Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, April 14, 2008

I write this with the Bee Gees song in my head.

Word or rather the choice of word is very important in communication. A mere word can speak volumes. Now you understand why Barisan Nasional insisted on calling their symbol “dacing” instead of the proper translation of the scale which is “neraca”. The BN brains then did not want “neraca” to be mispronounced as “neraka”. That would be hell.

Another word that has become a bone of contention is “ketuanan”. To me this is archaic and unncessary. “Tuan” goes with “hamba”, owner/master with “slave”. People obsessed with “ketuanan” should be reminded that Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery centuries ago. Long before that Bilal, a former slave, became an equal member of the Muslim fraternity in Medinah.

We used to call our orang putih bosses “tuan”. After 1957 the orang putih were gradually replaced by Malaysians. Some were called tuan even now. Now, apparently “boss” is reserved for Mamak shopowners or prospective clients of pirate DVDs retailers.

Maybe “ketuanan” is meant for political leadership. Whoever is in the majority leads. Simple. No need to label yourself tuan. Tuan is different from towkay. A towkay owns the business. You do not own the country. Not anymore.

Be proud of your heritage and be proud of who you are because there are still things about them that you can be proud of. At the same time use words wisely or one day you have to eat them.