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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Melayu and their social Lassitude(3)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Lets get back to the 1850’s. we have the following scenario. The majority of the population( Malays) lived in kampongs/inland and coastal areas. The other, the minority, lived in trading enclaves. They were mostly of Chinese and Indian origins.

When the British increased their intervention( occupation), the Malay world became divided. The Malays -left in their own world of traditional rulers in the kampongs and fishing villages. The trading enclaves embraced British intervention, leveraged them and prospered. The trend continued and the divide between the traditional and modern economy, grew larger.

What do we have here? We have two mutually exclusive business cases. One traditional, is associated with less prosperity, backward in all kinds of measurables. The other, a modern dynamic economy, associated with prosperity. The traditional is coincidentally closely bound with Malays since it is they who dominated the kampong and villages. The other world, by non Malays.

To me, this comes closest to being a controlled test on social behaviour. It allows us to dissect factors that account for the difference.

The first obvious attribute is the two worlds are peopled by different ethic groups. Thus one would logically link the differences to racial origins. They were rich because they were Chinese. The Malay would say, the Chinese can do any business, but Malays are inhibited by many sanctions- religious, moral etc. the flaw in the argument? In businesses where the Malay is uninhibited, he fails too. So the knee jerk response, the Chinese has no inhibitions as a reason explaining their success is not solid. And most probably, in businesses where the Chinese can do which are not permitted for Malays- the Malays are least likely to venture anyway. Example: running a numbers game, opening a casino, vice dens, liquor stores, 4 nombor ekor etc etc. but I tell you- those Malays that do go into these ventures are likely to come from the rarefied Malay sub-group so elevated by Huzir Sulaiman. ( haha), and I say this without any malice ok- members of royalty.

Then, probably there is something in the Malay constitution that accounts for their backwardness? The genetic make up argument? Indeed, the genetic make up argument has attained academic respectability with the publication of The Bell Curve. ( Lee Kuan Yew read it and he says, he believes in most of them, but declines to translate the implications into policies). Example, neutering the laggards and dullards. The racial implications are quite obvious. Even Lee Kuan Yew doesn’t want to go into history as a social Herr Josef Mengele.

The Bell Curve is a controversial, best-selling 1994 book by the late Harvard psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray. Its central point is that intelligence is a better predictor of many factors including financial income, job performance, unwed pregnancy, and crime than parents' socioeconomic status or education level. Also, the book argues that those with high intelligence, which it called the "cognitive elite", are becoming separated from the general population of those with average and below-average intelligence and that this is a dangerous social trend.

The implications of a genetic link that accounts for enduring racial differences in intelligence are obvious. Indeed, there seems to be reluctance in accepting a more politically correct stance when the book cautiously states, "The debate about whether and how much genes and environment have to do with ethnic differences remains unresolved.

Policy? The United States for example already has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies, and it is encouraging the wrong women. The technically precise description of America's fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. The authors of the Bell Curve urged the US government to end such policies, that included the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies. Lee Kuan Yew tried to implement this- discouraging the cognitive elite from marrying down.

Luckily we didn’t believe that IQ is immutable, i.e. fixed. It can be overcome. The fact that Malays from the kampongs have succeeded in overcoming the intelligence divide should by now dispel any notions that they are inferior. So? lazy because of their genetic make up?


de minimis 24 December 2008 at 09:17  

brother Sak

I have quietly read this series of yours. It is, to put it mildly, quite awesome in reach and depth. I hope to be able to add something once my thoughts are more formulated.

Anonymous,  24 December 2008 at 12:23  

Dato Sak,

Now that you've mentioned the geographical and cultural factors, the rise of the mat rempits is an anomaly.

I would think that they come from families who have extra to spend, hence afford the bikes (which are not too expensive these days). Therefore it implies that the increase in standard of living does not necessarily translate to a progressive, productive, mature society. And this minority, black sheep of society, has caused much terror for the majority.

Apart from the trading enclaves, it can also be speculated that the daily habits of the Chinese for example, eating out more than the Malay or Indian also means that money changes hands much more amongst these people. This is obvious by the many food stalls, hawkers, small time food sellers to restaurants that cater to this need. This and other cultural practices like selling of religious paraphernalia, services, etc.. means money churns within the community.

