Saturday, April 18, 2009

Final Part: Keagungan Melayu - Reclaiming the keris from the UMNOputras

After a long pause, here's the final part to my treatise on Keagungan Melayu. Keagungan Melayu is my answer to the racist rhetoric of Ketuanan Melayu. Whereas Ketuanan Melayu emphasises the outward expressions of “master-hood” such as privileges and special positions, Keagungan Melayu emphasises the mastery of the self which then leads to the mastery of the world around the self. I have presented 4 points previously, this is my 5th and last point on this concept of Keagungan Melayu.

5. The keris is the perfect representation of Keagungan Melayu

In warrior cultures, the sword is the weapon that is usually revered. Many swords have gone down in legend – Excalibur of King Arthur of England, Green Dragon Crescent Blade wielded by Guan Yu the legendary general of China, and Zulfiqar the sword gifted from God to the noble Imam Ali are but some of the blades that have gained legendary status. But among swords, the keris stands alone in its uniqueness.

More of that later. First...

Swords are held in high esteem not only for their craftsmanship, but they are also given significance by their maker and their wielder. A sword is made legendary first when it is forged with some special quality. The swordsmith invests an exceptional effort into the sword in terms of the material used, design of the sword or the spiritual values the sword is intended to represent. That's why an exceptional sword must have an equally worthy owner (giving rise to legends like Excalibur which found only Arthur worthy to wield it).

Thus, the significance of a weapon is in its inherent qualities. It does not lie in its ability to kill – otherwise a butcher's knife would be the greatest weapon of all for the sheer number of lives it takes! The wielder of the sword must reflect the intended values expressed within the sword.

The keris is unique among sword cultures because it does not have the versatility, reach or attack/defense capabilities of a sword. The keris is basically a stabbing weapon – its entire design concept is to be effective only at that range. It cannot be used from a distance like a sword – it can only be used when two warriors are toe-to-toe in battle.

And therein lies the greatest significance of the keris – because it is born from a certain kind of quality: fearlessness.

One would have to be fearless to wield a weapon such as the keris. Unlike a sword which you can kill while still beyond the reach of an enemy's arms and legs, the only way to kill with a keris is when you are right next to him. You would have to grapple with him, using all your skill to get close to him - blocking his attacks and overcoming his defenses – and finally, seeing an opening, to stab him. The blade itself is a work of art in its effectiveness – the waves designed to produce maximum damage with just one thrust.

Taken as an allegorical representation of the Malay spirit, the keris signifies a fearless willingness to face up to any situation and not to back down or avoid. To grapple with them, using all one's mastery of skills gained from hard training and discipline. To identify opportunities and capitalise on them. To confront and overcome circumstances with an iron will to succeed. To design solutions that maximise effectiveness. This is Keagungan Melayu as expressed by the keris.

Whereas the legendary swords are individually significant, the whole CONCEPT of the keris itself is significant. And since the keris is one of the highest expressions of Malay culture, it follows that the keris signifies the worthiness of the entire culture – the Malays.

But UMNO's Ketuanan Melayu has dirtied the mighty symbolism of the keris, by claiming the sole right to represent the Malays yet wielding it with their twisted sense of values.

Above that, Keagungan Melayu sees the keris as a representation of the Malays' greatness as a culture and a race, a culture that is able to succeed on its own merits with its own strengths.

At its core, Ketuanan Melayu sells the nonsense that Malays are inherently “weak” and have no choice but to seek “protection” from the government. It perpetuates individual weaknesses by telling its subscribers that they must relinquish their power to the government. And the government extends its "protection" of the Malays on external structures such as laws, quotas and politics to attempt to create a master race. But is this true power? What if the structures fail? Where would the Malays be then?

Whereas Keagungan Melayu is a call to rediscover the inherent strengths of the Malay psyche and to achieve progress driven by an independent self-confidence. It is a call to rise up and succeed by their own inherent strengths, instead of being convinced that the entire race's fate is to remain in a socio-economic wheelchair and depending on govt crutches and welfare.

The Malays are not like that! The Malays are already powerful! The Malays are majestic! The Malays are fierce! The Malays are masters of their own destiny because they are masters of themselves! These traits are already inherent in Malay culture and the Malay psyche as it has been embodied in the keris.

But the Malays have forgotten...It's high time to remember!


  1. if i have another beer me eyes will be widely closed

  2. The short keris is a result of lack of knowledge to produce a long sword.

    In order to produce a long sword involve a whole new knowledge of metallurgy and also furnaces that can get a very hot furnace which can provide the cradle for a long sword with the strength not to break after 30 inch long.

    Interesting article and I see where you are coming from but the simple truth is they are lack the stuff in between the ears. Sorry[lah

  3. I agreed in every culture there is noble and their evil caricature.

    The nobleness of Malay, you try to portray is incorrect and nonfactual. Having just the knowledge to produce only a short sword, the reason is more simpler. Nice try but this is the kind of SHIT, UMNO will sell.

    Although you mean well to ask the Malay to look into the better side rather the garbage UMNO have been dishing out but this kind of interpretation also have a double edge sword and the result can be both way.

    What we have here in Malaysia is the collective conscientiousness of the Malay psyche and frankly very immature at that. No amount of bullhog can change that.

    But I love you article on COGNITIVE CONSONANCE - that was brilliant...

  4. Anon 8:39

    I am not interested in the relative strengths and weaknesses between cultures. No culture has the perfect combination.

