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7th Rangers: Interlok insults with impunity - Textbook denigrating others, promoting UMNO supremacists
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Interlok insults with impunity - Textbook denigrating others, promoting UMNO supremacists
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Interlok is essentially The Malay Dilemma in narrative form ā€“ the two books are spiritual cousins. As such, you can see how Interlok has the capacity to incite.

In the world of Interlok, the Chinese do not even care to leave any crumbs for the natives. And not only are the Chinese characters most unsympathetic with scarcely any redeeming graces, they are also physically repulsive.

Meanwhile the Indians are derogatorily misrepresented by the author Abdullah Hussain who displays little understanding of their culture and beliefs. Abdullahā€™s malice is evidently intentional since each negative racial stereotype is obsessively replicated and embellished with examples of behaviorial trait.

In a nutshell, Interlok is an unfit and improperly assigned text that negates the Ministry of Educationā€™s own guidelines through its multitude of sensitive and offensive elements.

It makes out the atypical to be the archetype, such as the Chinese selling their daughters. The general public is yet to realise how distorted, if not dangerous, the novel is as a piece of racial propaganda until they read it for themselves.

For non-readers of Malay or those less well versed in the language, the analysis below provides a succinct and compelling summary of all that is wrong with Interlok.

We are grateful to Hartal MSM for undertaking this analysis.

The article raises many disturbing questions on not only the book itself but also on the bureaucratic processes and decisions that are threatening to inflict this book on our young minds.

  1. Who were the parties involved in the initial selection process that resulted in the book being made a text book?

  2. How was the decision arrived at? Were the racially skewed and racist connotations fully discussed? If so, what were the opinions provided and how were these issues of racial sensitivity resolved?

  3. What had been the guidelines provided to its two Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka editors Ruziati bt Abdul Rani and Baharin bin Aiyob? Did those guidelines confirm to the standards laid down by the Ministry?

  4. Who reviewed the final edited text and cleared it?

These and many more questions need full disclosure to the public.

For now, there is yet another committee trying to edit it. The committee has been referred to as an ā€˜independent panelā€™. If it were a truly independent panel, its hands would not be tied with simply undertaking the deletion of bits and pieces of the book.

The so-called independent panel must review the suitability of Interlok as a textbook for our schools and arrive at a decision as to whether to recommend its adoption or rejection ā€“ not tinker with sentences and phrases. Anything less is a cop-out and a sell-out.

The panellists ā€“ each one and collectively ā€“ will be under much pressure to compromise. Will the members have the intellectual courage and integrity to reject an unfit and improper school text or will they serve as a rubber stamp for the political and racist interests that are bent on poisoning our youth? If they do the latter, will they sleep so well at night?


By Hartal MSM

Interlok is tremendously slanted. In it, author Abdullah Hussain viewed the Chinese with suspicion and loathing, and the Indians with condescension.

Written in 1967, Interlok reflected the prevalent stereotypical prejudices against the Chinese community. Its anti-Chinese sentiments are in fact glaring.

The best point from which to start analyzing Interlok is to compare it with The Malay Dilemma. Abdullah had a lot in common with Mahathir Mohamadā€™s ultra Malay stance. Both hectored the ā€˜gullibleā€™ Malays for their lackadaisical attitude. Another identical plank was their obsession with the Chinese business acumen to be emulated.

The excuse made for Interlokā€™s strident anti-Malay content is that the author is balanced because he is uncomplimentary about the Malays as well. Not so. In Interlok, the Chinese are portrayed as disdaining the Malays for the latterā€™s stupidity and laziness; it is not Abdullah or the Malays who think of themselves as stupid and lazy.

Connect the dots, and the strong message comes across that if you (the stupid and lazy Malay) continue to lepak and to trust the Chinese, they will rob you blind.

Hence Interlokā€™s main plot concerns the unscrupulous Chinese moneylender cheating the Malay farmer of his land and home. Why is this stock figure of Shylock, a holdover from more than 40 years ago, being recycled in our present-day classroom?

BTN ā€“ Brainwashing the Nation

The unabridged novel was originally 503 pages long. The condensed version is 418 pages, after 85 pages of inappropriate material were excised.

Although the passages depicting opium-clouded illicit sex, rape and attempted rape (two separate incidents) and gruesome suicides by hanging were removed, Abdullahā€™s racism somehow escaped filtering despite the student edition being one-fifth shorter in length.

Weā€™re puzzled how a novel requiring so much tampering came to be hailed as exemplary and compulsory reading for 16 year olds.

Parents should realise the important place that Interlok occupies in the syllabus. It is not an optional paper, and nor can Science students be exempted from sitting it. Interlok is a Komsas (Komponen Sastera or literature component) for SPM Bahasa Melayu ā€” the most important subject.

Abdullahā€™s version of Mein Kampf is for the purpose of stealth proselytization, i.e. to condition impressionable young minds to think in a certain way, such as Indians are pariah. ā€œHe (Maniam) was happy to live in this country because, for the first time in his life he felt like a human beingā€ [unlike the sub-human existence previously in India as an outcast].

