– Bakri Musa
The Malaysian Insider
10 February 2016
I was visiting my old village near Sri Menanti, Negri Sembilan, recently and was struck by an unexpected but common sight. That is, the absence of any fruit trees or vegetable plots around what few remaining houses there which were still occupied.
Such a scene would have been unthinkable during my youth. Then there were always nearly-ripe papayas or bananas ready to be picked for breakfast, and enough long beans in the garden or chickens scurrying around to fill a cooking pot should unexpected guests arrive for lunch.
On querying my few elderly relatives still there and loving the serene kampung lifestyle, they replied that the monyet and kera (monkeys) have descended from the jungle to destroy everything, including the chickens.
Those monkeys have become so brazen and aggressive that my relatives now fear for their safety.
That is one of the many consequences of our having destroyed the primates’ natural habitat through illegal logging and replacing it with the hostile monoculture plantations of rubber and palm oil.
Like displaced people, those monkeys are forced into the kampung to survive and unleash their frustrations. Meanwhile, those loggers and planters luxuriate in their new wealth oblivious of the burden they had inflicted on those monkeys and poor villagers.
Back in the city, I read the daily papers, only to discover that marauding monkeys of another kind have also descended on and ravaged Putrajaya. The Year of the Monkey began early in Malaysia.
The havoc wrecked by the kera in the kampung is readily visible and the damages they inflict potentially recoverable. The critters, too, could also easily be scared away by letting those villagers have shotguns.
Not so with the primates of Putrajaya. The damage they inflict, while not readily visible, appearing only on the computer terminals of banks and other financial institutions, is nonetheless no less devastating, if not much more so.
Worse, it is being borne not only by citizens of today but also generations to come.
Already scholarships for some of our brightest students are being withdrawn for lack of funds. They are our next generation of talent, their dreams crushed at the last minute through no fault of their own. What a loss to the nation!
At least my relatives in the kampung are smart enough to be aware of the menace posed by those monkeys. By contrast many Malaysians, in particular the Malay elite, hold their chief monkey marauding in the nation’s capital and plundering the country’s wealth as the Prince of Putrajaya, perverse though it might seem to the rest of us.
Such obscenity and the perversion of our values are possible only because the Malay elite holed up in Putrajaya and elsewhere have abandoned their souls.
They have unabashedly sold theirs. Their price is pathetically cheap. The leftover crumbs that fall their way after their chief monkey has satiated his gluttony.
When confronted with their chief monkey’s continually changing and contradictory “explanations” to rationalise his gluttony, those little monkeys around him would insist that they have not sold their souls rather that they have merely “loaned” or “sacrificed” them to their “beloved” chief monkey.
Well, monkey see, monkey do. When they see that their chief monkey being “exonerated” upon returning the money it had earlier stolen, the little monkeys around soon get the message. That is, if you get caught stealing, then return the loot, or make a pretence of it. Then it would not be considered a wrong or a crime.
That is the new ethics of those Putrajaya monkeys.
They also have a new religion. That is, if they steal something and not get caught, then the loot is halal. Likewise, if they are caught and then returned the loot, then they have not committed a dosa (sin).
With the loot that they have acquired, if they still harbour a tinge of guilt or remorse, they could “cleanse” themselves by undertaking the haj or umrah, just to be sure.
What a mockery of our great faith of Islam!
Today, our monkey chief has sold, oops, “lent” his soul to the Arabs; tomorrow it would be the mainland Chinese. Who will be next?
The philosopher Hamka related a story of the prophet who encountered a sad young man in the mosque one day. When asked as to the cause, the young man replied that he was deep in debt and unable to repay it. He now feared for his life.
Whereupon the prophet advised the young man never to be fearful of another mortal. We should fear only Allah.
There are eight ways in which we put ourselves in fear of our fellow human being, the prophet counselled the young man. For brevity as well as relevance, I will mention only the last one.
We put ourselves in the grip of others by being indebted to them. Ah Longs instil fear and dread in their victims. We could spare ourselves such a terrible fate by simply not borrowing or being in debt. That was the lesson the prophet imparted on the frightened young man.
Debts of money or material things are potentially repayable and you would then be freed from the bondage and carry on with your lives. You may have to work very hard to achieve that, but at least it is doable.
There is one debt however, that can never be repaid, the prophet advised the young man, and that is the debt of gratitude.
An ancient Malay saying reflects this wisdom: hutang emas boleh dibayar, hutang budi di bawa mati. A debt of gold is repayable, but you carry your debt of gratitude to your death.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently expressed his deep regret in having groomed the young Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Mahathir grooved the path for Najib because he (Dr Mahathir) felt he owed a huge debt of gratitude to Najib’s father, Tun Razak, who “rehabilitated” Dr Mahathir when he was in the political wilderness after being expelled from Umno in the early 1970s.
It looks like Dr Mahathir will carry to his grave not only his huge debt of gratitude to Razak but also the burden he has imposed upon the nation for being instrumental in Najib becoming prime minister.
Najib, in turn, owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Arabs for their generous “donations” before the last elections, and to the Chinese for currently bailing out 1MDB by buying its generating plants.
I could not care less what burden Najib would carry to his grave, but I am concerned with the huge burden he has imposed and continues to impose on Malaysians of today and on their children and grandchildren.
The kera in my old village could easily be gotten rid of by giving those villagers rifles. Getting rid of the monkeys of Putrajaya is more problematic. – www.bakrimusa.com, February 10, 2016.