Sorry for the use of Minangkabau accent. "Koliang" is Minangkabau for the Malay word "Keling".
Calling anyone Keling should not be perceived as derogatory or racist. It is the Malay word to describe Indian. It is usually referred to Tamil, due to their larger presence in Malaya, but it could be expanded to other races from the Indian sub-continent.
The word Keling may have been derived from the Tamil word "Kalinga." It was an early Indian empire, so nothing derogatory but something historical to be proud of there.
Sometime last month, this blog highlighted that Mamak may not be constitutionally Malays. Since some Mamak are not culturally and constitutionally Malay, the Mamak and Islam converted Keling should not involve in UMNO politics.
Bigdog followed up with something positive as he cited an NST report of Prof Shamsul Amri's paper at a conference. The kedai mamak was complimented for helping "cultivate the nature of bringing multi-ethnic Malaysians together.”
FMT published an article by one Fa Abdul entitled, "Yes, I am Keling. So what?" It expressed a sense of confidence in their identity as Keling or Mamak. More the reason to butt out from "subsidy-seeking" UMNO.
Confident they may but unfortunately the Keling and Mamak does not seemed to be able to amicably resolve family issue without quarreling. There is another conversion of children to Islam in the public sphere.
Again, why the need to change the country's Constitution to resolve family issue?
Such is the typically observed temperament and uncompromising dispositions of Keling and Mamak. Hate to stereotype any race negatively but it always happen that way.
They tend to be emotional and seldom get branded wrongly as shit stirrer or troublemaker. Often a time they refuse reasons and will not rationally acknowledge facts. Some stubborn putar alam refuse to learn up anything as though they know better and their understanding of information are sufficient.
Again, it is only few and not applicable to all, but Keling and Mamak have been unfairly painted with a single brush as suspicious in their actions, conniving in their dealings and very apt at talking and sliding themselves around a situation.
So this conversion issue may be more emotional than just legal.
Our family's friend, Pakcik Yunos was a Muslim convert Hokkien Chinese. He converted from Catholicism but did not force his new found religion on his children.
Naturally, his wife was bitter because his conversion means an automatic divorce. However, he remained responsible to the wife and family as he gave away all his savings to his wife and started a new life. Hardly any issue at all.
The singer DJ Dave divorced his Punjabi wife when he converted to Islam. He too did not force on his two children to convert. He remarried and still maintain "family ties" with his Punjabi ex-wife and children. At a concert in Istana Budaya few years ago, the singer invited his ex-wife and children to come up on stage.
He should be classified as Keling but maybe the Punjabi or Sikh faith may not want to be mistaken as Tamil or Hindu.
Personally, we have had Malay friends marrying converted orang putih. When they divorced and the wives return back to their country with the children, there were concerns on the faith of their children. However, it never got emotional and public.
Only Keling and Mamak
Not in the manner that is happening with Keling like the current case of Indira Gandhi. There is the usual outcry from the legal community and left wing NGOs. Some 300 people are planning a walk-in solidarity for Indira Gandhi who lost in her legal dispute to challenge the conversion of her daughter.
This is strictly a simplistic observation. Nothing empirical.
Did we missed anything because other similar publicly emotional and publicised cases like that of Deepa, Subashini and Shamala involved Keling couples?
Noticably the lawyers representing them or vocally supporting them will also be Keling or Mamak like Kulasegaran for Indira, Malik Imtiaz, Dato' Ambiga, Dato Gopal Sri Ram, Harris Ibrahim, and many more.
Even Dato Zaid Ibrahim, the vocal lawyer is a Kelantan Mamak with a humble beginning from Kuala Krai estate. Zaid got his facts wrong in his comment of this case.
The "human rights" activists will be Keling or Mamak like lawyer Harris Ibrahim, Ivy Josiah and including one with an eighth Indian blood, Dato Marina Mahathir. The human rights must come with quote unquote because they tend to be suspiciously bias to a certain insidious agenda, thus not really fighting for human.
G25 is supporting this issue as part of their critique of Islamic authorities, JAKIM and syariah court. Do not be surprise many among the vocal members of G25 are Mamak. Tun Mahathir was seeking this Melayu liberal group for political support.
Prof Shad Faruqi that talked at their forum is Mamak or likely still Keling. They brought over few Keling and Mamak from other countries to speak.
It will only be complete should there be Keling or Mamak judges presiding these cases.
We heard the retired "cross dressing" Court of Appeal judge, Dato Hishamuddin Yunos on BFM radio yesterday. Strange English accent. For a judge, he is not quite fluent and has a feminine high pitch voice.
Not sure he is Mamak.
