Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Problem of Meaning, Abdullah Paderi and the Pangkor Treaty

UPDATE 18/01/2010
Please read
this(patro), this(Target) and this(Liejdecker) before proceeding
Welcome back folks…….

Today what shall we talk about?

Should we go into the discourse of whether Allah the Arabic “Loan-word” in “Malay” should go Mainstream and its potential impact on the cognitive behavoir of the Malays

Or should we try to understand how the fuck we got here in the first place…..

mmm……which one folks?

Let us do both……

Where shall we begin…..

Simple things first….

Allah is an Arabic Loan Word in Malay or is it an exclusive Arabic word not in Malay?

Simple rite……

Hah…which one?

Ok lets assume that its a loan word from Arabic and is used widely in the Malay Peninsula say from Friday, 22nd February, 1303

Why that date......

The picture above is Batu Bersurat Trengganu, earliest known Malay based Jawi inscriptions..

Quick check folks.....when was the earliest recorded Christian Document written in Malay? Is it before 1303?

Lets just make a wild assumption that the Kitab salat as-sawai (Christian prayers) of Gregorio de Gregorus dated 1514 was the earliest recorded Christian document in Malaya.....

That's 211 years apart

Wonder if it had Allah in it? Given that Gregorio was Portuguese i would bet top dollars that it would be Deos instead of Allah......

Wanna bet?

To find out one must go to London to have a look at the document....

Tony Fernandes......will you fly me to London? Don't worry I won't overstay like the Chennais....if you do decide to sponsor me...can I squeeze a macho giler seat at Old Trafford please.......Fuck Liverpool!!

Can we safely assume now that the word Allah has been around way before Christianity came to our shores........and it did not originate from the Arabic Bible that somehow flew via carpet terbang into the hands of Christian Missionaries here in my tanah air rite?

Yes? No?

Now lets look at how it was written.....

Remember Jawi folks....I remembered the days when we had Jawi Vernacular was really fun reading them....merangkak but it felt very Melayu reading them....I miss them..

How did it came to our tanah air?

The Arabic-based Jawi script came to Malay by a circuitous route. The script was passed from Arabic to Persian, and then to the Muslim languages of North India. from India is was passed on to the Malays. At the stage when the script was adopted by Malay, Persian had acquired a very large Arabic loan element which had itself been borrowed by speakers in Muslim India.

It is highly likely that many Arabic loans reached Malay from Persia via India along with the script. But this was not the only possible source: There has been long direct contact with the Arab World, connected with religious pilgrimage, study and commerce

Jawi itself was the key tool by the Christian Missionaries to achieve their KPI's......

Christian missionaries also used Malay language written in Jawi Script in order to spread the teachings of Christianity by translating the Bible into Malay Language i.e. as part of their propagation of the Christian teachings among the Malays. Among those who used Malay language written in Jawi were St. Francis Xavier, Claudius Thomsen, P.Keasberry, Shellabear and Leydekker.

Leydekker used Jawi in his translation of the Bible in Malay, entitled; Elkitab Jaitu Perdjandjian Lama dan Perdjandjian Baharuw (1748/1758). C.Thomsen published his Christian magazine in Malay. The magazine was entitled Bustan Arifin (1821) and then he published another Malay magazine Cermin Mata also in Jawi. A book of the Bible entitled The Acts of the Apostle was translated into Malay using the Jawi Script i.e. Kisah Perbuatan Rasul-rasul.

Ok let us now go back to Batu Bersurat...the first page of it which you see above means

RasululLah dengan yang arwah santabi mereka
Asa pada Dewata Mulia Raya beri hamba meneguhkan Agama Islam
Dengan benar bicara derma mereka bagi sekalian hamba Dewata Mulia Raya
Di Benuaku ini penentu agama RasululLah sallallahi wassalama raja.
Mandalika yang benar bicara sebelah Dewata Mulia Raya di dalam
Bumi penentu itu fardhu pada sekalian Raja Manda.
Lika Islam menurut setitah Dewata Mulia Raya dengan benar.
Bicara berbajiki benua penentuan itu maka titah Seri Paduka.
Tuhan menduduki Tamra ini di Benua Terengganu adi pertama ada.
Jumaat di bulan Rajab di tahun saratan disasanakala.
Baginda RasululLah telah lalu tujuh ratus tua
Batu Bersurat unknown..
probably..greatgreatgreatgreatX30grandfather of Din Turtle
note: Bold emphasis correspond to the red circled Jawi text

Interesting kan....

