Interlok: Chock Full of Insults Against Chinese Too (and Lots of Unsavoury Material)


I’ll flesh out my position on the matter of Interlok that I gave to Yeah.

Despite not having read the book in full, I am currently opposed to Interlok because I perceive it as being too racially sensitive. This perception has been formed by various comments on the book, especially by HartalMSM’s coverage which includes excerpts and scans of the most objectionable parts.

However, I am completely open to changing my mind. All it will take is for a supporter of the book to cite excerpts which argue the case for its suitability for racial harmony – basically, the exact opposite of what HartalMSM is doing. Yeah did indeed post one comment citing several plot instances that fit the bill.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of arguments for Interlok I have seen run along the lines of ‘It’s by a Sasterawan Negara’, ‘This and that authority has reviewed and approved it’, and ‘You are idiots who have not read the book so shut up’.

Is it unfair for laypeople to pass judgment on a book they haven’t read? Admittedly so, but let’s be practical here – they don’t owe it to anyone to be sold on an idea (e.g. that Interlok is suitable for school studies). It is the responsibility of Interlok’s supporters to convince the populace on the merits of the book.

Heck, how many PSAs and ads do we see out there imploring the populace to do things such as stop smoking, drive sober, and not play with fire? Honestly it should be common sense and their own responsibility for their own benefit, yet the govertment and NGOs have accepted that people need to be sold on even the most basic of good practices.

Similarly, we both have blogs where we continually defend the good name of our respective beliefs. Sure, we could complain that polemics are unfairly smearing our beliefs with all sorts of lies. But as a practical matter, we accept that they aren’t going to stop, and thus we actively post material as counters to their accusations.

In short, if you all are really so supportive of Interlok, isn’t it the least you could do to give a strong effort to convince the masses? That is what HartalMSM is tirelessly doing for their point of view.

I’ll be straight up on this, trying to get people on your side by telling them how stupid they must be if they don’t join you does not work.

– Me, summarizing my position in a comment

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“Have you forgotten what a typical high school is like? I bet you that in no time, students will be calling one another penipu Cina Panjang or si pariah tak guna or bodoh macam Pak Musa as insults.” – Me, in reply to a comment

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“Why is hartalmsm silent about Rama or Yew Seng? Why is hartalmsm silent about Maniam who helped Seman. Why is the part on Malini speaking up to the white tuan not highlighted? Didn’t Cing Huat tried to befriend Seman too in the end? Didn’t Rama tried to free Mak Limah? Didn’t Lazim regret supporting the Japanese? Didn’t Yew Seng let him go to avoid death in the hands of KMT? Didn’t Poh Eng saved Maniam? Kim Hock took whatever honest jobs he can to support his family, is that disgraceful?” Yeah on why when taken as a whole, Interlok is a commendable effort at building racial unity

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Abdullah Hussain’s credo is simple: A character one like Maniam who loves the Malay is a good guy. All the Chinese are bad guys and villains except Yew Seng who, but what else, loves the Malay and in order to integrate with the Malays, is willing to turn his back on his own father (who scolds the prodigal son ‘sui tu’).

If you’re willing to follow in Yew Seng’s footsteps, and quarrel and break with your dad, and leave your family home (because you sympathize with the Malays and despise your dad’s prejudice that Malays are lazy), then you can also be a Cina Baik in the World of Interlok. So who says all the Chinese are portrayed negatively in the novel? – Second of two of hartalmsm‘s responses

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Okay, at first I was of the opinion that both sides of the Interlok debate were being stubborn.

On one side, just strike out the word pariah and use one of many synonyms instead of arguing how vital it is to use that exact word. Or use another book – there are plenty other local offerings.

On the other side, the p-word isn’t being used specifically in reference to social castes. Just accept that it’s a common usage word in today’s world.

Now my opinion has been totally changed.

Spotted at Malaysia Today, from Hartal MSM‘s coverage of the book, here’s some combined excerpts of what you find in Interlok’s unabridged version:

If you thought ‘pariah’ was the worst insult there is in the novel ‘Interlok’, you’re mistaken.

It is filled with every conceivable racial stereotype of Indians and Chinese that you can think of, applied hodge-podge but in over-abundance to the main characters.

Page 151: Kim Lock is tempted by the bad guy Paman Kok Leng to sell Cing Huat. Because Cing Huat is a boy, the father has qualms. However, he would consider the proposition if the child was a girl.

Cing Huat, now a father himself, is portrayed by Abdullah as someone who is in turn prepared to trade his daughters (for boys) without second thought.

‘Interlok’ is filled with the same characterizations of Chinese — prostitutes, womanisers, gamblers, cheats, scumbags, opium addicts, and more.

Page 119: Kita minta sedekah. Kita curi. Kita tak punya anak perempuan. Kalau ada anak perempuan kita boleh jual.”

Page 177: Dia hanya fikirkan bagaimana dia dapat mencari wang dan menjadi kaya lekas.

Kim Lock’s mistress Mei Hua has been selling her body since young. – the Chinese characters are indeed portrayed in the most unedifying terms by Abdullah Hussain.

51. Dipandangnya muka Yew Hock, dilihatnya matanya yang sepet itu merenung tepat ke matanya

61.Tetapi dia tidak tahu kepada siapa dia mesti marah, kepada bapanya atau kepada Cina Panjang yang gemuk, buncit perut, bermata sepet itukah

134. Matanya yang kecil sepet, liar dengan liciknya.

229. [Cing Huat’s children] Rambutnya kejur, matanya sepet, hidungnya pesek, kulit mereka putih kuning.

The scenario of the cruel and cunning Chinese man cheating the naïve Malay is paraphrased in proper BM on Page 92: “Waktu bapanya masih hidup, kita semua tahu, bapanya tu ada banyak membeli tanah. Tanah sawah, tanah kampung dan tanah kebun dekat kuala dialah yang beli. Tetapi alih-alih waktu dia mati kata Seman tanah itu semua sudah digadai pada Cina Panjang tu, dan orang Cina tu pun dah suruh Seman ini keluar dari kampung tersebut. Seman ini buta huruf, tuk penghulu, alif sebesar batang kelapa pun dia tak kenal, mata tongkang, jadi saya tak berapa pasti apakah betul atau tidak, ataupun orang Cina itu mau perdaya dia saja.”

How would you feel when you’re forced to digest the ‘lu’, ‘gua’ Cina Pek mimicry, and mockery of stereotypical Chinese pronunciation, e.g. “Gua mau kasi olang lain mikin kalija.”

The Chinese character painted above by Interlok author Abdullah Hussain is the ‘bad’ Chinese. Abdullah’s ‘good’ Chinese is the one who sides with the Malay and turns his back on his own [Chinese] people.

As we know from previous excerpts from the novel, the Chinese have been portrayed as the scums of the earth. The Malays on the other hand have been portrayed as most kind and noble.

Page 95: Through this way, our [reserve Malay] land that is protected by law is mortgaged to a foreign race. We are unable to do anything.

Page 101: “Titak apa,” ujar Cina itu kemudian. “Kalau lu titak mau keluar pun titak apa. Tapi lu mesti bayar sewa sama gua.” [Wow, that’s a really super Cinapek accent the writer slaps on there!- Scott]

Abang mereka Yew Hock hampir serupa sahaja dengan bapanya, tidak mahu tahu tentang keadaan di sekelilingnya, mereka hanya mahu mencari wang …

Ah, but not all of the negative portrayals are aimed at Chinese. To be fair, see what torridly negative things Interlok has to say about Malays:

Huan na (Malays). Malas, tak tahu cari duit. Gua tak mau lu jadi macam mereka

Oops, actually that’s what a horrid, intolerant Chinese person thinks of Malays! So it’s actually another jab at the Chinese who are so bigoted that they stereotype Malays as lazy and financially inept.

Darn those uppity Chinese! Darn them I say! With hardcore racists like these buck toothed, slant eyed Chinks infesting the nation, how can tolerant and loving UMNO bring about 1 Malaysia harmony? /sarc

And not overtly racist, but still highly unsavoury material totally unsuitable for school students:

“Dan, alangkah terperanjatnya lagi demi dia melihat orang tergantung dalamnya dengan lidah terjelir keluar” [describing a suicide scene]

On pages 337-8, there is the scene of the bad guy Suppiah raping Malini, wife of the main Indian character Maniam. She struggles, her sari is torn. Her coli is torn. His hands grope her breasts.

“By then, Malini could not resist any longer. It has been three years since Maniam (her husband) left her. She was still young and when the secret places were aroused, she no longer possessed the willpower to fight (her body’s urges) anymore. She knew it was wrong, but how could she summon the strength to fight. Suppiah’s solid body was not only a weapon to defeat her resistance but also the tool to weaken her will.”

Malini hangs herself from a belimbing tree in shame when she becomes pregnant as a result of the rape. In the student edition, Malini dies in bed from fever.

On pages 457-8, a lecherous old communist guerrilla Teck Hock attempts to rape P0h Eng, Cing Huat’s daughter. It’s described how he pins her down and embraces her. “Teck Hock was on top of her body.” “Are you mad? screamed Poh Eng. “Gua anggap lu seperti gua punya bapa.” “I’m not your father,” he replied. “I’m just an ordinary man …”. Both rape scenes have been taken out from the student edition.

Oh, so the rape scenes are out then? Phew, now Interlok is totally suitable for secondary school boys and girls! /sarc

Scanned pages at Hartal MSM, which promises more revelations to come.

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Okay, so it’s a fictional story reflecting past times that’s trying to be gritty and realistic, sure.

But as per my usual methodology of “Why don’t you try it the other way around and see if you still find it so acceptable”, what if school students were forced to read a book where the majority of Malay characters were portrayed as lazy, ignorant, arrogant and prone to violent and hateful rhetoric? Think Ridhuan Tee would be defending the book then?

Besides, there’s already plenty of racist hatemongering in the school library’s daily subscription to Spew-tusan. Can’t students be indoctrinated in modern, up to date bile and venom instead of outdated, old-fashioned 40-year old slurs? Interlok is so passe, just slap together a compilation of hypocritical yet self-righteous diatribes thinly-veiled, vicious hate-mongering openly and shamelessly seditious incitements to racial strife insightfully delightful short stories from Spew-tusan’s thick cache laaaa!

Innocent young students not yet acquainted with the weekly, real-life demonstration of the worst stereotypes imaginable by certain parties (ummmmmmmm noooooooo… I won’t say which parties, sorry) would read Interlok, and come away with the ingrained perception that Chinese are generally greedy, sexist, ethicless and (hypocritically coming from this book!) prejudiced to boot.

In other words, they’ll be filled with all the worst stereotypes of Chinese people.

Heck, impressionable Chinese kids might start to think of their race and culture that way too! All the better for the stealth-protelyzing in schools to make them into a new generation of Ridhuan Tees, yes?

Or as Hartal MSM puts it:

The BTN subtext to indoctrinate

What are the impressions to be drawn from Abdullah’s storytelling above?

That the Chinese are a nasty, cheating race whom anyone decent would shudder to have as his neighbour.

The Chinese characters are most unsympathetic and scarcely have any redeeming graces. They have no loyalty to the country (we’ll cover the ‘unpatriotic’ aspect another time).

This book is a less-than-subtle vehicle to knock into the heads of young students (who have to study this novel for their exam) that the Chinese pendatang — referred to repeatedly in the book as “bangsa asing” — must be grateful for the opportunities given by Malaya. It parallels the ‘pariah’ theme with regard to the Indian characters.

What if they remove all the objectionable material? But then again, why even pick such an unsuitable book in the first place when there are so many other candidates? It’s akin to choosing 28 Days Later or The Exorcist and editing out the scary, gory and mature themed parts so that it becomes suitable for kindergarten cartoon time – wouldn’t picking The Care Bears Movie have been more sensible?

And remember, they wouldn’t even deem to change the word pariah:

Federation of National Writers Association (Gapena) executive secretary Abdul Aziz Mohd Ali said the body supported the ministry’s decision to use Interlok as a textbook.

He said the only acceptable change that could be made to the novel was to add a glossary for the word “pariah” to better explain it.

Actually, the book was already highly edited as mentioned by Hartal MSM here.

So good luck changing anything that would affect the story about disgusting, reprehensible Chinamen:

“I believe we have enough time to make the detailed amendments so that there will not be any more disputes over the novel.” Muhyiddin said the decision was made after taking into account the views of various parties that Interlok was a good novel to nurture and strengthen unity among the multireligious and multicultural population in Malaysia.

“As such, the decision to retain the novel with amendments is the best solution. We will ensure that any amendments made will not affect the storyline of the novel and the noble message that the author wants to convey.”

For comparison, a letter to Malaysiakini points this out (excerpt):

Let’s look back at the case of the book Hikayat Munshi Abdullah, from the first Malay literary author, father and pioneer of modern Malay literature, which was once a reference book in 1958 for Bahasa Melayu.

The author in the work had described the Malays as lazy, gamblers and so on. He was also critical about the Malay rulers of that time, whom he had described as selfish and that the rulers had treated the Malay subjects dismally and that those sultans did not want the Malays to become well-educated and gain profession.

Because this book was insensitive to the Malays the book was removed as a reference book in Malaysia although it is still being used in Indonesia.

Either the people in charge of choosing suitable books did a lousy job of vetting, or (IMHO and in the opinion of Hartal MSM a much more likely scenario) they intentionally chose this piece of garbage that fits their own bigoted, narrow-minded, condescending views and were likely giggling to themselves over their insidious/seditious prank on Malaysian students.

A decision on this book’s use in schools needs to be made, promptly and firmly. It will be compulsory to read as part of the BM subject.

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KUDOS: For undeserved mention by Lim Teck Ghee is his letter carried at Malaysiakini, Lim Kit Siang’s blog, Malaysian Mirror, Centre for Policy Initiatives, Human Rights Party Malaysia, and Human Rights Party Malaysia again.

And mentioned as well by Hartal MSM.


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278 Responses to “Interlok: Chock Full of Insults Against Chinese Too (and Lots of Unsavoury Material)”

  1. Letter to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers on Interlok as Literature School Text « Lim Kit Siang Says:

    […] Scott Thong, Chock Full of Insults Against Chinese Too […]

  2. telur dua Says:

    Interlok was a good novel to nurture and strengthen unity among the multireligious and multicultural population in Malaysia.
    ————————————————————-

    Muhyidin, how the hell can the novel do this? Talk sense, please.

    I kick you in the balls and you’ll still love me? Come on.

  3. Open letter to the Cabinet on Interlok as school text | Human Rights Party Malaysia Says:

    […] Scott Thong, Chock Full of Insults Against Chinese Too inhttps://scottthong.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/interlok-chock-full-of-insults-against-chinese-too/ […]

  4. Interlok ‘poison’ in print | Human Rights Party Malaysia Says:

    […] Scott Thong, Chock Full of Insults Against Chinese Too inhttps://scottthong.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/interlok-chock-full-of-insults-against-chinese-too/ […]

  5. Ramlah Says:

    ‘Stereotypes’, as you call it, always have a grain of truth in them, no?

    1) Are the Chinese slit-eyed? Yes, they have very distinctive epicanthic folds, giving them characteristically Mongoloid features. So your objection to the word ‘sepet’ is a baseless one since the physiognomy is evident.

    2) Is the Chinese culture patriarchal? Yes, mainly because of the patrilineal practice of sons inheriting the family’s surname, tied in with ancestor veneration. Because of greater gender bilaterality among the Malays, Chinese daughters were often given up for adoption, during an era where family planning was not widely practised.

    3) Were the Chinese scheming, greedy money-grubbers? Well, a certain class of Chinese migrated to Malaya–mainly sojourners whose main goal was to make enough money to not only survive but also for remittance and ensure the prosperity of their succeeding generations. They took advantage of colonial capitalism to act not just as labourers but also comprador middlemen. Like it or not, the nature of economic migrants is such that the profit motive is paramount, so you can hardly fault them for supposedly rapacious or unethical business practices.

    It would be a historical distortion to think that the early Chinese migrants came to Malaya because they considered it ‘home’, and unlike the Malay rakyat and various penghulus and chiefs, the loyalty of the Chinese were oriented towards the Qing and later Republican (and then Communist) government in China.

    4) Do the Chinese speak the way the author has transcribed in the novel? The very fact that you mentioned this as a ‘Cinapek’ accent means that there is a real-life reference to people who speak like this–namely, the ‘Cinapek’. One wouldn’t expect the Chinese in the novel to speak perfect Malay, since they had no formal instruction in the language and were picking up a bazaar form.

    All I’m saying is that you can’t spring up and cry stereotypes without appreciating the context in which these representations are placed. ‘Interlok’ is a historical novel, taking place at a time when the pendatangs first arrived. The viewpoints expressed were from those who were witnessing how these newcomers were altering the social landscape in profound ways. If you want to read a historical novel where the subjectivity is somewhat a bit more de-centred, I suggest you pick up Tash Aw’s ‘The Harmony Silk Factory’. We see Malaya mainly from the viewpoint of the Chinese (with some perspectives from a Japanese and British character). The Malay is almost completely absent from the narrative. And yet nobody has really made any vocal protests about the novel.

  6. Simon Thong Says:

    I reproduce the following in full:

    Sun2Surf Mon, 28 Feb 2011
    SPEAK UP! :: Letters
    Textbook guide not observed

    WE are grateful once again for the opportunity to call for the withdrawal of Interlok for the main objection stated from day one, namely, that the book does not meet the stringent pedagogic requirements for a textbook.

    Earlier objections were essentially on the grounds of the failure to identify specific theoretical frameworks, validity and reliability of the book material and methodology.

    However, we now have access to the official “Guidelines for the writing of textbooks” issued by the Textbook Division
    of the Education Ministry, and on this basis there is no question that failure to observe these guidelines will make it mandatory
    that the work must be withdrawn as a textbook.

    The chairman of the panel, appointed to advise on the status of the book, is virtually certain to have pointed out to members that almost ALL the guidelines for a textbook WERE NOT OBSERVED in the publication of Interlok.

    The following criteria from the guidelines should make this position absolutely clear.

    1. First and more specifically “Sensitive elements and negative elements” such as stipulated below MUST NOT be included.

    “Matters which may be misconstrued, discriminatory, deemed insulting or offensive as pertaining to race, religion, culture, gender age or occupation.”

    “Matters pertaining to attitudes, thoughts, and behaviour which are contrary to values in the society.”

    The book in fact abounds with a multitude of such sensitive and negative elements.

    2. Other matters that MUST BE observed include the inculcation of “noble values and positive thinking”.

    The ethnic and racial stereotyping that runs through the entire work totally negates and ignores this guideline.

    3. The factual material must be “accurate in content and be consistent”. The facts must be “valid based on ICT methods and must be reliable in theory and practice”.

    The work is a fictional and imaginative novel and therefore these dimensions do not apply in the first place.

    4. An important dimension repeatedly emphasised the need for critical thinking provisions stated as follows:

    This should be “the platform for teaching and learning so as to stimulate and develop pupil’s imagination through thinking strategies and creative thinking”.

    The book makes no attempt whatsoever to adhere to this guideline.

    It would be tedious to comment on the many submissions that the book should be retained. There may, however, be some reservations as to the implications and negative impact of the total withdrawal of this book in the context of national integration.

    On the other hand, the government will be judged on the basis of making the final decision enhancing good governance with the important proviso that this unfortunate situation does not happen again.

    Dr Collin Abraham
    Kuala Lumpur

  7. Simon Thong Says:

    Ramlah Says:
    February 28, 11 at 1:13 pm
    ‘Interlok’ is a historical novel, taking place at a time when the pendatangs first arrived.

    No, it is NOT a historical novel. It is a novel with a DISTORTED view but because it is assigned as a text, receives the official stamp of approval, authority even.

  8. Scott Thong Says:

    Ramlah, the point of objecting to stereotypes is not about how accurately or inaccurately they describe a certain segment of the populace in question. I’ll be the first to admit that Chinese can be greedy, unscrupulous and hopeless with other languages.

    The point of objection is that these stereotypes are not representative of all members of that segment. For example, I am a Chinese who is fluent in English and hopeless with Mandarin, the opposite of the Cinapek stereotype (and at the same time, reflective of the ‘banana’ stereotype of a Westernized Chinese).

    Even those individuals whom a stereotype accurately describes often take offense at having their ‘unique features’ harshly criticized or mockingly made fun of in such a direct, tactless manner. I mean, come on, would you tell an overweight lady who has body odour that she is fat and smelly? Or tell an ulama with a beard that it looks like a goat’s facial hair? It’s an accurate description, no? Why would they take offense at the truth?

    So maybe I should have said ‘plus size’ instead of fat. But hey, then why not say ‘mata agak kecil’ instead of ‘sepet’?

    Again, I think it best to use the ‘put yourself in their shoes’ method.

    Imagine a fictional novel – suggested as a school reading text – that focuses on the the sordid, pitiful life of a broken Malay family – where the lazy, absentee father is a drug addict, the elder son is a Mat Rempit and serial burglar, and the younger daughter has been raped by her own grandfather for years and has secretly dumped two babies already.

    Is it true that cases of illegal bike racing, incest rape, baby dumping, drug abuse and so on have a higher representation among Malays?

    NOBODY CARES!!!! Because the point is that such a novel would be immediately be grossly offensive to Malay sensitivities – no matter how many Appendix entries with scientific studies and accurate survey data, government seals of approval, and disclaimers that this is a totally fictional novel not based on real life and the author in no way is insinuating that the characters are representative of ANY real Malays – let alone Malays in general – it includes in its pages!

    Malay political groups would riot in the stree… Oh wait, by conjecturing this, I would be insinuating that Malays are prone to violence and lawless mobbing. I can actually be arrested under the ISA for this, a mere comment, let alone a nationally adopted school text! So let me IMMEDIATELY DISCLAIM that remark as a mere hypothesis that can NEVER HAPPEN in real life and apologize forthwith for my very poor choice of fictional illustration.

    SEE HOW SENSITIVE THESE SORT OF ISSUES ARE?

    I am not criticizing Interlok as a work of fiction per se. As I state in my post, the objection I have with it is that it is being suggested as a main text for school students.

    If anything, I am criticizing the ignorant/insidious individuals who chose Interlok in the first place.

    Try and submit The Harmony Silk Factory – or better yet – Salman Rushdie’s most infamous book as a school text. Just historically accurate fiction right?

  9. Crankster Says:

    I’m surprised that it’s only the Indians who are insulted by the novel. In fact, ‘pariah’ as a word is too trivial to even bother.

    But the novel is dangerous.

    This whole exercise of using an obviously inferior book as examination material is for a subtle exercise known in psychology circles as “priming”.

    Priming is a way of conditioning the human mind to think in a certain manner and even behave as such. It can be very salient and long lasting.

    This is precisely the effect the BN government wants in the minds of young, impressionable Malaysian children.

    They want to establish the underlying notion that:

    a) All Chinese are out to get the Malays
    b) Indians are low class
    c) Malays have been wronged and deserve better (creating a sense of entitlement)

    They want to ensure that each race has a grudge to bear against the other.

    1Malaysia, my foot!

  10. Ramlah Says:

    Scott, I thank you for engaging on this issue respectfully. However, I am of the opinion that banning the book is not a solution to the controversy that it has ignited.

    First of all, the book is to be taught as a literature text, not as a historical text. The nature of authorship is crucial to the study of literature. Unlike history texts, which is often written in an objective voice, one is aware that a work of fiction is characteristically subjective–they represent not only the perspectives of the writer, but the viewpoints of various characters. I think there is an opportunity to teach students that the study of history should also be a study of historiography–how histories are constructed, influenced by various biases and agendas. (I’m not sure at this point whether a charge of ‘willful prejudice’ can be leveled at the author; at the most he was writing from a position of perhaps naivete, his views inevitably colored by being Malay and confined by the discourses of Malay nationalism).

    Secondly, one might wish that positive representations will abound–why can’t the author have Chinese characters who were more ‘domiciled’ perhaps, and less ‘bangsa asing’, like the Peranakans, or Indian characters who came from the administrative and legal class, instead of menial laborers. Unfortunately, the milieu that the author has chosen could not accommodate these other representations. Is this something that he should be faulted for? As a writer myself, I appreciate the difficulty in stuffing a work based on the demands of political correctness. It reminds me of the controversy surrounding Mark Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and the use of the word ‘nigger’–clearly a racial slur, but one that needs to be appreciated within context–who is using it, and the period in which it was used.

    Thirdly, I would insist that ‘Interlok’ *is* a historical novel, in the sense that it is *not* a contemporary novel. As such, however much we might want to point out the present reality of those who see themselves as Malaysians first, the novel cannot deal with such characters within its parameters. The idea of Malaysia, as we understand it today, did not exist in the time period covered by the novel. Race was instead foregrounded, as this was the way society described and identified itself under a British system designed along the lines of Furnivallian pluralism.

    **********

    That said, I have a lot of sympathy for the Hindraf members who have protested, mainly due to the term ‘pariah’ used in the book and the discussion of the caste system in India. The Indian community has many legitimate (and often unaddressed) grievances, and so much of it has to do with the sense that they have been left out of the power-sharing equation: political power for the Malays, economic power for the Chinese. I have seen how humiliated some of my Indian friends are by MIC antics and the fact that they have so little positive visibility.

    I can understand why the word ‘pariah’ then becomes a flashpoint–it might have described a certain character’s social reality in the novel, but there is always a fear that the Indians have indeed over time become a pariah caste in Malaysia’s toxic apartheid-like atmosphere. I can understand fears that the usage of what is understood as a racial slur might become normalised, because it has ‘historical weight’ behind it (maybe a student might defend using the word because, hey, it’s used by a National Laureate, and also, it’s a ‘harmless’ description of a codified scheduled caste).

    But my concern is whether by targeting ‘Interlok’, knowing full well how vulnerable literature is to political contestations, the members of Hindraf are fighting the right battle. Was the novel an easy target for them? Is it being scapegoated because it is easier to ban a book than to restructure the whole of society? If the book was indeed withdrawn, what kind of ‘victory’ would it deliver to them, and would such appeasement really mean that their status has changed–is it truly a demonstration of increased political clout? And lastly, what kind of damage would such action do to the things some of us hold dear–such as freedom of speech, and artistic license? I appreciate Hindraf’s struggles for the Indian community to recapture dignity. However, I am not convinced that advocating censorship is the way their grievances should be addressed. As they say, two wrongs do not make a right.

  11. Simon Thong Says:

    The first time I ever heard the term ‘pariah’ was when I was 7; it referred to the mixed breed of dog we see everywhere on the streets in Malaysia.

  12. Simon Thong Says:

    The first time I was called ‘babi’ was when I bumped into a fat Malay girl on Ipoh Padang on Merdeka night in 1957.

  13. Scott Thong Says:

    Again Ramlah, my gripe is not with the author – let him write his fiction and earn a living. My gripe is with the geniuses who thought the book a suitable text for schoo, students – especially in these precarious times.

    I’ll use Mr Rushdie’s most controversial release as a thought exercise again. Even the most open, tolerant and liberal-minded Muslim – who disagrees with the book being banned and objects to the death threats issued against the author – would see no wisdom in suggesting the book as a school text in a Muslim nation. Agreed?

    (Just for the sake of asking, do you personally object to Rushdie’s infamous novel – and it not, would you consider it suitable as required reading for the English Language subject? Not English Lit., but the compulsory English subject.)

    A quote from Ann Coulter might serve to illustrate my point:

    The reason not to burn Qurans is that it’s unkind — not to jihadists, but to Muslims who mean us no harm. The same goes for building a mosque at ground zero — in both cases, it’s not a question of anyone’s “rights,” it’s just a nasty thing to do.

    Similarly, I am all for freedom of speech and against political correctness. But to continue to insist on using Interlok as a school text when it is offensive to so many – and to call the protestors degrading names – that is simply impolite and contrary to the aim of 1 Malaysia.

    Just use another book already.

    On the issue of Indians protesting the book (the book itself of the use of it in schools), Hartal MSM is continually calling the Chinese to task for not similarly objecting to the book’s themes.

    I think there is an opportunity to teach students that the study of history should also be a study of historiography–how histories are constructed, influenced by various biases and agendas.

    Honestly, I think you greatly over-estimate the drive and capabilities of the average student today… Not to mention the teachers tasked with this subject.

  14. Dr Lim Teck Ghee – withdraw the book! | Human Rights Party Malaysia Says:

    […] Scott Thong, Chock Full of Insults Against Chinese Too in https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/interlok-chock-full-of-insults-against-chinese-too/ […]

  15. Pakatan ban critical press, supporters jeer articles « Says:

    […] by hartalmsm on March 2, 2011 · Leave a Comment  Hat-tip to blogger Scott Thong for the image […]

  16. Yeah Says:

    Ramlah is spot on on Interlok.

    And please, don’t EVER cite Ann Coulter, please… that woman has some serious issues.

    And for your awakened hostility towards a book you STILL have not read but experienced a gamut of emotions, let me put it this way. Interlok became an issue because there is a political dividend to be reaped from a mass reaction to the matter. From today onwards, we need to pick novels as clean as sanitary pads with no villainous antagonists, only heroes.

    Apparently some think the Malays in Interlok is portrayed in a positive light as backward, resigned to fate and easily duped types. That speak volumes of what pass as politically correct thought nowadays.

  17. Scott Thong Says:

    Same as to Ramlah, get this straight Yeah – reading a book you purchased yourself of your own free will as a mature adult is not the same as being forced to read a book as part of a compulsory-to-pass subject as a school student.

    Any fool with the most basic understanding of Malaysian issues will know that if there is a choice between portraying the negative aspects of each race, versus portraying the positive aspects of each race, the former will definitely have controversy.

    What, do you want to suggest that Negaraku’s lyrics be changed to be about all the things we don’t want for our nation? That the Rukunegara list five things that will destroy the country as a dire warning instead of a moral guide? That every speech by our leaders should be filled with doom and gloom so that the citizenry will be spurred on to claw their way out of the dark pit of failure?

    Have you ever read Salman Rushdie’s book, the one that got him several death fatwas? No? But you’ve doubtless heard mention of it. You might even have read a summary of the plot and what its controversial parts are. You might have had ‘awakened hostility’ or ‘experienced a gamut of emotions’ from this, even without actually reading the book itself.

    And besides, Hartal MSM provides scanned images of the book’s pages.

    To your ‘political dividend’ idea, I agree – there must be an insidious agenda at work within the education system that such a clearly unsuitable book was chosen as a compulsory text.

    As for Ann Coulter, whatever issues she may or may not have, if what she says makes sense then I don’t see any reason not to cite her. Or do you disagree that burning Qurans is not a nice thing to do?

  18. Yeah Says:

    And besides, Hartal MSM provides scanned images of the book’s pages.

    ———————-

    And you my friend, apparently wrapped your head around the idea like a fool.

    I regret that Malaysia bookstores don’t stock The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie but I didn’t think it was better than Midnight’s Children. I didn’t think I was ever supportive of banning any books ever, and definitely I cannot say I dislike or like a book UNLESS I have read it. I mean, some people can form opinions just by looking at the cover or skimming the pages. Kudos to those people I say.

    Have you read Lee Su Ann’s The Curse by the way? I intend to pick it up next although I have moved on to different genres lately because there are lessons to be learnt there too.

    I concur that the MOE could pick better books, definitely. There is always room for a lot more of books to be read. When I first finished Hujan Pagi as a youth, I didn’t quite get it, but rereading it later in life made me reappraised its merit. I don’t read serious lit very often, and books like the Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is still rare for me. But pray, tell me Mr. Scott Thong, did you judged Interlok based on a few scanned images and cherry-picked texts or influenced by the conspiracy theorists and weight of internet flames it received?

    We should examine our own prejudice and bias and check if we are part of the senseless mob. Of course, the senseless mob could be right for the wrong reasons, but it is no excuse to abdicate our mental faculties or failure to exercise restraint in the face of disingenous, albeit well-intentioned, exaggerations.

    You already decided Interlok is a poor book without reading it, and therefore argued that the panel committee who selected it for Zone 2 have evil intentions. I cannot change your opinion because I am a nobody and even if I loved Interlok, individual preferences are to be respected.

    In the end, will MOE bow to politics like the instance of PPSMI? I believe it will because there are too many people who cannot think straight. In this country, matters will be decided on the high altar of politics. You have obviously decided “sepet” is a dirty word and Cing Hock being fat is offensive. The Cina-pek mimicry is not unlike Burgess’s device in A Clockwork Orange. Again, Ramlah has answered the points in your post and more. To then shift and squirm that you have no issue with the author, just his work as a reading material for BM students is akin to saying you are ok with a driver, just that his driving skills are improper.

    Today you judged Interlok to be inferior without reading it at all. Apparently, many of you are contend to trust the opinion of others in a circle jerk. I am telling you that that is one way to live your life, by pandering to the winds like a willow and pick your spot depending on how much resistance you face in choosing them. You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but many others have not spoken, and their silence does not mean they agree with your point of view.

    Ann Coulter is a right wing nut and to quote her as a queen-of-nice is hillarious because the very statement you picked actually showed that she believes burning the Quran is just unkind / nasty, and no one’s rights got harmed. Coulter’s rabid Islamophobic outbursts are very well known and her hate speech found audience in many places, but please, stop propagating the words of a crazy bitch. You need to stop taking lines out of their context and then projecting your meaning into them.

  19. Scott Thong Says:

    and definitely I cannot say I dislike or like a book UNLESS I have read it. I mean, some people can form opinions just by looking at the cover or skimming the pages. Kudos to those people I say.

    I give you kudos, then, for not forming judgements on books by Robert Spencer with titles like The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion and The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims. Surely they deserve a fair shake before anyone decides they might not enjoy the book’s contents.

    You already decided Interlok is a poor book without reading it, and therefore argued that the panel committee who selected it for Zone 2 have evil intentions. I cannot change your opinion because I am a nobody and even if I loved Interlok, individual preferences are to be respected.

    So since you have read it, can you tell me whether it would be suitable for school students in

    A book can be 99% faultless, but if the remaining 1% were comprised of disparaging portrayals of Malays as incestuous layabouts, do you think it would have even been considered for schools in the first place? Other foot, other foot!

    (Hey, there’s an idea – why not use The Singapore Story pts 1 and 2 by Lee Kuan Yew as a ‘historically based book’ for Malaysian school students? Think that will fly in Parliament?)

    However, on the matter of individual preferences I agree. I have no issue with private fans of Interlok, or Mein Kampf, or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion save my personal opinion of them.

    You have obviously decided “sepet” is a dirty word and Cing Hock being fat is offensive. The Cina-pek mimicry is not unlike Burgess’s device in A Clockwork Orange.

    On sepet, why don’t you assist me with an experiment – go out on the street and find twenty random Chinese individuals (no personal acquaintances allowed!) and call them “Oi, si mata sepet!” to their faces. I’ll tally up the results and put the graph in my post after you get out from hospital/ISA detention.

    On fatness, you presume too much.

    You keep on harping on how Interlok is comparable to this or that book. I will keep on focusing on the point that these books do not contain sensitive material in the Malaysian cotext, not are they being suggested for Malaysian students.

    To then shift and squirm that you have no issue with the author, just his work as a reading material for BM students is akin to saying you are ok with a driver, just that his driving skills are improper.

    Although I have made many additions and changes to my post since it was first published, one point included from the very start was that my objection is primarily to the book being used as a school text. Thus your accusation of me trying to shift and squirm falls short.

    I’ll be straightforward and honest whether you choose to take my word for it or not – if Interlok were not to be used as a school text or in some other form of government-mandated and -supported distribution, I would have ZERO interest in the issue.