Interlok hammers home the lesson that Indians and Chinese are foreigners and immigrants (the phrases ā€˜bangsa asingā€™ and ā€˜pendatangā€™ run throughout the novel ā€“ ā€œDia hanya datang menumpang mencari makan sahaja dan setelah dia kaya dia akan pulang ke negerinya sendiri.ā€

Indian and Chinese students are primed to accept the idea that they should be grateful for opportunities provided by Tanah Melayu because their forefathers were peasants who landed on these shores with nothing more than the shirt on their back, and willing to do lowly work as nightsoil (faeces bucket) carriers.

Blood libel against Chinese

Abdullah engages in the sort of fear-mongering that was either the precursor to, or has a chilling echo in the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) anthem.

The novel is a cautionary tale stressing the paramount theme that ā€œtanah-tanah kita [Melayu] ... tu tergadai kepada bangsa asing. Kita tak upaya nak buat apa-apaā€ and ā€œKecut perut saya mendengar cerita ni. Lama-lama habis harta benda kita tergadaiā€.

Abdullah cautions the Malays that they risk dispossession because the Chinese will cheat them of their land [ā€œlu mesti bayar sewa sama guaā€].

Sounding like a role model to Utusan editor Awang Selamat, Abdullah warns that the Malays risk becoming paupers through losing everything they own to the Chinese ā€“ ā€œIni semua hutang lu punya mapak, itu sebab gua pigang itu sulat tanah.ā€

The Malay hero of the book, Seman, laments after being swindled by Cing Huat: ā€œWeā€™re now homeless, weā€™ve been evicted like mongrel dogsā€. [ā€œKami tak punya rumah, kami diusir sperti anjing kurapā€].

Such imagery mirrors the infamous lyrics of the BTN song: ā€œNenek moyang kaya raya, tergadai seluruh harta benda akibat, sengketa sesamalah kitaā€ / Our forefathers were well-off, now all our inheritance is lost because (the Malays) are not united.

A race that worships money

According to Abdullah, a true Chinese proverb says: ā€œKalau ada wang, kamu menjadi seorang anak Han yang berani, kalau tiada wang, susah nak jadi anak Han punā€.

Interlok paints a Chinese immigrant as typically thinking: ā€œa person cannot have sympathy for others. If we are soft-hearted, we cannot become rich. Here money is the yardstick. In this world, money is the second God.ā€

The purported Chinese money-mindedness is repeated ad nauseum:

ā€˜Orang Cina berniaga, mereka itu mesti tulis ā€¦ Siapa yang berhutang, berapa banyak hutangnyaā€™; ā€˜Dia mengira-ngira dalam kepalanya, berapa keuntungan yang akan diperolehnyaā€™; ā€˜Mereka akan menjadi ā€¦ tauke apa sahaja. Mereka akan menjadi orang kayaā€™; ā€˜Cing Huat hanya ingin satu saja. Dia ingin melihat pokok berbuahkan emas, berbuahkan duitā€™; ā€˜Soal suit tak ada musuh, musuh ialah orang-orang yang mahu menghalang kita cari makanā€™; ā€˜ada duit dan duitnya itu beranak dan beranakā€™; ā€˜Aku mahu cari wangā€™; ā€˜Asal dapat wang kerja apa pun bolehā€™; ā€˜Dia hanya fikirkan bagaimana dia dapat mencari wang dan menjadi kaya lekasā€™; ā€˜bukan semangat nenek moyang yang dapat menolong, melainkan wang ringgitā€™; ā€˜dia menambah kekayaan yang ditinggalkan oleh bapanya dahuluā€™.

Now imagine the entire book running in a repetitive loop on how the merciless Chinese are inherent mercenaries ā€“ ā€œIf [Cing Huat] had been a daughter, he [the father] would surely have sold her.ā€

To reinforce that it is in the very nature of the Chinese to sell their daughters, Abdullah reiterates elsewhere: ā€œIf we had daughters, we could sell themā€; ā€œhe would consider the proposition if the child was a girlā€; ā€œIf there is anyone who wanted to trade his son for [my two daughters] Poh Eng and Poh Kheng, Iā€™d agree in a blinkā€; ā€œHe regretted not selling herā€.

The race hate purveyed by Abdullah is copious.

Doing Nazi propagandists proud

Abdullah Hussain had made nearly all the Chinese characters gemuk dan gelojoh (greedy). In contrast, the Indians are not fat or the Malays greedy.

The main Chinese character Cing Huat ā€œsekarang ini sudah gemuk, perutnya semakin gendut. Dia gemuk kerana hatinya puas.ā€

The repeatedly-said-to-be ā€˜gemukā€™ Cing Huat is pictured as having ā€˜muka sembapā€™, ā€˜perutnya yang membuyut bagai perempuan bunting sembilan bulanā€™, ā€˜gemuk sembapā€™, ā€˜buncit perutā€™, ā€˜perutnya yang memboyot ā€¦ bagai perempuan bunting sulungā€™, ā€˜tangannya yang gemuk berisiā€™.

