Melayu Bangkit, Cerdek, And Celek!

(Malays Awake, Smart, and Eyes Open!)
By M. Bakri Musa

It is commendable that Gertak, the Malay NGO, would have as its mission Melayu Bangkit (to awaken Malays). It should go further and ensure that we Malays are also cerdek (smart), and celek! (eyes wide open!) That would ensure that we would not be forever pelek (puzzled), unable to comprehend events around us and be left behind.

It is not enough for Malays to be awake, for if we still keep our eyes closed (even if we close only one eye!), then we might as well go back to sleep. At least then we could benefit from its recuperative powers. And if we are awake and have our eyes wide open but we remain dumb (not cerdek), that would be no improvement either.

Once we are bangkit, cerdik and celek, only then would Ketuanan Melayu be a reality, and not as now, merely a hollow slogan. Then Article 153 of our constitution would no longer be contentious as it would be of interest only to historians, as its provisions would have become irrelevant.

Now that would be a worthy goal! At least one worth shouting about!

Predictable Behavior

The Melayu Bangkit organizers’ choice of the keynote speaker at their “massive” rally in Kuala Trengganu on June 14, 2010 was revealing. If Mahathir could not awaken Malays when he ruled the country for 22 years and had all the powers of the state at his disposal, there is little hope that he could do so now when he is so much older and without power, especially the power to bestow favors.

The behaviors of those leaders were predictable, culturally. They hewed closely to our aphorism, Bila hilang aleh ka pangkal (When you are lost, revert to the source).

Malays today are at a crossroad; we are lost. However, instead of bravely assessing the choices and moving forward on a course that would best meet those challenges, we have retreated in the hope of reaching the starting point and beginning afresh. That is, to reboot, in computer language.

Alas there is no reboot or reset button. What we should do instead is extract the wisdom of our culture that had stood us well in our daily kampong life and apply that to our current predicament. Those pithy, catchy sayings are just that; they do not help us comprehend our problems, much less solve them.

If we reflect on our days back in the belukar (jungle), when we were lost we would move on, hacking the path forward as best as we could determine. There was no turning back for we knew that the path back would have been overgrown. We would just as likely to get lost in going back as in going forward.

By choosing Mahathir, Gertak leaders were going back. They were clearly counting on him to be the big draw. Just as obvious, they did not have the confidence in the pulling power of their own ideals and mission.

They were half right. They were wrong in thinking that Mahathir would bring in the crowd, but they were right in that they could not sell their ideas, not even in the heartland of Malays.

There are two ways at looking at the poor attendance. One is that Malays were still tidor (asleep), literally, what with the World Cup soccer series going on. If we were not asleep literally, then perhaps we were figuratively. After all it was not that too long ago when we were being led by that sultan of slumber, Abdullah Badawi. Perhaps we have not yet awakened to the fact that the nation now has a new leader. Or it could be that our new leader is no different from the old sleepy head he replaced.

To me, the low attendance was due to more practical reasons. It was a Monday, a working day, and those Malays, like other Malaysians, were busy working. What with the government withdrawing subsidies for such essentials as sugar and cooking oil, Malaysians have to work doubly hard. They do not have time much less inclination to listen to frustrated politicians ventilating. The rakyats are fed up with hot and foul air; the country is sweltering and fetid enough already. Besides, they have heard those promises before.

To the organizers however, Monday is no different from any other day. Being from the rent-seeking class, they do not have to work and thus have plenty of time for berseminar and berkongress.

Contrary to the perception of those Melayu Bangkit boys, we Malays have not been asleep. We have been alert and awake, with our eyes wide open. It is just that we do not like what we have been hearing or seeing.

Mahathir must have an inflated sense of his influence post-retirement, especially after his success in bringing down his successor. I do give him credit in breaking down our taboo of criticizing leaders. However, before he crows or claims credit for Abdullah’s downfall, we need to remind Mahathir that Abdullah was no great trophy. To claim credit would be akin to the weekend hunter bragging of his shooting prowess on bringing down a lame caged kancil (mouse deer). Abdullah would have stumbled anyway, on his own lameness.

It was pathetic to see Mahathir frittering away his still considerable reservoir of goodwill, and soiling the prestige of his former office by associating with the lunatic fringe of Malay extremists and losers. Surely it would not be too difficult for him to find a more select audience to exercise his intellectual and other faculties.

