Historical distortions

The prime minister I am always falsely convinced has hit his nadir, but Abdullah Badawi will always find a way to outdo his previous gaffes and misjudgements with ease that the rest of us can only say is the sign of a drunken bumble-bee.

“We should all stop inciting race matters.” My good man – you go over to Penang, get your picture ops with the 13 division heads because you don’t want to upset these men, and ask the rest of us to shut up. I’ve never thought of Badawi as the prime minister of all Malaysians – nor have I regarded the ones before him – but surely for the rest of Malaysia who still insist on it, the proof is now irrefutable; for Badawi the Umno vote comes first. The rest of us can just stand in line and wait for his mercy.

There will be no apologies, since Ahmad Ismail has reiterated that all he said were historical facts. And this I like to talk about, history I mean.

History is written by winners, and for 50 years Umno’s written it. The grey areas are aplenty and their explanations are as absurd as they are audacious.

Like explaining why a substantial number of Penang Umno members would look more Indian than me. The Penang state museum has an interesting way of re-telling history.

That Indian Muslims in Penang became Malay because they spoke more Malay than Tamil, and stopped using terms like Mami and Mamu. Cultural transformation is equivalent to race transformation, I would love to see Ahmad Ismail explain why many of his members qualify more than the squatters he talked about. Eh?

Or how about the historical distorting of the value of the Malayan Communist Party. Very scant mention is made of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA). They are the fellows who fought the Japanese. So what were the holier than thou division heads of Umno – Penang or from any of their odd localities – think of that contribution. I am sure Lieutenant Adnan is a Malaysian hero, but to herald him and not those who as tenaciously fought for the homeland is a little crude.

Not bad for a group made up of mostly squatters, don’t you think Ahmad?

Or the distortion of what transpired during emergency. That it was a battle between Malayans seeking independence from a British colonial ruler. It did pit Malayans against Malayans under the employ of the British – but the purpose was not anti-Malaya, if anything it was pro-Malaya.

Or that the British hastened independence so that they don’t lose moral authority in the situation. By displacing all lefties and trade unionists in the wave of crushing local dissent and leaving Umno as the only option left for Malayans seeking independence at the ballot box.

The PM cannot be faulted here. He was never the bookworm and he probably would resolve any academic disagreements by asking everyone to pray.


The point is, history is about interpretation. And when honesty goes out of the window, the profane may become the truth.

I’ll be most happy to hear any arguments on why there is more merit in calling Indians in Penang Malay, or how the MCP have harmed people in their fight for Malaya.

Because it is about interpretation. The Malayan soldiers under the British army, are Malayans, but they are also serving the colonial master. So killing them is justified? And is it equally justified to kill a band of people trying to topple their colonial rulers – whose rule has no moral basis.

Were Americans flooding Berlin in May 1945, freeing Germans or trying to destroy the German government. Are those who come over to Malaya after the second world war, able to claim the collective history of the Malay people in the peninsula, because they too are Muslims?

Indeed history is sordid as it is revealing. But you are never going to get away by making a silly statement like – “I am only making historical statements” in a country that has never quite been frank about its past.

Let’s establish our historical data, and the myriad of interpretations they hold.

Then we can deal with Ahmad Ismail’s ‘historical facts’.

8 thoughts on “Historical distortions

  1. Ai sey man, Babu… too deep for ahmad ismail or soon to be ex PM to understand la..
    1. they never actually know any other history facts other than those facts which they pick up along the umno’s political ceramah.
    2. the way you write, only those with brain power can understand. Those with UMNO power? i doubt can understand.

  2. Dei

    Why don’t you read every word of what the HINDRAF has CLAIMED and tell us your intelligent interpretation.

    Mind you this is not history yet, it is current.

    Are the HINDRAF leaders racist??

  3. Part 2

    While interpretation of history is the true discourse of the intellectual capacity; allegations, character assasinations and telling LIES are criminal in nature.

