Sunday, February 16, 2014


Replying a friend who wondered whether if it is okay to use the word 'Sakai' for orang aslis, because it is the name of their tribe after all.... and how did all these negative connotations came about:

When I hear the word 'Sakai', the first thought in my head were the native Americans. But according to a quick Google check, it refers to a tribe in Indonesia. In another source, it says, "Malaysian Aborigine/ wild, uncouth person". 
I think it has a huge relation on how Europeans viewed the people in the Malay Archipelago in that era, when they desired to lord over these lands, due to the goods available there as well as cheap labour (bordering on slavery). But you can't lord over people, if you treat them as your equal. Thus, you have to make them out as a lesser people. 
There is a whole study on the biasedness of Orientalists then... the idea of a 'lesser race' was prominent in academic and political circles there. In a crude simplification, it justifies their conquering as, "These people have almost like savages, thus they need our benevolent guidance to succeed in the modern world." They created an ideology on race and supremacy based on it. 
(Conveniently forgetting the industrious past of the Malay Archipelago, and how it was a vibrant and a dynamic empire. 
If 'Sakai' refers to only one tribe within the Malay Archipelago, but it is defined in the dictionary as a 'Malaysian aborigine', then it could be another instance of clumsy and not-truly-understanding of a 'historian' with intentions. A flawed definition, with its weight in derogatory assumptions, that carried on until today. 
Source: Farish A Noor's What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You. Naquib Al-Attas' The Myth of the Lazy Native. And my interpretation of it lol.

I have also heard one part where in the past, during the world war II, Orang asli were originally neutral but later was forced to help the communist. Thus creating a bad image of themselves by the British rulers and people of Tanah Melayu. 

I assume this is where it all started 

An extra note : The British authorities later decided to instead make use of the orang asli and instead use them against the communist. Being the middle of it all is very sad.

What dya mean they decide to make use of them? How? D: 
@ bad image: Yar. Actually they are not bad... it's just that they didn't serve in the interest of the British. So they are 'bad'. 
Like how they created the idea of 'lazy Malays', dismissing the fact that fishing and padi fields need some serious long back breaking work in the wee hours of the morning. By the time they wake up, the locals were resting from a long morning of working... then kena accused of being lazy. If I was a local then, I'd be like, "FML". 
I think the locals then also didn't see the point of working crazy long hours in the lombong or rubber plantations for super little money. Unlike the Indians and Chinese who didn't have a choice because they were in huge debt. So, also in that thread, the locals are 'useless' in the British eyes, while Chinese and Indians are 'industrious'. It doesn't mean that they were lazy... just that they didn't serve the British interest.

 I believe they were forced to hide/protect the communist in the OA villages. 
Next if I'm not wrong, British using OA as traps for communist who wants cover. so in the end communists would be torturing the OA because of their betrayal 
I have lost track of the video that I watch the other day.

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