Dr Ismail Aby Jamal

Dr Ismail Aby Jamal
Born in Batu 10, Kg Lubok Bandan, Jementah, Segamat, Johor

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Professor Syed Hussein Alatas (September 17, 1928 – January 23, 2007)......He was my lecturer for "Philosophy of Science". Alfatihah (Amin)

Syed Hussein Alatas was a founding member of the Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan), which performed relatively successfully in the 1969 general elections.

Syed Hussein Alatas (September 17, 1928 – January 23, 2007) was a Malaysian academician and former politician. He was once Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya in the 1980s, and formed the Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan). Syed Hussein wrote several books, the most famous being The Myth of the Lazy Native.


• 1 Early life

• 2 Political career

• 3 Academic career

• 4 The Myth of the Lazy Native

• 5 Death

• 6 Bibliography

• 7 Notes and references

• 8 Further reading

Early life

Syed Hussein was born in Bogor, Indonesia. His grandfather, Sayyid 'Abd Allah bin Muhsin al-Attas, came from Hadhramaut and settled in Bogor. 12 Syed Hussein is the elder brother of Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas.3

Political career

Syed Hussein was among several intellectuals who formed Gerakan in 1968 as an offshoot of the defunct Labour Party. Gerakan was relatively successful in the 1969 general election, where it campaigned on a platform of social justice and the reduction or elimination of Bumiputra privileges outlined by Article 153 of the Constitution. Gerakan held a victory rally in the capital of Kuala Lumpur to celebrate. However, it deviated from its planned route into Malay areas of the city, where party members jeered at the Malays. Although an apology was issued the following day, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a major component of the ruling Alliance coalition government, held a retaliatory rally. This rally soon degenerated into outright rioting after Malay participants killed passing Chinese motorcyclists. At least 180 people were killed during the subsequent riots (although other estimates put it substantially higher). As a result, a state of emergency was declared, and Parliament was suspended; it did not reconvene until 1971.4

When Gerakan joined the Alliance coalition government in 1972, Syed Hussein left to help form Pekemas (Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia, or Social Justice Party of Malaysia), based on similar principles that Gerakan had been formed on.5 However, the party collapsed in 1978 due to massive defections to the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Academic career

Syed Hussein's academic career began at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka publishing house, where he worked as head of the research department from 1958 onwards. He began lecturing part-time in philosophy at the University of Malaya in 1960, and served as the Head of the Cultural Division at the University's Department of Malay Studies from 1963 to 1967. He served as the Head of the Department of Malay Studies in the National University of Singapore from 1967 to 1988, before quitting to form Gerakan. He returned to academia as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya in 1988, before becoming a professor at the Centre for General Studies in the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1995. He later transferred to the Department of Anthropology and Sociology in 1997, before becoming principal research fellow at the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation of the same university in 1999.6

Syed Hussein has authored a substantial number of books, many of them on corruption.7

The Myth of the Lazy Native

In 1966, Syed Hussein began pondering the question of why Western colonialists had, for four centuries, considered the natives of the Malay archipelago to be generally lazy, since Europeans had not arrived until the 17th century. His research eventually produced The Myth of the Lazy Native, a book which was published in 1977. In the book, he cited one instance of a "denigrating" view of the natives, when a German scientist suggested that Filipinos made their oars from bamboo so they could rest more frequently: "If they happen to break, so much the better, for the fatiguing labour of rowing must necessarily be suspended till they are mended again." Syed Hussein criticised such beliefs in the book as ranging "from vulgar fantasy and untruth to refined scholarship." He also asserted that "the image of the indolent, dull, backward and treacherous native has changed into that of a dependent one requiring assistance to climb the ladder of progress".7


Syed Hussein died after a fall in his home on January 23, 2007. The cause of death was later declared to be a heart attack.2 He was buried at Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery, Kuala Lumpur.


• Reflections on the Theories of Religion (1963)

• The Sociology of Corruption (1968)

• Thomas Stamford Raffles: Schemer or Reformer? (1972)

• Modernization and Social Change in Southeast Asia (1972)

• Intellectuals in Developing Societies (1977)

• The Myth of the Lazy Native (1977)

• The Problem of Corruption (1986)

• Corruption: Its Nature, Causes and Functions (1990)

• "Corruption" in Oxford Companion to World Politics OUP New York (1993)

• "Social Sciences" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World Vol 4 OUP New York (1995)

• Corruption and the Destiny of Asia (1999)7

• Cita Sempurna Warisan Sejarah (2000)8

Notes and references

1. ^ In Memoriam: Syed Hussein Alatas - The Postcolonial Oeuvre

2. ^ a b Syed Hussein Alatas dies. (Jan. 24, 2007). Malaysia Today.

