so I am going to use it anyway, it contains the word "pariah"). Granted, that word, if used to describe an individual or a group of individuals now, would be demeaning to them, especially if they are Indians.

However, the story in Interlok is set in the early to mid 1900s. Such word was in fact being used then, just as the word "Keling" was being used in Sejarah Melayu, 400 hundred years ago. (In fact in Penang, we do have Masjid Kapitan Keling. So, are we to change that name?) In keeping with the period against which the story was set, the author used the word. I suppose he had wanted to make the story realistic.

What is the problem with that? It is not as if the author is saying all Indians come from that caste.

The deeper objection is not the against the book but against the decision by the Education Ministry to use that book as a mandatory reading in our schools. While I agree to a certain extent that the Ministry should have been more circumspect in choosing a book for mandatory reading, I could not see anything principally wrong with the decision.

On Tweeter, someone said that the usage of the book may give the impression to the students that such derogatory term is acceptable.

Okay. First of all that consequence is not the result of the book. It is also not the result of the decision to use the book as mandatory reading. That would be the result of the lack of education or the lack of depth among our students. That signifies a wider and deeper underlying social, and perhaps even, political issues which pervade our society at large nowadays. The book has nothing to do with that.

In fact, I would dare to argue that the usage of the book Interlok as mandatory reading could be used to create positive awareness among our students that such derogatory term is unacceptable; that it is passe to do so; that political correctness in this millennium demands the removal of such term from our daily vocabulary and that it is not cool to call any of our brothers and sisters as such.

As a Malay student in late 60s and early 70s, I was taught Malay folklore where the Malays were portrayed as stupid (read Lebai Malang); lazy and dreaming (read Pak Pandir). In Si Luncai and in fact Sejarah Melayu (which was mandatory reading in Form 6), we were told that the Malay rulers were greedy, sex crazed, willing to sacrifice their people for personal gains and that the palace was full of intrigue, back stabbing, jealousy and envy and  power crazy people.

In Hikayat Hang Tuah, we were told that Hang Tuah went to Pahang just to steal a woman from her fiancee so that he could present that woman to his King as a present. Hang Tuah had also apparently jumped into a sewage pond to safe the King's horse, such was his undivided loyalty to his King. Hang Jebat on the other hand frolicked with the King's concubines.

In Badang, he even swallowed the puke of a jembalang just so that he would get superhuman strength!

Isn't that demeaning to me, a Malay? Do we change those story in 2011 in order to make it politically correct? Or to make it - to borrow current parlance - "cool"?

As a young student, I was confronted with those innuendos about my race, my culture and even my faith. Did I shout and scream and run away to a dark corner, sulking and brooding? Were the people of my generation too laid back such that nothing was said about those things?

The answer is surely no. We did not do a thing as like everybody else, we have to confront reality, no matter how hard or harsh the reality may be. The truth is, we will never be peaceful with ourselves until we accept reality. Only after that can we strive to be better and stronger.

While the above is true of everyone of us as individuals, it is also true with us as a nation - as Malaysia. Why must we view everything through a racist and jingoistic eyes?

Having said that, I must comment on the supposed "solution" announced by the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday.

Truthfully, I just wanted to laugh!

The so called solution is that the book Interlok is going to continue to be used but with amendments. What the hell for, if I may ask bluntly?

If a book - by our National Laureate, no less - had to be amended before it could be made mandatory reading in our school, why the hell did we decide to use that book in the first place?

What do we do next? Take away all the work "Keling" from Sejarah Melayu? And amend Pak Pandir and Lebai Malang to make the main Malay protagonist look and sound smarter. And what shall we do to Si Luncai? Do we change the part where he jumped into the sea with his "labu" just so that the King's man would not look too stupid?

Where do we stop?

And, if I were the author of Interlok, I would say, "over my dead body, mate!"

47 comments:

strinie said...

You make perfect sense, as usual. I too cannot comprehend the present uproar behind the book. Seems like just another ploy by some quarters to stir up some unnecessary shit. Any rational thinking person, would see that there is no issue here.

Siti Fatimah Zaini. said...

All of a sudden,this petty issue came up and it's pathetic.

And as usual,brilliant article.

Anonymous said...