In those complex words which i think none of you understood in entirety....i would like to point out

Dewata Mulia Raya which is of sanskrit denotes the Greatest Divinity.....if you look further the word Tuhan was also there......apart from Rasululah.....

So what is the Generic God in Malay language?

Is it Tuhan or Dewata Mulia Raya or Allah?

Din hok mano?

What about Tuhan?

Where the hell does that fit into this ?

Lets go check out another stone shall we......

This is one of the earliest source of reference to the word Tuhan....

The Shair of Minye Tujuh Thombstone...circa 1380 ..written in a mix of Arabic, "Malay" and Sanskrit

Hijrat Nabi Mustafa Yang Prasida
Tujuh ratus Astha puluh sawarsa
Hajicatur dan dasa wara sukra
Raja Iman mardha rahmat Allah
Gusta barubasa empu Kedah Pasai Ma
Taruk tasih tanah samuha
Ilahi ya Rabbi Tuhan samuha
Taruh dalam swarga Tuhan tatuha.

Apeke lancau does that mean....

3 mat sallehs Stutterheim, Morrison and vdMolen put an effort to figure out what it means and came out with 3 versions

Let us look at what they have to say about the "Ilahi ya Rabbi Tuhan samuha"
Stutterheim: Allah Ya Tuhanku, Tuhan Alam Semesta
Morrison: Ya Allah, Tuhan dan Penguasa dari semua
vdMolen: Ya Allah, Ya Tuhan dan Penguasa dari semua

For detail readings on the translation go here
Note you can scroll up and down in Google Book so start from page 37

So between 1303 (batu bersurat) which had Dewata Mulia Raya, Tuhan and the Minye Tujuh 1380 which had Allah and Tuhan.....

What can we infer?

Silap eja or the tukang ukir wanted to fit some words so that it looks symmetrical from design perspective?

the word Tuhan has been around waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy back in 1380 la pakcik....

Still not convinced?tak percaya tanye Ayah can call Haris the son of the Christian maybe he know where his client is....

Let us now reflect the situation which we are facing.....

The word Allah

Is the problem this

or this

Not sure?

let me now introduce the theory of Triangle of Meaning.....first explored by Charles Sander Pierce.......and further explored by Odgen and Richards in 1923....

What it basically imply is that

words are not symbols which correspond to referents, but rather are ‘signs’ which are made up of two parts: a mark, either written or spoken, called a ‘signifier’, and a concept—what is thought when a mark is made—called a ‘signified’.

Language is one among many sign-systems. The science of such system is called ‘semiotic’. Within semiotics, Morris (Levinson, C. Stephen, 1983: 1) distinguished three distinct branches of inquiry: syntactics, being the study of ‘the formal relation of signs to one another’, semantics, the study of ‘the relations of signs to the objects to which the signs are applicable’, and pragmatics, the study of ‘the relation of signs to interpreters’.

I lost the fucking hyperlink sorry folks...malas dah ni

So how does the triangle works, simple when one sees a sign or a word.....that image is transmitted to his mind on what it should mean...and he would then relate it to his experiences of the object or meaning that the sign represent...

This diagram would help you to understand further what the fuck I'm talking about...

Sudah paham? Belum?

Ok now let me ask you again...which one of the Allah is the problem?

If you ask me BOTH is a problem to me.....

Not only that each time I see the word I actually see myself bagi pelempang kat Pakiam's face..

That word was so pure before this.....

We as Muslims DO NOT associate any mental picture of our Allah S.W.T unlike the Christians who have statues of Jesus dan lain lain lagi la....

Why is that?

Remember my post on language and its impact on cognitive behaviour and culture...

This particular loan-word which has a specific religious connotation assigned to it has a definable conceptual boundaries which requires proper understanding of its socio-historical origins and their semantic-cognitive properties to the Malay Muslims of Malaysia..

