Calling May 13, 1969 ‘sacred’ is sacrilegious

by John Baptist
The Malaysian Insider
November 11, 2010

I read with disgust Zaini Hassan describing in the Utusan Malaysia the tragic May 13, 1969 incident as “sacred”. The Oxford Dictionary defines sacred as either “connected with God or a god; considered to be holy” or “very important and treated with great respect.”

From general reading, the incident involved carnage, destruction of private and public property, ruining of families, instilling of fear, the destruction of years of trust between the races built by our forefathers and the maligning of our nation in the eyes of the world, setting us back years in the terms of our economic potential.

I need take only carnage to exemplify that it is prohibited by all religions and hence cannot sit comfortably within the first definition of “sacred” by the Oxford Dictionary.

Let us then consider the second definition given by the same dictionary which I fervently hope that Zaini was referring to. Was May 13 an important event? It certainly was! Is it to be treated with great respect? In my humble view, the answer to this question would depend on the perspective one takes on the incident.

My personal view of the incident is this — a small group of individuals, claiming to be representatives of their entire race, feigning concern for their welfare and ignoring the precept that “the means we use should be as pure as the ends we seek”, resorted to violence as Cain did Abel, to advance their personal agendas. These same individuals would today shamelessly tell us not to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations of our grievances, though constitutionally guaranteed, but to resort to the ballot box!

Forty-one years later, having held the reins of government in the intervening period, they have all but admitted their failure to truly address the woes of our Malay sisters and brothers. Whilst on this point, it is imperative to note that not every Malay took to the street on the day of the incident, neither did they endorse the conduct of those claiming to be their representatives, whom I prefer to remember as agent provocateurs.

The main lessons I would take from the incident are that as a nation we must never resort to violence to address our grievances, preferring peaceful discourse only, and that we must never allow any Malaysian to languish in poverty unless it be a personal choice. Regardless of whence or whom the call for violence may come, we must resolutely oppose it. Save for these lessons, I call for the complete exorcism of the ghosts of May 13, 1969!

I would like to end this article by contrasting Zaini’s view with that of our beloved first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who said this of the incident — “…. it really pains me as the Father of Merdeka to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.” The late Tunku, I reckon, would have died a second death after reading Zaini’s view.

  1. #1 by born in Malaya on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 9:15 pm

    I read from a book that May 13 is just a plot by UMNO so that they can use this incident as an excuse to start NEP and special rights for Malay.

  2. #2 by drngsc on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 9:44 pm

    It is a sicko who calls an event where so many innocent people died, sacred. He is sick. Lets not talk about him getting punished, They are all sick. But remember. Their day of reckoning will come.

  3. #3 by born in Malaya on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 9:57 pm

    God, please punish those who plotted May 13.Those who plotted this incident will be punish by god. Evil never wins.

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 9:57 pm

    May the May 13 ghosts will haunt these sicko agent provocatuers.Beware!they’ed being provoked.

  5. #5 by dagen on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 9:59 pm

    Sicko. Sicko. Sicko.
    Couldnt agree more.
    And I bet the remains of the late Tunku are now turning in his grave.

  6. #6 by born in Malaya on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 10:09 pm

    UMNO need us to remember that if they loose the government, They will May 13, that is why May 13 is still mention on and off. Vote for a Malaysia Malaysian government all citizens. Wake up now, life is short ,but anyway vote for Malaysia and your future generation to come. Kick the shameless out.

  7. #7 by mendela on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 10:32 pm

    I was nine years old then.
    My understanding about May 13 until today is still unchanged — The killing of innocent non-Malays by the fanatic Malays!

  8. #8 by tak tahan on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 10:33 pm

    Umno will have to pay Apco consultant much more$$$ to lift up bolehland image if May 13 should occured.Or Apco would refuse to accept any more cents cause it will be hopeless beyond repair for bolehland.