It was also disappointing to see a former prime minister and once the leader of all Malaysians indulging in the same old tired “us” versus “them” rhetoric. Mahathir lamented that while Malays constitute the majority, our political power is divided, with Malays now also supporting PAS and Keadilan. Yes, there was a time when UMNO and Malays were synonymous. What did we get for that? An arrogant, rent-seeking class – the UMNOPutras – grown glutton on the nation’s riches which they think belong to them, and only to them. They are the ones now presuming to “lead” us.

These are not the leaders who will take us to the Promised Land. Judging from the abysmal attendance at the rally, the average Malay is also very much aware of that.

Granting Us Our Merdeka

If these leaders are truly interested in awakening and liberating Malays, in short, granting us our merdeka, then I suggest they focus on two critical areas: education and information.

Good education means equipping us with the necessary language and mathematical skills, as well as the capacity for critical thinking. Make us cerdek! Giving good education is like waking us up (bangkit) and then lighting the pelita (candle). With us now wide awake, the candle would lift the darkness, and with our eyes wide open (celek), we could then find our way out.

You can tell much about a society and predict its future by looking at the schools. When I look at our national schools, especially those in rural areas catering to Malays, I need not bother with the national statistics to tell me about the fate of our people. Yet in those “kongresses” I hear little on how to improve our schools or enhance the educational achievements of our people.

Instead what are often recommended would result in the closing of Malay minds, as with discouraging our young from learning English, deeming it to be the language of oppressors.

Superior education alone is not sufficient, for if we close the world on our people we would succeed only in creating the worse possible combination: a mass of highly educated but deeply frustrated citizens. That would not be good for the ruler or the ruled.

Removing censorship would go a long way in opening the world of ideas to our people. We should do away with such archaic practices as banning books and requiring special permits for publications. Nor should we restrict who can preach our faith. Such restrictions are futile in this digital age. Nations can no more control the flow of information then they could of air.

In this regard I applaud Mahathir’s decision not to sue his critics. Leaders should be willing to accept criticisms, even blatantly unfair ones. Leaders should not abuse the court system to intimidate or silence their critics. Likewise, I applaud UMNO Youth’s Khairy in calling for repeal of the Printing Press Act. My only regret is that he did not pursue that when he had access to the highest power in the land.

The Melayu Bangkit folks should influence us through their ideas, not threats, intimidations, or gertak. Impress us with the brilliance of your brain and the innovativeness of your ideas.

I have been trying to get copies of the papers presented at this and earlier seminars but to no avail. Those presenters are not proud of or keen to have their ideas disseminated. The organizers should have at the very least videotaped the proceedings and posted them on the Web for a wider audience; likewise with their papers. Those folks should not be content only with submitting those ideas “to the authorities.” God knows, that had been done umpteen times before, and we know what the results were.

We should demand more of our leaders beyond their shouting of old slogans, resurrecting of phantom enemies, or fantasizing the good old days under the coconut tree. For them to be leaders, they must first be bangkit, cerdek, and celek. We have no wish to be led by Pak Tidor (Sleepy head), Si Bodoh (Moron), or Mek Mato Tup Soboleh (The one-eyed).

  1. #1 by frankyapp on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 11:15 am

    Frankly I hope the melayu will be awake to see how the umnoputras and cronies have raped and rid most of their benefits under the so-called NEP and now re-model to NEM. At the same time hopefully the melayu will now be smart to question these umnoputras and cronies how they can afford to have several huge houses and dozen of branded cars in your carriages. And with eyes pretty open,the melayu can see for themselves why they being the majority living in the kampangs are getting poorer and poorer dispite billions of shares supposely to be given to them are in the hands of a few privileged melayu. Last but not the least,I hope the vast ordinary melayu/voters can see there’s an alternative party (PR) to support in order to get back what’s belonging to them but have been stolen by Umno/Bn in the 13th GE.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 12:02 pm

    It was reported that Mahathir was not happy and blamed Ibrahim Ali for the low-turnout in KT. Those who understand North-East Malaysian political scene knows that Ibrahim Ali’s pull in the North-East is limited to his constituency. Mahathir himself have never been a favourite son there as UMNO wasted billions during his rule and UMNO power has always been fractious there. During the May 13, everything was at peace in the North-East so the folks there do not identify with the event at all.