It's also in some sense a certain kind of discipline as some of the road side hawkers have been selling the same noodle dish that transcend generations, passed from father to son, and there's no shame in that. As it is after all a money making business owned by the family.

It is obvious in some way why the economy will be mainly held by these people because of their lifestyle and propensity to be their own boss be it by the road side selling fried koay teow, repairing cars or plumbing.

The NEP and rise of an educated Malay middle class just increases the number of patrons for these services (non-halal food aside of course). And as such, until Malays start getting down to business, things will pretty much remain the unchanged.

And it is usually the drop outs that end up starting their own business as they can't work for in an office or at MNCs.

etheorist 24 December 2008 at 12:29  

I do not like the genetical argument because the bell curve can be applied to every spectrum in life - intelligence, income, cunning, corruption, generosity, kindness.

In The Malay Dilemma, Dr. M confuses culture (which can be changed) for genes (which cannot be changed). For that, he has done a great disservice to the Malays.

Greenbottle 24 December 2008 at 13:14  

consider the malay world. the wider world of the malay genetic pool. The cham people, the filipinos , the indonesians and us the malaysian malays. look at the progress of these people. and compare to the sino-japanese genetic stock. the koreans, the japanese, and the chinese? don't need an einstein to figure out that these two different genetic pools have different psyche and achieve v different material success and progress.

as much as we malays dislike the stereotype of the myth of the lazy malays, we have to be heroic and admit that yes, we have different psyche. we are more laidback (lazy) and less driven.

there's a lot of truth to the following joke:-

if there is one chinese, you see him working hard to make money, but if there are two of them they will start gambling. if there is one indian , you see him drinking toddy, but if there are two of them they will form a debating society. if there is one malay , you see him sleeping, and if there are two of them they will start having a kenduri.

this laidback character of the malays is not a negative trait per se. live with it. as mek yam or whoever said it. malays should progress at our own comfortable pace. why hurry?

Anonymous,  24 December 2008 at 15:48  

Ya, 'The Bell Curve'!

LKY did actually implemented the findings by proposing the policy of graduate parents produce 'better' children.

Of course, there were a huge cry within S'pore's populace. It also caused the split between him & some of the other S'pore founding members. It was dropped quietly, soon after that.

I gave LKY a F for proposing this crap, even though it was NOT race based. Eugenic had gone to his sharp mind!

Somewhere along his thinking he forgot that where did one FIRST broke the chain of been a graduate parent. Can one born to be a graduate parent? Jump start half-way along the chain, then all those children of the non-graduate parents are condemned to '2nd-tier' citizen because this chain reaction is a positive feedback loop!

The Bell Curve is a statistical study with many background factors been ignored. It's a good tool, under a pre-set control constant environment, to study human behaviourals. But real live has NO such ideal pre-requisites constants!

Sak's question of "The Malays lazyness" can go back to the interlocking question of nurture vs nature.

Nothing in Mother Nature is natural. They are all been nurtured by the surrounding factors, be they environmental, SoPO or religion. Those traces of human behaviour ONLY become 'nature' as the carriers consistently showcase them without deviations in their daily endeavours.

In the scenario of two mutually exclusive business cases. One is moulded/guarded by years of traditions (SoPo & religion) to cultivate a nature of 'layback kampong-mode', which is associated with less prosperity, backward in all kinds of measurables. The other, a nurtured 'nature' through open struggles (also SoPo & religion)under the full forces of open world to survive in a modern dynamic economy, associated with prosperity.

Now, what do the modern Malays want?

Pockets of them have achieved well earned standings among the peers. But at what cost? Majority of the norm will said - lost of the Malay identity? Or is it? Or is this the excuse not to change?

There are calls for going back to the 'good' of the old. Forgetting that their current modern standings are the fruitful attributes of the moves, initiated by their elders, to break away from the back-breaking pasts!

These people easily forget that the 'tyranny' of the modern advancements DOES NOT justify reversing back to the 'slavery' of the feudalistic domicile. Green living needs modern know-hows NOT ancient brute force!

