In the run up to the coming 13th General Election, the Mamak has been drawing some attention, not so much plausible but rather distasteful. Embarrassing the humble and modest majority that mind their own business, serve the people and the country. Nowadays the “Non-Mamak” simply burn inside out whenever a Mamak speak up about Islam, Malay or anything in support of the latter.
Used to be pejorative name in Malaysia, Mamak is simply to describe the India Muslim community. Originally migrated from India, probably even before Parameswara and settled down in Malaya. India dominated early Malaysian history. They reached their peak in the Sumatran-based Srivijaya civilization, whose influence extended through Sumatra, Java, the Malay Peninsula and much of Borneo from the 7th to the 14th centuries - Wikipedia, History of Malaysia.
Parameswara however (aka Iskandar Shah), ruled Singapore from 1389 to 1398 (around 14th Century). He fled the island after a Majapahit naval invasion in 1398 and founded his new foothold at Bertam (Sungai Bertam Melaka) in 1402. Hence a new city grew to become the capital of Malacca Sultanate – Wikipedia, Parameswara.
Indian and Arabs on the other hand had passed through Malaya as early as the 10th century, but it was not until the 14th and 15th centuries that Islam officially established itself on the Malay Peninsula.
Since then, Islamic culture has had a profound influence on the Malays, but has also been influenced by the Indians, which suggests that the India and Islam (as Jawi Peranakan, Chetti or Baba) was already here 4 ~ 7 centuries earlier than Parameswara and may have settled in the common port of calls along the islands of the straits of Malacca back then.
Irrespective that they came before, with or after Parameswara, being a Muslim gave them an advantage to mingle well with the Malays. They frequent Mosques, attend religious gatherings and ceremonies, recite hadith and prayers in the same Arabic verses that they became widely excepted within the Malay community.
But it didn't stop there. Unlike Penang, the Mamaks in other states kept coming, going, coming, and going and the bloodline got refreshed with passing times. The original Mamaks like the Mamak Penang (never looked back) drowned amongst the Malays and new generation took place in Penang.
Unlike my late father whom came to Malaya (Melaka) when he was 10, worked in grocery stores and during pre-Independence Malaya, he joined the army to defend Malaysia from Communist insurgencies. In recognition of his loyalty, he was retained in the Police force and was awarded full Malaysian citizenship after independence, just like what Tun Dr. Mahathir got. With hard work, he made his way up in the force and retired as ‘Penolong Pengarah BPR Perak.
I my growing years I did not see myself as a ‘pendatang’. I got along well with Chinese, Indians and Malays, mostly with Indians and Malays because I have this “dual-identity” acceptance from both. Every Friday, my Malay neighbours, teachers and friends will look for me and get me to follow them for Friday prayers. As I grew up amongst them I took little notice my split identity. I’m not sure when and where I inherited the title “Bumiputra” or who made that arrangement. Sometimes when I fill up the forms for any official matters, I would fill the race column as ‘India Muslim’ but strangely it would get self-amended as “Malay” somewhere along the chain of commands.
Mamaks have no issues with mix marriages, simply because of the common religion. The Mamak, just like the early Portuguese blended very well with the Malays and adopted the Malay cultures. The non-Malays (and non Mamaks) whom don’t understand it (or refuse to) often take matters out of context when Mamaks appear in politics - defending Malay rights. Actually the Mamaks dont have any specific damn rights to shout about because the Mamak and Malay fights for the same course as defined through a common religion. Just like the Christians; whether you are Indian, Chinese, Singaporean, American, Israeli or African - when comes to Islam bashing; birds of a feather flock together. After more than 100 years, is really nothing for us Mamak to go back to, we are happy with this new home our ancestors left us on.
Islam was/is their only tool that kept us bonded but there are occasional frictions from both camps, that the Mamak will forever carry the DKK blood. But in general fighting for social and political rights remains a common goal with any race and not only Malay or Barisan Nasional. Half of the Mamak populations are fully aware of the deception and deceit by the very government whom awarded them ‘Bumiputra’ status. Gratitude is one but hitching a ride at others expense is another. There are various colours of Mamaks in Malaysia which is still not transparent with our fellow Chinese and Indians.