3. ^ Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas

4. ^ Means, Gordon P. (1991). Malaysian Politics: The Second Generation, pp. 7 – 9. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-588988-6.

5. ^ George, K. (2005). "Champion of the downtrodden". Retrieved Feb. 14, 2006.

6. ^ Ismail, Faezah. "Intellectual captivity of freedom". Retrieved Feb. 20, 2006.

7. ^ a b c Faezah, Ismail. "Revisiting 'The Myth of the Lazy Native'". Retrieved Feb. 19, 2006.

8. ^ Fernandes, Bruno "Compte-rendu analytique et extraits de l'ouvrage" Review in French and Malaysian, in the Anales de desclasificación. Retrieved June. 10, 2006.

Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas

Syed Muhammad Naquib bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Muhsin al-Attas was born on September 5th, 1931 in Bogor, Java. His genealogical tree can be authentically traced over a thousand years through the Ba’Alawi sayyids of Hadramaut and all the way back to the Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). His earlier illustrious ancestors include saints, scholars and savants, one of whom, from his maternal side, was Syed Muhammad al-‘Aydarus, the teacher and spiritual guide of Syed Abu Hafs ‘Umar ba Syaiban of Hadramaut, who initiated one of the most prominent scholars in the Malay world, Nur al-Din al-Raniri into the Rifa‘iyyah Order. Syed Muhammad Naquib’s mother Sharifah Raquan al-‘Aydarus, from her maternal side, came from Bogor, Java and was a descendant of the Sundanese royal family of Sukapura. His paternal grandfather, Syed Abdullah bin Muhsin bin Muhammad al-Attas was a saint (wali) from Java whose influence was not confined only to Indonesia but extended to Arabia as well. One of his disciples, Syed Hasan Fad‘ak was the religious advisor to Amir Faisal, the brother of King Abdullah of Jordan, and a contemporary of the famous Lawrence of Arabia. His paternal grandmother, Ruqayah Hanum, a Turkish lady of aristocratic lineage, was married to Ungku Abdul Majid, the younger brother of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johore (d. 1895), while her sister Khadijah was married to the Sultan himself, and became the Queen of Johore. When Ungku Abdul Majid passed away, leaving two sons, Ruqayah married Syed Abdullah al-Attas and later gave birth to their only child, Syed Ali al-Attas, the father of Syed Muhammad Naquib. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas is the middle child among three siblings, the eldest being Syed Hussein who is a distinguished sociologist and the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya while the youngest, Syed Zaid is a chemical engineer and a former lecturer at MARA Institute of Technology. (description taken from http://www5.jaring.my/istac)

On Web


In Memoriam: Syed Hussein Alatas - The Postcolonial Oeuvre


I was recently invited to a discussion of Syed Hussein Alatas;s seminal text The Myth of the Lazy Native. Through a self-righteous rhetoric of "postcoloniality", Alatas was criticised for his supposed lack of critique by the participants. The meeting evolved into a gathering denouncing the Syed for a variety of poorly substantiated reasons from his supposed ignorance of "discourse", to an over-emphasis on issues of "race".

The cultural theorist and activist Edward Said once lauded Alatas's aforementioned text as "startlingly original". However, the latter's work has remained largely neglected even by postcolonial critics. Surprisingly, it has also escaped the attention of scholars typically harsh on this genre of literature.

It is moot to note that the Syed preceded other postcolonial scholars in questioning the discourse of Orientalism and its representation of Asia, the East, Islam and "the native". He also challenged the presupposition of objectivity within Western scholarship, a notion that has become all but accepted.

