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Private Whispers… (psst! Have you noticed it’s the Malay women who are braver!)

By Yin, Wad 5

Uncle Ho,

This is Noor, my grandfather is Mustaffa Hussein, I hope you still remember me. Sorry I have not written for a long time. I have been travelling.

I am in very sunny Helsinki where temperatures are in the high 30s

How are you? I hope you are in good health and spirit.

Are you in Ipoh or overseas somewhere? You travel more than anyone I know. I hope I have your energy when I am your age. You must be my datok’s age if he had not died so young – 90?

I hope you do not feel despair for what is happening in Malaysia

Others have contacted me to say they feel extreme sadness that this is happening in their life time

A few said that they are making plans to join their children overseas

A number who are overseas have told me they are not going to take part in any effort to restore democracy to Malaysia

I have spent the past three months trying to motivate people and telling them now is not the right time to give up

If you know any Malaysians who feel like that… depressed and downhearted please tell them … No! No! No!

Now is the time we mobilise our efforts and regroup and do whatever we can in our own little way to get back on the right path

You are a very influential Malaysian with loads of friends and I am sure they will have told you how they feel

Please change their mood

I’m not giving up


Hi Noor,

Good to hear from you.

I have long said that it has been painful to love Malaysia. It is no longer the country we all grew up in – it has become worse.

The Malay regime is now openly corrupt and on a grand scale. The regime knows that the Malays will continue to support the Government as long as it is Malay and all important positions are held by Malays. So how can the country change for the better?

This is not the Malaya of 1957 when all races stood proudly as our flag was raised for the first time. Or even the Malaysia of 1963.

Najib will be pardoned and the narrative is that a good Malay who has done much for his people has been misled by a wicked Chinese. The next election will see UMNO back in power.

Unless the Malay elite stand up like you how can Malaysia change? There are less than half a dozen Malay activists in the whole country who will stand up openly against a corrupt and racist regime.

Siti Kassim, Tajuddin Rasdi, Ali Akbar, Haris Ibrahim who else?

A few more I am sure but I can’t remember – old age lah.

And you of course.

I salute you for all you have tried to do. Your grandfather was my good friend you are a chip off him. I remember him bouncing you on his knees. He was an ‘old school’ Malay – I can still see him even now, standing tall and erect, handsome. A proud Malay with real dignity, not the phoney stuff today. Always correct in his dealings and fair! He would have been proud of you. You are quite a gal.

As for me I am 89 with hardly a handful of friends left and it’s a joke to talk of influence. Sadly the new Malays will not listen. I have finally given up.

Hope you are well Noor and hope I will have a chance to see you again when you come back hopefully by next year. Take care.

Uncle Ho

 Dear Chin Min,

Nice of Mustaffa’s granddaughter to keep in touch with you. They are a good family with old fashioned manners – what they call sopan. I never knew him as he was much older and you two are from St Michaels – I, ACS. But I have heard you speak fondly of him.

Well, I have “given up” many times but like a boxer who is too punch-drunk to know better, have got up to fight again. Maybe I am just stupid.

What does giving up solve? Nothing! Things will get even worse. Corruption still continue, the poor will still be exploited, the non-Malays still remain second class. Shariah will still be ramped down our throats eventually.

If we don’t give up, all the above will still likely happen but slower. As long as we fight on there is a chance, however slim. If we fight on at least we make it hard for the corrupt and racist elements. We get our heads broken but we go down as proud people. Like in the old movies the Red Indians fight to the last man, woman and child rather than be driven to the reservations.

Like Kirk Douglas in Spartacus, you never know, even slaves have a chance lah.

Ha haha I have too much imagination for my own good! I blame it on my misspent youth. While my friends are diligently studying I was loafing around town. Or is it my living in T.R. that has infected my grey matter so that I do not know the word “surrender”.  If so I blame my father.

You know, as a simple dresser in the TR hospital he saved enough to send me to university – no handouts. These days they take study loans and don’t pay back. Entitlement mentality!

Yes I’d like to live abroad but only so I can write happier stories and poems and not face the distractions of race and religion everyday.

But I digress . . . sorry.

But remember this, our forefathers gave their sweat and tears in the rubber estates and tin mines, ran tiny sundry shops, bicycle shops, kopitiams  to eke out a living.  My mother sold putumayam in the market. The Malay farmers planted padi to feed us. They provided security as matamata and ran the government. They built the towns and cities as developers and entrepreneurs but also as bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers and general labour.

Remember those days when the Chinese Hakka women worked on building sites? The Indian labourers built the roads we drive on. The Malays ran the administration to give us order.

I am talking about ALL of us – Malays, Chinese, Indians – contributing to build this country.

The country we have today we owe it to the generation before us and they to the generation before them. That’s how it is supposed to be; making it better for the future generation not robbing them of their inheritance like this lot is doing; wrecking the country!

Malaysia belongs to ALL of us EQUALLY! All of us built it!

There is no TUAN, especially not those who take because they are stronger.

Yes as you say, the Malay regime is now openly corrupt and on a grand scale and yes you are right, unless the Malays themselves want change, nothing will change.

This is the great tragedy; that good Malays will not stand up against the racism that is going on, against the looting just because it’s done by their own.

If you have it told to you for two generations that it is your entitlement what do you think? So stealing is also okay because it is your entitlement.

How many will risk being branded ‘traitor to their race’ spat at and ostracisedby family and friends? Not many, but if we give up there will be none! We need to support the Malays who are fighting against racism and corruption and religious extremism.

Sometimes I think it’s best to leave the place to rot and let them fight each other (as they are now).  To give up as you said.

But not all can leave or want to leave.

We cannot give up because of them and also because of the good Malays.

There are many of them – for instance the young Malay girls who went around collecting money for Lim Guan Eng’s defence. They are motivated by what they see is an injustice without thinking of race.  Btw have you noticed it’s the Malay women who are braver!

Also every time I go to the TR pasar I find everyone get along very well. I am convinced Malays are not inherently racists – they have been brainwashed for two generations by their leaders that we are the baddies. But we worked hard for our money we did not steal.

Chin Min, we do what we can  and meanwhile enjoy the remaining years over a few drinks with friends. Shoot the breeze and talk of happier times. There is still time to join John Wayne and ride into the sunset together but until then, friend, Don’t Give Up, listen to the young lady lah.


The above is fiction but it may as well be real; that is increasingly the conversation that goes on in kopitiams and private gatherings, especially among the older generation often Malays, Chinese, Indians together.

There is an air of despair among ordinary Malaysians.

Malays despair and are ashamed that while their leaders accuse the Chinese of stealing, it is actually they who are the thieves. Maruah? What happened to the dignity of hardwork to earn a living? The old school Malays understood that – they were strict on themselves and their children. The same ethos don’t seem to be with the young today.

The non-Malays despair because they can do little about the situation.

Fight or Flight? Your guess is as good as mine.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

By Yin, 
Letters from Ward 5, Tanjong Rambutan
Rebuilding Malaysia
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