    I also find your analogy lacking. It would be more accurate to say: I am okay with the driver in his custom-built rally car, unless some young punk borrows it to drive it across my flower garden. Everything has its place – Interlok’s is not in schools.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but many others have not spoken, and their silence does not mean they agree with your point of view.

    This is a given – else, Ahmad ‘Pendatang’ Ismail wouldn’t have gotten off de facto scot-free while Tan Hoon Cheng gets arrested for reporting on his words.

    Ann Coulter is a right wing nut and to quote her as a queen-of-nice is hillarious because the very statement you picked actually showed that she believes burning the Quran is just unkind / nasty, and no one’s rights got harmed. Coulter’s rabid Islamophobic outbursts are very well known and her hate speech found audience in many places, but please, stop propagating the words of a crazy bitch. You need to stop taking lines out of their context and then projecting your meaning into them.

    Obviously, your personal view of Coulter is so deeply set that it has affected your ability to comprehend my intent. I in no way portrayed her as a ‘nice’ person – one of the very reasons she is so amusing is her decided lack of restraint when it comes to insulting her opponents. In that, she is actually more like the standard liberal.

    You want the quote in context? It was in her article pointing out that the Cordoba House organizers were being supremely arrogant and hypocritical by accusing everyone who opposed their plans as not being tolerant, respectful or civil… While at the same time not showing an ounce of tolerance, respect or civility towards the families of the 9/11 victims. Legality has nothing to do with it. Her predilection for ‘Islamophobia’ has little impact on whether any individual quote she utters is accurate or not.

    You should notice by now that I like to challenge people to put themselves in other shoes, so let’s see what you think of my hypothetical analogy:

    https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/analogy-zero/

    I eagerly await your response, o tolerant and progressive-thinking one.

  20. Zack T Says:

    I think Yeah is a little on the prejudiced side… He/She can’t seem to get Scott’s point or what he is actually saying… and thus, attributed Scott to saying things he never did. i.e. Ann Coulter, Interlok, etc.

    …the very statement you picked actually showed that she believes burning the Quran is just unkind / nasty, and no one’s rights got harmed… ~Yeah

    I don’t understand. It is wrong/not right to believe burning the Quran is unkind and nasty?

  21. Simon Thong Says:

    Yeah – To then shift and squirm that you have no issue with the author, just his work as a reading material for BM students is akin to saying you are ok with a driver, just that his driving skills are improper.

    A poor analogy. A better one is ” akin to saying you are ok with a driver, just that his driving skills are improper at 70kph on a residential street full of little children playing and kids riding their bicycles”.

    Context, man, context! That’s the whole point of what Scott is saying.

  22. Yeah Says:

    So the titles by Robert Spencer is descriptive and points out its position on the matter right on its cover, your point being? It still doesn’t say anything on whether if it is a well written book.

    You know it does not mean anything whether I think Interlok is suitable or not (as KOMSAS text). As a matter of fact I do, but does it make any difference to you or anyone else? Have you read Lee Su Ann’s “The Curse”? I suppose you will be campaigning for the book to be withdrawn next since it features multiple murders committed by father to daughter, wife to husband and what not. But of course, in your eyes, it is okay because it is all Malay inflicted violence on Malays, right?

    Your argument that the MOE is only selecting texts that praise the Malays sky high is not only flawed, but borders on the insane. Interlok does nobody favours, especially with its portrayal of Malay characters who are easily conned and gets into debts.

    I did not remember Interlok used sepet derogatively. Hell, it did not even use the word pariah derogatively. It was a non-issue to begin with, and it remains so until an army of overnight literary critics turned up with insightful commentaries that see the boogeyman at every turn.

    ——————-

    Scott Thong

    I am okay with the driver in his custom-built rally car, unless some young punk borrows it to drive it across my flower garden. Everything has its place – Interlok’s is not in schools.

    Simon Thong

    A better one is ”akin to saying you are ok with a driver, just that his driving skills are improper at 70kph on a residential street full of little children playing and kids riding their bicycles”.

    I think I will keep the analogies as a reminder who I am dealing with.

    What should we do with people who disagree with a text selected for literature component for students? Respect their disagreements, apparently, and perhaps cater to their requests to change them. But wait, is it possible for MOE to get the agreement of the parents on what texts to use for their children? Perhaps we can spend money on a survey and ask the parents for their consent on a list of books drawn up by a selection committee under the Ministry of Education. Then, it can decide on the least controversial novel! And the best part is we can actually get an answer on what text to use rather than the blind objections we get on the streets. Or we can have referendums, yes, one person one vote, or lets just use the bestsellers, surely, they are safe too, no?

    Btw, the next time you have a fever, flu and cough, don’t see a doctor and get your friends to vote on a possible diagnosis.

    As for Coulter, please, again, I have read that piece of trash before and I have given up on her years ago. It speaks volume of your definition of a standard liberal. Stop embarassing yourself and go get her book entitled “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter”. You must be the first person I come across who describe that crazy woman as “more like the standard liberal”. Thanks for the laughs.

  23. Simon Thong Says:

    Yeah – And you my friend, apparently wrapped your head around the idea like a fool.

    (It takes a fool to believe that others are fools and that they are not.)

    Yeah – and it remains so until an army of overnight literary critics turned up with insightful commentaries that see the boogeyman at every turn.

    (Are you one of those ‘I believe I am well-read’ self-appointed literary critics who are SO PROUD of their literary insight? Are you one of those who look down their literary noses at others, believing that they are NOT well-read and that they have NO MINDS of their own? A man so high up there to not be part of the great unwashed, unread masses?)

    Yeah – I think I will keep the analogies as a reminder who I am dealing with.

    (Who are you dealing with? Perhaps people more analytical than you? People who think with their minds rather than their narrow literary crevices?))

    Yeah – Have you read..?

    (So what? Lots of people have read lots of things and what good does it do them? You must have read a great deal, so what has it done for you besides making you arrogant, condescending, bigoted, etc?)

    Yeah – Ramlah is spot on on Interlok.

    (No, Ramlah was not spot on but at least, he was polite, thoughtful, even kind. The opposite of you. If you were the same person, I would suspect Ramlah to be the better self and you, given half a chance, the serial killer self.)

    Yeah – Btw, the next time you have a fever, flu and cough, don’t see a doctor and get your friends to vote on a possible diagnosis.

    (For such common ills as fever, flu and cough, you obviously see the doctor every time, which is foolish and wasteful. Impractical, too. But then, the self-inflated, self-proclaimed literary critic is almost always impractical. The exception is when their mum is around. I told my mum who would prescribe some traditional remedy. My children would tell me and I would suggest panadol, panadol C or CF, or cough mixture, respectively. A doctor? A last resort.)

    Enjoy this socio-psychological analysis of your Self as it comes across in your ‘literary postings’. You may learn something from it. May make you a kinder and less aggressive specimen of the human race. More like Ramlah.

  24. Yeah Says:

    Scott Thong

    Any fool with the most basic understanding of Malaysian issues will know that if there is a choice between portraying the negative aspects of each race, versus portraying the positive aspects of each race, the former will definitely have controversy.

    ——————————————–

    There’s your fool right there.

    Coincidentally, I sincerely believe that people who are not as smart as I am have rights to be foolish. I am sure there are areas where my knowledge could not be applied, and I will have to read what the experts say and form my own conclusions.

    The mistake the hoi polloi (myself included) often makes is to jump on a bandwagon because they are too lazy to think. It is okay for not having read Interlok. Many Malaysians have no inclination towards reading and some have natural aversion towards literary works in Malay. Unfortunately in the case of Interlok, despite being provided with sinopsis, page scans and even curriculum guides, some non-readers concluded that it is an unsuitable book for our teens. When pressed for the reasons, however, we get silly arguments, i.e. the Chinese and the Indians are portrayed negatively compared to the Malays, there is rape and murder in the plot, there are offensive words used in the text, that’s excluding the crazy conspiracy theorists who believe Interlok was written to perpetuate Ketuanan Melayu.

    As many has pointed out, a way Interlok could be removed is to emphasize on its unsuitability on young minds. If a book written specifically to address the progress towards racial unity is not suitable, I suppose we can always turn to fantasy or science fiction where goblins duel elves and wizards fight orcs, with no deaths and sex ever taking place throughout the book. I suppose that would be more palatable.

    Suddenly, commentator Ramlah started to look like a saint, no? I think she is too polite and luckily I have no such hang-ups. Afterall, what is a bitter pilum if not very difficult medicine? Simon Thong is most welcomed in his outrage on my lack of civility and kindness, but THE CRUX OF THE MATTER IS WHETHER MY ARGUMENTS ARE WRONG.

    I am not interested in becoming a less aggressive specimen of the human race, not especially when dealing with self professed analytical minds who confer themselves instant experts to pass judgement on headlines of the day.

    Nobody is asking you to believe if I have read any of the books (there is no way you can find out anyway), I am pointing out that MANY literature component texts for English (Lee Jo Ann’s The Curse included) and BM has villainous antagonists. To the simpletons who argue why must Chinese characters in Interlok must speak liddat, to borrow Phua Chu Kang’s (someone you might be more familiar with) expresion, use your blain, use your blainnnn!

    To correct common misconceptions, a well read individual is not necessarily a thinking individual, nor more cultured apparently, and certainly not more polite. Those niceties in life are with people like Ramlah, and I salute their patience and civility. I don’t need literary insights to demolish illogical arguments presented by lesser minds. If being widely-read made me arrogant and condescending, it is okay because you neglected to point out where I was actually wrong.

    Sure, self medication is a form of treatment for many non-physicians who think they can decide what is wrong with themselves. Nothing wrong with alternative medicine or over the counter purchases too, but try not to make it to the doctor too late if it is H1N1 else it is going to be you last visit. And please, Simon Thong, if what you write passes as “socio-psychological analysis”, I will burn my degrees happily.

    To Zack T who thinks I am “on the prejudiced” side, do be so kind to point out the “prejudice”. Burning the Quran, or burning a book, is stupid. It might be nasty to Muslims, provocative even, but for those with some semblence of intellect, the act is just plain dumb.

  25. Zack T Says:

    To Zack T who thinks I am “on the prejudiced” side, do be so kind to point out the “prejudice”. Burning the Quran, or burning a book, is stupid. It might be nasty to Muslims, provocative even, but for those with some semblence of intellect, the act is just plain dumb. ~Yeah

    I did mention. However, it’s not which point, but your general reply to Scott’s comments; refer my comment again.

    I think Yeah is a little on the prejudiced side… He/She can’t seem to get Scott’s point or what he is actually saying… and thus, attributed Scott to saying things he never did. i.e. Ann Coulter, Interlok, etc. ~Zack T

    I’m not trying to argue against your opinions or stance or what… Just pointing out that you might be a little prejudiced because the usual sign of a prejudiced argument is the failure to actually address or represent correctly what one’s ‘opponent’ has actually said.
    (And in case you decide to bring up Simon, I just think he isn’t as interested in getting a point across to the ‘opponent’ as Scott is.)

    Actually, I still think you are not answering Scott’s initial and current issue regarding this matter.
    His issue is not with what the author wrote or what he is trying to portray through the story and writing, regardless the story’s environment or time setting.
    But the fact that the MoE would sanction, as compulsory reading, a novel that uses negative terms when it comes to describing or portraying certain races, in this case, namely Chinese and Indians. What’s the point of having young and usually still impressionable students to must-read about the worse parts of racial discrimination?
    MoE could just as easily gotten another novel that has more positive tones or one with a balance of both positive and negative tones for compulsory reading. And from the sound of it (now we’re going into what I know, which is not much), this Interlok is compulsory for a language subject (BM?).. Is the exposure to ‘Singlish’ or ‘Manglish’ a necessary criteria of compulsory literature? (I remember my time when it was ‘The Terminal’ and how my teacher said the author was creative or good in portraying the true environment of a Malaysian family using a little of English in their Malay, which is apparently a common practice by locals)

    I can understand that it is good for an author to be creative and portray a culture as truthfully or correctly according to the story’s setting.. but does that make it a suitable compulsory reading for a language subject (i.e. BM)?
    You don’t go into an English class and expect to have literature that includes a bit of Singlish and Manglish in it? Instead, we get poetry that makes use of the beauty of the language (Shakepeare’s sonnets, Emily Dickinson’s, etc) or stories that displays the creativity of the author through a fully English-written story (e.g. Sound Machine, the Pearl, etc).
    Isn’t the point of the language subject class to allow students to learn to use the particular language more properly and correctly? Or is it to teach slangs and derogative language?

    Just my two cents on the subject matter.

    Burning the Quran, or burning a book, is stupid. It might be nasty to Muslims, provocative even, but for those with some semblence of intellect, the act is just plain dumb. ~Yeah

    Oh.. so your earlier statement was meant to say Ann Coulter was wrong because she ONLY said it was unkind and nasty… but never said it was dumb?

  26. Scott Thong Says:

    So the titles by Robert Spencer is descriptive and points out its position on the matter right on its cover, your point being? It still doesn’t say anything on whether if it is a well written book.

    Correct, but my point was never whether Spencer’s books or Interlok were well written. I’m not criticizing the plot, pacing, vocabulary or whatever – I admit that I have not read Interlok in full so cannot judge it on those points.

    It was whether they contained material that is highly likely to be considered insulting, and whether Interlok is therefore suitable for students in today’s precarious Malaysian racial-political climate.

    Maybe if we had not had the recent issues with Ahmad Ismail, cow heads and BTN, I wouldn’t be as sensitive to Interlok’s contents.

    As a matter of fact I do, but does it make any difference to you or anyone else? Have you read Lee Su Ann’s “The Curse”? I suppose you will be campaigning for the book to be withdrawn next since it features multiple murders committed by father to daughter, wife to husband and what not. But of course, in your eyes, it is okay because it is all Malay inflicted violence on Malays, right?

    See, now you’re mockingly accusing me of being an anti-Malay racist. And I seriously thought I was dealing with a mature, rational individual here.

    By all means, point me to a blog detailing the sordid details of The Curse and why it is unsuitable to be used as a school text. Or if there is none, start one yourself using Hartal MSM’s example as a starting point. If it is convincing, I give my word I will start a new post arguing against The Curse being used in schools.

    Your argument that the MOE is only selecting texts that praise the Malays sky high is not only flawed, but borders on the insane.

    What is flawed and bordering on the insane, are your accusations pulled out of thin air.

    Show me where I made any such argument or even hinted at such.

    Seriously, I apologize is my masses of text confuse you, but do show me where I have made such an insinuation.

    Interlok does nobody favours, especially with its portrayal of Malay characters who are easily conned and gets into debts.

    All the more reason to withdraw it from consideration for schools.

    Hartal MSM is however of the opinion that the Malay characters in the book serve as an example to modern Malays that they mustn’t let the sneaky, greedy, conmen Chinese steal their birthrights. As if modern Malay ultras need any more provocation on that point?

    I did not remember Interlok used sepet derogatively. Hell, it did not even use the word pariah derogatively. It was a non-issue to begin with,

    Let me try to give a few analogies on the matter of ‘used deragotarily’.

    In the South Park movie, film stars Terrence and Philip repeatedly call each other things like ‘pig f*cker’, ‘sh*t faced c*ckmaster’, and especially ‘uncle f*cker’ and laugh about it. The kids watching the show then start spouting those phrases everywhere they go.

    As a teen with my close friends, we would greet one another “Hey you f*cker!” and scold one another “Come on la you a**hole!” and all laugh over it.

    And remember that scene from the end of Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie? Where someone in the US gives him the finger, and he mistakes it as a greeting, and waves his middle finger at everyone as he drives down the street? Funny, right?

    Or when Jackie Chan copied Chris Tucker and innocently said “What’s up, my n*gga?” to that black dude?

    By your logic, since none of those terms were used derogatively, therefore nobody should take offense.

    Do you see the flaw in that logic yet?

    In fact, just this week a headmaster allegedly called the parents of some Indian students ‘pariah’. Those sensitive Indians should just accept that it wasn’t used as an insult, right?

    and it remains so until an army of overnight literary critics turned up with insightful commentaries that see the boogeyman at every turn.

    Otherwise known as UMNO rabble rousers, Utusan inciters and BTN brainwashers. At least fictional bogeymen try and stay covert.

    But wait, is it possible for MOE to get the agreement of the parents on what texts to use for their children? Perhaps we can spend money on a survey and ask the parents for their consent on a list of books drawn up by a selection committee under the Ministry of Education. Then, it can decide on the least controversial novel!

    Nice snark. But as I mentioned in my post itself, why choose a horror film for kindy showtime and subject it to heavy editing (and get parents to vote on it as you suggest), when Toy Story is available?

    Honestly, the panel which selected Interlok must be either ignorant or insidious not to take into account the highly charged political atmosphere in Malaysia presently – again as I mentioned in my post.

    It speaks volume of your definition of a standard liberal.

    My apologies for causing confusion – I did not mean that she has left wing politics, but rather she is as quick to directly insult as any liberal TV show host, commentator, writer, street protestor or emailer to Michelle Malkin. Just nowhere near as crass.

    but THE CRUX OF THE MATTER IS WHETHER MY ARGUMENTS ARE WRONG.

    I am pointing out that MANY literature component texts for English (Lee Jo Ann’s The Curse included) and BM has villainous antagonists.

    You just don’t get it, do you? It’s not about what Aarne-Thompson types are in whatever novel’s plot, it is the particular character traits in Interlok.

    The most important factor in choosing a suitable text is our particular situation in Malaysia at present.

    Do you think anyone here really gives a hoot about the dreaded N-word in Huckleberry Finn? No, of course not, because historically there has never been slavery and discrimination against Afro-Americans here.

    Today’s Malaysia has been highly charged by a constant stream of inciting events – Ahmad Ismail’s pendatang idiocy, BTN’s groupthink sessions, constant reminders that the lesser races know their place.

    Do you honestly think that a book where cruel Chinese cheat stupid Malays of their ancestral land won’t add fuel to this fire?

    To the simpletons who argue why must Chinese characters in Interlok must speak liddat, to borrow Phua Chu Kang’s (someone you might be more familiar with) expresion, use your blain, use your blainnnn!

    Funny story – the Singapore govt got him to tone down his exaggerated Singlish.

    Burning the Quran, or burning a book, is stupid. It might be nasty to Muslims, provocative even, but for those with some semblence of intellect, the act is just plain dumb.

    I have to agree with you there. Burning the Quran is dumb, as it invites immediate and fatal reprisals from outraged individuals.

    That is why most people choose to insult Christianity whenever they want an easy target to ridicule. At worst, the evil/violent/medieval/bigoted/hate-filled Christians will pray for the salvation of the misguided souls. Scary!

    That is also why building a mosque next to Ground Zero is not dumb, as the organizers are keenly aware of the spinelessness of Obama, Bloomberg, and assorted liberals which lets them get away with anything.

  27. Zack T Says:

    Sorry… mistake in my (still awaiting confirmation at the moment) comment…

    The Pearl does have some Spanish in it, (due to the environment/setting) but the Spanish was used because the characters in the story were Spanish in a Spanish town. it speaks of the setting, and was not used to discriminate or antagonize another race.
    There is nothing wrong is antagonizing some people for the purpose of story-telling. But Scott’s point was, is it alright to sanction a compulsory literature where a particular race or two is completely portrayed in a very negative light or as the antagonist, while another is (apparently, according to you) completely portrayed as the weak, often-preyed-upon victim?

  28. Scott Thong Says:

    Zack T Says:
    March 4, 11 at 10:59 am edit

    Zack managed to put forward the crux of my argument without getting sidetracked the way I did.

  29. Yeah Says:

    “…negative terms when it comes to describing or portraying certain races…”

    Well Zack T, for the love of god, listen to yourself. Are you saying that the MOE cannot approve any story where the antagonists are Malays, Chinese or Indians? How is it racial discrimination to portray Abu as a thief or Ah Chong as a robber or Maniam as a burglar?

    “…Is the exposure to ‘Singlish’ or ‘Manglish’ a necessary criteria of compulsory literature?”

    Again, are you saying that we need to have perfect Malay or English to be uttered by characters in works of fiction? Do you even know what literary devices are? Your teacher is absolutely correct when he/she said that “a little of English in their Malay” is good (or creative) to reflect authencity in literature. Interlok is set in early 1900s, you think Cing Huat would speak standard Bahasa Malaysia?

    And for that matter, Shakespearean English is expressive, but you can try to argue on whether it is correct or proper.

    As for Scott Thong, you cannot criticize “the plot, pacing, vocabulary or whatever” in Interlok and cannot judge it on those points, YET APPARENTLY WITHOUT ANY OF THOSE FACTS YOU CAN ASK FOR INTERLOK TO BE REMOVED? On what literary or educational grounds?

    From the snippets and conditioning Hartalmsm did to Interlok, you decided it contains material “considered insulting”. And you apparently also decided that Malaysia’s racial political climate is “precarious”. Are you telling me that you are making the recommendation to remove Interlok based on politics and hearsay?

    I am not responsible to defend Interlok against misguided souls. I only engage when I feel like it, and don’t get me wrong, I appreciate civility when I find it. But it is exasperating to see how exaggerations are clouding the matter on Interlok, and the apparent blindness of the masses to the rubbish peddled by hartalmsm, calling for politics to interfere in an academic matter.

    Either Interlok is an equal opportunity stereotype of the races or it victimises the Chinese and Indians. Which is which? You cannot have everything and the cake too, trying to sling mud at the novel hoping that some would stick.

    Interlok have Malay, Chinese and Indian characters as protagonist and antagonists. It is a story about Malaya, so it is natural to have them, no? Levelling charges at the selection panel for Interlok as ignoramus and insidious agents is built on the premise that the book will perpetuate inter-racial conflict – despite the fact the book was written with the opposite impact in mind.

    Who is the crazy one here?

    If you prefer that our teens read nothing about stories with Malay, Chinese or Indian characters in them, since that’s obviously the least controversial path, that makes you one of those people who thinks our students should read Huckleberry Finn instead. No issue there what, no?

    “…it alright to sanction a compulsory literature where a particular race or two is completely portrayed in a very negative light or as the antagonist, while another is (apparently, according to you) completely portrayed as the weak, often-preyed-upon victim?”

    Sure. Have you heard of Beloved by Toni Morrison? I though you read the Sound Machine? Many of you are like Klausner, but instead of obsessed with sound, you are obsessed with race. You see and hear wounds when there is none, and apparently the doctor will still agree to your demands ultimately to dress the “wounds”.

    My basic argument is that I challenge your premise that a particular race or two is COMPLETELY portrayed in VERY negative light, and in a work of fiction, Interlok needed protagonists and antagonists to make its point.

  30. Simon Thong Says:

    Yeah – And please, Simon Thong, if what you write passes as “socio-psychological analysis”, I will burn my degrees happily.

    That tells me how little you know.

    You have DEGREES, do you? Is that why you colour your arguments with such arrogance and use words like fool, dumb and stupid for others who disagree with you? Your style is so unpalatable that it is detrimental to your case. Try politics. You’re closer to politicians than to an analytical person. Perhaps you are, indeed, a politician!

  31. Yeah Says:

    Yeah, the style bugs you, not the substance, yipee!

  32. Simon Thong Says:

    This debate is wearing thin. Zack T summed up Scott thong’s view:

    But Scott’s point was, is it alright to sanction a compulsory literature where a particular race or two is completely portrayed in a very negative light or as the antagonist, while another is (apparently, according to you) completely portrayed as the weak, often-preyed-upon victim?

    Yeah keeps missing this point and lambasts all and sundry.

  33. Scott Thong Says:

    As for Scott Thong, you cannot criticize “the plot, pacing, vocabulary or whatever” in Interlok and cannot judge it on those points, YET APPARENTLY WITHOUT ANY OF THOSE FACTS YOU CAN ASK FOR INTERLOK TO BE REMOVED? On what literary or educational grounds?

    On and on you go, without ever pausing to grasp the meaning of what I am trying to say. Let me try to say it as simply as possible:

    Plot? Drama? Historical accuracy? Pulitzer prize nominee? I DON’T CARE.

    Likely to worsen the already shaky racial harmony in today’s hypercharged Malaysia? THAT I CARE ABOUT.

    Another thought exercise:

    I hereby nominate the Narnia books The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle complete with the portrayals of Arabs/Muslims as horrid people who worship a monstrous god. Go literary value!

    What’s that you say? It will cause unnecessary conflict and incite negative stereotyping of Muslims?

    BUT IT’S A LITERARY CLASSIC!!! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU NEANDERTHALS DRAGGING POLITICS INTO IT???

    From the snippets and conditioning Hartalmsm did to Interlok, you decided it contains material “considered insulting”. And you apparently also decided that Malaysia’s racial political climate is “precarious”. Are you telling me that you are making the recommendation to remove Interlok based on politics and hearsay?

    Now you’re finally getting at it!

    Politics? Duh, yes! The whole point is that Interlok is ripe for starting provocations in schools (just look at the headmaster call Indian parents pariah case).

    Have you forgotten what a typical high school is like? I bet you that in no time, students will be calling one another penipu Cina Panjang or si pariah tak guna or bodoh macam Pak Musa as insults.

    Again, sell Interlok in bookshops, no problem with that. But it would be much easier and less provocative to choose another book for BM.

    Hearsay? It depends on your definition and level of reasonable doubt.

    As I said before, a book can be a riveting 300 pages of astounding plot, character building and depth. But if there is one character continually appearing throughout the book who just happens to be a clear and highly insulting caricature of the prophet Mohammad, do you think it would fly in the Malaysian MOE?

    I am not responsible to defend Interlok against misguided souls. I only engage when I feel like it,

    Well, you seem pretty gungho about defending it. And do stay on here as long as you feel like it.

    But it is exasperating to see how exaggerations are clouding the matter on Interlok, and the apparent blindness of the masses to the rubbish peddled by hartalmsm, calling for politics to interfere in an academic matter.

    Here I think I see the difference in our PoVs.

    You feel that this should be kept a purely academic matter – hence your focus on the plot, pacing, etc of Interlok especially as compared against great works of literature.

    Whereas I see it as a political matter, based on the effect it is likely to have on impressionable young minds (or those teachers who are quick to use any opportunity to get their own prejudices across).

    Either Interlok is an equal opportunity stereotype of the races or it victimises the Chinese and Indians. Which is which?

    False dilemma. I wish I could say that ‘Interlok does not stereotype any of the races’ were an option, but you dismiss this possibility yourself.

    IMHO from what I garner, Interlok stereotypes Malays, Chinese and Indians but to varying degrees and with different intent. Malays are stereotypically portrayed as trusting, easily-duped victims, while Chinese are stereotypically portrayed as cunning cheats. Both are unfairly generalized stereotypes, yes, but do they both have the same end result on the reader?

    The result would be, as I mentioned, that the reader sympathizes with the poor Malays who were helpless against the sinister machinations of the Chinese. The lesson? As stated in the book itself by Penghulu Talib, don’t be foolishly trusting like Pak Musa was – beware the sneaky Chinese who come to steal our ancestral land out from under our noses.

    You say this should be an academic matter, politics should keep out of it, but that last sentence sounds like it could have come straight from the mouth of a PERKASA firebrand!

    So Interlok actually victimizes the Malays, while drawing reader sympathy and animosity to certain races in a disproportionate manner. Neutral, it is not.

    Do correct me if I am wrong on the above point, as you have read the whole book.

    Levelling charges at the selection panel for Interlok as ignoramus and insidious agents is built on the premise that the book will perpetuate inter-racial conflict – despite the fact the book was written with the opposite impact in mind.

    Eh, perhaps back in the day it was written.

    If an author today were to write a book like Interlok with the stated purpose ‘to build racial harmony in Malaysia’, I would have to conclude that he is a truly terrible writer to manage to achieve the exact opposite!

    Who is the crazy one here?

    I will see your ‘crazy’ and raise you ‘totally oblivious about the state of Malaysia today’.

    If you prefer that our teens read nothing about stories with Malay, Chinese or Indian characters in them, since that’s obviously the least controversial path, that makes you one of those people who thinks our students should read Huckleberry Finn instead. No issue there what, no?

    By all means, bring back those shallow, formulaic Abu, Ah Chong dan Rama Pergi Memancing sort of stories.

    Is there not a single novel in the entire nation that does not include common racial stereotypes of Malays, Chinese and Indians? Is that too much to ask?

    You see and hear wounds when there is none, and apparently the doctor will still agree to your demands ultimately to dress the “wounds”.

    Good Morgan Freeman, man! Do you really think that Interlok will have NO negative impact whatsoever in our current climate that is already full of accusations that the Chinese are pendatang, unscrupulous, greedy, control all the wealth, take advantage of gullible Malays, disloyal? Or that Indians are outcasts, disliked, unrespected, uncultured?

    As I said before, isn’t Utusan Melayu already doing enough on that literary front?

    If that is really your opinion and you base it on your complete reading of the book, then I accept your position as yours. I continue to maintain my own.

    My basic argument is that I challenge your premise that a particular race or two is COMPLETELY portrayed in VERY negative light, and in a work of fiction, Interlok needed protagonists and antagonists to make its point.

    You misunderstand or misportray me (again).

    I accept that there are many characters in the book, who have varying degrees of respectability. But are the scales in balance? Will the negative portrayals negate any positives and steal the limelight, the way Avatar’s sole ‘good’ human soldier does not make up for the fact that the other human soldiers are ‘bad’?

    You keep bringing up the matter of villains existing in almost every other great story. But does the villain have to portray negative racial stereotypes to make the story work?

  34. Zack T Says:

    And thus, it is confirmed that you are on the prejudiced side. You again fail to cover what is actually the issue of the matter… and that is the impression that will be left in the young, still-impressionable minds of the students.
    Can’t we have just some literature that have a better setting? Does it need to be historical? You yourself said it was a work of fiction, so why the need for historicity or true to the culture? Can’t we just have a story where a few families of different races or religion that come together to fight, i don’t know, some drug lord racket or something… why make villains out of each other, or particular races? Can’t we have villains that everyone agree with?

    Yeah, you claimed yourself to be a learned or matured or rational thinker, regardless of your manners, but yet you can’t seem to understand what Scott is talking about and are constantly bringing the topic to be a different matter.

    There is NO issue WHATSOEVER with regards to the contents of the book. Just the matter that MoE is having this as compulsory literature.
    It’s like having “The Da Vinci Code” or “Demons and Angels” as compulsory reading in a religious seminar; or “The Stoning of Soraya M” as compulsory literature for ENG or BM class.

    As Scott said, “Is there not a single novel in the entire nation that does not include common racial stereotypes of Malays, Chinese and Indians? Is that too much to ask?

  35. Yeah Says:

    My dear Scott Thong, lets do another thought exercise, how did you know Interlok is “likely to worsen the already shaky racial harmony in today’s hypercharged Malaysia”.

    Interlok is a book promoting the interwined fates of the races in Malaya, emphasizing the importance of unity and we helping one another.

    It became an issue because some morons are so bankrupt on political capital that they needed to stir the matter into a racial firestorm. And you, like hartalmsm, walked right into it like an idiot.

    It mattered not to you if Interlok is a good or bad novel because your concern is on potential “provocations in schools”. If you recall your high school, it takes no Interlok for bullies to find their victims, and I think many teens know what is a work of fiction they needed to master to get them through SPM.

    I totally agree that is much easier to choose another literature book for BM. Afterall, with the shit storm stirred up by politicians and misguided souls, can Interlok ever be the same? The message of the novel, its contents, are all now whitewashed and distorted by lies. It has already been reduced into rubble by ignoramuses who did not even bother to read the book.

    This is what I have dreaded for years, politics decide what our education will be like. Instead of teachers, academicians and authors trying to determine what is best for our students, politicians and the misguided masses dictated what will be taught at schools. Apparently, the solution to political indoctrination is more political indoctrination.

    You said that Interlok once built racial harmony in Malaysia but now managed to do the exact opposite. May I ask who or what made that possible?

    I believe Interlok was just another novel until people started to claim that it will distrupt the fabric of racial harmony in Malaysia. People like Scott Thong obviously have race hardwired to their brains that they weigh a book’s “balance” in terms of its ethnic apportion of heroes and villains.

  36. Yeah Says:

    “Can’t we just have a story where a few families of different races or religion that come together to fight, i don’t know, some drug lord racket or something…” ~ Zack T

    OMG, Zack, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT INTERLOK IS ABOUT!!! Praise the lord, people of different races coming together to fight for our independence!

    I am glad some of you are finally seeing the light. Bless you!

  37. Yeah Says:

    “Is there not a single novel in the entire nation that does not include common racial stereotypes of Malays, Chinese and Indians? Is that too much to ask?”

    Sure, do you know where stereotypes come from? People confuse stereotypes and prejudice too often. Stereotypes are so common in literature and the arts and storytellers use them extensively.

    Like I said, the objection to Interlok is an objection by petty minds who found fault in trivial matters when there is none.

  38. Zack T Says:

    OMG, Zack, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT INTERLOK IS ABOUT!!! Praise the lord, people of different races coming together to fight for our independence!

    I am glad some of you are finally seeing the light. Bless you! ~Yeah

    Really? Amidst the racial slurring of one another?

  39. Yeah Says:

    Seriously Zack, Interlok is a novel about people of different races coming together for a new Malaya.

    ———————————————————-

    Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia (ITNM), Mohd Khair Ngadiron, berkata kajian mendalam dan teliti perlu dilakukan, sekiranya wujud dakwaan membabitkan isu sensitif ,tetapi sebarang kritikan mesti bukan diada-adakan atau bersifat andaian.

    “Interlok boleh dianggap karya nadir dalam sastera Melayu yang membincangkan isu pelbagai kaum dengan natijah akhirnya membawa kepada penyatuan bangsa yang berjaya digarap dengan baik oleh Abdullah.

    “Oleh sebab itu, kita tidak boleh melihat ayat terpencil atau isu yang diambil di luar konteks novel, sekali gus menidakkan niat suci dan murni pengarang untuk menyatukan masyarakat Malaysia melalui karyanya,” katanya.

    Mohd Khair menegaskan, ITNM melihat pelbagai aspek ketika memilih Interlok untuk diterjemah ke bahasa asing termasuk kedudukannya sebagai karya mengenai asal usul dan proses pembentukan masyarakat serta keperluan hidup saling bergantungan yang jarang dihasilkan penulis Malaysia.

    “Atas dasar itulah, kami menterjemahkannya ke bahasa Inggeris agar masyarakat dapat melihat rakyat negara ini dengan pelbagai bahasa, budaya dan agama, tetapi masih boleh bersatu untuk memartabatkan kedudukan Malaysia.

    “Saya juga percaya panel pemilih KOMSAS melihat kesimpulan akhir novel ini sebagai penyatuan bangsa yang membabitkan proses interaksi dan saling bergantungan untuk memilihnya sebagai teks,” katanya.

    ————————————————

    If you can’t read Malay, we can get someone to translate that.

  40. Yeah Says:

    A word from Zakir, PENA secretary.

    http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2011&dt=0112&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Rencana&pg=re_07.htm

  41. Scott Thong Says:

    Can’t we just have a story where a few families of different races or religion that come together to fight, i don’t know, some drug lord racket or something… – Zack T

    OMG, Zack, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT INTERLOK IS ABOUT!!! Praise the lord, people of different races coming together to fight for our independence! – Yeah

    After Wheeler jealously sells Kwame to slave traders and date rapes Linka, the Planeteers eventually put aside their differences (temporarily) to defeat the evil polluters.

    So everybody hates the evil, arrogant American, but in the end it’s still a story about how different races/nationalities come together to fight pollution.