S. H. Alatas, a Malaysian was born in Bogor, Indonesia. His grandfather, Sayyid 'Abd Allah bin Muhsin al-Attas migrated there from Hadhramaut, Yemen and is reputed to have spread the Al-Tariqat Al-Alawiyyah (Way of the Ba'Alawi Sayyids) in Indonesia. Alatas graduated with degrees in the social sciences from the University of Amsterdam, returning as a lecturer to the Department of Malay Studies at the University of Malaya. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was a founding member of the then Malaysian opposition party, Gerakan, and was a senator representing the state of Penang. From 1967 to 1988, he served as Professor and Head of the Department of Malay Studies at the National University of Singapore. In 1988, he became the Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya, eventually transferring to the Institute of the Malay World and Civilisation, National University of Malaysia.

Throughout his life, the Syed managed to resist the charge of ivory-tower theorising that often befell his contemporaries. His involvement in politics bore evidence of how he sought to unmask the "realities" of developing societies, such as the uncritical adoption of Western economic systems, governance, law, ideas of democracy, electoral procedures and conceptions of welfare. Alatas regularly took issue with policymakers who blithely dismissed sociology as mere academic jingo, and advocated a greater understanding of contemporary social problems.

He remained a vocal critic of the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed and UMNO's neo-colonial linkage of Malay economic backwardness to "the myth of the lazy native". Challenging the "psychological feudalism" within Malay society in Revolusi Mental, he suggested that the so-called Malay indigenous vision was ironically more biased than the earlier British one. His criticisms of the neocolonial Malaysian state allegedly drew the ire of the authorities culminating in his resignation from the aforementioned Vice-Chancellorship in 1991.

Preceding more recent area studies scholarship, the Syed pursued a critique of social sciences in the Southeast Asian region. Particularly discerning in Alatas' thought was the recurring concept of the "captive mind" that remained entrapped within colonial categories. He argued that this "captivity" was not an intentional imposition or appropriation, but rather a pervasive "unconscious(ness) of its own captivity and the conditioning factors making it what it is."

Like Frantz Fanon, Muhammad Iqbal, Jean-Paul Sartre and Said, he suggested that colonialism was not simply a political or economic phenomenon, but also functioned psychologically, discursively and academically. Specifically, Alatas charted the position of the West in hierarchies of knowledge and power to the "captive mind's" presupposition of Western epistemological superiority and utility. In Intellectuals in Developing Societies, he noted the importance of an autonomous intellectual tradition and the obstacles to "intellectual labour" within developing societies.

Departing from critics of Western hegemony obsessed with the West's unilateralism, Alatas' work searched for an indigenous social science tradition to free this "captive mind" - and was significant for being an early intervention into debates that refashioned the social sciences as a universal discipline accommodating diverse civilisational/cultural expressions. The Syed's postcoloniality strove to domesticate Western ideas for their interpretive value of issues facing Asia, such as corruption, neocolonialism and underdevelopment.

Emphasising the need for a Southeast Asian perspective to re-conceptualise the history of the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago, Alatas alerted scholarship to the marginalised aspects of historiography. For instance, he attempted to re-center the study of Islam by highlighting the vastly neglected Southeast Asian "Islamic period" between the 13th to 16th centuries.

It is only more recently that scholars have endeavoured to focus on the supposed periphery of Islam in Southeast Asia. Alatas also re-visited and challenged the Weberian thesis on Oriental religions as impediments to modern capitalism by highlighting the "economic ethic of Islam", evident in the aforementioned Islamic period. By examining such debates and comparative analyses of Islam with socialism and democracy, he noted that Third World intellectuals should not analytically separate religion from modernisation and development.

Indeed, the earlier works of Alatas engaged diverse actors from scholars and Third World elites to Islamists in the 1950s. Departing from scholarship that has struggled to cope with Islamic trends, he engaged Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood to Jamaat-e-Islami, questioned Western representations of Islam, and like other postcolonial contemporaries, appealed to Islamic philosophy to critique the problems engendered by development. Similarly, in his later narratives, he attacked specific contemporary Islamists by engaging their intellectual and political instrumentalisation of the syariah.

Ultimately, the brilliance of Alatas remains his intricate irony of turning European epistemological traditions to face the seemingly unaccounted history of the East, i.e. processes of colonialism and neo-colonialism in Asia. His critical voice, independence of thought and public intellectualism - values he owned in abundance, were largely marginalised when he walked among us. Syed Hussein Alatas' death is an irreplaceable loss to the realm of ideas, intellect and social activism. His work should not be mentioned in passing, as if to be forgotten tommorow.

Syed Hussein Alatas passed away on 23 January 2007.

