Thursday, 13 June 2013

Writing In Malaysia

Note : Article is Malaysian in nature

For intro, I'll explain first why I wrote this piece in the first place.

I quit my job few months back, so now with my health improving, I'm starting to go back to working life again.

Now I started applying for mechanical M&E jobs, and also start studying again of matters relating to work.

And so I read BOMBA stuff and found this paragraph :-

"Tangga dan lobi menentang kebakaran hendaklah diadakan sistem isitekan mengikut Piawaian Australia 1668 Bahagian 1:2001 atau mana mana penentuan yang dibenarkan Jabatan Bomb dan Penyelamat Malaysia"

Ha? WTF is this sistem isitekan?

Then I read the Holy Grail of Fire Fighting book in Malaysia, which is the Guide to Fire Protection In Malaysia, by Prof. Datuk Dr. Soh Chai Hock.

Ceh! This isitekan this is actually pressurised system. Lift lobby pressurised system which I knew its existence during my university years, which I learnt in English.

I'm so bothered of this isitekan thing, hence the reason of writing this piece.


Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka and local politician always popularise the campaign "To Empower Malay Language" (Memperkasa Bahasa Melayu).

And Anwar Ibrahim rose to politics, during his student leader days,  by championing this Malay language issue.

I will tell you now why the effort to empower Malay language failed.

Because nobody write books.

Everyone can talk-cock and say that the Japanese and German empower Engineering in their native language, and so we can use Malay to empower knowledge.

That is solely because they write books. We don't.

In Engineering, there is a thing called standardization, like instance your A4 paper size, is standardize, so that manufacturers all over the world can produce the same size.

The Brits wrote BS Standard, the German with DIN standard, the Japanese with JIS Standard, the US had their own standard, which is different for each sector (there are ASME, ASHRAE, etc.). Even China is now establishing their Standard.

In Malaysia, it is MS (Malaysia Standard) governed by SIRIM, but unfortunately, Malaysia is not a manufacturing country by itself.

The manufacturing in Malaysia comes from foreign investment, and so we are binded by the Standards which the foreign company uses.

I can say that the MS is literally a translation of whichever Standard are used in the current market. And sometimes, we used MS for economic advantages.

For instance, there are air-conditioner factories in Malaysia, which are indirectly protected by the Government thru the use of MS, by saying that the air conditioner equipment must meet certain Green Technology requirement.

The real story is, in the current worldwide market, there are lots of cheaper air conditioning equipment produced by China, and so we used MS to protect our market and our local industries.

But in Proton case, it is different.

Because the one teaching us to make cars are Matsubishi Heavy Industries.

Do you think the Japs will be stupid enough to teach us all the knowhow to make cars, so later we became their competitors by producing cheaper cars (or to be Air-Asia in the car industries) and hurt their market?

Of course not.

That's why only 20 years after Proton was established, could they come out with a local made  engine. And even then, the overall design knowledge for that engine is not 100% Malaysian, we just found cheaper ways to fabricate, you can check with guys at HICOM.

During my UM days, I knew of one lecturer in my Mech. Dept who write Malay books on Engineering syllabus. The highly respected Ir. Kapten Abdul Rahim Manaf.

I was one of his student, he liked to call me Kojak as I like to shave my head every month.

The other lecturers wrote paperworks, articles for research. And so we had to buy English textbooks for classes. But for Kapten Rahim's classes, we had to use his Malay textbook.

I knew of Prof Ramachandran in Elect. Dept who wrote a book on Microprocessor Chip, but even that was in English.


The most annoying thing is, not only we don't write technical books in Malay, even in matters of Islam also we didn't do enough translation!

I bought Ihya Ulumiddin in 2010, having  read the piece during University days. Ihya Ulumiddin is a "kitab" by Imam Ghazali.

You know what, even the Malay translation of Ihya Ulumiddin is done by the Indonesians. (Fakultitas Jakarta or whatsoever). What the hell is DBP doing then?

If you like reading "real" books on Muslim literature (not those RM10 books which talk of Illuminati or  Jin stories), I suggest you go to Jalan Masjid India. You will find most kitabs are translated to Malay by the Indonesians.

