May 13 was not a racial riot
The Malaysian Insider
September 01, 2013
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said that it is “a historical fact that the riot was sparked by Chinese, (like the fact) that Nazis killed thousands of Jews during the Second World War”. I beg to differ.
When May 13 broke out, I was a young five-year-old boy living in a New Village. My father was away working either in Kelantan or Pahang. My sisters and I were the only ones who stayed with my mother in Jinjang Selatan. Although we were supposed to have moved to a new home in Taman Kepong, the family decided to stay put.
As a boy, I was listening in to every conversation that took place between my mother and other relatives and friends. There were horror stories of Malays killing the Chinese, and Chinese killing the Malays. But a phone conversation between my mother and my father that has never escaped my attention was that everything was peaceful in the East Coast.
My Father said that the Chinese and the Malays were having breakfast together. There was no riot in the East Coast. It was business as usual for them. Muthusamy, Ali and Ah Chong were still friends, when things went awry in Selangor. Why is that so, Datuk Seri Nazri?
Racial riots? No way!
My answer is simple: May 13 was NOT a racial riot. It was the work of a few politicians who capitalised on sentiments of the day.
Although there were obvious bad vibes between the races, mainly perpetuated by politicians, citizens of the newly-minted country, who had already learnt to accept each other, were beginning to enjoy being fellow Malaysians.
In Kelantan and other parts of the country, or should I say, where PAS was in control, people were able to live more harmoniously since the day of Prophet Muhammad!
Who then caused the May 13 riots? I only found the answer very much later when I started reading the book by Dr Kua Kia Soong, May 13, and made my own observations in the past six years.
Let me briefly share my thoughts.
May 13 is the work of politicians who lost the 1969 general election. The opposition had tied with the Alliance for control of the Selangor state legislature, a large setback in the polls for the Alliance. The big difference now is that Selangor is totally under Pakatan rule for the good of the people.
Several factors had created the tension. The then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Haron Idris was discontented with the results of the election. At the same time, another camp was discontented with Tunku Abdul Rahman, our beloved Bapa Malaysia.
At that point in time, Dr Mahahtir Mohamed had been sacked after his book, The Malay Dilemma, was banned. Tunku had warned that Mahathir was a big troublemaker, and Umno would be making a big mistake if it was to take him back into its fold.
In his book, Dr Mahathir was able to create a sense of insecurity amongst the Malays and later to control their minds. This was a necessity for a non-Malay, like Mahathir to later become the country’s leader.
Knowing that his own kind is generally not accepted even amongst the Malays, till today, he would not admit that his father was from Kerala in India.
Seizing the opportunity to force the Tunku to step down, Dr Mahathir, Abdul Razak Hussein and Haron Idris were the key players in Umno politics.
To reach that state of Emergency, they had to lash it out on the economically stronger community – the Chinese, and in particular, the DAP, accusing the DAP as a provocateur. Why only the DAP and not the MCA, as both were also Chinese? The present MCA does not even come close to the MCA of those days, when it was still popular with the New Villages.
It clearly shows this was not a racial riot, but the political manipulation by a few. In my opinion, everything was lumped into one big blame on the DAP because they won big. This is the same modus operandi used by Umno Baru till today, except that this time around, it is not only the DAP, but Pakatan taking over the state of Selangor.
As much as there were rascals in Umno during Tunku’s time, there were sure enough the communists and gangsters who were trying to seize the opportunity of turning Malaysia into a communist country. One of my late uncles was taken in by the police not because he was a DAP activist but because he was young and the police took him and others for detention to keep them from causing problems.
Were the Chinese also represented by the Communists? Or, was every Chinese a Communist? The answer is, No!
One of my uncles was, in fact, a Special Branch officer who was tracking down the communists, but he has since migrated to Australia for his own safety. Communism was never a race issue but an ideology that was prevalent in the people of those days.
Tanda Putera or New Village
So, whether it is Tanda Putera or New Village, Malaysians should realise that if we continue to buy into the political manipulation of a few, we would be heading for another disaster.
This is what I want Nazri to learn, that in order to stay in power, politicians need to play on race or religious cards.
