The paternal grandfather of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, based on his own words, was Tamil speaking Hindu, he claims from the Brahmin (priest) caste, albeit Keling!
Commentary And Analysis . . . The paternal grandfather of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was declared, albeit on paper, Pariah three times under the caste system. Media in Malaysia automatically delete comment which mention Tamil speakers as Keling and Pariah (no caste/casteless/outcaste).
There was time not so long ago, during British times, when Malay speakers would bristle if addressed as Melayu. Melayu was considered derogatory and/or slur term on otherwise decent human beings. Melayu only became respectable when the New Economic Policy (1970-1990) was introduced and the quota system imposed. Still, some media delete comments in English which mention Melayu.
Chinese in Malaya generally describe others as kwai (devil). So, it’s KalingKwai if dark, MangaliKwai if fair, MalaiKwai, and KwaiLoh (red-haired foreign devil). They fall silent when called CinaKwai.
The prejudice among human beings mostly stems from public perceptions on degree of sexual attractiveness. Beauty may be skin deep and/or otherwise lie in the eyes of the beholder. Ultimately, it’s the confidence factor at the educated individual level and/or personal wealth that helps make the difference for the better.
Anwar’s paternal grandfather, based on his own words, was Tamil speaking Hindu, he claims from the Brahmin (priest) caste, albeit Keling. It’s not clear whether the Prime Minister’s Keling outburst in public was the Malaysia Madani government’s unique way of looking down on local Tamil speakers. If so, it does not augur well for unity government and Tamil schools.
If true, Tamil speakers being linguistic fanatics, will hang on even more bitterly as if Tamil language schools are under government attack.
In Tamil Nadu in southeast India, not so long ago, language fanatics publicly immolated themselves in supporting the supremacy of the Tamil language over Hindi imposed by New Delhi.
Ironically, Chennai competes with Mumbai in churning out Hindi films. Hindi means Indian in Hindi, Hind being India. Muslim are not comfortable with Hindustan which was codified by the Mughal Emperor for India. India is English from the Greek Ind for the great river Indus where Hindu civilisation began 5K years ago.
Indonesia, likewise, is English from two Greek words viz. Indos (Indian) and Nesos (Islands).
Keling or no Keling, under the outlawed caste system which prohibits upward social mobility, even Brahmin (priest caste) like Anwar’s paternal grandfather are declared Pariah (no caste/casteless/outcaste) if they cross the waters. The waters, based on the caste system, are considered polluting but only for Brahmin.
Brahmin are the highest of the high on the dung heap of humanity divided by the caste system outlawed by the Indian Constitution and international law. In law, Article 8 in Malaysia, no one was above the law, all are equal before the law, and there can be no discrimination save as provided by law based on sunset clause which has expiry date.
Brahmin, like others, are also declared Pariah if they leave the alloted job function (i.e. priesthood) or marry outside the caste.
Since many people in India routinely ditch the caste system alloted job function, it has been estimated that Pariah make up 40 per cent of the population in India. New Delhi places the figure at 20 per cent born Pariah in excluding declared Pariah. So, the caste system may have started collapsing and imploding as soon as it was created by self-serving Brahmin in ancient India, based on distorted interpretation of Karma viz. the law of cause and effect.
In Islam, sunnatullah is God’s law on cause and effect.
Anwar Ibrahim Said He Meant The Language
Anwar claims disingenuously that when he said Keling during public address, he was talking about the Bahasa Keling (ostensibly Tamil) mentioned in Hikayat Hang Tuah and not the speakers. Fortunately, he didn’t say Pariah.
It’s not clear whether Anwar prefers the term Bahasa Keling over Bahasa Tamil.
In that case, Tamil schools would probably henceforth be dubbed Keling schools at the risk another Indian uprising in the streets as on 25 November 2007 in Kuala Lumpur and mid-Feb 2008 in Putrajaya. One month later, on 8 March, the ruling BN (Barisan Nasional) lost five states and the coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament.
The Prime Minister, clearly lacking in education and wisdom, has made bizzare claim on the derogatory Keling slur which lacks any semblance of logic.
Interestingly, Keling isn’t used in derogatory context in Sabah where the term covers those from Pakistan and Bangladesh as well.
In Sarawak, likewise, Tambi for Tamil speakers isn’t considered derogatory. The Sikh are called Bhaiee (from Bhai in Punjabi for brother). Sikh women are called Bibi (sister).
If Anwar on Keling was about political posturing for remaining in the public eye, it brings no benefits but invites universal contempt.
Already, there isn’t even one Tamil speaking person in the Cabinet, not that it really matters purely based on the rule of law, the basis of the Constitution. The lone Sikh in the Cabinet, Gobind Singh Deo, is being seen by Tamil speaking leaders as poor substitute although they are no performers.
If Malayalam speaking person had been invited by the Cabinet, the Tamil speakers in Malaya would have committed mass hara kiri. There has been bad blood between Malayalam speakers and Tamil speakers in Malaya ever since the British used the former — generally Christian — for supervising the latter (Hindu) in rubber estates for over 200 years. It was about divide and rule.
The government cannot get on the wrong side of the Tamil speaking people in Malaysia and the Indian diaspora. The diaspora in Malaya includes multiplicity of languages spoken in India. These include Malayalam, Telugu, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Gujerati and Sindhi, among others.
It’s open secret that the Indian diaspora in Malaysia, in the absence of the 3rd Vote, has been completely disenfranchised. There are estimates that 350K stateless British subjects in the Indian diaspora live in the twilight zone in Malaya.