Even your religion knowledge also are translated by foreigners, how the hell you expect to empower the Malays?

And then you scream in the media and Twitter of words like opsyen, diskusi.


That's why we must support Lejen Press and Fixi. Please forget all the nonsense about grammar or technical issues. Those are small fish issues (ikan bilis issues).

I like Nami's Teh Tarik Gelas Besar blog, especially when Ezreen was along (she already passed away), because of the idea and the knowledge found there.

I bought Pengejar Bintang, Bayang, Lelaki Existential, which have some good idea inside it to ponder upon, but I didn't buy ACT, because I don't  buy romantic teen stuff.

My mother bought too much romantic novels by Barbara Steel, which I secretly read because there are some "scenes" inside.

What I realised is that the market forces in Malaysia, in terms of local Malay novels and books.

Most buyers of Malay novels in Malaysia are basically teenagers , or people below 30 yrs old, and most of them are women.

Local Malay guys are becoming more stupid, or most died of accidents due to rempit, or also maybe they become busier because cost of living is too great nowadays.

Look at the comment section in Blogserius, look at the anonymous, that's the level of mindset intelligence of common Malay guys.

You expect those kind of people to buy and read novels?

From observation, it is difficult to find a guy reading Malay novel than to find a lady reading Malay books.

And so that's the reason why blogs like Terfaktab are still around while other blogs usually died. Basically because the ones attending to Malay writings are mostly girls.

What I fear is, the Malay books of teen romance like Hlovate and Adam Akashah novels and of entertainment pleasing to the females will survive the market forces, and the knowledgable type of writing like those found in Teh Tarik Gelas Besar blog are not being bought much by the buyers.

It is just like the scenario in the 80's.

You see, by then heavy metal, thrash music are so popular, that in Malaysia,  a lot of people picked up the influence.

But two things happen.

One is Mohamed Rahmat (already passed away), Minister of Information banning all the  long-hair style and not favouring rock music.

One is Malay music market forces itself.

The guys like Search, Febians, and other rock band, they wanted to play heavy rock songs.

But due to market forces influenced by the nature of Malays who like melancholic melody, the industry forced these guys to play slow ballad songs.

Henceforth, they play Fantasia Bulan Madu type of songs,  giving birth to rock-seluar-ketat genre, which is glam rock by the way.

You look tough and violent, but all you sing are love songs sprinkled with emotion. It is Shit-like, if you ask me.

They have talent and wanted to play heavy songs, and so they put 2-3 heavy metal songs in their album, while the rest of the album are using compositions from composers like M. Nasir or whoever, which favours the ballad pace.

I bought casette tape of Exist's Anugerah 1993, the album started with a fast paced song called Panggilan Pulau. But after that is all ballad songs, with few true rock songs in between.

I just fear that will happen to our writing industry, and so why I supported this Lejen Press and Fixi, and I hated when certain people raised issues of grammar, sexism of their products.

Because in this Malaysia country, where the technical books are in English, the religion books are in Indonesian, and the Malay newspaper are pure crap, all I wish for is some good readings in pure Malay.

Lejen Press and Fixi, at least,  provided an alternative platform for this writers to write novels other than teen romance type.

And their books are good anyway.

To those complainers who whine about Lejen Press and Fixi books, whose complaint are that their books are not educative, let me tell you one thing.

The system that you live around is not educative, so what do you expect?

You switched on the TV buletin, and you hear the word sodomy.

You turn on the pages of the newspapers, and it gives you eyesore with stupid statement from politician.

Watching channel 715 Animax helps your Iman so much better than your local TV network. At least there's no rape scene, there's nothing to give you headache.

Personally, the best new-era Malay book for me is Kasino. It is because the story of one being in power, empowers.

And please,  don't use weird terms like isitekan. Sistem bertekanan udara is much better.

I actually thought isitekan system is a breakglass system, where you smash the glass and "tekan" the button. How silly I was.

Note to self : Must read  a lot of Malay translation of the technical terms as later, had to write letters to authority for approval. And yes, you write too long, but what the hell.

"It if it sounds bad, this people just got to wait", Kurt Cobain said in the Unplugged concert.