    Go Planet!

  42. Scott Thong Says:

    Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia (ITNM), Mohd Khair Ngadiron – Yeah

    A word from Zakir, PENA secretary. – Yeah

    Wait wait wait…

    So on the one hand you’ve been lambasting me for forming my own conclusions about Interlok based ONLY on a few excerpts and scanned pages I saw at Hartal MSM, whereas reading the actual entire book is the right way to go.

    But on the other hand, you want us to take the word and opinion of so-and-so authority and agree with their conclusions.

    “Who are you going to believe? Me… Or your lying eyes?”

    Note too that Mohd Khair Ngadiron agrees that a detailed study must be carried out to avoid any sensitive issues in the book.

  43. Yeah Says:

    Scott Thong, since you are obviously not going to read the book, how else can you be convinced of what it says? You would rather believe in hartalmsm and not the synopsis provided by different parties, especially before all this crap surfaced?

    I am NOT asking you to take Zakir’s word for it nor appealing to his authority, I am asking you to read his arguments and take on the matter, DOH!

  44. Yeah Says:

    …kajian mendalam dan teliti perlu dilakukan, SEKIRANYA wujud dakwaan membabitkan isu sensitif ,tetapi sebarang kritikan mesti bukan diada-adakan atau bersifat andaian.

    Please, clutching at the straws is unbecoming of you.

  45. Scott Thong Says:

    It became an issue because some morons are so bankrupt on political capital that they needed to stir the matter into a racial firestorm. And you, like hartalmsm, walked right into it like an idiot.

    On and on we go. You keep on thinking we are unecessarily politicizing the issue. I will maintain that anyone who is NOT some secluded, head-in-the-clouds, unicorns-farting-out-rainbows, ivory-tower academic can see the likely repercussions of mandating Interlok as a text.

    If you recall your high school, it takes no Interlok for bullies to find their victims, and I think many teens know what is a work of fiction they needed to master to get them through SPM.

    Yes, and there is plenty of racism and incitement as it is in Malaysian politics. So adding more provocation is a good idea?

    Fiction or not, you give the average Muslim a copy of Rushdie’s work to read and tell him this is pure 100% fiction – you don’t think he will still feel offended?

    The message of the novel, its contents, are all now whitewashed and distorted by lies. It has already been reduced into rubble by ignoramuses who did not even bother to read the book.

    Suggestion: Write a detailed explanation of why you consider Interlok to be a positive, commendable lesson in racial unity. Add in some quotations or even scanned pages to back up your point. Explain also why the various negative stereotypes do not dilute the main message of harmony, and why you do not consider that they will have any negative effects on racial issues on the classroom and national levels.

    I will gladly post your contribution if you don’t do it yourself. Hartal MSM will likely put it up or link to it too, if only to pick your views apart.

    Wouldn’t that be more productive and convincing than telling us to take your word for it, or dismissing our concerns until we read the whole book? Hartal MSM (the gullible fools/hateful fiends!) at least does that.

    This is what I have dreaded for years, politics decide what our education will be like. Instead of teachers, academicians and authors trying to determine what is best for our students, politicians and the misguided masses dictated what will be taught at schools. Apparently, the solution to political indoctrination is more political indoctrination.

    By your last sentence above, I assume you are aware of the BTN-style indoctrination and skewing of the education system that has been ongoing.

    So if any pushback against PERKASA-Ultra politicizing is itself considered politicizing, what then do you suggest as a ‘neutral’ antidote?

    You said that Interlok once built racial harmony in Malaysia but now managed to do the exact opposite. May I ask who or what made that possible?

    Hah, no such quote from me sorry! Look at what I said again, it’s right there for all time, man.

    What I said was, maybe once upon a time Interlok’s stereotypes and ‘frank’ descriptions would be forgiveable – back when we visited one another’s open houses without some fearmonger screaming TIDAK HALAL and accusing muhibbah Malays of being HARAM or KUFFAR.

    But not today. Not after successive years of threatening repeats of 1969, ‘pendatang’, PERKASA, Utusan Melayu slurs, racist remarks by UMNO politicians, cow heads.

    I continue to contend that if you can’t see how polarized and precarious our racial/political situation is these days, you need to catch up with the (sad and danger fraught) times.

    I believe Interlok was just another novel until people started to claim that it will distrupt the fabric of racial harmony in Malaysia. People like Scott Thong obviously have race hardwired to their brains that they weigh a book’s “balance” in terms of its ethnic apportion of heroes and villains.

    Am I sensitive to the issues of race in Malaysia? Admittedly so.

    But I contend it is software rather than hard wiring – the constant influx of racial insults coming from UMNOpocrites has affected my outlook. As I mentioned above, only the naive and overly optimistic fail to detect the underlying currents of racial class struggle/politics of envy/fearmongering.

    I mean, come on – just look at how the initial ‘pariah’ matter was handled. Instead of tactfully saying “We have been made aware of your grievances and complaints, and out of respect and understanding, we will immediately look into the matter before making any decision on this book”, the apologists for Interlok go “You must be stupid and race-centric bigots to feel offended by that word”.

    I leave it to the reader to look at your recent comments, and decide which type of response you are giving.

  46. Scott Thong Says:

    You would rather believe in hartalmsm and not the synopsis provided by different parties, especially before all this crap surfaced?

    Hartal MSM provides scans and excerpts. You’ve read the book (as you keep on telling us), so tell me – does what Hartal MSM shows exist, or not?

    SEKIRANYA wujud dakwaan membabitkan isu sensitif

    What the heck do you call protests on the issue of the word pariah then? Mardi gras parties?

    Please, clutching at the straws is unbecoming of you.

    Hey, you’ve already called me a gullible idiot, race-wired in the brain, anti-Malay racist. If that is so, then how is guilt and an appeal to civility/rationality supposed to work on me?

  47. Scott Thong Says:

    Yeah, I get your point about reading the book. Straightforwardly, do you think if I read the whole book (the full version, or the student edition?) from start to end, I would then dismiss any purported ‘stereotypes’ or ‘insults’ as minor and easy to overlook within the overarching ‘races united’ narrative?

    What if I read the whole book, but still found too much objectionable material? Would you be inclined to say that it is due to my pre-formed prejudices coloured by Hartal MSM’s smear job, or perhaps that I am just plain thick?

    I actually do not wholly agree with Hartal MSM – it intends its posts to be shock-coverage. The Chinese came here to ‘carry shit buckets’ (whatever work can be found), are money-focused and fat, and even slant eyed – I don’t consider those to be especially insulting in themselves. They are actually quite accurate, if blunt, descriptions.

    Heck, some of my favourite scenes are Mr Kim in South Park talking about his “Shitty (City) Wok” restaurant, and Kim Jong-Il singing “I’m so rone-ry, so rone-ry, so rone-ry and sad-ry a-rone”, or the recent Asian Tiger Mom and High Expectations Asian Father memes. I can take a race-based jab made in good humour.

    But I also know how to put myself in the shoes of others. I can envision race-superiority obsessed educators mockingly pointing out the lack of scruples of Cina Panjang, and ‘encouraging’ the students not to be like him/be easily taken advantage of by those like him. I can imagine Malay Ultras citing the robbing of Pak Musa in parable whenever they want to instigate against Chinese groups.

    “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Go oft awry”. So it will be with Interlok’s purported overarching message of racial unity (with the British colonials as the common enemy, natch) – it will be subsumed by the ample opportunities to use this book as a brickbat.

    Even without the Chinese matters, I can sympathize with the grievance of the Indians protesting the pariah word. Honestly, as I mention at the top of my post, I still think they should realize that the word has entered common usage with a non-racial meaning. But they are not wrong to feel hurt by its usage in a historical novel, and I can foresee it being used as a pejorative much more often in the future.

  48. Yeah Says:

    Scott Thong,

    Writing a thesis on the merits of Interlok won’t change your opinion on the novel. I thought you said you don’t care how great a novel it is earlier?

    Isn’t it already established that you see the end of the world by mandating Interlok as a literature text while I disagreed?

    Where is your detailed explanation of why you consider Interlok to incite racism and hatred? Just because you saw some cherry-picked parts of the novel?

    Don’t even get me started on the supposed “paria” word in the novel. People like you disgust me by twisting what the author used the word for. In page 211 (student edition) read the text below:

    “Satu perkara besar yang membuat mereka senang bergaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta Paria.”

    In the novel, Maniam is from the untouchables group. The author created such a character, but using the right term is not allowed? You want me to highlight the nice bits to convince you and the folks at hartalmsm because you are too lazy or too biased to do it yourself?

    All I am doing is to point out the irrational arguments put forth by hartalmsm and yourself on the so called evils of Interlok. By piling conjecture upon assumptions, you are asking the MOE to withdraw a literature text based on unfounded fears of its supposed damage to inter-ethnic relations.

    You saw the scans of a few pages of the novel and decided that since a few of the Chinese or Indian characters in the work of fiction are portrayed negatively, it is a horrible book. Why is hartalmsm silent about Rama or Yew Seng? Why is hartalmsm silent about Maniam who helped Seman. Why is the part on Malini speaking up to the white tuan not highlighted? Didn’t Cing Huat tried to befriend Seman too in the end? Didn’t Rama tried to free Mak Limah? Didn’t Lazim regret supporting the Japanese? Didn’t Yew Seng let him go to avoid death in the hands of KMT? Didn’t Poh Eng saved Maniam? Kim Hock took whatever honest jobs he can to support his family, is that disgraceful? The author tried to give each ethnic family positive and negative characters. Why, are you going to deny the fact that it was the Malays who first organized to fight the Malayan Union?

    You are prejudiced against the book because it was poisoned by others.

  49. Yeah Says:

    Dear lord Scott, so you are essentially saying that we should remove Interlok on the basis of your visions and imaginations?

    Unabridged or abridged versions, Interlok’s central message is about unity. Did it fall prey to common stereotypes? Sure, what novel doesn’t make use of such convenient devices? But learn that Interlok pointed to a direction beyond the inter-ethnic grieviences and the intertwined fate of the Malays, Chinese and Indians as the people of a nation to be born.

    I am not asking you to love Interlok, but perhaps if I can stop your nightmares about the imaginary ethnic riots Interlok will create, it would already be a big step forward.

    This is the precise discussion we all need to have, people who support as well as against Interlok in schools. Examine the charges laid on the book and see if it makes sense.

    “I can envision race-superiority obsessed educators mockingly pointing out the lack of scruples of Cina Panjang, and ‘encouraging’ the students not to be like him/be easily taken advantage of by those like him. I can imagine Malay Ultras citing the robbing of Pak Musa in parable whenever they want to instigate against Chinese groups.” ~ Scott Thong

    Isn’t that the point, to learn about NOT getting into debt, regardless of whether you are Ali, Ah Chong or Muthu? Cina Panjang could be Melayu Pendek or India Kontot. Jangan jadi Pak Musa, it is a lesson all Malaysians can learn, and not just the Malays! Is Perkasa making any headway in its crazy statements? Is instigation against Chinese Malaysians working? Today we bury Ketuanan Melayu, tomorrow perhaps we can focus on the corruption and looting by the elites?

    All this wayang and sandiwara about Interlok is generating so much ill will because a majority felt that it is a blown-up non-issue. And yet, hartal msm continues to harp on it, dragging in racial accusations, slander and preying upon ethnic divisions. People are so sick of the politics and the shameless pandering, and honestly, all that energy is way better spent at helping our teachers to address the subject in our classrooms.

    Prasangka buruk bahawa Kementerian Pelajaran berniat jahat hanya akan memperlekeh usaha ke arah pencapaian matlamat KOMSAS. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, why are these people so deadset against Interlok, a novel that urges its readers to unite as a people!

  50. Scott Thong Says:

    Writing a thesis on the merits of Interlok won’t change your opinion on the novel. I thought you said you don’t care how great a novel it is earlier?

    You assume too much, again. I am always open to convincing. I have changed my (formerly unshakeable) stance on several matters before after being suitably convinced by commentors.

    Within the boundaries of school classrooms, I still don’t care how riveting Interlok is. My only concern is whether it will aggravate racial tensions or not.

    Please, do try your best – even if fanatics like me won’t be convinced, perhaps some reasonable reader will be. After all, I don’t post what I do about UMNopocrites hoping they themselves will read my mocking and change.

    Where is your detailed explanation of why you consider Interlok to incite racism and hatred? Just because you saw some cherry-picked parts of the novel?

    From my post:

    Innocent young students… would read Interlok, and come away with the ingrained perception that Chinese are generally greedy, sexist, ethicless and (hypocritically coming from this book!) prejudiced to boot.

    In other words, they’ll be filled with all the worst stereotypes of Chinese people.

    Heck, impressionable Chinese kids might start to think of their race and culture that way too!

    Don’t even get me started on the supposed “paria” word in the novel. People like you disgust me by twisting what the author used the word for. In page 211 (student edition) read the text below:

    “Satu perkara besar yang membuat mereka senang bergaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta Paria.”

    In the novel, Maniam is from the untouchables group. The author created such a character, but using the right term is not allowed?

    Did I say it is not allowed? Or did I say that I can sympathize with the feelings of the Indian community, even if IMHO they have an overblown reaction to it? (Honestly, if the whole caste system were phased out, this shouldn’t even be an issue anymore. But it would be insensitive and tactless to say that I think this should be the way forward.)

    And it has already been used as a pejorative:

    I have been telling your parents not to make the illegal U-Turns. Why are your parents not listening? Are your parents pariahs?

    You want me to highlight the nice bits to convince you and the folks at hartalmsm because you are too lazy or too biased to do it yourself?

    Good Morgan Freeman, man! If you’re so adamantly supportive of your beloved book, isn’t that the least you could do?

    Already your comments on this page have taken up more than the amount of typing required to flesh out a reasoned article on ‘the nice bits’ of Interlok with quotes.

    All I am doing is to point out the irrational arguments put forth by hartalmsm and yourself on the so called evils of Interlok. By piling conjecture upon assumptions, you are asking the MOE to withdraw a literature text based on unfounded fears of its supposed damage to inter-ethnic relations.

    Actually, all I am doing is saying that:

    A decision on this book’s use in schools needs to be made, promptly and firmly. It will be compulsory to read as part of the BM subject.

    Is that not reasonable? To objectively weigh my raving phobias against the glowing praises, before making a decision?

    Again, I am not Hartal MSM.

    You saw the scans of a few pages of the novel and decided that since a few of the Chinese or Indian characters in the work of fiction are portrayed negatively, it is a horrible book. Why is hartalmsm silent about Rama or Yew Seng? Why is hartalmsm silent about Maniam who helped Seman. Why is the part on Malini speaking up to the white tuan not highlighted? Didn’t Cing Huat tried to befriend Seman too in the end? Didn’t Rama tried to free Mak Limah? Didn’t Lazim regret supporting the Japanese? Didn’t Yew Seng let him go to avoid death in the hands of KMT? Didn’t Poh Eng saved Maniam? Kim Hock took whatever honest jobs he can to support his family, is that disgraceful? The author tried to give each ethnic family positive and negative characters. Why, are you going to deny the fact that it was the Malays who first organized to fight the Malayan Union?

    See! wasn’t that hard to do it, was it?

    And see again! By actually citing some of the book’s plot to counterbalance the negative, you’ve done more to finally convince me than all the badgering, sermonizing and insults of your previous half dozen comments.

    I told you that I can be convinced from my current views. It is not empty talk.

    You saw the scans of a few pages of the novel and decided that since a few of the Chinese or Indian characters in the work of fiction are portrayed negatively, it is a horrible book.

    Perhaps I was a bit strong and general-sounding in my description in my post (in particular, ‘this piece of garbage’) – my target were the portions of this book I considered unsuitable for school students, not the book as a whole.

    You are prejudiced against the book because it was poisoned by others.

    Should you not be the antidote then? Or is it my job now?

    Hartal MSM took the effort to put across its argument (no matter how flawed its conclusions may or may not be). That is why I took note of it.

    When I have been convinced of my former folly, I will update my post or publish a new one to make amends.

  51. Scott Thong Says:

    Dear lord Scott, so you are essentially saying that we should remove Interlok on the basis of your visions and imaginations?

    If my visions and imaginations carry a good probability of coming true, why not weigh them?

    Unabridged or abridged versions, Interlok’s central message is about unity. Did it fall prey to common stereotypes? Sure, what novel doesn’t make use of such convenient devices?

    Umm, the sort that would be more suited to a

    Seriously, if a random dude like me can be so nightmare-riddled and paranoid, you don’t think there are far more extreme characters out there in super-chauvanist Chinese schools and ultra-supremacist Malay schools who will ride this novel for all its political worth?

    Isn’t that the point, to learn about NOT getting into debt, regardless of whether you are Ali, Ah Chong or Muthu? Cina Panjang could be Melayu Pendek or India Kontot.

    It could be, but it wasn’t.

    As I said, place this at any time other than today’s insane political atmosphere. The greedy, conniving Chinese money hoarder might have been laughed off as humorous insight.

    Is Perkasa making any headway in its crazy statements? Is instigation against Chinese Malaysians working?

    You tell me!

    Today we bury Ketuanan Melayu, tomorrow perhaps we can focus on the corruption and looting by the elites?

    We wish!

  52. Scott Thong Says:

    I have swallowed many a bitter pill before, and publicly announced my changed viewpoint on a topic, and in one case even apologized for my earlier antagonistic bent. It took much convincing, but it happened in the end.

    My opinion of Interlok – and even the parts I have mentioned to be objectionable for school use – can be changed.

  53. Simon Thong Says:

    Haha, it seems to me that the messenger has so fouled up his message with his arrogant, crude, rude and aggressive approach that he is likely to be thrown out with the message (unheard)! Yeah? What’s so bad about diplomacy?

  54. Scott Thong Says:

    Well, we could all have avoided several pages’ worth of (admittedly engrossing) back-and-forth arguing if counter-citations of Interlok’s pages and a polite invitation to weigh them against the negative portions had been given. But getting there is most of the fun IMHO.

    I eagerly await a counter-post to balance out Hartal MSM’s series – I’ll even refrain from adding more updates on the negative contents for a while.

    Failing which, it will take a far longer time for me to get a copy of the book and read through the whole thing, even longer to compare the student edition against the original (as the whole point is whether students are being exposed to risky stuff), and finally draw an ‘informed’ conclusion.

    The whole hoohah may be long gone by then, rendering my future conclusion pointless save as an interesting note.

  55. Yeah Says:

    Will Interlok aggravate racial tensions in the classrooms?

    Interlok is a novel with a multiracial message, about people of Malay, Chinese and Indian descent transcending their differences towards a common goal – nationhood. It shows how we are all in this together. Unless the Malay language teachers all graduated from hartalmsm’s brand of interpretative science, I doubt anyone with some semblence of sanity will make things worse. I think many disliked Interlok because they don’t want to be reminded of the fact that their ancestors came over to Malaya years ago. Perhaps they are conditioned to rise against the balik tong-san jeers. This is the opportunity to educate everyone that despite our different origins, we are all now Malaysians. Fifty-four years on to this day, our generation forgot that it was the spirit of cooperation and give and take that got us through those troubled times.

    Interlok is a novel set in a different era. The novel courageously wade across major historical events but highlighted the triumph of remorse, humanity, compassion and sanity. When the Malays awakened as a political force, they were joined by the Chinese and Indians who saw a way to the future together. These are all nation building facts. Was it all peaches and crinkle-free? Hell no, but in Interlok, the ending was most hopeful. Is this better than the other novels? I am sure there are better ones, but isn’t Interlok good enough?

    Ask yourself now Scott Thong, how can the damage done to Interlok be undone? People said that the Hindraf protest was a failure, some argued it was nipped in the bud. But look at it this way, can you deny that Interlok was used to serve the narrow political agenda of some selfish groups? Many people now harbour a prejudice against the book. Does it make the job of our teachers harder or easier? The author is a 91-year old man now wondering what went wrong, his name sullied, his work misunderstood and dragged through the mud. Many Malays perceived it as a rude and insulting assault on the National Laureate and his work. Sure, it only won a minor contest, but it is still a work of Malay literature. Many more understand it is nothing but political propaganda hard at work. More practical Malaysians see it as another text their children need to master to get good results in BM. Yet, there are also others who took it out on their children by instructing them to refuse attending the discussion sessions or banning the text. Gullible parents took the words of their political and communal leaders as gospel and told their children that they don’t want them reading Interlok. What happens now? To you, it might just be an argument about your position or take on the matter. To the MOE, it is about the cost and effort that has gone into KOMSAS. To the teachers, they will have to face their students and the parents everytime they pick up that book. Can it be salvaged?

    Terlajak perahu boleh diundur, terlajak kata buruk padahnya.

    I still fondly remember my BM teacher who played us the song “Hijau” by Zainal Abidin. I also have an excellent History teacher who taught us the struggles of Independence. I cannot recall her exact words, but the massage was about how we owe it to the generations before us to make this country better.

    You spoke about context Scott, well, Interlok is now in a very bad spot and I fear it will succumb to political forces. Thank you for entertaining my rants. Perhaps people like Ramlah or better educated ones will provide stronger counter arguments.

  56. Yeah Says:

    National Interlok Action Committee published a report on the matter.

    http://www.myniat.com/wp-content/uploads/Interlok_Pdf.pdf
    Read, laugh and weep. I have already commented on it at hartalmsm.

  57. Scott Thong Says:

    From what I garner, the report cautions that Interlok’s manner in which it portrays the various races carries a danger of negatively influencing race relations – but also concludes that this is a ‘content’ issue and should not be politicized.

  58. Yeah Says:

    http://lamanbahasa.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aspek-sastera-interlok.pdf

    The above is the teaching plan by MOE. You can read and figure it out yourself.

    Interlok portrays positive and negative characters of all races, point being?

    The NIAT report is also erroneous when it claims that Interlok doesn’t meet textbook standards (or any standards it cited for that matter since NIAT shared no method on how it decides) since Interlok is clearly not a textbook.

  59. Yeah Says:

    Apparently MOE did explain this before in an official capacity. So why does NIAT insist on using textbook guidelines for a novel? Look at the embarassing errors being repeated in the blogosphere, it is scandalous!

    ———————————————————————————-

    Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) ingin mengucapkan terima kasih dan merujuk kepada Laporan Akhbar Makkal Osai bertarikh 15 & 16 Disember 2010, Tamil Nesan bertarikh 13 Disember 2010 dan Malaysia Nanban bertarikh 15 Disember 2010 – Novel Interlok.

    Novel Interlok karya Sasterawan Negara Abdullah Hussain adalah merupakan salah satu novel untuk komponen sastera dalam Bahasa Malaysia dan bukan buku teks komponen Sejarah. Isu yang diketengahkan adalah berkaitan sentimen kasta kaum India pada halaman 211 novel tersebut.

    Pada dasarnya, jalan cerita novel Interlok berlatar belakangkan suasana sebelum kemerdekaan. Penulis menggabungjalinkan unsur-unsur sastera dan sejarah dalam penulisannya bagi menggambarkan dengan jelas suasana penduduk tanah air sebelum merdeka.

    Novel ini telah dipilih oleh Bahagian Pembangunan Kurikulum KPM dan mendapat persetujuan daripada Jawatankuasa Kurikulum Pusat KPM. Bahagian ini hanya menguruskan penerbitan dan pembekalan novel versi murid ke sekolah-sekolah.

    Untuk makluman, KPM tidak pernah menyatakan untuk menarik balik novel tersebut daripada dibekalkan kepada murid untuk sesi persekolahan mulai tahun 2011.

    UNIT KOMUNIKASI KORPORAT
    KEMENTERIAN PELAJARAN MALAYSIA

  60. Yeah Says:

    http://husnizaini.blogspot.com/2011/01/interlok-manusia-berotak-udang-dan.html

    Read his entry, damn hillarious but spot on.

  61. Pink Sale Blog Says:

    Mei Micro Thong…

    […] anese? Didn’t Yew Seng let him go to avoid death in the hands of KMT? Didn’t […]…

  62. Simon Thong Says:

    spam! trying to get business, haha!

  63. hartalmsm Says:

    Scott,

    “Why is hartalmsm silent about Rama or Yew Seng?” Since you put up Yeah’s queries in your posting proper, scanned below for you to ponder.

    Yew Seng (a Ridhuan Tee-like character) receives Abdullah Hussain’s stamp of approval. He is the male character that Abdullah does not make the ‘gemuk’ (that’s quite telling, ain’t it?)

    Yew Seng anaknya yang nombor dua itu dia [the father] tidak berapa yakin. Budak itu agak liar sedikit. Sejak kecil lagi dia sudah bergaul dengan anak-anak Huan na. Cing Huat tidak berapa suka anak-anaknya itu bergaul dengan anak-anak Huan na.

    From page 242, unabridged edition:

    (When Yew Seng sides with the Malays, Cing Huat violently throws him out of the house).

    “Pergi lu dari sini, babi sui!” pekik Cing Huat kepada anaknya Yew Seng, apabila tangannya sudah dileraikan oleh isterinya. Yew Seng tidak lari. Dia berjalan terhuyung-huyung menuju ke belakang kedai. Poh Eng ingin memegang abangnya itu, dia lebih rapat dengan Yew Seng daripada Yew Hock, kadangkadang dia berasa dia lebih sesuai dengan Yew Seng lagi. Tetapi dia tidak berani, dia melihat mata bapanya merah seperti biji saga. Bapanya itu kalau marah amat buruk sekali air mukanya.

    Amat hodoh.

    Yew Seng terduduk di atas anak tangga, di tepi kaki adiknya. Kedua-dua tangannya memeluk kepalanya. Mukanya merah bekas tangan bapanya. Kulit-kulit pipinya pedih.

    “Pergi kau dari sini, memang kau bangsa Huan na, nyah!” pekik Cing Huat dari dekat peti besinya.

    “Mereka bukan Huan na, mereka juga manusia beradab seperti kita,” Yew Seng memekik dari tempat duduknya.

    Cing Huat menolak pintu peti besinya dan menerpa masuk ke dalam. Dia dihadang oleh isterinya Tua Tao.

    “Tutup mulutmu binatang,” pekik Cing Huat dan marahnya menjadi-jadi. Dia tidak berani maju. Dia tahu isterinya itu tidak akan berganjak dari tempat bertahannya.

    “Sudahlah Yew Seng, pergi tidur!” pekik ibunya. Tetapi Yew Seng masih degil. Dia tetap duduk di tangga itu.

    Cing Huat kembali ke peti besinya. Setelah melihat suaminya kembali membuat kira-kira, Tua Tao pun berpaling pada Yew Seng dan dengan lembut mengajak anaknya itu naik ke loteng. Yew Seng tidak bergerak.

    Cont’d page 245, … dia benci pada Yew Seng. Dia mahu Yew Seng itu nyah dari sisinya. Resok Yew Seng mesti pergi, dia tidak mahu tahu ke mana. Kalau isterinya mahu menangis, atau mati kerana dukacita, biarlah dia menangis, biarlah dia mati.

    Student edition, page 418:

    Waktu Yew Seng masih di dalam rumah sakit beberapa tahun dahulu, mereka dari pecan itu dan dari kampong sekitarnya telah mengumpulkan wang untuk membeli kaki kayu tersebut, tetapi Cing Huat berkeras menolaknya. Dia mahu membeli sendiri. Dia ada wang. Dia tidak mahu menyusahkan orang ramai kerana anaknya itu, tetapi Lazim dan Raman pun berkeras juga, Mereka mahu menolong Yew Seng. Keputusan terakhir diserahkan kepada Yew Seng Seng, dan dia memilih kaki kayu yang akan diserahkan oleh masyarakat Melayu dan India. Masyarakat Cina di pekan itu ikut sama kemudian (true to form, the uncharitable Chinese are kedekut to the very last). Itulah kaki kayu yang digunakan oleh Yew Seng sekarang.”

    Yew Seng can only become a Cina baik and in Abdullah’s good book when he rejects his father and his own community.

  64. hartalmsm Says:

    Food for thought on Yeah’s Question Two: ‘Why is hartalmsm silent about Maniam who helped Seman’?

    What’s there to say? Maniam speaks Malay flawlessly like a native speaker, unlike Cing Huat’s ear-cringing bahasa pasar. Pak Musa [Seman’s father] had once saved Maniam from being beaten up by a bunch of Indian samseng – how stereotypical, tak ubah-ubah.

    When Maniam meets Seman the leng chai, it’s love at first sight. Quite naturally lah, as the jejaka tegap dengan kulit sawo matangnya, dan muscular shoulders is attractive unlike the Cina gemuks.

    And unlike Cing Huat who swindles Pak Musa out of his land and home, and then callously evicts the wife and son, Maniam (the buddy of the Malay) eagerly, goes out of his way and bends over backwards to help Seman — partly to balas budi, partly sebab dia dah sangat berkenan dengan budak itu.

    Abdullah Hussain’s credo is simple: A character one like Maniam who loves the Malay is a good guy. All the Chinese are bad guys and villains except Yew Seng who, but what else, loves the Malay and in order to integrate with the Malays, is willing to turn his back on his own father (who scolds the prodigal son ‘sui tu’).

    If you’re willing to follow in Yew Seng’s footsteps, and quarrel and break with your dad, and leave your family home (because you sympathize with the Malays and despise your dad’s prejudice that Malays are lazy), then you can also be a Cina Baik in the World of Interlok. So who says all the Chinese are portrayed negatively in the novel?

    Pages 356-62 (scanned 1996 edition)

    Excerpts:

    Orang itu [Seman] semakin dekat. … Anak matanya lunak, seperti orang minta pertolongan.

    “Boleh saya tumpang bertanya?” orang muda itu membuka mulut dan datang mendekati Maniam yang sudah bangun berdiri.

    “Ya, ada apa?” tanya balik Maniam. “Inikah jalan ke pejabat kebun ini.”

    “Mengapa kau mau pergi ke pejabat itu?” tanya Maniam dan pada ketika itu ada sesuatu rasa yang timbul dalam dirinya, yang menyuruh dia bercakap banyak dengan orang muda itu. Dia rasa seperti dia kenal akan suara itu, tetapi dia tidak pernah berjumpa dengannya.

    “Saya tandil di sini,” Maniam memperkenalkan dirinya. “Barangkali saya dapat menolong, kalau kau mau bercakap benar dengan saya.”

    “Saya datang dari Kampung Nyiur Condong,” jawab pemuda itu. “Nama saya Seman.”

    “Kampung Nyiur Condong dekat pekan Simpang Empat tu?” tanya Maniam dan perhatiannya tiba-tiba timbul. Dia terus teringat pada peristiwa dia ditolong oleh orang Melayu yang kemudian pindah ke kampung itu dua puluh tahun yang lalu. Kenang-kenangan itu masih segar dalam ingatannya, kerana dia berasa dirinya tertolong daripada bahaya maut.

    “Kalau begitu kenallah kau dengan seorang yang bernama Musa?”

    “Dia … dia bapa saya. Saya anaknya yang tunggal.”

    “Bapamu itu kawan baikku,” kata Maniam ketika dia dan Seman berjalan di belakang kuli-kuli itu.

    “Jadi bolehlah tuan menolong saya mendapat kerja di sini?”

    “Akan aku usahakan. …”

    Maniam kemudian menceritakan kepada Seman bagaimana dia dengan Musa datang ke kebun itu mencari kerja. Tetapi dia tidak menceritakan tentang pertolongan yang telah diberikan Musa kepadanya. Dia takut kalau-kalau Seman terlalu banyak menggantungkan harapan kepadanya. Tetapi biar bagaimanapun dia mahu menolong budak ini. Kalau tidak dapat di kebun ini, di Bahagian I itu akan diusahakan juga.

    Maniam tersenyum. Budak ini tidak ubahnya seperti Musa dahulu. Keras hati. “Kerana hari sudah petang, kaupulanglah dulu. Dua hari lagi kaudatang ke mari. Aku akan beri jawab.” Maniam berjanji dengan Seman.

    Setelah dia menunjukkan rumahnya, supaya senang Seman datang lagi. Dia pun menghantar Seman sampai ke perenggan kebun itu. Berulang-ulang Seman mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Maniam. Dia berasa sudah pun mendapat kerja.
    Dalam masa berjalan pulang itu, dia berfikir sendirian, betapa hebatnya persahabatan bapanya dengan orang itu. Dia tidak pernah mengetahui ada perhubungan persahabatan antara orang yang berlainan bangsa yang sedemikian rupa. Dan dia pelik mengapa orang itu beria-ia benar mahu menolongnya.

    Boleh diakui sejak bapanya meninggal, Seman paling kuat beribadat. Paling banyak dia meminta doa kepada Tuhan supaya dia diberi perlindungan dan pertolongan tetapi sampai sekianjauh belum ada nampak apa-apa perubahan pun. Dia masih takut dan bimbang pada Cina Panjang itu, seolah-olah Cina Panjang itulah sekarang ini yang menentukan nasibnya, bukan Tuhan. Apa yang akan dikatakan oleh Cina Panjang itulah yang akan dialami olehnya.

    Dia teringat pada Maniam. Baik sungguh hati orang India itu. Barangkali itu pun kuasa Tuhan pula. Sudah berapa puluh tahun dia berpisah dengan bapaku, aku pun belum ada lagi. Dia masih ingat. Dia mahu menolong aku. Orang yang kenal bapaku banyak, di kampungku ada berapa banyak kalau mahu dikira. Cina Panjang itu pernah makan budi bapaku, tetapi tidak ada yang mahu menolong. Mengapa dia ini, orang asing, tinggal jauh, mahu menolong aku?

  65. Simon Thong Says:

    Have we here Abdullah Hussain’s version of 1Malaysia, one that predates Najb’s?

  66. Jamie Says:

    Hmm…I wonder if they sell this book in Singapore. Have not read it, but going by what excerpts I can see it’s fairly alright as a work of historical fiction. It gets the setting and atmosphere of the times correct, and likely portrays accurately a common viewpoint of the Malays living at that time. After all, the dude is 90. He’d have definitely been an adult living through those times, and I think that unconsciously his personal beliefs have infused his writing.

    To Yeah:

    From a purely academic point of view, I think the book is okay. Nothing much has changed about attitudes between races since then, so it’s a good text to show parallels between the society in the era of colonization and today’s society. Even today, I still hear Chinese talk bad about Malays and Indians, calling them stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing (Malays) and criminals, cheats and useless (Indians). The Malays who are in power still consider the Chinese as pendatang who have taken away the inheritance of the Malays through deception and dishonesty, and the Indians as criminals. No idea how Indians view the other races as I’ve not heard their thoughts.

    However, I think that MOE is treading on dangerous ground here. Perhaps they put too much trust in the ability of their teachers to be impartial and correctly draw out lessons on creating national unity from the text without infusing their prejudice into it. As a literary text, it has the potential to inform and educate, but doing that is quite hard to do without focusing on the more obvious racial commentary.

    On the other hand, I doubt that this strategy of creating unity while maintaining an emphasis on race will really work in the long run. For complete integration into something like 1Malaysia, race should be considered secondary to citizenship. Race and religion will always divide a country unless a greater, over-arching identity is present (in-group vs out-group effect, it’s basic social psychology). A novel such as this does not, in my opinion, aid in generating greater cohesion based on nationality rather than ethnicity.

    What do you think Yeah?

  67. hartalmsm Says:

    Scott,

    Another one of Yeah’s question directed at Hartalmsm: ‘Didn’t Cing Huat tried [sic] to befriend Seman too in the end?’

    We’ve scanned below the scene where Cing Huat tries to befriend Seman. Because Seman had married Gayah, daughter of Mat Ranggi, the richest man in the village, Chin Huat wants Seman to become a customer at his provisions shop.

