Thursday, 27 July 2017

Suasana Hari Raya

We have come to the end of the one-month long festivity following one month Ramadan fasting. In Malaysia and worldwide, the Malays listen to and sing this song (and other related songs) to celebrate Aidilfitri (Eid, Eidulfitr, Eid-al-fitr).

This song below is one of the many songs enjoyed by all Malays and Malaysians. I hope you will enjoy the song too. The original lyrics are in Malay (Bahasa Melayu) - the language spoken by the Malay people (the Malays, Orang Melayu) of Malaysia.

Some YouTube comments have asked for the Arabic translation of this song. I have literally translated the song into English (scroll down). It will give you a sense of what the song is about. I have not been able to translate this song into other languages. However, you can try with Google Translate.

There is a piano rendition of this song in Azima Othman's Facebook - her daughter played it on the piano. You too can try and play this song on your own musical instrument, or for your club, band, orchestra and marching band. Give it a try. You can also dance to this song.

The greeting for Hari Raya Aidilfitri is "Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir dan Batin." The meaning of which is "Have a Happy Hari Raya Aidilfitri. (I beg for) Forgiveness, for my Physical Self and my Soul." Something like that.


Title of song: Suasana Di Hari Raya 
Malay singers: Anuar & Elina
Boy's voice is that of young Anuar.
Girl's voice is that of Elina.
Uploaded by Amir88xx
https://youtu.be/A_dxcMDcGbs
Malay lyrics provided by Nyajimura
(edited for web)

Anuar Zain:
Berlalulah sudah Ramadhan sebulan berpuasa
Tiba Syawal kita rayakan dengan rasa gembira
Anak muda di rantauan semuanya pulang ke desa
Ibu dan ayah keriangan bersyukur tak terkira

Elina:
Bertukar senyuman dan salam ziarah-menziarahi
Tutur dan kata yang sopan saling memaafi
Suasana Hari Raya walau di mana pun jua
Memberikan ketenangan dan mententeramkan jiwa

Anuar Zain:
Kuih dan muih beranika macam
Makanlah jangan hanya dipandang

Elina:
Ketupat rendang sila nikmati kawan
Penat memasak malam ke pagi

Anuar Zain:
Wajik dan dodol jangan lupakan
Peninggalan nenek zaman berzaman

Elina:
Asyik bersembang pakcik dan makcik
Hai duit Raya lupa nak diberi

Anuar Zain & Elina:
Berlalulah sudah Ramadhan sebulan berpuasa
Tiba Syawal kita rayakan dengan rasa gembira
Anak muda di rantauan semuanya pulang ke desa
Ibu dan ayah keriangan bersyukur tak terkira

Anuar Zain:
Kuih dan muih beranika macam
Makanlah jangan hanya dipandang

Elina:
Ketupat rendang sila nikmati kawan
Penat memasak malam ke pagi

Anuar Zain:
Wajik dan dodol jangan lupakan
Peninggalan nenek zaman berzaman

Elina:
Asyik bersembang pakcik dan makcik
Hai duit raya lupa nak di beri

-----------
English translation by me, 27 July 2017:

Anuar Zain:
One month Ramadan fasting has passed
Syawal has come for us to celebrate with joy
Our youngsters from overseas are all returning to the villages
Mothers and fathers are happy and grateful beyond belief

Elina:
Exchanging smiles and salam when visiting
Polite spoken words for mutual forgiveness
The Hari Raya joyful spirit fills the air everywhere
It gives tranquility and soothes the soul

Anuar Zain:
There are various cakes and delicacies
Please eat and not just look

Elina:
Please try the ketupat and rendang, my friend
It was tiring to cook them from night till morn

Anuar Zain:
Don't forget to try the wajik and dodol
They are our ancestor's legacy

Elina:
Uncle and aunt are passing the time talking
Have they forgotten to give us the Raya money packets?

Anuar Zain & Elina:
One month Ramadan fasting has passed
Syawal has come for us to celebrate with joy
Our youngsters from overseas are all returning to the villages
Mothers and fathers are happy and grateful beyond belief

Anuar Zain:
There are various cakes and delicacies
Please eat and not just look

Elina:
Please try the ketupat and rendang, my friend
It was tiring to cook them from night till morn

Anuar Zain:
Don't forget to try the wajik and dodol
It is our ancestor's legacy

Elina:
Uncle and aunt are passing the time talking
Have they forgotten to give us the Raya money packets?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Merdeka Minda Melayu!

         Merdeka Minda Melayu!
(Liberate The Malay Mind!)


Merdeka Tanah Melayu! “Freedom for the Malay Land!”

            That was our rallying cry in the first half of the last century. That culminated in our nation’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957. With independence came the freedom to chart our own course. Through that precious gift, we achieved much. We can be proud of having crossed numerous milestones and accomplished many goals, some of which we would not have even dared aspire to had we remained under colonial rule. Such are the promises and rewards of freedom.

            By no means were those goals and rewards assured. Today, many in Asia and Africa yearn for what they consider (and with valid reasons) to be their good old days under colonialism. To them, independence became (and continues to mean) not freedom to pursue their dreams but brutal lawlessness and endless nightmares. To them, merdeka is overrated.