    The event shows how disconnected UMNO anachronistic leaders are from reality. They are deluded by their self-created appearances. They don’t get it since the UMNO/BN system is feudal, the peasants don’t feel the same way the the feudal lords no matter what they say. The likes of Ibrahim Ali and Mahathir don’t get it they are not followed by free will of Malays but that they hold their follower hostage to them which is never reliable. In an increasing technologically and educationally democratic world, their black-mail influence inevitably decline if they do not deliver increasingly.

    The Malays may not traditionally be rebels and pioneers but they are traditionally of free-will and sooner or later, their desire for free-will will see them walking away from their serf-relationship with UMNO

  3. #3 by habis on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 12:14 pm

    I totally support any sincere initiative action to help not only the poor malays But all other indigenous people be they orang asli, dayaks etc. who were robbed of their rights under the ingenous NEP and now NEM by the upper class well connected melays in umnoputras and all their proxy cronies in the BN govt.It is a well known fact that the poor bumis are not reaping the benefits which rightfully belong to them and I pray and hope that they now bangkit,cerdik and celek to see and realise what is happening because now these crooks cannot hide their ill gotten riches anymore in the event of the internet exposure. Abolish the ISA and OSA and join hands with the opposition to save our country from all these crooks and robbers who raped our rich blessed land and send all of the to the place which they belong-JAIL FOR LIFE.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 12:22 pm

    As long as there is UMNO B…Malays will not be awakened…smart and with a pair of sharp eyes open….wide think sincerely.
    Most are trained to be aware of to get rich easy not to be sued and with eyes open …seeing other races behave as tenants and to toe the line.
    Bakri Musa attempt the art to agree to disagree in this post…cannot fool Malaysians.
    This Bakri Musa is indirectly supporting no change of government.
    Whatever it is…the die is cast.
    Malaysians want change of government..lets hear from Bakri Musa his clear support to vote UMNO B out…to solve all problems..especially CORRUPTIONS.

  5. #5 by buy election on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 1:26 pm

    Let me vent my anger toward Wee Ka Siong. If he supports gambling, he better quit his job as deputy education minister now. This is like an uneducated proposal that is unhealthy for education, thus he is unfit (no longer relevant) as deputy education minister.

    It is wrong for UMNO to say that Chinese like gambling or support gambling. It is only MCA that supports gambling. Remember, MCA represents only less than 30% of the Chinese.

    I suspect MCA supports gambling because it is tied to the black money. It needs these black money to operate.

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 1:33 pm

    Malays can do it – minus the sloganeering and crutches and, frankly – to put it bluntly – idiotic, brainless BN/UMNO programs.

    The government must come up with pure affirmative programmes that wll help build their capacity – brain power, competitiveness, knowledge – not, for heaven’s sake, crutch-building, mediocre education programmes, and silly electioneering stunts which will incapacitate them for eternity.

  7. #7 by k1980 on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 1:39 pm

    English, deeming it to be the language of oppressors?

    Without the British colonizers, Malaya would be ruled by the Dutch, who would then incorporate it into their East India Company (Indonesia). And Sarawak would be ruled by Brunei today because no James Brooke would be there to fool its sultan. Sabah would had joined the Phillippines 150 years ago.

  8. #8 by Bigjoe on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 1:45 pm

    Came across this line which I thought should be shared with politics-obssesed Malaysian.

    Poly= Many Ticks=blood sucking insects..

  9. #9 by artemisios on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 2:38 pm

    some 1000 people attended the gertak game…

    probably some 300 works for gertak, some 500 were paid to be there, some 100 were extremist politicians/wannabes, some 30 were reporters, some 20 were just lost, some 49 thought there would be free food & drinks, SOMEONE still lives in the 80s.

    Poor poor poor gertak, perkasa & all those haters.

    Still think the Malays are easily fooled?

  10. #10 by johnnypok on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 2:41 pm

    “Ketuanan” is a dream. But if you do not make effort to work hard like the Chinese and Indians, and choose to continue waiting for hand-outs, you will forever remain handicapped, and you will be left far behind, and perhaps become extinct.
    Singaporean Malays are already world-class, and it take many generations for Malaysians Malay to catch up. Blame NEP, blame TDM, blame E-Ali … and blame UMNO …you may have to wait until all these devils perish for good before you can hope to live peacefully and grow like a champion. In the meantime, just continue dreaming …

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 2:43 pm

    ///Surely it would not be too difficult for him to find a more select audience to exercise his intellectual and other faculties./// – Bakri Musa

    What intellectual faculty?