  9. #9 by vsp on Thursday, 11 November 2010 - 10:33 pm

    This statement by Utusan that May 13 is ‘sacred’ proves that UMNO were the culprits in the planning and execution of the May 13 incident. Since then the tragic incident had been used repeatedly by UMNO to intimidate and terrorize the population with harm. This tactic was a favourite choice of intimidation being used by the May 13 mastermind, evil genius Mahathir throughout his reign of terror, and is still today, to browbeat the people to submission and fear. Yes the fascism of the dark days of “Ketuanan Melayu” is being promoted heavily by Mahathir and Perkasa to establish a master-slave reality.

  10. #10 by ekompute on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 3:05 am

    As far as I know, this country is going to the dogs. It has no moral values, with wakil rakyats enriching themselves with public money. They just have to check their bank accounts to find out why a person who is doing public service can “make” so much money. Well, they will justify and justify all their ill-gotten wealth and if you corner them, they will make sure you are in trouble.

  11. #11 by monsterball on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 4:12 am

    These sickening greedy corrupted hypocrites will never stop their devilish ways to mock Allah and fool his own race.
    Najib tried to change and hope Malaysians will forgive and forget.
    Failed to fool Malaysians…back to encourage corruptions..and bribes.
    These crooks have no God in their minds. They just go to mosque to keep fooling Malays and acting. Crooks have no dignities and principles in life. Malaysia is very rich and they need to keep stealing…for stopping or continuing means same punishments…when they loose 13th GE.
    Najib said he will defend PutraJaya with his life..and out come…Zaini Hassan saying May 13 1969 incident is sacred.
    Dozens of lives died fighting for nothing..including innocent by-standers…all because dirty politicians keep fanning for trouble like this evil racist…Hassan.
    When trouble about to start …you can be sure he and his family will be on vacations overseas.
    It is a fact..lowly educated people all around the world ruled by Dictators are being fooled and used by Dictators this way.
    UMNO B is evil and Mahathir is the devil.
    This bunch of gangsters are out to buy votes and the country…to rule forever.
    When will all those who voted for UMNO B going to wake up?
    In SEA…Malaysia is the only so call developed Nation that some do not want change of Govt..when there is a good alternative to try in out and support no corruptions and disuniting Malaysians….with the divide to rule old British out-dated formula .
    Looking back…you can see how devilish UMNO B party is…..all because of being greedy for money more and more.never enough…and now cannot change for change means most go to jail if voted out.
    So fan for trouble and prepare to fight if things not going their ways.
    When Najib said he will defend PutraJaya with his life and Hassan said the me …it is showing..UMNO B is having signs they will loose the 13th GE big.
    It is a threat and provocation tactic.
    Have no fear. They can talk as much as they like.
    The Military and Police will respond to save lives when needed most.

  12. #12 by johnnypok on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 4:38 am

    They were originally weak. The long-term consumption of NEP drug has further capacitate them until their brain cannot function properly. Eventually their muscles will shrink. Just leave them alone to enjoy life, while others continue to progress.

  13. #13 by Comrade on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 6:15 am

    People especially the rural inhabitants
    Wise up to the evil intentions of UMNO
    Now calling as ‘sacred’ the May13 incident
    Come GE13, punish this evil sicko

    PR may not be perfect
    But it is the lesser evil
    More worthy of your respect
    Than sicko BN the bigger known devil

    Even under BN’s harassment
    PR has done comparatively better
    In the states under its management
    Proving it is an able alternative ruler

    It won’t be plain sailing
    The road to Putrajaya
    PR must be united and God willing
    Be elected to save Malaysia

  14. #14 by undertaker888 on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 7:46 am

    When did Alfonso d’albuquerque conquered malacca? Let’s make it sacred as well. And the Japanese invasion of Malaya, ya, make it sacred as well. zaini the umno inbred, anything to add?

    May the 13 will be remembered as the day when mamak sacrificed tunku abdul Rahman. I will teach that to my children.

  15. #15 by Bigjoe on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 7:47 am

    I think there is a bigger issue here. In the past, talks like these were basically the talk of fringe groups – simple-minded, zealous extrapolation of Mahathirist influenced groups. There are other examples of such talk – Zahidi talk of unpatriotic non-Malays. In the past, the centrist UMNO leadership, knowing full well the fallacy and ill-effect, have actually even corrected it privately.

