Interlok: Could Ridhuan Tee be right after all?

When a white novelist writes the dialogue of a black character, the condescension can make his reader cringe.

Take the sample below:

“I looks like gwine to heaven, an’t thar where white folks is gwine? S’pose they’d have me thar? I’d rather go to torment, and get away from Mas’r and Missis. I had so.” (Mas’r and Missis are Master and Mistress, as the book was set during the time of black slavery in America).

Does Michelle Obama speak anything like the ‘black’ English caricatured? Heaven forbid.

Now let’s go to ‘Interlok’ and see a sampling of how the book’s Chinese characters are made to speak.

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Page 61: “Gua titak mau mikin susah sama lu, Seman,” … “Tapi gua pikih lu sulah tau. Mapak lu ata manyak hutang sama gua, lia ata ngalai itu tanah kebun di kuala, tanah kampung tempat lu luluk sikalang, itu tanah sawah juga.”

Page 63: “Ini bukan sulat hutang,” jawab tauke itu. “Ini sulat tanah. Sulat hutang ada lain. … Ini hutang lu punya mapak lima libu linggit, ini dua libu linggit, ini satu libu linggit, ini satu libu linggit. Itu malang-malang angkat belum kila lagi.”

Page 64: “Ini semua hutang lu punya mapak, itu sebab gua pigang itu sulat tanah. Sikalang lu pun sutah tau. Kalau lu mau luluk juga atas gua punya tanah, lu misti mikin macam lu punya mapak. Itu pali magi tiga, satu tanah punya sewa, satu gua punya bagian, satu lu punya. Lu punya mapak kugak mikin itu macam. Kalau lu suka lu moleh luluk, kalau lu titak suka lu moleh pigi. Gua mau kasi olang lain mikin kalija.”

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The scenario of the cruel and cunning Chinese man cheating the naïve Malay is paraphrased in proper BM on Page 92:

“Waktu bapanya masih hidup, kita semua tahu, bapanya tu ada banyak membeli tanah. Tanah sawah, tanah kampung dan tanah kebun dekat kuala dialah yang beli. Tetapi alih-alih waktu dia mati kata Seman tanah itu semua sudah digadai pada Cina Panjang tu, dan orang Cina tu pun dah suruh Seman ini keluar dari kampung tersebut. Seman ini buta huruf, tuk penghulu, alif sebesar batang kelapa pun dia tak kenal, mata tongkang, jadi saya tak berapa pasti apakah betul atau tidak, ataupun orang Cina itu mau perdaya dia saja.”
.

Lu, gua, apa bikin?

.
Do many Chinese today speak such bad BM as mimicked in Interlok? How relevant is the book to our society today?

How would you feel when you’re forced to digest the ‘lu’, ‘gua’ Cina Pek mimicry, and mockery of stereotypical Chinese pronunciation, e.g. “Gua mau kasi olang lain mikin kalija.”

The Chinese character painted above by Interlok author Abdullah Hussain is the ‘bad’ Chinese. Abdullah’s ‘good’ Chinese is the one who sides with the Malay and turns his back on his own [Chinese] people.

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The breach between father and son occurs on Page 240:

“Apa Ah Seng? Gua kejam apa?” suaranya keras dan meninggi [asks Cing Huat when confronted by his son Yew Seng who accuses the father of ‘kacang lupakan kulit’ tak kenang budi and mistreating the Malay hero].

“Papa terlalu kejam pada Seman,” jawabnya lagi dengan tenang. [replies the son]

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Ah Seng repudiates his own father. As we know from previous excerpts from the novel, the Chinese have been portrayed as the scums of the earth. The Malays on the other hand have been portrayed as most kind and noble.

In Abdullah’s book, Ah Seng is the good Chinese.

If you’re a regular reader of Ridhuan Tee’s Utusan column, you’d know that he likes to scold those Chinese who can’t speak BM passably.

Recently on Feb 20, he had high praise for this girl (left) who speaks fluent Malay and who scored an ‘A’ for Arabic in her PMR.

Sejuk hati apabila melihat penerima tokoh Maulidur Rasul, Wee Soo Yen, 16, pelajar Cina dari Kelantan kerana mendapat A subjek Bahasa Arab Komunikasi dan semua A subjek yang lain dalam Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) lalu. Apabila diwawancara, cara beliau berbahasa Melayu begitu fasih sekali.

The girl, Ms Wee (pictured), is Ridhuan’s model of a good Chinese – see Utusan story here

Below are the other good Chinese Hannah Yeoh and Elizabeth Wong. Selendang Queen Teo Nie Ching, topmost photo.

