Sunday, September 13, 2009

Strengthening the national agenda than the agenda of race

(Mingguan Malaysia, 13 September)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia

As I have always stated, Allah SWT has accorded each country with its own race. The country’s name represented by its race. In short, the nation name comes from the name of the race. For instance, the Malay race-Malaya, Siamese-Siam, Chinese-China, Indian-nations of India and etc. There is no country that is formed naturally multi-racial or multiracial society. Society turns plural resulted from the migration that occurs in many countries including the Malay Peninsula (Malaysia).

A certain group has tried to dispute this fact. They said that the Malays are not the indigenous or original inhabitants of this country. The Malays according to them were like others migrated from other places to this Malay land. The question is how the word Malay archipelagos and Malay Peninsula evolved if in the first place was not inhabited by the Malays? It is true that the natives were the origins. Were there any countries that existed without its natives? Prove that.

As we all know, the Malay patriotism system begins with the word "Malay" or "Malaya" which itself stands for the territories and islands in this region. This names were well-known among the states of China, India and the West such as Melayu (I-Tsing), Malaiur (Marco Polo), Malaiyur (Tanjore-Sanskrit inscriptions in India), Ma-Li-Yu-R (Yuan Shih / China), Mailiur (Siam) and Malayo (Albuquerque / Portuguese) (Suntharalingam and Abd Rahman Ismail, 1985).

In short, the term Malay Peninsula, Malay and Malaysia and Malaya were clearly referred as the Malay states. This fact was certified by the researchers who made the eastern and western study of the Malay environment. Malaya and the Malay archipelagos belonged to a race called Malay. The arrival of the colonials had actually changed the political map of the Malay archipelagos. Once colonized, then the episodes of society pluralism started in the countries of the Malay archipelagos. Allah SWT has clearly made a certain race in places associated with its race. Allah SWT has also granted each nation with its own identity such as language, culture and way of life.

The arrival of the colonials has actually changed the political map of the Malay archipelagos. Previously, the relationship between China/India/Arab with the Malay environment involved bilateral trade only, without large-scale migration. However, after the invasion, begins the episode of society pluralism in countries of the Malay archipelagos. It is clear that Allah SWT created a nation associated with its race. Allah SWT also granted each nation with its own identity such as language, culture and lifestyle. Therefore it is normal when the identity or the majority race, controls or dominates the minority race, because it happens everywhere.

This argument is to convince us that the elevation of the nation and identity is not wrong. Otherwise, why Allah SWT created a nation with varying characters and colors in their respective areas. Of course there are wisdoms. When they migrated, they can be mixed and mutually recognized one another as Allah says in surah Al-Hujurat verse 13.

In my opinion, based on this verse, the love of a race is normal if it is not overwhelming. Ibn Khaldun submitted the concept of assabiyah (social bindings or solidarity) which is positive. This binding plays a major role in uniting the various races and nations which further develop the strength to build civilization. In his writings Al-Mukadimah, the love of a race or assabiyah is allowed. Defending the rights of a race in their own homeland is a commonplace, as happens in other countries that also originated from a race initially.

The society having strong assabiyah ties would certainly be able to build strength and self-esteem than those who are weak. Assabiyah does not means chauvinism nor ethnocentrism nor racism such as ignorance before the coming of Islam. Assabiyah was then, more towards tyranny otherwise in making its people to be cruel. What Ibn Khaldun meant by assabiyah were the bindings of brotherhood, the spirit of esprit de corps and mutual help in doing good deeds. Hence, in this case, when quoting the Malays, it certainly can not run away from Islam.

We must remember, the Malays are lucky because Islam has been professed by them since 600 years ago. Prior to that, thousands of years the Malays professed the Hindu-Buddhist religion. Allah SWT honored the Malay with Islam. Today Islam has raised the prestige of Malay. Without Islam, who are the Malays in this Malay soil?