    Pages 394-6

    Dia [Cing Huat] tidak tahu, apakah dia dan Yew Hock dapat menjaga kedai itu? Dia menyumpah-nyumpah Yew Seng yang telah lari meninggalkan rumah. Kalau budak nakal itu tidak lari, alangkah baiknya lagi. Mereka bertiga tentu dapat menjaga keselamatan kedai tersebut. Tetapi Yew Seng telah lari pada malam dia marah kepadanya kerana berpihak pada Huan na.

    Waktu baru-baru Yew Seng melarikan diri itu dia tidak berasa apa-apa kehilangan, kecuali isterinya sahaja menangis tidak berhenti-henti dan menyalahkannya kerana berbuat tidak adil pada Yew Seng, begitu juga Poh Eng, dia juga menangis. Tetapi lama-kelamaan mereka itu pun terpaksa berhenti daripada tangisannya. Yew Seng telah pergi entah ke mana.

    “Dia anak lelaki,” katanya kepada isterinya. “Dia tahu membawa diri.”

    “Tetapi dia tentu jauh hati,” jawab isterinya. “Bapanya buat begitu kepadanya.”

    Cing Huat tidak menjawab. Dia diam sahaja. Tetapi mulai hari itu dia pun berasa ada sesuatu yang tidak kena pada dirinya sendiri. Ada juga rasa tidak adil di atas sikapnya yang tidak mahu tahu tentang keadaan anaknya itu. Tetapi dia tidak dapat berbuat apa-apa lagi. Yew Seng sudah hilang dan khabar beritanya pun tidak terdengar lagi.

    Dia tanya kepada Lazim, Lazim juga tidak tahu. Dia tanya kepada kawan-kawan Yew Seng yang lain mereka juga tidak tahu. Lama-lama dia juga mulai lupa, bahawa dia ada anak lelaki yang lain selain Yew Hock yang menolongnya sekarang. Baru malam ini dia teringat dan baru malam ini dia berasa apa yang dikatakan oleh anaknya itu benar. Dia terlalu memandang rendah kepada orang-orang Huan na. Dia tidak pernah menganggap mereka itu manusia beradab seperti dia. Sebab itu dia selalu mengatakan mereka itu orang hutan.

    Dia hanya mahu meraih keuntungan sahaja daripada mereka itu. Kalau mereka memberi keuntungan wang kepadanya dia berbuat baik, kalau tidak dia menganggap mereka itu seperti sampah. Sekarang ini baru terasa kepadanya bahawa kata-kata anaknya itu benar. Orang-orang Huan na itu pun manusia juga, mereka bukan orang hutan, bukan orang biadab. Malah mereka itu berhak di negeri ini kerana negeri mereka. Dia hanya datang menumpang mencari makan sahaja dan setelah dia kaya dia akan pulang ke negerinya sendiri.

    Malam ini baru dia terasa bahawa sikapnya yang menjauhkan diri itu akan membahayakan dirinya. Kalau terjadi apa-apa, dia dan anaknya sahaja yang menanggungnya. Dia sudah banyak bersalah pada orang-orang Melayu, dia tidak akan dapat mengharapkan pertolongan daripada mereka itu.

    “Oh, Seman,” dia menegur Seman pada suatu hari setelah Seman kembali semula ke kampung itu. “Lu ata maik? Sutak lama gua titak jumpa sama lu.”

    Tetapi Seman membuang muka. Seman memandang kepadanya dengan pandangan benci. Dia tetap membuat selamba juga. Dia mahu berbaik-baik dengan Seman, kerana Seman sudah menjadi menantu Mat Ranggi. Dia mahu menarik Seman menjadi pelanggannya.
    Lain kali dia tegur lagi, tetapi Seman macam itu juga. Dia menyuruh Yew Hock pula, tetapi Seman masih juga tidak mahu mendekatinya. Malahan di depan kaki lima kedainya pun dia tidak mahu berjalan. Dalam keadaan seperti sekarang ini, wajah Seman itu sahaja yang ternampak di ruang matanya. Dia nampak muka Seman yang tegang, matanya yang merah. Dia berasa seolah-olah Seman itulah yang akan datang menyerangnya.

  68. Yeah Says:

    Know and understand that Cing Huat did a lot of things that Seman find it difficult to forgive, but it does not mean Seman hates the Chinese. If Seman, a major character in Interlok, can differentiate between the individual from his/her race, then hartalmsm is clearly the one who missed the point.

    Because hartalmsm insist on peddling the negative on Interlok and deny its message, I am attaching a small selective quotes in Interlok by Tumingan Suriaton.

    ———————————————————————————-

    Dia terlalu memandang rendah kepada orang Melayu. Dia tidak pernah menganggap mereka manusia beradab seperti dia. Dia selalu mengatakan bahawa mereka malas. Dia mahu menarik keuntungan sahaja daripada mereka. Kalau mereka memberi keuntungan wang kepadanya, dia berbuat baik, kalau tidak dia menganggap mereka seperti sampah. Sekarang baru terasa bahawa kata-kata anaknya itu benar. Orang Melayu itu pun manusia juga. Mereka seperti kita, bukan orang biadap. (Halaman 321)

    ———————————————————————————-

    Maniam menyusun jari kedua-dua belah tangannya memberi hormat kepada Mak Limah. Mak Limah tidak tahu apa-apa yang mesti dibuat. Dia melihat Seman dan ketika dia berpaling semula, Maniam telah berjalan jauh sambil menyeret basikalnya.

    “Baik orang India tu, Seman,” kata Mak Limah ketika mulai menggobek sirih.

    Setelah bapanya meninggal, di kebun yang jauh dari kampungnya itu dia menemui seorang bangsa asing yang dapat dianggapnya sebagai bapanya. Hanyalah kerana berlainan agama dan bangsa yang memisahkan mereka, tetapi dalam pergaulan sebagai manusia Maniam memperlakukannya sebagai anak dan dia menganggap Maniam sebagai bapanya. (Halaman 316)

    Note: This is Seman, who thinks of Maniam as his father.
    ———————————————————————————

    “Orang perempuan Melayu dari Kampung Nyiur Condong juga ada ditahan di sini. Dia ditahan bersama-sama papa, tapi belum disoal siasat lagi,” kata Ramakrisynan.“Anaknya mana?” tanya Maniam.

    “Anaknya juga ada di sini, tapi tak ditahan. Dia mahu tolong ibunya.”

    “Engkau tolonglah dia, Rama. Dia itu macam saudaraku sendiri. Suaminyalah yang menolong menyelamatkan aku dulu.’ (Halaman 359)

    Note: Rama is Maniam’s long lost son. He is a policeman in Interlok.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Waktu Yew Seng masih di dalam rumah sakit beberapa tahun yang lalu, mereka dari pekan itu dan dari kampung sekitarnya telah mengumpulkan wang untuk membeli kaki kayu tersebut, tetapi Cing Huat berkeras menolaknya. Dia mahu membeli sendiri. Dia ada wang. Dia tidak mahu menyusahkan orang ramai kerana anaknya itu, tetapi Lazim dan Raman pun berkeras juga. Mereka mahu menolong Yew Seng. Keputusan terakhir diserahkan kepada Yew seng, dan dia memilih kaki kayu yang akan diserahkan oleh masyarakat Melayu dan India. Masyarakat Cina di pekan itu ikut sama kemudian. Itulah khaki kayu yang digunakan oleh Yew Seng sekarang. (Halaman 418)

    Note: this is the ending of Interlok. Yew Seng’s choice of accepting the charity of the community is a symbolic gesture. We are talking about the third generation of the Interlok families here, Lazim, Raman and Yew Seng – who recognize the importance of them “standing” together.
    ———————————————————————————-

    I think perhaps it is time someone share more of the student’s edition’s quotes.

  69. Yeah Says:

    Dear Jamie,

    I believe MPH carries the book, else you can just order it. I heard it is doing brisk business.

    I agree that we need a more transcending and enduring power where national pride takes center stage instead of ethnic identity. However, as you have realized, Malaysians have not been able to free itself of its communalism. Take it up another notch, there are also common stereotypes in the various sub-groups, be it Javanese, Bugis, Hokkien, or Hakkas.

    I am of the belief that it is important to recognize that despite all these stereotypes and misconceptions we have of one another, we are all but human – succumbing to the same flaws and weaknesses. But when the opportunity arises, we will astonish one another with our capacity to unite in the face of adversity.

    Many people do not want to talk about May 13 or the smaller race riots because we fear to open old wounds. However, many have forgotten that while the madness reign in some places, the majority did not partake in the insanity. Every time I heard a story about how Malaysians sheltered each other during the height of the violence, it convinced me that the average Malay, Chinese or Indian in this country believe it is possible for us to co-exist in harmony.

    When I was a Form 5 student in a history class, my teacher related a story on how her Chinese neighbor sheltered them during that turbulent period in Singapore. When I was interviewing some Chinese elderly in Seremban, they told me the same tale, except this time, they were taken in by their Malay neighbors. How many people during that time, who got caught in the whirlpool of violence, found safety and shelter in the home of strangers? Sure, there was a lot of fear and uncertainty, precisely because we don’t know who to trust.

    When Onn Jaafar was the District Officer in Batu Pahat, some very angry Malays under Kiyai Salleh took up arms to retaliate against the Chinese communists who murdered alleged pro-Japanese Malay collaborators. Onn Jaafar bicycled into the jungle to meet the local communist leaders tried to secure inter-communal peace. He also stopped Kiyai Salleh from turning it into a broader racial conflagration. Onn Jaafar was not alone in this and many Malayans saw the danger in the tit-for-tat spiral of violence. That is the allure and legacy that is Perikatan, and that is why there are still Malaysians still vote for BN.

    Nobody said it will be easy to dislodge the ruling coalition, and certainly much distrust still remain between the communities. Else, HINDRAF would not have even existed. The Opposition must realize the path to Putrajaya is not built on sniping the enemy alone, but also convincing the electorate that they have got an equally viable, multiracial house in order. BN will continue to reign if it can clean up its act and deliver on the wave of economic progress, but Malaysians sincerely need a legitimate two-party system for check and balance. This is Malaysia’s challenge, to enjoy our democratic civil liberties, to prosper and grow as a nation.

  70. Yeah Says:

    Hartalmsm wishes for more positive Chinese characters in Interlok and prefers that Cing Huat is not a racist. Suspending the plot logic, hartalmsm ALSO, at the same time, denounces Yew Seng, a Chinese boy who clearly denounced his father’s racist views. Apparently, Abdullah Hussain cannot win.

    Either the act is correct on its own merit or it is not. Is it wrong to stand up against racism?

  71. hartalmsm Says:

    (1) Reply to Yeah / 8.21pm

    What an incongruent statement from ‘Yeah’: “I think perhaps it is time someone share more of the student’s edition’s quotes.”

    Take any great work of literature, say ‘Moby Dick’, and then try to claim – oh, featuring quotes from its simplified version is really preferable. Yeah is in fact arguing in his/her statement above that if ‘Moby Dick’ is quoted as Herman Melville originally wrote it, the novel would convey a wrong and different picture/idea. So no, no, no, we mustn’t let anyone quote from its (or Interlok’s) full-length pages.

    (2) Reply to Yeah / 9.30pm

    And more incongruency from Yeah. Here he/she is grandstanding with the moral high horse statement, “I am of the belief that it is important to recognize that despite all these stereotypes and misconceptions we have of one another, we are all but human – succumbing to the same flaws and weaknesses.”

    How convenient to forget the reason so many Malaysians have taken issue – and even taken to the streets – is because Abdullah Hussain has deliberately, obsessively and excessively amplified the flaws of one race. We’ve never, ever met so many bad Chinese (beating even the celebrated Borgia family) all gathered together within one thread of a narrative than in Interlok, and NOT A SINGLE VILLAIN found among the Malays.

    And after retelling clichéd, contrived May 13 grandmother stories, another grandstanding statement by Yeah: “Sure, there was a lot of fear and uncertainty, precisely because we don’t know who to trust.”

    Precisely why Interlok is so objectionable, because Abdullah has portrayed the cheating, cunning, conniving Chinese as someone whom you wouldn’t even trust to walk your dog.

    (3) Reply to Yeah / 9.38pm

    Yeah wrote: “Suspending the plot logic, hartalmsm ALSO, at the same time, denounces Yew Seng, a Chinese boy who clearly denounced his father’s racist views.”

    Great. At last we’re in agreement on something. Agreed then, that the “plot logic” of ‘Interlok’ goes — The Chinese (in the character of Cing Huat and his family, minus the converted Cina Baik members) are racists.

    True, Yes Seng denounces his father’s prejudices against the Malays, as did his sister Poh Eng. For that Cing Huat throws Yew Seng out of the house and tries to chase his daughter away too for having a good word to say about the Malays.

    Page 476: Poh Eng amat terperanjat ketika bapanya mengusirnya keluar dari rumah itu, kerana dia dan abangnya Yew Seng tidak pernah meberi kesenangan dan ketenteraman kepadanya. … Dia menyesal kerana dia tidak mahu menjualnya dahulu … Poh Eng menangis mendengar kata-kata bapanya itu. Dia tidak menyangka pendapatnya akan disalah terima sedemikian rupa.

    So there you have Abdullah Hussain’s tiresome repetition and sledgehammering of his perversity. Conflict resolution is achieved when Chinese children repudiate their fathers and are in turn disowned by their fathers.

    We presume Yeah agrees with the Interlok formulation that we’ll have one ethnically harmonious, racism-free Malaya when Chinese families are broken up and the next generation are ready to shed their Chinese-born traits (sarc.) of parsimony, cheating, swindling and conniving.

  72. Mission Interlok: The cloning of Ridhuan « Says:

    […] Scott Thong turned the tables: “Why don’t you try it the other way around and see if you still find it so acceptable”, what […]

  73. Yeah Says:

    The best hartalmsm could do now is go after the ethnicity of readers who support Interlok.

    If he/she is a Malay, it is only natural because hartalmsm noted that in Interlok, it is the only race which is portrayed positively. Not to mention the fact that the author himself is Malay too.

    If he/she is a Chinese, he or she must be a muslim convert or Ridhuan Tee wannabe and brainwashed victim of BTN.

    If he/she is an Indian, the person will be delusional, emasculated and cowed into subservient opinion of the majority.

    It is funny how now the tyranny of the majority (read Malay) is now being raised, assuming a racial composition to the supporters or detractors of the novel. Remember, this is coming from hartalmsm who conveniently moves around the position that Interlok is only “unsuitable” for “impressionable” young minds, but focusing all its slander on the novel and its author.

  74. Yeah Says:

    Dr. Mawar Safei, through a piece in Utusan Malaysia, detailing some literary comments prior to the craziness.

    http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.asp?y=2010&dt=1226&pub=utusan_malaysia&sec=Sastera&pg=sa_02.htm&arc=hive

    …dalam wawancara bersama editor Dewan Sastera, Rozninah Mohd Azib (keluaran yang sama), Abdullah Hussain menjelaskan mengapa beliau memihak kepada kaum India menerusi watak Maniam dalam Interlok.

    Watak ini selalu membantu orang lain tidak kira Melayu atau Cina. Abdullah Hussain berpendapat sejarah penderitaan dan survival menjadikan mereka lebih berperikemanusiaan (hlm. 98).

    …A Rahim Abdullah dalam sebuah tulisannya tidak berapa lama dulu, Cari 1Malaysia dalam Interlok (Mingguan Malaysia, 19 September 2010). Lebih awal selenggaraannya adalah menerusi Tema Hubungan Kaum dalam Karya Sastera di Malaysia (1990, DBP) turut mempertimbangkan novel yang sama.

    Dr Ungku Maimunah Mohd Tahir juga mengabsahkan kedudukan Interlok sebagai novel perpaduan dalam tulisannya (Dewan Sastera, Disember 1996).

    …pandangan seorang sarjana asing iaitu J.L. Koster (Dewan Sastera, 1999: 86-88) bahawa Interlok memberi ajaran yang sangat bermanfaat tentang apakah itu semangat kebangsaan serta bagaimana untuk mencipta masyarakat yang bersatu padu, harmonis, adil dan makmur untuk semua kaum.

    —————————————————

    Notice that Lee Ban Chen cited the same scholar (Koster), but managed to twist praises for Interlok into the negative later in his piece.

    Menurut G.L. Koster (sila merujuk “Negara Di Persimpangan: Sepatah Kata Tentang Interlok” dalam “Abdullah Hussain dalam Esei dan Kritikan”, DBP, 2008), Interlok adalah sebuah novel sejarah yang melingkupi jangka masa hampir 50 tahun dari tahun 1910 hingga Malaya mencapai kemerdekaan. Malah dianggapnya ia lebih tepat disebut sebagai sebuah roman-a-these, iaitu novel yang menghujahkan tesis, dakwaan atau ideologi tertentu.

    A blog has also cited Koster, and noted:

    Dan menurut G.L Koster dalam ulasannya terhadap novel ini berkata, “yang menarik dalam novel Interlok ialah hubungan erat yang dibuat oleh Dato’ Abdullah antara bahasa Melayu yang baik dan kesedaran yang baik, ertinya kesedaran yang membawa ke pembinaan ke satu paduan.

    This was one of the literary device used.

    Prof. Awang Sariyan has spoken. Anwar Ridhwan, the last National Laureate has spoken. Dr Mohd Hanafi Ibrahim has also spoken.

    Note what Associate Professor Dr Lim Swee Tin has said:

    The poet and Southeast Asia Write Award-winning author believes that the decision to use Interlok as a Malay Literature text for fifth-formers must be made in the best interests of teachers and students.

    “We must come up with a solution to avoid teachers and students feeling uncomfortable discussing the book in the classroom,” he says.

    An independent panel should be finishing the recommended changes to the student edition of Interlok, consisting of Dr. Shamsul Amri, Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz, Prof. Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan, Prof. Madya Dr. Lim Swee Tin, Prof. Dr. NS Rajendran, G.Krishnabahawan & Uthaya Sankar SB. Datin Siti Saroja Basri, the wife of the author is also part of the committee.

    Will it be enough? I doubt it. In the minds of bloggers at hartalmsm, Interlok cannot be allowed near any teens in Malaysia.

  75. Yeah Says:

    Kavyan’s position via Uthaya’s blog.

    Pertama, Kavyan tetap teguh dengan pendirian bahawa Interlok edisi murid (2010) wajib dan wajar ‘dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan, sebelum dimasukkan semula ke dalam sistem pendidikan negara sebagai teks Komsas bagi pelajar Tingkatan Lima di Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya dan Negeri Sembilan.
    .

    Kedua, novel Interlok ‘edisi dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan perlu mengandungi Prakata, Kata Pengantar dan Sepatah Kata seperti yang terdapat dalam edisi 2003 kerana kehadirannya membantu ‘menjernihkan’ keadaan, sekali gus mengangkat martabat dan maruah Interlok dan Sasterawan Negara Datuk Abdullah Hussain (Pak Lah). Malah, boleh juga disertakan sedikit kata-kata (tulisan) berupa pengakuan bahawa segala ‘fakta’ mengenai budaya kaum India di dalam novel ini diperoleh oleh Pak Lah daripada seorang rakan kaum India serta dinyatakan namanya.
    .

    Ketiga, novel Interlok ‘edisi dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan perlu mengandungi Glosari yang ‘bermaruah’ dan benar-benar membantu pemahaman pelajar.
    .

    Keempat, novel Interlok ‘edisi dimurnikan’ seperti disarankan Kavyan perlu menyebut dengan jelas pada Halaman Hak Cipta bahawa karya ini pertama kali terbit pada tahun 1971.
    .

    Kelima, Kavyan membantah sekeras-kerasnya tindakan mana-mana pihak yang didapati menghina khazanah ilmu negara (khususnya karya sastera) dan martabat Sasterawan Negara dalam apa keadaan sekali pun dan dengan apa cara sekali pun.
    .

    Keenam, Kavyan menuntut supaya semua pihak yang terlibat dalam kontroversi ini tidak lari daripada isu sebenar yang dibicarakan, iaitu penggunaan novel Interlok edisi murid (2010) sebagai teks Komsas.
    .

    Ketujuh, Pak Lah tidak boleh diheret masuk ke dalam kontroversi ini dalam apa jua keadaan. Tindakan memanipulasi situasi Pak Lah demi kepentingan peribadi atau organisasi tertentu juga mesti dihentikan segera. Sebarang usaha berbuat demikian perlulah ditakrifkan sebagai ‘berniat jahat’ secara langsung atau tidak langsung.
    .

    Kelapan, Kavyan membantah sebarang usaha mempolitikkan isu Interlok edisi murid (2010). Untuk rekod, kerja-kerja ‘mempolitikkan’ tidak hanya terhad kepada individu yang terlibat dalam ‘parti politik’, sebaliknya termasuk juga penglibatan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO); khususnya apabila kontroversi berhubung Interlok edisi murid dijadikan isu perkauman yang mampu menggugat keamanan negara.
    .

    Kesembilan, Kavyan tidak menjadi proksi mahu pun proletar kepada mana-mana pihak. Segala hujah yang dibentangkan sejak hari pertama adalah pendirian Kavyan tanpa dipengaruhi sesiapa. Sejak diasaskan pada 22 Ogos 1999, Kavyan tidak pernah – dan tidak akan, dengan izin Tuhan – bernaung di bawah mana-mana badan politik atau pertubuhan lain.
    .

    Kesepuluh, perlu direkodkan dan didokumentasikan sebagai catatan sejarah kesusasteraan negara bahawa Gapena dan sekutunya meluluskan lapan resolusi pada 15 Januari 2011, di mana salah satu resolusi itu adalah ‘membantah sekeras-kerasnya sebarang cadangan untuk meminda mana-mana teks dalam novel tersebut’ di mana ‘novel tersebut’ merujuk kepada novel Interlok karya Pak Lah.
    .

    Kesebelas, perlu direkodkan dan didokumentasikan sebagai catatan sejarah kesusasteraan negara bahawa Kavyan sudah pun mengemukakan bukti secara ringkas dan padat untuk menunjukkan bahawa Interlok edisi murid (2010) yang cuba dipertahankan Gapena dan sekutunya, secara ironi, sudah pun melalui proses asas ‘pemurnian’ berbanding karya asli Pak Lah (Hak Cipta 1971). Bagi mewakili ‘karya asli’ yang dimaksudkan, Kavyan berpegang pada edisi 2003 kerana Hak Cipta edisi berkenaan masih dipegang oleh Pak Lah, berbanding Hak Cipta edisi murid (2010) dipegang oleh DBP.

  76. Yeah Says:

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/analysis/malaysia%E2%80%99s-interlok-issue-communal-sensitivities-and-next-elections-07032011/

    Farish Noor’s write-up for eurasiareview.

  77. Simon Thong Says:

    Yeah, what is all this name-dropping?
    “Prof. Awang Sariyan has spoken. Anwar Ridhwan, the last National Laureate has spoken. Dr Mohd Hanafi Ibrahim has also spoken.

    Note what Associate Professor Dr Lim Swee Tin has said:

    An independent panel should be finishing the recommended changes to the student edition of Interlok, consisting of Dr. Shamsul Amri, Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz, Prof. Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan, Prof. Madya Dr. Lim Swee Tin, Prof. Dr. NS Rajendran, G.Krishnabahawan & Uthaya Sankar SB. Datin Siti Saroja Basri, the wife of the author is also part of the committee.

    Will it be enough? I doubt it. In the minds of bloggers at hartalmsm, Interlok cannot be allowed near any teens in Malaysia.”

    I thin that any teen that wants to read the book, should be able to but a copy, Yeah. However, Interlok cannot be allowed near any teens in school in Malaysia AS AN OFFICIAL TEXT. It must not be assigned as a compulsory EXAM text and BE USED to perpetuate racial stereotypes. Already in at least one premier school in Perak, Indians are frequently called ‘pariah’ by teachers. A father tells me that the term has INCREASED in frequency since the controversy began.

    We may blame Hindraf, hartalmsm, etc. for blowing up the issue.

    It doesn’t matter who is to blame.

    Too many people perceive the assignment of Interlok as a compulsiory text to be racially biased. Too many people believe that the people behind this move is racially biased. Are these truths? It doesn’t matter any longer. It is too late to matter. Neither does the literary character of the book matter any longer.

    When people perceive things to be real, they are real in their consequences.

    When people perceive Interlok to be racist, it will be real in its consequences. When people perceive that the MOE has a hidden agenda, it will be real in its consequences.

  78. Simon Thong Says:

    Correction to typo: I think that any teen that wants to read the book, should be able to buy a copy, Yeah.

  79. Yeah Says:

    Dear Simon Thong,

    “When people perceive things to be real, they are real in their consequences.

    When people perceive Interlok to be racist, it will be real in its consequences. When people perceive that the MOE has a hidden agenda, it will be real in its consequences.”

    ~ Simon Thong

    Listen to yourself. You are clearly saying that mass hallucination is the only thing that matters, not the truth. It does not matter whether MOE has a hidden agenda, because people already perceive the ministry does. Who are all these people really? Awang Sariyan? Lim Swee Tin? Rajendran? Are we going to be having a referendum tomorrow?

  80. Yeah Says:

    It is amazing how facts can be conveniently disregarded in the face of persistent imaginations.

    Cing Huat’s character not only transformed from one who views Malaya as a transient business location to the realization that this is the home for his children and generations of descendants to come. That is why he joined a political association to fight for the rights of his people – for a shared future in this country. In the early days of Malaya, many outside and inside the colonial office viewed the Chinese as work migrants who will eventually return to mainland China. It took a lot of rounds of Census data and convincing by better informed officers that the fact and reality on the ground is different. With increasing local born Chinese and Indians, as well as political awakening of the migrant communities, the British realized that they cannot speak to the Malays alone in negotiating Independence. It was to the extent that there are secessionist movements in Penang and the Straits settlement.

  81. Simon Thong Says:

    I didn’t say that “mass hallucination is the only thing that matters, not the truth”. That’s what YOU think I say, that’s how you perceive my words, and that’s why you react the way you did. When you define a situation as real, it has become true in its consequences. Yeah. You are THE best illustration of that sociological dictum.

  82. Yeah Says:

    “Too many people perceive the assignment of Interlok as a compulsiory text to be racially biased. Too many people believe that the people behind this move is racially biased. Are these truths? It doesn’t matter any longer. It is too late to matter. Neither does the literary character of the book matter any longer.”

    – Simon Thong

    You said truth does not matter, I am saying it does. You might be correct that it might be too late to matter, but the truth and facts need to be known. Interlok has been dragged through the mud by hartalmsm and many others in the blogosphere. Perhaps more telling is the rejection of hartalmsm and some average bloggers the opinions, explanations and consensus of academicians, scholars and writers. This is not about name dropping, this is about the thoughts of the better informed on the subject, which are labelled as affluent liberals, bigots or apologists.

    Dr. GL Koster (2008) had this to say in his short piece on Interlok:

    “Untuk orang Malaysia – tidak kira kaum mana – novel ini memberi ajaran yang sangat bermanfaat tentang apakah itu semangat kebangsaan, apakah itu semangat kejiranan, dan bagaimanakah mencipta masyarakat yang bersatu-padu, harmonis, adil dan makmur untuk semua kaum.”

    pg. 259

    Look at the echo chamber which hartalmsm operates in and how it attacks the messenger, rarely the message. Nobody can deny the central theme of unity in the novel, its literary merit and educational values, and yet, based on PERCEIVED slights and insults through the antagonists in Interlok on the Malays, Chinese and Indian, we are told to keep it out of schools.

    What is the message we are sending? That it is okay we whitewash the merits of a work of literature to appease imaginary narrow, sectarian claims? The whole town went up in arms when Namewee’s creative and artistic license was deemed offensive, but a Nobel Laureate’s work of literature is smeared, that’s ok?

    I just saw another attempt to belittle the author by hartalmsm at CPIASIA, but when will the misguided bloggers be held accountable for all the slander?

    “Abdullah, who was educated up to Standard Seven, possesses no academic rigour as shown by his sloppy research”

    http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2140:unfit-textbook-interlok-insults-with-impunity&catid=228:commentary&Itemid=196

    Now, we see hartalmsm chiding Hussain Abdullah for not having a bachelor, masters or doctoral degree. Apparently the S.E.A Write Award from Bangkok in 1981 and Sasterawan Negara is not enough. In the colonial days, Standard 1 and 2 today is known as Class primary I and II. Darjah III is today’s Standard 5. He went to St. Michael, the illustrious school in Kedah and completed up till Darjah VII, which is essentially four years of secondary education. In those days, you can apply into a teacher training institution with Darjah V. A Samad Said, another National Laureate born much later in the mid-1930s, has a Senior Cambridge Certificate. It was rare for anyone to have tertiary education back then, let alone during Pak Lah’s time!

    By rehashing its lines to run down Interlok and Abdullah Hussain, we can see the ugliness peddled by hartalmsm and their likes. It made outrageous claims that the purpose of Interlok is to condition young Malaysians that all Indians are pariahs, that the author peddles racial hatred, and students will be failed if they give the “wrong” answer. Nevermind that this is a literature component of a language paper, where literary techniques, central messages and elements of the arts will be asked, not if Seman is more handsome than Maniam or Cing Huat!

    The novel calls for Malaysian unity, but to the warped minds at hartalmsm, it cannot fathom that possibility even when it screams at them to their faces.

  83. Yeah Says:

    FOUR NATIONAL LAUREATES HAVE SPOKEN

    Kenyataan Sasterawan Negara tentang kes Interlok
    Sasterawan Negara | Mar 08, 2011 12:57:09 pm

    Sudah banyak perbincangan dan debat yang telah diadakan tentang buku Interlok oleh Abdullah Hussein – di akhbar, majalah, di tv dan dunia siber. Dalam wacana ini ada yang jernih di samping banyak juga yang keruh pada sungai perbincangannya. Akan tetapi yang agak dikesalkan ialah hakikat bahawa sangat sedikit golongan, terutama partai politik yang menjadikan pembelaan nasib dan martabat kaum Melayu sebagai landasannya, tampil memberi sokongan moral kepada seorang pengarang Melayu bernama Abdullah Hussein, yang melalui Interlok berbicara tentang kemanusiaan yang merentas sempadan ras dan etnik di tanah airnya.

    Kami, Sasterawan Negara Malaysia, ingin menegaskan bahawa sebuah teks sastera bukanlah sebuah teks politik, dan bukan juga teks sejarah atau geografi. Sebuah karya sastera ialah sebuah teks yang melukis jiwa manusia, perasaannya, nilai dan kepentingannya dalam konteks zaman dan sejarahnya. Yang dilukis didekatkan sehampir mungkin kepada kenyataan di dalam dan di luar diri manusia, kerana karya sastera tidak tercipta daripada kekosongan atau vakum. Peristiwa di luar – peperangan dan kedamaian, kesusahan dan kesenangan, kerusuhan dan ketenangan – dilukis oleh kata-kata dan peribadi pengarang. Ini telah dilakukan sejak beribu tahun oleh semua pengarang, di semua negara.

    Sastera bukan dokumen rasmi pemerintah, atau maklumat yang dirapikan serta dicantikkan untuk disebarkan. Sastera ialah lukisan kehidupan, dan kehidupan tidak selalu rapi dan cantik. Inilah bahan sastera, dan untuk berlaku adil kepada bahan ini sastera melukis dengan warna berbagai-bagai – ada yang merah, kuning, kelabu dan hitam. Itulah warna kehidupan yang lebih banyak jalurnya. Malah pengarang-pengarang dari benua kecil India, telah turut menyentuh isu dalam Interlok yang oleh segelintir orang di sini disensasikan, kerana sistem sosial masyarakatnya telah dinormakan dalam perjalanan panjang peradabannya.

    Berlainan dengan dokumen rasmi, sastera menderetkan berbagai-bagai jenis , manusia – seperti yang dilihat pengarang dalam ruang kehidupannya – daripada wira hinggalah penjenayah, daripada ketua hinggalah pengikut buta, daripada ulama hinggalah orang berdosa, dan dari berbagai-bagai bangsa dan kaum. Mereka semua kita temui dalam deretan kehidupan harian. Sastera ialah ucapan dan ingatan bangsa, kerana yang terlukis di dalamnya ialah pemerian tentang bangsa itu.

    Kami berpendapat bahawa sastera ada ruangnya sendiri dengan keseniannya yang khusus pula. Kita harus membaca sastera sebagai sastera, dan bukan buku sejarah atau politik. Membaca sastera ialah suatu proses berfikir, merasa dan menghayati bahasa, peristiwa dan gagasan. Proses ini penting untuk diri manusia sendiri kerana yang ditawarkan ialah berbagai-bagai jenis pengalaman buat pembacanya – dari yang lahiriah sampailah kepada sikap dan pendiriannya. Semuanya dianggap sebagai cermin dan bayang makna kehidupan manusia. Ramai daripada kita yang merasakan pelajar kita kurang mampu untuk menilai apa yang mereka baca. Pada tahun 2011, dengan gunung maklumat di internet dan dunia cetakan, kami maklum bahawa mereka sudah lama dituntut dan dilatih untuk mempertimbangkan, memilih dan membuat kesimpulan sendiri. Sesuatu fakta yang diubah dan dimetaforakan secara halus sekalipun di dalam karya sastera dan kenyataan dengan wajah sebenar akan tetap muncul dalam pelbagai medium yang lain.

    Interlok ialah sebuah novel yang melukis suatu deretan waktu, watak dan latar dari 1910 hinggalah sebelum Merdeka. Tujuan penulis cukup mulia, iaitu melukis gambaran kaum-kaum yang terdapat di negara ini, dengan masalah dalamannya sendiri, dan di akhirnya telah bersatu untuk menerima negara dan harapan baru. Inilah tujuan pengarang. Manusia yang dilukiskan juga cukup mulia, terutama Maniam, yang besar hati dan jiwanya, dan masih ingin membantu orang lain, walau pun dia pernah dimangsakan.

    Kami tidak melihat masalah pada istilah dan lukisan yang digambarkan oleh pengarang. Kami juga tidak mengesan tujuan untuk menghina mana-mana kaum. Akhiran karya ini menawarkan harapan dan kecerahan. Itulah tujuan terpenting pengarang. Kami merasa sangat prihatin sekiranya pengarang terus didesak untuk merubah karya mereka sehingga gagasan awal mereka sudah dicairkan. Dan sekiranya perubahan pada lukisan satu kaum hanya dibuat, dan tidak pada kaum yang lain, maka akhirnya terdapat suatu lukisan yang tidak lagi berimbang dan benar – hanya cantik pada suatu kaum dan comot pada yang lainnya.

    Benarkanlah penulis kita melukis kenyataan Malaysia, walau betapa pun tidak manis kenyataan itu. Kerana mereka juga berfikir bagi pihak kita, dengan sudut pandangan mereka sendiri, yang walau pun berlainan, masih diperlukan di negara yang demokratis, yang memberi kebebasan kepada sasterawannya untuk menulis, berfikir dan berpendirian.

    Marilah kita, rakyat Malaysia, membaca sastera dari pendekatan sastera dan menghormatinya secara wajar dan pintar, supaya darinya dapat kita kutip pemikiran dan kearifan sasterawan kita.

    *Kenyataan bersama oleh empat orang Sasterawan Negara, Muhammad Haji Salleh, Anwar Ridhwan, Shahnon Ahmad dan Noordin Hassan.

    http://www.merdekareview.com/bm/news.php?n=11620

  84. Simon Thong Says:

    What’s going on?
    Cops question students for 10 hours over ‘Interlok’
    http://www.malaysiakini.com
    A group of SMK Kuala Kubu Baru students were prevented by a discipline teacher from returning the textbook to their headmaster on Friday.