They should strengthen their positions as people well-respected by people of all races. I am glad that in our midst there are two good examples that I have seen – Nurul Izzah Anwar and Hannah Yeoh, two young ladies who have gained much credence over the years. May they lead Malaysia into a new era!- September 1, 2013.
A review of ‘Tanda Putera’, a film that takes liberties with the truth
By Erna Mahyuni
The Malay Mail Online
September 1, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — For Merdeka, I watched Shuhaimi Baba’s docu-drama “Tanda Putera”. Fourteen other people were in the cinema at GSC Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya at 11.30am.
I am unsure if any of them enjoyed the film, though an elderly Chinese gentleman in the audience walked out halfway. My one regret is that I could not do the same. The heart of “Tanda Putera” is the friendship of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, played by Rusdi Ramli and Zizan Nin respectively.
Sadly, neither of the actors was up to the mark, but more on that later.
To call this revisionist history would be too kind. “Tanda Putera” is a poorly written, abysmally researched train wreck that makes our local soap operas look like arthouse films.
What amazes me is that it cost RM5 million to make this schlock.
Let me first start with the writing. The dialogue is cringe worthy and I am unsure if it is properly representative of the times. At a critical juncture, an aide described civil unrest as a ‘tension’ situation. Oh my bahasa.
There is no proper use of narrative in the script. Flashbacks are dumped into the film willy-nilly (possibly to keep the audience from sleeping), nonsensical subplots and completely superfluous characters abound with the last half hour dedicated to the deterioration of Razak’s health.
What Shuhaimi attempts to do is paint her impressions of the era and for the first time in film, address Umno’s favourite bogeyman: May 1969.
The problem here is that “Tanda Putera” makes no attempt at nuance. There is no balance; it is a limited and unabashedly prejudiced view of history, painting Malays to be put-upon, virtuous and generous people who have to put up with the ungrateful Chinese so easily swayed by the evil Communists.
To top off a horrid script, we have an ensemble cast with the collective expressiveness of IKEA furniture. Rusdi Ramli’s attempt at ‘method’ acting consists of him speaking in an unconvincing ‘old-time’ accent where he pronounces ‘rahsia’ (secret) as ‘reh-sia’ and having just two expressions. Either he is smiling with teeth or looking constipated. Like Keanu Reeves, for Rusdi there is no in-between.
Zizan Nin as Ismail fares no better. His forced camaraderie with Rusdi comes across as a parody of bromance, with a total absence of chemistry. A third of the film is just long, awkward dialogues where both men conspire to keep their wives (and the whole nation) in the dark about their respective health conditions.
The biggest travesty about Shuhaimi’s script is that it paints two of our greatest statesmen as pompous idiots who do not trust their wives.
And the Chinese and the DAP are mostly painted as radical subversives out for Malay blood and total dominion of the country. The ‘communist leader’ is never even given a name, as obviously it is easier to have just one Chinese baddie represent them all.
What about the women in the film? Both Razak and Ismail’s wives are miscast. You have a casting problem when supposed middle-aged women look younger than their teenaged children.
It isn’t all horrible acting, though. Ida Nerina as the stenographer Jah manages to out-act the entire “Tanda Putera” cast in her one minute of screen time.
Also difficult to believe is that Shuhaimi is an experienced director when the overall production value of “Tanda Putera” is the level of a first-year film student. The video-editing is sloppy, old footage is dropped into the film without proper context and looks out of place and there are so many stereotypical devices to the point of unintentional comedy.
For instance, characters show they are dying by either coughing blood or being unable to balance a teacup and saucer. The death scenes are badly done to the point of parody, making you think the director or actors have never seen someone actually die.
All the assassinations of senior police officials seem to happen on the same street, in the same car. Makes you think they should have put up a sign saying, “Do not stop at this junction or a Chinese communist on a motorcycle will shoot you.”
This film makes no mention of the fact that the Malayan Communist party had Malays in their ranks as well, even in their senior leadership.
But apart from all the artistic and technical problems, my biggest gripe is that “Tanda Putera” is a government-funded piece of propaganda masquerading as an artistic work based on ‘history’.
