Monday, October 29, 2007

Dr. Mahathir's famous speech

Transcript from the Prime Minister's Office, Kuala Lumpur

Dr Mahathir was sitting next to Sir James Wolfensohn who could but shake his head as Mahathir proceeded to tear strips of the global financial establishment.


When I was invited to speak at this World Bank and IMF gathering more than three months ago things were going very smoothly indeed for Asia, in particular East Asia, the part which the naive thought it was logical and easy to bring together in an economic caucus, the East Asia Economic Caucus.

2. East Asian countries were at peace, within and without. Even the fracas in Cambodia had not happened. The certainty was that the nations of South East Asia and North East Asia would be growing economically and would gradually become economic powerhouses for the rest of the world.

3. There was much talk then of Asian dragons and tigers and of course the East Asian miracles. We were quite flattered. We thought they were admiring our strength and our skills.

4. We had forgotten the experience of Japan and Korea. When these two countries seemed about to catch up with the developed world, things began to happen to them. The Yen was yanked up in order to reduce the competitiveness of Japanese goods, while Korea was designated an NIC, a Newly-industrialising Country which must be stopped in its track.

5. We had even forgotten the lesson of Mexico, whose economy was suddenly blighted when foreign funds were suddenly, withdrawn. Mexico was forced to borrow 20 billion U.S. dollars in order to tide over and restore its fractured economy. Someone made a packet from this loan.

6. And of course we in Malaysia had laughed at the suggestion that our country would follow the fate of Mexico. How could that happen when our economy was so sound. We had practically no foreign debts. Our growth was high, our inflation low.

Politically we were stable and socially harmonious. We had put in place, tried and tested strategies for a continuous thirty-year growth plan.

7. We dismissed the rumour that Malaysia would go the way of Mexico. And indeed it did not. We did not realise how close we were to a manipulated economic crisis. We blithely sailed on.

And we were convinced that Mexico, Korea or Japan and their fates were irrelevant as far as we were concerned. We felt totally insulated against events in other countries.

8. But now we know better. We know why it was suggested that Malaysia would go the way of Mexico. We know now that even as Mexico's economic crash was manipulated and made to crash, the economies of other developing countries too can be suddenly manipulated and forced to bow to the great fund managers who have now come to be the people to decide who should prosper and who shouldn't.

9. I did not know all these when I accepted the invitation to speak, to speak of our hopes and aspiration, of sharing our prosperity with others. I had wanted to speak about prosper-thy-neighbour policies, about win win win strategies, about the multitude of opportunities in Asia for everyone.

10. In case you are wondering about what is meant by prosper-thy-neighbour, I would like to explain again that it simply means if you help your neighbour to prosper you will prosper along with it. When countries are prosperous they become more stable and their people need not emigrate to your country. Instead their prosperity provides you with a market for your goods, with opportunities to invest and to enrich yourself even as you create jobs and wealth for them.

11. Poor neighbours are a source of problems for everyone, for themselves and for you. Their problems tend to spill over your borders and undermine your peace and prosperity.

12. When Japan invested in Malaysia it created jobs and wealth for us and enabled us to industrialise rapidly. Japan of course gained directly from its investments but more than that we have become one of Japan's best markets.

13. Clearly Japan has prospered by helping us to prosper. This is what is meant by ``prosper-thy-neighbour'' as opposed to ``beggar-thy-neighbour.'' Everyone gains from ``prosper-thy-neighbour'' policies while only one side gains from ``beggar-thy-neighbour'' mindsets.

14. Malaysia is a developing country but we expend a lot of money in helping others. I will not elaborate on what we have done, but we really do, in the spirit of prospering-thy-neighbour.

15. The old mindset can be summarised by the term zero sum game. You win if others lose, you prosper at the expense of other's impoverishment.

16. Malaysia had prospered because we believed in being open when others seemed paranoid about foreigners and were ultra-nationalists, wanting to keep their country's economy to themselves. But in South East Asia ultra- nationalism very quickly gave way to pragmatic open economies.

17. Asean, and for that matter the whole of East Asia, seems to subscribe to the prosper-thy-neighbour philosophy. Now South Asia seems to be picking it up, together with countries in Africa. Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we all help each other to prosper, something that really is entirely possible.

18. But it would seem that the old beggar-thy-neighbour instinct is still around, is still the guiding principle of a group of ultra-rich people. For them wealth must come from impoverishing others, from taking what others have in order to enrich themselves. Their weapon is their wealth against the poverty of others.

19. For almost half a century the countries of East Asia have toiled day and night, to better the lot of their people. When Malaysia became independent in 1957, the per capita income of it's five million people was 350 U.S. dollars. By June 1997, after 40 long hard years of toil and sweat the per capita of it's 20 million people was almost 5,000 U.S. dollars. After June you know what happened.

20. All along we had tried to comply with the wishes of the rich and the mighty. We have opened up our markets, including our share and capital markets. On the other hand, most foreign companies operating in our country, do not allow local participation. They are not open, but we have not complained.

Their profits accrue to their shareholders in their home country. They pay practically no tax.

21. We were told that we must allow our money to be traded outside our country. We were told to permit short selling, even to let trading in borrowed shares to be legalised. We must allow for speculation. We did all that we were told to do. But we were told we have not done enough. We were told to slow down our growth. We were told that it could not be sustained, than it would be bad for us, that we would overheat. In particular we should not venture into big projects, the so-called mega projects, even if only to provide the necessary infrastructure that we were told we needed. And of course we were told that if we don't provide the infrastructure then we will not be able to grow. Quite confusing, really.

22. But Malaysia and its South East Asian neighbours continued to grow, to prosper. Disobedient, recalcitrant and at times impudent, these upstarts, Malaysia in particular had the temerity to aim higher than the developed countries, the powerful, the movers and shakers of the world.

23. I don't know about the average men in the street but quite a few people who are in the media and in control of the big money seem to want to see these South East Asian countries and in particular Malaysia stop trying to catch up with their superiors and to know their place. If they don't then they will just have to be made to do so and these people have the means and the wherewithal to force their will on these upstarts.

