Monday, January 24, 2011

Now I Blog About INTERLOK Too

Since the announcement about the retrieval of the 'cursed' book Interlok on 15th December, I didn't expect it to end there. Today, the 24th of January 2010, the issue about the book is literally getting 'hotter'. Angry citizens are burning the book all over this country, people are getting arrested for voicing out their opinions (via action, by burning book that is). The book was written by Abdullah Hussain, which I'm sure is really devastated at the moment.

To me personally, Abdullah Hussain is a good writer. When I was still a naive and overly-positive young lad, I had read his one of his books entitled 'Masuk Ke Dalam Cahaya'. The book is about the spiritual journey of a man, whose life is falling apart and deviated from the teachings of Islam. As far as I remember, it was inspirational, it is a good mix of reality, religious issues and some mystical elements. 'Real' in the sense that Abdullah Hussain is not afraid to show the ugly side in the life of Muslims, bashing those with 'holier-than-thou' mentality. Being a Muslim is not a free pass for you to justify your wrongdoings and shove your beliefs to other people's throat.

Here's a link to Malaysiakini article which will give you brief understanding about INTERLOK along with some quotations from the book. CLICK HERE

Now, the way I see it, the cause of all these argument and chaos is primarily due to the use of this particular word, pariah and how the author depicted how the Indians first came to Malaya. First, I'd like to apologize to any Indian if that word did offend you, in case you're reading this. Based on my understanding of what's happening in Malaysia's blogsphere and in the news;

1. Some believe there shouldn't too much fuss about the book because it is historical and the book tells about the truth.
2. Some believe the book is demeaning to their race because it used the word pariah, as if trying to depict that all the Indians are pariah a.k.a. outcast.
3. Some say the book is okay because it did mention the Malays are stupid and lazy, the Chinese are swindlers and materialistic, and the Indians are pariah.
4. Some say what really matters is the ultimate purpose of the book, after all the book's ending promotes unity and 1Malaysia.

Actually I believe if you are not an Indian, you don't have the right to 'perceive their perception' about the use of the word pariah. You are not in their shoes therefore you don't have the right to perceive what they feel. Remember, remember, how did the Malays react during the controversy about the use of the word 'Allah' whether it should be used by the Christians? It's just the same song with different chorus. A Muslim might say it matters because it's his religion and insist he's right since he believes other religions are wrong.

It's the same case to the Indians because when the word 'pariah' is used, it is beyond racial slur. Being a pariah means being an outcast. When you are a pariah or the untouchable, your equal right is denied, you are untouchable, you are the lowest of everything from the gutter. In fact, being a pariah is so infectious that anyone from the higher hierarchy will be an outcast too if he/she hangs out too much with them. Being a pariah means you are from the lower caste, you are avoided and despised just because you exist. If you're interested to know more about this word, please click this LINK. The word pariah is really that demeaning.

Then how is it fair that pariah is equal with bodoh, malas, penipu, kencing, busuk and other stereotypes? Why is the Indians getting the worst label? Imagine if some narrow-minded Meleis school kids begin to ridicule their friends with that word?

Then is the book really that bad and written with hidden agenda? I believe it doesn't. The best form of art or a lifetime reminder is to destroy, bash, something to smithereens and then build it back from the ground up. Psychologically it means, before you could learn a lesson of a lifetime, you must fail, you must do mistake, you must suffer, something must go wrong. Only then you will learn, only then you will forever remember your mistake. And I believe that was what Abdullah Hussain's intention, his method is a bit radical, but his intention was good. He wanted to show that concept of unity from different sides.

However, no matter how good the book is for some people (I believe it's good), is it appropriate for Form Five students? How sure are we that a large population of these students are mature enough to handle the book? That is if if they actually read the book lah. Maybe they're more busy to be Mat Rempit and beromen instead. Hahahah! To ridicule their friends with that insulting word is not far from possible you see and some states in this country is known for their intense racial prejudice. Isn't that sad, a book once good is now criticized, burned, stomped on like a cursed book?

Surprisingly Digital Extremes did release a game for XBox, which is kind of related to this issue;

No this is not Photoshopped.

I have no race prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.
Mark Twain.


una berry said...[Reply]

I really wanna read the book despite all the critics.

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]

@una berry

I wonder if I can get it from bookstores? Have you checked?

Lilyana said...[Reply]

saya ada juga cari buku kat tmpt sy xd la..ok suka entry ni..matang =)

Blood Seeker said...[Reply]

egad! Racist game!! Racist game!!! lolol

In Sultan Mahmud Mangkat dijulang, Malays are cheaters and backstabbers but I'm okay with it

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


Hmm. Matang? lol

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]

@Blood Seeker

Have you watched District 9? Gosh I love that movie.