    Creating unrest and social discontent is an unforgivable line of action for desperate people.

    Do read the HINDRAF’s “plea” … and then tell us your learned theories.

  4. You want historical facts, Mr. Prime Minister? Here are some historical facts:

    1. The first ‘Malay’ Sultan ever was a Hindu Sumatran prince named Parameswara (who later called himself Iskandar Shah, though his conversion to Islam is still unclear so far with no evidence), and who also claimed descent from Alexander the Great. So does that mean our current Malaysian royal houses, all of which the Hikayat Melayu incontrovertibly states have their roots from the Malaccan Sultanate, are originally of Sumatran and Greek origin?

    2. The Chinese ‘immigrants’ came to this country just about a hundred years after the ‘Malays’. And even that is arguable judging from trading records which point to earlier dates. Followed closely by the Indians a century and a bit later. (But let’s not forget the Hindus who were here well before even the Muslims. Archaeological sites abound all over the country, no?)

    3. The reason for the very existence of the definition of ‘Malay’ is due to the fact that there really isn’t a real ‘Malay’ race. The definition of ‘Malay’ as a race was created by the British colonialists for administrative and political reasons only 50 or less years ago. Before then, we had the very distinct groupings of the Javanese, Bugis, Bawean, Achehnese, Minangkabaus, Pattanis, Champas, etc etc. Nearly all of whom migrated from the group of islands we now call Indonesia and the rest from various parts of Indo-China.

    4. The original inhabitants of the land have always been the Orang Asli, the Iban, the Bidayuh, the Orang Ulu, the Melanau, the Kadazan, the Dusun and all the other ethnic minorities who have been rendered politically neutred, casually skimmed over in history lessons and then insultingly categorised as pra-bumi, whatever that means. These minorities, as you call us, have been living on this land since time immemorial. (More archaeological sites abound.)

    So who are the real immigrants and who are the real princes of the soil? You want to talk about historical facts, Mr. Prime Minister? Let’s open the real history books and study the learned and unbiased research of real historians and find out for ourselves the historical facts as they really are, not the systematically re-written histories that we have been indoctrinated with.

  5. Yo Batu,

    What interpretation are you talking about? You speak like at true Indian, berpusing pusing. Bottom line, Ahmad can say what he likes. And so can I, and if I see you one of this days and call you a keling, what does that make me?

    Whatever is said and done, you indians, chinese and other non-malay are migrated to Malay land not too many years ago. Some chinese even as far back as 500 years ago.

    The label immigrant is relative, if time was put into perpective even the orang asli were immigrant from the African continent.

    So that makes us all immigrants, including Malays like me. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. UNLESS, it is written in legislation. No matter what people call you and I, our rights are stated in the consitution. So citizen Batu, what is the big problem?

  6. Sir, I have always maintained that HISTORY IS WHAT HAPPENED BUT WAS NOT RECORDED. The British and Malaysan authorities used Chin Peng, even asked him to be present in London for the Victory Parade and when he comes back they nail him for being a communist sympathiser. What drove CP into the fold of the communists? Survival or ideology. Not much of a choice, is there. His band contributed to the Japs receding and yet they will not allow him to die in his country of birth. Patriots believe that dust thou art and unto dust ye shall return…..but from thence one sprung.

    I am disappointingly amazed that historians like Prof. Emeritus Khoo Kay Kim skimmed shallowly thru this part of history. Or am I wrong. Somebody please enlighten.

  7. razmataz,

    Thanks for your comments. Nice nick you have there.

    I surmise from your elegant words (especially about me) that basis is not as important as legislation, if anything the basis can be built from the legislation.

    I agree with you. Only physical objects can actually harm you since ideas (when words are combined to provide meaningful thoughts) are completely foreign to you – like some of your own countrymen.

    If I think you lame and limited, it has nothing to do with your age, gender, ethnicity, faith, sexual preference or movies you watch, you are lame and limited purely by your own person.

    I’ll buy the sticks, if you bring the skull.

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