By Nigel Aw | 3:19PM May 23, 2012
During the glorious days of the Malacca sultanate, the legendary warrior Hang Tuah, leading his four other ‘Hang’ companions, stood out as a symbol of pride for the Malay kingdom.
But in modern Malacca, ‘Hang Samseng’ (gangster) have emerged, lamented Bersih co-chairperson A Samad Said, in reference to the violence targeting his colleague Ambiga Sreenevasan in Merlimau, Malacca, last Saturday.
“When Ambiga was going to Merlimau… There were around 200 gangsters waiting there. Ambiga was invited by PAS to explain Bersih’s struggle. This is democracy.
“But before she could arrive, our friends there called and asked her not to come because there already were gangsters in the land of Hang Tuah.
“Think about it, in the land of Hang Tuah, there is ‘Hang Samseng’,” added the national laureate, fondly known as Pak Samad.
While Hang Tuah is highly regarded in Malay culture, Pak Samad, 77, described the ‘Hang Samseng’ as an “embarrassment”.
“I feel ashamed. This is not the way we strengthen our democracy, more than 50 years after we achieved independence… (they should) choose a better way” he said in an interview yesterday.
Last Saturday, a hi-tea event which was supposed to feature Ambiga was blocked by protesters and two DAP state assemblypersons, Khoo Poay Tiong and Tey Kok Kiew, were pelted with eggs and stones as they were leaving.
The incident damaged several vehicles, including Tey’s, which was left with severe denting, a punctured tyre and a broken side mirror.
Perkasa and Umno have admitted to being part of the protest but have both denied that they were responsible for the subsequent violence.
‘Is shaking butts our culture?’
The Merlimau violence was preceded by a series of bizarre protests outside Ambiga’s house in Kuala Lumpur, including a ‘butt exercise’ which made the international news headlines.
This, Pak Samad sarcastically suggested, appears to have become a new culture.
“We have achieved independence for more than 50 years, and our culture and manners appear to be butts. And then they hired gangsters to paint outside people’s house. Is this our culture?” he asked.
Last Tuesday, a group of army veterans shook their posterior in front of Ambiga’s house in protest against what they said was the smearing of the country’s name by Ambiga, who they described as an “enemy of the nation”.
Five days before that, a group of traders set up stalls and served free burgers, including beef burgers, outside the house of Ambiga, who is a Hindu and vegetarian.
On Monday, a group of traders painted yellow lots for trading along the road outside Ambiga’s house in preparation of a ‘mini market’ they plan to set up tomorrow and Friday.
The bustle outside her house comes as a series of counter-protests by traders claiming they had suffered losses during the Bersih 3.0 protest in Kuala Lumpur last month.