Oh, I'm okay with that too. On secomd thought, I'm not Malay and my great grandfather came from Ceylon. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...[Reply]

its funny for those who are being racist as we are all the same.

a book of an honest writing is a sin to Malaysia, because there are freedom of speech, but, do freedom after speech exist? being too protective of the superiors made them "makin manja".

clarky said...[Reply]

oww...gotta have it.i'm thinking of being a collector of controversial books.i've got Orang macam Kita (quote:I'm Gay I'm OK)'s been politicized lah...all those racial issues...

me?politics were ment for the Romans. i'm a texan and all i care is munchin' on buffalo wings. heh!

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


I believe everyone is a bit racist because after all most of us were born with race, as a form of identity. But some people take it to a whole new level.

Eh, what is freedom after speech?

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


I'm kinda a collector too then. Haha Have you read The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey? Or The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie? Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is definitely a good read.

So you like to ride it cowboy style huh? Hahahaha

Anonymous said...[Reply]

@Valossa Vicious
aduka taruna arrested of cursing sultan. <---example of freedom after speech is not exist.

Akulah Aqilah Itu said...[Reply]

hmm.. i need to read the book.

clarky said...[Reply]

@valossa:ahh ouh owh you got those? demmit been searching for lolita T_T
ride horse? nay, prefer doggy dog style heh!

matang by lilyana is having pubic hair.erm, i guess. haha!DOH!!lack of sleep really makes me into a pervert psycopath. nanait.

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


Oh, I see. I still remember that incident, poor guy. The institution of monarchy itself is politicized!

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]

@Akulah Aqilah Itu

Good luck and don't forget to tell me if manage to get it yeah.

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


Hey, if you're interested in that book I can send it to your email, of course la the one in my possession is the .pdf version, heheheh.

Gosh, you're really a pro. I think you're right. HAHA

clarky said...[Reply]

valossa:i want! i want! tildalips[at]gmail[dot]com (gotta give ya my indecent email address :p)heh heh! thanks sooooo much.

kiss kiss the air fuuh fuuuh blow it to shah ur in shah alam aite? warga uitm? hehe

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


Sent it just now. You're welcome!

Hahahaha I used to, but at the moment I'm back in Jesselton a.k.a. Kota Kinabalu. It's my last semester.

Merissa K. said...[Reply]

VV, do be a darling and send me a copy of lolita too. been searching hi and lo for it, tapi tak jumpa.

and btw, i bet the whole pariah issue was just massively exaggerated, and i bet the haters completely missed the point to begin with.

do you not remember the whole tv3 raya commercial fiasco? orang kita ni suka buat unnecessary drama, salurkan energy dekat benda benda pointless padahal they would be better off trying to make this nation a better place to live in.

though, i have to agree with you. even though i think it would be a good exposure to the schoolkids and will hopefully broaden their mind sikit la at least if tak banyak pun, i dont think malaysians in general are ready for such a 'revolution' just yet.

hahahahaha. lawak siot. buku sastera pun nak jadi issue. nama lagi literature. apaaa la nak jadi hehh.

clarky said...[Reply]

got it! thanks a bunch! :D do send me jeruk bambangan oso. haha! been craving for that *blush*

eszol said...[Reply]

sampai bila nak jaga hati semua org

malaysian shld grown up n accept themselves as who they are

i got plenty of keling fren who dun mind if i call them keling in front of any other keling

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]

@Merissa K.

Sent it to you darl. Have you checked your email? Yang fitrinatasha tu.

That TV3 paranoia was totally epic in an embarrassing way. That's what happens if people get obsessed about something without profound knowledge, semua pun main hentam saja.

See? I think it's not possible yet, before we could revolutionize students, we must revolutionize teachers first! There should be changes in the curriculum and syllabus-- because based on what I see in schools now, we're not focused on critical thinking yet. Not those KBKK crap, it doesn't work that way.

Tu la. I think literature is not for everyone, because it's inevitable that some people will ignore underlying meanings, all they see is just the surface. Some people weren't born for literature don't you think?

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


You're welcome. Hahaha Bambangan, how did you know? I don't really favour that fruit though.

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]


I respect those who have the will to swallow the past and choose to move forward instead. But the irony is the Bumis are tightly clung to their past if you know what I mean. Hehe.

Clarky Afif said...[Reply]

i used to have a kadazan-dusun as my roommate back in penang. been craving for it tho. hehe

Valossa Vicious said...[Reply]

@Clarky Afif

I wonder why it's not available in peninsular. Climate kot?