The Malay identity should be evolving with TIME. Walla has said a lot in the previous comments. I would venture just forward-looking toward the future to cultivate the necessary traces for advancement. Discard the overweening historical baggage as excuses for current lacks of developments. Nobody is going to colonize no body (satD ;D). Find a middle ground where Islam can be blended into the modern Malay psychic, then educate the norms & the heartlanders. Not the form over the substance overtunes as of now. That's the least these few pockets of 'enlighten' Malays owe themselves to that call of intelligentsia!


A Tabib 24 December 2008 at 16:19  

Hello all,

Maybe the geneticists can help us here.

There's mounting evidence from genetic studies that the division lines between racial and ethnic groups are quite blurry and that most genetic variation exists within social groups and not between them.

I'm a Malay but I'm more likely to have genetic material similar to a Chinese than to another Malay. So genetically speaking I'm more Chinese than Malay. This genetic similarity between social groups is becoming more evident with the explosion of data from genetic studies that many geneticists are now quite unwilling to equate biological labelling with social labelling.

With that in mind I think it's safe to say that the laziness or laid-back nature of the Malays is more likely due to conditioning ie environment.

I don't think this characteristic of "laidbackness" relative to the immigrant races is exclusive to the Malays. It's inherent in all native races of a particular area, I feel. We can see this in Fiji, Uganda or New Zealand. They were colonised of course, and colonisation could have influenced things but what about the effect of transmigration in Indonesia, China or eastern Russia? In all these cases the natives were laidback relative to the newcomers and as a result were overtaken by the immigrants in almost all spheres of life.

The real question of course what is it in the environment that makes the natives lazy and therefore fall behind. Is it a (false) sense of security of their place in the land - we were here before you, so we'll call the shots. I reckon this could be it and could explain the furore when Malay rights (as variously defined) are perceived to be threatened.

Anonymous,  24 December 2008 at 16:28  

I agree with the geography bit. Were the Malays of Melaka inhibited culturally? Should we exorcise this notion of backwardness? The successive Rulers of Kedah hardly stepped out of its shores, except for those trips to Bangkok,those encounters with Francis Light and a particular Sultan who journeyed up to India and returned home brimming with ideas. On the contrary, the Rulers of Johor were globalists. The fruits of this outreach, travels, scholarships produce a rather cosmopolitan community in JB. Thus the origins of the Ruling Class. The Malays of Melaka were all over the region. They occupied a strip of land with no hinterland. The riverine Malays did not integrate with the prevalent economic trends of the region, did they? The Merdeka Malays have since travelled, and, like the Kedah Ruler who went to India a couple of centuries back, filled with new thoughts. The Thais in the North East, the Thaksin-belt have not encountered much progress. Are they culturally maimed?

The Perak Malays were liberated by the Birch incident because the rotation system meant no Royal household could be sure of the throne. Thus the Royalties of Perak made sure their scions were properly educated; the Orang Besar scrambled for superior education. Wahab, Panglima Bukit Gantang became a pioneering lawyer. His feat bred other successes - Suffian Hashim,and many others.

A major shortcoming, a retrogression, of the Malays is the elevation of the Support Economy - chaps who have made themselves full-time political operatives. They are proper talents, highly-motivated, but because there is no visible means of income, others seem to be a) inspired, thus the desire to emulate the business module of the political operatives; b) incensed, so they poured negative energy to work against Umno and the system.

These talents now in the Support Economy tend to be insular and incestious (politically) because they need to be around to cheer and support the political boss when he is back in the Kawasan. They should be unleashed to get the muda-mudi yang melepak di Muara, Muar, to get off despair, into work. Really we need to man-mark the young of the small towns and the kampungs.

No quick fixes. No get-rich-quick adventures. No easy templates, and formatted-thinking.

Also, the Umno-template faces a severe test because young voters constitute the majority of PRU13 electorate.

One commentator suggests this must not be a talk-fest, filled with armchair commentators thinking they must put the world to right.

No I have faith in the Sakmongkol Crowd. Start by inspiring another individual.