Totally agreed. Nowadays words or simple things which was acceptable in the early days suddenly becomes controversial.
But if it is used in a form of derogatory remarks or hurling verbally to someone then only it should be condemed.

I think tolerance level is getting thinner nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Art,

Here is another perspective, this is a politically correct era.

This is why the US of A has to modify Tom Sawyer's description about the 'nigger' to please the Black Americans. There r many other literature examples too.

BTW that book is also recommended read for American students.

Stereotyping always starts from small things like name label. Then it splits over to other habits.

In short this is how racism r been cultivated in the young minds.

For mature reader, that's another story. Yr description fits that category.

Or should we NOT follow what the American devils do? After all we a o sovereign Islamic state - whatever that mean in the twisted Islamic sense!

Dense said...

By your reasoning it would be OK to refer to an African-American as a nigger so long as the story was set in the right era. There is no place in any literature for derogatory terms whether it be historical or contemporary

And maybe...just maybe this controversy has just arisen because thinking Malaysians are now less afraid to kow tow to authority

Belinda said...

A good analysis. What surprised me was that the Deputy Prime Minster in his role as Education Minister got the job of editing a school text book. Why on earth did the Federal Government get involved? Don't they have more important thigs to do?

Regards, Belinda

Mahendran said...

The entire episode talks much about the current state of the schools. Nobody trusts that the teachers will be using the book in the right context. As a mature adult (not a "green" student), one can make rational judgement of the book. Unless and when the school system regains the confidence of the people, this sort of problem will go on. The so-called solution is rather a "compromise" i.e. let's tolerate each other, which is not sustainable. It is pretty idiotic to amend a literature work as a compromise. Use it in its entirety wisely, otherwise replace it. Don't tell me there are no other literary works to choose from. The current so-called solution is likely cause more problems from both sides of the divide.

Anonymous said...

Art: Your comments are certainly valid for mature readers.

The issue may not be so clearcut with younger readers who are still in the process forming their self-identity and how they relate to "others" particularly in an environment where school principals are routinely allowed to denigrate minorities with impunity and minority rights are being trampled on every day.

Anonymous said...

Art,

disappointed that, not having read the text-book version of Interlok, you have still chosen to comment on a topic of which you have little or no personal knowledge.

The text book Interlok is an abridged version of the original work.

It is not just the "P" word the Indians are up in arms about, but the whole context in which the Indian in Malaya as Pariahs were depicted.

But then again you chose to comment without doing a little research first.

Would our teachers fare any better then you when it comes to doing a little research and explaining to their students about Indians and pariahs and why Indians actually migrated?

Anonymous said...

This is indian caste problem, this word is coined by indian themselves, in olden days, ppl(including non-indians) used it as an expression of frustration or anger, not so much as demeaning a person,30 yrs ago,no brouhaha,ppl not so sensitive, now they are uptight over such remark.

sleekk said...

Methinks this is a political issue rather than cultural (racial). The word exists and as such, can be used in writings and shouldn't just be confined to the dictionary. The most important point is that the word is used correctly in the context.

Pariah is a demeaning word now as has been in the past. The difference is that people (Indians included) take less offense of the word and meaning in the past compared to now. The funny thing is that pariah may have started with Indians but it is now a common word used to describe anyone, not just Indians.

Using the word serves to depict and remind us of what actually happened in the past, ie segregation by castes, treatment of poor by the rich, etc. Ignoring or preventing the use of pariah won't change history. Learning the past helps us to move forward and not repeat past mistakes.

Anonymous said...

This is from 'temmenggung' one of the reader of MT
Keling originally meant Indian muslims mamaks but today it is erroneously pinned on Indians. Nothing wrong with that meaningless word but today it has assumed derogatory connotations. Therefore unacceptable.

What is the problem with that? It is not as if the author is saying all Indians come from that caste.

Yes, that's exactly what the author alluded to, and that is what triggered the issue. It is untrue and a deliberate lie by the author, since he could have easily verified it. There were 15 other instances of racist connotations, which appears deliberate. He was not trying to be realistic, he was trying his best to demonise a community derogatively under the cover of literature.

Your other arguments are apologetics, Art. An 'untruth and lie' cannot be faced up to as you suggest, to 'confront reality'.