Therefore I put together my understanding on where and what backgrounds of Mamaks are there in Malaysia. The way I figured, there are at least 5 types of Mamaks. Each having unique belief-system, self-esteem and objective, very often misunderstood by the general population. They are:
- Mamak Penang
- Mamak Tongkang
- The Mamak @ Indian Muslim
- Melayu Celup
- Mamak Baru
1. Mamak Penang
The Mamak Penang we already know who they are, the very first settlers of Pre/Post Parameswara. Comprise of about 10% of the entire Malay population (not India Muslim population), look like Indians but they know the darnest thing about Indians. As a Mamak myself I assure you they can’t speak a darn word of Tamil even if you point a gun at them. They have completely dropped all associations they have with India. With an exception to their DNA, they are 99% Malay and pass as Penang aborigine, seriously. Today they hold various profession from fishing to top positions in corporate and politics. When they shout “Hidup Melayu”, please do not mess with them, they mean it. The number 786 has not significant meaning at all other than it adds up to 21 or it is probably someone’s locker combination.
2. Mamak Tongkang
The Penang Mamak becomes a target when imbeciles like Ghani Komtar and Redzuad Azudin terrorized Lim Guan Eng and/or DAP. Although we know who is funding them, they continue to misinterpret themselves. This two specie (Ghani & Redzuad) are completely different from Mamak Penang, they are the Mamak Tongkang by nature. They also occupy several associations like PERKASA, SW1M, PIMA, KIMMA, KARMA or KURMA comprising some 15% of the half a million Mamaks. Recently, for obvious reasons the Barisan Nasional government have roped them in into the 1Malaysia package. They were promised Bumiputra status and these Tongkang’ s are doing for what is worth for UMNO/BN.
Alternatively with the offer for citizenship and a bonus Bumiputra status, they will most likely bring over their families here to help terrorize the opposition.
3. The Mamak @ Indian Muslim
The Pure Mamak whom I passionately call the “3rd Graded Mamaks” however is the ones we are looking for (FYI that’s where I recite). The population of 79% of these 3rd Graded outnumbers all the rests. Massive mixed marriages not only with Malay but Chinese, Mat Salleh and Indians as well. We usually run larger business like Supermarkets, Wholesale Stationery's, Engineering Services, Medical Profession, Surgeons, Lecturers, Professors, high profile corporates, governments, entrepreneurs, politics, sports and artists.
“In contemporary Malaysia Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhari, Zainuddin Mydin, Siti Nurhaliza binti "Thaarudeen", Justice Haidar Mohd Noor, Ahmad Nawab, Akbar Nawab, P Ramlee, Man Bhai, Tan Sri Elyas Omar, Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan are all Indian Muslims or descended from Indian Muslims. Malaysia's first Speaker of Parliament Tan Sri CM Yusuf was a Mamak. So was the permanent Chairman of UMNO Tan Sri Sulaiman "Ninam" Shah. 'Ninam' is actually truncated Tamil for 'Naina Mohamed'. Former Sabah Chief Minister Dato Harris Salleh and present Chief Minister Musa Aman are all mamaks. They are not Pushtuns, Pakistanis or Yemenis Among our Prime Ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the son of an Indian Muslim. Abdullah Badawi has Mamak blood from his father's side. Toh Puan Sharifah Radziah Syed Alwi Barakbah, the wife of our first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman, had Mamak ancestry. The Tunku himself was of mixed Thai and Mamak parentage. Ex DPM Dato Sri Anwar Ibrahim's father is a Mamak. The intellectuals Kassim Ahmad and Farish Noor have Indian Muslim fathers while the late Tan Sri Muhammad Noordin Sopiee had a Mamak grandfather. Munir Majid is a Tamil speaking Mamak and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is a Mamak too.” - Sheikh Moinudeen Chisti Syed Abdul Kadir, Indian Muslims in Malaysia: Ancestry and History.
