Who are the Malays ? And how to unite them.

prepared by Michael Chick

Followup to the First Article, it is time to define who the “malays” really are and to correctly define them. To begin with, let us look at the subject of “Race”. Since Hitler's Days of propagating the “Superiority” of the Aryan Race, many have scorned from the very mention of the very word “race” itself. However, certain Malaysian Political Parties still seems to relish in its' very notion of separation. Strangely, they go all out to “Divide and Rule”. Uniting one race in particular, but not the rest of the country. And they spend lots of time, money and effort to this redundant and lost cause. Anthropology defines only 5 Races in the World (use your favorite search engine). The Caucasoids, Negroids, Mongoloids, The Dravidic, and the Austronesians. Any other species is merely a combination of the above 5 main groupings. Geographically, Malaysia falls within the Austronesian Category.


Brown skinned people, residing in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Polynesian Islands, Tahiti, Hawaii and so forth. In fact, it is next to impossible to differentiate the Austronesian People, regardless of the country they come from. However, if there is a certain distinctive physical facial feature, which identifies anyone from any locality, it is usually a case of the gene pool not coming from a wide enough resource. Put bluntly, Incest, or Inbreeding (as Mahathir so aptly put it, in the greater sense of the definition, in his book, “The Malay Delima”). Inter-marrying from within the community. However, some still believe that it is essential that cousins should marry each other to protect the “Blue-Blood”, and/ or to prevent family property from ever leaving the clan. This unfortunately is in stark contrast to the Mongoloid practice where two people with even the same family names are prohibited from marrying.


In fact, once you remove the nationalities from the Austronesians, you will find a vast interesting and diverse group of people. From the many ornate costumes, to the vast number of religions and cultural practices. The very essence of the Austronesian Culture is bound to intoxicate every observer. One other category, which seems to confuse the issue is the existence of whom locals call the “Orang Asli”. Technically known as “Australo Melanesians”, they are the direct descendants of the East Africans who migrated out of Laetoli, Africa circa 60,000 years ago. You will also find it impossible to distinguish between an Australian Aborigine, The Malaysian Negrito, or the Philippine Aeta with the Papuan Tribes.


So you now have two distinct groups. The first to arrive here are the Australo Melanesians, circa 60,000 years ago, and then you have the Austronesians (from Yunan), who arrived in Malaysia circa 3,000 years ago. Cross-Breeding between the two results in a “new” category called the Polynesians. “Poly” meaning “many”, thus accurately describing the many “...sians” which have inter-bred. Caucasians with Austronesians, Australo-Melanesians with Austronesians and so on so forth. For an accurate understudy of Anthropology, country borders are irrelevant, and only serve to create severe delusions of the facts. As the Austronesian Clusters are so diverse, many individual traits start to form in a localized manner. For the sake of individual Nationalism Spirit, many have mutated from its original form. Others, such as costumes and such have taken on slightly different materials depending on what was locally available to them, and was duly influenced by the spice tradesmen of the West who brought new materials. However, they all have their roots in animism, which is still seen in all of greater Polynesia.


As such, their religions are equally as diverse. True to form, most Austronesian Cultures have still retained many traits during their animistic days. Hinduism also has played an extremely large role in defining rituals, and is most obvious in local Austronesian Wedding Customs. The concept of Sultan and Maharaja (Raja in short) is also of Hindu origins. The Sultan is equivalent to the “Son of Heaven” concept of China. Therefore, “Duli Yang Maha Mulia” (He who is of Supreme Nobility). So is the double-handed praying-gesture when addressing someone of importance, or when addressing the King/ Sultan. The local bomoh will attest to a combination of animistic, and pagan practices with Islam. Frowned by authorities, but still permitted to practice; with or without a license. Exorcisms, prediction of lottery numbers, healing the sick are among the many many functions and duties of the local Bomoh. He is also often seen to grace important venues, holding back the rain, or invited to special occasions and functions; sometimes, by the very people who scorn his pagan “superior powers”. While it is true that a large number of Asutronesians are of the Muslim faith (but not in the greater Polynesia), it is also important to note, that (in South East Asia) the majority of them converted enmasse during the late 19th Century just prior to the Krakatau Volcanic explosion. Impending “Doomsday” brought about a massive conversion from the previous 1,500 years of Hinduism. Why the Balinese, the North “Sulawesians”, the Kalimantans, the people from Flores, the Papuans and the central Javanese never converted, we will never know. Perhaps they never heard of the impending explosion of this volcano, or that they were simply too far away to care. Read 'Krakatoa': The Wrath of the Earth and how it turned Indonesia Muslim by Richard Ellis. Travelling by air from Jakarta to Bali will present you with an unprecedented view of many active volcanoes along central Java. (a possible “peek” into the past of the pre-Krakatau days). “... Kejawen is the actual and true religion of most of the Javanese people, but they have been forced ever since 1947 to identify themselves as Muslims, thus swelling the number of declared Muslims into the majority ...” -John Valentine For those wanting to read more on Kejawen can turn to: http://www.joglosemar.co.id/kejawen/index.html http://www.kpsnusantara.com/reflect/english/2_kejawen%20%20.htm http://www.joglosemar.co.id/kejawen/method.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kejawen http://netlog.wordpress.com/category/islam-dan-kejawen/ Again, use your favourite search engine to research/ Amazon.com your “Kejawen” materials. Spending the past 3 months in Indonesia has allowed me to to make many ground-level observations firsthand. For those keen, make your own observations, and studies.