  85. Simon Thong Says:

    Malaysia’s ‘Interlok’ Issue: Communal Sensitivities And Next Elections « « Eurasia Review Eurasia R
    http://www.eurasiareview.com
    As the next general election looms in Malaysia, political groups seem to be pressing their demands on the Najib administration. Increasingly the demands from the various communities seem to be sectarian in nature. The controversy over the novel ‘Interlok’ is one of them.

  86. Yeah Says:

    Simon Thong,

    I believe everything has its consequences. It is not a coincidence that the students did what they did. These are all lost opportunities for education. The police and the teacher failed to discharge their duties, but we should wait for more details to emerge.

    It is not just the sectarian politics that is the problem, it is the behavior of some who relish in “menangguk di air yang keruh”. Opportunists have exploited a non-issue and fanned inter-racial hatred and we act surprised when “impressionable” young minds follow their elders’ examples?

  87. Yeah Says:

    We should forgive NIAT because to err is human. Should we also forgive hartalmsm for not doing any of its homework and repeat lies? I say we should forgive but never forget.

    FICTION

    Other factual errors include stating that Maniam was brought here through the Kangani system when that particular method of labour recruitment was already banned in 1910. ~ hartalmsm

    FACT

    … The kangani system also appealed to the planters because the prospect of workers absconding was less likely compared with the indenture system, especially since the kangani usually had a vested interest in ensuring they did not. In the 1910s, between 50,000 and 80,000 Indians went to the Malay States and Straits Settlements annually. After the 1920s, with the exception of a very short period. Kangani-assisted immigration declined. In the early 1930s, under the impact of the Great Depression, kangani recruitment was suspended, and IT WAS FORMALLY ABOLISHED in 1938.

    – p. 639, Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia (Vol. 2) Keat Gin Ooi, 2005 (ed.)

    FICTION

    He locates Kerala geographically as a state “a little to the north of Tamil Nadu” when the atlas shows that Kerala lies to the north of Andhra Pradesh. ~ hartalmsm

    FACT

    Kerala is actually south / south-west of Andhra Pradesh. It is to the north / north-west of Tamil Nadu, and Wikipedia gives this description for Kerala:

    …is bordered by Karnataka to the north, Tamil Nadu to the south and the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

    FICTION

    Kerala is referred in the Novel at a time when the state of Kerala did not exist. Kerala was
    established as a state on 1st November 1956 . ~ NIAT

    FACT

    Kerala was established as a state in 1956, but Keralam existed before the modern state. The country was called Cheralam and Cherala Nadu. In a 1859 colonial map, there are areas known as Canara that later combined into Kerala merging with Malabar and other nearby areas. Keralite is associated with the development of Malayalam, its main native language. It is like saying Malaya doesn’t exist prior to Malaysia.

    FICTION

    In the original version the author used the word “ Brahman” which is correct call for a caste in India. Caste system in India was based on job classification and never meant to degrade anyone. ~ NIAT

    FACT

    While it was never MEANT to degrade anyone, the caste system in India became particularly severe on the untouchables. They suffered from social segregation and restrictions, not allowed temple worship with others, nor water from the same sources. If there is no discrimination, Mahatman Gandhi must have been mistaken to highlight their plight.

  88. Simon Thong Says:

    Students detained for questioning Interlok
    thestar.com.my

    Wednesday March 9, 2011
    Students detained for questioning Interlok

    TAMIL Nesan reported that six Form Five students of a secondary school in Kuala Kubu Baru were detained on Monday after a teacher lodged a report that she was threatened by 100 students last Friday.

    The students were picked up at 10am and released late in the evening without their parents being given any details.

    However, the students claimed they had gone to see the teacher to return the novel Interlok as they were unhappy with its depiction of the Indian community.

    The paper said the literature teacher chided the students, saying that they should not return the book as it is historically correct.

    Makkal Osai reported that the teacher had humiliated the students by calling them names.

    The paper said some parents were unhappy that the book was still being distributed to students while a panel was in the midst of reviewing its contents.

  89. Yeah Says:

    Strange, but the reporting by Hindraf included the following:

    “She (the discipline teacher) said in her police report that my older son brought 100 Indians from Kuala Lumpur, from the Gang 36, to threaten her and her family,” Gomathi added.

    http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com/2011/03/08/cops-question-students-for-10-hours-over-interlok-malaysiakini/

    The Star says the six were detained for threats made to the discipline teacher, and not on Interlok, but it is nevertheless the root cause.

    The book has already been distributed actually, if I remembered correctly. I still think it does not absolve the police for detaining the students without informing their parents.

    I believe the alternative media should have all its facts together and get the perspective straight. Don’t play it straight into the hand of racial instigators. The chain of events was triggered by a confrontation between the discipline teacher and the students. Heated words must have been exchanged, and threats made, because returning a book peacefully rarely invite accusations of fierceness. Nevertheless, the teacher managed to get them to return to their classes. Why did she lodge a police report? I think the cops took matters into their own hands. We should wait till more information appears. So far we have heard the side of the students and parents, lets give the school, the teacher and the police a chance to relate their side of the story.

    Already, people in Hindraf is using the issue to push for the removal of Interlok from our schools. Perhaps they think it is a golden opportunity to pressure the Government. Now, perception-wise, the ball is in the court of the related ministers who must plan a response and answer some questions. What a narrow tight-rope walk indeed!

    Self-fulfilling prophecy my dear Scott! Of course, there is always the possibility that the seven students read the book and decided that they have been victimised by Abdullah Hussain through the Indian characters in Interlok, and thus decided to return the book to their principal. Who is their Malay language teacher? Did he/she recommended that? How will all this distraction affect students sitting for their Malay paper? What if all the students think that their teachers, their school and the Ministry of Education is all out on a conspiracy to brainwash them and indoctrinate them with inter-racial hatred?

    In the eyes of some, instigating school students to meet larger political gains is a legitimate act. The really sad truth is that they are victims of manipulation.

  90. Jamie Says:

    Yeah, my point was that the book’s emphasis on inter-relations on race is not a good method for strengthening the bonds between communities. Rather, a better strategy would be to choose a book that does not focus on race or ethnicity, but focuses on construction of a larger, over-arching group. As you have said, there exist societal and communal divides in Malaysia, and that is hard to change. That is exactly why I believe that using a book that emphasizes racial/ethnic differences to foster a shared identity is counter-productive. The book’s emphasis on race/ethnicity serves to maintain people’s thinking along racial/ethnic differences. Think about research on stereotypes and priming. Merely exposing (priming) older adults to passages containing words describing stereotypes of elderly people caused them to walk slower, and act as if they were more frail compared to a group that was primed with neutral words.

    Now what about a book that highlights race, be it in terms of the characters stereotypical perception of other races or in the book’s main message of different races coming together? That book will subconsciously prime readers to be more cognizant of racial issues when it portrays characters in terms of race. Over the long run, it may very well contribute to communities thinking in terms of race and deepen the divide, despite the fact that it’s intended to do the opposite.

    I know the book aims to show how people can overcome their racial differences and come together in harmony, but there’s a difference between doing things based on ideology/what you think works/how you think things ought to work and doing things based on scientific knowledge and evidence. Given the above, can one really argue that this book will contribute to national unity?

    What are your thoughts on this Yeah?

  91. nasaei ahmad Says:

    Ones can still recall, many years ago, a well known novelist Shahnon Ahmad produced a book he named it SHIT. It is a good fiction book maybe.
    I support if it is considered as a compulsory text book..hehehe…

  92. Simon Thong Says:

    Jamie Says:
    March 9, 11 at 1:47 pm
    Over the long run, it may very well contribute to communities thinking in terms of race and deepen the divide, despite the fact that it’s intended to do the opposite.

    That’s happening already. Read the following.

    #1 Teacher says ‘keling’, but students punished
    ‎Malaysia Kini – 3 hours ago
    #2 Take action against police officers who hauled in students over …
    ‎Free Malaysia Today – 4 hours ago
    … SMK Kuala Kubu Baru were taken to a police station for questioning allegedly because they had tried to return the Interlok textbook to their headmaster. …
    #3 School principal defends ‘pariah’ remark – Malaysia Today
    17 Jan 2011 … Malaysia Today. Independent News Portal in Malaysia. Read the latest news in the country covering issue on politics, business, lifestyle, …
    http://www.malaysia-today.net/…/37487-school-principal-defends-pariah-remark – Cached
    #4 ‘Are your parents pariahs?’ — Pg headmaster «
    1 Mar 2011 … Are your parents pariahs?” For the rest of the story, go to FMT. … Indian children are being insulted in many schools in Malaysia. …
    hartalmsm.wordpress.com/…/are-your-parents-pariahs-pg-headmaster/ – Cached

  93. Yeah Says:

    Dear Jamie,

    We can have a sanitized work of fiction that can perhaps meet your preference of non-racial stereotypical characters. However, that story would be so detached from any semblence of history or reality that it would be rendered useless as a social mirror.

    You spoke about priming, and I have read some concerns by well intentioned bloggers who believe that reading Interlok might reinforce negative stereotypes of the races and thus, entrenching them deeper along racial divides. These are all legitimate concerns, but many educators would have pointed out that avoiding or sugar-coating the matter is not necessarily any better. With Interlok, we are given both positive and negative characters from different ethnic communities – whereby through their actions in the plot, they break down the common stereotypes and myths surrounding their race. In many ways, Interlok is closer to a fairytale, but the author clearly highlighted the centrality and triumph of humanistic values. I think it is absolutely imperative that it comes from the mouth of an enlightened Cing Huat himself (even if he was just thinking it aloud in the novel), that the Malays are people too just like he himself – a Chinese. Did Shakespeare not impart the same lessons through Shylock?

    “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”

    – The Merchant of Venice

    I think many are under the impression that the novel exclusively used the Chinese and Indians as the boogeyman and villain in the book. In truth, all the characters are there to serve a larger plot purpose in the fourth chapter, with themes of remorse, redemption and unity in adversity. The novel is filled with instigators like Mamat Labu, Paman Kok Leng and Suppiah who spread lies, hatred and malicious gossip, just like in real life. The major characters like Seman, Lazim, Cing Huat, Yew Seng, Maniam, Rama are all different generations of Malayans who realized that their lives are bound together in this nation. It might not be the best book Abdullah Hussain has written, but it is certainly his most ambitious. Ultimately, we all recognize that Interlok is now a poisoned political well, and we know who to thank really.

    Already, all the prejudice and fanning of hatred towards Interlok in the public space have now found its way into schools. Like I have said before, this is a classic example of a self fulfilling prophecy. This is not a defense against the ineptitude of some of our teachers and civil servants, but many delight in making it worse, not better.

  94. Zack T Says:

    Yeah,

    “We can have a sanitized work of fiction that can perhaps meet your preference of non-racial stereotypical characters. However, that story would be so detached from any semblence of history or reality that it would be rendered useless as a social mirror. ”

    I don’t understand. Are we talking about history class? Or BM class?

    This is literature… not history lesson. What’s wrong with ‘social mirror’ in a class meant for study of the usage of the language?

  95. Yeah Says:

    Dear Zack,

    A good work of literature in any language is like a social mirror, it reflects the socio-political culture that we are in, it engages us to think and deliberate on what some of these constructs mean.The National Laureates used the analogy of a painting for literature, and I quote:

    “Sebuah karya sastera ialah sebuah teks yang melukis jiwa manusia, perasaannya, nilai dan kepentingannya dalam konteks zaman dan sejarahnya. Yang dilukis didekatkan sehampir mungkin kepada kenyataan di dalam dan di luar diri manusia, kerana karya sastera tidak tercipta daripada kekosongan atau vakum. Peristiwa di luar – peperangan dan kedamaian, kesusahan dan kesenangan, kerusuhan dan ketenangan – dilukis oleh kata-kata dan peribadi pengarang. Ini telah dilakukan sejak beribu tahun oleh semua pengarang, di semua negara.”

    When you write your argumentative essays back in school, be it in English or Malay, points are not just given for grammatical soundness, but also the maturity in exposition and positioning of your main points. Even when you craft a short factitious story, it must have some root in human abstraction for it to be recognizable. That is why science fiction (like Philip K. Dick) and fantasy novels (Tolkien), as far fetch as it plots and devices may be, could still engage the readers at a humanistic level, by appealing to matters related to our own existence, its meaning and central ideas of love, honour, hate and yes, even revenge.

  96. Simon Thong Says:

    What good did the Merchant of Venice ever do for the Jews except help entrench anti-Jew sentiments? The part you quoted sounds wonderful except it is mostly lost to a class of students brouht up to see the Jew as shylocks. But that was not Shakespeare’s intention! Too bad, how sad, it all got lost in the Jew as shylocks.

    Meanwhile, shylock has come to mean a loanshark, a ruthless moneylender.

  97. Simon Thong Says:

    Zack T – This is literature… not history lesson. What’s wrong with ‘social mirror’ in a class meant for study of the usage of the language?

    Have you forgotten, Zack, that in Lit in SPM English, the stress is on moral values? ‘The Pearl’ was assigned to be read as lit but the MOE used it to teach moral values simply by having examiners who set questions on moral values. To a question, “Which person do you admire most and why?”, you had to pick something with good moral values. You couldn’t pick the fat doctor as someone you admired! Or Kino the killing machine!

    I assume that the Form 5 people given Interlok will learn what it means to be truly 1Malaysia the ***** way. Everyone is human, so be *****, the best kind of human being. Examiners will want his, and teachers will do so accordingly. The examiners will make sure of that.

  98. Simon Thong Says:

    Letter to Free Malaysia Today

    Take action against police officers who hauled in students over Interlok
    March 9, 2011

    FMT LETTER

    From N Surendran, via e-mail

    On March 7, three Form Five students of SMK Kuala Kubu Baru were taken to a police station for questioning allegedly because they had tried to return the Interlok textbook to their headmaster.

    Reports say that they were then questioned by police at the Kuala Kubu district police headquarters for about 10 hours. The questioning was done in the absence of their parents or lawyer.

    Shockingly, neither the school authorities nor the police informed the parents of the schoolboys that they were to be questioned by police. School authorities and a representative of the Parent-Teacher association seem to have initiated and collaborated in this incident.

    We strongly condemn the police questioning of these children, and the appalling treatment meted out to them. The questioning was blatantly unlawful, as no offence known to law had been committed by them.

    The interrogation was also in breach of the law as the minors were denied access to parents or lawyers. In fact, at least one of children was explicitly denied permission to call his parents despite pleading to be allowed to do so.

    We call upon the government and the education ministry to take immediate steps to prevent a recurrence of events of this nature and to hold an urgent inquiry into the matter.

    We ask for immediate action to be taken against all police officers who were involved in the unlawful interrogation of these children. Stern discipilnary action must be taken against any teacher found to be complicit in this incident.

    We call upon the government to respect the rights of children and to act in accordance with international standards of child rights and protection.

    The writer is vice president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat

  99. Zack T Says:

    Yeah,

    And we’re back to the issue of the discussion… which is NOT what the author has wrote or what he should write or what he shouldn’t…
    The issue is the literature that is made compulsory for reading for the language class.

    What’s wrong with a book that is fictitious and not completely in-line with real history to be used as compulsory literature, especially if it avoids the issue of portraying certain races in well-known racial stereotyping? Can’t we just have certain villains who fit the antagonists roles and the protagonists with only minimal weaknesses in their characters?

  100. Scott Thong Says:

    Sorry for the delayed approval of several comments, I was AFK.

  101. Simon Thong Says:

    MP steps in to resolve novel issue at school
    thestar.com.my
    KUALA LUMPUR: Hulu Selangor MP P. Kamalanathan will be meeting parents and the management of SMK Kuala Kubu Baru on Friday over a controversy that broke out at the school in connection with the Interlok issue.

  102. hartalmsm Says:

    No worries Scott.

    We have a simple challenge for Yeah. Why are all the villains and nasty characters in Interlok Chinese and Indians? Who are the villainous and nasty Malay characters?

  103. hartalmsm Says:

    By the way, we got the Rushdie idea from you [Scott], wink.

  104. Simon Thong Says:

    Suppressing dissent at a cost
    thestar.com.my
    We are squabbling over the ridiculous while the really big issues that will affect us all go undebated. One day we are going to look up and realise these issues have overtaken us.

  105. Simon Thong Says:

    Suppressing dissent at a cost
    See thestar.com.my

    Last week seven students from Kuala Kubu Baru wanted to return their copies of Interlok to the school because they did not want to read it.

    This resulted in them being brought to the police station and collectively interrogated for 10 hours.

    These two incidents are separated temporally and spatially but there is a common link between them.

    Before I go into that however, I just want to say how shocking I find the Kuala Kubu Baru incident.

    It is beyond belief that seven boys, could be questioned by the police in a police station for something like this.

    No doubt there is some political controversy about this book, and obviously the boys were making a political statement of some sort.

    It would be naive to think otherwise.

    However, they were not breaking any law and they were not in any way acting in a manner which would justify this heavy-handed action by the school and the police.

    At the very most this was an internal school matter which should have been dealt with by the school authorities and no more.

    Ideally of course, knowing the combustible nature of this book, it should have been dealt with in a firm, but sensitive, manner.

  106. Simon Thong Says:

    DPM: Interlok walkout due to misunderstanding
    http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/158901

    UPDATED 4.30PM The education minister says he did not reject the proposed amendments to Interlok but only asked for their review.

  107. Simon Thong Says:

    Interlok: ‘DBP rep the stumbling block’
    March 17, 2011

    MIC president G Palanivel tells why the three Indian representatives quit the independent panel to review Interlok.

    KUALA LUMPUR: The three Indian representatives of the independent panel to review Interlok quit because because every amendment they proposed was objected by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka representative, MIC president G Palanivel said today.

    “The other panellists agreed to the removal of one sensitive word pertaining to caste. The Indian panellists had brought out many amendments which they had classified as sensitive or hurtful to the
    Indians,” he said in a statement.

    Yesterday, one of the the three Indian panellists, G Krishnabhagwan, an ex-civil servant, also claimed that “Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin wanted us (panellists) to cut back on the amendments at a meeting we had with him in Parliament”.
    The two other Indians on the eight-member are Global Aminuddin Baki Universiti education centre director Prof NS Rajendran and Kavyan Writers Association chairman Uthaya Sankar SB.

    Palanivel also urged the Education Ministry to take a firm stand on the Interlok issue, as it has the potential to become divisive during a time when unity should be a common goal.

    “Since we are moving towards the much-touted 1Malaysia concept, it is important that this whole Interlok issue be handled well.”

    Palanivel also said that he had been in communication with the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Muhyiddin regarding the matter.

    Meanwhile, opposition MPs, disheartened by this turn of events, laid the blame squarely on Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, for the fiasco.

    “Muhyiddin clearly is not interested in amending Interlok as it will rattle Malay rights group, Perkasa,” said DAP’s Charles Santiago.

    “They are promoting racism and Malay supremacy in literature,” added Santiago who is Klang MP.

    Perkasa and a host of other Malay NGOs supported moves for the book to be retained as it is.

    Action plan

    National Interlok Action Team (NIAT), a coalition of Indian NGOs against the usage of Interlok in schools, said it was disappointed in Muhyiddin for interfering in the issue.

    “Who is the education minister to ask the independent panel to review the recommendations?” asked NIAT chairman Thasleeem Mohamad.

    “In doing so the panel is no longer independent,” he said.

    Thasleeem also revealed that NIAT would continue with its action plan which includes a nationwide hunger strike this month.

    Interlok, written by Abdullah Hussain, is being used as a literature component for Bahasa subject for fifth formers in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

    Several groups have claimed that the novel contains elements racist to the Indian community.

    Besides, many NGOs have also found that the book contains a number of historical errors and misrepresentations.

    FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

  108. Simon Thong Says:

    NGO plans events on Sunday to seek Interlok withdrawal
    thestar.com.my
    KUALA LUMPUR: The National Interlok Action Team (Niat) will launch a nationwide campaign on Sunday to seek the withdrawal of the controversial novel.

  109. Simon Thong Says:

    KUALA LUMPUR: The National Interlok Action Team (Niat) will launch a nationwide campaign on Sunday to seek the withdrawal of the controversial novel.

    Its spokesman Arun Dorasamy said 220 NGOs would be organising nationwide awareness prayers, seminars, forums, meetings and hunger strike on the day.

    “The objective is to create awareness among concerned Malaysians and seek the Government’s intervention to drop the novel from the school syllabus,” he said.

    Two Indian members of an independent panel looking into the controversial book written by national laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussain have submitted their report to MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel.

    Both Uthaya Sankar and G. Krishnabahawan had an hour-long meeting to explain the developments before submitting the report.

    When contacted, Uthaya said they had prepared a report on the emergency meeting chaired by Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday.

    The duo and a third member, Prof Dr N.S. Rajendran, had walked out after over 100 amendments, which were agreed to at a March 4 meeting, were later questioned by other panel members.

    In his blog, Uthaya said Muhyiddin had expressed his gratitude that the panel had unanimously agreed to drop the word “pariah” — the main bone of contention — at Wednesday’s meeting.

    He said after Muhyiddin left the meeting, Assoc Prof Lim Swee Tin of Universiti Putra Malaysia, who took over the chair, requested the Indian representatives list details which affected the sensitivities of the community in the novel.

    He said the Indian representatives had wanted changes agreed to in the March 4 meeting to be made.

    “We gave several examples but Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka director-general Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz and Dr Lim shot them down as being not insensitive,” he said.

    Uthaya said the three members left the meeting and had a discussion before returning to inform the other members of the decision to withdraw from the panel.

  110. cakra Says:

    Arson and attempted murder of HRP vice president K. Tamil Selvam by racist UMNO Police Special Branch under Ops Padam Hindraf.
    http://malaysianindian1.blogspot.com/2011/03/arson-and-attempted-murder-of-hrp-vice.html

  111. kangkong Says:

    “That ‘Chinese’ fler in the Interlok review panel

    Considering the Indian panellists found 85 things to be all wrong when author Abdullah Hussain talks about Indians, it’s shocking that Lim Swee Tin finds so little (two? four? or six?) that is offensive about how the Chinese are depicted in Interlok.

    On the other hand, we at Hartal MSM found a whole lot that is offensive in how Abdullah portrayed the Chinese community.

    FMT yesterday reported that “the trio [three Indian panellists] were allegedly pressured by other panelists Lim Swee Tin and Termuzi Abdul Aziz into succumbing to the DPM’s [Muhyiddin Yassin] advice, at which point the three decided to stage a walkout.”

    We find it mighty amazing that Lim Swee Tin can identify so few flaws in Interlok. We urge that he should make his findings public.”
    http://hartalmsm.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/that-chinese-fler-in-the-interlok-review-panel/

  112. rentan Says:

    http://www.malaysiakini.com/doc/saranan_pindaan_interlok.php

    EVERYONE SHOULD READ THE LIST AND JUDGE FOR THEMSELVES. 85 items considered offensive? Using “papa” instead of “appa” is offensive…

  113. Simon Thong Says:

    Sify.com
    Consider views of Indian panelists on ‘Interlok’ issue: MIC Chief
    2011-03-19 17:00:00
    Malaysian Indian Congress President G. Palanivel has asked the government to take the views of the three Indian representatives on the Interlok panel seriously.

    He said in a statement that whatever the Indian representatives put forward the feelings of the Indian community, must be given serious consideration, The Star reports.

    Palanivel met two of the representatives Uthaya Sankar and G. Krishnabahawan along with Prime Minister Seri Najib Tun Razak’s special officer P. Ravin at the MIC headquarters. However, third representative Prof Dr N.S. Rajendran was unavailable.

    Palanivel said the three were willing to work together to resolve the controversy over the novel that has been written by national laureate Abdullah Hussain.

    “I have been briefed on what had transpired at the emergency meeting on Wednesday,” he said, adding that MIC had also received a report from them.he Indian representatives walked out of the independent panel looking into the controversial novel ‘Interlok’, which represents the Indian community in a degrading manner.

    They claim that the other panelists only agreed to the word “pariah” being removed.

    Uthaya has said that the Indian representatives were willing to have a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Muhyiddin Yassin, to put forward their reasons for wanting certain amendments to the book, which has been set as a literature text for secondary school students. (ANI)

  114. Simon Thong Says:

    Obviously, the controversy over Interlok has made it to Indian shores:

    sify news offers the Latest India News: Covers updated India news, top Indian news headlines, latest breaking news on India, Indian politics, election results, political news …
    http://www.sify.com/news/

  115. Yeah Says:

    I think A. Samad Said has said it best…

    http://samadsaid.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/membalas-budi-cara-paling-hina/

    I wish to congratulate hartalmsm, Scotthong, NIAT, CPI (Dr. Lim Teck Ghee), HINDRAF, PERKASA and all the street protesters for successfully distorting the truth about Interlok to the world and thank them for ushering in a new era of ethnic unity in Malaysia. Future analysis and review of the events will show that the literary and educational merits of the novel have been overwhelmed by politically-motivated debate. In other words, the controversy generated from the misguided protests killed Interlok.

    I don’t envy Uthaya Sankar’s role. People who disagree that Interlok can be used in schools have already been poisoned into believing the novel peddles racism. That misconception cannot be corrected by revising any text in Abdullah Hussain’s novel. If the words of other National Laureates, writers, scholars and academicians cannot convince the mob, I doubt a panel based on ethnic representation will convince anyone else.

  116. Simon Thong Says:

    Yeah – I doubt a panel based on ethnic representation will convince anyone else.

    Don’t be naive. That panel is a face-wash.
    Don’t be patronising. As though you’re not one of ‘mob’.
    Be realistic. The new era of ethnic unity? It’s the same one. Same old, same old.
    Don’t be a soothsayer. Literary critics are best left to literary critiques (or is it criticism of the mob?)

  117. Scott Thong Says:

    Well then I guess you didn’t try hard enough to defend your point of view, armchair sage. I did offer to carry and publicize your post arguing for Interlok’s unifying aspects.

  118. Simon Thong Says:

    ”Consider views by Indian panelists on ”Interlok” issue”
    news.in.msn.com

  119. Simon Thong Says:

    the Sun says:
    Mind our sensitivities

    THE Interlok controversy should teach us a very important lesson, that we must be careful when deciding on matters that are still sensitive to the various ethnic groups, especially on race, culture and religion. The original version of the book when it came out in the 1960s was a huge tome that deterred many people from reading it. Some, having bought the book, gave up reading it after a few chapters. Those who persevered to the end pronounced it unexciting. It was found to be so because much of the

    content was nothing out of the ordinary to the situation in the country then. At the same time, no one saw sentences or paragraphs that were considered sensitive to the main races. And then again few non-Malays were proficient enough in the national language to attempt reading it unlike today when everyone can read it.

    The situation today is much different from what it was then. Most Malays are no longer rice farmers, policemen, postmen and drivers like they were then. Many are living in urban areas. Some are squatters but many are in government service and the corporate sector. Many have come up in the world.

    Most Chinese still dominate the commercial sector like their fathers used to. Some are still traders, merchants and shopkeepers. Some are also involved in the manufacturing and banking sectors while some are also being employed as engineers, architects and accountants. And some have entered the farming sector in a big way.

    The Indian situation too has changed. Many have moved to the urban areas and are no longer the main labour group in estates. Some, through education, have become doctors, lawyers, engineers and executives in the corporate world. A few are multi-millionaires and billionaires.

    But it is also unfortunate that the Indians who migrated from the estates form the bulk of the poorer class of dwellers in the towns and cities. Unlike the estate labourers of half a century ago who were mostly satisfied with their lot, the urban dwellers especially those living in the poorer section of the towns or cities are very sensitive to remarks about their origins or present situation. And they are the ones who are protesting the most against the use of Interlok when they were told about the parts of the book that are considered offensive to the community.

    The book, therefore, should have been carefully scanned for parts that may offend any community. A lot of bad feelings, suspicions and bad publicity for the government could have been avoided. The edited version should be brought before a review committee before it becomes part of the school syllabus. It is a long-winded process but until we have progressed beyond being sensitive to words like kling we have no choice. Further mutilation of the book should not be an option.

    Updated: 11:03PM Tue, 22 Mar 2011

  120. Simon Thong Says:

    newsdesk@thesundaily.com

    KUALA LUMPUR (March 24, 2011): The government has agreed with the finding of the independent panel that only 19 parts in the novel Interlok were deemed sensitive to the Indian community, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

    This is out of 106 parts proposed for amendment by the three Indian representatives in the eight-member panel which also included those not related to the main issue, namely the use of the phrase “kasta Paria”.

    Replying to points raised by the MPs in their debates on the motion of thanks for the royal address, Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the panel in its third meeting has unanimously agreed to drop “kasta Paria” and replace it with the phrase “ golongan yang sama”.

    “The proposed editing has been agreed to by the writer as the copyright holder and for that the government would like to record its highest appreciation for his generosity in allowing his literature piece to be edited,” he said.

    The novel by national laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussain has been selected to be the literature component of the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five students in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negri Sembilan this year.

    The panel, chaired by Prof Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, was set up upon a cabinet’s decision in January and has met four times before presenting its finding.

    “Of the 19 parts deemed sensitive, three were related to the ‘kasta’ phrase which and three related to the Hindu religion and cultural issues of the Indian community.

    “Seven parts, also related to religious and cultural issues, have been resolved by including errata in the novel to make corrections and drop a few sensitive phrases.

    “Another six parts were related to the use of the word ‘tuhan’ which has been agreed to be changed to ‘ dewa’ and the phrase ‘ orang berkulit hitam’ which has been dropped from the novel,” he said.

    In addition, Muhyiddin said the ministry would prepare a glossary to explain several phrases and concepts contained in the novel to facilitate students’ understanding on the context of the novel.

    He said the issue surrounding the controversial novel has been solved amicably, an obvious testimony that “in our country there is no issue that cannot be solved at the negotiation table”.

    On the 87 parts deemed not related to the main issue, he said they included proposals to change the word “tali” to “taali,” “papa” to “appa” and “cawat” to “dhoti”.

    Muhyiddin said it has been agreed that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka as the publisher would make the necessary editing to the novel in its future publications.

    During the debates, several MPs have raised the Interlok issue namely Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakri (BN-Sabak Bernam), Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai), Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Bukit Gantang), M. Manogaran (DAP-Telok Intan) and Mohd Nor Othman (BN-Hulu Terengganu).

  121. Simon Thong Says:

    newsdesk@thesundaily.com

    KUALA LUMPUR (March 24, 2011): The Education Ministry has agreed to replace the words kasta paria in the novel Interlok, the Malay literature textbook for Form Five students in the central region, with amendments.

    Its minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told the Dewan Rakyat that the ministry had agreed with the findings of the Interlok independent panel that only 19 parts in the abridged version for students were sensitive.

    This is out of 106 proposed amendments by the three Indian representatives in the panel which also included those not related to the main issue, namely the use of the phrase kasta paria.

    Replying to questions posed by MPs on the issue, Muhyiddin, who is deputy prime minister, said the panel in its third meeting had unanimously agreed to drop kasta paria and replace them with the phrase golongan yang sama (of the same group).

    “The proposed editing has been agreed to by the writer as the copyright holder, and for that the government would like to record its highest appreciation for his generosity in allowing his literature piece to be edited,” he said.

    The novel – a tale of Malays, Chinese and Indians coming together in pre-independence Malaya – was written by national laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussain in 1967.

    It was selected to be the literature component of the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five students in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negri Sembilan from this year.

    The Indian community had raised its concerns of teaching the novel in schools, claiming that it degraded Indians. MIC had initially called for the book to be dropped altogether.

    To resolve the issue, the Education Ministry formed a special panel chaired by Prof Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin in January. The multi-racial panel of eight people which met four times listed out the proposed amendments.

    “Of the 19 parts deemed sensitive, three were related to the kasta phrase, three to the Hindu religion and cultural issues of the Indian community. Seven parts, also related to religious and cultural issues, have been resolved by including errata to make corrections and drop a few sensitive phrases.

    “Another six parts were related to the use of the word tuhan which has been agreed to be changed to dewa and the phrase orang berkulit hitam which has been dropped,” Muhyiddin said.

    In addition, the ministry would prepare a glossary to explain several phrases and concepts in the novel to help students understand the context of the novel.

    The other 87 amendments proposed by the Indian panellists were deemed not related to the main issue. They included proposals to change the word tali to taali, papa to appa and cawat to dhoti.

    It has been agreed that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka as the publisher would make the necessary editing to the novel in its future publications, said Muhyiddin.

    The questions on Interlok were raised by MPs Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakri (BN-Sabak Bernam), Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai), Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Bukit Gantang), M. Manogaran (DAP-Telok Intan) and Mohd Nor Othman (BN-Hulu Terengganu).

  122. Simon Thong Says:

    newsdesk@thesundaily.com

    KUALA LUMPUR (March 24, 2011): Opposition members are still unhappy with the Education Ministry’s solution on the Interlok novel controversy, although the government says that the issue has been resolved amicably, with the Indian community accepting changes to be made to the novel.

    During the question-and-answer session, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was labelled as “dumb and deaf” by M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) for not listening to the arguments raised against the book.

    “The explanation given was of very low standard. It twisted the basic contention of the Indian community. They (Indians) did not accept the government’s proposal. This includes MIC,” he said.

    “But now MIC is changing their stand; I’m not surprised. It is one of those parties which does not have a backbone,” he said when posing supplementary questions to Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister.

    Kulasegaran said all Pakatan Rakyat MPs were against using the book as a literature component in the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five.

    “The book portrays a very stereotyped Indian community. That’s why we are sensitive about it. I’m amazed how the DPM could give a 23-minute explanation which had ignored the basic issue,” he added.

    When reminded by Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee that it was not a debate and he should just pose his question, Kulasegaran continued by asking whether Muhyiddin was pressured by the Malay NGOs to take such a very racist stand.

    “Your reasons are unacceptable. It is against all common sense and logic,” he added.

    Kiandee then asked Kulasegaran to stop arguing, saying he was disappointed with him.
    “You don’t respect the Chair. I’ve been asking you to sit down. This is question-and-answer session. You are out of order. Don’t get carried away. Everybody is interested in this issue,” he said.

    Datuk Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) then said the government has accepted all the arguments and made the necessary amendments, adding if Kulasegaran still could not agree (to the amendments), the Malays also may disagree with certain things.

    “Just send him out. He simply wants to be a hero,” he said to Kiandee.

    Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) also tried to voice her points, saying Muhyiddin was taking the issue lightly, “treating it as a simple matter”, but Kiandee stopped her and asked Muhyiddin to reply.

    Muhyiddin said he felt sad that his explanation has not been accepted well by the Opposition.

    Later when replying to points raised by MPs in their debates on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong was also attacked by M. Manogaran (DAP-Teluk Intan).

  123. yeah Says:

    Well, what’s the surprise? The quality of our Parliamentarians or the quality of the debate?

  124. Simon Thong Says:

    Whatever, it’s a lose-lose situation..

  125. Yeah Says:

    Well, NIAT is starting a campaign to get school students to return Interlok and Thasleem declared that they will work with any Opposition party to politicise the issue until their demands are met.

  126. Simon Thong Says:

    Political agitators?

  127. Simon Thong Says:

    Free Malaysia Today
    Interlok: ‘Govt chose wrong novel’
    G Vinod
    March 28, 2011
    KUALA LUMPUR: Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub took the Education Ministry to task over the Interlok controversy, claiming that the government has failed to introduce an acceptable literary novel in schools.