The Mamaks indulge practically in the same things the Malays, Chinese and Indians do. Just like you, we are very opened minded, liberal, neutral, modern, supportive, god fearing, compassionate, in fact very compassionate, actually overly compassionate sometimes like when we burn RM 500.00 to nurse the injured cat found by the road side but can’t afford to buy a burger for our daughter … you know what I mean?
So, to the Mamak haters, back off will ya!
4. Melayu Celup
Small in numbers, about 5% of the total Mamak population but rather loud and “glaring”. Though mostly from the 3rd Graded colony, they have graduated well and have an ability of a Chameleon (or think they can) with the Malays. Some examples of these low dignity Melayu Celups are Ahmad Rizal Naina Merican, Sheik Hussein Mydin and Zambry Kadir carrying the Mamak trade mark glaringly. But if they are lucky they will look like the controversial Sharifah Zobra or Mahathir Mohamed. Let me give you a secret, any names that ends with Naina, Kadir, Mydin, Merican, Pakir, Jabeen, Shaik, Mubarakh, Mohammad (no reference to the Prophet Mohamed S.A.W.) are downright, flat out, no doubt, true blue Mamak Tongkang or the immediate descendant's.
Yet without a feeling of a slightest remorse… at all, they will go up the stage, stand in front of thousands of Chinese and Indians and shout “Hidup Melayu”. Did you all notice how Malay is Ahmad Merican? And Barisan Nasional simply love imbeciles like this to do the barking on their behalf.
5. Mamak Baru
There are small in numbers, about 1% of The Mamak population whom converted to Islam, usually called “Saudara Baru” whom converted for marriage, “tangkap basah” or maybe to get some “projects” from UMNO/BN.
6. The Mahathirism
“Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s once advised Malaysia’s Indian Muslims to choose between their Muslim and their Indian identities, puts one in mind of a resonant episode in the immediate prelude to the partition of India in mid-1947. Mahathir’s positing of a dichotomy – either you are Indian or you are Muslim (and therefore Malay) – to Muslim Indians in Malaysia has been proven by recent history to be a delusive conceit. Muslim Indians in Malaysia can be Malaysian, Muslim and Indian at the same time, a triple and sustainable identity that betters Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, and tributes Steven Hopkins”. – Terence Netto
In all honesty, the majority of Mamaks were really proud of their identity. The discoloration started with wide spread mix marriages with the Malays. Despite that in terms of mental sharpness we all admired Tun Dr. Mahathir, as a Mamak himself took over a nation and in his formative years a bloody good one. Yes in his obsession, he made a few Malay’s to become powerful, greedy and arrogant. But the Mamak notice a common spirit in Tun, a fighter, survivor, responsible and accountable. Basically, having the balls. He is the only leader who can articulate facts without a script. He has the balls to stand up against the world bully and give it to them “in the face”. He initiated a transformation to take Malaysia out of practically a slump. Too bad the rest of the goons in UMNO/BN were not smart enough to emulate Tun. Sex, money and greed for power caught up amongst all UMNO/BN goons whom jumped into the band-wagon for mass looting. It became a free for all – all year looting for UMNO/BN when Najib took over, being a corrupt himself the rest in the UMNO/BN camp regarded it as a "field-day" for looting.
Time passed, people learn and change. Despite the apparent upheaval with Tun, many Mamaks honour what Tun has done and I too admit the old man is one hell of a leader. Indirectly liberating our mental limitations and hypocrisy. Yes, I believe he did and still trying. It take a greater intelligence and an opened mind to comprehend what he is trying to procure. Majority of Malaysian are really not ready for the real mental and spiritual liberation as perceived by Tun, twisting every words literally out of context and putting it against him. We the general population are still trapped in a paradigm engineered by old school.
7. The Mamak’s Political Paradigm
Ali Cordoba an FMT editor once said that the Mamaks will swing side to BN in the coming election (“Will the Indian Muslim wish come true?”). I think not, probably true amongst the limited population KIMMA and PIMA.
