Friday, February 04, 2011

Ahmad Rejal Arbee & Shallow Thinking

Ex-editor Ahmad Rejal Arbee wrote in Umno-controlled Berita Harian today that after 53 years of independence, non-Malays should be proud of the national language if they were loyal citizens.
“They get so sensitive when their patriotism is doubted but make no effort to use and understand Malay,” the former Berita Harian group editor said.

“What loyalty is there if they do not try to learn and use their own national language?” he wrote, adding that what was learnt in Chinese vernacular schools was only to pass exams.

Ahmad Rejal said that there were non-Malays that did not care about and deliberately “belittled Malay” despite calling Malaysia their country.

Ahmad Rejal is naive to suggest that non-Malays are not patriotic because they do not use the Malay language in their daily conversation. For a record, Ahmad should be refrained from making a sweeping statement. Many non-Malays do speak fluently in the Malay language and took great interest in understanding the Malay culture. In fact, some Chinese dialects such as the Penang Hokkien had incorporated many Malay words e.g. tuala, batu, kuih, etc.

I studied both the Malay literature and Malay language at the pre-university level and did remarkably well in both subjects. Will I be regarded as being more patriotic and enjoy better privileges from the UMNO-led government? To people like Ahmad Rejal, I am still a Chinese and a non-Bumiputera. It is also a fact that not many Malays speak the Chinese language or understand our culture. To forge a better cultural understanding, the effort must be reciprocated. How much does Ahmad understand the non-Malay culture?

It is also the duty of the Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka to expand the use of the Malay language. The language must be developed to facilitate acquisition of knowledge and skills. How many educational books are being written or translated in Malay?

The Malay language too had evolved and is still evolving. It has absorbed many English words into the language e.g. diskusi, institusi, kasyer, polis, eksploitasi, ekspres and thousands of other words and terms. Ahmad should take note of this phenomenon we called "pencemaran bahasa" or pollution. Replacing the original Malay words with these English terms will ultimately spell an end of the language and create a 'rojak' language.

Why blame the non-Malays when there are far greater threats to the Malay language? Are the Malays faring any better in the language in exams since Ahmad said that non-Malays are only interested in passing exams. You cannot deny that it takes a certain level of proficiency of the language to pass exams and it is the only formal yardstick to measure mastery of a language.

If Ahmad wants us to be proud of this country he should advise the government to respect all Malaysians as equals. He should give a leader such as Mahathir an ear full for suggesting that this country belonged to only the Malays.

He should advice the government to curb corruption, abuse of power, disrespect for the federal constitution, protect the democratic system and focus on addressing real socio-economic issues.

The fact that Ahmad sounds so ignorant and silly in his accusation that non-Malays are not patriotic enough just because they use their mother tongue does not give me much hope that he understands the real issues.

He was just probably a mediocre editor who was more interested in forms than substance.


najib manaukau said...

What is the purpose of learning B.M. when the Umno led government is not even using it to depict the many Malaysian Embassies abroad ?
It uses Jawi instead. Is the government trying to show to the world that Malaysia is part of the Middle East ? Or shall I say licking the asses of the Middle East ? Or is it another proof of Umno trying to slow down the non Malays in their quest to reach the top ? Just like making the non Malay students to attend the remove class for an additional year before they are allowed to continue their secondary class ? Yet despite all these 'hurdles' these students have gone on to become professionals without the assistance of NEP. Now you want these professionals, who have immigrated, to return to serve the country ? Najib you failed to mention to these professionals that they will serve under a quarter cooked Malay for sure. On top of that their achievements will be 'robbed' of them by the quarter cooked. Now you know why you pleas are not getting you any results. Keep changing or calling your pleas with new names but the results will be the same with no takers.

Anonymous said...

This "clown" or should I say "badut" Ahmad is probably cast from the same mediocre mould that our current defense minister was made in..

Anonymous said...

I am a Malaysia Indian who speaks very little Malay. However speaking the Malay language definitely does not make one more patriotic. Just look at Singapore, most Chinese Singaporeans speaks more English than their mother tongue. Are they less patriotic? Definitely they are not. Patriotism has got nothing to do with the language that one speak. I am a trainer and I impart my knowledge to thousands of Malaysian irrespective of their race or religion.I also contribute about RM20,000 income tax per year. There are thousands out there who can speak fluent Malay and contribute nothing to the nation. Now tell me who is more patriotic. The understanding of Ahmad Rejal Arbee on patriotism appears to be too shallow and he should not unnecessarily open his mouth without using his brains.

Anonymous said...

To the racist, it is always their excuse to say sensitivity of Malay and BM, other races are not sensitive. They can be wack around to achieve BeEnd political goal. These racist only talk big in Malaysia. Just look at the old flip-flopped ex- PM, he only know how to waive his racial card very time when he is out of attention. Only way out is to vote BeEnd out.

Semantika said...