    Salahuddin also criticised the rationale of setting up an independent panel to amend the novel and getting its author to retract certain words from the book.

    “No author will ever agree to amend words in his literary piece,” Salahuddin said.

    He questioned the government’s decision to choose Interlok, saying that the selection process started on a wrong footing.

    He added that there were hundreds of other novels available which were better suited to promote national unity.

    “If national unity was the idea, why was Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and language experts not consulted before selecting the book (Interlok)?” he asked.

    Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told Parliament that Interlok would be retained in schools but 19 parts considered offensive by the Indian community were either dropped, changed or substituted.

    The changes were made following the recommendations by the independent panel set up in January to review the controversial novel.

    Among the words substituted were “tuhan” with “dewa” and also the removal of the phrase “orang berkulit hitam” (dark-skinned people).

    The remaining 87 parts recommended were not considered offensive by the government.

    Unhappy with the statement, DAP’s Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran traded verbal blows with Muhyiddin in Parliament, but the minister defended his decision by saying that even MIC had agreed to the amendments

  128. Mission Interlok: The cloning of Ridhuan | Human Rights Party Malaysia Says:

    […] Scott Thong turned the tables: “Why don’t you try it the other way around and see if you still find it so acceptable”, what […]

  129. Mission Interlok: The cloning of Ridhuan (hartalmsm) | Human Rights Party Malaysia Says:

    […] Scott Thong turned the tables: “Why don’t you try it the other way around and see if you still find it so acceptable”, what […]

  130. menj Says:

    I think those people who are criticising the book (including you, Scott Thong) have not read the book in its entirety. The book is a historical fiction literature and it should be treated as such. I can think of many major English literature works that will be banned simply because of its so-called “racial portrayal”.

  131. Scott Thong Says:

    I can think of many major English literature works that will be banned simply because of its so-called “racial portrayal”. – menj

    Fair enough, and I freely admit that I haven’t read the full book.

    On a totally unrelated note, ever heard of Salman Rushdie? Bet his work must be quite the pile of crap to be so controversial, but who knows unless they have read the book in its entirety eh?

  132. menj Says:

    “Fair enough, and I freely admit that I haven’t read the full book.”

    I thought so.

    “On a totally unrelated note, ever heard of Salman Rushdie?”

    The Satanic Verses was a vile piece of crap that for some strange reason, people think it was “literature”. It has none of such qualities. The language was confusing, the characters irrational and worse of all, it was an unoriginal story ripped off from the pagew of an Orientalist work.

  133. Scott Thong Says:

    So I presume you read the book in its entirety, then?

  134. menj Says:

    I have some of Salman Rushdie’s works in eBook form, including that book. I find his writings confusing and the language boring. There are far better writers than him out there.

  135. Scott Thong Says:

    So, too boring and poorly constructed – meaning no, then?

    What about books with titles like The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion and The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims? Maybe the titles and blurbs are misleading, surely they must be properly read through before any sort of judgment is passed?

  136. wits0 Says:

    A Trance State is not a really transcendent Meditative State attained by a Meditator like the Buddha and then returned from it with real knowledge.

    Any book derived ad verbatim from a Trance State is subjected to corruption by demonic influences. A person in a Trance never needs to have attained Satori and any impure medium can enter into a Trance.

    Salman Rushdie, consciously or otherwise made the same esoteric point which is not really noticed.

    Jesus, IMO, attained the Satori State equivalent during his 40 days in the Wilderness.

  137. Simon Thong Says:

    Decision on ‘Interlok’ final
    2011/04/01
    By Rizalman Hammim
    news@nst.com.my

    Read more: Decision on ‘Interlok’ final http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/02int-2/Article/#ixzz1INdGW6rt

    PAGOH: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday the recent decision on the Interlok novel was final and the government deemed the matter closed.

    The deputy prime minister and education minister said the government would not entertain any more demands from any party to review or retract the novel from schools.

    He added that the government would not let the matter to be politicised.

    The government had recently accepted a list of changes to the novel that had been recommended by a committee representing various quarters.

    The changes were made to passages and words deemed offensive.

    However, a group of non-governmental organisations had recently issued a statement calling for the book to be banned completely from schools.

    The group comprised members of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, LLG Cultural Development Centre, Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce and the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

    In the statement, the group said the novel was offensive not only to the Indians but to the Chinese as well because it depicted the Chinese as “cheating and oppressing” the Malays and “nasty and immoral” communist guerillas.

    Muhyiddin said some opposition parties had been exploiting NGOs to continue bringing up the issue to cause problem for the Barisan Nasional government in the upcoming Sarawak election.

    “Using the issue of the novel to gain political support is an irresponsible act and in bad faith.”

    Muhyiddin said there were some parties who would like to see the issue dragged on so that the people would continue to resent the government.

    He was speaking after presenting wang ehsan to flood victims in Pagoh at the Pagoh Sports Complex yesterday.

    A total of RM2.29 million in wang ehsan was given to 4,589 families affected by the recent floods in Muar and Pagoh.

    Read more: Decision on ‘Interlok’ final http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/02int-2/Article/#ixzz1INdPg07U

  138. Simon Thong Says:

    Malaysia Kini
    DPM, Interlok neither a political nor racial issue
    Lim Teck Ghee
    Apr 1, 11
    2:10pm

    Civil society groups and other concerned individuals should not be taken in by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that the Interlok issue has been resolved.

    In fact, not only is it not resolved but compliance will mean that ‘Interlok’ could well be extended from its present Zone 2 (Klang Valley) coverage thereafter to Zone 1, Zone 3 and Zone 4 in the rest of the country.

    Interlok is a beach head for the Little Napoleons and other Ketuanan bureaucrats to impose their agenda of educational and cultural seppuku on a young captive audience.

    Success in imposing Interlok will only encourage these ideologues to move further upstream and inject their indoctrination into the syllabus for the younger forms, and eventually in the primary school curriculum. The history and moral subjects have already been tampered with. Currently the focus is on language and literature. What will be next?

    Muhyiddin’s statement that nobody should politicize or exploit the issue by using NGOs is made in wilful ignorance. The fact is these organisations have been in the forefront of the campaign from the outset.

    It is not difficult for the minister to determine the chronology of events with regard to the emergence and growth of public (but hardly any political) consciousness, concern and agitation on the book.

    A quick glance at news and reports from the websites will show that civil society organisations such as NIAT, Hartal MSM, and the Centre for Policy Initiatives have provided analysis and public feedback for several months now on the unsuitability of Interlok.

    The NGO concern is in sharp contrast to the lack of criticism on the book by public figures. Political parties from both Barisan Nasional and the opposition have been slow or reluctant to discuss the appropriateness of the book as a school text.

    While the education minister and his MCA deputy – the career politicians – have been adamant on its retention, why have the educationists and other Education Ministry officials been largely silent?

    In NGOs voicing our concerns on key issues affecting our nation, we do not have any political affiliation or political axe to grind. Neither are we racially motivated because Malay and non-Malay, Muslim and non-Muslim groups are equally concerned as to why Interlok is being retained when it is clearly in contravention of the Education Ministry and the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka’s own guidelines on textbook and literary work.

    The Minister should welcome our feedback and seek to engage with us rather than try to intimidate us.

    Giving up on the campaign to have the novel discontinued as a compulsory SPM reading is the wrong message to send. Capitulating to the Ministry’s insistence will signal that we do not care for our education system to play a positive role in building social cohesion as is implicit in the 1Malaysia slogan.

    NGOs and most particularly the parents should continue with even greater urgency and commitment to have Interlok removed from the classroom. The government has might on its side but might does not make it right.

  139. menj Says:

    “So, too boring and poorly constructed – meaning no, then?”

    I have read his books, if that is what you are asking.

    “What about books with titles like The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion and The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims?”

    Why is this discussion about literature and specifically Interlok suddenly turning into an Islam-bashing exercise with you bringing up the titles of Robert Spencer’s books?

  140. menj Says:

    Oh look, there’s wits0 — one of the late Rajan’s most devoted followers. You might want to ask him whether you and Rajan share the same ideology.

  141. Simon Thong Says:

    menj, hate-incarnate, anti-other religious missionary, wannabe destroyer of other religions, is here, too. Your ideology is now known.

  142. menj Says:

    “menj, hate-incarnate, anti-other religious missionary, wannabe destroyer of other religions, is here, too. Your ideology is now known.”

    Interesting epithets, I am truly flattered.

  143. wits0 Says:

    Menj has forgotten his challenge to Poli101 for a duel with AK47. I haven’t quite. Hahaha!

  144. menj Says:

    Making up stories, wits0? I do not even know who is this “Poli101” you are referring to.

  145. Simon Thong Says:

    Interesting epithets, I am truly flattered.

    So was Hitler.

  146. menj Says:

    “So was Hitler.”

    I don’t think Hitler had ever studied comparative religions. Kinda silly for you to invoke his name, yes?

  147. wits0 Says:

    I don’t need to make up that story, got nothing of an agenda or am desperate. Poli101 Blogspot.com was a blog run by a young guy from Wilayah who was affiliated with the DAP and he has deleted his blog and disappeared from the blogosphere radar screen, 2-3 years ago. When you fib much, you’ll soon forget what you’ve said before, after a while.

  148. wits0 Says:

    Interlok issue is not resolved
    http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2155&catid=118&Itemid=162

    Moo BS.

  149. menj Says:

    This is the only blog which fits the profile: http://poli101.blogspot.com and there are no posts there.

  150. menj Says:

    As for where Interlok is concerned, may I suggest that you start off with burning John Steinback’s “The Grapes of Wrath” if you people are truly wishing for zero racial bias in historical-based literature.

  151. Zack T Says:

    Menj… you, just as Yeah did, miss the point of the blog post.

    It’s not the fact that Interlock was racist or has racist content (otherwise Scott would have a field day listing some other racist/bigot writings)..

    The issue is the fact that the MoE had declared an easily-labeled-as-racist novel as compulsory reading for students.

  152. Interlok revisited, again Says:

    […] really do not understand what the fuss is all about. I’ve said what I have to say about Interlok here, but if these morons are so […]

  153. menj Says:

    “The issue is the fact that the MoE had declared an easily-labeled-as-racist novel as compulsory reading for students.”

    And how do you know that the book is an “easily-labelled as racist” novel without even reading it yourself from front to back? As for why it was selected for compulsory reading, it is because it was written by a SASTERAWAN NEGARA who has written other works besides this one. Its silly for anyone who is not aware of this until now to make a brouhahaha over something which should be regarded as historical fictional literature, a beautiful work of art in BM.

  154. Zack T Says:

    And how do you know that the book is an “easily-labelled as racist” novel without even reading it yourself from front to back? ~menj

    Is your English weak?

    “easily-labelled-as-racist” doesn’t require myself to have read it from front to back or even read it at all.
    Just read all the news…. What is the reaction of people as of late? Has there been a number of people who have found something to be offended about from the book with regards to racism?

  155. wits0 Says:

    As I recall it John Steinbeck’s, Award winning “Grapes of Wrath” wasn’t written with a racist overtone. He wrote about greedy bankers who caused the Great Depression and of the resultant suffering inflicted on farmers of the Dust Bowl.

    So how can a local racist bugger known as a “Sasterawan Negara”(award by by a racist institution of governance) compare with Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize? That’s more than than being far fetched! We are also fully aware of how one eyed jokers are elevated in the Malusian kingdom of the blind to be something. He now appears to be so great that the conniving government is willing to place him above the feelings of 2 major communities here!

  156. menj Says:

    “easily-labelled-as-racist” doesn’t require myself to have read it from front to back or even read it at all.”

    My point exactly. You have not read the book therefore that doesn’t really qualify you to label it as “racist” or make the sweeping assertion that it is “easily-labelled as racist”.

    “Just read all the news…. What is the reaction of people as of late?”

    Equally idiotic people like yourself who have never read the book or even heard of SN Abdullah Hussain before this issue broke out.

  157. menj Says:

    “As I recall it John Steinbeck’s, Award winning “Grapes of Wrath” wasn’t written with a racist overtone.”

    I have read Steinbeck. Who are you trying to fool? The use of the word “nigger” (equivalent to the word “paria”) is used liberally in the text.

    “He wrote about greedy bankers who caused the Great Depression and of the resultant suffering inflicted on farmers of the Dust Bowl.”

    Likewise, Interlok is about the communities living in Malaya before Independence and the situation of the time. Your point?

    “So how can a local racist bugger known as a “Sasterawan Negara”(award by by a racist institution of governance)”

    Obviously you have not heard of SN Abdullah Hussain before this issue with Interlok broke out. Who are you to call SN Abdullah Hussain “racist”? Have you read any of his works such as Imam? Heck, did you even read Interlok or are you relying on posts like these from people who have never touched, much less read the book?

    “compare with Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize? That’s more than than being far fetched! We are also fully aware of how one eyed jokers are elevated in the Malusian kingdom of the blind ”

    The Sasterawan Negara award is given to deserving national laureates who have contributed extensively to the literature of this country. Abdullah Hussain was not an exception. Your pooh-poohing of this does not detract from the value of the award.

  158. Zack T Says:

    Wow… your mastery of English is weak, menj.

    “easily-labelled-as-racist” does not equal the act of judging/labeling something as racist.

    It is stating the fact of the situation; that the book is prone to be labelled as racist, whether it is or not is a discussion that won’t change the fact that it is prone to be labelled as such.

    Hence, why I pointed to people’s reaction to the book.
    If you KNOW each and everyone who has called the book as racist and KNOW that they’ve never read the book or whatever, then good for you. You have achieved god-hood.

  159. menj Says:

    “Wow… your mastery of English is weak, menj.”

    Whether my “master of English” is weak or otherwise has nothing whatsoever to do with Interlok’s literary merit. This is nothing more than a straw man argument.

    “that the book is prone to be labelled as racist”

    I don’t see the book being labelled as racist except by those who (a) never read the book in their lives, (b) are protesting for the sake of protesting, based on hearsay.

    “If you KNOW each and everyone who has called the book as racist and KNOW that they’ve never read the book or whatever, then good for you. You have achieved god-hood.”

    I don’t have to be God-incarnate to “know” that those who are protesting have never read the book. I already asked Scott whether he had read it. He said no. Another case in point: have YOU read the book? I think we both know the answer to that.

  160. Simon Thong Says:

    Have you read the book, menj( pronounced mange? or mangy?)?

  161. Simon Thong Says:

    Else where on Scott’s blog, # menj Says:
    March 31, 11 at 3:19 pm

    Well, it was me alright. I must be getting old since I don’t recall leaving that comment but yes, it was I who wrote it.

    witsO, menj has a selective memory, and wishes to forget his embarrassing past, which has a way of catching up with him, courtesy of his friends:
    Monday, May 19, 2008
    MUSLIM BLOGGERS ALLIANCE MEDIA STATEMENT
    MEDIA STATEMENT
    by Zainol Abideen @ MAHAGURU58
    Protem President of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance

    REMOVAL, EXPULSION & BANNING
    of
    MOHD ELFIE NIESHAEM JUFERI a.k.a. M.E.N.J
    from his position as the Secretary-General of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance
    with immediate effect from the 18th of May, 2008.

    And:On April the 15th, 2008, I happened to come across a *posting on MENJ’s blog @ http://www.ibnjuferi.com which contained lewd and explicit pictures showing the female genitalia and a procedure called vaginoplasty which contravened the protocols of being a member of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance because MENJ has implicated his ‘girlfriend’s honor and reputation as a Muslimah by attributing to her certain words and expressions which are an act of serious fitnah and libel against her.

    The menj!

  162. Simon Thong Says:

    The Star Published: Sunday April 3, 2011 MYT 1:49:00 PM
    Updated: Sunday April 3, 2011 MYT 3:06:58 PM
    Teluk Intan MP arrested over Interlok protest

    KUALA LUMPUR: Police arrested Teluk Intan MP M. Manogaran and a student activist M.S. Arjunan for planning a protest over the Interlok issue at Batu Caves.

    Gombak OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Rahim Abdullah said they were detained as a preventive measure.

    They were arrested in the parking lot of the Batu Caves temple around 12noon Sunday.

    “They were planning an illegal gathering at a place of worship, so we have brought them in to keep the peace,” he said.

    He added that both men would be questioned before being released.

  163. Simon Thong Says:

    Malaysiakini
    Catholic Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing has denounced as “insidious” and “evil” the imposition of two sets of rules – one for Sabah and Sarawak and the other for Peninsular Malaysia – with regard to the dissemination of the Malay Bible, Al-Kitab.

    No different from the MOE’s attempt to impose Interlok on students; part of the Ketuanan program, the 1Malay1Muslim prigram that menj is behind.

  164. wits0 Says:

    Who is Idris Jala to accept such a ruling of two set of rules?! His name should become Idris Judas!

  165. Zack T Says:

    No, menj. Mine is not the straw man argument. Yours was.

    I wasn’t trying at all to label the book as racist. I couldn’t care less if it was or wasn’t.
    But the fact is, people are labelling it as that, regardless of whether they’ve read it or not.
    So my calling the book “easily-labelled-as-racist” is still accurate and not an act of labeling the book as racist by itself, and thus, you’re the one making straw-man arguments.

    And the issue is still not whether if the book is racist or not, but that people believed that the book is racist and are offended by it. And that is a cause of concern with regards to the fact that students are being exposed to this sort of material (that people can easily be offended by it or find contents in it that would akin to racism).

    I’m not stating any opinions, but fact.

  166. menj Says:

    “Have you read the book, menj( pronounced mange? or mangy?)?”

    Why are you suddenly making fun of my acronym, thong? Two can play that same game.

    As for the issue concerning Mahasial58, that has already been explained here and here. Suffice to say that relying on discredited individuals to smear my name isn’t going to take you anywhere.

  167. Simon Thong Says:

    But Zack, Zack, how could you expect him to understand you? He latches onto some obscure thing and off he runs with it. May have to do with his English…his England is velly goot.

    If he copies and pastes in English, as he does in his anti-Christian blog, the English is, of course, academic. My college students also do that.

    menj – I don’t think Hitler had ever studied comparative religions. Kinda silly for you to invoke his name, yes?

    But Hitler knew all about other religions, the most important of which was Judaism…and he decided to get rid of the Jews, which you would do if you had the chance, wouldn’t you? You would like to get rid of all the Christians as well.Except that you are a STUDENT of comparative religion.while Hitler had real power.

  168. menj Says:

    “No, menj. Mine is not the straw man argument. Yours was.”

    Its quite funny for you to suddenly make a U-turn and accuse me of something that you were guilty of, considering the fact that you tried to imply that my English was” weak” (I assure you that it is not, I have a far better command of English than you). That makes it a straw man argument.

    “I wasn’t trying at all to label the book as racist. I couldn’t care less if it was or wasn’t.”

    Yet another U-turn from you. You wouldn’t have bothered commenting here if not for the fact that people are making a lot of noise about the book, eh?

    “But the fact is, people are labelling it as that, regardless of whether they’ve read it or not.”

    My contention has been this right from the start: people who are making all these silly accusations and innuendos against Interlok have NOT read the book in its entirety. All they have to go on by are a few words selectively chosen, as well as inflammatory posts such as this article, the one from CPI and others who too have NOT read the book or understand what Malay literature is all about. That is my point. Just because people are accusing it of being racist in nature does not necessarily make that true.

    And you still have not answered my question. Have YOU read the book?

  169. menj Says:

    “But Hitler knew all about other religions, the most important of which was Judaism…and he decided to get rid of the Jews”

    Since you are obsessed with Hitler for some strange reason, you might want to take a long, hard look at these pictures for the reason why Hitler did so.

    I have never taken any Christian leader as an example, so no…my ideology is vastly different from Hitler’s. You might want to try a new kind of ad hominem in your rather poor attempt of trying to poison the well.

  170. menj Says:

    Pictures didn’t appear for some reason, so here is a link instead.

    http://ibiddir.com/fLbwnc

    Good luck trying to explain away the connection Hitler had with the Church!

  171. Simon Thong Says:

    See how little you know, menj: I have never taken any Christian leader as an example, so no…my ideology is vastly different from Hitler’s.

    Hitler a Christian leader? haha..
    Ur ideology is no different in its intended end: destroy those who don’t fit into your belief system. The link between Hitler and the Church? old hat, menj, old hat..

    How do I use ad hominem against you? Only if you qualify but you don’t.
    Insect? maybe…

  172. wits0 Says:

    There is no wisdom, worth or value to prompt me to read Interlok in its entirety. It’s not even a so-called holy book. Besides, is any wisdom, salvation or enlightenment directly related to reading some stuffs in their entirety and by rote?

    If you are solely stuck to the physical Form of a thing, you will never understand the Spirit of anything, no matter if you read something in its entirety and even backwards. A rigid mentality can never understand anything esoteric for that takes a different mindset.

    Interlok is a racist and disparaging book unfit to be use used in schools. It’s an extension of the BTN agenda and is categorically unacceptable.

  173. wits0 Says:

    Simon: “The link between Hitler and the Church? ”

    He’ll surely do the same with Pol Pot and Buddhism next!

  174. Zack T Says:

    Its quite funny for you to suddenly make a U-turn and accuse me of something that you were guilty of, considering the fact that you tried to imply that my English was” weak” (I assure you that it is not, I have a far better command of English than you). That makes it a straw man argument. ~menj

    Notice, first, my reply to you was “Is your English weak?”
    It’s not a straw-man argument.. wasn’t even an argument.

    However… your response following that comment of mine showed a clear misunderstanding of what I was saying… because, again, no way was I labeling the book racist in any way, and that was what my following reply was to explain clearly; i.e. “easily-labelled-as-racist” doesn’t require me, have you read the news, etc (that comment was one complete explanation, but you divided it in half and attacked them separately)……

    Your response completely ignored my explaining of my sentence and you continued to accuse me of the same. Thus, my following remark to say ‘your English is weak’.
    No straw-man. Just your own failure to better understand one person’s stance of the matter.

    Yet another U-turn from you. You wouldn’t have bothered commenting here if not for the fact that people are making a lot of noise about the book, eh? ~menj

    I comment in many of Scott’s blog post. Just because I comment here and share the same faith as him, does it necessarily mean I agree with everything he has to say?
    And notice, my first comment to you was merely to point out to you what the actual issue of the matter is, and that is that Scott isn’t focused on whether or not the book is racist, but the fact that people are getting offended by a particular book that happens to be a compulsory reading in school… (which you so far have not been addressing, other than claiming all protestors are merely those who never read the book)

    I was never making any sort of stance of this matter. I am what one would call ‘neutral’.

    Before you came, I may have taken one side of the discussion to ask a particular question or point to a particular issue of the discussion, but I assure you, I am making no stance regarding this issue.
    Like I said, I could care less if the book was truly racist or not.
    But it DOES concern me that this book is getting such attention; and if it can easily get such attention, how will students (who are less matured) handle such misunderstandings or racist/pseudo-racist contents?

    Just because people are accusing it of being racist in nature does not necessarily make that true. ~menj

    And you are correct to say that…. but again, that’s not what I’m pointing as fact…
    My fact is not what some people are saying.. but that there ARE people who are saying it.
    See your straw-man yet, menj?

  175. Simon Thong Says:

    # menj Says:
    April 3, 11 at 12:27 am
    This is the only blog which fits the profile: http://poli101.blogspot.com and there are no posts there.

    Of course, there aren’t. Removed already.

    But you could read this, wits0: About Nude Not Naked: Tidak Apa, MENJ
    19 May 2006 … For very obvious reasons, we are talking a 26 year old Muslim man that goes by the name of MENJ (acronym of his given name). …
    about-nude-not-naked.blogspot.com/…/tidak-apa-menj.html – Cached – Similar

  176. Simon Thong Says:

    http://about-nude-not-naked.blogspot.com/2006/05/tidak-apa-menj.html

  177. Simon Thong Says:

    or here
    http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/index.htm

  178. Simon Thong Says:

    And this:http://mrdefinite.com/malaysian-blogosphere-war-menj-vs-shadowfox/

    Malaysian Blogosphere War: Menj vs ShadowFox
    24 Mar 2009 … Menj went further to lodge a police report against ShadowFox for allegedly defaming him and posting blasphemous statements against Allah on …
    mrdefinite.com/malaysian-blogosphere-war-menj-vs-shadowfox/ – Cached

    Since the acquisition of Malaysian blog-ping aggregator Project Petaling Street (PPS), the Malaysian blogosphere has not been very peaceful. The first thing that blogger Menj — who just bought over PPS — has to make sure, is to have ShadowFox banned from his blog aggregation site.
    Menj later explained he was only exercising his “administrative right to ban an uncivilised lout“.
    Previously, ShadowFox, whom I personally feel is a very resourceful blogger, has posted on his (in)famous blog several write-ups about Menj. Of the condemnations made against Menj in those blog posts, ShadowFox:

    * calls Menj a “Muslim scum” for the suggestion that non-Muslims should be tattooed – an act that Hitler once did to the Jews.
    * claims that good Muslims spoke up against Menj and Mahaguru (another blogger).
    * questions if Menj is a “Pious Muslim or a Hypocrite?“

    If banning ShadowFox from PPS is not enough, Menj went further to lodge a police report against ShadowFox for allegedly defaming him and posting blasphemous statements against Allah on his blog.
    On the other hand, Asia Sentinel journalist Jed Yoong also declared an open war with Menj by asking people to boycott PPS and Menj. Just recently, Jed has been investigated for sedition following a police report lodged by “UMNO Virtual Club” (Kelab Maya UMNO).
    A virtual club? Maybe next time I need to come out with my own virtual club called… the “Mr. De Virtual Club” ahhahaha!
    Le sigh… Be peace faster faster befall upon the blogosphere!

  179. wits0 Says:

    Of course, Simon, I remember about his stated claim that only the Shiite does Taqiyyah ; he made the same to yours truly way back too notwithstanding the spectacular admission by Sunni Yasser Arafat over the Oslo Peace Treaty.

  180. Simon Thong Says:

    And history! wahah, what history of the bigot~
    Best Laid Plans Of Monkeys And Menj » Footsteps in the Mirror
    22 May 2006 … Though…what disturbs me is that for the most part, there are some people that can summise this entire Menj issue into nothing more than the …
    kamigoroshi.net/general/best-laid-plans-of-monkeys-and-menj – Cached

    http://kamigoroshi.net/general/best-laid-plans-of-monkeys-and-menj

    There are things menj can’t delete or erase….

  181. Simon Thong Says:

    This is something older, 30-09-2005, before he became the ultra-vicious anti-Christian anti-nonMuslim that he is today

    http://www.recom.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2800

    Non-flamming discussion on MENJ
    Let me first explain what I know about MENJ:

    1. He loves to talk online about RELIGION and how non-muslims will perish in the fires of hell
    2. He often contradicts himself and his sermons
    3. He loves to post on forums wherever he can find an audience
    4. When people get sick of him, he moves to another forum
    5. This guy is PROMINENT, but only ONLINE. Just do a google on MENJ.

    Why I think its a waste of time responding to him:

    1. He’s only prominent online.
    2. No one buys his books (wonder who sponsored it?)
    3. he’s not good enough to get a column in the local newspapers, 4. and its pretty obvious he’s not going to rise up the ranks in PAS. But if he knows how to carry the right balls, why not?

    Thus, I shall not talk about him anymore

    ps. MENJ: The debate challenge is still open, and you can suggest topics if you want. Other people please suggest also.

  182. Simon Thong Says:

    This one is interesting to say the least…

    MENJ was spotted making a fool out of himself in other forums.😀 …
    50 posts – 11 authors – Last post: 13 Oct 2009
    CARI Malay Forums Find all the information about Malaysia here, just ask the Malaysian. One of the most popular local Malaysian community …
    mforum.cari.com.my › … › Keagamaan, Kerohanian & Kepercayaan – Cached

    http://mforum.cari.com.my/archiver/?tid-229149.html

    Unkind words were said about him….which he surely deserved🙂

  183. menj Says:

    Wow you sure have got a lot of spare time, Simon Thong. Most of these stuff you are reposting are dated back to 3 years ago, some I am aware of but ignored (because I have better things to do with my time), others are just plain silly nonsense about who I am and what I do. Mere speculation most of the time.

    The particular post from Recom is interesting. I never posted there before, nor do I know who “mislead_youth” is. Probably some legacy issue that was brought up but I’ve forgotten what it was. No matter. Fact remains that what he thinks he “knows” about me is nothing more than speculation and mostly untrue then as it is today.

    People do change in 5 years. I too have changed over the course of years. There are some views I held but discarded, and there are some views which I have maintained until today. Your attempt at picking up the old trail is nothing more than a childish attempt. So much for being “intellectual” and boasting about it earlier.

    “Hitler a Christian leader? haha..”

    Why not address this: http://ibiddir.com/fLbwnc first before you start bringing up Pol Pot? You were the one who dug the hole about Hitler, not me.

  184. Simon Thong Says:

    The man has history, bad history. One of the regular terms for him was ‘con men’ while another was ‘deception’. Sociological studies show that some people are so crooked that they can’t even see the lies they have told.

    Remember, we write in to blogs in our spare time. Scott blogs for no monetary gain. Scott’s blog has no adverts. Menj earns his living by blogging, and I suppose he needs us to go to his blogs to get the numbers up and justify the adverts in them; and to keep getting donations from those hard-case followers of his. Thus, he comes here to quarrel and then hopes to re-direct us to his making-very-little-money blogs.

    He wants to latch onto a popular blog and to suck us into his blogs. FAT hope.

  185. menj Says:

    Yeah keep digging up the old stuff…let’s see what you can come up with. I have never tried to hide my identity or my stance online, unlike some people who don’t even have a face to their names.

  186. Simon Thong Says:

    More is revealed about his past (the child is father of the man: the younger extremist is father of the older ultra-bigot):
    #
    #
    beritamalaysia : Message: “MENJ Has Extreme and Narrow Religious …
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beritamalaysia/message/69590?var=1

  187. menj Says:

    LOL what is your point of reposting old, rehashed material that is not even relevant to who I am now and the issue at hand (Interlok)?

    As for this comment:

    “Remember, we write in to blogs in our spare time. Scott blogs for no monetary gain. Scott’s blog has no adverts. Menj earns his living by blogging, and I suppose he needs us to go to his blogs to get the numbers up and justify the adverts in them;”

    That is where you are wrong. I do not earn my living solely from blogging…at least not today. And I certainly don’t need a bunch of bigots like yourself to visit my “blogs” and click my ads.

  188. menj Says:

    It seems that you are still running away without answering this: http://ibiddir.com/fLbwnc I want to see how you as a Christian will justify Hitler’s relation to the Church, since it is clear you disavow him and do not regard him as a Christian?

  189. Simon Thong Says:

    Does a leopard lose its spots, menj? You may think you have changed, sincerely, but I have seen no change except for the worse.

    You had no respect for the Jesus Christ of Christians (or for Buddhists, for that matter), and you still don’t have. Indeed, you took great pleasure in insulting us.

    You were an extremist, and you still are.

    Once you banned others from your blog after you purchased it. Now, when the past begins to catch up with you, when those who know you well appear to expose you, you urge Scott to ban them. Same as before.

    Maybe you have changed in one aspect: thicker skin, perhaps more cunning.

    You have not left your past behind.

    I am not faceless. I am honest. You, menj, may have a face but is that enough?

  190. Simon Thong Says:

    Hitler and the churches? No need to justify? Read this:http://www.gci.org/history/barmen

    Why don’t you dig up all the atrocities your fellows commited, including in Thailand, people just like you? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/25/thailands-muslim-separati_n_220903.html

    And what Gaddafi is doing to fellow believers?

    Justify them.

  191. Simon Thong Says:

    Your work is online, right? That’s where the money comes rolling in? Accusing me of being so free? You’re never free. Like the devil, you work 24/7.

    Oh did I understate your sources of income. Donations, ah, donations. How could I forget? What else? Recommending treatments?

  192. Simon Thong Says:

    “5. This guy is PROMINENT, but only ONLINE. Just do a google on MENJ.”

    I did. Walao, a whole page on wikipedia! Bet you, wits0, that his followers DID NOT put it up.

    No change at all; still trying to become more and more PROMINENT but only ONLINE.. Nothing better to do with your cheap time (in contrast to my free time)?

    Keep coming back. Scott’s a good bloke, and though we share a surname, he couldn’t be more different. He wouldn’t throw you out. He is kind.

    I’m nasty but only to a half-man half-ape who calls the Son of God ‘some half-naked dude died at the cross’.

  193. menj Says:

    “Does a leopard lose its spots, menj? You may think you have changed, sincerely, but I have seen no change except for the worse.”

    You do not even know me before I appeared here, so who are you to tell me that I have changed or not changed?

    “You had no respect for the Jesus Christ of Christians (or for Buddhists, for that matter)”

    I have nothing but the fullest respect and reverence for Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, peace be upon him and his mother. Seems that you are simply accusing without facts. Care to explain what was with the sudden frenzy in reposting stuff about me by my opponents some five to six years ago?

    “You were an extremist, and you still are.”

    People still keep calling me that, and I am not bothered in the least. It seems to be a common tactic by those who oppose Islam to accuse the Muslim of being an “extremist”. As far as I know, I am not on any wanted list of the FBI, CIA, Interpol or any international organisation for terrorism. Hence, how can I be an “extremist”?

    “Once you banned others from your blog after you purchased it.”

    Gee, I really do not know what you are talking about. “Banned” others from what blog? I have never bought any blogs!

    “Now, when the past begins to catch up with you, when those who know you well appear to expose you, you urge Scott to ban them. Same as before.”

    That is his perogative and I respect him for that. I was just warning him about a troll who has been following me around and impersonate me for some time. I have good reason to suspect who it is. Since you do not know the history, I suggest that you might want to stop making comments that will only make you look silly.

    “I am not faceless. I am honest.”

    Honest without a face. Yeah, right. You don’t even have your own blog. At least Scott has his. What do you have?

  194. menj Says:

    “Your work is online, right? That’s where the money comes rolling in?”

    Yes, it is online alright but not the way you think it is.

    “Accusing me of being so free? You’re never free. Like the devil, you work 24/7.”

    Yeah some people do have a job, unlike some people who don’t have a blog and become a freeloader spending their free time on another’s blog.

    “Oh did I understate your sources of income. Donations, ah, donations. How could I forget? What else? Recommending treatments?”

    Donations? How I wish that is true. Unfortunately, you are not even close.

  195. menj Says:

    “Walao, a whole page on wikipedia! Bet you, wits0, that his followers DID NOT put it up.”

    If you are talking about my Wikipedia page, I did put that one up.

    “No change at all; still trying to become more and more PROMINENT but only ONLINE.. Nothing better to do with your cheap time (in contrast to my free time)?”

    Speaking again out of the arse without knowing the facts and only assuming. Because that is what you only have, assume. I wish I could tell you how wrong you are but you won’t believe me. Too bad then, I can’t help it if some people are so clueless about who I am and what I have been doing for the past few years.

    “I’m nasty but only to a half-man half-ape who calls the Son of God ‘some half-naked dude died at the cross’.”

    Sorry, I don’t believe that a “son of God” would want to get himself executed as a common criminal. What kind of lame, half-ape God would want to show the world he is so weak that he could be executed by mere humans? Wouldn’t it be majestic for God if He would save His own-elected Prophet from the cross, instead of letting him die humiliatingly which does not befit His Stature in the least?

    Too bad that the Christian mind is unable to comprehend something so elementary as this. Well, keep on worshipping your half-naked man, that is your perogative.

