Friday, November 17, 2006

True vs 'Celup' Malays

It is often said amongst the non-Malays in this country that when they talk of a ‘towering’ Malay who does well academically or makes good in business, they will usually quip: "Ah, but he is not a true Malay!"

So who or what is a true, pukka, original, 100% pure unadulterated Malay, the real McCoy? By an academician friend’s definition he is probably somebody from the "... dwindling numbers in Johor among the Orang Laut and Kanak Orang Asli communities, the remnants of the original Malays from pre-Islamic times, and off Pulo Phuket, the so-called Sea Gypsies."

Being a descendant of Bugis pirates myself (where I got my sea legs from, meh) and perhaps with a few Indian and Chinese “connections” somewhere along the way, I believe this would make the rest 99% of us Malays in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore really celup Malays, the chap chengs (lit. "many flags") or the Petaling Street cetak rompak, a real bunch of losers and no-hopers (?). This is hardly surprising considering the fact that our country is truly a melting pot strategically placed at the crossroads of some of the world's great ancient civilisations.

No more surprising than the fact that Chindians i.e., the offsprings of local intermarriages between Chinese and Indians do somehow end up looking like Malays and very good looking people too. Much to their consternation, I believe, especially during the fasting month!

Now if we so called Malays can only get it through our heads that presumably within our bodies and our veins already flow the blood of the wise and entrepreneurial Sayyids of Araby, the fierce warrior descendants of Iskandar Zulkarnain, the culturally sophisticated Moghul emperors of India and even the beautiful Hang Li Po of the Middle Kingdom. Only then we can truly throw away all the historical and cultural baggage hanging from our necks, get rid of all the misconceptions and stereotyping, hold our heads high and start from there.

And we don't need to be told by any ‘great leader’ that we are actually genetically deficient or even inferior as a race or ethnic group, especially when he himself don’t really look like an Orang Laut or a Sea Gypsy from Phuket...


  1. Capt, I think you've got an excellent point there! Who are the people who defined themselves as Malay? The true blue ones are almost extinct or confined to the fringes of life in Malaysia. It's ironic that "pendatangs" who are more than pendatangs claimed themselves to be Malays.And claim all the credits for themselves!


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