|There has been a lot of talk recently about Melayu
Baru. When Musa Hitam was the Deputy Prime Minister he said that the Malays must now
be prepared to be kurang ajar. Of course this statement of his met with
mixed reactions. Some of the older generation felt it was against the Malay culture to be kurang
ajar. After all, some of them are saying, the word Melayu comes from
the word layu, which means to wilt. Therefore, they ask, how
can the Malays be kurang ajar?
The most popular Malay legend is the story
of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat. Hang Jebat, who rebelled against the Sultan, the symbol of
authority then, is painted as the villain. Hang Tuah, who defended the Sultans dignity and
life, is upheld as the hero, though he killed his brother in the process.
>From this legend it is clear the Malays are not born to be kurang ajar,
and killing a brother is okay in defending the ideals of the Malay culture. Isn't it a
Malay proverb which says, Biar mati anak jangan mati adat? Of course some
people, namely the intellectuals, have questioned whether the legend actually existed.
This is probably an attempt to change the Malay thinking. If the legend did not exist,
then the obedient and subservient Malay would also not exist. It would therefore be okay
for the Malays to be aggressive; and to be aggressive means one has to be on the
offensive, not the defensive.