  196. menj Says:

    “Hitler and the churches? No need to justify? Read this:http://www.gci.org/history/barmen

    This is a cheap cop-out without addressing the pictures published in the link provided: http://ibiddir.com/fLbwnc Still no answer? Might want to stay quiet.

    “Why don’t you dig up all the atrocities your fellows commited, including in Thailand”

    So if Hitler does atrocities, it means he is not a Christian but if a Muslim does it, it means Islam teaches this? Such hypocrisy is astounding.

    “And what Gaddafi is doing to fellow believers?”

    Same position as the previous para.

  197. Zack T Says:

    [Redacted by blog owner]

    Here’s the Tafsir for v.216 – http://tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=2&tid=5708
    And for v.217 – http://tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=2&tid=5727

  198. Simon Thong Says:

    I don’t have a blog, and not stupid enough to blog when I know it won’t work. Can’t say you’re successful either, only notorious. Oh, and did you think you can blog? LOL. You have blogs but you can’t blog. Lousy excuses you have there that you think are blogs and are technically blogs but are not.

    Blogging is NOT a job. Deal with that. Do something productive for a change.

    Freeloader? Aren’t you one yourself? What are you doing here? Pot calling the kettle black? People in glass houses should only undress in the dark.

    Jesus, the son of Mary, died on the cross. That’s the belief of Christians.
    Your words? “God is not held out to ransom simply because some half-naked dude died at the cross and was erroneously perceived to be His “son”.

    And again, “Since I don’t believe that the person who was executed like the common criminal he is to be Jesus, upon whom be peace, why should I be bounded by your rules and stoop so low as to revere and worship the half-naked man?”

    You may think otherwise; hundreds of millions of Christians think so; yet you chose to insult us. No different, self-appointed “destroyer” of Christianity, from what you were.

    Now, I rest my case. Enough for now.

  199. menj Says:

    “I don’t have a blog, and not stupid enough to blog when I know it won’t work.”

    We should be grateful that overtly “intelligent” people like you

    “Can’t say you’re successful either, only notorious.”

    At least I am successful enough to earn RM3K+ a month.

    “Oh, and did you think you can blog? LOL. You have blogs but you can’t blog.”

    I wonder how you could come to that conclusion when I haven’t even listed ALL my blogs here. Rest assured, you don’t need to know about them. I am not interested in exposing my blog network to the likes of you.

    “Lousy excuses you have there that you think are blogs and are technically blogs but are not.”

    So says someone who does not have a blog but thinks he is an expert who knows about blogs. Ah, the sheer irony.

    “Blogging is NOT a job. Deal with that. Do something productive for a change.”

    LOL. I have heard this before way back in 2006, at the time blogs were still relatively new to the scene and many people were telling me that there is no way you can live purely on earnings online. Fast forward several years later, I have a network of blogs/directories, a company, a wife and regular income. All thanks to that “blogging” job that started me off on this career path and which you just said is “not” a job.

    I have no intention of leaving my “blogging” (LOL) job just because you tell me that it is “not” a job.

    “Freeloader? Aren’t you one yourself? What are you doing here?”

    I have some spare time to kill and hence here I am. Everyone is free to leave their feedback here, that is what I am doing. That doesn’t mean that I do not have a job or have to entertain crap from an extremist Christian loon who thinks blogging is not a “job”, when there are several people including myself who are the living example of just quite the opposite.

    Since you are so fond of Google and picking up dirt on me, why not do something useful for a change and type in the following keywords:

    make money online

    After you have read all the material available on the web, come back and tell me whether you still think blogging is “not” a job.

    “Not a job”, indeed. ROTFL. If only you knew….

  200. menj Says:

    You people do realise that you are making comments that has nothing to do with the title of this post, don’t you?

  201. menj Says:

    “I don’t have a blog, and not stupid enough to blog when I know it won’t work.”

    We should be grateful that overtly “intelligent” people like you

    “Can’t say you’re successful either, only notorious.”

    At least I am successful enough to earn RM3K+ a month.

    “Oh, and did you think you can blog? LOL. You have blogs but you can’t blog.”

    I wonder how you could come to that conclusion when I haven’t even listed ALL my blogs here. Rest assured, you don’t need to know about them. I am not interested in exposing my blog network to the likes of you.

    “Lousy excuses you have there that you think are blogs and are technically blogs but are not.”

    So says someone who does not have a blog but thinks he is an expert who knows about blogs. Ah, the sheer irony.

  202. menj Says:

    “Jesus, the son of Mary, died on the cross. That’s the belief of Christians.
    Your words?…hundreds of millions of Christians think so; yet you chose to insult us.”

    Oh my, I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sorry that I hurt your feelings when I had accurately described that someone (who was not Jesus, peace be upon him) died on the cross. This person was condemned to be executed by Pilate Pontius for crimes against the state, hence that makes him a “Roman criminal”. You are upset just because it is true that you worship this half-naked crucified man. Was I lying when I said this? Whoever heard of a man fully dressed when crucified?

  203. Zack T Says:

    Hmm… So if that’s the case… then anyone is allowed to insult and make fun of Muhammad and Allah, by your standard, menj?

    That when we point out you worship a god that allows ****philes or is the ***** himself? What? From some people’s PoV, that is pretty much the truth… but of course, from your perspective, that would be insulting and inconsiderate of us.

    That Muhammad was a ****phile or murderer or *****izer (not feminist) or a *****-trader…. then we need not apologize for being ‘truthful’?
    I doubt you would agree to this kind of ‘behavior’ from others.

    So, in the same way.. just because YOU think you’re saying (what you believe is) the truth, doesn’t mean you can be inconsiderate and insult what other people believe…. otherwise, by the same standard, we can do the same with your beliefs; Muhammad and Allah and the Quran.
    Which would then mean your Muslim ‘brothers’ are the ones who are being too ‘touchy’ by killing many lives over a (supposed) blasphemy against your prophet or over the burning of a pile of papers and ink.

    (Disclaimer: this comment was meant to be an exaggerated example and not meant to insult or make fun, unlike a certain someone’s post)

  204. wits0 Says:

    The “half-naked crucified man” factor does not bother a non monotheist but only Talibans, e.g., as did the Bamiyah giant Buddhas. And Menj has been called ‘Taliban Lite’ on the Net.

  205. Ron Says:

    “half-naked crucified man”

    Atheists prefer the term “cosmic Jewish zombie”:

    Christianity: “The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.”

  206. wits0 Says:

    Trying to make Symbolism into something Real in 3Dwon’t bring anyone very far.

  207. Scott Thong Says:

    Sorry for the delay, comments are approved now. Some may be duplicated due to attempted re-post after flagged by Akismet as potential spam.

  208. Zack T Says:

    Sorry, I don’t believe that a “son of God” would want to get himself executed as a common criminal. What kind of lame, half-ape God would want to show the world he is so weak that he could be executed by mere humans? Wouldn’t it be majestic for God if He would save His own-elected Prophet from the cross, instead of letting him die humiliatingly which does not befit His Stature in the least? ~menj

    John 15:13, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

    John 15:15, Jesus also says, “I no longer call you servants (slaves), because a servant (slave) does not know his master’s business.”

    You as a Muslim and a slave of Allah do not know what your Allah has in mind (hence why your salvation in Islam is unassured, and continue to pray Muhammad will have peace on him), whereas God of the bible pleases to share His thoughts with His people, like a father gladly shares with his children his knowledge and wisdom.

    And which is more worthy of praise?
    A King who never leaves the castle and his royal robe to walk on the street with his people, but requires that people continue to serve him just because he is king?
    OR
    A King who is willing to leave his castle, put aside his royalty to be amongst his people and serve them personally even though he is king?

    Who is more worthy to follow?
    A King who sends others to die for his sake?
    OR
    A King who is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his people?

    No, it is more majestic for God to be willing to humble Himself for the sake of His people, and then return triumphant over Death itself that Death or Hell will not have right/power over those who believe in and follow Christ.

    If it’s more majestic for Allah to rescue his prophet, why doesn’t he save all of them, and yet only saved Jesus and ONLY Him?
    Jesus in the Quran makes no sense in Islam and everything that he does or says is either “for the sake of it” / “just because” or to be made as an argument for Islam.

    Why did Jesus need to be born of a virgin?
    Why did Allah save Him when Allah doesn’t even bother to save Muhammad from death? What about all the past prophets who were killed too?
    Why is Jesus the most miraculous prophet of all… and yet Muhammad is the prophet for the world who did NO miracle, the Quran testifies to that?
    Why is Jesus called the Messiah, when it is a Jewish prophecy (not Islamic or Arabic) and for the Jews, the Messiah is a divinic title?
    Why is Jesus returning as the Judge and witness for every man according to Islamic teaching?

  209. Scott Thong Says:

    Why is this discussion about literature and specifically Interlok suddenly turning into an Islam-bashing exercise with you bringing up the titles of Robert Spencer’s books? – menj

    Merely because you (and others before you) have made the claim that one cannot judge a book without first having properly read it.

    Hence my challenge to you, can you similarly say that we cannot judge Spencer’s books without first reading them cover to cover? Or do their blatantly overt titles, blurbs, reviews and the known predilections of their author constitute sufficient evidence of what the books are probably like inside?

    I mean, if I come across a book titled “How the Prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam Were Actually Evil Aliens” by L. Ron Hubbard, I kinda know that it’s gonna be full of nonsense without even opening it.

  210. Scott Thong Says:

    Since you are obsessed with Hitler for some strange reason, you might want to take a long, hard look at these pictures for the reason why Hitler did so. – menj

    Funny, I always thought it might have had something to do with this: Especially the 7th photo

  211. Scott Thong Says:

    Wow, with this much history and notoriety, I suppose it’s an honour that menj chose my blog to hang around for a while. Too bad I missed that chance six years ago eh?

  212. Scott Thong Says:

    Zack, redacted your recent posts – remember that ISA is still in effect in Malaysia.

  213. Scott Thong Says:

    And which is more worthy of praise?
    A King who never leaves the castle and his royal robe to walk on the street with his people, but requires that people continue to serve him just because he is king?
    OR
    A King who is willing to leave his castle, put aside his royalty to be amongst his people and serve them personally even though he is king? – Zack T

    Isn’t this what Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah was renowned and revered for doing?

  214. Zack T Says:

    Zack, redacted your recent posts – remember that ISA is still in effect in Malaysia. ~Scott

    Hence my disclaimer at the end.. Haha. An exaggerated example to prove a point to menj.

  215. menj Says:

    “Some may be duplicated due to attempted re-post after flagged by Akismet as potential spam.”

    Please delete the duplicated comments from me, I wasn’t aware that Akismet had blocked the commenting from me. You have my fullest permission to do so. Thanks!

  216. menj Says:

    @ZackT:

    “You as a Muslim and a slave of Allah do not know what your Allah has in mind (hence why your salvation in Islam is unassured, and continue to pray Muhammad will have peace on him)”

    Why should a blood atonement be a iron-clad guarantee from God for “salvation”? Unfortunately, you Christians don’t seem to understand something so elementary as this.

    “Salvation in Islam is unassured”, you say? Its not quite as simple as that. As I have said elsewhere, the concept of “salvation” in Islam is far different from the concept of “salvation” in Christian ethics and theology. As for why Muslims say peace and blessings upon the Messengers of God (you are wrong in that we don’t just say peace be upon Muhammad, we also say peace be upon Jesus, peace be upon Moses, peace be upon Abraham and the other Prophets from your very own Bible), that is because the Qur’an has taught us to say so and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has also instructed us to say so.

    You also talk about Kings and being Kingly. For us Muslims, God Almighty is the King of Kings beyond any mortally conceived notion of the word “King”. We place God on a much higher level of reverence than you Christians could ever conceive or imagine through the lens of Christian ethics alone. So it is hardly a problem for us if God, through His Infinite Wisdom, decides for example to throw all the Believers into Hell because we believe that only He has the Wisdom to make that judgement call. “Salvation” is God’s perogative and only His perogative Alone, because only He is the Most Gracious and Most Merciful. In Islam, you don’t get an automated one-way ticket to Paradise simply because of believing in some blood pact.

    On the other hand, you Christians believe that through a mere blood atonement of the “so-called” sacrifice, God is bound to the rules and cannot make His own decisions. That makes your conception of God a very weak one from the Muslim perspective.

  217. menj Says:

    “Merely because you (and others before you) have made the claim that one cannot judge a book without first having properly read it.”

    Dude, you seem to be unable to distinguish between LITERARY FICTION and NON-FICTION WORKS. Literary fiction is judged on a different standard than non-fictional works, which usually means you have to read it from cover to cover. That is what Interlok is, a historical literary fiction. Next thing you are going to tell me, we should burn Gone With The Wind because it does not accurately portray the incidents in the American Civil War. Or you are going to call for a ban on Faisal Tehrani’s 1515 because it portrays Christians in a not-very-flattering light. There are in fact some passages in that novel which characterises Christians as lying, conniving scum.

    Spencer’s books are non-fictional, they are meant to be taken literally and they are definitely not a work of literary art. They are polemical, irreverent half-truths written because he has an intense hatred of Islam and is himself a xenophobe.

  218. Zack T Says:

    On the other hand, you Christians believe that through a mere blood atonement of the “so-called” sacrifice, God is bound to the rules and cannot make His own decisions. ~menj

    Why do Muslims always explain the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as if God did not intend it to be exactly that way?
    Talk about straw-man.

    First of all, “Why should a blood atonement be a iron-clad guarantee from God for “salvation”? ”
    That’s easy. God made it that way, since Adam and Eve was thrown out of the Garden. Adam and Eve tried covering themselves with leaves, but when God kicked them out of the Garden, He killed innocent animals to cover their nakedness. And He continued to instill this doctrine through the sacrificial practices, whereas Allah never seemed to understood the significance of sacrificing in the Torah; i.e. Abraham’s sacrifice.

    Unfortunately, you Muslims don’t seem to understand something so elementary as this. Right back at you.

    Second, regardless of who you say ‘peace be upon him’, you are still praying for ‘peace [to] be upon him[them]’.
    If Muhammad was so great, I don’t see why the need for ‘peace [to] be upon him’. After death, he should be in peace, shouldn’t he? Especially since Islamic salvation is assured, according to some Muslims (not sure if you hold that same position)?

    Third, notice you completely avoided the simple questions about which King is more worthy to be praised or followed.
    It’s a simple parable that easily fits the comparison between God and Allah.
    I wonder why Muslims so often just ignore this question. (So far, I’ve only had ONE Muslim answer this, elsewhere)

    Fourth, God created the Law to be obeyed by His creation and He Himself follows the Law He has set for He is a just and fair and perfect Being. For him to break or even bend the Law that He Himself set is to be unfair and thus, imperfect.
    Being the creator of the Law, means He knows how to fulfill the Law perfectly, which He did through The Son, Jesus Christ.

    So which is greater?
    A God that can still save people and brings them to Heaven without bending any rules?
    OR
    A God that saves someone and brings him/her to Heaven just because He pleased/willed, independent of the law?

  219. menj Says:

    “Why do Muslims always explain the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as if God did not intend it to be exactly that way? Talk about straw-man.”

    Not a straw man, since you are so hyped up about a blood atonement being a guarantee for salvation the issue was raised I therefore mentioned it.

    As for the question “Why do Muslims always explain the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as if God did not intend it to be exactly that way?” The answer is because we don’t believe that Christ Jesus was “sacrificed” in the first place and hence, just because you believe this does not make it true. Duh. Elementary.

    “That’s easy. God made it that way, since Adam and Eve was thrown out of the Garden.”

    Then this goes back to the issue of Original Sin. In Islam, no such thing exists, simply because Adam and Eve were accountable for their own sin. We do not believe that the sin of Adam was inherited from generation to generation, until one day God decided to kill his own “son” to wash away the “sin” in question.

    “Adam and Eve tried covering themselves with leaves,…”

    And bla bla bla. We Muslims don’t accept the Biblical account of the events either, so no use quoting it to me.

    “Allah never seemed to understood the significance of sacrificing in the Torah; i.e. Abraham’s sacrifice.”

    Not totally related, but apparently even the Jews themselves “do not seem to understand the significance of the sacrifice” of Jesus as per the Christian understanding: http://www.bismikaallahuma.org/archives/2005/the-invalidity-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus-as-an-atonement-of-sin/

    As for the sacrifice of Abraham, upon whom be peace, we do celebrate it every year and this event is called Eid al-Adha. Hari Raya Haji as it is known in Malaysia. I don’t see Christians celebrating a similar event either, so it seems Muslims hold on to the traditions of Abraham much more strongly than the Christians do.

    “Second, regardless of who you say ‘peace be upon him’, you are still praying for ‘peace [to] be upon him[them]‘.”

    So what? Its not a big deal for us. We say “peace be upon” the Prophets because we are taught to do so, both by the Qur’an and the Prophet that we follow. That is basically just it.

    “If Muhammad was so great, I don’t see why the need for ‘peace [to] be upon him’. After death, he should be in peace, shouldn’t he?”

    We are encouraged to pray to God for everything we do, because nothing is certain and only God has the right to make it certain. We Muslims already know that the Prophet PBUH was assured of Paradise, but we are still told by the Prophet himself to do this anyway, as an act of obedience to God and not for his PBUH sake alone.

    “Especially since Islamic salvation is assured, according to some Muslims (not sure if you hold that same position)?”

    It is assured, no questions about it. How it will be executed, however, is up to God alone.

    “Third, notice you completely avoided the simple questions about which King is more worthy to be praised or followed.”

    We have a different conception of what is a King or Kingly. For the Muslim, comparing God to the actions of a human King is unbenign for His Stature. Hence your parable does not compute in the Muslim mind. What I said before about the Muslim conception of what is King and Kingly is more acceptable.

    “A God that can still save people and brings them to Heaven without bending any rules?
    OR
    A God that saves someone and brings him/her to Heaven just because He pleased/willed, independent of the law?”

    For the Muslim, it is both and much more. God can choose to be binded by the Rules, or He can choose NOT to be bounded by the rules. That is totally up to Him. It was never a question of one or the other.

  220. Simon Thong Says:

    no apology was asked for and none was expected; there is no sincerity in you, mange.

    whatever you say as a muslim-rejected-by-the muslim bloggers association means nothing; only empty talk, an empty vessel clanging away..

  221. Zack T Says:

    Not a straw man, since you are so hyped up about a blood atonement being a guarantee for salvation the issue was raised I therefore mentioned it. ~menj

    And obviously you still don’t understand what I’m talking about when you said that.
    Allow me to explain more clearly, so you stop attacking strawmen.

    You said, “On the other hand, you Christians believe that through a mere blood atonement of the “so-called” sacrifice, God is bound to the rules and cannot make His own decisions.”

    You stated the above statement as though Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not ‘God’s own decision’, and that it was never God’s intent to achieve this through this method.
    And sure enough, your last reply confirms your strawman fallacy, “The answer is because we don’t believe that Christ Jesus was “sacrificed” in the first place..”
    What you believe is not what we Christians believe. So, your argument is based on what you believe, and not an argument based on what we believe, hence a strawman argument.

    Then this goes back to the issue of Original Sin. In Islam, no such thing exists, simply because Adam and Eve were accountable for their own sin. We do not believe that the sin of Adam was inherited from generation to generation, until one day God decided to kill his own “son” to wash away the “sin” in question. ~menj

    That is your issue, not mine. The bible does teach this doctrine and if the Quran doesn’t, that’s not a Christian’s issue to solve for you.
    Hence, another straw-man.

    And plus, here’s a thought, menj. If the sin of Adam is not inherited from generation to generation and that by Allah’s punishment of Adam’s sin, both Adam and Eve were kicked out of Paradise, so why are the generations after Adam still outside paradise, continuing the punishment of Adam and Eve?

    “And bla bla bla. We Muslims don’t accept the Biblical account of the events either, so no use quoting it to me. ~menj

    Again, not my issue to solve for you.

    apparently even the Jews themselves “do not seem to understand the significance of the sacrifice” of Jesus as per the Christian understanding ~menj

    Based on the biblical account, they don’t acknowledge Jesus because they don’t even accept Him as the prophecied Messiah in the first place.
    Doesn’t mean they don’t understand the significance of the sacrificial practices; even the article you linked confirms that they understood the significance of the sacrificial practices. They just don’t accept Jesus as the one who have fulfilled that role.

    “The celebration of the sacrifice of Abraham?”

    Hahaha. Whether you celebrate it or have a tradition regarding that, doesn’t mean you understand the significance of it in light of the whole picture.
    For Muslims, it was merely an act of great faith, but yet the practice of sacrificing that Allah ordered the Jews (and supposed in some Islamic school of thought) holds no significant meaning or doctrine, whatsoever…
    For Christians, it was not only but also a prophecy of the sacrifice of the Son by the Father and by what Abraham answered when Isaac asked where was the sacrificial lamb, “God will provide.”

    “what is a King or Kingly”

    And thus your answer befits the first of each question..
    1 – A king who never leaves the castle or puts aside his royal robe for the sake of his people.. but requires the people to continue to serve him just because he is king.
    2 – A king who sends others to die for his sake, and never sacrifices anything of himself for his people’s sake.

    For the Muslim, it is both and much more. God can choose to be binded by the Rules, or He can choose NOT to be bounded by the rules. That is totally up to Him. It was never a question of one or the other. ~menj

    And with that, it is assuredly sealed that you serve a god that is not fair nor just.
    No judge in court who bends the law or chooses not to be bound by it for anyone’s sake can be considered fair or just.

  222. Scott Thong Says:

    Dude, you seem to be unable to distinguish between LITERARY FICTION and NON-FICTION WORKS. – menj

    I don’t see how the difference between fiction and non-fiction comes into play with what I am suggesting, which is: How can we tell whs a book good or bad, neutral or offensive, agreeble or intolerable?

    We can find out by reading the entire book, of course. But I contend that we can also have an adequate grasp of what to expect from the book through its title, subtitle, self-description, back cover blurb, reviews and so forth.

  223. Scott Thong Says:

    I don’t intend to hijack the conversation between Zack T and menj, however I have a few points to add:

    Then this goes back to the issue of Original Sin. In Islam, no such thing exists, simply because Adam and Eve were accountable for their own sin. We do not believe that the sin of Adam was inherited from generation to generation, until one day God decided to kill his own “son” to wash away the “sin” in question. – menj

    It’s also to wash away sins we pick up all on our own. Surely even Muslims believe that it is impossible for any ordinary human (i.e. non-prophet) to commit no sin in his lifetime on earth?

    So on the practical level, whether original sin is taken into account has little or no bearing on the final outcome – without some means of atonement (e.g. good deeds or divine providence), we are all bound for hell.

    (If I am mistaken here, please correct me – how much sin does it take to be condemned according to Islam?)

    As Zack has been explaining, the Christian concept of Christ’s atoning blood is based on the Jewish system of blood sacrifice as atonement for sins (which has reams of minute laws and rituals in the OT). So whether it makes sense from an Islamic perspective or not, the Christ sacrifice is not an arbitrarily decided concept.

  224. Simon Thong Says:

    menj – At least I am successful enough to earn RM3K+ a month.
    (wahah, is that all? No, you earn more, especially from weak-minded followers who donate to you. Paid any income tax at all? Got an income tax file at all?)

    menj – Gee, I really do not know what you are talking about. “Banned” others from what blog? I have never bought any blogs!
    (Haha, caught in another fib.
    :http://mrdefinite.com/malaysian-blogosphere-war-menj-vs-shadowfox/
    Previously, ShadowFox, whom I personally feel is a very resourceful blogger, has posted on his (in)famous blog several write-ups about Menj. Of the condemnations made against Menj in those blog posts, ShadowFox:

    * calls Menj a “Muslim scum” for the suggestion that non-Muslims should be tattooed – an act that Hitler once did to the Jews.
    * claims that good Muslims spoke up against Menj and Mahaguru (another blogger).
    * questions if Menj is a “Pious Muslim or a Hypocrite?“

    If banning ShadowFox from PPS is not enough, Menj went further to lodge a police report against ShadowFox for allegedly defaming him and posting blasphemous statements against Allah on his blog.
    On the other hand, Asia Sentinel journalist Jed Yoong also declared an open war with Menj by asking people to boycott PPS and Menj. Just recently, Jed has been investigated for sedition following a police report lodged by “UMNO Virtual Club” (Kelab Maya UMNO).

    I can guess who reported her to the police, can’t you, Mange?

    I think that he is trying to provoke people here to say things and report them to the police. He says all sorts of wicked things but he knows we won’t report him. He is not the same. He WILL report us when he loses the argument. Therefore, be careful wits0, Zack and Scott. He is WICKED.

  225. menj Says:

    @Simon Thong:

    “no apology was asked for and none was expected; there is no sincerity in you, mange.”

    Wasn’t asking for one, silly. Pity you are unable to detect the sarcasm in my tone.

    “whatever you say as a muslim-rejected-by-the muslim bloggers association”

    Not interested to be part of a one-man show association run by a megalomaniac who is affiliated with UMNO/Perkasa. If you do not know the history, why not just shut up? That would be better for you.

  226. Simon Thong Says:

    From the article above, * calls Menj a “Muslim scum” for the suggestion that non-Muslims should be tattooed – an act that Hitler once did to the Jews.

    Aha, that’s why he is fascinated with Hitler.

    I didn’t answer you because I had already done so. You gave me a link, lazy insect, and I replied with a link, and if you can’t understand what you read, don’t blame me.

    I know all your blogs listed on the net. Sorry I went there…such sorry pieces of cretin you posted!

    Pleaaaaaasse don’t mention that you have a wife. Leave spouses out of this blog. Not good, not honorable. No more mention of such people. Could we at least agree on that?

    As for your name, mange, as long as you publicly post on this blog your disrespect to the Jesus Christ I worship, you are mange.

  227. Simon Thong Says:

    Mange – Not interested to be part of a one-man show association run by a megalomaniac who is affiliated with UMNO/Perkasa. If you do not know the history, why not just shut up? That would be better for you.
    (Ah but I know the history: it’s apparent for all to see. Here it is again since people could have missed the earlier posting:
    Monday, May 19, 2008
    MUSLIM BLOGGERS ALLIANCE MEDIA STATEMENT
    MEDIA STATEMENT
    by Zainol Abideen @ MAHAGURU58
    Protem President of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance

    REMOVAL, EXPULSION & BANNING
    of
    MOHD ELFIE NIESHAEM JUFERI a.k.a. M.E.N.J
    from his position as the Secretary-General of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance
    with immediate effect from the 18th of May, 2008.

    And:On April the 15th, 2008, I happened to come across a *posting on MENJ’s blog @ http://www.ibnjuferi.com which contained lewd and explicit pictures showing the female genitalia and a procedure called vaginoplasty which contravened the protocols of being a member of the Muslim Bloggers Alliance because MENJ has implicated his ‘girlfriend’s honor and reputation as a Muslimah by attributing to her certain words and expressions which are an act of serious fitnah and libel against her.)

  228. menj Says:

    More follows:

    @Simon Thong: “wahah, is that all?”

    Yeah, that is all. 3K a month, in Ringgit.

    “No, you earn more, especially from weak-minded followers who donate to you.”

    I already told you before, I don’t get any donations at all since I haven’t renewed my call for donations as of to date. I wonder whether you are unable to read what I wrote earlier?

    “Paid any income tax at all? Got an income tax file at all?”

    No to both.

    “Haha, caught in another fib.
    :http://mrdefinite.com/malaysian-blogosphere-war-menj-vs-shadowfox/

    If you are talking about Project Petaling Street, then no, it is not a blog, it is a blog aggregator. You said I “bought a blog”, which I definitely didn’t. So who are you trying to accuse of lying?

    “I can guess who reported her to the police, can’t you, Mange?”

    Yes, it seems to be a common tactic of Christians to take half-truths and then twist it to accuse their opponent of doing that. For the record, I didn’t report Jed Yoong to the police, but this person did:

    http://bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/laporan-polis-keatas-blogger-yang-menghasut-dengan-hina-raja/

    Ironically, even Scott blogged about this and he knows that I wasn’t involved at all:

    https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/jed-yoong-accused-of-sedition-harassed-by-police/

    So who is trying to fib now, eh? You seem to have digged only info that you think will “incriminate” me. Yet you do not dig deeper to find out what is the real story behind the issue. Just like Christianity, you are trying to pull a fast on the truth and manipulate it for your own wicked ends.

    The person who is “wicked” here is certainly not me.

  229. Scott Thong Says:

    I didn’t dig in that far into the case, and anyhow I wasn’t acquainted with you at that time.

  230. menj Says:

    @Scott Thong: “I didn’t dig in that far into the case, and anyhow I wasn’t acquainted with you at that time.”

    Well, I have nothing to do with the case at all. It was some pro-UMNO bloggers who made the report against Jed Yoong.

  231. menj Says:

    @Simon Thong:

    “Aha, that’s why he is fascinated with Hitler.”

    It wasn’t me who started the whole Hitler issue. You were the one who brought it up by comparing me to Hitler. When shown that Hitler had ties to the Church, you started to squirm and made a series of denials. Interesting, no?

    “I didn’t answer you because I had already done so.”

    No you didn’t. All you did was to post a link from an article which says that the PROTESTANT church denounced Hitler. It certainly doesn’t address anything about the pictures I linked to here: http://ibiddir.com/fLbwnc where, in case I am mistaken, shows the CATHOLIC church in cahoots with Hitler. Trying to pull a fast one again? Won’t work with me.

    “I know all your blogs listed on the net. Sorry I went there…such sorry pieces of cretin you posted! ”

    Would be an amazing thing if you did, since they aren’t listed anywhere on the net. Caught you in a lie, definitely!

    “Pleaaaaaasse don’t mention that you have a wife. Leave spouses out of this blog.”

    I only mentioned my wife because you started making a hullabaloo and the lie that “blogging is not a job”. You reminded me of my former employer who said exactly the same words, which made me decide to quit the next day and start getting involved into the online blogging / money-making business. Fast forward a few years later, here I am today. Happily married, own a string of blog networks under the company label and most importantly self-employed with a steady income.

    My story of modest success puts paid to any derision from you or anyone else that “blogging is not a job”. This is 2011, such a statement is no longer true.

  232. menj Says:

    @Simon Thong:

    “Ah but I know the history: it’s apparent for all to see. ”

    Yeah, repeat the lies of Mahasial58 again. Here are the articles which debunks his lies about me and the nature of his one-man show “organisation” (if one still wants to call it that):

    http://www.ibnjuferi.com/official-reaction-to-muslim-bloggers-alliance-media-statement/

    http://www.malaysiawaves.com/2010/01/mahaguru58-is-liar-using-islam-to.html

    http://www.ibnjuferi.com/origins-muslim-bloggers-alliance/

    http://www.ibnjuferi.com/time-expose-mahaguru58-fraud/

  233. Scott Thong Says:

    Zack, there’s really no point in arguing with menj over which idea of God is ‘better’.

    As my post on King Neptune explained, you two simply have completely different worldviews, definitions and understanding of the same concepts.

    See Blue And Orange Morality for more on this. (I’ve added it to my post too.)

  234. menj Says:

    @Zack T:

    “And obviously you still don’t understand what I’m talking about when you said that.
    Allow me to explain more clearly, so you stop attacking strawmen.”

    I got you loud and clear, I was simply stating my opposition to that belief. However, you seem to wander off by accusing me of commiting a “straw man” argument. Might want to look up what the term means first before you keep on parroting it over and over again.

    “You stated the above statement as though Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not ‘God’s own decision’, and that it was never God’s intent to achieve this through this method.”

    Indeed! I was clarifying the Islamic position, as has been my intent right from the start. I was NOT trying to “make an argument”, as you fallaciously assume. If you want to attack the Islamic stance on the issue, that would mean you bringing evidence which shows your position is “correct”, not go about in a merry go-round and accuse your opponents of “straw man” and not know the meaning of the term itself.

    “What you believe is not what we Christians believe. So, your argument is based on what you believe, and not an argument based on what we believe, hence a strawman argument.”

    LOL, I don’t think you understood clearly the definition of a “straw man” argument. I think you are trying to say that I was arguing something against your position, when I have done no such thing. All I did was to state clearly the Islamic position on the matter at hand. It was not for or against Christianity per se.

    “That is your issue, not mine. The bible does teach this doctrine and if the Quran doesn’t, that’s not a Christian’s issue to solve for you.”

    Again, I was stating the Islamic position on the matter. I think you are really confused and think that stating my Islamic beliefs is an “attack” on your religion. LMAO.

    “If the sin of Adam is not inherited from generation to generation and that by Allah’s punishment of Adam’s sin, both Adam and Eve were kicked out of Paradise, so why are the generations after Adam still outside paradise, continuing the punishment of Adam and Eve?”

    I can only answer from the Islamic position. The Islamic position is that the world is a test, all of mankind are here on this earth to do good and forbid evil and when the time comes, they will be judged by the Almighty to decide whether they will enter Paradise or Hell. The second reason is that while man is born pure without sin, his own fallible weakness and temptations of Satan the accursed may lead him to do evil and forbid the good. Hence it is up to the person himself to decide what course of life he will undertake; whether he will follow the path towards God or the path towards Satan. The choice is ultimately left up to each individual.

    “Based on the biblical account, they don’t acknowledge Jesus because they don’t even accept Him as the prophecied Messiah in the first place.
    Doesn’t mean they don’t understand the significance of the sacrificial practices; even the article you linked confirms that they understood the significance of the sacrificial practices. They just don’t accept Jesus as the one who have fulfilled that role.”

    Actually the article does no such thing, it only ASSUMES that should Jesus PBUH really be a sacrifice for the sins of the world the nature of his sacrifice itself would invalidate that. The article right from the start says that the Jews do not believe in any nonsense concerning sacrificing a half-naked man who is claimed to be the “son” of God which washes away the sins of mankind.

    “Whether you celebrate it or have a tradition regarding that, doesn’t mean you understand the significance of it in light of the whole picture.
    For Muslims, it was merely an act of great faith, but yet the practice of sacrificing that Allah ordered the Jews (and supposed in some Islamic school of thought) holds no significant meaning or doctrine, whatsoever…”

    It seems you have a very minute understanding of Islamic practices. Tsk, tsk. What a shame. Every Muslim adult and child knows that Eid al-Adha is in commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ishmael, upon whom be peace be upon them. Not only do we believe this, we also put this into action. That is something lacking in the Christian lip-service, you claim to honour Abraham PBUH but there is hardly any act of faith from the Christian side which actually proves this.

    “For the Muslim, it is both and much more. God can choose to be binded by the Rules, or He can choose NOT to be bounded by the rules. That is totally up to Him. It was never a question of one or the other. ~menj

    And with that, it is assuredly sealed that you serve a god that is not fair nor just.
    No judge in court who bends the law or chooses not to be bound by it for anyone’s sake can be considered fair or just.”

    I never said anything about God bending any rules or being unjust. I simply said that God Almighty is not bound by the rules YOU have imposed upon Him. What you think may be unjust in your view may actually be the Most Just thing that God has ever done. That is why I said earlier that Christians do not seem to understand that God Almighty is beyond the definition of man. He is the Almighty. He is the Most Just. He is not limited by your perceptions or any limitations imposed. If you give Him two choices, there will be a way to work around with a Third, a Fourth, a Fifth or an Infinity of choices for Him.

    In short, He is not bound by rules, or should I say, OUR DEFINITION of the “rules”.

  235. Zack T Says:

    Haha. I guess it is to be expected of you, ‘changing the goal posts’ as someone once said…
    I shall leave it to others to decide for themselves from here.
    Good luck in your efforts to ‘banish’ Christianity from this country… You’ll need it.

