Burning the Namewee image: what if Namewee was Malay?

perkasa-sept28.jpgNamewee is in the news again. At the launching of his album last night, PERKASA led a demonstration to protest against this young artist and the message in his songs.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — About 50 people, including members of Perkasa, turned up at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Jalan Maharajalela here tonight to stage a protest against controversial rapper Wee Meng Chee or better known as Namewee.  

The group was seen carrying Perkasa banners and Namewee’s pictures that were later set on fire, while some hurled abuse at the rapper who was launching an album in the hall.

I truly wonder if any of the mob have listened to all of Namewee’s songs before passing judgement. Listening just to “Nah”, and deciding that Namewee is a seditious Chinese rapper singing against Malay rights is like listening to the lines, “So that one impure blood, Quenches our lands!” from the French national anthem and deciding that the French are bloodthirsty revolutionists. You have to see the full picture, understand the context, read into Namewee’s public declarations and explanations. Of course, this takes an open mind, and i do have to wonder how many such minds existed in the mob last night.

Debating the matter with friends, it came to me to ask a simple question: what if Namewee was Malay? Would the reaction against him by the Malays be so strong? Is he being demonised because he is Chinese speaking about a Malay, albeit rudely, in his video? 


As i mentioned earlier, being rude does not necessarily make someone racist.

Let’s explore this thought process further, would it have made a difference if Namewee was a Malay. Of course, we can’t change something like that, but what we can do is look at what other Malays have said about their own race, and compare the reaction against them.

Perhaps the Number #1 Malay, Tun Dr Mahathir, would make a wonderful example. Read his seminal piece of work, The Malay Dilemma.

Mahathir wrote:

“…early Malaya, no great exertion or ingenuity was required to obtain food.. Under these conditions every one survived. Even the weakest and least diligent were able to live in comparative comfort, to marry, to procreate… the hot humid climate is not conducive to either vigorous work or even to mental activity.”

He was referring to the Malays, and how lazy the race had become.

“[W]hatever the Malays could do, the Chinese could do better … before long the industrious and determined immigrants had displaced Malays in petty trading and all branches of skilled work.”

Mahathir claims the reason behind disparity is down to genetics. The Malays were lazy, basking in the hot tropical sun, well fed from an abundant soil, and genetically inferior to the hard-working Chinese, imported from China, and looking to carve a niche for themselves in this world. For these reasons, Mahathir claimed, affirmative action for the Malays were necessary. Then, he became the country’s 4th Prime Minister, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Imagine if Namewee or any other Chinese personality had said the same, would the Malays be outraged? Yes, you can bet the house on it. The storm in the teacup we see today would be nothing compared to the wrath of the Malays then. How dare a Chinese rapper call us lazy, fat and genetically inferior! We spit on your affirmative action!

Sadly, Namewee did not write those words. Mahathir did, the patron-champion of PERKASA, ironically.

Is that the message that the ultra Malays are telling the world? If you’re a non-Malay, you can’t talk about Malays. If you’re a Malay and you criticize the Malays, we’ll make you our champion? Does that sound absurd to anyone else but me? Quite frankly, it’s disgusting and a double standard of the worst kind.

Perhaps Mahathir was right after all. 40 years on, and The Malay Dilemma still holds some truths. 

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3 thoughts on “Burning the Namewee image: what if Namewee was Malay?

  1. How can an Indian declare itself a Malay and get the support of the Malay? You know who I am referring to.
    It is only possible using politics. Has the Malay been hoodwinked or are they in general, not streetwise enough (I am being courteous not using the term stupid) to realize that?

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  2. He calls himself a Malay b’cos his father was an Indian and married a Malay lady. My colleague is an Eurasian, married a Malay lady but their children are “lain-lain”. Can you opt for any race you like if you have a Malay parent? If not, if like my colleague’s case, you have to follow your father’s race, then all Malaysians have been hoodwinked by him for many, many years! (He wrote his race as “Indian” when he was in S’pore uni.)

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  3. To the visitor – What is a definition of a Malay anyway..read the Federal Constitution, and u may imply that it is possible for an Indian or Chinese to become Malay over 1 generation…or an indon in the same generation…

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