Strictly speaking there has been no pariah caste for the last few hundred years. It has long ceased to exist. So there is no way the author could have been correct. But, people ignorantly use the word to tarnish someone, or demean the 'other'.

Malay folklore and literature contains many myths, legends and superstitions, most of which cannot be verified. But the difference is, it was written by Malays, not Chinese and Indians, and not in a derogatory sense.

For your information Art, etymologically the word pariah simply means messenger, or rasul. The pariah community were traditionally the kings messengers and couriers, an exalted position. So, Malays should NEVER use the word. For it points to their prophet.

Raison D'etre said...

Art,

Aren't we missing the forest from the tree in concentrating on the phrase instead of the act of amending the novel?

That's two wrongs (of course, depending on perspectives) committed and they don't necessarily make it right.

Bloody stupid move.

But then again, like one post says: We are living in a politically correct era, so no mind the sensitivities, yea.

Anonymous said...

good piece ART. honestly I have just got a copy of the book but yet to read it.

nonetheless based on the excrepts in relation to the word paria - i find no offending remark at all. bearing in mind that I am of Indian origin.

a fact is a fact. There was a caste system - fact. A segment of the populace were segmentalised as such - fact. a big group of them were brought to malasyia - fact.

so what is the hype?

this is a lit book anyways?

the irony is that a lot of Indians in India prefer to register themselves as scheduled caste in order to gain entry to Universities under the scheduled caste quota. (This is NEP ala Indian style).

cheers

deva

donplaypuks® said...

Yes, I fully agree with you. History is history and no censorship or re-writing of history or Interlok should be entertained (unless new FACTS emerge) regardless of whose sensitivities it may chafe.

However, Interlok should forthwith be removed from SPM Literature syllabus as it is a book of no literary merit whatsoever. The test of time and its sitting in obvilion for over 40 years is sufficient proof. Does it bear remote comparison with say, 'To Kill A Mockingbird' or 'Tale of Two Cities' or 'Les Miserables'?

This capitulation by our Ministry and Minister of Education is clearly due to false pride and ego.

This 'over my dead body' reaction and pandering pathetically to upstarts like Perkosong and extermists by our Govt is what produces sub-standard graduates by the thousands, year in, year out!

These are our true Pariahs of today!

dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

Anonymous said...

1. Some 10 years back, an Indian teacher told me that 90% of marriages are decided by parents and caste is the important factor.

Today a friend of mine, remains single b'cos of caste, although both of them are highly educated.

2. 'Pariah', the word has contributed to the growth of a person, a culture or even a nation. It shows the depth of knowledge or education.

How nice is it, if life is so simple, that goes on with 2 words - "yes, sir"

3. Today, we begin to white-washed the 'P' word, tomorrow we white-washed everything. - Try reading, 1984 by George Orwell.

4. By not having/accepting rough edges in life, we are the extremist.


p/s. even 'no, sir" is not allowed.

donplaypuks® said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donplaypuks® said...

"This is from 'temmenggung' one of the reader of MT. Keling originally meant Indian muslims mamaks but today it is erroneously pinned on Indians." Anon 15.11.

This is also grossly in error.

Keling refers to Indians who originally trekked overland or sailed from Kalinga on the Coromandel (east) coast of India to the Malayan peninsula and beyond from 500 BCE to 1500 CE. Over time, 'Kalingan' became corrupted and Gujaratis and other Indian Muslims (like Mahathir's grandpa who came from Kerala) were also lumped together with their other Indian brethren and referred to as 'Keling' prominently in say, the Sejarah Melayu and Malacca history.

Know your history.

dpp
we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

salim said...

I am afraid I have to agree with the anonymous contributor who wrote

"It is not just the "P" word the Indians are up in arms about, but the whole context in which the Indian in Malaya as Pariahs were depicted.

But then again you chose to comment without doing a little research first."

All the other commentators missed the point. The unusual focus on the word "pariah" is a distraction engineered by UMNO. Didn't it sound strange for a headmistress to use this word in front of all her students in a school assembly? What better publicity can you get?

Anonymous said...