    For example - all the 5,000 years of sword making skills of the Chinese were no match for the western cannons. But they were the ones who created gunpowder in the fist place! Admiral Zheng He is acknowledged as one of the greatest explorers of the world, yet China was defeated by the little snot island of GB. So by employing your logic, are the Chinese lacking in knowledge as well?

    If you spend some time to appreciate the keris - its design, construction and mysticism - I think you would understand better where I am coming from.

  5. Anon 8:56

    You seem to have a very definite judgement on the entire race of Malays. I can only hope that your judgement is backed up with facts and research. Otherwise you are just the other side of the bigot's coin.

    Yes, we do have a defective Malay collective consciousness that has been planted, nurtured and perpetuated by UMNO. But your blanket judgement of them that implies that it is inherent and incorrigible smacks of racism of the highest order, comparative to the "white man's burden" nonsense espoused by the white colonialists.

    And my article is not some attempt to spin UMNO's Ketuanan Melayu rhetoric. No amount of spin can remove the inherent bullshit in that concept.

    What I am attempting to do is to understand the Malay psyche. And what better entry point than the keris, which holds such a special place in Malay culture?

    If you had done some casual research with your eyes wide open on the keris and tried to understand the culture that created it, you would be able to deduce the keris culture to its origins.

    And you would understand that what I said is true. SO what if they only had the knowledge to produce a short sword?

    The fact remains that the Malay culture has produced the most deadly dagger in the world. They perfected the stabbing effectiveness of the dagger. And to have the dagger as the primary weapon requires a very definite set of skills to be effective in battle.

    Anyone can shoot a gun from a hundred feet away. But to overcome your opponent and get close enough to stab him - that's no small feat! Anyone who's been in a real fistfight will know the difficulty in actually landing an effective blow.

    Do your research and don't just fire off blanks.

  6. Eyes Wide Open

    All human are same and only skin deep. What I am saying if all I can produce is a keris then so be it.

    It is neither noble or braver or whatever paints the "ultra noble" that this keris represent the Malay culture.

    The point is the symbolism of keris is also amoral. It will be taken by some UMNO shit to display their ignorance and arrogance.

    Personally, I look with utter contempt when these UMNOites. Unfortunately they represent Malay. If these group of people have such nobleness, they would have given the whole ideology a boot rather than embracing it still.

    On the contrary they (UMNO) are just EVIL, shallow, hollow, retarded, exclusive mindless mind who for me will always be RIDICULOUS at BEST and DISGUSTING at WORST.

    That is why only the Malay can define what is the height of their culture. So far their choice as long as they affiliate with UMNO is one is from the bottom of the toilet bowl.

  7. Unfortunately, it's opinions like yours that give the UMNO bigots fuel to justify their own racism.

    Equating UMNO with all Malays is falling into the same myopic tunnel vision that UMNO suffers from. UMNO does NOT equals Malay, and vice versa.

    If you equate contempt for UMNO with contempt for all Malays, we will never have any unity in our country. What if one day, UMNO really falls? Will the worst fears of the Malays - losing socio-economic and political power come true then?


    Because not all UMNO are scum. And not all Malays are UMNO. Let's get that clear.

    As to the symbolsim of the keris - I never compared which culture was better. I limited myself strictly to exploring the significance of the keris in Malay culture and how it demonstrated its inherent strengths.

    If they can practise Keagungan Melayu - excellent! The whole basis of Keagungan Melayu is mastering the self, and thus mastering the world around them. That is the basis for any kind of success.

    I'm sure you wish success for your fellow countrymen?

  8. No unfortunately, its is your view that fuel UMNO to justify racism...

    You see, that is pointless, defensive, patronising and irrelevant statement.

    UMNO falls may it be, will not equates to Malay downfall. Bien Sure.

    Eyes Wide Open, the fact that you write a blog does not mean you are smarter or knowledgeable or awaken than any others.

    Alright, you are right and absolute insightful, but then I will be lying. Then this is not a dialogue and maybe more palatable.

    My motivation is purely constructive. The truth is everywhere and you are senseless not to feel, see, hear and taste it. The awaken will have already sense it.

    The article must be truthful and not deceitful as yours in these few articles.

    Let go to higher order, all change comes from within. Non religious, non racial, non gender and no differential.

    Work on those inner forces, EYES WIDE OPEN like your COGNITIVE CONSONANCE then there is always wisdom.

    Work on a notion of race based metaphorism and spent 5 chapters (which are laced by deceits) as your article to bring goodness of race is not too smart or awaken.

    That is my humble opinion only.

  9. As to your claim like relating all Malays with UMNO, etc..., I think you know I meant no such things.

    So to draw me with that assumption is also deceitful in your response.

  10. I see you disagree with me. I respect your right. You may not like what I say, but it doesn't matter to me.

    "does not mean you are smarter or knowledgeable or awaken than any others"

    I don't remember saying that I am. I merely write what I observe. If you think what I say has consonance with you, fine. If not, so what? I stand by what I say because I'm not writing for a target market.

    Although I support change, it does not automatically make me a Pakatan supporter. I support whoever will bring positive change to the country - even if it's UMNO. But at the moment, Pakatan seem to be the only viable one to do it. Rest assured, the moment they become like UMNO/BN, I'll be going for their jugular too.

    So don't expect me to toe any lines. I'm answerable to nobody except my own conscience. And I can say that I don't lose any sleep over what I write as there is no dissonance.

    As to all your other inferences and implications and accusations about my integrity, motives, and level of deceitfulness...I'll let it slide.