Apocryphalist 24 December 2008 at 19:42  

Tumpang simpan barang sekejap boleh tak dato'? Hamba ni dahlah dagang merempat takder blog tetap so nak laa taruh a bit of my tots kat dalam ni haaa... Its not about melayu, tapi maybe ada related kot. Alaaa... ‘Tis the season to be Merry laa dato': So let’s all rehat sekejap and hear about:-

Rudolf The Red-nosed, slitty-eyed Reindeer: An Apocryphal Tale for our Christian Friends.

Rudolf wasn’t always Rudolf. His original name was quite unpronouncable.

Well wait I take that back.

In fact Rudolf’s original name was perhaps too pronouncable that he became embarassed by it. For if you go around any corner or block, you’d mistaken any sound that results from a crashing vase, a fallen china, a dropped kitchen utensil, to be his name. So after a while he took it upon his life’s crusade to find himself a good name.

“U gotta have a good name if you wanna be part of Santa’s circus”, said a colleague, Prancer. Peter, Paul, Mike --- they were too mundane a name and too ordinary. So together with his friends, he gathered up a slew of non-ordinary but nevertheless cool sounding names:

Jackie. Irrespective of that last one was actually a girl’s name but what the heck? He’s a lapp, for chrissake, not a true blue westerner. How would he know?

It is no secret that despite cool, western-sounding names like all of Rudolf’s friends and cousins, he doesn’t really have faith in Santa. In fact, Rudolf is no believer at all. He just needs a job is what he is. He’d sooner off sell his mother than believe that some kind of virgin woman in some far-away middle-eastern land gave birth to a baby boy a coupla thousand years ago and his boss Mr. Kringle is here to enliven up the spirit of that birth. In fact Comet, another reindeer whom Rudolf disliked immensely, complained to Santa that once, while flying over a Lapp cemetery that housed Rudolf’s ancient families and relatives, he swore that he saw Rudolf clasped both hands together, closed his eyes, and prayed, as was the custom of most infidelous Lapp society, worshipping the deceased that they bury with paper houses and expensive sleds. But hey! You gotta go where the money flows. So switching faiths when needed is the least of his problems.

He still remembers the first day he donned that official Santa Sled Troupe attire.

“Take it off. You look ridiculous. You’re from Lapp, for Chrissake”, his mother, another slitty-eyed but more traditional reindeer commented.

His sister added that he couldn’t even speak English with correct grammar so what the hell is he doing acting like one for? All these were unimportant to Rudolf. For when he looks into the mirror, he doesn’t see a Lapp, he sees Britney Spears. He sees Robbie Williams. He sees Bill Gates. He sees George Dubya Bush. He sees people whom he thinks represent what advancement in the material world is all about. And he sees himself in this crowd. And suddenly, to disown his own family, culture, name --- seems more obvious and easy to do. He suddenly feels a sense of belonging. Slitty eyed and all.

Deep in his heart, he still feels kiasued by the other original reindeers in Mr. Kringle’s group. But in actuality, Rudolf hates them all: the whole lot of them: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, Blixem. Rudolf is a closet unbeliever, but during carols, his voice is usually the loudest to be heard.

He couldn’t understand their jokes, couldn’t respond to their linguistic acrobatics and verbal innuendos. But whenever he is around HIS own people, the Kiasu is his. He looks down upon his friends and cousins and those surrounding him as not … modern enough.

And once in a while, when no one was looking, he sips in a cup of Lapp tea and downs a bowl of Mee Curry.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saya... 24 December 2008 at 22:53  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ariff Sabri 24 December 2008 at 23:16  

de minimis,
i am sure you will write in your characteristically thoughtful way. i am eagerly waiting.
i am in full agreement that one of the ways to uplift the malays is through business provided it is done with the same diligence and intensity as non Malays. the holy prohet(PBUH) said that 9/10 of prosperity lies in doing business.

e theorist.
i think since then, TDM has himself disown his genetic theory.

allowing malays to decide at their own pace is ok provided you agree not to complain the results you get from choosing such an option.

i agree with your analysis. the malays must embrace the future but without sacrificing their essence. i am pleased to know that you have read the Bell Curve. these has been a lot written in opposition to the policy ramifications of the Bell Curve since its publication and death of one of its authors.
doc a tabib,
we accept that our genetic constitution is a given. this acceptance fortunately does not translate into a blind belief that we cant change our destiny. the destiny we desire, lies in overcoming our natural constraints.

as for the rest, i will take time to answer the very intellectually intense comments. i would only dishonor them by giving the short treatment. the quality of comments here exhausts me...perhaps i am biting off more than i can chew

Saya... 24 December 2008 at 23:17  


That was bloody hilarious.