In the book "Interlok" it's really insulting to Indians to read the part about how happy the pariah Indian was when the white man's dog wagged his tail at him. Totally racist writing!

Anonymous said...

Just as the church suddenly wanted to use Allah to describe everyone's god... when Allah, internationally, save for a few insignificant cultures, was used only for the muslim deity since time imemmorial.
This all reeks of malafide man.
Why don't the church sanction usage of Yahweh instead? Just keep it to Tuhan la for crying out loud.
Fucking priests...

Anonymous said...

Art
Spoke to a few teachers who told me that this "revised" version of the old 1965 book was introduced ONLY for this school year. So although it has been around, it was an INSIGNIFICANT book with a lot of factual inaccuracies. Problem is the teachers in the various schools do not know of the inaccuracies. A little knowledge is a VERY dangerous thing.
BobSam

CK Mak said...

With the publicity surrounding the issue, now everybody knows the word already. So, the damage is done man!

Frances said...

Art, if you can't see why exactly this novel is totally inappropriate for a high school syllabus, you are being deliberately obtuse.

There is no comparison between your having to study the Lebai Malang tales and Indian students having to study this laughable piece of trash. Lebai Malang stories are folk tales, MALAY folk tales, written BY Malays, FOR Malays. Interlok is the product of a lazy, half-baked author who couldn't be bothered to do any real research on the massive waves of migration to the Malay peninsula, and so just projected his own biases on to his "novel". A better comparison would be rural Malay schoolchildren having to study Kipling's The Crab That Played With The Sea for SPM English.

I love that you're so cavalier about how introducing this novel into a school setting will actually play out, implicitly suggesting that vulnerable teenagers should man up and "confront reality". You have a teenage daughter, you must know at least second-hand how this is going to go down in the classroom. There won't be spirited debates about the nature of migrant workers and the difficulties of assimilation. There will just be a fit of giggles every time the word 'pariah' comes up, and the casual school-yard racists will have yet another taunt to add to their already impressive arsenal.

I've read your blog for a long time, but mate, you have really lost the plot on this one.

N.B. I don't agree with the decision of the Ministry to "edit" or "correct" the historical inaccuracies in the novel. Just pick a better novel, for pity's sake. If Interlok is the best contemporary Malaysian literature has to offer, then we're in a desperate state altogether.

Anonymous said...

Dear En Art,

I think you are missing the point. Someone with no knowledge of Indians wrote about them in a derogatory way.

Derogatory? Who's to say? Well, it's bemusing that some people, like PENA, think that they are better judges of what is offensive to Indians and what isn't.

Pak Pandir is depicted in our fables as being foolish, yes. But saying that it casts Malays in a bad light is as ridiculous as saying that the evil witch in the Hansel and Gretel shows that all elderly German women are cannibals who like to eat children whenever they get the chance.

They're stories, about individuals , period! Not an entire race.

Contrast it to Interlok, where sweeping racist generalizations are the order of the day:
"Maniam seperti orang India yang lain, tidak pernah khuatir tentang keselamatan isterinya"

Remove the "seperti orang India yang lain" and you would go a long way to making it a less hateful book.

Tiger said...

The freaking problem is that BN's policies for the past 30 years made it more and more sensitive for people to discuss matters rationally like this.

Thank God that my friends of other ethnicities are still cool about it.

Anonymous said...

all this is sign of insecurity,cant differentiate literary perspective from intent,is there the intention design to demean, can we talk about 'untouchable', can we talk abt slaves, can we talk abt aristocracy and its lower class?? all these r fact of life, can we tell story? go to india and see for yrself what is caste system!

Anonymous said...

Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul. "P" seems to be alright to some but to others it may be rude. Just like the one reporter who said (terlepas kata)that Malay is not originally from this land; what happened then? He was nearly beaten up (I am afraid he may get killed)! So at times we have to practice "Tutup mata sebelah" or "Tutup mulut" in some sensitive subject!

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y said...

Well Art...I think the author does not know the that the proper term is Adi-Dravida. or harijan as ghandi called them.

Well he could have also said the Pariah also build the jalanraya and keretapi tanah melayu lines in the hot sun!!

and contributed toward nation building.

btw the cow gave us milk, mode of transportation, plow padi field, shit also useful...so how can we eat something that gave us life...its cuture not hinduism.