It is not only Cing Huat who is depicted as fat. His son Yew Hock is ā€˜gempal badannya, dan mukanya pun berisiā€™; Kong Beng (ā€˜Mukanya bulat berisi, badannya gempalā€™) ā€“ for a national laureate, Abdullah shows such dismal lack of creativity in simply transposing the descriptions of Yew Hock and Kong Beng.

And meet more Chinese fatties: An unnamed middleman (ā€˜seorang yang gemuk pendekā€™); Paman Kok Leng (ā€˜kepalanya yang besar bulat); ā€˜Perempuan Cina gemukā€™ (ā€˜dia gemuk tak larat berjalanā€™); ā€˜Si Gemuk yang membuka kedai kopiā€™; and collectively (ā€˜Muka mereka berminyak, semuanya gemuk-gemukā€™).

Clearly the obsessive Abdullah engages in slurs with a vengeance.

In comparison, the Malay hero Seman is a lovely tan (skin tone lighter than sawo matang ā€“ the reddish hue of ripe ciku). On Page One and the novelā€™s opening scene, even Semanā€™s own mother Mak Limah couldnā€™t help but admire her 20-year-old sonā€™s physique. His shoulder muscles ripple when he works shirtless in the outdoors; what an Aryan godling!

Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud.

Indoctrinating bumiputera-ism

If one wishes to lay claim that Interlok is educational ā€“ or ā€œhistoricalā€ like MCA president Chua Soi Lek said ā€“ then the novel should at least get its facts right.

Abdullah, who was educated up to Standard Seven, possesses no academic rigour as shown by his sloppy research. He locates Kerala geographically as a state ā€œa little to the north of Tamil Naduā€ when the atlas shows that Kerala lies to the north of Andhra Pradesh.

According to an analysis by the National Interlok Action Team (NIAT), Interlok gets the Indian wedding ceremony wrong too, Tamil proverbs erroneously translated, and doesnā€™t know the difference between Brahma and Brahmin. Other factual errors include stating that Maniam was brought here through the Kangani system when that particular method of labour recruitment was already banned in 1910.

However, an anachronism that is most revealing is the following disingenuous sentence: ā€œOrang Bumiputera negeri ini baik-baik belaka ā€¦ā€ Wah-lau!

The word ā€˜bumiputeraā€™, in the context weā€™re familiar with, was only first used in Parliament in 1965 during a debate on the act to create the government agency Mara. ā€˜Bumiputeraā€™ was a terminology coined to prop up the special privileges agenda, and certainly not a term that even existed in 1910.

Then there is the reformed communist Yew Sengā€™s lightbulb moment: ā€œKita tak akan dapat membentuk negara Cina di sini kalaupun kita dapat berkuasa dengan kekerasan. Kita harus juga fikirkan tentang orang-orang Melayu yang menjadi bumiputeranya ā€¦ā€

Our favourite word again! The ulterior motive of the author and the Education Ministry in selecting this novel becomes quite transparent with Abdullahā€™s slip showing.

Give the ā€˜rightā€™ answer or fail

As weā€™ve seen, the Chinese in Interlok are well-fed. Nonetheless, despite their obvious prosperity, the Chinese remain cruel and conniving. The moral of the story: It is only through cruelty and cunning that the Chinese have been able to prosper. If Chinese are today prosperous, you can rest assured that they are cunning and cruel.

Hence the Malays must beware.

ā€œCuma satu jalan saja. Itu pun kalau orang-orang kita mau sedar, mau insaf. Jangan lagi ada orang yang ikut jejak Pak Musa ituā€. [There is only one way. And that is if only our people will come to their senses and be brought to reason. Donā€™t let others face the same pitfall as Pak Musa ā€“ who lost his land and his home to the Chinese.]

Calls for Malay unity ring throughout the story.

Ultimately your children, inasmuch as they may internally revolt against the indoctrination, will nonetheless still have to internalize the lessons of Interlok. To avoid failing the BM paper, they will be coerced to provide the ā€˜correctā€™, i.e. officially sanctioned answers in their exam script.

And they will necessarily be required to ingest the BTN poison.With permission from Centre For Policy Initiatives

Cops question students for 10 hours over 'Interlok'
Okay here are the repercussions when 7 Indian students are questioned by the Police for 10 bloody hours, for being unhappy with a bigot: The teacher reportedly said, ā€œKenapa orang India garang? India memang suka rosakkan nama sekolah. Keling memang dasar pariah sejak sejarah lagiā€ (Why are the Indians so fierce? Indians really like to tarnish the school's name. The keling have been pariahs since historical times). Read the whole story here.....

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 8:34 PM  
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