Pakiam corrupted that status-quo and in-doing so he has affected the collective conscience of the Muslims

There is no doubt that many loan-words in Arabic have entered the linguistic mainstream of Malaysia....of which our Non-Muslims using the Malay language are already grappling to grasp to true import or meaning of some these more complex loan-words or terms used in Islam....

I don't know what the future holds when they cant even understand simple words such as Tuhan and Allah.....

If you are still not bored reading this......can I go on please..... let us look at the Jawi Bibles....more specifically the man who helped the Christians Mission achieve its objective to penetrate the Malay Minds.......

Who is this man?

What are his motives? Is he a Muslim or a Secret C6 Christian pretending to be a pious Muslim?

Everywhere we go in the Blogsphere.....people always talk about this man, what he did and the fact that he is a Confident "Malay" Muslim who remained a devout muslim even after doing the work that no other Muslim wanted to do

This man in none other than Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir aka Munshi Abdullah....

I did some crazy express reading of some of his take......(bearing in mind that I'm a space monkey trained in the most arcane area of high finance and not linguistic nor history nor Sociology) that he is no different than the modern day travel blogger who writes well.....

He was not a philosopher....just someone who is gifted in the area of linguistic.....

and take note that the language was at its infancy in the form of standardisation among the various Malay speaking community of that time......

this is what he thinks of the state of the language and the users...

Great is my astonishment to see the conditions under which the Malay people live. The do things which no other race would ever do. Has any other race in the world so far forgotten its own language as to have no place at all where language is taught? Only the Malay, I notice, take no interest in their own language. Because their forefathers did not study Malay, they dare not start now. Amazing indeed! For every day they speak Malay in all their dealings with each other they use Malay, letters sent from one country to another are written in Malay. But they do not wish to learn the language itself. I doubt whether one man in a hundred understands the language, and even if there are as many it is not by dint of diligent study but by slavishly copying other people's ways. If anyone questions them about the use of a certain word, its origin or why it is employed in a particular place, they are speechless with surprise for they have never had a teacher, being content merely to imitate others. Is it right that hundreds, nay thousands of men should grow up not knowing how to read or write or do simple sums? It makes them look ridiculous in the eyes of other races who cheat them over measurements and weights and computations, and in general wherever writing is involved

Well Munshi boy.........this monkey no longer belongs to that category.....

First of all Munshi boy why the fuck did you work for the Missions?

Money? or for the Love of English Language

Was it an easy sell by the Missionaries....lets find out

The thorny issue that was being debated between Abdullah and his peers at the moment was his role as translator for a particular text that many of them were reluctant to touch: The New Testament.

Abdullah had been approached by some English missionaries and commissioned by them to translate the New Testament into vernacular Malay, which was to be used at Church as well as the modest missionary efforts among the colonial subjects of the Crown Colonies. As Malay was the lingua franca of everyone who lived in the straits then (including the Peranakan Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and even the British and Dutch), it was deemed appropriate to have the Bible translated into Malay as well.

Munshi Abdullah who regarded himself primarily as a professional translator was prepared to do the job that scared off all other contenders; until his father came into the picture, spewing steam and hot curses, and swearing that his son would never be converted by the heathen missionaries. In a touching passage of the Hikayat Abdullah describes how he appealed to his father’s own sense of values, and in particular to his father’s own love for knowledge and languages in general. His father was further persuaded by the appeals of the priests Milner and Thomson, who promised that they would respect his father’s wishes and refrain from offering any religious instruction to Abdullah. In the end, Abdullah notes how the appeals eventually won over his father’s consent and he was allowed to continue his study of this foreign language called English. The result of Abdullah’s efforts came in the form of one of the first vernacular Malay translations of the New Testament, the Kitab Injil al-Kudus daripada Tuhan Esa al-Masihi.

Farish Noor (The Mat Saleh Bontot hitam Melayu Apologist)

Before we go any further let us check Munshi ni Melayu original ke tidak?

Mamat ni sebenornya mixed Arab & Tamil.....

This is what J T Thompson thinks of him

"As having the vigour and pride of the Arab, the perseverance and subtlety of the Hindoo - in language and national sympathy only he was Malay"

Sounds familiar?

Let us now look at his contribution to this whole fiasco....

1815 tolak 1797 tu berapa tahun?

17 years old

nak beli rokok pun tak lepas kalau ikut undang2 sekarang......

