Monday, 9 April 2012

Tribute to Kedah : Some of History of Administration in 19th C II

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

I put this post here so foreign students who study in our university be it from South East Asia or other parts of the world could also access about the original possessor of Pulau Pinang where our institution is build on. Penang was the belonging of Kedah Sultanate. The same goes to Perlis state, hahaha. I don't care what Penangites wanted to say about this and I would like to be blunt that their form of Malay is not nice to my ears because they also commented that our Malay sounds more nasal, fast, difficult to be understood and weird. Some of my undergraduate colleague from Penang maybe pretended that they don't understand my Kedah Malay maybe to boast that they are urban people and we are from village. I live in Kuala Lumpur most of my life and never in my parents village (only sometimes with grandparents in Perlis) but I still can speak in our state Malay and not so fluent in others' Malay. I use English or Chinese when people do not understand my Malay. Most Chinese people in Penang that I found actually can speak in Kedah Malay as compared to those Malays (mamak or Indian Muslims) who speak in Indian style of North Malay language.

Penangites should be aware about this fact that they belong to us no matter if the island was already sold by trick to British. In the same time, when I mingle with some foreign students, I found that it is quite disappointing because they are not aware about their local friends origin nor bother trying to find out about their local friends but they had lived here more than a year. As for me I am aware about them all be they from India, Pakistan or China including about Indonesians and each main islands' history though I never been to their countries. Their people are abundant here especially in southern Malaysian states including who were issued with identity card from government officials in 1970s-1990s onward because they share ethnicity with southern Malay states citizens.

I also read Indonesian authors' book be it of socialism, communism and religious ideologies (Hindu and Islam) though I don't understand the vocabulary used as the veteran writers in Indonesia used Dutch words and other ethnic languages as compared to them who read nothing about their neighbors' books or literature so they are not aware that people are different. They assume that people in Malaysia might be the same or serumpun with them because of the language used in institutional Malaysia was standardized with their language but the fact about citizens is not like that. I also talked about the treatise of Arab descents that I found in our old house in the issue that the Ministry of Education tried to banish the usage of Arabic script in Malay documents simply because they want to standardize Classical Malay with more "modern" Indonesian language and another reason is to make Malay wider spoken by non-Malay and non-Arab ethnics. Our elders actually do not like the idea because it makes younger people and other Muslim ethnics becoming far from scripture studies.

Last time we have huge Arabic and Farsi terms in Classical Malay and these were also used in Kedah high level of speeches. It still survives in our form of Malay that I used to speak with our elders for example such as :

Persian Origin
1. Haram zadah/jadah - bastard
2. Dastar - turban
3. Faranggi - European, nowadays elders begin to use local word such as orang puteh (whites)
4. Samaan - bag, furniture, carpenter
5. Paqqir/Faqir - a sufi term to refer to one self when speaking to other respectable person as a sign of humility. It actually means I and I sometimes translate this into Chinese too when speaking to fellow Muslim Chinese brothers but I dunno if they understood this, hahahaha
6. Narang - orange

Arabic Origin and Pronunciation

1. Wazir - minister, supervisor
2. Daqqtour - doctor, Arabic style pronunciation, lol
3. Buzah - Buddha
4. Ittihaad - economy
5. Siyaasah - politics
6. Sundoq - piggy bank
7. Kitab - books no matter what ever book
8. Rodyu - Radio
9. Talavizen - Television
10. Jahannam - ruined, actually in real Arabic it means hell
11. Habeeb - usually used by Yemenite mission order people to refer to fellow brothers
12. Nazam - arrangement
13. Mishwarah - meeting
14. Mutakallim -  speaker, moderator, academic speeches
15. Fikrah - idea
16. Madrasah - school, sometimes we also say melele which refers to religious school
17. Toffah - apple, this is imported fruit, Kelantanese if I am not mistaken also use the same word

These word actually were still used 15 years ago when I mingled with our elders. Even now when I am writing in Malay also I am using some of these words an terms and many other friends actually do not understand it. It is only used among our people but sometimes I had forgotten and using them with non-Arab descent friends while talking. It also denotes our ethnicity and how orthodox we are in term of culture. Elders would also use the word according to period of time. Nowadays very difficult to hear these kind of speech anymore because many have passed away. Many youngsters now had abandon these simply because they found it as not modern and orthodox and nobody teach them these. So, this is the price that we pay just because we wanted to be looked modern or in the same level with others. I don't think if this is important but my experience now only shows that we will receive disappointment when we try to imitate others because others are also not strong in their identity. Why not we be proud with the identity that we already possessed? We are also proficient in our villages style of speech when we make friend with village folks. When rewinding these words, it makes me wanted to seriously learn Farsi and polishing my Arabic but now I am still occupied... huhuhuhu.....  

I would like to advise as a Muslim who are not bounded by geography, try to be aware and caring about each other. Recognize diversity and differences. Don't be selfish and thinking that only we are the one who inhabit the earth. If we have this kind of attitude we won't be mercy-compassionate to ourselves and others.      

Figures from Kedah post-Malaysia 1957

Tunku Abdul Rahman

The Sultanate of Kedah has leaders who looks far to the future. They think also about the future of the sultanate and its safety. Among them is Tunku Abdul Rahman who was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. He was the son of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah from the Sultanate of Kedah. I am sure Indonesian friends know about him because he was the figure who was involved in the Confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia where Soekarno at that time was the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Tunku Abdul Rahman mother is a Mon ethnic of Martaban royal family from today's Myanmar and she was a Buddhist. Mon is an ancient ethnic of Myanmar and Thailand. They are not identical to Thais. When their country was annexed, the Mons and their royalties ran to Siam and seeking refuge because the emperor of Siam has family connection with the Mons royalties. The Mons are devout Theravada Buddhists, Buddhist missionaries and their ancient country were known as Phra Nakorn Sri Dvaravati which consists of ancient city-states in modern Thailand today and Myanmar. There was a temple dedicated to the maternal grandmother of Tunku Abdul Rahman in Alor Setar. My late maternal grandpa call it as melele which means temple to gain meritorious deeds. Melele also refer to Islamic madrasah in our state language.