Sure, films like “Braveheart” and “Black Hawk Down” put entertainment value over factual accuracy. But they are well-made films that are at least worth the price of admission. “Tanda Putera” has no redeeming value whatsoever. It does not entertain, neither does it enlighten.
Instead, the film is a sad reminder that there are few cinematic works about our nation’s history. It should not be banned but screened as a challenge to anyone who thinks they can do a better job, because someone needs to offer an answer to this slapdash insult to all the people who lived and died for our country — including the non-Malays and yes, the Communists.
Watch “Tanda Putera” if you must, but I fear that if you’re not Malay, all this movie will leave you with is either anger or sadness that some would consider this film truthful in any way.
At best Umno should try not to be ‘Chinese hunters’, says Zaid
By Ida Lim
The Malay Mail Online
September 1, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Former Umno leader Zaid Ibrahim today said that the party would be unable to flush out those joining the party to enrich themselves, but said it should at least refrain from hunting down the Chinese.
Zaid’s comments this afternoon appeared to be aimed at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call for Umno to shed its corrupt image, where its leaders are viewed as allegedly lining their pockets.
“Umno surely can’t clean themselves of fortune hunters. At best they should try not to be Chinese hunters,” the former de-facto law minister said on Twitter today, likely in reference to Dr Mahathir’s column in Utusan Malaysia’s weekend edition today.
Dr Mahathir had today written in Mingguan Malaysia that the injection of new blood into the Umno leadership this October through polls would counter views that it is corrupt.
Dr Mahathir, who himself led Umno for over two decades during his tenure as prime minister, said the best way to do this is by removing the older, entrenched party leaders in favour of the unpolluted youths.
“Today, many think that Umno is very corrupt. It is even assumed that Umno leaders at all levels had not joined the party to fight for race, religion and the country, but to enrich themselves,” Dr Mahathir wrote in Mingguan Malaysia.
“Only by handing over the Umno leadership to the young and unpolluted can this cleansing of Umno become reality, and will be accepted by the community,” Dr Mahathir added.
In a series of tweets earlier this afternoon, Zaid also took aim at controversial local film “Tanda Putera” which depicts the May 13, 1969 racial riots and the administration of Malaysia’s second prime minister and his deputy.
Zaid blasted comments that described the film as “well-researched” despite its fictional nature, saying that the truth of the contentious 1969 events should instead be established through an inquiry.
“Tanda Putera is fiction but well researched and true.
Another of many stupid statements coming out of my country.”
“In other countries they have public inquiry to find cause of national tragedy. In my country they do film. Another stupid thing,” the politician-turned-businessman said when expressing his frustrations on Twitter.
Zaid also appeared to mock MCA, a Chinese-based Barisan Nasional (BN) component party, for not responding to minister Datuk Seri Nazri Azri’s remarks linking “a few Chinese individuals” to the May 13 riots.
“The Chinese in MCA must have agreed with Nazri on May 13, from their silence. In which case we need more films from SB on other issues,” Zaid said, likely referring to Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, the director of “Tanda Putera”.
Yesterday, Nazri said the Chinese community should not feel slighted over the controversial film Tanda Putera which allegedly portrays the former as having sparked the May 13 riots in 1969.
“The Chinese community as a whole is not responsible for what happened in 1969, only the individuals, they are the ones who should feel guilty.
“I personally feel that there are many Chinese Malaysians who are very Malaysian and they will not (be) involved with this and they should not be blamed because of a few Chinese individuals who were involved,” the minister of tourism and culture told reporters.
Nazri, who said he has watched the film which premiered on August 29, said it was “well-researched” and reflects the “reality” of the turbulent period in the country’s history.
But Shuhaimi had last week said the film was a work of fiction despite earlier vouching for its “historical accuracy”.
Shuhaimi also explained that “Tanda Putera” is essentially about Malaysia’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and his deputy Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman — “two men who gave up everything, including their lives for the country”.
“Tanda Putera”, which was originally slated for release on September 13 last year, was produced at a cost of RM4.8 million provided by FINAS and the Multimedia Development Corporation (Mdec).