            Malaysians need to be reminded of this harsh reality every so often, not to gloat but as a warning that things could easily have gone the other way for the nation. Malaysia could have been another Rwanda or Sri Lanka, wrecked with deadly sectarian strife. Those countries have been independent too, some for longer periods than Malaysia, and each fearlessly proud of their freedom. Increasingly however, their pride is becoming hollow.

            The colonials oppressed us socially, culturally and for more than a few, also physically and mentally. Our culture was denigrated and our faith pushed aside. Our language was belittled if not ignored while our brave leaders who dared speak out were imprisoned or banished. The colonialists were interested only in exploiting our land, while our ways and society fascinated only their linguists and anthropologists, quite apart from their eccentrics with their voyeuristic curiosity for things exotic. Despite all that we survived. Indeed, we went beyond; we ultimately prevailed and became independent.

            Today we may be free from colonial rule but we have willingly let ourselves be entrapped mentally, this time by forces of our own making. We have let our culture be our oppressor, and we are imprisoned by our religion. Our chauvinistic pride in our language traps us from learning new ones, thus handicapping us in this global age. Worse, by willfully wrapping ourselves in our national language we have also consciously imprisoned our minds.

            The banality of our leaders’ corruption is now beyond our rage. When they are not engrossed in enriching themselves at our expense, they are busy degrading us. They belittle us at every opportunity for not measuring up to the standards they have set for us. They however, conveniently disregard or are otherwise contemptuous of those standards and values. Conditioned by the dictates of our culture, we remain loyal to them.

            If those irritants are not enough, we are also being strangled by the rigidity, crudity and intrusiveness of our laws; laws that are of our own making, or more correctly that which our leaders have created and imposed upon us. As for our current system of educating our young, far from liberating those precious young minds, our schools and universities actively entrap them.

            Then there is the economy. Malaysia is rich with abundant natural resources and spared nature’s many calamities. Yet Malays are increasingly marginalized. All the socio-economic indices are not in our favor; worse, they are deteriorating with alarming rapidity.

            There was a time when we were active in trade and commerce. That was how Islam came to us. Malacca, then the center of our civilization, was a blossoming entrepĂ´t port, located in the protected waters in the path of the prevailing trade winds. Today, rent-seekers, pseudo-entrepreneurs, and the various government-linked companies (GLCs) define our “engagement” in commerce. Our capitalists are not the genuine variety, rather what Yoshihara Kunio termed as “ersatz capitalists.” We have our own term, Ali Baba “businessmen.” The quotation marks are unnecessary as that expression is now a permanent part of our lexicon.

            We are hooked on special privileges like drug addicts their illicit fixes; we have been indoctrinated to believe that our very survival depends on them. We fail to sense that these privileges are but burdens impeding our very progress and dragging us down. Instead we have been programmed to view them as floaters without which we would have long ago been underwater. Our leaders have convinced us, and in turn themselves of this myth; hence we clamor for more privileges and ever-increasing “special rights!” Our struggle then focuses solely on that:  achieving more and ever generous privileges, subsidies and bailouts.

            Those are the perceptions we have of the world and of ourselves. We plan our actions and react to unfolding events based on those views. That is the self-narrative we have crafted. We imagine our future based on that, and we do not like that future at all. Our fear of it makes us hold on even more tightly to what we have today, and then in a mistaken belief that our very survival depends on those privileges, we demand even more. And the destructive downward spiral accelerates until we are thrown into an uncontrollable vortex.

            Things need not have to be that way. We cannot change the current reality; those barnacles on our society’s hull are as obvious to us as to others. We can however, change our perception. Once we have done that, we will begin to see the world as others do. We can then appreciate what had been obvious to others all along, that is, those barnacles on our vessels are not keeping us afloat. Far from that; they effect a heavy drag. Once we realize that we can then begin to aggressively get rid of them as they have now become tightly encrusted upon and fast making themselves a part of us.

            We have to remove our blinders so we can view reality under varying shades and angles of light. Only then could we see the big elephant in the room in its entirety, and not be trapped by the individual assessments of blind leaders groping its various parts. Then we could appreciate and understand the beast in all its beauty, totality, and yes, complexity. There will be disquieting disequilibrium initially as old certitudes get mercilessly demolished. That could be humiliating, and humility is a very good place to start the learning process. Who knows, with greater understanding we might even be able to tame the elephant and make it work for us by using its might to do the heavy lifting.

            A free mind is a prerequisite for us to see the world as it is and not as what we may imagine it to be or what others tell us it is. Staying the course would condemn us and future generations to the roles others have assigned for us, and we would be perpetually at their mercy. Such a destiny and fate should haunt us; hence the need to be obsessed with liberating our minds. Sans a free mind, we condemn ourselves and future generations to be Pramoedya’s Sabuw and Inas.

Next:  The Current Malaysian Ship of State

Adapted from the author’s book, Liberating The Malay Mind, published by ZI Publications, Petaling Jaya, 2013. The second edition was released in January 2016.