Terenjit Sevea is a Research Associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Copyright: OpinionAsia, 2006 - 2008.


24/01: Syed Hussein Alatas dies

Category: General

Posted by: Raja Petra

(Bernama) -- A former politician and academic, Professor Syed Hussein Alatas, died at his home in Damansara Heights, here at 9.30 Tuesday night.

According to his son-in-law, Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, Syed Hussein died of a heart attack.

He had earlier fallen down at home and was immediately taken to the University Malaya Medical Centre in Petaling Jaya, where he was pronounced dead.

His remains were taken home early Wednesday morning for burial later Wednesday.

Syed Hussein was born on Sept 17, 1928 in Bogor, Indonesia.

Syed Hussein's academic career began at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka where he worked as head of the research department from 1958.

He had also served with the University of Malaya from 1963 to 1967 before being appointed as Head of the Department of Malay Studies of the National University of Singapore from 1967 to 1978.

Syed Hussein was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya in 1988.

He was also among several intellectuals who had formed the Gerakan in 1968 as an offshoot of the defunct Labour Party.

The Gerakan was relatively successful in the 1969 general election where it campaigned for social justice.

Syed Hussein also played an important role in the formation of the Parti Keadilan Masyarakat Malaysia (Pekemas) when Gerakan joined the Alliance coalition in 1972. However, the Pekemas collapsed in 1978 following massive defections.


coolandy wrote:

AL Fatihah

Inallilahiwainaiillaihi rajiun

24/01 10:52:59

adriana wrote:

Inallilahiwainaiillaihi rajiun.

Al Fatihah!

24/01 10:58:14

Cowboy Kampung wrote:


I'm deeply sadden by the news on the death of Prof Syed Hussein Alatas. ( not to be confuse with Syed Hussein Alattas, with double 'T'- the political gossip writer)

I first took serious attention on Alatas magnum opus and monumental work, "The Myth Of the Lazy Native" after returning home from England two years ago. The magnitude of his intellectual insight was a real eye opener for me.

When I was in UK, S H Alatas came to my attention after I accidently discovered another of his excellent book, "The Problem of Corruption" which was the ONLY book I've discovered written by a Malaysian in a mainstream bookshop which was included among the shelves of UK famous bookstore, Waterstone.

It is quite unfortunate that vast majority of Malaysian younger generation does not even know nor appreciate the importance of Alatas' work.

Many Malaysian still eulogise Mahathir's obsolete "Malay Dilemma" without even knowing that S H Alatas has debunked and refuted all Mahathir's arguments and version of the malay and the root of their problem with profound analysis and indepth research in his book "The Myth of the Lazy Native" as early as 1977 when the book was first published.

The famous American palestinian intellectual, the late Edward Said in his book "Culture and Imperialism" quoted S H Alatas' "Myth of The Lazy Native" numerously.

The term "Colonial Capitalism" which i used in many of my writings including my commentaries in Malaysia-Today was first coined by S H Alatas.

My deepest condolences to his family. It is indeed a great lost to our nation. I will say without exaggeration that in my humble opinion S H Alatas is Malaysia's greatest ever intellectual in our modern history. Malaysia has lost one of her finest son. May his soul rest in peace.


24/01 11:20:33

tera wrote:

Rest in peace, Professor Datuk Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas.

N thank you for your service to our country that's lack of pure and original intellectual.

24/01 11:23:56

yokadina wrote:

Deepest condolences to his family.

May his soul rest in peace.

24/01 11:42:26

mak jun yeen wrote:

He tried to bring a culture of hardwork and merit to our beloved UM but instead was scorned by his own ethno brethrens.

24/01 11:50:06

yokadina wrote:

Came across an interview of this great man.

Debunking the myth


24/01 11:55:49

irmanjohan wrote:

Inallilahiwainaiillaihi rajiun

24/01 12:00:19

nakcakapsikit wrote:

Inallilahiwainaiillaihi rajiun.

>Cowboy kampung,

> Do u know whether the book is available in Malaysia?

> Is it published by UK or local publisher?

> Is there any extract/synopsis from the book?

Sorry..too many question.

It's good to bring up acknowledgement to Arwah. Let our generation know.

24/01 12:20:59

nakcakapsikit wrote:

From http://www.sun2surf.com

Syed Hussein: Corruption is the most serious problem in the world, particularly in the Third World. The other problems are nothing compared to corruption, plus, if you don't solve the problem of corruption, you can never solve other problems. Any problem society has, if it's connected with corruption, it's very difficult to solve.