Nazri’s Tanda Putera views sting MCA and DAP, they hit back
BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
SEPTEMBER 01, 2013
The controversial film Tanda Putera is a sheer waste of funds on a project that distorts history, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said.
“The movie is pure rubbish and depicts a really sorry attempt to change history to serve the agenda of a select few,” he said.
Lim said the movie was used as a tool to “malign and demonise” the entire Chinese community.
He was responding to the comments of Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who said that a few Chinese were responsible for the incident and that the government-funded Tanda Putera was a well-researched movie.
“Is spending an estimated RM4.8 million simply to document and propagate lies which could worsen racial relations a well-researched movie?” Lim questioned.
The film is a joint effort of Persona Pictures, the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) and Multimedia Development Corporation (MdeC).
Lim expressed concern that the younger generations of Chinese might feel guilty for a wrongdoing they had never committed.
“So, since the director claims that the movie is her ‘creative licence’, does that bestow her with the licence to also lie? This is downright outrageous,” Lim said.
Lim said Tanda Putera would go down in movie history as “a dangerous fiction created to cause racial disharmony, to demonise a community and a symbol of disrespect to those who lost their lives in the riot”.
He said if movies like Tanda Putra were allowed, in future more films that contained lies would be produced.
Meanwhile, MCA Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong said Nazri’s statement was insensitive and unfair.
“Being entitled to your views does not mean stating irresponsible things at the expense of other races,” Wee said, expressing disappointment that Nazri chose to narrow down the cause of the incident.
“There are many factors that actually caused the riot and one of it is economic inequality,” he said.
Wee said that whoever triggered the violence in 1969 and those who keep harping about it were equally bad.
He said that although Nazri mentioned that “only a few individuals” from the community were to be blamed for the violence, he was already making a stand that the Chinese were the key perpetrators of the incident.
“At that time, there was a huge disparity among the races with some acting as agent provocateurs,” he said.
Wee said that one should take a look at the bigger picture and not rush to blame other races. – September 1, 2013.
Blame May 13 on anyone, except Umno
- 9:44AM Sep 2, 2013
- YOURSAY ‘This is what Endless Possibilities is all about. While Umno is at it, they should also blame the Chinese for the collapse of the Greek, Roman, Persian, Ottoman and British empires.’Nazri’s opinion on May 13 sure to stir debate
Lamborghini: Just a day after Merdeka, and we have another reckless, irresponsible statement by another Umno minister. Tourism Minister Mohd Nazri Aziz, don’t simply shoot your big mouth off and create more controversy and unease among the rakyat by blaming the Chinese for the May 13, 1969 riots.
As a minister, you should be working to unite the rakyat and speak from facts and truths, not from your own prejudice and personal opinions. Talk to people like Thamrin Ghafar and read what Tunku Abdul Rahman wrote and said about the May 13 incident, not Tanda Putera director Shuhaimi Baba’s racially biased “creative” version.
James_3392: Nazri was quoted as commenting that the film Tanda Putera was well researched on its story line. It was pointed out by the audience that the director cannot even differentiate between the flag of the Communist Party of Malaysia (CPM) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC); they used the five-starred red China flag as the CPM flag.
It will be interesting if Nazri could invite the ambassador from the PRC to watch the movie together with him. So much for those who made the film knowing about the recent history of Malaysia; and he calls it a well-researched piece of work. By Umno standards, maybe.
Samurai: First the filmmakers claimed that DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang urinated on the flagpole at the MB’s residence, saying “these really happened”, then now they say the urinating scene (minus Lim) is “creative license”. Really, can anyone say for sure if the entire film isn’t just one big lump of “creative license”?
Oriole: Go do your research and understand the nature of history as a contested truth, Nazri. And while you’re at it, read Kua Kia Soong’s book ‘May 13’ to get some perspective before shooting your mouth off.
Or perhaps you’ve read it and it is your terror of the truth that makes you so quick to pick on a minority to blame.
Senior: I choose to believe former home minister Muhammad Gazali Shafie’s version of the riots. I was in Kg Baru during that time and the Malays who went on a rampage there were NOT from there, as I knew most of them as a kid. Who brought them in?