24. There may be no conspiracy as such but it is quite obvious that a few at least, media as well as fund managers, have their own agenda which they are determined to carry out.

25. We have always welcomed foreign investments, including speculation. They can come in to buy shares and to get out if they wish to for whatever reason. But when the big funds use their massive weight in order to move the shares up and down at will and make huge profits by their manipulations then it is too much to expect us to welcome them, especially when their profits results in massive losses for ourselves in the classic zero sum game theory.

26. International trading makes currency exchange necessary. Otherwise we may have to resort to barter. Buying and selling currency to finance trade is fine. But out of this evolved pure trade in currency as a commodity.

27. We are told that the trade in currency is actually 20 times bigger than real trade in goods and services. Other than profits and losses to the traders involved, there really is no tangible benefits for the world from this huge trade. No substantial jobs are created nor products or services enjoyed by the average people. The whole trading is secretive and a bit shady as huge sums are apparently moved about from banks to banks. No real money are involved, only figures. One billion Malaysian ringgits would need a big truck to move from place to place. Obviously this is physically impossible if the Great Train Robbery is not to be repeated hundreds of times over.

28. The traders apparently make billions with each transaction. But when the funds at their disposal is huge and they are in a position to influence the values of the currencies with their investments and divestments then the currency market become cash cows to them. They cannot fail to make a profit whichever way the index goes.

29. Unfortunately their profits come from impoverishing others, including very poor countries and poor people. South East Asian countries have now become their target simply because, we have the money but not enough to defend ourselves.

30. In the case of Malaysia, the ringgit is devalued by 20 percent. What this means is that we, everyone of us including the Government, have lost 20 percent of the purchasing power of whatever money we have. The poor have become poorer and there are now more poor people in Malaysia. The rich have become poorer too but we will not waste any sympathy on them of course.

31. But the currency traders have become rich, very very rich through making other people poorer. These are billionaires who do not really need any more money. Even the people who invest in the funds they operate are rich; we are told that the average return is about 35 percent per annum.

32. And we are told that we are not worldly if we do not appreciate the workings of the international financial market. Great countries tell us that we must accept being impoverished because that is what international finance is all about. Obviously we are not sophisticated enough to accept losing money so that the manipulators become richer.

33. We are also warned that these are powerful people. If we make a noise or we act in any way to frustrate them they would be annoyed. And when they are annoyed they can destroy us altogether, they can reduce us to basket cases. We have to accept that they are around, that they will always be around and that there really is nothing we can do about it. They will determine whether we prosper or we don't.

34. Once upon a time the U.S. allowed monopolies. Then Rockefeller cornered the oil industry in America and destroyed the small players and squeezed the consumers. The U.S. government decided that this was not right and outlawed monopolies through the Anti-Trust Laws.

35. A few decades back some enterprising people hit on the idea acquiring controlling interest in companies and then stripping their assets. The shell left by them was incapable of giving any return to the small shareholders. Thousands of people lost money.

36. Again the government stepped in and required anyone acquiring more than a certain percentage of shares to make an offer for the rest. That way the small shareholders were able to dispose of their shares at the offered price. They were relieved of the possibility of owning shares in useless companies.

37. To prevent other abuses, anyone buying more than five percent of the shares have to declare.

38. When insiders made use of inside information to sell or buy their own shares it was regarded as unfair advantage and was made illegal.

39. I mention all these because society must be protected from unscrupulous profiteers. I know I am taking a big risk to suggest it, but I am saying that currency trading is unnecessary, unproductive and immoral. It should be stopped. It should be made illegal. We don't need currency trading. We need to buy money only when we want to finance real trade. Otherwise we should not buy or sell currencies as we sell commodities.

40. We cannot go back to Bretton Woods and the fixed exchange rates although we should be honest enough to admit that fixed exchange rates did not hold up the economic recovery of the world in the post World War period. It was wrong only because it did not really reflect the economic performance of the nations concerned. Sovereign nations were allowed to devalue at will.

But the float resulted in nations losing their sovereign rights. Currency traders emerged who made killings tracking the snake etc. But they were relatively small players. They were not the movers and shakers who ruled the market. They were mere speculators.

41. No one I think would want to return to the fixed exchange rates. But if anarchy is abhorred by good citizens everywhere, there is no reason why we should not abhor, anarchy in the world financial system. A certain degree of uncertainty is fine but an absolutely uncertain financial world is no good for anyone, except of course for those who deliberately create the uncertainty. But then these people know for certain what they are going to do and could take cover or take advantage. For them there is no uncertainty. They are dealing in absolute certainty and they cannot possibly lose. If insider trading is unfair, outsiders who know exactly what is going to happen and then trade, can it be said to be fair?

42. If trade is to grow then currency values must be linked to the economic performance of the countries concerned. There are enough indices which can help indicate the value of the currencies, and the rates of exchange. A country that is doing reasonably well at a certain exchange rates should be allowed to maintain the rate. If the country is doing badly, devaluation can help the country by making their costs lower and their products more competitive. On the other hand, if the country is too competitive it is safe to assume that the currency is undervalued. Since many factors are involved, many rates are possible. Traders can then take the risk and trade in the currency, if they must.

43. This way there will not be a fixed rate but the range of fluctuation will not be too wide. There will be enough uncertainty for genuine traders but there will not be violent swings as to cause financial crisis for the country concerned.

Trade would not be too disrupted and would in fact he enhanced, increasing the wealth for everyone. It would be a win win situation.

44. The countries of South East Asia have prospered because by and large they have managed their economy better than most other developing countries. Their prosperity has contributed to the prosperity of their trading partners. In fact they have contributed to the economy of many developing countries by their willingness to serve as models for other developing countries.

