We will have a September 16th celebration! HIP, HIP HURRAH!
(Cheers.. and I was just about to walk out of a powerful party ...)
The following article by a Malayan brought a warm glow to my heart towards our Malayan brothers and sisters across our South China Sea because it will surely illuminate many of you out there in cyberspace.
What he says , which I think is really insightful, frank and understanding, is we East Malaysians (Borneons) are been given the impression by West Malaysians (the Malayans) that we are not to be trusted by them. This mistrust by West Malaysians towards East Malaysia is manifested in many varied ways: from the omission of key historical facts about East Malaysia's (and Singapore's) invitation to form one nation, Malaysia; subtle erosion of the rights and privileges that were agreed to by our East Malaysian founding forefathers such as autonomy rights; multi-religious rights (Islam is not supposed to be the official state religion for Sarawak and Sabah) but there is federal authorities preferential treatment given to Muslims which sows a wedge amongst the Borneons; few important key federal posts are held by local Borneons and last but not least (obviously!), West Malaysia has been exposing lots of the races like Malays, Indians and Chinese, omitting (or censoring?) portrayals of the many, many various tribal races of East Malaysia.
Phew! That's quite a summary and I hope I do my Malayan brother Praba justice in expressing it all correctly. Nothing can beat the good old-style Cambridge School Certificate standard of English we had, I'm sure. (The colonials had a 'divide and rule policy' but they nevertheless gave us quality education...and this is another subject for my blog!).
Kudos for the article and to Malaysiakini-The 'must read' courageous newsprint- for fairly and courageously sharing it with everyone.
I've added a few images out of many to share with you dear reading visitors about we Borneons so hopefully you'll know us better...
East Malaysians: Have We Shown We Trust Them?
Sep 6, 07 5:11pm
Every time there is a debate on how old Malaysia is - is it 1957 or 1963? - or when is our birthday - was it Aug 31 or Sept 16? - everyone in the Peninsula gets very edgy about it.
Most of us cannot understand why the Borneo folk keep raising this issue. Are they not happy being part of Malaysia is the normal thought I’d veer from that for a change, and I’d ask a different question - why is there a sizeable number of good people from Borneo always raising this issue incandescently?
As intriguing it is to foist, unfurl, refute, refine, ravage, renege and review the various agreements/disagreements preceding and proceeding the process to the formation of Malaysia, philosophy and argumentation is not the main reason for my brilliant brothers and sisters from Borneo to keep revisiting this contention.
The glaring reason would be to make sure all Malaysians not forget the contribution of those from Borneo who made this nation. The nation is seen as an endowment brought to you by the vigilance of Peninsula leaders. It is one Malaysia, yet only the contribution of West Malaysians is seen as substantial to the formation of Malaysia. Those from East Malaysia are only seen as footnotes.
I mean, come on. We get only about five names from Sarawak and Sabah, and the Cobbold Commission in our school textbooks. We almost forget over here in KL that those two states dwarf the peninsula in size. All of the Peninsula’s press disregard the nation-builders from East Malaysia, so is it all too unnatural for them to disdain what must seem to them a West Malaysian celebration?
There were promises made in the Malaysia arrangement to sustain the autonomy of East Malaysia. However, over the decades, there have been devious and officious means to undermine the autonomy which we agreed to. We did not share a common history, just a common colonial master, so it is expected that the East Malaysians will reduce their checks if KL show solid relations built as equals.
The question would be: ‘Have we substantially shown trust to Borneo?’ The age-long allegations of assimilating Filipino Muslims as to minimise the impact of the Kadazan community has been a thorn for a long time in Sabah’ side.
Key federal postings are not many for Sarawakians and Sabahans, and there is a skew to reward the Muslims in Borneo more than the non-Muslims drilling in a wedge between peoples who have lived without the burden of the religious polarity we have in the Peninsula. Theirs is a tribal one, but West Malaysians have taken the time and trouble to sow mistrust which never existed before.
Thirdly, you have cultural oppression. As we parade more and more images of what is truly Malaysia, which is an amalgamation of Chinese, Malays and Indians, the other 30 official ethnic groups in Malaysia (most of them in Sabah and Sarawak) will be wondering why is the central point of the country is only these and not them?
It seems the Peninsula lords will not be satiated until all Borneo people are just Muslims and non-Muslims, and not the vibrant and rich Bajaus, Bidayuhs, Kadazans, Ibans, Muruts, Dayak and all the other races they have been for centuries. This creates a sense of cultural displacement.
If your culture is not seen naturally in the national sinew, would it be fair to assume then that your culture is obsolete, or worse non-existent? Are there any real efforts for these people to retain their languages through federally supplanted mechanisms in national schools?