Anonymous said...

Part 1

When I was growing up in a small village, I remember very vividly how the Indians (forming about 90% of the village community) were divided into two main groups - the high caste and the low caste. Quite different from now, the division was clear and specific like everyone know his place, so-to-speak.

I grew up with friends across this divide and quite often would be chastised by my father for mixing with the so-called low castes. This divide was more visible in temples, supposedly a place of god and all were supposed to be "equal" in the eyes of god.

Born in India, my father brought with him the practices in his village over to this country but being Malaysian born, my mother was more liberal and understanding.

It was period of turmoil when I had to grapple with the notion of being a good son and at the same time to be friendly and fair to my "low-caste" friends. There was once this incident when, without mu father's knowledge, I had attended a friend's birthday party not far from my house. When my father had wind of this he rushed to this place and demanded that I leave immediately. He did not mince his words on the low-caste aspect. I was nine years old then.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

Looking at my friend's face, I could see the immense pain and degradation he felt. I then decided that I would continue to be part of the party rather than follow my father back home. Of course, I got the bashing of my life when I returned home but I have never looked back.

In the ensuing years when I visited a number of estates and especially visit as guests of "low-caste" families there was always this advice from "my side" that how wrong that is and that I am disgracing "our community". However' I was not the least bothered/concerned. Witnessing a number of cross-caste relationships turning into "caste-wars", I never had even the slightest doubt on whose side I will be. I can write a book on the pain and suffering inflicted on people just because they were born under such demeaning labels but these personal accounts I have written here would suffice to explain what I am going to write.

Art, you chose to say the word "pariah" as a matter of fact. The social stigma that goes along with this word is very degrading and is like hitting someone "below the belt". For you, it may just be another word, but the injustices caused to these people on this such word and the stigma that characterised and the pain they underwent as outcasts, in terms of deprivation and subjugation,it will be, for a person of your character, diminishes you as person for what you have strenuously fought for all these years.

Quite frankly, neither you nor the author of Interlok have the kind of intimate knowledge and understanding of how badly these people have suffered and suppressed. It is not just the word but what it carries with it. It evokes the kind of memories that strips you bare and naked without any self respect.

When the people were displaced, not only it saw a host of social problems for them: it also saw the gradual disintegration of this much much despised caste issue. I do not see this explosive as intentional, just that it hinges on lack of understanding and knowledge.

For being on "their side", I paid a heavy price, too. I was barred to even see my dying father as he vehemently refused to see me.

After all these years, the education ministry' attempt to introduce this book as an official text is astounding. I think it is no secret that many non-malays detest the education minister (MUHYIDDIN YASSIN) for his stand on a number of matters related to inter-racial issues and it is a general perception that he has introduced this book to "educate" on the "pendatangs". After all, not long ago, just after UMNO general assembly he suddenly came up with the rhetoric of making history a compulsory subject, and this is one of his attempts to potray the pendatangs. I wouldn't know how far this is true but such a perception nonetheless exists.Why would not such a perception exist in case of Najib?

Singam said...

Art, you miss the point. You should have read the book before venturing to comment.

An excerpt from page 211 refers to the Tamils, differentiating them from the Malayalees and Telugus:

"Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang bergaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta paria. Mereka tidak perlu takut akan mengotori sesiapa kalau bersentuhan."

An image is displayed here http://bit.ly/ihAf15 so all of you can see for yourself.

First of all, the book is factually in error and will continue to perpetuate erroneous inter-cultural understanding.

Secondly, the book promotes a bigoted racial viewpoint and will influence young minds to adopt such viewpoints.

Thirdly, in the context of the current Indian-bashing by the BN faithful, the introduction of such a book as a mandatory read is questionable.

By all counts, it is not appropriate as a book for the BM Literature Component. By all means, leave it on the bookshelves as literature but take it our of the school syllabus.

Is that so hard to understand?

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y said...

I dont think its factual wrong, perhaps incomplete.

btw the pariahs who look like me; were treated far better in Malaysia than the black N word ppl...relatively.

KAYUAPI said...

Just want some clarification: Where and when did the caste system started. Is it `coined' or invented by some obnoxious man of the past or by the religious teaching?

