Monday, September 1, 2014



This is a good question if you ask me. The common way has always been one of direct confrontation and to fight it out physically and in the open.  This has been the way of the many so-called civilizations in human history.  Ironically, this way is considered barbaric but is still with us till today and being openly practiced everywhere.

Generally, the term "barbarian" refers to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized.  It was first used by the Greeks on any non-Greek.   The word is usually used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization and viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage.  In the Americas the native Indians preferred consultation and negotiation with the Europeans through pow-wow sessions while smoking the peace pipe.  They settled for peace with numerous treaties with the Europeans.  None of the treaties were honored by the far more “civilized” Europeans.  This sort of treachery happened to the native Indians in both the Americas and even in Africa.  Open confrontation or threat with a conspicuous military advantage has happened in all the countries that were colonized by the Europeans.  In fact, it is actually an ongoing reality where “might is right”.

Why am I rambling on about this confrontation and consultation thing one might ask? Okay let me get to the point.  Right here in Malaysia too it is a problem now as I see it.  Open confrontation has become increasingly conspicuous especially among Malaysians.  Such Western orientation may not be actually in sync with our Malaysian culture.  This is being seen not only in the politics of the day but also in other public spheres too.  If one understands the predominant and mainstream Malay culture in Malaysia well, it is a well-known fact that most Malays prefer to sit down and talk things over in a consultative style.  Even if they are adversaries the confrontation is subtle and in the past even poetry was employed to “whack” each other.  If confronted physically the reply is “ Melayu pantang dicabar” and the average Malay mind only then resorts to the use of force.  Even Chinese secret societies preferred to table talk first before hacking each other with parangs.  The Indians?? No comment because I really am not too sure.

Today we are seeing open confrontation even by the Malays against Malays and of late even confronting the royalty.  Non-Malays who are secondary in the main national equation in such matters have also joined in the fray.  We may be westernized in many ways but deep down we are all colored people and considered natives by the West which itself outclasses us with an amazing history of world wars, civil wars, war of roses including the famous 100 Years War between France and England.

All religions and real civilized cultures advocate consultation rather than confrontation.  I do hope that the majority of younger folks in Malaysia too will see it that way.  In fact there is no other way to move forward as we have done in the last 57 years. Less confrontation and more consultation please.

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