But I think it should have been of lapp tea and a hot bowl of bah kut teh....that should properly warm up a cold, red-nosed reindeer after a hard day's deception.

Saya... 24 December 2008 at 23:18  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ariff Sabri 24 December 2008 at 23:18  

hello m.tigress. apa pasal hang delete comment hang? takut kat apocryphalist ke? i am sure he is beginning to sound more like the naughty sbj

Saya... 24 December 2008 at 23:23  


I'm too impulsive lah!

Hahaha...aiyo if he is SBJ, I will be disappointed la!

Apocryphalist 25 December 2008 at 03:06  

Dato' Sak- "the quality of comments here exhausts me...perhaps i am biting off more than I can chew".

Ahah! This is what one gets when the blogging author is more exuberant and prolific than the commenters. Sakmongkol AK47 is perhaps one of those few blogs whose rate of production of articles by the author (and good ones at that) exceed the rate by which commenters can chip in to give their thoughts. Baru tengah pikir nak comment about Part 3 tetengok dah keluar part 4.

Alaaa... MT punya komen tak sempat nak baca. Why laaa you keep erasing erasing. And no lah. Am not SBJ. Am much, much more handsomer.

A Tabib 25 December 2008 at 07:20  

Sakmomgkol AK47said we accept that our genetic constitution is a given. this acceptance fortunately does not translate into a blind belief that we cant change our destiny.

Exactly AK. You posed a question of whether laziness is genetically determined. It is not.

This thesis that laziness is genetically imprinted in the Malays - and is therefore permanent - was imputed in baleful statements in the past about Malay social progress (or lack of).

The Malays can change their destiny if they put their minds to it. One sign of that happening is the nascent Malay diaspora; small step, but giant leap.

Saya... 25 December 2008 at 07:48  

Tuan Tabib,

I'm a Malay but I'm more likely to have genetic material similar to a Chinese than to another Malay. So genetically speaking I'm more Chinese than Malay. This genetic similarity between social groups is becoming more evident with the explosion of data from genetic studies that many geneticists are now quite unwilling to equate biological labelling with social labelling.

With that in mind I think it's safe to say that the laziness or laid-back nature of the Malays is more likely due to conditioning ie environment.

Great point, Tabs, wonder how people will react to that? Heheh.

Wah, doc sudah buka langkah with his scalpel in hand. Was going to comment, but after seeing the all the brilliant thoughts, I went back to chewing my fingernails!

Ridzzy 25 December 2008 at 09:21  


Im Chinese + Indian, and my wife is Malay. This makes my daughter technically 50% malay, 25% chinese, 25% indian.

So What happens here then? :o)
Ginetically, She may end up as a "inferiority complexed greedy drunk with an anger problem?" haha..

Have a great year ahead of you and looking forward to more of your posts.

Ariff Sabri 25 December 2008 at 09:39  


salam brother. i remember you. the one with the slithering snake on your shoulders. yikes...cannot mess around with a guy who can handle snakes. if i am not mistaken, the video clip showed austin stevens not steve austin. yes. i do see austins stevens- everytime i see him, i will be cursing the fellow- bloody hell..why doesnt put down the bloody snake...sudah sudahlah. the hairs on my neck will stand up.

Ridzzy 25 December 2008 at 11:41  

Yes its me the keen reptile enthusiast :)

And..Oh my! that is a good call. My mistake is noted and duly corrected. How could I possibly mix them up? 2 totally different characters LOL. And the one i mistook him for is the 1 of the 2 that I dont care much about hahaha

satD 27 December 2008 at 13:33  

salams n hellow to all

I just got a couple of questions

What kind of makeup did the other races who were transported over here?Were they skilled workers and traders with a special skill set? Perhaps complex tools and business models that will ensure that they are above the Malays and cannot be replaced...