Therefore, the Malays must learn from the lessons on Islamization. It started with a king converting to Islam in Melaka, hence almost all the Malays follow suit. Islam continued to grow and expand. However, the Melaka government did not last. When it broke, the colonial entered. In the end, the Malay land was invaded and colonized.

Then, the Malays rose again. The Malay Islamic spirit of nationalism has brought them together. Henceforth, the Malays became strong again. The colonists were driven out successfully despite many casualties. The combination of the Malay Muslims injected the spirit in generating power. That is why I always stated that the Malay and Islam are like the flesh and blood with a history based; unfortunately there are many who do not understand my meaning. They accused me of being more Malay, as if I do not love the Chinese or I have forgotten being a Chinese myself.

As a Chinese, it is appropriate for me to love my own race. This is allowed in Islam. As a Chinese he will be a Chinese, no matter how long for Allah SWT has created me to be a Chinese. I can never change myself to be Malay. To belittle one own race meaning is to belittle Allah SWT creations. However, when I gave some different views or criticized the Chinese, it does not mean that I do not love the Chinese. Do understand that Islam teaches me the meaning to speak the truth, although I have difficulty in accepting that. Unfortunately, there are many who can not see that in a broad perspective. I was denounced because I did not support my own race instead. Do I need to hide the bad for the sake of race?

I was not only denounced by my own race who were not Muslim, but also from among the Chinese Muslim itself. My action was considered to have caused the Chinese to drift further from Islam. They accused me of being an opportunist. I was considered to be more Malay. My question, what is wrong and sinful if I touch on the issues of the Malay Muslims, if it is the truth? Are we not sinful in defending the wrongs?

A Chinese Muslim calling himself ummataunwasoto in my blog commented that it is not wrong for a Chinese to enforce its mother tongue, for himself and within his own community, because to maintain the cultural values and the identity of its ancestors and descendants. When did I say it is wrong? Read carefully my articles that were published in the Mingguan Malaysia. It is very unfortunate for a Chinese Muslim not able to understand the easy Malay language. Which need to be prioritized; the country agenda or the race agenda? The Malay language as the national language is the national agenda, the main objective. Meanwhile, the mother tongue agenda is for the race agenda. When there is a clash, it is obvious that the national agenda should be given the priority without prejudice to the race agenda.

Brother ummataunwasoto also failed to understand the pressing issues of the Chinese government on the Uigur Chinese ethnic in Xinjiang . The real issue is neither the identity issues nor the Uigur ethnic language issues, for they are still Chinese. However, there are other issues that brother ummataunwasoto still unable to obtain the answers, especially relating to the Islam religion professed by the Uigur. Those professed the religion of Islam are accused of being Muslim terrorists. This is the fate of Muslims today resulting from the propaganda of certain parties. I hope brother ummataunwasoto is not in this group receiving this propaganda. Make a study.

Anywhere in this world when the Muslims are a minority in non-Muslim countries, they will be oppressed; persecuted and even worse were killed. If compared with the non-Muslims living in Islamic majority countries, they are not only rich with great life-style, but their wealth has overcome the indigenous itself. This is what I am always repeating on the Malays fate in the Malay soil.

Furthermore, when I proposed the idea of uniform the education system in this country, it does not mean that we want to eliminate other communities' education. My previous writings were very clear, but many still pretend not to understand. I have repeatedly stated that young children must be placed under one roof without denying their rights to the mother tongue education. They cannot be separated as what is happening from before until now. This will make national integration a difficult process. I am confident those that crowing had never studied nor researched this matter. They also do not mix with the society or living in their cocoon only. Join the NGOs and PTAs. You certainly will get the answers. Even not participating in any societies, we can see the mastery of the Malay language and the level of integrations among them.

Many studies had shown that the levels of integrations among the multi-racial society in this country are in a fragile stage. Are we not ashamed when we have leaders or corporate leaders when interviewed on television portrayed their level of mastering of the Malay language were very low compared with those speaking in English or in their mother tongue language? Where is the actual position of the national language as the main country agenda compared to the race agenda? Please reflect on this.

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