45. In Malaysia, we have always believed that we are better able to convince other developing countries, and in particular ex-communist countries wanting to liberalise, of the benefits of a market economy. When these countries look at Europe or North America they would feel that the free market economy is beyond their capacity to manage. Europe had taken over two centuries to achieve what they have achieved. These developing countries always feel put off by the complexity and the time required. The centrally-planned socialist system had always seemed easier. But as we all know, socialism and communism had failed. Their economic system did not work. The ex-socialist countries need to adopt at least a part of the evidently successful free market system.

46. When they see that a country like Malaysia, a former colony of Britain, 40 years ago very much like them, fairly successfully managing a market economy, they feel more confident that they can do the same. Some of the other countries of South East Asia are also attractive and convincing models for them. A number of these countries are willing to open their books and even to train personnel from developing countries in economic development and management.

47. We did not spend as much money as the rich aid-giving countries; we did not lend money, but we believe that we are more effective in helping many developing countries in South East Asia, Africa, Central Asia and the South Pacific to make the transition from the centrally-planned command economy to the free market economy.

48. Additionally, the South East Asian countries learnt about administrative measures and development strategies by observing each other. We adopt what seems right and discard what fails to work. It is no coincidence that we have prospered together. We are each other's models.

49. Given half a chance, the countries of South East Asia can become the systems and strategies engine of growth for a lot of countries in Asia and indeed in other parts of the developing world.

50. What would happen to the rest of the world if these developing countries become developed? If it is a zero sum beggar-thy-neighbour world, then we can assume that the presently developed world would become poorer, weaker and ready for colonisation by the New Emerging Developed World. If this is to be the end result then the developed countries should prevent others from ever developing. North East and South East Asia must be impoverished and rendered perpetually unstable. And of course, the Indian sub-continent which seems likely to be the next growth region must be undermined. Under no circumstances must the 1.2 billion people of South Asia together with the two billion increasingly wealthy people of the East Asian region be allowed to become developed.

51. To the yellow peril of yesteryear will be added the brown peril. The Europeans will be overwhelmed. Genghis Khan will ride again and so on and so forth.

52. But the zero sum game theory is an invention of the pessimists, the xenophobic, the clash of civilisation people. Whether it will come about or not depends very much on our present attitudes and what we do now. The attempt to deprive Japan of the raw materials for its industries resulted in Japan launching the Pacific war.

53. But supposing we all espoused the prosper-thy-neighbour policy, supposing we see in the prosperity of others opportunities for enriching ourselves, then we need not be so afraid of the growing wealth and technological advancements of the developing countries of the world.

54. I repeat, when Japan invested in manufacturing in Malaysia, we became not only prosperous but also one of Japan's biggest markets. Today the trade balance is hugely in favour of Japan. And of course Japan reaped huge profits from its investments in Malaysia.

55. Foreign Direct Investments have helped Malaysian per capita to increase by almost 1,000 percent over a period of 30 years. Better still, we have now acquired the capacity to manufacture and export our own branded goods.

56. Clearly this was no zero sum game. This was a win win formula. By helping us, Japan and the others had helped themselves. They have not lost one little bit. Even the rest of the world benefited because we helped to reduce cost and make goods available to poor people everywhere, particularly in the poor countries. And of course Malaysia is not a market for Japan alone. With our wealth and our ever growing needs, we have become a good market for all kinds of products from all the other developed countries. In other words, Malaysia's prosperity has helped to prosper the developed countries everywhere.

57. It is the same with all the South East Asian countries. We have helped to prosper very many countries, including the rich countries of the North. The trade figures will bear testimony to this.

58. There are many developing countries which are still very poor. They contribute almost nothing to the wealth of the rich. They need financial support continuously. They are unstable. They have incessant civil wars, famines and disasters of every kind. Tourists run the danger of being killed in these countries. Huge sums have to be expended on peace keeping in these countries.

59. Prosperous countries on the other hand, are more likely to be peaceful and less of a burden to the rest of the world. A prosper-thy-neighbour policy would therefore give a better return than a beggar-thy-neighbour policy.

60. There is therefore no need to fear the prosperity of the developing countries. They are not going to be a threat to the prosperous. There is no profit in trying to contain them, to undermine them, to prevent them from talking to each other or to their richer neighbours. They cannot be a threat because they will be too busy competing among themselves to gang up against the developed countries. Asians in particular are more ethnically different than Europeans. They can never work together. The clash of civilisation will not take place.

61. There will not be a totally peaceful world of course. There will be local wars. Arms can still be manufactured and sold profitably to these people. But by and large, a generally better developed and prosperous world would be better than one which is divided into the very rich and the very poor.

62. Despite our bitterness over the attempts to push us back by a decade through forced devaluation of our currency, through the rape of our share market, we in South East Asia and in Asia are still keen to receive investments from Europe and America. There has been a lot of talk about our scaring away foreign (meaning western) capital. But you should also appreciate that we of South East Asia at least, are now very scared about foreign capital. We thought they were helping to prosper us. We conducted roadshows to encourage them to invest in our share and financial markets. We will continue to do so. But we will have to be more circumspect. We still believe there are sincere investors out there. But there are also quite a few rogues who can cause an avalanche forcing others to run for cover.

63. We still believe in prospering Asia in order to prosper everyone. The media and the great financial experts may know how or what a country should do, but then if anything fails they are not going to be voted out of office. We are, and we do claim to know a few things about developing our countries. Malaysia has become one of the so-called tiger economies not by listening to the media or the great financial wizards. We have in fact developed ourselves by actually doing the opposite of what the wizards told us we should do. And we think, outrageously and impudently that the same formula can help develop other countries as well.

64. We were a commodity producer with only two commodities to sell. Without any skills in the manufacturing industry we decided to industrialise. And we did. We were told that affirmative action to correct the socio-economic imbalance is not fair and will not work. Our New Economic Policy worked and created a fairer society with no race riots. Similarly we were told that the majority Malays would oppress the minorities. Instead Malays, Chinese, Indians, Iban, Kadazan and 30 other tribes work harmoniously together.