It's a terrible thing. People say, you know, we don't have enough... production... That is true, if it's an economic problem, but that problem cannot be solved if you are corrupt. People say, well, we don't have enough water - true, it's a problem but you cannot solve that problem if there's corruption. So, corruption hinders the solution to any problem faced by society. That's why if the government is not serious about corruption, that government is either a stupid government or a corrupt government. Every government must be very serious about corruption.

So we know the basic of OUR PROBLEM.


MOST OF US NOT AGREE WITH OPPOSITION & even BN...Telan Mati Mak, Buang Mati Bapak...





24/01 12:29:26

nakcakapsikit wrote:

Then we will not be surprised by 30 sen fuel rise the next morning...


24/01 12:31:15

jeevfx wrote:

Rest In Peace, Dear Doctor.

Condolences to his family


24/01 12:36:51

Confuseus wrote:

Confuseus says "The real problem is INCOMPETENCE because it breeds corruption and all the INACTIONS"

Alfatihah to Allahyarham.

24/01 12:45:56

nakcakapsikit wrote:

Extract From The Sun;

ou see, it's widespread everywhere but the difference is in certain countries, it is suppressed... The difference is, it doesn't control government. Like crime - if you take smuggling, it exists everywhere. The difference is, if you have a government controlled by smugglers, they finance the elections, they bribe ministers... We're not thinking in terms of existence of corruption here and there, it's a question of whether government is dominated by corruption.

For instance, money politics. If money politics control a party, then it becomes a very serious problem. But if you have money politics here and there without it controlling the party, then that can be tackled.


Why is that the case?

The source of all evils in any society is the leadership. If the leadership is corrupt, the corruption will spread all over the place. If the leadership is not corrupt, then it can tackle corruption in the government.


Because there is little public anger. Public awareness is there, the public knows about corruption, many businesses know about corruption, the stalls all over Kuala Lumpur know about corruption, the lorry drivers know about corruption. Millions of people in Malaysia know about corruption but there is no anger against corruption. You tell me, what is an issue that makes Malaysians publicly angry?


How can we move away from this mentality?

The only way is to convince the leadership that it has to change and be an example to the public. And how to convince them is something which I cannot prescribe (pauses and laughs) because prescription very often does not work unless the public really wants it.


24/01 12:54:51

MushroomUniverse wrote:

Innallillahiwainnallillahi rojiun

Al Fatihah.

24/01 13:01:48

nakcakapsikit wrote:


I hope u can re-publish the interview by The Sun in Malaysia Today.


24/01 13:02:04

baiti wrote:

Innalillahiwainnalillahi rojiun

Al Fatihah.

And condolences to his family.

24/01 13:07:43

Da Real Deal wrote:

Does anyone know the time and place of the burial? Thanks.

24/01 13:24:41

George W Bush wrote:

AL Fatihah, may Allah bless you

24/01 13:42:58

keyvansujay wrote:

Is this the same Syed Husin Alatas who once said Hang Tuah story is just a myth and he and his gang are probably the Royal palace thugs?

My deepest sympathy and Condolence to his family and to Malaysians who have lost a brilliant thinker of our time.

24/01 14:18:30

astina wrote:

Rest in peace, Professor Datuk Dr. Syed Hussein Alatas.

Gonna miss him at the flea markets on sundays..

always walks with books in his hands and i remember his old good looking mercedes...great guy...

24/01 14:42:34

di luar pagar wrote:

Received the sms on Prof Husin's passing last night, but only saw the mssg in the morning. Rushed to the house, where a steady crowd has been building since early morning. Singaporeans, Malaysians and many others come to pay their last respects and pray for him. Tun M came, just before noon.

Prof was a deeply loved and respected person. Sitting in his living room, I remember the times he used to talk to me until I nodded off, and he went to the kitchen to get me some coffee.... and continued talking! There is none like him!

I stayed on until jenazah prayers at his home and went on to the Bukit Kiara Muslim Cemetery. May Allah bless his soul and keep in the company of His loved ones.

24/01 14:55:33

kingkongutan wrote:

my condolences to his family.

a great loss for malaysia.

24/01 15:26:18

winston wrote:

Innalillahiwainnalillahi rojiun...