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y said...

@Kayuapi,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Indian_caste_system

A hymn from the Rig Veda seems to indicate that one's caste is not necessarily determined by that of one's family:

Rig Veda 9.112.3
—I am a bard, my father is a physician, my mother's job is to grind the corn.
In the Vedic period, there also seems to no discrimination against the Shudras (which later became an ensemble of the so-called low-castes) on the issue of hearing the sacred words of the Vedas and fully participating in all religious rights, something which became totally banned in the later times.[9]

Later scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita and Manusmriti state that the four varnas are created by God. However, at the same time, the Gita says that one's varna is to be understood from one's personal qualities and one's karma (work), not one's birth. Some scholars believe that, in its initial period, the caste system was flexible and it was merit and job based. One could migrate from one caste to other caste by changing one's profession.

Singam said...

The caste system as it originally was is comparable to occupational guilds. Persons joined a caste according to their nature and aptitude.

Over time, social status was accorded according to caste and fathers expected their sons to join the same caste. Eventually, caste became a birthright.

It is something that started off with good intentions and, as with so many other institutions, degraded into something ugly.

There is no room in this modern world for the caste system in its current form.

Anonymous said...

REALITI, HAK DAN HARAPAN.

Apa susah sangat nak padam perkataan itu? Kalau orang India tidak suka, itu adalah hak mereka untuk protes dan suarakan pendapat. Orang Muslim diajar agar memanggil seseorang itu dengan nama yang disukainya. Itu hadis Rasulullah saw. Janganlah ingkar!

Tetapi orang India tidak perlu sensitif sangat. Perkataan itu merujuk kepada perkara yang mereka tidak suka. Tetapi perkataan itu sudah sangat kurang digunakan oleh budak budak zaman ini. Anak saya di Tingkatan 1 tidak pernah mendengarnya.

Ada satu perkataan yang orang India patut lebih sensitif (atau rasa malu). Tanpa perkataan pariah pun, perkataan 'India' itu sendiri (merujuk kepada bangsa atau negara) sudah cukup mengingatkan rakyat Malaysia kepada satu kumpulan komuniti yang kuat menipu dan suka putar belit (ular), pemabuk, pencuri besi buruk, lalang, pembunuh (hakikatnya lebih ramai org India dibunuh oleh gangster India drpd terbunuh ditembak polis).

Kalau merujuk kepada sebuah negara, kita akan terbayang sebuah negara yang kotor, ramai orang miskin, orang lebih hina dari lembu, politikus yang korup dan lambakan filem filem Tamil/Hindustan bodoh yg penuh adegan gaduh!

Off course, tanpa bangsa yang kita panggil pariah ini kita tidak akan ada kari, roti canai, estet getah, rel keretapi yang kita tanpa malu jadikan simbol kebanggaan negara kita.

Ubah sahajalah Interlok itu. Ia hanya satu novel. Terkenal pun di Malaysia sahaja. Ia bukanlah satu kitab suci yang musti dipelihara dan diikuti.

Ingatlah! Orang Melayu takkan maju dengan merasakan bahawa kita lebih mulia kerana ada satu bangsa lain yang pariah. Itu perasan bodoh namanya!

Just my 2cents. Salam. badeklangbuana@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

REALITI, HAK DAN HARAPAN.

Apa susah sangat nak padam perkataan itu? Kalau orang India tidak suka, itu adalah hak mereka untuk protes dan suarakan pendapat. Orang Muslim diajar agar memanggil seseorang itu dengan nama yang disukainya. Itu hadis Rasulullah saw. Janganlah ingkar!

Tetapi orang India tidak perlu sensitif sangat. Perkataan itu merujuk kepada perkara yang mereka tidak suka. Tetapi perkataan itu sudah sangat kurang digunakan oleh budak budak zaman ini. Anak saya di Tingkatan 1 tidak pernah mendengarnya.

Ada satu perkataan yang orang India patut lebih sensitif (atau rasa malu). Tanpa perkataan pariah pun, perkataan 'India' itu sendiri (merujuk kepada bangsa atau negara) sudah cukup mengingatkan rakyat Malaysia kepada satu kumpulan komuniti yang kuat menipu dan suka putar belit (ular), pemabuk, pencuri besi buruk, lalang, pembunuh (hakikatnya lebih ramai org India dibunuh oleh gangster India drpd terbunuh ditembak polis).