65. We were told that a developing country should not aspire to go into the automobile industry. We did and we have succeeded.

66. Privatisation was a new fangled thing when in 1982 we launched our privatisation programme. Many developed countries failed in their privatisation. We have privatised more than 400 government departments, companies and functions. We have succeeded and we are still going on.

67. Japan Incorporated was condemned. We made Malaysia Incorporated our creed and it has helped our country to grow and prosper faster than most other countries.

68. I will not bore you with tales of our rejection of the conventional including raising our interest rates in order to protect our Ringgit. As you know we went the other way.

69. One of the unconventional things we did was to go big. Our 830 km North-South Highway, our six-kilometre wharf at the new West Port, our Penang Bridge, the Kuala Lumpur Telecommunication Tower, the Petronas Twin Towers and many, many more big projects we have completed have all contributed to our growth and our wealth. They are not monuments but basic infrastructure.

70. We are building the biggest airport in Asia for Kuala Lumpur because of sheer need. Our present airport built 13 years ago was for 400,000 passengers. It now handles 16 million and has no room for expansion.

71. All over the world governments find difficulty in locating new and necessary airports. It would be stupid to build a new airport to handle one million more. We will never find another site when the need arise for a bigger airport. If you must build a new airport, build it, big enough at least for the next 30 years if not 100 years. But we were told that we should not build a mega airport. Why? Because you think it would undermine our economy in which you have invested. You do not want our economy to go under and you will lose your money. But please give us some credit for knowing something about managing our country.

72. We like to think big. We even have great ideas for bringing wealth to other developing countries. We proposed the development of the Mekong Valley, beginning with the railway from Singapore to Kunming because we know that transportation will stimulate economic development. It is a big project but small projects make little impact on the economy.

73. We want to link up with the railways of China, Central Asia and on to Europe. Central Asia's landlocked and cannot develop because of it. You build VLCC to transport oil and bulk cargo for yourselves. Why cannot an ultra-wide gauge railways with trains of two kilometres be built, to move goods in and out of the Central Asian Republics? They can then prosper and the world will have another big market.

74. We have other big ideas to prosper our neighbours, to prosper everyone, the developed countries included.

75. But we are not going to be allowed to do this because you don't like us to have big ideas. It is not proper. It is impudent for us to try, or to even say we are going to do it.

If we even say that when we have the money we will carry on with our big projects, you will make sure we won't have the money by forcing the devaluation of our currency.

76. Beggar-your-neighbour, this is the mindset of some people. They will not help. Worse still they will block, obstruct and undermine.

77. Asia is full of great opportunities not just for Asians but for everyone. Given half a chance we can prosper. We cannot all be as big economically as Japan, but we will not be excruciatingly poor. If the countries of Europe, and of North America can be almost uniformly prosperous we don't see why we cannot be allowed to be a little prosperous.

78. We will not act in concert against the rest of the world. We are not ethnically related as are the Europeans. We come in various colours and shades, practising different religions, speaking different tongues and with very different cultures. We will always disagree with each other, possibly fight against one another leaving us little time to confront others from Europe.

You have nothing to fear from the prosperity and well-being of the Asians.

You have everything to gain, for our prosperity will contribute to your prosperity and the prosperity of the rest of the world. So think of Asian opportunities and seize them.


Friday, October 26, 2007

A Brief History Of Time - My Early Years

That's the title of Stephen Hawking's famous book. I read it some time in the's a work of a genius. Two thumbs up. He explained complicated matter in a simple and easy-to-understand way...unlike certain people who like to project simple things in a complicated way to make them appear smart. And how I hate this kind of people.

I'm not going to elaborate on that Stephen Hawking's's about me and my life so far...not so far actually, I'm only 22. But it was like I had already spent half of my much has happened...bitter and sweet had become part and parcel of me.

My Early Years

I was born in a small urban area of Kangar...but was raised in a remote village deep inside Kubang Pasu district in Kedah. I hardly remembered my childhood years...for all I know, I attended PASTI kindergarten as my first formal education. I fought with Pion, my future best friend, where our relationship started to deteriorated. I was transferred to Tabika kindergarten, next to the mosque and library, shortly after that.

I think that was the turning point of my life...Tabika suited my style of learning. I prospered...even though I hardly recalled any of my friends there. For all I could remember, during recess time, I would go to the nearby Pak Ngah E's shop to buy ice-cream. The shop no longer in operation...and I haven't seen Pak Ngah E for quite a long time.

I've been admitted to Sek Keb Tunjang to received my primary education afterwards. They placed me in 1 kuning (2nd best class...the best class is Hijau) . That's where I started making friends with Najib, Busra, and Asyhraf. I'm not quite sure about Busra...but I think she was there in Kuning class with me back then.

I recalled having Agama class under the guidance of Ustazah Fatimah (she was there until I was in standard 6). A quite old woman wearing spectacles (I used to remember her name, but not anymore) was my first class teacher.

My dad used to send and pick me up from school during that time...and for all I remembered, my sister cycled to school alone. She was already in standard 6 when I first enrolled in standard 1. I remembered one chilly morning, one of my friends touched my hand, and remarked that my hand was way cooler than Asyhraf's. What a cool person was I. I stayed in that class a year long...scoring pretty good grades all the way.

But they still placed me in Kuning class a year after...maybe the grading system still underway...I barely remembered all this. Najib became my good friend...along with Fauzi Mansor. They only upgraded me to Hijau class when I was in standard 3. I moved to a new classroom and building...on the 2nd floor next to SKT's great hall.

For music class, they required me to have a recorder. So my dad bought me a Yamaha recorder (quite expensive...RM10) But I sucked at barely made a good sound whenever I played it. There was this one occasion, I committed my first ever "tuang kelas"...and it was during music class (not sure this happened during standard 3 or 4). I hid in the toilet the entire class...and no one noticed my absence. Poor me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Melayu Merdeka

Buat kesekian kalinya, 31 Ogos akan menjelma lagi. Namun, kali ini hadirnya lebih bermakna...seiring dengan 50 tahun kemerdekaan negara.

