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Monday Sermonette: Who is the Real Pendatang?

Recently my wife brought me to a museum in Saigon. We marveled to see a significant part of Vietnam comprising ancient Indian history. There were maps with South Indian names along key coastal towns (Indrapura, Amaravati, Vijaya, Panduranga etc) peppered with temple and other Hindu artifacts. Virtually the whole Indochina has strong Hindu roots just as Tamil is the world’s oldest language.

But that’s just history. Despite their ‘late arrival’, the Vietnamese have a very strong national pride, from language to culture to territorial sovereignty. They don’t allow any other demographic to assert their claim to their country.

The reason is simple. For them, the question of “who came first” is irrelevant. What matters is who Fought for their Independence. Not who came first! And the Vietnamese are the only people in the world who defeated not one but three superpowers (China, France and America).

If Kulasegaran learnt this simple logic, he’d realise how foolish and arrogant it is to suddenly assert Indian influence in “Tanah Melayu” just because “Hinduism came before Islam”. (And the strange thing is he is a lawyer.) It’s like some guy who suddenly turns up at my house and wants Samantha to cook for him just because they dated earlier before I turned up!

Seriously folks, Pakatan fellas are fast proving to be a major embarrassment. But we can’t blame them. After goofing just about every promise in their manifesto, they’re now desperate. So they assert their individual ethnicities by regaling us with comical details about how great the Indians were since ancient times. Yes, yes we all watch History Channel too and we heard all about Suryavarman, Jayavarman, Raja Raja Cholan and so on! (Yawn!)

But pray tell dear Kula, did Suryavarman or Raja Raja Cholan negotiate with the British for Malayan Independence? Because this is what it boils down to in the end. Yes the Indians may harp about Tun Sambanthan as much as the Chinese harp about Tun Tan Cheng Lock. But the truth is: Both Sambanthan and Cheng Lock’s purposes were only to safeguard the interests of their own ethnic groups through their own race-based political parties. Not win Malayan Independence for all Malayans.

It might be wise for DAP and PKR to learn how this whole Merdeka business came about. Believe it or not, the first real effort towards Independence was initiated by Malays of Indonesian descent! (You fellas who mocked DS Zahid Hamidi’s Indonesian descent might want to slap yourselves now). The Malay quest for Independence started smack after World War II when Ahmad Boestamam and Musa Ahmad formed Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya with its entire platform built on achieving Independence. Their symbol was already “Merdeka” with a clenched fist (which Anwar copied for his Reformasi posters in 1998). Like myself, Ahmad and Musa were also writers and unleashed a series of “Merdeka sermonettes” through their newsletter Suara Rakyat. (Note that Merdeka is an Indonesian word, Not Tamil!)

Predictably, the British declared PKMM an “illegal organisation” and quickly jailed its leaders (Operasi Lalang anyone?) But did the Melayus throw in the towel and give up? Nope, they simply reorganised into UMNO a few months later. UMNO’s goal was simple – to oppose any attempt to 1) alienate the Malays in their own land, 2) undermine their customs and religion and/or 3) make the Sultans subservient to British residents.

Even before UMNO and PKMM, the Malay struggle for Independence was already evident since the 1930s. Check out Malay activism in movements like Kesatuan Melayu Muda, Pembela Tanah Air (led by Pak Sako) and Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (led by Dr Burhanuddin Helmy and Hassan Adli – just so you Pakatan Party animals know who he is during your clubbing nights in Bangsar/TTDI while you park illegally at Jalan Burhanuddin Helmy and bitch about the govt!). They even had a Merdeka group for working mothers, Angkatan Wanita Sedar led by the modern-day Tun Fatimah, the indefatigable Shamsiah Fakeh. For you WeChat kids, Pak Sako happens to be the guy who founded Utusan (Malaya’s main Independence mouthpiece) – so remember this: While you keep kutukking Utusan, remember that there’s No Independence without Utusan Melayu!

Even you “sosialis” wannabes (who probably don’t even know the meaning of the word) and keep chanting “Syed Husin Ali” and wearing dumbass Che Guevara t-shirts with the anarchy symbol need to know this: Your beloved socialist leanings also had its roots in the defunct Parti Buruh and Partai Ra’ayat (old spelling for Rakyat la) which was founded by??? Ta Daa… Ahmad Boestaman and Burhanuddin Helmy! Again.

Pray tell dear Kulasegaran and Uncle Kit Siang, where were the Indian and Chinese equivalent of these pro-Independence Malay groups in the run-up towards Merdeka? The only reason MIC and MCA joined Tunku in the final stages of negotiations in London was because Lord Reid had to draft our Constitution, isn’t it? The only reason MIC and MCA joined UMNO and became ‘Perikatan (and then Barisan Nasional) was for political survival, no?

My dear Malaysian machas rallying behind Kulasegaran and Ramasamy now, sorry but I need to say this to your face. Both Kula and Ramasamy ARE pendatang! They are Pendatang not because their ancestors once took a dump here but because they Still think petty issues like headgear and LTTE Tamil Eelam is relevant in Malaysia. If you’re with them, then congrats: You are also a Pendatang! It’s your Attitude fellas. Not your grandfather’s history.

Remember machas, none of us are connected with the great ancient Indian kings who came to Lembah Bujang or Gangga Negara so quit the syok sendiri BS. You fellas are not Lord Aragorn coming back to claim the throne of Gondor Estate in Middle Earth. All of us are just Third Generation Chennai Indians who ended up in Tanah Melayu after our grandparents came here to tap rubber. So just STFU, learn Bahasa Malaysia (like everyone else), respect the national religion (like everyone else) and respect the Malay Sultans (like everyone else).

Then we can all get along together again and sing Negaraku.


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