Aceh, in North Sumatra of Indonesia is actually an acronym few are made aware of. A=Arab, C=Chinese, E=Europe and H=Hindi (India). The diagram below offers a much known migrational origins of the various Austronesians ( only known as “malay” in Malaysia).


To further confuse the issue, Indonesia, defines a “malay” simply if you come from 2 regions. The Riau (formerly known as riuh, meaning “noisy”) and its neighboring islands, as well as to the Brunei inhabitants (who probably came from the same Riau region).


But regardless, circa 75% of West Malaysian Austronesians are migrants from the Island of Java (Batavia), thus should be called Javanese instead of “malay”. Even better would be the preferred, and correct name of Orang Ambon. For the record, in Austronesian language, “Orang ...” simply implies the place of origin. As such, “Orang Aceh”, does not mean the “Acehnese Race”, but people from Aceh. Similarly, “Orang Jawa” simply means “People who come from Java. Nowhere has the word “Orang” (in its original sense) meant “race”. “Bangsa” transalates as “Race”, while “Warganegara” transalates as “Nationality”. Hence, no one ever talks about the “Singaporean Race”, even though one might refer to them, as “Orang Singapura”, or “Warganegara Singapura”. Now, using the same definition, “Orang Melayu” means people from Kampong Melayu, Jambi, Sumatera. Somewhere along the way, some bright spark decided to “upgrade” Melayu, from Kaum (tribe) to Bangsa (Race). Noble, but wrong. For reasons best known only to the Individual Local Governments, the very insistence of a “malay race”, as well as the concept of “Ketuanan Melayu” (Lordship of malays) continues to elude the Academia. who exactly are they referring to, when they mention the word “malay”, and who exactly do these “malays” have Lordship over? Is this concept of Lordship then, just as ficticious as the “malay-race” definition itself?


In closing, the above picture is an “In-Your-Face” challenge, to see if anyone can accurately identify, which tribes these Austronesians are from, or next best, which country they each originated from individually. (FYI. The flower garlands could be props from dancing in front of hotels, or actual ceremonial costumes) Wherever they come from, I'm very sure that once the Austronesian Race is correctly identified that the UMNO's demented definition of the word “malay” would cease to be significant. Just like the very existence of UMNO itself. By the same definition, Mahathir resumes being an Indian, Badawi is once again part-Hainanese, part Pakistani, his former wife, part Japanese, and his present wife, Portuguese. And so, looking back, Malaysia never had a “malay” Prime Minister since independence. ...... t-o-u-g-h. For now, we are all looking forward to the unification of all Malaysians, and not any individual “race” from any particular Political Party. And no matter many kilos of C4 are used, one can never take away the Beauty, the Charm, and the Mystique of the Greater Exotic Austronesian Race. But for the record, Malaysia cannot unite, unless, you first correctly identity the “malays”. Do some soul-searching. Ask your relatives, most will gladly tell you where you came from. The only people who obviously cannot possibly remember, are the Orang Asli's. They have been here since 60,000 years ago. Far too long for any mortal to remember. And they, and they alone, my friends, are the True and Only Bumiputra of this land. Michael Chick

For those who wish to read the 9 page first part of the Article “Who are the Malays” can click here: http://balajoe27.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/who-are-the-real-“malays”/