I’ve been a citizen for all my life, and I have finished 17 years of public education in this country. There, however, has not been any effort by the Education Ministry for me to have a substantial or meaningful understanding of my brethren in Borneo. I don’t think we in the Peninsula can go around claiming love for Borneo by repeating Fuad/Donald Stephens, Kalong-Ningkan, Gawai- Dayak and stopping at that.
We might want to admit it - if you are from Borneo, you don’t naturally think of Malaysia as a political union of equals. What will the future hold? More of the present, which is Peninsula- centric. It is amazing that looking at all the collapses of manufactured states in the world today, where a lack of equality has led to their demise, Malaysia only looks on lightly. Indonesia, which does not hold together its republic based on military might anymore, acknowledges that vast nations must give continuous reasons to all its parts on why being one is so meaningful and important.
Ironically, we who are enveloped by this nation do not see the same need. The truth is, the philosophical arguments on the birth-years and formation days for our young country will not desist. And I see the rationale on both sides of the arguments and I think if we don’t try to counter why it is such an issue for the disputing parties, then we are not seeing Malaysia’s interests through.
Still, Merdeka is a party. And at a party, you focus on having a good time. Maybe in celebrating together we can learn to understand why having the same independence symbols are important.
A Kelabit girl portrayed in her beautiful traditional costume.
Half-nudity wasn't a problem till religions and so-called civilization made it shameful to show breasts.... In the old days, even our present understanding Muslim Chief Minister bravely danced with a maiden who's half-naked.
My Iban buddy and ex-schoolmate, 'The Flying Dayak' Watson Nymbek was one of many, many outstanding athletes in Sarawak. Like Watson, who was not given a chance to further improve his brilliant athletic skills in the U.S. (at the last moment), many of them settled down and lived quiet lives.
One of the greatest anthropologists was Tom Harrisson, seen here with a native. He lived amongst us and did extensive research on Sarawak's noble folks. Lots of Museum books with pages and pages of research notes made by him were published by the SarawakMuseum. The popular Borneo Literature Bureau, an organization that published numerous works on Borneon arts, songs, poems and other writings was deliberately closed down years after independence.
The Sarawak Tribune (Left, with logo shown) , though pro-state government was a daily paper many would either love or loathe (for its total lack of opposition coverage). But its indefinite suspension over the small Danish cartoons which upset West Malaysian Muslims, by Badawi has been seen as too harsh.
One of Malaysia's beloved founding fathers, Tunku Abdul Rahman (seen in the pic with a cup for winning the prestigious Melbourne Cup with his winning horse) loved to bet at horse-races...
...& our popular Chief Minister can also make a bet and be a true gentleman as well by keeping his promise to give Ting Pek King (seen in the pic happily clutching the winning bet) RM70 when Taib Mahmud lost the bet that the first flyover by Global Upline will be completed by 31st of August, 2007. Okay...betting on fighting cocks is a popular past-time for many...
...and no, we do not have a lawless arrogant racist dramatic blood-curling scene like this in Sarawak...yet (Well, how would Malayans feel if the Indigeneous folks here bring along and raise their blowpipes and machetes in a political convention? The federal government's Registrar of Societies will be talking of deregistration again, of course) because hungry UMNO wolves are still howling outside the Sarawakian door to come in... though some cubs are in the rural areas, acting cute and attractive...By the way, Hishamuddin, I've a Borneon brother who knows you well and he thinks you are actually a damn nice chap and you were just play-acting in the UMNO assembly on that day. I hope so because if you ever become a new generation Prime Minister, everyone will want to 'play-act' as well with God knows what weapons ranging from kwangtous to blowpipes (I would like to be the handsome cigar-puffing Al Capone brandishing a sub-machine gun) Also, stop kissing and talking cock with the long keris .... Bro, what the bloody hell-you were scaring the shit out of everyone!
By the way, Miri city has built one of the largest Buddhist temples in South-east Asia recently and Sibu is constructing an even grander one soon but our fellow Sabahans under UMNO have lots of problems with a simple beautiful stature by the sea .... Hmmmmnnnnnn...
Fellow Sabahans, we'll keep praying for you for deliverance for letting ravenous wolves in!
...and we'll keep praying for Malaysia to make sure any attempt to undermine monarchy parliamentary democracy and bring in a Jihadist Sharia system will be resisted by all law-abiding Malaysians.
May the spirit of Rajah James Brooke and Rentap arise to lead Borneons in the battle against all forms of extremism and to defend against the violations of the 20-point agreement with Malaya. We have special written rights, not privileges which could be removed.
Rajah James Brooke's official portrait
*I see a new door opening somewhere in the darkness while one has closed due to political skull-duggery... but if I can't enter it I will have more time sharing my thoughts here...*