On my October 7th blog, I published my poem, “I Petition The King.” This poem is published outside Malaysia for obvious reasons. My poem ostensibly addresses the King of Malaysia, in the persona of a person rendered insane by the politics of an unjust nation. As a Malaysian poet, I assume this persona to break the silence for all Malaysians.
In the news today on Wikipedia’s main page, yet another ruler has been selected to rule Malaysia. His reign begins 13th December 2006. The petition before this King, or ruler of Malaysia – before the God of his faith and the God of my faith – requires the application of integrity, intellect, reason, faith and law to the question of Justice. Here is the background to the petition in my poem.
In most civilized countries, to my knowledge, the social contract is between the government and its’ people. In Malaysia, the social contract as I am beginning to understand it is between the Malay people and the non-Malay people i.e, the Chinese and Indians. The Malays give the non-Malay people the right to citizenship on the condition that the non-Malays do not question the special privileges of the Malays and the status of the Malay language, now commonly accepted as Bahasa Malaysia or the national language.
In all this false Nationalization, of the Malay’s language and religion, and the imposition of Ketuanan Melayu or Malay-Muslim supremacy on non Malays in Malaysia, an obsequious servanthood is inadverdently developed in our thinkers/writers and poets. We are limited in our pursuit of Liberty.
As a writer and poet myself, I found it curious when I began my journey as a young writer that it was alright to critize the West, the British, the Chinese and the Indian but not the Malay. I was only to understand Malaysian politics as really Malay politics when I had the opportunity to pursue an education overseas and when I read texts that are prohibited or not prescribed under the Malaysian syllabus, outside Malaysia or independently on my own. What was curious became crazy when I attempted to understand my predicament as a writer/poet and thinker. Hence my poem.
Basically,in a quid pro quo agreement made without my knowledge/consent, before I was born, I lost the right to think, write or express any thought that might offend Malay sensibilities or collide with the Malay-Muslim worldview. What is lost then to the Malaysian is the integrityof the Malaysian identity. Even the Malay suffers loss for no man or woman in this vast world can benefit by denying his brother his inheritance of the land in which he is born. Yet more abominable is to request in exchange for his life on the land, an eternal silence on the matter. This is not just.
As a Malaysian Tamil writer/poet I find myself in the awkward position of risking my nationality and citizenship when I put pen to paper. However, commit these words to paper, break the silence and yes, risk, I must. In a previous article published in The Canyon Courier, “Signing The Manifesto, Sincerely“, I allign myself with other international writers/thinkers and journalists like Ayaan Hirsi Ali who speak out against the extremism in Islam. In my poem, “I Petititon The King”, I am breaking the silence that has been imposed on non Malay Malaysians and asking for a redress of grievences. Essentially, I stand with other non-Malay Malaysians and ask for Justice in a peaceable, and non violent way.
As a non-Malay Malaysian, I am robbed. I petition the King, not for compensation, but justice for all. Only the King shall administer justice in this matter.