    But now its part of the top leadership of the party – showing the increase thrust of what used to be fringe of the party. Pandora’s box being out of control.

    It is the signal of ideas that are losing its relevance and gasping for straws. No different than say a formerly successful businessman who started cheating and lying even to his own friends and family.

    These are desperation. Search for relevance that is decreasing. Desperate men do dangerous things and that is what this is.

  16. #16 by Thor on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 8:05 am

    This bunch of evil preaches only the devil so why bother.
    Hell awaits them anyway!

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 8:09 am

    May 13, 1969 was a day of madness on which innocents were needlessly killed based on blind racial rage. It was a day that will live in infamy in the annals of Malaysian History unless one skews that History!

    It is described “sacred” only in a special ethnocentric context with which Utusan Malaysia used it in defence of Azhar Ibrahim, suspended from the Penang assembly for citing the May 13 incident in his speech. It was an integral part of that defence to argue that because of the riots, aggressive affirmative policies favouring Malays by way of ”overseas scholarships for Bumiputeras and their businessmen” were accepted by all other races and started, and that had it not been for May 13, “wealthy businesses and the professional classes would (by now) be controlled by one race only.”

    From these perspectives, May 13 was a day that provided the justification to abandon the Tunku’s comparatively multi-racial approach – and even usher him out of his position – on grounds of alleged legitimate Malay dissatisfaction at the then alleged Chinese insensitivity and insouciance of the glaring socio-economic disparity favouring themselves against Malays and also the alleged arrogance of Chinese majority opposition parties and their supporters in celebrating their electoral victories in Selangor. May 13 then is deemed “sacred” because it marks the historical watershed demarcating the time before from that of after in which the concept of Ketuanan was established as basis of aggressive affirmative NEP policies to address and correct the alleged colonial legacy of economic divisions that had been blamed for the racial clashes – without protests from other communal parties within the ruling Alliance, charged with representing these other communal interests relegated to subordinate position….

    To be sure, the expression “sacred” used by Zaini Hassan here is actually the same as that described by the writer John Baptist – ie “connected with God; considered to be holy or very important and treated with great respect” – with an important difference. And that difference is that whilst John Baptist takes the word “sacred” as meaning important in the UNIVERSAL sense for all, Zaini’s interpretation is skewed with specific ethnocentric connotation of being important and “sacred” to one particular race only, its destiny and future trajectory in terms of well being from that time onwards.
    The word “sacred” is not used here in context of importance to any other races who are also Malaysians or the country and its peoples as a whole. Why it is not acceptable to all Malays eg. those in the Opposition parties, blogs (RPK Mariam Mokhtar and many others) and even those within UMNO like Nazri and Ku Li (if their public speeches abjuring racism were a guide).

    To sum, one can’t stop people from unreasonably skewing meaning of words like “sacred” to advance their agenda but that it should come from an editorial in Umno’s Utusan Malaysia in direct contradiction of the spirit of UMNO’s president’s platform of “1 Malaysia” is the disconcerting surprise!

    (Moderator, this is a rerposting: please delete earlier post under current moderation)

  18. #18 by DAP man on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 8:22 am

    Do not be surprised if Zaini is a disciple of Osama Ben Ladin. This man looks like a candidate as a suicide bomber. He advocates violence as holy and a blessing.
    Zaini is expressing the thoughts of Perkasa and a section of UMNO. It is to frighten the non-Malays to allow UMNO to remain in power so that Malays will remain poor, gullible and dependent on UMNO for survival.

  19. #19 by wanderer on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 8:54 am

    That “black day” 13/5 was the greatest achievement made by the UMNO ketuanan melayu ….they felt so blooming proud!! An achievement they were able to carry out only when they were fully shielded by the police and army…using guns against non-armed civilians is nothing to shout about!

  20. #20 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 9:11 am

    born in Malaya :
    I read from a book that May 13 is just a plot by UMNO so that they can use this incident as an excuse to start NEP and special rights for Malay.

    More than that. The incident was engineered to grab political power. One of the key plotters is still around and still making a lot of noises.

  21. #21 by dagen on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 9:12 am

    Somebody should just start a “I AM NOT SCARED OF MAY13” facebook thingy to collect as many “I LIKE” support as possible. Just like that anti 100-storey jibby tower facebook effort.