AL Fatihah.....

may Allah bless you......

24/01 16:40:53

Arjuna wrote:

Can somebody elaborate on his origin apart from born in Bogor, Indonesia?

24/01 17:03:36

Incantation wrote:

Rest in peace, Professor

Condolences to his family.

24/01 17:22:21

basheer wrote:

Innallillahiwainnallillahi rojiun

Al Fatihah.

24/01 17:34:53

apanakjadi wrote:

Professor, you are one of the true Malaysians I respected.

My condolences to his family.

24/01 18:05:52

devilmaster wrote:

Rest in Peace...

24/01 22:30:38

kuala sedili wrote:

the passing of a thinker. a candle lite of knowledge blown darkening this atmosphere

24/01 23:02:04

007zain wrote:


Innalillahi wainna ilaihi raji'uun.

Condolences to the family of the late Prof. Syed Hussein Alatas. Yes, one of Malaysia's great thinkers of all time.

May Allah SWT Bless his soul... Amiin YR'A.


25/01 01:33:31

antiperkauman wrote:

Rest in Peace.......I respect of wat u did 2 malaysia....Persoalanya 1satu saje....Y never honured Datuk ship ......BN and Kroni.........????......Rest In Peace......

25/01 09:57:32

Da Real Deal wrote:

Datukships are easy to acquire. Most of the times its moreprestigious to be known as Encik or just Proffesor or Dr etc. Today's Datukship is not like it used to be.

Furthermore, people like Professor Ungku Aziz have been offered titles like "Tun" (in Ungku Aziz's case) and "Tan Sri" ( which are more difficult to obtain )but have turned them down because to them it is of no significance. The enhancement of education is though.

25/01 12:53:56

ronaldo wrote:

i think one simple way to discourage corruption is by stoning in public, if the crime is less than 10k, then for each 1k stone the guilty with one stone of diameter less than 20mm or any other size to be decided, for crime between 10k and 20k another set of stoning combinations, for million dollar crimes maybe can use rocks or boulders, i believe if the system is enforced resolutely it can help-lah

25/01 13:45:04

non jibaok wrote:

Inallilahiwainaiillaihi rajiun

Al-Fatihah buat Arwah Prof.

May Allah SWT bless his soul... Amin

A Good Man... he was.

25/01 19:10:40

honda wrote:

A real good man. God bless!

25/01 20:05:28

honda wrote:

ronaldo, good suggestion.

25/01 20:06:02

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

Dear nakcakap sikit

Through my random observation in most of the popular bookstore around KL, I suspected that the english printed book "The Myth of The Lazy Native" is now out of print, though im not fully certain of it.The book which in my possesion right now was the first edition (1977) which was published in Great Britain by Frank Cass and Company Limited. I got the book after going through my dad's collection of books.

I also came to learn that the book "The Myth of the Lazy Native" was later translated into bahasa melayu by the title of "Mitos Peribumi Malas".

To satisfy your inquisitive mind, I will include excerpts of the book here but to do justice to this excellent piece of work we need to read the whole content of the book. The footnote references are massive in this book.

Some of the excerpts:-

Chapter 11 : The Distortion of Malay Character

"The distortion of Malay character by the authors of the Revolusi Mental (a book which was published by UMNO in which Pak Lah was amongst the 'scholars' who contributed and wrote the book) and to some extent by Mahathir, is due to their lack of insight into social sciences, their loose reasoning, and their unfamiliarity with Malay history. All are, however, sympathetic to the Malays. They resemble some American negroes who believe what white racialist say about them."

