Malaysiakini Letter

The keris is not a symbol of political ideology

AM Keris  |  Published:  |  Modified:

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Hisham apologises for keris act .

1."I am sorry if it had affected the non-Malays," he told reporters after attending a Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Sorry, Mr Hishammuddin, I for one cannot accept your pseudo-offer of what is a non-apology in my books. The little "if" in the above statement qualifies the so-called apology to such an extent that it nullifies and negates it completely. The qualification indicates that the person offering the apology does not believe that he has, in fact, been recalcitrant in any way and so the act lacks the key necessary ingredient of contrition.

2. At the same time, he also apologised to the Malays over his "failure to uphold the Malay symbol (keris)".

Notice the distinct difference in the structure of the words used in the two "apologies" offered. No qualifying "if" has been included in the second apology, and that is very telling of the intention behind the two apologetic statements.

3. "The struggles of BN is ultimately more important than myself and we cannot indulge in actions which will frighten other races," he added. "This is a realisation that we've come to today in our meeting after one-and-a-half months of soul-searching."

So why then, did you do it, Mr Hishammuddin? Not once but on three occasions over a span of three years, and with such blatant arrogance and reckless audacity even though you must have been aware while doing so that the " keris -waving" action "will frighten other races"?

You also appear to be making the purported apology to non-Malays as a mere contrivance to achieve a political motive ie, easing the struggles of the BN, rather than as a genuine act of remorse and contrition for your offensive act in question.

4. ‘The education minister had raised the keris during the Unmo Youth assemblies for the past three years, claiming that it symbolised Malay supremacy and Umno's role in defending that.’

Based on the way most rational people would look at it, the keris is seen as a representative symbol of a Malay/Malaysian warrior’s commitment to honour and justice.

In the true sense of the word, a warrior is a man/woman who has a clear and guiding moral code of honour and is someone who serves others in the interests of social justice and who normally stands up unfailingly for the cause of righteous justice, fighting in a noble and measured way when required, and doing so with wisdom and a tenacious quality of strength that somehow is able to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and odds.

Even when their cause appears lost or hopeless, warriors rarely give up their cause, persevering on with admirable courage, even being prepared to lay down their lives or to put it on the line for their cause, which nearly always has something to do with serving and protecting others who are less able to do so from some human cruelty or injustice inflicted on them unjustly by what is termed as man's inhumanity to man.

All true warriors have this innate noble quality of heroism and that is why they often become inspirational role-models to emulate and iconic heroes of the people. The best example of a Malaysian warrior hero in this genre is, in my view, the legendary Hang Jebat, who was a valiant pahlawan , a warrior of exceptional skill with a keris and in the art of hand-to-hand combat called silat , and who under tragic circumstances, gave up his life for true friendship and loyalty by first defending the honour and then protecting the life of his beloved friend and fellow warrior, the equally legendary Hang Tuah.

So the keris (like a samurai’s or knight's sword or a Jedi's light sabre) is a reflective symbol of the noble warrior's benchmark moral code of honour, principled conduct and disciplined way of life which enshrines highly revered human values and principles which amongst others include the values of selfless service to others, the seeking of life-long learning, knowledge and wisdom, and the pursuit of excellence in all things attempted.

And based on that analysis, the symbolic keris is certainly NOT representative of any suspect or questionable political ideology such as Malay supremacy or any other morally repugnant and unjust racial supremacy/superiority complex theory, and it most certainly has, in my view, nothing whatsoever in common with Mr Hishammuddin.

5. ‘After the youth wing's annual assembly last year, he had also defended his actions, calling the keris a symbol of strength.’

Yes, the keris is a symbol of strength. But that symbolic strength and justice reflected in the keris , as explained above, was clearly misunderstood by Mr Hishammuddin and so used in an incorrect context which was, quite rightly, understood by the Malaysian people as a disrespectful gesture done with the intention of causing extreme offence to fellow Malaysians who respect each other and who also hold a deep respect for the symbolism represented in the keris .

6. ‘He said that the movement can also no longer rely on rhetoric as they are not a new faction. The education minister also said that there were certain actions people found unacceptable even after 50 years of Independence.’

Sorry, I fail to understand the "even after 50 years of independence" bit included in the second sentence. Holding the view and/or telling fellow Malaysians that you and those in Umno are in some way superior and worth more in value intrinsically than other fellow Malaysians, and fellow human beings at that, is basically obscene and repugnant to human logic and reason and to the sensibilities of nearly all peoples from whichever part of the world or whatever time frame continuum it is that they come from.

7. Although, we still won the elections, we've heard the people's voices and learnt some of our weaknesses," said Hishammuddin. "If we don't change, we stand to suffer even bigger defeats in the future."

Sorry, Mr Hishammuddin, I do not see you achieving the change that you speak of, on either a singular basis for yourself or on a collective basis for Umno, at least not before the next general election in any case, because you have yet to see clearly what the true nature and root cause of the endemic problem really is so as to find the right solution.

The good news, or bad, in your case however, is that your fellow Malaysians have all by now taken off their blinkers and are now miles ahead of you in that they can now collectively see clearly, with a non-obfuscated vision of crystal clear clarity, the problems, the associated symptoms, the causes and also for the first time, potential cures to the problems.

Ever heard of the law of physics which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? Well from my vantage point, I see that law as a scientific ratification of the universal principle of natural law which states that in the final analysis at that proverbial end, one always reaps what one sows, no matter what.

And to quote some wise words from the famous Hang Jebat: ‘ Raja adil raja disembah; raja zalim raja disanggah ’ which literally means ‘A fair and just king/government is a king/ government to obey; a cruel and unjust king/government is a king/government to fight against’.

So my respectful and unambiguous, if gratuitous, advice to you Mr Hishammuddin and to Umno (youth and main sections) is simply this: repent with sincere contrition for your insolence to the rakyat and your arrogant, hubristic obduracy to date, or perish in the hands of the politically- mature rakyat at the next general election and be obliterated for all time.

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