    The problem is umno believes that people are still scared stiff of may 13. For some of the senior citizens of course bits of memories from that umno instigated event still linger. Be that as it may, not all of them are scared of may 13. And for the rest, may 13 is no more than a date marking a certain unhappy event created by umno.

    Every one should just come out to declare that they are not afraid of may 13 and will not be cowed by umno. I for one am not afraid. My reason, this time round umno’s effort will be opposed by all malaysians, including the malays.

    BTW, I am a patriotic malaysian. But I hate umno for all that it has done to the country. And I want umno out of office.

  22. #22 by born in Malaya on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 10:35 am

    TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 12 November 2010 – 9:11 am

    born in Malaya :
    I read from a book that May 13 is just a plot by UMNO so that they can use this incident as an excuse to start NEP and special rights for Malay.

    More than that. The incident was engineered to grab political power. One of the key plotters is still around and still making a lot of noises.

    You are right, I believe you are referring to the man behind PERKASA. Incited May 13 and Killing innocent citizens and taking the rights of millions by force. This man will carry the sins by the millions as millions has suffer over his Shameless plot. Stop supporting this race base governemnt, wake-up lah.

  23. #23 by Jeffrey on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 11:02 am

    I am sure TheWrathOfGrapes is not referring to Perkasa immediate chief : First age factor – how could he be one of the plotters May 13 incident when he was only 16 years old that time? Then Profile – Besides to plot means to think strategically and abstractly with guile and cunning and in a cool and controlled way engineer one’s own benefit to the deteriment of all having both immediat and long term road map in mind – hardly fits the profile of someone who when provoked in Al Jazeera English Channel interview bursted out “Don’t talk shit!” three repeated times…..

    Age factor and profile, the clues….
    SoimeIt won’t fit the profile of someone

  24. #24 by Jeffrey on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 11:08 am

    Reposting : Age factor and personality profiles are the clues. TheWrathOfGrapes is not referring to Perkasa immediate chief. He was only 16 years in 1969 riots. Personality, the plotter is cool and plans strategically with both immediate and long term road map in mind – which hardly fits the profile of someone emotional and when agitated bursted out his mpost eloquent “Don’t talk sh*t!” repeatedly times in Al Jazeera English interview…..

  25. #25 by Jeffrey on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 11:18 am

    ///Every one should just come out to declare that they are not afraid of may 13 and will not be cowed by umno./// – dagen #21.

    However it is a question of who is bluffing who and who will call the bluff on this.

    If from a certain ethnocentric view point May 13 1969 is a “sacred” day, then will another May 13 be an even more second “sacred” day following that logic?

    If 1. yes, then the extremists and ultras will call the bluff of those who say they are not afraid of may 13. If 2. no, then the opposite.

    Likely 1. is truer but I shan’t give the reasons, which will only help extremists’ agenda.

  26. #26 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 11:27 am

    Just watch this – next, they will claim it is a mistranslation and should be “Scared” Day instead of “Sacred” Day.

    Sacre bleu!

  27. #27 by k1980 on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 12:16 pm

    Zaini Hassan’s underpants need to be auctioned off after being sued.

  28. #28 by k1980 on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 12:18 pm

    More “sacred” days—

    1. The day Altan was murdered

    2. 8th March 2008, the day BN was thrashed

    3. The day Melaka fell to the Portuguese in 1511

  29. #29 by k1980 on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 2:09 pm

    More “sacred” days—

    4. The day Dulah was dumped as PM by jibbi and moo– Hari Tiada Maaf Bagi Mu

    5. The day Saifool discovered to his horror that Anwar’s dna has lodged itself up in his back door– Hari Duit Boleh Beli Segalanya

    6. The day the 3 Perak PR state assemblymen were bought over by BN — Hari Khianat

  30. #30 by johnnypok on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 3:54 pm

    A big-scale 513 cannot be avoided, and a never-ending civil war will turn the peninsula into a desert.
    The land below the wind will become part of the Philippines.
    Land of Horn bill will become a power-house.
    I am sure the rich and corrupted ketuanan will be too scared to face the prospect of losing their ill-gotten wealth. They simply cannot survive outside the country.