Setelah hampir 450 tahun dibelenggu penjajahan, negara akhirnya berhasil mencapai kemerdekaan tanggal 31 Ogos 1957.

Signifikan 'Ogos' pada kemerdekaan negara adalah besar...namun signifikan 'kemerdekaan' pada negara itu sendiri adalah jauh lebih besar. Tanpa sinar merdeka, negara akan terus mendung, redup...dilitupi kuasa penjajah.

Mei tahun lepas, 3 bulan sebelum menjelang Ogos, Pak Jang bertandang ke rumah. Selalunya bersama keluarga, tapi kali ini dia seorang. Selesai berbual ringkas dengan ayah, dia keluar...memandang pohon petai yang sedang lebat berbuah. Segera dia mencapai galah...mengait dari satu dahan ke satu dahan...diperhatikan oleh ayah. Petai-petai yang telah diturunkan akan dijual di pasar.

Rata-rata penduduk kampung masih mengekalkan kerjaya tradisi turun-temurun...walaupun tidak kurang yang telah menyahut seruan kemajuan, menjelajah keluar menjengah kehidupan di bandar.

Tradisinya, orang-orang Melayu adalah petani...golongan yang berbudi pada pohon, berbakti pada tanah. Dasar‘Pecah dan Perintah’tinggalan British tidak lebih dari hanya ingin mengkelompokkan penduduk tanah melayu menurut pengenalan pekerjaan. Anak-anak muda dilatih supaya menjadi lebih baik dari generasi sebelum mereka...mobiliti sosial adalah amat-amat jarang berlaku.

Dilahir dan dibesarkan dalam suasana kampung, aku, pak jang dan abah berkongsi banyak persamaan...walaupun tidak secara keseluruhan. Berasal dari jalur keluarga yang besar, kami mewarisi jalur keturunan yang sama, pusaka yang sama, dan ikatan darah yang sama. Ikatan darah yang melampaui ikatan kekeluargaan...berakar dari susur galur yang lebih besar dan bererti, yang memiliki sejarah yang lebih gagah dan kuat...

Itulah darah keturunan orang Melayu.

Sejarah Melayu begitu panjang...bertitik-mula lebih awal dari zaman Kesultanan Melayu Melaka. Sehingga kini, Melayu adalah kaum majoriti yang dominan di Malaysia. Dari era penjajahan ke rancangan Malayan Union, Suruhanjaya Reid, Fasal 153 Perlembagaan ke pembentukan negara Malaysia, pelbagai cabaran telah ditempuhi oleh orang-orang Melayu.

Sejarah membuktikan, kaum-kaum yang kecundang adalah kaum yang tidak meneliti dan menghargai sejarah...dan tidak menilai semula sejarah. Sejarah akan berpaling semula menurut edaran zaman...maka amat rugi bagi mereka yang tidak mengambil iktibar dari peristiwa sejarah.

Melayu bertuah kerana dikurniakan seorang pahlawan ulung, yang mahsyur di segenap kepulauan Melayu. Itulah Hang Tuah, kebanggaan orang Melayu sepanjang zaman. Namanya sendiri melambangkan kemakmuran dan‘tuah’yang dibawanya pada kerajaan Melayu. Turun naik kerajaan Melayu dibayangi kenamaan pahlawan agung ini...kemuncak persada Kesultanan Melayu Melaka tercapai apabila Hang Tuah berada di kemuncak, dan mula tersadai apabila Hang Tuah kian dimamah usia.

Tidak kurang juga yang mengangkat Hang Jebat sebagai nadi utama kebanggaan orang Melayu. Jika tidak kerana bayangan Hang Tuah, mungkin Hang Jebat yang akan muncul sebagai pahlawan unggul orang Melayu. Namun, perbezaan prinsip yang dinaung menjadi pencetus pertarungan dua sahabat baik ini. Pertarungan yang tidak mengiring sebarang erti, pertarungan yang sia-sia...yang rugi dan menjadi mangsa tidak lain hanyalah orang-orang Melayu sendiri.

“Segala titah patik junjung, dan Tidak sesekali Melayu menderhaka kepada raja” bersemuka dengan“Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah”. Umum mengetahui penamatnya...kalangan Melayu kehilangan seorang pahlawan yang sukar dicari galang ganti. Semuanya hanya bertitik-tolak dari seorang individu…

Itulah kerana seorang sultan Melayu.

Selain pahlawan-pahlawan umpama Hang Tuah dan Hang Jebat, sultan-sultan turut menikmati keistimewaan sebagai kebanggaan orang Melayu. Sultan dianggap sebagai tiang seri perpaduan orang-orang melayu...merangkap tonggak utama berpasaknya kekuatan orang-orang Melayu. Zaman berganti zaman, orang Melayu tetap kekal menumpahkan sepenuh taat setia kepada sultan.

Bilamana kita mentafsirkan sultan sebagai paksi kekuatan orang Melayu, kita perlu sedar akan kelibat orang asing yang akan menjurusnya sebagai teras kelemahan orang Melayu sendiri. Ini yang berlaku sedikit masa dahulu...bilamana British mula meluaskan pengaruh di Tanah Melayu dengan mewayang-kulitkan sultan-sultan.

Mereka tidak perlu kapal perang berduyun...tidak perlu deretan askar upahan...juga tidak perlu kelengkapan ketenteraan bertan-tan...cukuplah sekadar mereka mengawasi tindak-tanduk sultan, maka secara langsung seluruh rakyat akan terus dikawal...umpama boneka yang terikat talinya.

Ini merujuk perihal peri-pentingnya institusi Kesultanan Melayu diimbangi penasihat-penasihat yang kuat dan berpengetahuan tinggi. Sejarah membuktikan, nasihat yang salah kepada sultan-sultan dapat mencalar imej Kerajaan Melayu itu sendiri. Hang Nadim dibunuh gara-gara idea bernasnya berkubukan batang pisang kala Singapura dilanggar todak. Hang tuah dititahkan hukuman bunuh oleh Sultan Mansur Syah akibat termakan hasutan penasihat tinggi istana.