Did they apply for the job to come over or were they pick randomly by some British goon with a gun?

Why do people go to a foreign country in those days? Did they think about coming back at all? Or is this a one way trip, a fixed mindset drilled into the minds of these 'foreign workers'....Or were the Malays competing with the Best of "Their" Pool from ground zero

And why didn't the Brits bring them in temporarily instead of permanently? Was is a skill that the Malays could not learn?

Advancement in any society economically involves the learning of new skills, new tools, new business models etc....

and as for genes we share a similar makeup with the apes...but apes cant learn due to the fact that they were born with 75% of their brain size in comparison with only 25% of a human child......

Perhaps the (Malays) 'need' to learn these new skills was suppressed with intent by the Brits to ensure that they will have a firm control over the mind of the Malays...

Does this make a good case to sue the Queen ah??.... :D

Anonymous,  28 December 2008 at 17:05  


first greetings from abroad (Germany)...

Genes change over hundred thousands of years (what all those pretend to "forget" who write books like "The Bell Curve"), and more or less all humans have the same genetic inventory. There are no races in humans, only variants.
What changes fast is culture (therefore it developed through evolution because it allows much faster adaption).

So the main difference between Malay and Chinese is, that the Malay are the "settled" people, always been there, having a culture and tradition fitting to this way of life, and the Chinese who stem from people who decided to be "unsettled" some time ago and who got used to a "moving" lifestyle, trading, adopting other cultures, techniques etc.

A Chinese living on the rural parts of China has a "settled" habit like a "settled" Malay. On the hother hand Malays I met in Europe have normally a very "moving" "open minded" habit and culture. But all have the same "chinese" resp. "malay" "genes". The malaysian Chinese just inherited another culture from their personal anchestors being traders, seaman, craftsman who decided to "move" and being "open".

So forget this nonsense about "genes" and the bell curve. It has no scientific ground. This "intelligence psychologists" have an agenda which you don't want to support, I hope, and as a German I know them very, very well. Our country and culture was in ruins after we allowed those thoughts and people to gain ground.

I have been two times to Malaysia, some time ago to peninsula, recently to Sarawak. What baffled me especially in Sarawak was that everybody I talked with more than 5 words asked me about my faith and religion. Nobody asked for my "race" because I am very obviuosly European, but I learned, that ethnicity (called "race") is extremely important in Malaysia. Malaysians (all, not only Malay, also indigenous, chinese, indian and even white if they are living there) are quite obsessed by race and religion.

In Europe 20 years ago there was a country which is now destroyed by ethnic struggles which lead directly into war: Yugoslavia. And when I learned more about Malaysia I often remebered this. Fixation on "race", "religion" and "ethniticy" leads into abyss. It has nothing to do with "modernity", "development", "democracy", "progress" or whatever you think you have in mind.

Even if Malay accuse their own "race" of being stupid, lazy, etc. compared to others, it is just the same. Wrong way.

Just some thoughts, thank you,

Ariff Sabri 28 December 2008 at 22:26  

thank you for visiting my blog and thank you for yr thoughts. i was just talking to a relative who has worked with a German firm. earlier on in my blogs, i used Latin expressions quite extensively. so he asked me why dont i use a little bit of German. i asked why? because he says, through the process of learning that language, you assimilate the 'feel' of the German race- they are not fixated to the idea of ethnicity like you mentioned- but they are hell bent of achieving certain targets. once they set their minds to something, they become ferocious like the doberman. they just look forward. perhaps, that's what Malays should adopt- a single mindedness of looking forward.

Anonymous,  29 December 2008 at 19:52  

Hi Sak,

auweiah. As we say in German, what means: "Oh, boy..."

Believe me, I'm not a Dobermann... And I don't march around in leather boots and shout "Achtung!" every 10 seconds... And I always don't know how to handle it when somewhere abroad somebody confronts me with the "good German attributes" in a friendly and acknowledging way... Ok, better that than calling me "Nazi", "arrogant" or "anal", I also heard that...

So far, thanks for the flowers.

You also look forward, you maintain your blog, for example. So no need for you to copy "us"...


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