  31. #31 by dcasey on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 8:12 pm

    I’m sorry but to my interpretation of this disgusting article, the writer (who probably represents dUMNO) has either written off the honorable Tunku Abdul Rahman from the history book or simply shown no respect whatsoever for him (may the man rest in peace).

  32. #32 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Friday, 12 November 2010 - 8:21 pm

    wahai ahmad zahid hamidi, siapakah penyumbang terbesar pingat emas NEGARA MALAYSIA di sukan komanwel 2010 ? jawapannya Non-Malay. kalau mengharapkan Malay aje, berapa butir sangat NEGARA MALAYSIA dapat ?

  33. #33 by Ray on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 12:22 pm

    Here in Malaysia,.. Umno practising Umnoism which of cousre is definitely a BNcomponent collective movement that glorifies thier special right of moron folk, politicaal regime,racist race etc., demands loyality towards their goals of this moron folk and collectivley condems others ethnicities, glorifies power through violence.,C4 Corruption of all sorts in all Umno gov’t institutions,resorting to killing of righteous innocent civillians,rakyats for their Political power and Millionaries $$$$$$$$$$Aspiration
    It justifies expansion, ethnical cleansing thus discriminating oppressing and suppressing others esp the minority inorder to stay-put in UmputraYaYaHnono Bodohland paradise.
    The morale of this story…””What is the use of hving so much $$ send to heaven safe keeping??
    Do you know that its totally meaningless and useless selfish Umnoputras to hv so much fortunes siphoned from Bank Negara as resulting in turning Malaysia into a weak economy uncompetetive globally Yet you cant even spent them 10% of these fortunes in yr life span…>>Conversely the Big majority(malays bumi-ketuanan 86% population poor rakyats under paid NEP spoonfed(to be exact in statistically) still starving daily,their livlihood so unbearable too agonising, depressing,and struggling with sorrow,greifs and anxieties….
    This is really Good greifs..

  34. #34 by Loh on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 - 8:57 pm

    ///I read with disgust Zaini Hassan describing in the Utusan Malaysia the tragic May 13, 1969 incident as “sacred”. The Oxford Dictionary defines sacred as either “connected with God or a god; considered to be holy” or “very important and treated with great respect.”///–John Baptist

    This has direct link to whether he talks as Malay, or as Malaysian. All Malaysians would have wished that May 13 incident did not happen; It was said that it could have been avoided. Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad who was with Tun Razak on that fateful day said the phone call by Razak to Harun Idris was half an hour too late to stop Harun doing what he did that ended up as May 13. But then without May 13 Tunku would still be the true hand-on Prime Minister rather that the Director of Operation Razak. Tunku announced over the TV the appointment of Razak as the Director of Operation who reported to him. But Razak appeared in TV a day later that he reported to the King, meaning therefore that he was effectively the Prime Minister. That was a peaceful coup d’etat. Razak took the chance of emergency rule to introduce NEP, and Malaysia has since then become a nation of ketuanan melayu. To Malays who do not respect the constitution and particularly the provision of 153 that only reasonable proportion of opportunities are reserved as Malay quota to help Malays compete with others, May 13 is the day that change Malaysia into Malay-land. They are just speaking their heart calling May 13 a sacred day. That is why UMNO members openly threatened non-Malays at the UMNO general assembly that they would recreate another May 13. They did not call that a sacred day then as another May 13 could be a celebration of the first, and therefore a memorable sacred day.

  35. #35 by good coolie on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 - 12:28 am

    I understand that the armed forces of Malaysia played an important role during May-13. Why not call it Army Sacred Day, or something more elegant than that?

  36. #36 by ReformMalaysia on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 - 4:54 am

    “May 15” just as “Sept 11” are works of Devil….. you want to declare “the work of Devil” as “Sacred”?

  37. #37 by ReformMalaysia on Wednesday, 17 November 2010 - 4:56 am

    . “May 13? just as “Sept 11? are works of Devil….. you want to declare “the work of Devil” as “Sacred”?

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