Kedudukan sultan yang kuat dapat menjamin kedudukan orang-orang Melayu sendiri. Kita tidak akan lupa jasa sultan-sultan awal kerajaan Melayu yang terlebih dahulu menerima Islam, yang membawa kepada pengislaman seluruh rakyat. Jika tidak, mungkin kepulauan Melayu tidak akan merasai nikmat Islam sebagaimana hari ini.

Antara sekian banyak kebanggaan orang Melayu, mungkin bahasa Melayu lebih kehadapan sebagai simbol kebanggaan orang Melayu yang paling nyata. Kekal sebagai warisan pusaka Melayu turun-temurun, ia masih utuh meniti dari bibir ke bibir orang Melayu. Biarpun dilanda rantaian cabaran, bahasa Melayu tetap megah berdiri...tak lekang dek Portugis, tak lapuk dek Belanda, tak rapuh dek British, tak reput dek Jepun.

Seruan terbaru kerajaan agar bahasa Melayu diistilahkan semula sebagai bahasa Malaysia, dapat ditafsir sebagai langkah yang agak kebelakang. Hasratnya memang murni...demi memupuk semangat kebangsaan kalangan kaum yang berbilang di Malaysia. Namun pelaksanaannya masih dapat dipertikaikan...bahasa Melayu bukannya sebarangan produk murahan yang sewenang-wenang mudah dijenamakan semula.

Bahasa Melayu telah lama bertapak di nusantara kepulauan Melayu...seiring dengan sejarahnya yang cukup kuat. Nostalgia yang terkandung berat di dalamnya sukar diserap ganti...istilah yang sering beralih memancarkan kelemahan dan kurangnya penghargaan terhadap bahasa itu sendiri. Atas apa alasan sekalipun, ini tidak patut berlaku...suatu pengorbanan ada hadnya yang tertentu. Tiada maknanya berkorban demi sesuatu yang belum pasti dihargai, demi memuaskan hati segolongan kelompok yang tidak pernah bermimpi menghormati kita sebagai peribumi bumi bertuah ini.

Namun tak bermakna kita perlu terus terbuai dalam alunan bahasa sendiri, tanpa sebarang usaha menyelami bahasa-bahasa lain. Kala pejuang-pejuang bahasa tegar mengukuh benteng mempertahan bahasa Melayu yang kian di pinggiran, dapat difahami keresahan yang terdetak di hati kecil mereka.

Riak rasa dan ombak kegelisahan mereka jelas memancarkan segala gundah-gulana…mereka bimbang akan nasib bahasa kesayangan ini. Dukacitanya, terdapat segelintir golongan penyorok dan penyorak bertopeng di belakang barisan ini...mereka inilah pengkhianat sebenar bahasa Melayu. Ibarat api dalam sekam, mereka sedikit kian sedikit mencalar kewibawaan pejuang-pejuang asli bahasa yang setulennya menyayangi bahasa Melayu.

Bahasa ibarat kaca mata kita dalam menelusuri dunia ilmu yang luas terbentang. Bahasa-bahasa di dunia saling melengkapi antara satu sama lain...tiada suatu bahasa pun yang benar-benar sempurna. Tiada apa yang rugi andai kita menguasai bahasa lain, andai tidak kita abaikan bahasa sendiri. Andai bangau yang diam di lubuk sawah hanya terhad memandang sejauh seberang lembah, lebarkan sayap dan terbanglah keawan biru...demi merentasi seberang lembah yang lebih luas dan memukau. Demi melihat gunung-ganang yang membukau, salji yang memutih, belantara yang merimbun...yang hanya dapat dicapai jika sayap dikembangkan.

Keadaan yang sama dengan penguasaan bahasa. Tidak dapat tidak, terpaksa diakui bahasa Melayu agak terhad capaian ilmunya...sekian banyak ilmu yang terbentang luas hanya dapat diamati selengkapnya dalam bahasa Inggeris. Amat rugi jika kita ketinggalan hanya kerana kita enggan meninggalkan kawanan bangau, sawah yang sekian lama didiami. Ilmu takkan sesekali menunggu kita...dan kita juga tidak punya banyak masa. Melebarlah ke awan biru, jelajahilah sepenuhnya ilmu yang terhidang luas...semoga dapat kita peroleh seribu pengajaran darinya.

Namun, timbul masalah baru...bilamana bangau yang terbang meninggi ini mula melupai asal usulnya...mula keliru dengan identiti dirinya. Setelah puas menikmati savanna yang menghijau, dia hinggap di bahu kanggaru, dan merasakan inilah tempat asalnya. Setelah puas menghayati bangunan yang mencakar langit, dia hinggap di Statue of Liberty, dan meyakini inilah tempat usulnya.

Ini hakikat yang terpaksa kita terima. Bahawa ada yang berpandangan satu-satunya jalan keluar untuk Melayu menikmati kemajuan ialah dengan mengambil sepenuhnya resepi barat...dan meninggalkan acuan Melayu yang kononnya sekian lama membelenggu kita. Mengamalkan budaya barat, bertutur loghat barat, dan berfikiran condong ke barat...sedapat mungkin mereka akan mengikis budaya dan identiti Melayu pada diri mereka.

Mereka bersarapan gandum dan oat yang (pada mereka) berkhasiat tinggi. Pada masa sama mereka memerli Melayu yang bersarapankan nasi lemak, kerana bagi mereka ini punca Melayu menjadi malas. Mereka mengisi masa lapang dengan permainan catur...yang dianggap berkelas tinggi dan mencabar minda. Pada masa sama mereka memerli orang-orang Melayu yang bermain dam aji...yang pada anggapan mereka melalaikan orang Melayu dengan‘haji segera’.

