Friday, September 12, 2008


Gabriel Peters was my classmate in Secondary 2 and one day in 1977 had a flatus ignition.

Lord only knows what Gabriel had during recess but whatever he ate at the tuck-shop or maybe the night before had resulted in the build up of nitrogen, carbon diokside, oxygen, methane and hidrogen sulfide and the combination of these entrapped gases travelled from Gabriel’s stomach to his anus and made a timely exit, just when my teacher Mrs Holmes during Tata Rakyat lesson was explaining to the class the fifth tenet of the Rukun Negara- Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan.

Thundering typhoons! Blistering blue barnacles exclaimed a disorientated Mrs. Holmes when the offensive whoopee enveloped the class. It was Hiroshima! After regaining her composure, she dragged Gabriel out of the class and for the rest of the lesson he stood outside the class breathing fresh air while the rest of the class – Malay, Chinese and Indian boys had to suffer and smell his air biscuit. At the end of the lesson, he was let in and the only admonition Gabriel ever got was Mrs. Holmes tweeking his ears before she left the class. Of course, we who had suffered wanted sterner action. The Malay boys wanted to strangle Gabriel but changed their mind less their act turned into a race riot. After all this was Sentul. In any event we had just been lectured on good citizenry and Kesopanan and Kesusilaan and so there we no untoward incidents. Of course the Catholic boys did consider more severe bodily injury like killing Gabriel but our principal Brother Bernard had taught us Thou shall not kill is a solemn Christian commandment. So killing was also out of the question. In the end, all of us, Malays, Chinese and Indian boys suffered from the action of one coot whose revolting behavior was punished by a mere slap on the wrist.

Now you may be wandering whats the relevance of Gabriel Peter’s story and particularly today when it is Onam.

Now, today is Onam. It is the harvest festival celebrated by Malayalees. I too am a Malayalee. So to all Happy Onam and particularly to one Malayalee who despite actually being a Malayalee, using his constitional definition rose to become the forth Prime Minister of Malaysia. So Tun, hope you have a good aviyal for lunch !.

Still on Malayalees. Malayalees originates from the Indian state of Kerala. This lush green state is often referred to God’s own paradise. My grandparents came to Malaysia (Malaya) from Kerala. Even Iskandar Kutty’s parents came from Kerala though the son is so reticent in admitting. And hear this !, it is now revealed that Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s grandparents “telah mendatang” from Kerala. So in truth this minion also has “darah pendatang” and sad to say has Malayalee blood.

Despite having his lineage to Kerala, this second generation Malaysian, Ahmad Ismail could be so irresponsibly provocative and racist and had the gall to insult the Chinese when on 23rd August during a BN Ceramah which was incidentally attended by the DPM himself at Kampung Pelet, Permatang Pauh described the Chinese as lodgers.

Naturally every Chinese and decent Malaysian found that remark derogatory and rightly demanded that he withdraw his remark and apologize. Instead what was on display for all was his sheer arrogance that he did no wrong and was merely depicting his interpretation of the history and that according to him Chinese before Merdeka were merely lodgers in this country.

When Barisan Nasional’s own component parties MCA and GERAKAN were calling for him to apologize, all 13 Penang UMNO divisions stood united with Ahmad Ismail.

Prime Minister Abdullah typically, sought clarification from Ahmad Ismail and pleased with his reply told the public that he had accepted his explanation - never mind the Chinese community was seething with anger, and had advised him not to make such comment. That’s, akin to the ‘mild’ standing outside class punishment meted out to Gabriele Peters.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s advice naturally fell on deaf ears. Instead, Ahmad Ismail continued with his racist tirade and in the face of continued calls for him to apologize and action to be taken against him, he then equated the Chinese of behaving like the American Jews.

Had the police caught him and thrown the book at him or Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi taken immediate steps and punished him the public outcry would not have grown to become public anger. This pustulent bigot’s fetid defiance of his own party’s advice and public outrage ought to have been enough ground for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to slap him with severest of punishment. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ought to have shown more courage by meting out the severest of punishment which would have sent a message that derogatory references on any community, religion, language or culture is reprehensible, completely unacceptable and has no place in Malaysia. No Malaysian, be it Malay, Chinese or Indian should ever insult another.

Regretfully, for all the damage done by one man, the punishment meted out to Ahmad Ismail was just a three year suspension from UMNO, never mind his action has hurt all decent Malays, Chinese and Indians who as Malaysians simply wish to live in harmony free from bigots and untermenshen politicians. The Ahmad Ismail incident reminds me of Gabriel Peters. That’s how Gabriel Peters was punished that infamous day –by the mildest of punishment-standing outside the class for the rest of the lesson and then back in class, nevermind his uncivilized and disgusting act caused discomfort to Malay, Chinese and Indians students.

In the meantime Happy Onam !.

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