Gua mau tanye same lu orang sekarang budak 17 tahun tu ape benda dia tau?

Given the fact that the language of the Malays were not properly documented nor there is proper classes could mamak ni tak paham or silap translate?

Could he have argued that Allah is Not the generic God against his Colonial masters?

Did he know that the God in the Bibles is not Allah?

How much of his thinking process was actually affected by his associations with the Mission..lets find out

"abdullah was of course aware of the missionaries’ agenda and it may be argued that he therefore emphasized his own Muslim identity, but to what extent could he see through the haze caused by his admiration for British innovations? the scathing criticism abdullah vented against Malay ruling elites was induced by the content and tone of the textbooks he apparently translated and adapted for the missionaries. North was an especially efective agent in promoting abdullah’s absorption of knowledge from the West, consisting mainly of information about new technologies and their consequences.

The sharp tone of these texts seems very much to refect late eighteenth-century europe with its rapidly expanding social class of poor people and growing anti-royalist feelings in the decades afer the French Revolution. Missionaries had taken the opportunity to improve their situation and climb the social ladder by studying hard and spreading the gospel. It was their conviction that the indigenous people of Southeast asia could do the same, provided they got rid of their rulers and their old traditions. It is exactly this message that is disseminated by abdullah in his Hikayat and in the account of his voyage to Kelantan."

I hope that you've read that document before proceeding further in this post

In there you'll notice that he worked for a long while with B.P Keasberry.......

Do you think Keasberry would honor the original promise made to Abdullah's father?

To understand the kind of conviction Keasberry has with regards to his agenda

Let us look at what he said on his death bed in 1875

"the time is coming when the Mohemedans will acknowledge and worship the Saviour"

B.P Keasberry (Resting in Hell)

If you notice as well in the document that I've linked above that in Slide 43 to 47

Who is this unreached people groups?

errrrr.............takkan tak nampak lagi brader......

You wanna know something else.....they actually teach their kids to pray for us the unreached group........go read here

So now how should i say Amin or Ameen?

Are we ready if one day we find out that the ayat hanged on our wall is this

Now let us go back to the current state of flux that we are in.......

Two Sultans have spoken and folks are now saying that they have no authority

Is that so motherfucker?

To understand their power one must now travel back to 1874

This is the day that set the tone on how things are currently....

How so

In 1874, the Treaty of Pangkor with the Malay rulers paved the way for the British who slowly but surely influenced the Malay states till the whole peninsula came under British rule. The Christian religion was sacrificed in favour of mere trade, for the treaty required non-interference in local religion. It became the hallmark of the British system to maintain a Christian presence solely for the colonial masters. This policy had a twofold effect on the history of Christian-Muslim relations in this nation. First, the sultans of each state have become the heads of the Muslim religion, and this right is entrenched in the Constitution of the nation.

Secondly the Malays have been denied the privilege of receiving the Gospel… Whatever detailed adjustments might be made to this view, the treaty of 1874 underlies the clause in the present Constitution which provides religious freedom but forbids propagation of other religions to the Malays

In there you'll see some footnotes specifically no 72

"Munshi Abdullah was enlisted as one of the teachers to both Milne and the students.Abdullah himself studied the Gospel under the tutelage of Robert Morrison, when the latter visited his protégé, Milne, in Malacca"

and the best one no 84 where the writer states that

"One could say, as fate would have it, while Abdullah was actively promoting early Malay work, his son was involved, albeit indirectly, in the events leading to Pangkor Treaty – the event which “put a break” to Malay evangelism"

Andy Heng Kiang Wai

Gua sudah malas dah dah berjela-jela.....Lets have an intelligent debate on this issue not some lost abeng 2 liner comment UMNO this la, NEP that la.....if you do that gua tangkap lu pastu get Anwar to bang your ass

One thing I don't understand is how in the world can we solve this without going to the court of me that path would lead to a big disaster....will Herald back out?

Will the Government of the day fund a proper translation of the Bahasa Bible without the Term Allah? Our language have evolved folks...the dictionary is so blardy thick

It is time now to move forward


If you wanna know more about which dictionary Abdullah used to "translate" the Bible from Liedekker go you'll also get to see one ahbeng kena bitch slap dengan gua

Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. -Lord Thomas Dewer