Well it's not incorrect to say that Malays are indigenous to peninsular Malaysia. I'm not sure what started this conversation but I guess some explanations are in order on the "whites of Malaysia" statement
First, while I do consider Malays to be indigenous, it would be inaccurate to compare the Malay community to the original inhabitants, who are of course the orang asli that have been living here far earlier

Secondly, while it is true that one of the orang asli groups are dubbed Melayu Asli (Proto-Malay), they arrived long before the ancestors of today's Malay majority, and have a distinct culture. To think of them as just "wild Malays" is neocolonialism

Malays do have a strong "claim" to the land, in my opinion, not just by virtue of having been here for a long time but also for forging the first civilisations (as we would define the term anyway) in the peninsula

The latter is of course a tenuous claim since white supremacists often say the same thing. Terra nullius was used a justification for colonists usurping land from natives who were considered "primitive"

But to respond to the main point of the quoted tweet, are Malays too indigenous to be called the whites of Malaysia? The answer is.. no. Malay Muslims are absolutely the Malaysian equivalent of white Christians in North America. How so?
First of all, Malays are in the majority, and have all the privilege that entails. If nothing else, that alone would justify the "whites of Malaysia" tag. And if that offends you, I regularly say the same about other dominant ethnic groups, eg. the Han are the whites of China
Most Filipinos are indigenous to their country in the "pribumi" sense, yet the mainstream majority are not categorised as Indigenous Peoples. To put Malaysian Malays in that category is an insult

Second, despite Chinese dominance in the business sector, Malays really do hold the power. It's unlikely we'll have a non-Malay PM any time soon. No political party will get far without Malay support, except in minority enclaves
And unlike white privilege which has been described as an "invisible force", Malay privilege is not invisible at all. Whether rightly or wrongly, it's enshrined in our constitution. Malaysians don't doubt its existence

Third, although Malays have closer cultural and historical ties to the orang asli than white Australians have with their Aborigines, the basic story is the same. People lived here, another group settled later and became the majority, often at the original peoples' expense
Fourth, discrimination by the majority against the indigenous minorities existed historically and still does today. The orang asli were once captured as slaves. For an orang asli to really "make it big" in pre-colonial society meant becoming Malay, like Si Tanggang
The same assimilation policies once used by white colonists in America and Australia are still being carried out among the orang asli today, in the name of religion, education, and "development"

And finally, if Malays are not the whites of Malaysia, then why does the Malay far-right use the exact same ethnonationalist rhetoric as the American alt-right? Phrases like "self-hating" and "race traitor". Irrational fears of being overtaken by minorities. I could go on
Malaysia is its own country so there will always be differences with any place we compare ourselves to. But in every way, it is undeniable to any objective mind that Malays are the whites of Malaysia, and being "indigenous" doesn't change that

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More from @uglyluhan

14 Jun
As requested, a thread on Malay shamans, known locally as bomoh, dukun, or pawang. While Europe has witches and wizards, the bomoh is our main equivalent of the archetypal magic-user

Let's start with an explanation of the terminology because someone needs to say this. The most accurate translation for bomoh, dukun and pawang is shaman. Not "medicine man", not "witch doctor", not "faith healer"

The English language, as far as I'm aware, doesn't have the vocabulary to differentiate between bomoh and pawang. Both are types of shamans. Even the word shaman itself is of North Asian origin

Read 60 tweets
3 Jun
After correcting the claim that "Tamils were the first people here" yesterday, it seems I need to respond to the other side today. I know we're supposed to screenshot the alt-right and not directly engage, but this time I will quote tweet because I wanna make sure he sees it
Within the last few days, @thepatriotsasia posted a few threads attempting to defend the myth of Malays as natives, while denying the parallels between systematic oppression in America and Malaysia. However, I won't deal with the latter topic right now

Instead of subjective political opinions, I want to respond specifically to two factual errors, because in this case it's not a matter of opinion. The first is this thread on the Melayu Asli or Proto-Malays

Read 24 tweets
27 Mar
This got me thinking about some of the interesting women from Southeast Asian history and folklore. It's by no means exhaustive but these are the ones that came to mind off the top of my head

The kingdom of Patani in southern Thailand saw its most illustrious era during the tenure of the colourfully-named queens Kuning (yellow), Biru (blue), Ungu (purple) and Ijau (green). There's even a movie based on them Image
The four queens were outstanding diplomats, quelling a violent conflict involving Japanese merchants. Marriage and military alliances helped to stave off threats. Under their rule, Malay-Muslim art and culture flourished, facilitating the spread of Islam Image
Read 19 tweets
2 Nov 19
It's ironic how many people will suddenly become great humanists in defending the syncretic nature of culture when it comes to hijab. These are the same people who deny that the word Melayu is of Indian origin because India is sooooo far away
One second you pretend that Malay civilisation is "pure" and free of outside influence, but somehow Arab and Middle Eastern influence gets a pass, even in cases where said influence has only a few decades (or less) of history behind it
I wonder if these people realise that the Middle East is culturally and geographically closer to Europe than Malaysia. That Malays had greater contact with China than Arabia. Just admit that you're trying to sell a narrative, and a very specific definition of what's "Malay"
Read 5 tweets
31 Oct 19
It's now just before midnight here, and the #Halloween theme of today's #FolkloreThursday provides the perfect excuse for a thread on Malaysian #ghosts and other scary things. I will not include beings like the gergasi and bunian which are not ghosts at all but mythological races
One of the reasons for this thread is to give an authentic description of these ghosts from traditional folklore, the way they would've been imagined historically. This often differs from modern interpretations you'll find online or in movies and urban legends
Let's start with an explanation of terminology. The general word for ghost in modern Malay is hantu, although it actually means something more akin to "spirit" than ghost. Contrary to modern misconception, not all are bad or scary
Read 87 tweets
26 Oct 19
I was recently at the screening of a short documentary & talk on the planned artificial islands in the south of Penang. Seeing as many people aren't familiar with the issue, I thought I'd briefly summarise the project, its effects, and why we need to oppose it

The project's raison d'être is fundraising for the Penang Transportation Master Plan (PTMP), meant to solve the island's traffic issues. By selling the new land to developers, the Penang govt expects to have enough to pay for the masterplan

The PTMP proposes a more effective public transport system including an undersea tunnel, LRT, monorail, trams, water taxies, and new highways. You can see the details on the website here

Read 14 tweets

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