Comments
13 Responses to “Interlok: Could Ridhuan Tee be right after all?”
  1. Maz says:

    Sejuk hati apabila melihat penerima tokoh Maulidur Rasul, Wee Soo Yen, 16, pelajar Cina dari Kelantan kerana mendapat A subjek Bahasa Arab Komunikasi dan semua A subjek yang lain dalam Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) lalu. Apabila diwawancara, cara beliau berbahasa Melayu begitu fasih sekali.
    ================================================================================
    GOOD, she can now become Tok Guru’s Press Secretary

  2. limml says:

    Ability to speak fluently in a particular langague does not define a person. Ridhuan Tee maybe fluent in a particular language but his frequent action of creating ill feelings amongst various races in malaysia speaks evil of him.

  3. Greg Lopez says:

    How do we build mutual respect among the races?

    Are Malays or are Malaysians inherently racists?

    http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2011/02/21/malays-in-malaysia-in-malay-supremacy-we-trust/

    • Jacky Tan says:

      For those who don’t know how to respect people, people won’t respect them in return.
      “Interlock” must not become text book in school!

  4. Lee says:

    In Malaysia, we must judge a book value by its cover. If you cover up yourself wholly, speak fluently then you are deemed holy and good in man’s eyes.But we all know God dont see these but what’s in your heart .

  5. infansolaris says:

    The deceitful pretentiousness, posturing and artificiality of it all makes me wanna puke. I can not understand how after being repeatedly insulted as mata sepets and pendatangs in reality and cruel and cunning shit carriers in literature, the Chinese still pander contemptibly to all things Malay and Islamic. Are the Chinese so bereft of self esteem and dignity? Or is it really a case of meek silence and pandering equating to acquiescence and submission?

  6. temenggong says:

    If a racial reference or epithet is used like mata sepet, black (skin color), etc., then that is racism. If it is promoted by the state (school text) then it is within the ambit of ‘persecution’ under Refugee Convention 1951. A state can be charged under the Rome Statute (International Criminal Court), or under Crimes Against Humanity (International Law).

  7. Toffee says:

    Nie Ching and Hannah both wear the selendang when they visit the mosque, which is more regular than Fat Mama. The other one wears it only after her ‘private’ photos were circulated in the internet and she had to be photographed with Nik Aziz to maintain her ‘innocence’.

  8. Paul Warren says:

    Collect wat!!, When I go to Kuala Kubu Baru, the Malay shout “Reformasi” and the Chinese shout “Lefomasi”!! So no change in the way the Chinese speak Malay wat!!
    ———————————————————————————————
    Errr .. Paul, “Reformasi” actually ingris loot word wat! Plagiarism ok with the melayus wot? Hmmm .. the ‘P’ thingy again eh – shar101.

    • Maz says:

      Collect wat!!, When I go to Kuala Kubu Baru, the Malay shout “Reformasi” and the Chinese shout “Lefomasi”!! So no change in the way the Chinese speak Malay wat!!
      ———————————————————————————————
      Errr .. Paul, “Reformasi” actually ingris loot word wat! Plagiarism ok with the melayus wot? Hmmm .. the ‘P’ thingy again eh – shar101.
      ==============================================================
      Then it really is the INTELROCK controversy ISN’T IT maaaaa ???

      • Ruth says:

        There is nothing civilised it seems left in this land , which at one time could have been a showcase for a successful model of multi- culturalism. Now they the Islamists make headlines round the world on making prostitutes of Islamist housewifes. Hope it remains selective to these ignorant jungle bunnies. Everything today is based on gutter politics sex, race , racism, or their self rated superiority as spewed from the mouth of these jungle bunnies in this land.
        Lets face it also typical of ex- colonial /patriots also to chip in and join up with primitives, perhaps in the hope of getting their perverted sexual preferences satisfied. It is also historically well known fact amongst other race groups , that most of the loose women plying their trade to anyone, especially to ex patriots , were not necessarily Chinese or Indian women .
        With hindsight perhaps the Malaysian Indians and M Chinese should not have made any contribution towards the independence of Malaysia, or worked hard to give their blood, sweat and tears to sustain the survival / prosperity of Malaysia . Never to late as they say . . How long can Malaysian Indians Chinese and other minority groups tolerate the self indulgent and excessive corrupt behaviours of these primitives ? Why should they? They are citizens and they have rights too.

  9. Everyone- learn Mandarin please, for trade’s sake.

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