Anwar, instead of attacking Bahasa Keling, should focus on Article 152 (national language) not providing for Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia.
Bahasa Malaysia can be rapidly developed through loanwords based on written as spoken spelling that takes the cue from local pronunciation of English words. For example, pass in English would be pas in Bahasa but may differ on the meaning. Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka (DBP) can conduct recordings for increasing Bahasa vocabulary by leaps and bounds.
The 20K word Bahasa Melayu — the Johor Rhio Lingga version — began as many loanwords from Tamil, Sanskrit and Pali, besides Khmer dialect. Tamil, for what it’s worth, has 380K words with 50 per cent derived from Sanskrit, compared with 170K words in English (Latin 50 per cent; French 30 per cent; Greek 10 per cent; 10 per cent Angles and Saxon Germanic dialects, and other dialects and languages).
Sanskrit, Ancient Persian, Latin and Greek are sister languages under the Indo-European linguistic system viz. the root words are the same.
Bahasa Melayu, the national language under Article 152, was redundant by 1969 when the 40K word Bahasa Malaysia emerged as the unofficial official language.
Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Malaysia and the 127K word Bahasa Indonesia are not one and the same languages.
Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia include Bahasa Melayu.
Besides, Bahasa Malaysia has another 20K words not found in Bahasa Melayu.
Bahasa Indonesia has 107K words not found in Bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Indonesia may include words found in Bahasa Malaysia. More on Bahasa later.
Hang Tuah gets mention in Sejarah Melayu which isn’t considered history.
It’s used as literature in Form 6.
Chinese sources make no mention of Hang Tuah and the other Hang and any Princess called Hang Li Poh.
Keling is Telugu, not Tamil except in misnomer. The Kalinga Empire, destroyed by Ashoka the Great before turning Buddhist, was in Andhra Pradesh where Telugu was habitually used. In Malaysia, Keling invariably goes together with Pariah. The Pariah — called Dalit or Harijan (children of God) in the north — are further categorised as untouchable, unlookable, and unapproachable.
DNA test cannot tell how we would look like. It can only tell from which male-female pair we inherited two sex cells. The rest of the human being is from solar energy which transfers to chemical energy and kinetic energy.
Brahmin or Pariah, the DNA is the same.
Tamil speaker or Malay speaker, the DNA is the same. The Constitution cannot get into DNA and geographical origin lest it be seen as going against itself.
Malay, under the Definition in Article 160(2) remains form of identity, based on Muslim habitually speaking the Malay language as in Johor-Rhio-Lingga and born or domiciled in Singapore or Malaya by Merdeka on 31 August 1957.
Their descendants are also Malay.
Language isn’t proof of “race”. Language goes with history, anthropology, culture, customs, traditions, rituals, and habitat.
The Definition, an aberration in law, facilitated Article 153, the quota system and the New Economic Policy (NEP) on affirmative action programmes. Article 153 became redundant in 1972 although the 15 year sunset was removed in the wake of week long disturbances in the streets of Kuala Lumpur from 13 May in 1969.
In law, redundant articles are still law, unless declared otherwise by the court.
All human beings — homo sapiens — have the same DNA as one species, separated from other species, by genetic barrier of millions of years on procreation.
DNA is the warehouse for genes.
There are no genes for blue, grey and green eyes, blonde hair and “white skin”.
Blue, grey or green eyes and blonde hair are left exposed when the brown genes disappears.
“White skin” remains immune system response in places north and south of the Equator and places with heavy cloud cover.
Less sunlight falls on the skin. So, the number of pigment cells are fewer.
Pigment cells unleash melanin. It prevents the eyes, hair and skin burning up in the sun.
Blue, grey and green eyes, blonde hair and “white skin” first emerged in north India.
Buddha, it’s often not known, had blue eyes, goldish hue skin and hair worn in small curls. He was born near the border with Nepal. It was the British who separated Nepal, and other territories, from India on the grounds that “India was too large to govern”
Many people in the mountain valleys in north India still have blue, grey and green eyes, blonde hair and “white skin”.
Blue, grey and green eyes are not rare in India, outside the mountain valleys, and in the south too where people generally have more pigment cells.
We resume the Debate on Bahasa.
The elephant in the room in Malaysia remains Article 152 on the national language, not the Tamil language or Bahasa Keling. Bahasa Melayu, based on habitually not speaking, has become redundant since 1969. Bahasa Malaysia, which replaced Bahasa Melayu, isn’t the national language but the unoffocial official language as used in Parliament, government, schools and the media.
Parliament can make Bahasa Malaysia as the official language but probably not as the national language since Tamil and Mandarin, vernacular languages, exist in schools in those mediums. In fact, it can even be argued that Tamil and Mandarin are no longer vernacular languages. Tamil and Mandarin schools have many non-Tamil speaking and non-Mandarin speaking students.
Order 92, Rule 1, of the Rules of the High Court (national language) states that all cause papers in the inferior court in Malaya must be in the national language. The court in the former British Borneo and the superior in court are in English.
In practice, lawyers in Malaya Google translate cause papers in the English language into Google Malay — shades of Bahasa Indonesia included — for filing in court. The Google Malay translation gets filed hypocritically as the original and the original in English attached as translation. Invariably, the court only reads the English version. The Google Malay version remains too atrocious for words.
The unity government should not kick the can further down the road on Article 152.
The Constitution came first in English. There’s translation in Bahasa, probably Bahasa Malaysia and not Google Malay. In case of conflict, the English original prevails.
There were moves, by using the Agong’s decree, for making the Bahasa translation prevail as the original. It fizzled out since the Constitution came first in English. — NMH
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.