  12. #12 by azman on Monday, 21 June 2010 - 6:59 pm are definately right uncle. Melayu must not only awake but their eyes must be opened, brain running. Otherwise, if we awake without eyes open, it is just sleepwalking or the Kedahan and Penangite said ‘mamai’. This is far dangerous than sleeping. As we sleepwalking, we do things but we do not know what we do. If we sleepwalking at height we might possibly fall down and killed ourselves.
    In actual facts, Mahathir is more concerned about his UMNOputra, cronies and gangs rather than he worried for truely Malays.
    Was it not him who stop the govenrment financial aids to Sekolah Agama Rakyat? Was it not in his era that Memali tragedy took place? Was it not in his era that biggest scandals in the nation such as Bank Bumi Scandals ( 1982 ), Perwaja to name but a few took place?
    What the heck he wanted to awake the Malays if at the same time the Malay ministers keep on encouraging the young Malay boys and girls to participate overwhemingly in too much entertaiments? You name it…Akademi Fantasia, Mentor, Idola Kecil etc…all are conquered by Malays. What the fuck they wanted to produce so many Malay singers and promote this entertaiment like hell. It was proven that the society who worship the entertainment too much will never be awake. They will keep on sleeping and their brains would not advance to think heavy matter such as science and mathematic stuff.
    Any Malay wanted to argue with me on this matter do not hesitate to send your argument to: Azman Aziz: [email protected]
    Thank you.
    Allahu ba rik fih..

  13. #13 by writecom on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 - 12:31 am

    The Malay community are awake with 2/3 supporting PAS & PKR and 1/3 supporting the backward ‘ketuanan melayu’ or ‘rent seekers’ and they have the end results of the MIC GAS campaign. Article 153 only exist in the eyes of the UMNOputras and not to the smart Malays who has awaken by all the corruption practices & siphoning of our countries coffer. It’s only controlled by the idiotic cronies that rule the government and all that has expired or are history.

    Am surprise that the Mamakthir together with Perkasa were working in tandem with the UMNOputras, to legalisation of ‘Sports betting’. Isn’t all this ‘haram’ or big money for the cronies. Can’t we respect TDM, the leadership of Perkasa and UMNOputras who sold their souls, for ‘duit haram’. Theses idiots are also supporting the Palestine and opposing Israel, it’s quite funny. It’s like the other communities are Palestine and the UMNOputras are Israel. Their mentality are similar with the thinking of Israel, by dominating & robbing their wealth of the other communities and denying their own Malay communities of the rights & privileges. This is the real happening in Malaysia under UMNO/ISRAEL and we must block this in whatever way possible.

    The UMNOputras can’t wash their hands after robbing the coffer for over 50 years so there goes domination of everything from authorities, MACC, Judicial, EC, that will protect them from being prosecuted. Along the line, we have greedy component parties that represent the other communities and got into the trap of the UMNOputras.

    If we really go by the books on the corrupted practices, more than half of the UMNO members will be imprisoned. It’s disgusting to hear that they are ‘HOLY’ and even if they visit the Holy Land in Mecca 100 times, none of their sins could be cleaned and the curse will be forever with their families.

    Let’s all deny them from making our country insolvent under the IMF and let’s speak in ONE voice and give them our ‘RED CARD’. Malaysian under all walks of life irrespective of race & religion, should gather together under the ‘People’s Power’ and overthrow BN and lock them for good under ISA.

  14. #14 by waterfrontcoolie on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 - 7:08 am

    To legalize gambling, it is easy to say the Chinese love it; but most chinese even if they gamble they do it rather smartly hit it bidg once in a while. make it or lose your what Daim said ” week-end pocket money”. But where it involves the other Communities, the players are usually the working class, they bet by tens of number on REGULAR basis where even the money for their household daily requirements is being betted away!
    I believe this fact is known to the leaders of BN but it is easier to close both eyes. anyway the poor Malays ask for it; that would be their reasoning!! in life, the biggest sin of the leaders is to lead the the people to temptation and this is what they are doing with the lotteries which indeed needed should be under some charity foundation which at least can be used to help the poors. I believe this piratization was also carried out under TDM when the Social Welfare was given to the Sweep Board under the owner of Astro. and today, the Malays are still seeking his guidance for salvation!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t ever cry, you ask for it!