Ahh...bangangnya. Dam haji pun jadi punca kelemahan orang Melayu. Betapa inteleknya mereka. Jgn terkejut, suatu masa nanti mereka mungkin merumuskan keris juga salah satu penyumbang kelemahan orang Melayu...kerana reka-bentuknya yang bengkang-bengkok. Mungkin pantun juga turut terkena tempias...kerana untaian kiasannya yang mengelirukan, menyebabkan Melayu terus termangu. Mungkin baju Melayu, bersampin, bersongkok juga antara punca kelemahan Melayu...termasuk juga belacan, petai serta bermacam lagi...dengan pelbagai hujahan kelakar dikemukakan bagi menguatkan dakwaaan mereka.

Diakui, dari satu segi, mereka memang berjaya...terpelajar dan menikmati taraf hidup yang tinggi. Tetapi perlu difahami, kita masih boleh berjaya tanpa meleraikan adat, budaya yang telah sekian lama beradun dalam diri kita. Adat dan budaya Melayu tidak pun pernah mengekang kita dari menggenggam kemajuan, ini anggapan yang amat salah dan serong. Kaya kebendaan, tetapi miskin adat...saling tak tumpah umpama pohon berbuah lebat, tetapi isinya kelat.

Setinggi mana terbang bangau, ingatlah selut lumpur yang mana pernah meliputi kita sedikit masa dahulu. Ingatlah kawanan kerbau, ketam, belut, dan hijauan bendang yang setia menanti kepulangan kita. Kembalilah dan sama-sama berkongsi ilmu yang telah kita pelajari...hargai asal usul diri kita, itulah kejayaan yang lebih besar dan bermakna.

Apa yang penting ialah pengisian struktur dalaman kita...dalaman yang kuat akan menyerlahkan struktur luaran yang teguh. Kita tak akan menjadi lebih Melayu sekadar bertanjak keliling pinggang, berkeris ke hulu ke hilir mahupun bersilat di sana sini. Juga takkan susut Melayu kita jika menguasai bahasa asing, menerapkan budaya luar yang baik, dan keluar dari tempurung pemikiran yang lama.

Benar ungkapan sesetengah pejuang Melayu...sekalipun kita terjun ke selat Inggeris, kita tetap Melayu. Namun, perlu difahami, sementelahan kerbau sekalipun jika tersadung ke selat Inggeris, ia tetap kerbau...tiada apa-apa yang istimewa. Dan tiada siapa yang akan ambil peduli. Tetapi jika Melayu yang terjun ke selat Inggeris itu seorang ilmuan agung yang tersohor, seorang penjelajah agung yang mahsyur, ataupun seorang ahli ekonomi yang disegani...bayangkan kelainan persepsi yang akan terhasil.

Orang Melayu tiada kurangnya berbanding bangsa lain...kita juga setanding, jika tidak melebihi keupayaan mereka. Cuma kurangnya rasa yakin diri, serta rasa rendah diri mendalam yang merencatkan panjatan orang Melayu ke taraf yang lebih tinggi. Manakan tidak, saban hari kita dihidangkan dengan pelbagai permasalahan orang Melayu...yang tidak lebih dari sekadar menghebahkan kelemahan orang Melayu sendiri. Tiada penyelesaian yang dibincangkan, sekadar memaparkan masalah-masalah yang bergulung...dan mereka yang menulis perihal kelemahan orang Melayu ini seakan berbangga dengan pendedahan berkenaan.

Sekadar paparan demi paparan, tanpa sebarang cetusan penyelesaian, tidak akan menghuraikan sebarang masalah. Sebaliknya, orang Melayu akan terus disalut rasa rendah diri yang mendalam...kerana sekian hari didedahkan dengan pelbagai kelemahan bangsa sendiri. Tiada salahnya dibincangkan perihal bangsa kita sekadar peringatan...tetapi jika saban hari dirumuskan kelemahan kita tanpa putus-putus...ingatan apa yang nak disampaikan? Semua ini hanya meruntuhkan semangat orang Melayu sendiri...dan menjadi bahan ketawa bangsa-bangsa lain.

Kadangkala, kita sendiri kurang sedar yang kita juga penyumbang kepada suara-suara yang merendahkan keupayaan orang-orang Melayu. Tanpa sedar, kita turut memukul gendang, memalu gong menghentam kaum sendiri...terasa seronok menghebahkan kelemahan dan mendedahkan kekurangan bangsa sendiri. Terasa seperti kita berada di kelompok luaran, yang telah bebas dari kepompong kemelut Melayu yang seakan tidak berkesudahan.

Tiada guna terlalu asyik membincangkan perihal kekurangan kita...lebih banyak buruk dari baiknya. Lebih bermakna jika kita menonjolkan kejayaan orang Melayu yang telah tercapai...sebagai pelita pembakar semangat dan sumber teladan kita. Bicara kelemahan yang berterusan tidak lebih dari akan hanya melunturkan semangat Melayu sendiri. Kesan buruknya lebih besar dari apa yang dapat kita fikirkan.

Sesungguhnya, kita adalah penyambung warisan, kita juga adalah pelakar masa depan generasi akan datang. Agar mereka yang kemudian dapat menuruti jejak-jejak kita yang telah meluhurkan kejayaan, dan menghindari jejak-jejak kita yang menuju kebinasaan. Berjuanglah sedaya mungkin...demi apa yang kita percayai, demi apa yang kita miliki. Masa takkan pernah menunggu kita...dan kita juga tidak punya banyak masa...

Semalam adalah kenangan. Hari ini adalah kenyataan. Esok adalah impian.

Semalam adalah memori. Hari ini adalah realiti. Esok adalah fantasi.

Salam merdeka. Dan semoga Melayu kan terus merdeka. Dulu, kini, selamanya...

* First appeared in my Friendster Blog, August 29 2007, on the eve of Merdeka Day. It took me almost a month to complete this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Suatu Ahad...