  236. menj Says:

    To summarise what I wrote above, Christians believe that all man are all naturally sinful until a sinless being has to come down and be sacrificed to atone for mankind’s sins. In Islam, we believe that man are born pure without sin and that the religio naturalis of man is to worship of God. Only worldly evils and temptations would lead man astray.

  237. menj Says:

    “Haha. I guess it is to be expected of you, ‘changing the goal posts’ as someone once said…”

    I am not “changing any goal posts” or anything of the sort. I am simply stating the Islamic position, because from your comments throughout this blog it is clear that you have no idea what is Islam and its basic beliefs.

    “I shall leave it to others to decide for themselves from here.”

    Good. Run as fast as you can….

  238. Zack T Says:

    Haha… I’m saying you’re changing Islam’s teaching.. just changing the meaning of your previous comments.
    So be it.

  239. menj Says:

    “I’m saying you’re changing Islam’s teaching.. just changing the meaning of your previous comments.”

    So are you accusing me of changing Islam’s teaching AND changing the meaning of the comments? Truly, I am confused.

  240. Zack T Says:

    Sorry…

    “I’m NOT saying you’re changing Islam’s teaching.. just changing the meaning of your previous comments.”

  241. Simon Thong Says:

    It’s up to parents to explain cultural ‘bombs’ in Interlok
    April 5, 2011

    FMT LETTER: From junkradar, via e-mail

    I think the Interlok itself is ok. After all, it represents a time when these “labels” existed. Just like if you read John Steinbeck stories based in the early 19th or 20th century where the word “nigger” is still used. It makes for an interesting read anyhow and becomes a record of our past for us.

    But I totally agree it should not be read/taught by people who do not yet fully grasp that such labeling/stereotyping is wrong. It was wrong then (but then we weren’t socially sensitive then nor refined), it is even more wrong now (because we have lived long enough together to be more respectful and culturally sensitive now).

    I won’t just say I’m referring to students because I think many kids by 12 understand what’s “nice” and what’s “not nice” when fraternising with friends. I’m more worried about the adults who are going to be using this reference in the schools. I’m not confident many will have the maturity or technique of explaining these little cultural “bombs”.

    If the book continues to be used, then us parents simply have to ensure our kids have a positive understanding of it and we must explain the concept of “context”.

  242. Simon Thong Says:

    Where is the spunk, dignity and self-respect of the Indians?
    March 31, 2011

    FMT LETTER: From Fair Malaysian, via e-mail

    Samy Vellu, Palanivel, Subramaniam (two persons), Devamani, Murugiah, Saravanan, Kamalanathan, Maha ganapathy, Kogilan Pillai, Murugesan, Kayvias, Harris Mohan, Nalla Karuppan, M T Samy, Thanenthiran, Whethamoorthy (Ipoh), Mathiahlagan, Sambanthan, Siva Subramaniam – other leaders, Malayalee Association, Telegu Association, Dravidian Iyyakkan, Tamil Youth Bell Club, Sri Murugan Centre – what are you all doing?

    The government confirmed the racist, degrading interlok will be used in Federal Territory, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan secondary schools.

    Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and Human Rights Party tried to march towards King’s palace to handover a memo to stop this book being used in schools.

    Many said they know better way to solve this problem than going to the streets.

    What happened to your way? Why is this sinister book being forced on our young, innocent students? Racist Malay teachers and headmasters can make the students’ lives miserable.

    Have you all got guts, dignity and self-respect or have your all pawned it the Umno?

    If we give in, then there will be nothing to stop them from further insulting, degrading, committing actrocities to our community.

    Stand up united and stop Interlok from being used in schools. Or get out of BN!

  243. menj Says:

    What makes you think there is no support from the other side of the fence?

    Kenyataan Sasterawan Negara Tentang Kes Interlok

    Sudah banyak perbincangan dan debat yang telah diadakan tentang buku Interlok oleh Abdullah Hussein – di akhbar, majalah, di tv dan dunia siber. Dalam wacana ini ada yang jernih di samping banyak juga yang keruh pada sungai perbincangannya. Akan tetapi yang agak dikesalkan ialah hakikat bahawa sangat sedikit golongan, terutama partai politik yang menjadikan pembelaan nasib dan martabat kaum Melayu sebagai landasannya, tampil memberi sokongan moral kepada seorang pengarang Melayu bernama Abdullah Hussein, yang melalui Interlok berbicara tentang kemanusiaan yang merentas sempadan ras dan etnik di tanah airnya.

    Kami, Sasterawan Negara Malaysia, ingin menegaskan bahawa sebuah teks sastera bukanlah sebuah teks politik, dan bukan juga teks sejarah atau geografi. Sebuah karya sastera ialah sebuah teks yang melukis jiwa manusia, perasaannya, nilai dan kepentingannya dalam konteks zaman dan sejarahnya. Yang dilukis didekatkan sehampir mungkin kepada kenyataan di dalam dan di luar diri manusia, kerana karya sastera tidak tercipta daripada kekosongan atau vakum. Peristiwa di luar – peperangan dan kedamaian, kesusahan dan kesenangan, kerusuhan dan ketenangan – dilukis oleh kata-kata dan peribadi pengarang. Ini telah dilakukan sejak beribu tahun oleh semua pengarang, di semua negara.

    Sastera bukan dokumen rasmi pemerintah, atau maklumat yang dirapikan serta dicantikkan untuk disebarkan. Sastera ialah lukisan kehidupan, dan kehidupan tidak selalu rapi dan cantik. Inilah bahan sastera, dan untuk berlaku adil kepada bahan ini sastera melukis dengan warna berbagai-bagai – ada yang merah, kuning, kelabu dan hitam. Itulah warna kehidupan yang lebih banyak jalurnya. Malah pengarang-pengarang dari benua kecil India, telah turut menyentuh isu dalam Interlok yang oleh segelintir orang di sini disensasikan, kerana sistem sosial masyarakatnya telah dinormakan dalam perjalanan panjang peradabannya.

    Berlainan dengan dokumen rasmi, sastera menderetkan berbagai-bagai jenis , manusia – seperti yang dilihat pengarang dalam ruang kehidupannya – daripada wira hinggalah penjenayah, daripada ketua hinggalah pengikut buta, daripada ulama hinggalah orang berdosa, dan dari berbagai-bagai bangsa dan kaum. Mereka semua kita temui dalam deretan kehidupan harian. Sastera ialah ucapan dan ingatan bangsa, kerana yang terlukis di dalamnya ialah pemerian tentang bangsa itu.

    Kami berpendapat bahawa sastera ada ruangnya sendiri dengan keseniannya yang khusus pula. Kita harus membaca sastera sebagai sastera, dan bukan buku sejarah atau politik. Membaca sastera ialah suatu proses berfikir, merasa dan menghayati bahasa, peristiwa dan gagasan. Proses ini penting untuk diri manusia sendiri kerana yang ditawarkan ialah berbagai-bagai jenis pengalaman buat pembacanya – dari yang lahiriah sampailah kepada sikap dan pendiriannya. Semuanya dianggap sebagai cermin dan bayang makna kehidupan manusia. Ramai daripada kita yang merasakan pelajar kita kurang mampu untuk menilai apa yang mereka baca. Pada tahun 2011, dengan gunung maklumat di internet dan dunia cetakan, kami maklum bahawa mereka sudah lama dituntut dan dilatih untuk mempertimbangkan, memilih dan membuat kesimpulan sendiri. Sesuatu fakta yang diubah dan dimetaforakan secara halus sekalipun di dalam karya sastera dan kenyataan dengan wajah sebenar akan tetap muncul dalam pelbagai medium yang lain.

    Interlok ialah sebuah novel yang melukis suatu deretan waktu, watak dan latar dari 1910 hinggalah sebelum Merdeka. Tujuan penulis cukup mulia, iaitu melukis gambaran kaum-kaum yang terdapat di negara ini, dengan masalah dalamannya sendiri, dan di akhirnya telah bersatu untuk menerima negara dan harapan baru. Inilah tujuan pengarang. Manusia yang dilukiskan juga cukup mulia, terutama Maniam, yang besar hati dan jiwanya, dan masih ingin membantu orang lain, walau pun dia pernah dimangsakan.

    Kami tidak melihat masalah pada istilah dan lukisan yang digambarkan oleh pengarang. Kami juga tidak mengesan tujuan untuk menghina mana-mana kaum. Akhiran karya ini menawarkan harapan dan kecerahan. Itulah tujuan terpenting pengarang. Kami merasa sangat prihatin sekiranya pengarang terus didesak untuk merubah karya mereka sehingga gagasan awal mereka sudah dicairkan. Dan sekiranya perubahan pada lukisan satu kaum hanya dibuat, dan tidak pada kaum yang lain, maka akhirnya terdapat suatu lukisan yang tidak lagi berimbang dan benar – hanya cantik pada suatu kaum dan comot pada yang lainnya.

    Benarkanlah penulis kita melukis kenyataan Malaysia, walau betapa pun tidak manis kenyataan itu. Kerana mereka juga berfikir bagi pihak kita, dengan sudut pandangan mereka sendiri, yang walau pun berlainan, masih diperlukan di negara yang demokratis, yang memberi kebebasan kepada sasterawannya untuk menulis, berfikir dan berpendirian.

    Marilah kita, rakyat Malaysia, membaca sastera dari pendekatan sastera dan menghormatinya secara wajar dan pintar, supaya darinya dapat kita kutip pemikiran dan kearifan sasterawan kita.

    *Kenyataan bersama oleh empat orang Sasterawan Negara, Muhammad Haji Salleh, Anwar Ridhwan, Shahnon Ahmad dan Noordin Hassan.

  244. menj Says:

    And by the way, I am purposely NOT going to translate the joint press statement above. If any of you blind Interlok opposition cannot understand a simple press release like that in BM, it vindicates my assertion that those who oppose Interlok have NEVER read the book!

  245. Scott Thong Says:

    I’ll flesh out my position on the matter of Interlok that I gave to Yeah.

    Despite not having read the book in full, I am currently opposed to Interlok because I perceive it as being too racially sensitive. This perception has been formed by various comments on the book, especially by HartalMSM’s coverage which includes excerpts and scans of the most objectionable parts.

    However, I am completely open to changing my mind. All it will take is for a supporter of the book to cite excerpts which argue the case for its suitability for racial harmony – basically, the exact opposite of what HartalMSM is doing. Yeah did indeed post one comment citing several plot instances that fit the bill.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of arguments for Interlok I have seen run along the lines of ‘It’s by a Sasterawan Negara’, ‘This and that authority has reviewed and approved it’, and ‘You are idiots who have not read the book so shut up’.

    Is it unfair for laypeople to pass judgment on a book they haven’t read? Admittedly so, but let’s be practical here – they don’t owe it to anyone to be sold on an idea (e.g. that Interlok is suitable for school studies). It is the responsibility of Interlok’s supporters to convince the populace on the merits of the book.

    Heck, how many PSAs and ads do we see out there imploring the populace to do things such as stop smoking, drive sober, and not play with fire? Honestly it should be common sense and their own responsibility for their own benefit, yet the govertment and NGOs have accepted that people need to be sold on even the most basic of good practices.

    Similarly, we both have blogs where we continually defend the good name of our respective beliefs. Sure, we could complain that polemics are unfairly smearing our beliefs with all sorts of lies. But as a practical matter, we accept that they aren’t going to stop, and thus we actively post material as counters to their accusations.

    In short, if you all are really so supportive of Interlok, isn’t it the least you could do to give a strong effort to convince the masses? That is what HartalMSM is tirelessly doing for their point of view.

    I’ll be straight up on this, trying to get people on your side by telling them how stupid they must be if they don’t join you does not work.

  246. Scott Thong Says:

    And by the way, I am purposely NOT going to translate the joint press statement above. If any of you blind Interlok opposition cannot understand a simple press release like that in BM, it vindicates my assertion that those who oppose Interlok have NEVER read the book! – menj

    http://translate.google.com/#

    Malay to English (or whatever language you prefer).

    Took them long enough to have this feature – not active enough lobbying from Malay speakers?

  247. menj Says:

    Google Translate isn’t accurate enough to capture the semantics of the press statement. My earlier statement still stands.

  248. menj Says:

    For what it’s worth, here is a comment from someone who have actually READ the book. (Source)

    Snuze says:
    January 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm (Edit)

    I’ve read the book in its original incarnation and was blown away by how beautiful it was. It was seriously accessible, unlike most books labelled “sastera”, if you know what I mean. I didn’t have to keep the Kamus Dewan by my side while reading it (humbly speaking as someone who garnered only a C5 in her SPM BM).

    Read it. It’s awesome.

    For those who wants to take exception to it, I say take exception to the social conditioning that gives meaning to the word pariah as it’s used. The word was used in a historical context, not in a demeaning way. But mileage will vary.

  249. Scott Thong Says:

    For those who wants to take exception to it, I say take exception to the social conditioning that gives meaning to the word pariah as it’s used. The word was used in a historical context, not in a demeaning way. But mileage will vary. – menj

    I agree on that.

  250. Simon Thong Says:

    Malaysiakini
    MIC backs revised Interlok, so they say
    S Ramakrishnan
    Mar 31, 11
    4:11pm
    Share 24
    On March 29, I received a phone call from a teacher who heard his headmaster announcing at the school morning assembly that the Interlok book has been accepted by MIC as well as all members of the independent penal set up to review the novel.

    The ministry will be making the 19 corrections recommended by the panel and the book will be used as a literature textbook for Form Five students. In view of the ministry decision, no student or teacher is allowed to criticise the decision. Students’ bags will be checked to ensure that they do not carry any fliers against the use of Interlok.

    The teacher added that all headmasters were briefed by the state director of Education Department to make sure that all students accept the usage of Interlok without any problem. Headmasters are required to send reports on the actions taken to ensure that students do not carry any anti-Interlok fliers to school.

    This decision by the education minister shows clearly the MIC leader’s double act as champions of Indian community but at the same time supporting Umno’s and Gapena’s proposal to continue using Interlok as textbook. The Education Ministry is going ahead because apparently both the MIC and the penal members had accepted the book.

    The fact that three Indian representatives walked out of the penal was disregarded. The parliamentary debate on Interlok clearly showed the resentment and bitterness of Indian parliamentarians over the use of this book. Despite all the noise and expressed wishes of Indian NGOs against the use of Interlok, the Education Ministry still gave the go ahead to use the book.

    Does that mean the whole panel formation to review the book was a show to give legitimacy to whatever decision taken by the Education Ministry? It’s amazing how Umno has decided to shove the book down the students’ throat.

    MIC and other Indian-based BN parties have been pandering for over 50 years and therefore have become weak and spineless to stand up against Umno. They have mortgaged the dignity and pride of Malaysian Indians for the selfish benefit of its leaders. MIC has squandered all moral authority to lead Indian Malaysians.

    Indian Malaysians and other minority communities will not accept the Interlok as a school textbook simply because it has no positive educational value. This book does not foster racial unity nor enrich students’ mind.

    A novel with many amendments on content, grammar and factual errors should be replaced. It seem to be an organised effort by Umno racial spinners to systematically institutionalise the immigrant status of non-Malays. This approach of BN government is in congruent with the Ketuanan Melayu concept upheld by Umno and its racist NGOs.

    While upholding such racist sentiments, BN and Umno can gloat all over town the concept of 1Nalaysia. This shows the incredibly hypocrisy of BN/Umno to built a one Malaysia.

    The writer is a DAP senator.

  251. nasaei ahmad Says:

    So, please vote for BN/UMNO again in the next GE !

  252. Scott Thong Says:

    I think if one takes a proper close look, it is clear that Allah and YHWH are not the same entity.

    Sure, some of their attributes and descriptions are similar – Almighty, creator of all there is, etc. – but other attributes are vastly different – unknowable vs wanting to be known, distant and separated from creation vs a personal friend.

    Similarly, I think it would it clear up a lot of the different understanding if we would just accept that Isa and Jesus are not the same person.

  253. Simon Thong Says:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Interlok
    Author Abdullah Hussain
    Country Malaysia
    Language Malay
    Genre(s) Historical fiction
    Publisher Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
    Publication date 1971
    Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
    ISBN 9789836287502, 9836287507

    Interlok is a 1971 Malay language novel written by Malaysian national laureate Abdullah Hussain. The novel was included in the syllabus for the Malay Literature subject as compulsory reading for students in Form 5 (Secondary 5) in schools throughout Malaysia. Interlok caused a controversy when detractors claim that the novel contained derogatory words to describe Malaysian Indians, such as “pariah” and “black people”. The largest Malaysian Indian political party, the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), demanded that the novel be removed from the school syllabus.[1]
    [edit] Plot summary

    The story in the novel was set in Penang in the early 1900s during the colonisation of Britain over Malaya. The story is told from the point of view of three main characters, namely, Seman, Chin Huat and Maniam. The title of the book derived its name from the English word “interlock” which corresponds with the interlocking of the lives of the three main characters of the novel in the final chapter.[2]
    [edit] Controversy

    On January 20, 2011, 9 men, believed to be members of HINDRAF, were arrested by the Malaysian police after putting up posters demanding that the novel be banned.[3]

    Interlok was defended by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim[4] and a scholar Awang Sariyan, who said that “the National Laureate had based his work on the social reality of the era depicted in the novel.”[5] Both Anwar Ibrahim and Awang Sariyan claim that they did not think that the novel contained anything racist.

    The author Abdullah Hussain defended his work and himself claiming that he did not intend to offend the Indian community; that his work has been misunderstood; and that he had actually intended to describe the unity of the three major ethnic groups in Peninsula Malaysia, namely, the Malays, Chinese and Indians.[6]

    The controversy regarding the novel stems from the usage of the term kasta pariah (“pariah caste”), which often refers to persons from the lowest caste in the Indian caste system.[2]

    Interlok was withdrawn from the school syllabus on January 15, 2011 following a discussion between the Education Ministry of Malaysia and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.[7] However, this decision was reversed on January 28, 2011 following a discussion between Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, MIC president G. Palanivel and MIC deputy president S. Subramaniam and deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin. The latest decision effectively retains Interlok as part of the syllabus in Malaysian schools but amendments were to be made to parts of the novel which were deemed too sensitive to the Indian community.[8]

    On February 27, 2011, a demonstration was held and organised by HINDRAF protesting against the inclusion of the novel in the school curriculum in Kuala Lumpur. The police arrested 109 protesters for allegedly taking part in an illegal demonstration.[9]

    The education ministry agreed to review and make amendments to interlok by having 8 member independent panellist. On 16 march 2011, all the 8 member of the panel agreed and came up with 100 amendments before the book can be made suitable for the students to read. During a meeting with the deputy prime minister who is also the education minister, the minister have said that 100 amendments was too much and that it should be reduced. After the meeting with the deputy prime minister 3 out of the 8 panellist quit from the panel as they felt betrayed.
    [edit] References

    1. ^ “The hypocrisy surrounding Interlok”. The Nut Graph. January 17, 2011. http://www.thenutgraph.com/the-hypocrisy-surrounding-interlok/. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
    2. ^ a b “Unlocking the ‘Interlok’ issue”. The Star. January 9, 2011. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/1/9/focus/7763036&sec=focus. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
    3. ^ “Arrested: 9 with “Ban Interlok” posters”. The Malay Mail. January 20, 2011. http://www.mmail.com.my/content/61488-arrested-9-ban-interlok-posters. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
    4. ^ “No racist element in Interlok: Anwar”. My SinChew. January 11, 2011. http://www.mysinchew.com/node/51221. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
    5. ^ “‘Interlok’ novel not racist, says scholar”. The Malaysian Insider. January 10, 2011. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/interlok-novel-not-racist-says-scholar/. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
    6. ^ “Abdullah: My work is being misunderstood”. The Star. January 16, 2011. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/1/16/nation/7810859&sec=nation. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
    7. ^ “‘Interlok’ withdrawn after discussion with Education Ministry and DBP: Murugiah”. The Malay Mail. January 20, 2011. http://www.mmail.com.my/content/58367-interlok-withdrawn-after-discussion-education-ministry-and-dbp-murugiah. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
    8. ^ “‘Interlok’ stays”. New Straits Times. January 28, 2011. http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/2011012802214320110128022143/Article/. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
    9. ^ “109 people linked to Hindu rights group held in Malaysia”. The Hindu. February 27, 2011. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article1495169.ece. Retrieved 27 February 2011.

    Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interlok”
    Categories: 1971 novels | Historical novels | Malaysian novels
    * This page was last modified on 17 March 2011 at 05:14.

  254. Simon Thong Says:

    The Sun
    SPEAK UP! :: Letters
    Interlok issue cuts across ethnic lines

    I REFER to “Lay Interlok ironies to rest” (Letters, April 4) and like the honourable member of Parliament for Teluk Intan, hope that the Interlok controversy is far from over. Unlike the writer, I am left to wonder at the level of maturity of our political leaders when their solution consists of censoring yet another word in our education system and conveniently sidestepping the deeper issues at stake, which is the racist portrayals of characters in the novel (which do not seem entirely sensitive to certain minority sections of the electorate).

    And as for “distracting us from the national agenda”, I would think the education of our young, the promotion of a national identity (a supposed aim of the book) and an honest dialogue which this controversy created is of prime importance if we are to be a progressive and globally competitive nation.

    And I would like to remind the writer that this whole issue is mired in personal and political aims. The solution presented by “our political leaders” is a political one aimed at placating a diverse range of interest groups. What is needed is a solution that placates these groups and one that is honourable and takes into account the aims of the government of the day in promoting national unity.

    The writer then goes on a rather absurd spiel about race and caste politics with regard to the MIC and a frankly racist swipe at the Chinese community couched in terms of “a certain minority” as though if one is still voicing a contrary opinion to the issue, one is in the “minority” and the problem lies with the person voicing the objection and not with the issue itself.

    Of course this is disingenuous, simply because the writer assumes that the MIC is the sole guardian of the Indian perspective in this country, discounting the numerous non-aligned NGOs that have voiced their dissatisfaction at the book, not to mention “opposition” politicians and that this issue cuts across ethnic lines, demonstrated by the objections from various communities.

    I also find it ironic that the MIC is given a lecture on elitism, considering the current political and social reality which divides this country into various ethnic divides. The writer can’t be blamed for this misconception; because this is a political issue and the perception encouraged by the mainstream media and the entrenched political establishment is that MIC should be the sole guardian of the Indian perspective in this country.

    Furthermore the writer conveniently forgets that it is Umno that made the final decision on this matter and perhaps it is the so-called “minority” in the Malay community who continue to voraciously defend the book conflating a whole range of issues in the process, who should take a cold, hard look at themselves. After all, the book’s so-called aim is to promote national unity which is clearly not the case. Is the solution to retain the book and censor language? I’m of the opinion that this solution is detrimental to not only the culture of this country but also the young minds it is supposed to influence.

    Less we forget Aristotle who said: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”.

    S. Thayapran
    Commander (Rtd)
    Royal Malaysian Navy

    Updated: 07:33AM Thu, 14 Apr 2011

  255. menj Says:

    Not sure what is the relevance of this mass cut-and-pasting from sources not relevant to the crux of the issue at hand.

  256. Simon Thong Says:

    To make mangy dog bark.

  257. Simon Thong Says:

    No visits to your blog, menj, so you come and p$&^ here?

  258. Simon Thong Says:

    Chinese NGOs: Replace Interlok (from GOOD TIMES the conscience of the nation http://goodtimes.my/index.php/News/chinese-ngos-replace-interlok.html)
    The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) says that the 19 changes to be made to the controversial textbook, Interlok, is “not sufficient”.

    KLSCAH president, Tan Yew Sing, felt that the book does not project the 1Malaysia mentality.

    “This book encourages younger generation to not be proud of their forefathers. Why should we project these negative things?

    “Many of them (earlier generations of Malaysians) have a lot of good characteristics, but that was not projected.

    “There are five textbooks being used in the central region. All we are asking is just for them (the Ministry of Education) to use a different textbook,” Tan urged.

    The LLG Cultural Development Centre, which was one of the 40 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which had jointly issued the press statement on 30 March to oppose the continued use of Interlok in schools, also supports the view that Interlok should be replaced by another more suitable book.

    “The book strengthens the perception that Chinese and Indians are alien to this country,” said the senior executive of LLG Cultural Development Centre, Ng Yap Hwa.

    “As long as the book promotes Malay supremacy, it should not be a textbook.”

  259. wits0 Says:

    ““As long as the book promotes Malay supremacy, it should not be a textbook.”” – Simon

    Absolutely not! No Stockholm Syndrome entertained!!

  260. Simon Thong Says:

    National Express Malaysia
    Friday, April 22, 2011
    Gauntlet thrown at DPM over Interlok issue
    (Malaysiakini) Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yasin has been taken to task for allegedly misleading the public where the current status of the Interlok novel as a compulsory textbook for form five students is concerned.

    The charge was levelled by the chair of the National Interlok Action Team (NIAT), Thasleem Mohammed Ibrahim, at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

    He pointed out that Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, had said on Jan 28 that the student edition of the novel would only be used after the amendments had been done (as reported in Sinar).

    But on March 23 he had told parliament that the cabinet had sanctioned the continued use of the book in schools as reported in the Hansard.

    Muhyiddin challenged

    “Muhyiddin Yassin was not telling the truth. We want the truth. NIAT challenges him to repeat outside what he had said in parliament, so that we will be able to take the necessary action to find out the truth, including taking him to court,” Thasleem (right) said.

    It is interesting to note that only Muhyiddin had been touching on the subject, and no other minister or party leaders had said anything about it so far, he pointed out.

    “What about the MIC, Gerakan, MCA, PPP or PKR, DAP? We have heard nothing from them. But we do hear a lot from the people, not only from the Indians but the Chinese and others as well, who clearly say ‘NO’ to Interlok,” he claimed.

    Thasleem took pains to explain the steps that his organisation had taken since January to communicate with the government, all to no avail.

    “We had, in a professional manner, raised the matter in our letters to the ministers, heads of departments and all the others who in one way or other had a role to play in this issue.

    “It is shocking to realise that those very people who talk about a ‘caring and responsive’ government and government service had not bothered to respond to our case as stated in our letters backed with well-researched information.

    “Even the Muftis of Selangor, Negri Sembilan and the Federal Territory have been conspicuously silent on this matter,” said Thasleem.

    ‘Shocking things to talk about’

    NIAT had met Pakatan MPs and the youth wing of PAS to brief them on the real issue in this controversy. But BN backbenchers had been giving excuses, as did the MIC.

    “It was MIC president G Palanivel who on Jan 23 asked the government to withdraw the novel. Then, they talked about the ‘P’ word and amendments. Now, they are silent.

    “NIAT asked the prime minister for just 15 minutes to place its case before him. NIAT was informed that he had no free time till June. But it is plain for all to see that he had been having plenty of time for social gatherings.

    A Rajaretnam, a NIAT council member, interjected: “The PM had three hours on end for Bollywood-style entertainment at the Mines.

    “We have again written to the PM for an appointment,” Thasleem added.

    He made one point clear that as long as there is no reply from the DPM and others to their letters, “I will steadfastly hold that I am right in stating that the Interlok novel is contrary to the teachings of Islam.”

    He also issued a warning: “If no proper answer is forthcoming, we have shocking things to talk about in the next few weeks.”

    Muhyiddin gets one-week deadline

    Thasleem took Muhyiddin to task for saying that the issue had become a threat to national security.

    “What we have been engaged in is the democratic process of telling the government that what it had done was wrong. How could that become a threat to national security? he asked.

    “If, as claimed by Muhyiddin, it had become a threat to national security, who is the cause of it; it is Muhyiddin Yassin himself.”

    He also that Muhyiddin “has one week from today’ to accept his challenge to him to repeat outside parliament what he had said there.
    Posted by barred at 4/22/2011 01:59:00 PM
    Labels: interlok

  261. Scott Thong Says:

    NOTHING to do with Interlok, surely:

    http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2168:indian-students-taunted-keling-pariah-hauled-to-police-station&catid=222:english

  262. Simon Thong Says:

    Can’t blame Interlok!

    UMNO racism and Interlok: Malay muslim students call Indian students keling paria but Indian students hauled to police station.
    April 27, 2011 | Author s.jayathas
    Indian students taunted ‘Keling Pariah’, hauled to police station (CPI)

    Leading to Indian students beaten up. Zero school action or prosecution because victims are Indian poor.

    If the book is not withdrawn there are going to be fights like these in over 5,000 schools, leading to further gangsterism.

    (see Utusan Malaysia 27/4/2011 at page 31)

    SURELY EVERYTHING WE JUST READ IS WRONG!!! All the people involved didn’t read the whole book, only the students’ edition, and that’s why they taunt others and quarrel. Can’t blame Interlok la!

  263. Simon Thong Says:

    The Star online
    Wednesday May 4, 2011
    Exco to decide on Interlok
    CHRISTINA CHIN and DERRICK VINESH at the Penang State Assembly yesterday

    THE state executive council will decide if it should ban Interlok from public libraries in Penang.

    However, Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy said personally, he did not think the book should be banned.

    He said in reply to R.S.N. Rayer (DAP-Seri Delima) that Pakatan Rakyat had taken a strong stand against using Interlok as a textbook during debate in Parliament.

    “Personally, I don’t think it should be banned, but it should not be used as a textbook.

  264. Simon Thong Says:

    Penang Public Libraries Barred From Displaying Interlok Book
    12 hours ago
    GEORGE TOWN, May 5 (Bernama) — The DAP-led government has barred the displaying of the Interlok novel on book racks in Penang public libraries in …
    Bernama

  265. Yeah Says:

    It is curious to me why the novel would be found in the textbook section in the first place, unless those are student editions. Perhaps when enough public sentiment has been aroused, the Penang government would suddenly find the courage to actually ban the novel in the State.

    I am sorry, but the stench of opportunistic politics is so bad that it is nauseating. Again, it seems that the novel and its author are being demonized and attacked – despite the repeated claims by some parties that they are only interested in keeping it out of schools. Since no schools in Penang use Interlok as a KOMSAS text, this is evidently a calculated political move. It seems that keeping Interlok out of public view in libraries is now considered acceptable. Apparently, the scholar bureaucrats in the State Exco are now literati who directs the State Libraries on what novels they should highlight (penned by LKS perhaps?) and final arbiter on the Dewey Decimal Classification for the library cataloging system.

    I am not too sure if our public libraries (state or federal) should be used as a tool for protest by one political party to another.

  266. Simon Thong Says:

    Bookmarks Toolbar
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    Free Malaysia Today
    Un-edited’ Interlok surfaces in exam
    May 12, 2011

    A parent reveals that two questions from the controversial novel were posed, and both HRP and MIC are riled up.

    KUALA LUMPUR: A parent from Gombak here complained that questions from the controversial novel Interlok were posed during the mid-term examination held last Monday.

    According to Human Rights Party (HRP) leader S Jayathas, who received the complaint, the questions were featured in the Malay Language Paper 2 for Form Five students. The paper was set by the district education department.

    This happened despite the assurance from Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that the novel would not be used until amendments were carried out.

    Calling Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister, a “liar”, Jayathas said there were two questions regarding the novel in the examination paper.

    “The first question asked students to pen two interesting incidents mentioned in the novel and why they thought the issues were interesting. The second question asked students to describe the background of a place mentioned in the novel,” he said.

    The Interlok novel became controversial after Indian groups, including MIC, claimed that the author had portrayed the community in a negative light, especially with the use of the term “pariah”.

    Following this, the Education Ministry agreed to amend the book, and an eight-member panel was set up to make recommendations.

    MIC: Act against ‘little Napoleon’

    Meanwhile, Jayathas said the latest incident showed that Muhyiddin was not fit to be education minister.

    “What good are his powers as education minister if even the district education officers work against his orders?

    “Since Interlok was introduced, there have been many cases of fights and name-calling between students. This proves the novel cannot be a good literature material to instil racial unity,” he added.

    Contacted later, MIC publicity and communication chief S Vell Paari took the district education department to task for not respecting the ministry and the Indian community.

    He also urged the ministry to take action against the district education department director.

    “The punishment must serve as a lesson for the other ‘lilttle Napoleons’. We don’t want to see this person promoted to a higher position under the guise of punishment,” he said.

    Vell Paari said if the government did not act, it would incur the wrath of the Indian community, and Umno leaders should not blame MIC for the loss of votes.

    “How you are going to go down to the community and ask them to vote for BN if you continuously disrespect them?” he asked.

  267. SIMON THONG is blogging as simonthong | simonthongwh Says:

    […] Piece’s Neptune – A Kingly … How to Stop Chili or Chilli Burning Interlok Thong of the […]

  268. simonthongwh Says:

    Reported in Malaysia Kini:

    In the ongoing debate over withdrawing the novel Interlok as compulsory literature textbook for form five students, the leaders of the National Interlok Action Team (Niat) have taken up a new weapon in their fight. They are getting ready to go on “fast unto death”.

  269. wits0 Says:

    “fast unto death”

    And proceed to Hell please!

  270. dutch Says:

    They are getting ready to go on “fast unto death”.
    **************

    That is a truly splendid idea, better than immolating themselves and will definitely get all the Indians riled up. They will be certainly having daily coverage of the deteriorating condition of the fasters and further raising the anger level. It will be boomtime news in the Indian Press. NDTV will ver it. The Indian Gormrn will be dragged in.
    BUT HECK THEY REALLY MUST DO IT.
    Uthayakumar`s fasting in prison too had huge negative impact on the BN.
    The IRA chpas imprisoned once were also succesful at it.

    The only dumb ass who has not been succesful on fast-onto-death is Matthias Chang for the palestinians. He makes the “fast-onto-death” a joke while he cheats and gets fatter by the day.

  271. dei thamby Says:

    Wat is this fast to death thing? They are cowards. Pour oil or ghee over yourself and then a lit match outside Muhyiddin`s office. That is cojones.
    Drink weed killer outside Supreme Council Meeting, that is cojones.
    Fast to death, fast to death damn pussies thinking like the naked fakir gandhi.

  272. simonthongwh Says:

    Use ‘Interlok’ as model for history textbooks, says historian …
    8 Jun 2011 … The “Interlok” novel is a compulsory text for the literature component … He said that although history textbooks had a strong focus on the …
    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/…/use-interlok-as-model-for-history-textbooks-says-historian/

  273. wits0 Says:

    Comprehensive Interlocked to insult the non-malays:

    Interlok, the book, to insult the young

    Utusan to rub that in daily as one of umno’s dailies.

    And in Parliament, as an umno tradition:
    http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=13770:oi-sit-down-lah-face-like-an-ape-is-this-how-umno-mps-should-speak&Itemid=2

    The Borgs type might say,:
    “All your base are belong to us”
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=all%20your%20base%20are%20belong%20to%20us
    Substitute the word, “rights” for “base”

  274. wits0 Says:

    “Comprehensive InterlockedLY interlocked…..” i.e.

    The circle is complete!

  275. simonthongwh Says:

    SIMON THONG on INTERLOK AS HISTORY?

    I may not be a historian but I know what isn’t history; what an ignorant fellow that kwai lo has turned out to be.

  276. wits0 Says:

    A kwai lo can be ignorant and/or he can be bought too.

  277. simonthongwh Says:

    INTERLOK: Stick-and-paste method by teachers

  278. simonthongwh Says:

    INTERLOK: Stick-and-paste method by teachers
    Teachers make ‘Interlok’ changes manually 2011/06/21 Maizatul Ranai and Predeep Nambiar news@nst.com.my Share | A list of amendments to be made to the controversial Interlok textbook following a directive from the Education Ministry. KUALA LUMPUR: The g…

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