As understood from Hishamuddin's BFM interview, at stake is the interpretation of Article 121 (1A) which essentially assign syariah matters to the jurisdiction of Syariah court.
This was the amendment introduced after the Nor Asiah Bokhari incident but it may have other consideration like safeguarding Islamic institution and preserving the sanctity of the religion of the federation.
The judges - Court of Appeal to Federal Court - has thus far decided to refer any issue of conversion to the Syariah court.
As per the precedent set by the Lina Joy case, in which we believe all conversion out of Islam has to be acknowledged by the Syariah Court before the National Registration Department could change the religion on the NRIC. It was said the root of the problem was the new NRIC with religion stated.
We are no lawyer so we hear from the legal minds.
Hishamuddin, who got his judgement on cross dressing at the Court of Appeal overturned by the Federal Court for erroneously making constitutional decision outside his jurisdiction, claimed judges wrongly interpreted the Constitution to ignore fundamental rights
Here we go again. Same recycle arguments. So it's intention is to be persistent in the effort to remove the power of the Syariah Court and subjugate it to be inferior to the Civil Court.
One Punjabi lawyer friend argued that non-Muslim marriage are registered at the civil court. Thus, any matters arising should be handled according to the original civil court marriage contract.
In addition, Hishamuddin interpreted that Syariah court deals with marriage between Muslim and Muslim. For dispute between Muslim and non-Muslim, it should be dealt with at the civil court.
However, there is also the issue of father's parental right over the children. It is a tough call as to which of the parent have right to determine the children's faith. Culturally, husband is the head of the family.
Does he remain so for couple that have parted ways and one of the party has changed religion? Many non-Muslims do not agree that the issue have to follow the husband's preferred court.
Both Keling parents do not wish to wait out till the children reach 18 to decide on their own faith. That is the reason they drags the whole society and disrupt peaceful co-existence between different faith in their dispute.
However, it is fundamentally wrong to argue that Malaysian Constitution is secular as one Australian wrote in MMO to call the happening as nonsense. In response, a lawyer commented in our Whas App group:
He must be living in a different planet. Our constitution not only recognizes Islamic institutions and courts, it confers jurisdiction to dictate the moral conduct of more than half of the population with penal consequences. When UK is not even regarded secular in the ordinary meaning of the word, our Malaysian constitution which is bias towards Islam can be regarded as secular? He doesn't know what secular means and ignorant of our constitution. Shad faruqi had written many times on this. It's neither secular nor Islamic. It's based on our social compromise.Prof Shad Faruqi got himself in a controversy for telling judges putting Islam ahead of the Constitution to resign. He is not technically wrong but as politically incorrect as lecturers impregnating own students. Judges are supposed to make judgement based on the law.
Although there will be differences of opinion, judges had their legal basis in their judgement and seemed to have made their interpretation according to the law. Only thing is it is not to the liking of the Hindu.
A reporter interjected in our Whass App group:
The fact that islam is declared as the religion of the federation...shows this is not a secular country. Secular means NO religious basis at all.A final comment by a legally trained Tun:
The Reid "Constitution" was a recommendation to the 3 parties involved in the Merdeka talks - the Malay Rulers,the British who were in treaty with the Malay Rulers, and the Alliance Party. What our Constitution was, before all the amendments after Aug 31st, 1957, was the result of the post Reid tri-partite discussions among the rulers, the British and the Alliance Party.The constitution was the wishes of the rulers and the amendments made received royal accent.
The Alliance Party was stubborn on a number of issues but the rulers stood firm for more state rights and a stronger rulers' roles and their reps led by Dato Mustapha Albakri walked out of the talks and threatened to stay away. The British had to tell Tunku snd his colleagues that without the Rulers' signatures there would be no Merdeka. The Alliance had to concede to the rulers.
Not only is the case and issues a recycle from past cases, the Constitutional interpretation arguments seemed to be recycled too.
There is also a pattern. The current case is made loud conveniently before the Sarawak state election. In the past, it occurred few years before the general election.
Indira's case is handled by DAP politician and MP, Kulasegaran. Strangely, Kulasegaran sued the Jabatan Agama Islam Pulau Pinang instead of NRD.
So it was expected to lose because precedent set have sadly not been in favour of Hindu mothers. Hope there is an amicable solution, but it is a tough call between one or the other. Mind you, people die over faith than over race.
Politically, it is an open secret that DAP do not agree with the status of Islam as religion of the federation. They intentionally called it wrongly as official religion. For the record, Teresa Kok expressed her opposition to Islam as religion of the federation in a court proceeding.
The political motive is obvious. The way the public debate is taking its toll, Kulasegaran has successfully dragged it to be a Constitutional issue.
Cunning punya Keling ....
* Edited 21/1 8:25 AM