Kalau merujuk kepada sebuah negara, kita akan terbayang sebuah negara yang kotor, ramai orang miskin, orang lebih hina dari lembu, politikus yang korup dan lambakan filem filem Tamil/Hindustan bodoh yg penuh adegan gaduh!

Off course, tanpa bangsa yang kita panggil pariah ini kita tidak akan ada kari, roti canai, estet getah, rel keretapi yang kita tanpa malu jadikan simbol kebanggaan negara kita.

Ubah sahajalah Interlok itu. Ia hanya satu novel. Terkenal pun di Malaysia sahaja. Ia bukanlah satu kitab suci yang musti dipelihara dan diikuti.

Ingatlah! Orang Melayu takkan maju dengan merasakan bahawa kita lebih mulia kerana ada satu bangsa lain yang pariah. Itu perasan bodoh namanya!

Just my 2cents. Salam. badeklangbuana@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Maaf, my email is badeklanglangbuana@gmail.com

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y said...

@badek...bodoh sombong..

u kata....satu kumpulan komuniti yang kuat menipu dan suka putar belit (ular), pemabuk, pencuri besi buruk, lalang, pembunuh (hakikatnya lebih ramai org India dibunuh oleh gangster India drpd terbunuh ditembak polis).
...

sebab MISKIN!! bukan sebab pariah

Anonymous said...

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y,

My apology if I offended you. I have many Indian friends, some of them who jokingly, while sober like to boast themselves as Bangsar Indians. They're not miskin. They don't steal besi buruk. But still they do fall into those who we were advised to kill first before we kill any snake we stumbled upon! They're the worst ular i've ever met but they're still my frens indeed. and excuse me, they prefer not to speak in Tamil!!!

Don't worry! All races have their bad attributes, stereotypes or not.

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y said...

@badek...np but I am unsure you should keep silent if u indian friends say naive stuff/etc. btw as Dr M mentioned there is a greater income disparity among Indians..think due to a smaller % of the population and historical migration of skill n unskilled labor to Malaysia.

Call out anyone if they generalize ppl by race.

I am a Malaysian first and proud of it.

Anonymous said...

Of course, theyre times we play jokes on each other. I'm always the 'Tuan Melayu yang pemalas' and they're the drunkard ones, who will go on strike (ROLLING ON THE ROADS)if govt tutup that carlsberg brewery.

But because i respected my indian frens who are against interlok and the pariah word, i supported them.

I recognised their right for the bannishment of the word although i know it wont change the historical facts or whether the customs is still practiced by them or not.

Loken PaL-aNi-SaM-y said...

Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul...nice comment.

Charley Leviathan said...

Haiya, such an easy issue also so difficult to solve. If I was DPM, I'd just announce - Novel Interlok akan dikekalkan sebagai bacaan harus tetapi kurikulum bagi Sastera Melayu akan diubah untuk menambah modul

"Unsur-unsur Rasisme dalam Interlok: Sebab, Bentuk dan Penyelesaiannya"

But then again, even adults can't talk of this rationally so maybe its not such an easy solution after all. Takut semua budak Form 5 masuk ISA beb!!

Anonymous said...

Art, for you to comment on this topic in such a cavalier fashion without reading the book is irresponsible.

To generalise ANYTHING about ANY race is wrong. We do not need be a particular race to understand that simple law of nature. Yet we are quick to comment and defend such generalisation when it is about another race.

Btw, Deva you were quick to comment that you have no offending remark about this before you read it didnt you? How goes it? Have you managed to finish the book without feeling upset or emotional. Do you still feel 'good'?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon, Feb 13, 535 pm,

I have read the book in full. The 2010 version that is.

Again this is a lit book - not a book on history.

If there are factual errors so be it.

Again i take no offence to what has been written.

Perhaps my views are as such as i have just finished reading Mahatma Ghandi by Louis Fischer.

In any case - i would deeply encourage the MOE to make Mk Ghandhi a compulsory reading too.



Cheers,

Deva