  15. #15 by dagen on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 - 8:39 am

    If one is cerdek even though celek seriously there is nothing to bangkit. One can get on in any case. And again, if one is celek even though not too cerdek, there will be no need for calls to bangkit. A 100hp engine can never roar like a 500hp engine. (But like mat rempits, umnoputras could somehow still roar. And the trick lies in tweaking the exhaust. Shiok ma.) In any case, he can see and tell for himself the way forward. He may fumble along no doubt. But he will get to his destiny or close to it. So no worries mate. Sure. He may need a little encouragement. But to bangkitkan him? Oh for crying out loud. Go. Take out your wau bulan. Fly it somewhere windy, will ya. AND remember this while you are at it. Never let go of the string. (Stupid fool. Hopefully the wind carries him to singapore.)

    The strangest thing is sometimes people have eyes that do not see and brains that do not work. They are apparently celek and cerdek but somehow do not act like one. I can name a few examples, Toyo-the-indon, ibrahim bin perkasa and ahmad the pendatang. These guys are classics. The question is are malays not cerdek? M Bakri Musa would bash me up black and blue if I said so. And because of that fear, I hereby state the obvious, negative. No malays are not not cerdek. Seriously. They are not stupid. But umno made them lazy. That is an attitude thing. And attitude can be corrected. At the moment, and for a long time to come I fear, it favours umno immeasurably to leave that lazy attitude uncorrected. Fortunately a large number of malays, esp the young and the urban ones, now realise this problem. And they are not waiting for the umno gobermen to take corrective actions.

  16. #16 by Loh on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 - 12:21 am

    ///If Mahathir could not awaken Malays when he ruled the country for 22 years and had all the powers of the state at his disposal, there is little hope that he could do so now when he is so much older and without power, especially the power to bestow favors.///–Bakri Musa

    Bakri Musa cannot be said to be alert and awake if he believes that Mamakthir had the intention to make Malays independent of the state to live their own life. Mamakthir consciously worked for Malays to be dependent on him as ‘savior’ of the Malay race, as racial-opportunist rather than as one among them.

  17. #17 by AhPek on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 - 1:13 pm

    “Surely it would not be too difficult for him to find a more select audience to exercise his intellectual and other faculties.’.Musa Bakri.

    Why,Bakri,do you have to credit him with a faculty (intellectual faculty) that he was never endowed with in the first place?The thing he is most adept in and is an acknowledged expert is gutter politics designed to pander to the gallery

  18. #18 by Loh on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 - 1:43 pm

    The Chinese may gamble away their lifesaving. The get up and live their life again. They do not ask the state to be responsible for their life.

    One has to gamble in life, such as choosing a spouse. The important thing is that one owns up his decision and does not blame othesr, such as how NEP was formulated, or expect others to help them out.

    If one does not have the right mentality that a true gambler possess, he cannot do business. One has no time to regret a decision made. It is ironical that UMNO government chooses to encourage Malays to business but also makes them believe that they should be dependent on UMNO. Mamakthir said that when Malays support the party different from UMNO, they become weak. Mamakthir does not even understand the basic functions of governments of the present day. Mamakthir considers voting means democracy and through polarization by race, even Mamak got into power to enjoy as absolute monarch.

  19. #19 by Voter get Voters campaign for PR on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 - 2:02 pm

    To ALL readers & commentators : Complained and whinned ALL you want,there is NOTHING,absolutely NOTHING you ALL can do. However there is one and ONLY one thing which we ALL can and SHOULD do viz is start your own “VOTER-get-VOTERS” campaign for PR. Do it not tommorrow but NOW cos GE13 is just around the corner..closer than you think. Start this ” VOTER-get-VOTERS 4 PR” campaign NOW by chain emails,sms,words of mouth to everyone….for a BETTER Malaysia..Join us at “VOTER-get-VOTERS for a Better Malaysia ” in facebook

  20. #20 by Bobster on Thursday, 24 June 2010 - 4:46 pm

    Si Bangkit the rent-seekers tak payah kerja.

    Hari-hari bangkit but country GDP falling and falling.

    Tun Ma, you have done enough damages. Compare country GDP under your 22 yrs dictactorship said everything. Tak cukup ke, nak hancurkan tanahair tercinta.

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