Tadi aku tido dari pagi sampai ke tengah malam. Lepak dengan Fazri sampai 10 pagi...kemudian tak sedar diri sampai pukul 12 tgh malam. Gila betul. Nasib baik aku tak lupa daratan terus. Tak sempat nak tengok Dr SMS mendarat pulang di bumi. Mungkin takda rezeki.

Aku, fazri dan Sabri rancang nak ke KL lepas exam. Seumur hidup aku yang masih mentah ni, belum pernah aku naik pesawat. Sebab tu rasa tak sabar. Orang TV3 hari tu sebut teruja...lebih kurang macam tindak balas atom-atom bila dalam keadaan aktif. Bila aktif, dia teruja...pastu menjauhi satu sama lain. Bila dah makin jauh, mesti makin berjarak...tak bertegur sapa sesama sendiri...tak baik macam tu. Tuhan marah.

Kenal Fazri dan Sabri merupakan satu anugerah dalam hidup aku. Banyak benda aku belajar dari dua orang nih...mengenai pengorbanan, setiakawan dan kehidupan. Yang lain belum abis beraya lagi...Fisal plak dah balik Kelantan, sabar jelah. Ntah sapa yang boleh celen Fifa dengan aku lagi pasni. Aku dah mencapai tahap tak terkalah sekarang ni.

Aku ada bukak friendster...dan terbaca link blog Aziah a.k.a Jenab. Dia sekelas dengan aku masa sekolah menengah dulu...walaupun aku kurang ingat pernah berbual atau tak dengan dia. Dia baru buat blog baru...dan aku yang banyak masa terbuang ni terus melawat page dia.

Yang dapat aku perhatikan, dia dah jadik Islamic-type lady. Aku bukan anti-Islamic, tapi aku kurang suka sangat dengan orang yang bertudung labuh. Seakan ada anggapan dalam diri aku yang group ni eksyen jek lebih. Bagi kes Aziah ni, mmg aku dah kenal dia lama...jadi tak jadik hal sangat.

Bagi aku, apa yang penting ialah hati dia, bukan apa yang dia kelihatan. Aku cukup tak suka puak-puak super-Islamik yang ke hulu ke hilir suruh orang buat itu ini. Boleh kalau sekadar bagi nasihat, tapi jangan merendahkan orang lain.

Kita boleh hantar orang ke akademi David Beckham, tapi susah nak tukar dia jadik David Beckham kedua. Kalau ada tabligh ketuk pintu bilik aku, memang aku buat bodoh jek. Dah la sekor pak arab kat tempat aku ni seorang gay yang beriman. Seram betul. Mintak dijauhkan...

Ada ramai di kalangan kawan aku, walaupun penampilan kurang, tapi memiliki hati yang betul-betul baik. Bak kata omputih, jangan hakimkan buku dari muka depan dia. Kalau dari muka belakang lagi la takble. Tengok dari isinya. Kalau nak jadik hakim lak, kena la baca buku. Kalau tak, jangan harap la ble jadik hakim. Nak jadik macam Mohd Hakimi Yusof bin Abu Bakar pon kena baca buku jugak. Ingat senang ke nak jadik stylo mcm tu. Nak jadik Nasrul Hakim pun takpa...janji hepy.

Matahari dah nak terbit...setakat ni dulu kot...banyak dah aku mengarot...salam.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

About the name...

Everything must have it's own identity...including me and my blog. I've been thinking about a host of names to match, and more importantly to reflect the true initial intention of this blog. Among those names which cropped up include a series of simple, weird, and not to forget an abundant of meaningless words.

I prefer a unique and simple name, the one that has a lasting effect on the person who views it. But it's easier said than done...either somebody else had grabbed that particular name, or the system rejected it because its popularity might disrupt the server (I guess). Either way, it had left me stranded and facing a big dilemma ahead.

My first choice is "rumpun-belantara"....with a small tag of " Di balik belantara kehidupan, masih wujudkah rimbunan keluhuran? Mungkin hadirnya cuma serumpun, namun saatnya kan tiba kala rumpun ini menjadi belantara..." After a long and hard thought, I scrapped sound more like a Samad Said poetry. I don't want to attract such kind of people here.

Then came the title "pelangi-senja"...with a small tag of "pelangi menuju senja". I made a little change afterwards, dropping the word 'pelangi', and opting for the title of "senjakala" instead. But to my surprise, somebody else has adopted that name. I did try to use "sangka-kala", but that name sounds improper...and somehow it give a strange creepy feeling to me.

So Panca Sitara is next in line...but it's too vague a name (and a bit long). So I shortened it to Panca Sitra....Pancasira...and lastly Pancasara won my heart and mind. It is the reflection of what I've been through all this while...

I checked with the system, luckily nobody has adopted this name to date. And I put a little effort to check whether it has anything to do with anything (because it just cropped in my mind without a proper meaning). I found out it has something to do with a Sanskrit big deal there it is...the birth of this blog...

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Blogography

I'm not quite sure if such a word exists...but that is my initial intention on setting up this blog. This blog would serve as my blogography...I'll blog about my past, current and future events...all the memorable events that I had ventured to...what I'm currently doing....and my possible future encounter.

I think I'll expose it all...not all actually, because I am in the belief of "something would better be left untold". From my childhood years back then...through to my teen and reaching adulthood, I have seen and experienced many remarkable things. Glory, doom and blended so well to make me what I am today...and I'm very happy (is it?) for all of that....

About the name (Pancasara) , there's a history behind it...but maybe I won't expose it any time soon (just maybe). I've been thinking about a string of other names...a meaningful one, the one that has a big impact on me, and can reflect the true purpose of this blog...but I just couldn't find it. Either somebody just grabbed that URL name or this blogspot is too stupid to recognise my choice of names, I'm not sure. They keep come up suggesting all those stupid long names to just smacked me.

Overall, I'm very grateful of all this...I'm too lazy to write, plus my handwriting is too elegant and classy you couldn't even read it properly (or understand it). I'm doing what I love the most, and I love what I'm doing...

And yes, blogography stands for blog + biography...I'll elaborate on that later....