Actually, "kuih" (cake) is a Chinese Fujian (Hokkien) word, not Malay.

Other Fujian (or more orrectly Minan, i.e. the dialect used in the Fujian province south of the Min River) words used as Malay words are "loteng" (upstairs), "teko" (teapot), "teh" (tea), "kopi" (coffee), "bihun" (thin rice noodles), "mi" or "mee" (wheat noodles), "Kuih (or "kueh") teow" (flat rice noodles), "kongsi" (to share), "longkang" (drain), "tauhu" (bean curd), etc.

Anonymous said...

The way we are, we might as well forget about the national language. Don't waste time learning or mastering the Malay language when there are far more important subjects and languages to learn.

Don't blame the non malays if they are not good at the Malay language or if they are not using it regularly.

With all the craps about they being pendatangs and all the discrimination against them in all areas of life, they should not be expected to be patriotic, yet they are.

Shame on the ketuanan melayu melayu.

Anonymous said...

Ask Tun, Can we have Sabah and Sarawak for Non-Malays and break away from Malaysia and move forward. Let the Malays change Malaysia back to Tanah Malayu for Malay only and move backward.

Anonymous said...

sir - our political leaDERS are good in spinning n distraction tactics when they are under siege.they do these distraction using the media. while we are quarrelling over language,race religion n colors, our neighbors are steaming ahead economically, Thailand is the biggest automobile hub in asia, all the big car manufacturers like HONDA< TOYOYA, NISSAN, FORD, GM are there. where is PROTON n Malaysia? singapore is now the hub for petro chemical, air n sea n financial hub. where is malaysia- still trapped in alow end n low tech industries- a pasar malam economy, our leaders are confused , corrupto n incapable to compete in this globalised world. our nation is in despair now. Change n reform now

Khoo Kay Peng said...


Thanks for sharing.

maae said...

Dear khoo,

1.I don't understand why the majority of chineses like to twist around words and failed to understand or just ignore the messages,all about the national language,B.Malaysia.

2.You bother to be malaysians and yet you people do not realise the importance of being part of the nation.Still stick in your own shoes.

3.Every country do have their own national language,of course for a pride identity,recognised globally.

4.The problem is that your former and new generations failed to accept the 'reality' to be one proud malaysians or rather always be a mistaken identity towards your mother land,China.

5.As the result you people call the malays racist!What about chineses whom never open their minds till late?

6.Please walk in hands with other races especially the malays,who has been your good and kind hearted companion for so long.

7.Contribute some good articles , publish it in your daily newspapers, inviting, sharing with other sensible chineses toward a great malaysian unity. Unity,that simply means patriotic, the voices of True colourful Malaysians!

8.You dont have to learn malay if you dont want to,yet nothing to lose.However remember always,look for other countries that always welcome your well beings.

Anonymous said...

talking abt BM ... i was once top scorer in BN exam in school n canspeak like malay guys ... by the way i am chinese ... so what i did get from goverment ??? even bahasa malaysia words were really importing from others languages mostly from english especially in engineering term . even nowdays the advertisement in tv, billboard all using not properly bahasa like moh , jom , mai , is it stated in DBP ... how can goverment ask us to use or learn proper bahasa malaysia when they even dint control of using the proper wording ... am i right ??

ong said...

Our Baba-Nonya spoke Malay as their mother tongue. In fact many of them could not even speak Chinese. They were still treated as 2nd class Malaysian which could well be the reason why even the descendents of Baba-Nonya have started sending their children to Chinese schools.

Anonymous said...'re right!

I am Malay, and I know, many words in Malay actually were borrowed from other languages such as Chinese, English, Indian, Persian and Arabic.

The only Malay words I think that were belong to Malay probably paku, padi, besi...perhaps?

That Ahmad fella...was in denial and also so stupid...regarding the meaning of patriotic! Just flying the national flag...r u more patriotic than others. I dun think so??? perhaps we should send this clown to the drain for wasting our time debating his bogus idea???

singam said...

Saudara Khoo Kay Peng,

It was made known that Dato' Reejal Arbee (a Penang mamak) doe not have a degree.

That shows his newspaper's quality.

Dont waste time replying to his stupidity.

Anonymous said...

a lot of shallow thinkers here! racist calling another racist , Nice!

me said...

To maaee

1. malaysian chinese dont twist words about malay language. Malay politians do that.malaysian chinese learn & use malay when required.malaysian chinese accept that malay is the national language.But being forsighted, malaysian chinese learn other languages as well & maintain own mother tongue.

2.malaysian chinese is VERY concerned about malaysia and WANTS to be a part of this beautiful nation. However, malay politicians keep harping on the issue of sending chinese rakyat to china. chinese rakyat 'stick in your own shoes' as much as the malay rakyat who nowadays dont even want to shake non malay hands or come to non malay open houses. mentioned above, malaysian chinese accept malay as national language even though malay is not yet recognised globally.