Reason being, no matter how we the Mamak carry ourselves, we never forgot how we came about and the fundamental reasons. Our forefathers travelled the world in survival. Colonizing a community most suitable for the environment, where number one criteria of survival was there is a Mosque, food and an opportunity to turn resources into service to make a living. Climate, politics and colour of the skin, language did not matter at all. The Mamaks did not evolve only from running Grocery Stores but geographically in Religion, Mathematics, Science and Technology.
Pass 100 years, each generations of their offspring lived ten times better than the earlier. We are ten times better than our fathers and it is their wish that our children live ten times better than us and so on. Our core objective is survival, create and enjoy creation. Enjoy life on earth, provide for our community and serve others unconditionally, that’s the difference in Mamak mercenaries.
Never did our forefathers procured politics, military or anything that cause harm. They did not expect us to join UMNO/BN to procure false ideology, loot from the poor and live a virtual successful life at the expense of the other race.
As a result of the circus and carelessness of the existing "UMNO/BN" in the last 15 years at least, rumours "were" spinning that the Mamaks were gearing for a mass “burial” of Barisan Nasional - where as many as 70% are aware of the deception and deceits hurled out by the present UMNO/BN. Unfortunately, things took a surprising turn at the 11th hour. Due to some massive flak launched by the Indian community against the Mamaks, they are thinking maybe Mamaks are better off with BN despite the latter. Following the disclosure of Tun Dr. Mahathir's ancestry, PIMA's call to ban a Tamil movie and the ramblings of the obnoxious Sharifah Zobra the Indians are running down the Mamaks with all sorts of disgusting criticism. With 500,000 Mamaks, a million of their Malay relatives can easily shift the weight back to BN whom have protected the Mamaks which I truly hope will not manifest. There are also considerable number of Melayu Celup out there, loud die-hard BN supporters whom wish to keep the wealth and position handed to them by their former master sirs. Doing every stunt they possibly can to cling on to the power they have.
Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say KIMMA, UMNO and Barisan Nasional have under estimated our intelligence. The world is not created for Governments to control forever. We know the current cabals whom are although just about 1% of the population is controlling the 99% to loot the wealth and to continue using us as money producing machines.
8. Mamak Bangkit
Therefore, the Mamak’s and the world population has awakened from deep slumber. The world continues to move forward toward the day chosen by Heaven for manifesting our new reality. Global awareness seems to magically resonate into the super conscious mind of every beings.
As all these dramas play out, our world appears on the surface to muddle along as before. Yet UMNO/BN knows that this charade is nearly over. The Pakatan Rakyat new governance is in place, ready to assume authority - and we are going to give it to them. The changeover will start with a series of announcements that are sure to astound most of us. Then the new financial reality will bring a huge sigh of relief to each of us, as freedom from want and anxiety allows us to move into joy and abundance. UMNO/BN and their cronies have used this double-standard system to hammer the masses and force them to do their bidding. Now all of this is to be removed and a level playing field will be replaced the unjust that has tormented us for so long. Moreover, governance more to your liking is beginning to 'call this new tune.' But do bear in mind that these improvements in a circumstances merely herald much greater changes to come, including ... some surprising disclosures.
Having explored that, in my opinion a Mamak of any type is still a Mamak, Indian bloodline imported from India and have settled down as Malaysians. Our fundamental job and responsibility remains that we provide a better life for our children and our children’s children. We work hard, fight for better education for them, best opportunities, the right tool, prepare them for best carrier, help them find the matching partner that resonate with our forefather’s aspirations – to survive, love, create joy and abundance from the god created earth. With nowhere to go, the Mamaks will continue to create a new Malaysian identity. The Mamaks and Portuguese are the only two race after Malay whom can speak Bahasa fluently. Majority can also speak and write good English, half of them can speak Tamil and some of them can speak Mandarin.
One of reason for Mamaks and Portuguese’s to be able to speak Bahasa so well is simply because …we want to. But an advice to all Mamaks whom want to be a Malay, note that no matter how Malay you talk, behave or look, you will always be regarded as a DKK.
12. Tomato Mamak