Mahathir Muhammad

Other one who become known in federal stage is Mahathir Muhammad. He is from Alor Setar. His father is an Indian Muslim whose origin from Kerala state of India.  I was born in his era where he begins his career as a prime minister in 1981 the year where my third sister was born and he resigned in 2003 where I was an O-Level student in Semenyih in Selangor. I will be honest here too. I do not like this guy for some of his ideas, I don't care about his visions and I think he is an ego though he is from my state but during his time he also tries to bring back our state's ancient connection with Cambodia because we can watch many Cambodian and Thai movies in government television channel. Because of this, we are aware also about other ASEAN countries as compared to other ASEAN countries citizen. Because of him too I am now a political studies student and not a religious studies student. He said that we, madrasah and religious studies students will only be tukang kukuq nyiuq (coconut grater guy) in the village. It also means that when trying to catch up with materialism development, we have to look down on religious studies? Actually religious studies students were aware about the need of technology and we never look down at physical science studies but we were attacked by politicians and becoming the victims of situation. People even in religious school had also lose respect to their own self when listening to this kind of speech and we become not confident with our selves and for me I lose faith in our own religion after listening to this. People are of different nature, inclination and ability. That is the fact that this guy should realize.

So, two of Malaysian Prime Ministers were from Kedah Sultanate. One who was known as Abdullah Badawi was from mainland Penang and it was our territory too. Actually I am not trying to be proud with all of these figures because I don't care at all about them. I just care about my state and our sultanate like our ancestors did. If people asking me what is my citizenship now, I will first say I am from Kedah no matter if people recognize it or not in world map. Then only I will say I hold Malaysian passport. So, this is the complexity of Malaysia as a Federation of states/countries.   

Figures in Kedah in Pre-Malaysia

Before 1957, there were two figures being appointed as Kedah Chief Minister. At this time only our status as a country being degraded to a state so our officials like Prime Minister have to be called as Chief Minister to represent the authority of our country/state.

The first is Haji Muhammad Sharif bin Osman (1948-1954) and the second is His Highness Tunku Isma'il bin Tunku Yahya (1954-1959). Both of them were the pioneer for today's administration system in our sultanate. They had revolutionized our sultanate education system, religion, public health and medical system, communication and urban development. They are all in social, economic and political development.

When Malayan Peninsula achieved its independence from British Empire or the Great Britain, Kedah Sultanate begin to receive new projects and infrastructures according to phases through our Chief Ministers chosen by citizens who tried to defend our rights at Federal Territory level. 

Those who became Chief Ministers of Kedah after 1957 were :

1. Sayyid Omar bin Sayyid Abdullah Shahabuddin, 1959-1967
2. Sayyid Ahmad bin Sayyid Mahmud Shahbuddin, 1967-1978
3. Sayyid Nahar bin Sayyid Sheikh Shahabuddin, 1978-1985
4. Osman bin Arof 1985-1995
5. Sanusi bin Junid, 1995-1999
6. Sayyid Razak bin Sayyid Zayn Barakbah, 1999-2005
7. Mahadzir Khalid, 2005-2008
8. Azizan Abdul Razak, 2008-2012

Urm, most of these ministers are of Arab descent and actually were Malayan Arabs or Hadramis/Yemenis just like my self and others who are now considering themselves as Malay. Now I will call them Arab who deny themselves or Arab tak sedar diri, hahaha. How do we know that they are non-Malays? They used the title Sayyid. There are also Arabs who used the title Wan like my previous post talked about, those who used the title Sharif or Malay folks will call them as Soreahh, those who only used the title Sheikh to denote their religious teacher ancestors and also those who omit their title because of few reasons. Besides that, there are also Indian Muslim who put the name Sayyid to their son who is born in Friday especially from Penang. This one is not Sayyid of Arab ancestry. It is known as Sayyid Juma'at, hahaha. Usually orthodox Arab descents will only permit their people to marry their daughters or those who are related to them because of their interpretation of their traditional school of jurisprudence, Shafi'ie madzhab. Immigrant Arabs were not as orthodox as this, hahaha. Nowadays, some do not really care about this anymore. I am also laughing to this kind of people if they still exist, hahahaa.

I am not sure about the ethnicity status of the fourth Chief Minister of Kedah Sultanate. My dad served his office as a secretary around 1994-1995 in Wisma Darul Aman. At this time I had to move with my family to Kedah state like what I talked in previous posts. Sanusi bin Junid is an Achehnese by ethnicity. So, Malayan Arabs actually were involved in our state affairs. All of these people were representing the Malay Nationalist party so I guess that is why I am also forced to be assumed as other ethnicity though I am not a politician. The current Chief Minister, Mr. Azizan Abdul Razak is not from Malay Nationalist party but from Islamic brotherhood party.

I don't care much about political party but this is the scene of our politics. I assume the seventh and the current Chief Minister as Malays too but who knows they might also have Arab or Indian ancestry too. It is a very personal matter unless if they themselves talk about this or showing their lineage lists according to their family oral traditions of elders. Usually younger generations do not care much and elders also do not care to tell younger generations unless if the younger one ask them or forcing them to speak out. 

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love amin!          

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