-page 166

25/01 22:12:01

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

Chapter 11 : The Distortion of Malay Character

"The same may be said of punctuality amongst the Malays in the past. Machnical punctuality as measured by the clock did not exist owing to the nature of society and the absence of the clock. The productive processes of society were not machanized, hence the need for the modern variant of punctuality did not exist. Take for instance shipping: owing to the fact that the movement of boats depended on the wind and human energy, the departure or arrival of a boat was not definable in terms of measurable units of time. The necessity for mechanized punctuality did not exist, therefore, in most areas of social life. There was no necessity for farmers and fishermen to work according to the clock. Despite all these factors, the Malays were not devoid of a sense of punctuality, which was connected with religion. The Malays of pre-colonial days as well as of subsequent period until today, had always been punctual in saying their prayers, especially the dawn and sunset prayers. They observed the time scrupulously. The entire community in an areas collectively broke its fast in the month of Ramadan to the minute. They strictly observed with utmost punctuality the call to prayer from the mosque. Hence it is misleading to claim that the concept of punctuality was absent from Malay society, but merely that it was not related to the clock. Modern science and technology, in so far as they affect the various sectors of modern malay life, have widened the circumference of necessary punctuality and introduced the time measurement by means of the clock. The Malays like many other people have responded to his quite easily. They observe the clock when coming to work in the offices, when taking the train, when going to school. There are millions of the Malays who observe the clock in their daily activities, and who have adopted punctuality for at least in the past 50 years."

-page 171

25/01 22:13:32

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

Chapter 11: The Distortion of Malay Character

"...Before when answer this let us take the distortion of the image of the Malay rice farmer by Mahathir. He suggested that the Malay rice farmer actually worked two months in the year. Except for a few, people were content to spend their leisure in resting or extensive conversation. This is a distorted picture of the Malay rice farmer."

"It was probably that in certain areas, such as Kedah and Perlis, the rice farmers were under employed before the double cropping period. This was due to the relative absence of secondary employment such as rubber tapping, road making,drainage and irrigation works,fishing, and mat making. But this is certainly not true to the whole of Malaya. Research in the Kemubu area of Kelantan involving 1,157 rice farms, indicated that the average working days of a farmer was 123 days, excluding time spent on livestock keeping."

"In 1967, 13,000 farmers in Kelantan had registered for tobacco growing, out of the estimated 60,000 farm families. They also grew food crops. Some cultivated rubber. The picture that the Malay rice farmer worked for two months in the year is thus a crude distortion. In the Kuala Selangor area the farmer wortked on an average of 131 days for padi cultivation alone. In the double cropping farms of Bachang in Malacca, the farmers were practically fully employed. Out of 150 days ( 6 months excluding holiday) the farm operator was employed for 134 days, of which 42 days were spent for rice cultivation."

- page 172 -173

25/01 22:15:04

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

Chapter 11: The Distortion of Malay Character

The negative traits of Malay character discussed by Mahathir are either an exaggeration or misplaced judgements. For instance, he suggested that the Malays are frank only towards those they can absolutely rely upon, and this happens to be their own people. This is nothing strange; in this, every community has this attitude. Who would express unpleasant and unpalatable remarks about other communities to members of that community, except those without moral restraints like the Nazis and white American racists? Most communities, both in Asia and the West, have a sense of politeness, or restraint. This is not peculiar to the Malays."

"Another exaggeration of misplaces judgement is Mahathir's evaluation of amok in the psychological make-up of the Malays. Chinese and Indians have been known to kill members of their family in a state of mental pathology. Furthermore this phenomenon has substantially decreased amongst Malays owing to a change of historical conditions. A situation of extreme mental oppresssion exercised against a person, as for instance a Buginese slave cruelly treated in a Dutch household in 18th century Batavia, is no more common. In addition, Mahathir was wrong to consider certain phenomena pertaining to some individuals as indicating the character of a collectivity. The Japanese soldiers during the Second World War were very rarely captured. They preffered to commit suicide rather than surrender. But the Japanese nation did surrender, and did not commit suicide. The sense of honour which governed the conduct of individual Japanese soldiers impelling them to commit suicide rather than surrender, did not govern the conduct of the Japanese nation. Hence we cannot say that suicide in the face of defeat is a basic trait in the Japanese national character."

"If we generalize about the character of a community on the basis of the action of a few individuals, then we are in for real confusion. Malays are prone to steal because some steal, Malays are lazy because some are; Malay women are disloyal to ther husbands because some are; Malays are mad because some are; Malays are ganja smokers because some are."

page 174

25/01 22:15:55

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

The above..""...Before when answer this let us take the distortion of the image of the Malay..." should be "Before WE answer this.."

25/01 22:18:16

a voice wrote:

Syed Hussein's classic scholarship work, "Myth of the lazy native" studied the use of stereotyping or branding of laziness on local native by colonial to justify the oppression and denial of opportunity to local natives.

They did it on the Malays to justify the immigrants preference. The strange thing is after independence, Malays are doign what the colonial did on us to themselves. Fuck our past ruling elites and feudal lords.