4.malaysian chinese never associate china as 'motherland'. it's people like you and malay politicians that keeps propagating that idea. to malaysian chinese, malaysia is where we belong even though there are people who keep denying that rights.

5.there are racists in every malaysians. however, malaysian chinese do not have the political clout to wield their racism. sadly, the government which is SUPPOSED to be for ALL malaysians are delivering policies which smack of racism.

6.We want to walk with ALL malaysians as there are good & kind hearted people in ALL races.

7.If you can read mandarin, you would see that such positive articles that you mentioned have been published in chinese dailies. However malay dailies like utusan often publish negative articles full of racist comments. That is a shameful way of using the national language.

8.Malaysian chinese learn malay as part of the education system.
You sound like another hypocrite malay politician cos you talk about unity and at the same time you tell the malaysian chinese to look for other countries that welcome them.

Mae said...

The Quran says that the kuffar will never satisfy until muslims follow them and their way. For the Malay muslims, you have been warned. Just lets the kuffar bark !

Anonymous said...

Set the conditions in this country for the non Malays to love the national language and I can assure you that the non Malays will put the native speakers to shame.

Khoo Kay Peng said...


Didn't the quran also teaches you not to be a racist, a zealot, a corrupt, etc?

As a non-muslim, I should be able to agree to let the muslims live their way and vice versa.

rejal said...

A friend e-mailed me your half cock shoot from the hip comment about what I wrote.
Please read the whole article properly and not just bit and pieces of it. And don't be crude about it. We can discuss this gentlemanly without bringing in unrelated things.
So what was the crux of what I wrote?
I questioned why is it that even after 53 years of independence there are still citizens of this country who can't understand and speak the national language, the language of this country?
I am not questioning the whole of the Chinese who are citizens of this country. Only those who still can't understand or converse in the language of the country which they call home.
Is that being an extremist?
I also questioned the propensity of some housing developers and products being advertised through flyers sent to homes including Malays homes and especially in Shah Alam where I reside and where the majority are Malays, only in English and Mandarin. What happened to Bahasa? Why such disrespect? Aren't these companies operating in Malaysia where the language of the country is Bahasa? Is that asking too much?
So don't cloud it with fact that Hokkien having some Malay words. So what about it?
I am not questioning Hokkien but only question why can't the language of the country be given the proper respect it deserves.
And don't go about the Malays not knowing Mandarin either. Is Mandarin the National language of this country?
It is good for the Malays to also learn Mandarin but even if the majority of them do so, BM is still the language of this country and should be accorded the respect it deserves where every citizens can understand and be able to converse in the language. Is that too much to ask?
Can we go to France, Germany, Japan or Korea and not see the languages of those countries not used at all - not even a word - in the menus of their restaurants.
But this is going on in this country. Go the White House coffee in section 13 Shah Alam and look up its menu. Its only in English and Mandarin. Why this disrespect for BM. Yet most of the clientele of the shop are Malays.
These people have scant respect for the language of their own country. If you are loyal to this country then you should also be loyal to the language of the country.
I am not questioning those who know the language and are able to use it and understand it. But knowing alone is also not enough, but you must also be proud to use it.
And don't cloud it with encouragement being made to learn English. Yes we should learn and be proficient in English. But does it mean that we don't need to use BM or know and be able to speak it.
That is all what I wrote about my friend. Is that being extreme? And what has that got to do with Umno?
And try not to be insulting. It doesn’t show good breeding.

rejal arbee

Anonymous said...

Do not quote quran is u not the expert. I am a Malaysian Chinese mark the word Malaysian 1st.

I explore other religion and culture as it was a norm for my generation.
I speak BM like a Malay even in different accent according to the state.

Please do not be confused that all non malay have no idea what ISLAM is? Jangan jadi KATAK di bawah tempurung, BRADER <----- Malay words or malaynised?????? Rilek ler bro, I ngan u kan sama dari ADAM dan HAWA gak.

Anonymous said...

As this is about Bahasa Melayu equals to patriotism, allow me then to write in bahasa melayu as it is usually spoken.

apara mau bising bising? non malay cannot cakap melayu is still tolerable la though shouldn't be acceptable, huh? Lagi teruk arrr ada kes budak melayu JPA hantar study overseas (uK ka, uSA ka...) balik malaysia saja terus tak tahu cakap melayu.

'No lah, sorry arr my Malay pun not really good la, SUDAH BIASA english lah! 4 tahun I kat UK!'

Cakap macam ini selalu dengarkan?

Well, anyway after 53 years kalau tak tahu berbahasa kebangsaan, then it is too much. But I can understand that some auntie, nyonya, ahpek bukan tak tahu cuma tak fasih, mungkin ditambah dengan takut tersalah cakap. So let forgive them.

Yang really irritates me is those (Malays and nons) Australian wannabes, English wannabes, American wannabes baru balik study who look down on those who speaks Bahasa Malaysia.

furnished office rental said...

It's best to respect other people's belief and culture.