Clever Voter: It is a sheer waste of time to start any debate that has no winner at the end. The multiracial community has moved on from May 13, and many were not even born yet during the unfortunate incident.
It’s the Umno politicians who continue to use this as a scare tactic, and a tool to fool the gullible rural voters to sustain their loyalty.
The reality is that income inequality in the country has worsened, and the same politicians have not delivered what they had promised, but continue to abuse their positions to enrich their wealth and power.
The quality of education has gotten no better, and international competitiveness is equally bad. The May 13 incident cannot and should not be used as an excuse.
Imran: The rakyat – the Malays, Chinese and Indians – have no grouses with one another. They get along just fine with neighbours and friends. They are very respectful and tolerant of one another’s race, customs and religions.
It is only the politicians like this fellow Nazri who now and then try to incite the good rakyat for political mileage. Sadly we have a useless softie for a PM, who has no guts to tell his politicians off. They should have a law banning politicians from making racial slurs.
Onyourtoes: Whatever woes confronting us, whatever problems facing us and whatever animosity festering within us is due to those in Umno, for no one has governed a single day of this country except them.
Whatever progress we have achieved, whatever unity and cohesiveness we have attained as a nation are due to the good sense of the people despite Umno’s machination and indoctrination to the contrary.
2 Tim 1:7: All these flagrant injustices committed by the religio-fascist kleptocratic regime and its underlings against non-Muslim minorities require from us a response of the same magnitude as the Boston Tea Party and the Storming of the Bastille.
Surely there are among us very intelligent and resourceful men and women who can help us safeguard our fundamental human rights.
Fair&Just: We should have a royal commission of inquiry on the May 13 incident, so that those many murdered souls would be able to finally rest in peace, for many were mercilessly mowed down in the riots and the nation has to provide accountability, or those poor souls will continuously pervade the nation with their unjust and bad karmic forces, which can culminate in some catastrophe to the nation.
Asitis: History is written by those who hang the real heroes.
Hello: May 13 – blame it on the bossanova, blame it on the Chinese, blame it on the Indians, but don’t blame it on Umno. How sanctimonious can you get?
Toonarmy: This is what Endless Possibilities is all about. While Umno is at it, they should also blame the Chinese for the collapse of the Greek, Roman, Persian, Ottoman and British empires.
Don’t blame the Chinese for May 13
| September 2, 2013
Malaysians should work together to ensure unity and harmony is maintained said Chua Tee Yong
The Labis MP was responding to Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz’s recent statement in which the latter blamed the Chinese community for causing the infamous May 13 riots.
Nazri reportedly said that it is a “historical fact that the riot was sparked by Chinese” and likened it to “[the] fact that Nazis killed thousands of Jews
during the Second World War”.
“I am of firm belief that it brings no benefit to national unity to keep blaming or accusing anyone of any particular race for what happened on May 13,” Chua said today in a press statement.
He described the incident as a “tragedy” for Malaysians, “who have collectively worked very hard to ensure unity, peace, and stability in
“Although Nazri is entitled to his personal views, his statements made in the capacity of a leader should not be hurtful or offensive to others, especially those of a particular race,” Chua said.
“In light of 56 years of independence, I believe what is more important is how all Malaysians – regardless of race and religion – can continue to work towards ensuring unity is maintained,” he added.
Blame the British
Chua further explained that racial segregation was practiced by the British before independence “as an economic function for profit maximisation”.
“Unfortunately, this ‘stepping stone’ long-remained after independence, and economic inequality was one of the triggers for the 1969 riots,” he said.
“Therefore, I stand firm that there is simply no benefit to blame a particular race for what happened on May 13. Malaysians from all walks of life should continuously work together to ensure unity and harmony is preserved.”
On August 31, Nazri reportedly blamed the Chinese for causing the May 13 riots before praising the controversial film Tanda Putera as a “well-researched movie” that depicts the incident.
He subsequently wondered why the present generation of Chinese was upset over it.
“This happened then. Why should the present generation of Chinese be
troubled by it now?” he was quoted as saying.
Nazri insisted that only a few individuals were to blame for the violence then, saying that the Chinese community should not feel guilty.
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