It was only TDM that openly acknowledge this feudal oppression and its continual psychological trait on Malays.

Tuan Syed... my al fatihah for you.

25/01 22:19:19

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

S H Alatas' views on Feudalism & the Ruling Elites in "The Myth of the Lazy Native" to my mind is extremely revolutionary and thought-provoking given the context of the time the book was written.

"Abdullah's view (S H Alatas was referring to Munshi Abdullah) view on the cause of indolence among a section of the male population in Pahang and Kelantan resembles that of Rizal ( Jose Rizal) half a century later. He invoked the enviromental explanation, that is the social system and its abuse by the ruling elites. The only difference is, that what Rizal attributed to the Spaniards, Abdullah attributed to the Malay rulers and their dependents (hamba raja). He noted that the men of Trengganu, men lived in fear of their rulers and henchmen. The lawlessness of the ruling houses created idleness and killed the motivation to work and amass property."

- page 137

"Unlike Abdullah (S H Alatas was referring to Munshi Abdullah) 120 years before him (Mahathir), he (Mahathir) did not discuss the nature of feudal leadership in the Malay society. The weakness of both the 'Revolusi Mental' and Mahathir's book (Malay Dilemma) is that they put the blame for the exploitation of the Malays on their character, British rule, and the impact of immigrant business but not to the same degree on the Malay ruling class which profited from colonialism. Thus when they say Malays are not frank, it also means they are not frank. In this respect, their silence on the contribution of the Malay ruling class to the deterioration of the conditions of the Malays, is an illustration of their hypocrisy."

- page 163

"The European colonial image of a lazy, incapable, treacherous and scheming native partly did reflect a section of native society. The natives with whom the European colonial came into close contact in the 19th centrury, were mainly from the ruling class. By this time the ruling class, or the principal class of native society had undergone a transformation. They were unable to wage war against warch other on a sufficient scale which demanded much ingenuity, courage and leadership. They were not in control of major ports of trade which required their interest and vigilance in international commerce. They no longer possessed the independence of their country which required talents of diplomacy and statemanship. They exerted no influence on the economic activity of their subjects which would have demanded a serious interest in economic growth. Thus the area of interest and the scope for action of the native principal classes had shrunk to such an extent that all that was left was their interest in land and receiving benefits from the colonial rulers."

- page 204

25/01 22:56:25

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

"They were unable to wage war against warch other on a sufficient scale which demanded

the word 'warch'is a typo error. It should be "They were unable to wage war against EACH other.."

25/01 23:04:03

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

Dear Arjuna

According to the book "Local and Global: Social Transformation in Southeast Asia - Essays in Honour of Professor Syed Hussein Alatas" which was joint-written by various scholars, there is an interesting piece written by Peter L. Burns in chapter 17: "Meeting Hussein -1958" on the origin of Alatas family.

Burns wrote,

"The Alatas clan originated in the Hadhramaut (which is is Yaman), and settled in West Java where one of its distinguished members became a revered sufi in Bogor. Their father married into this Johor family but resided in Bogor, where Hussein and his brothers were born."

-Page 332

Additional info:-

Professor Naquib Al-Atas another prominent Malaysian scholar is the younger brother of the late Professor Hussein Alatas.

His illustrious academic career began at the University of Amsterdam, where he completed his doctoral studies at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences in 1963.

Hope that helps.

25/01 23:20:36

Cowboy Kampung wrote:

Prof Syed Naguib Alatas..not Al-Atas. I must be getting tired by now.

It is my sincere hope what i've written in honour of our nation's greatest thinker (with due respect to Chandra Muzaffar, Rustam A Sani, Prof Khoo Kay Kim, Dr Kua Kia Soong, Prof Ungku Aziz, Farish A Noor, Kassim Ahmad, Prof Jomo K Sundram, Prof Ramasamy and other prominent intellectuals) will spark public interest to read,study and debate the work of this great genius. I hope all of his work will be reprint and made available for the public.

I guess its time for me to hit the sack. Again, Al-fatihah to the late Prof Syed Hussein Alatas.

25/01 23:32:48

shameonyou4 wrote:

I am glad that many people here honor a great man who lived well for his country. Yes, he is not as famous as Dr.Mahathir but nevertheless, he has contributed much in his own way. It is a very sad day for all Malaysians.

God bless him...and keep his family

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