Bangunlah Orang Melayu (Orang Jawa) di Sri Lanka.


Bangunlah Orang Melayu (Orang Jawa) di Sri Lanka.
(Arise Malays (Javanese) in Sri Lanka.).



Sdr. Noor Rahim



November 22, 2016






Bangunlah Orang Melayu (Orang Jawa) di Sri Lanka.
(Arise Malays (Javanese) in Sri Lanka.).


The time has come for all Malays to unite in our struggle to revive our great Community which is fast disappearing into the sunset.
Waktunya telah tiba bagi semua orang Melayu untuk bersatu dalam perjuangan kita untuk menghidupkan kembali Komunitas besar kami yang cepat menghilang ke matahari terbenam.


Waktu sudah datang sekarang (hari ini) me kumpul dan kerja bersama sama me naikan kedudukan orang Melayu di Sri Lanka


There is one burning and immediate question that need to be addressed and resolved for our revival and survival.

Ada satu pembakaran dan pertanyaan langsung yang perlu diatasi dan diselesaikan untuk kebangkitan dan kelangsungan hidup kita.


Me Kerja begitu kita mes tanyang satu (1) pertanyaang



Let us together try to solve this question in order to keep our Community alive and marching forward for future generations to come.
Mari kita bersama-sama mencoba memecahkan pertanyaan-pertanyaan ini untuk menjaga Komunitas kami hidup dan berbaris ke depan untuk generasi yang akan datang.

Marilah kita kumpul bersama dan pecah kesalahan (“solve the problems”).


Pertanyaan Nomor Satu:
Which is better – Learn Bahasa Indonesia/Melayu or the revival of our own brand of local Malay.
Mana yang lebih baik - Pelajari Bahasa Indonesia / Melayu atau kebangkitan merek kami sendiri Melayu lokal.

Mana yang lebih baik – membelajar Bahasa Indonesia/Bahasa Malaysia atau bersikan Bahasa Melayu kitang sudah biasa.

“It is better to be late than never” is an old saying. Having said that the time has come for all Sri Lankan Malays to unite and be together in our struggle to revive our great Community to its’ pristine glory; which is fast disappearing into the sunset and into oblivion.

Waktu sudah datang meng kumpul bersama dan memajukan Bangsa kita ke hari dan waktu nenek moyang datang ke Sri Lanka dengan sojor (pasukan) Belanda.

A very good example of disappearance lies in our very own backyard; of which I am sure that not very many of us are aware of. Yes! There are Malays in the Trincomalee; Mannar and Jaffna Districts that I know of; but very regrettably they have now blended with the other Communities where they domicile and accepted the customs and traditions of those Communities and have even adopted their language. They do not speak Malay and are not recognizable as Malays. It is believed that they are grouped under “Muslims” – which is not an ethnic group but term used to those following the Islamic Faith.

Kita tahu Orang Melayu di Jaffna, Mannar dan Jaffna sudah hilang; karena dia di kumpul asli yang lain dan berikut adat istiadat lain dari kita. Derang (Dia Orang) tidak bisa omong Bahasa Ibu, tapi omong Bahasa Mulbar (Tamil) atau Bahasa Cingala. 

The teaching and resuscitating of our Mother Tongue has been tossed around for a long while with no meaningful solution. No doubt this has now created a dilemma in our Community; perhaps of a “dire requirement” situation. This question has been raised by many but the efforts, by the few, have been futile and “fallen on deaf ears”.

Sampai sekarang beberapa Associasi atau Guru pada di coba (tried) meng ajar Bahasa Ibu tetapi itu tidak jadi sukses. Itu kenapa?
Tulikay jangan duduk. Ikut dan omong memajukan Bahasa Ibunya.


The question arises as to – “Are we going about it the right way?”
If we do not treat this problem with great importance and awaken sooner rather than later; we may also follow in the footsteps of our long lost cousins in the areas mentioned above. We will no longer be able to call ourselves “Ja Minissu”.

Kalau kita tidak usaha mem belajar Bahasa Ibu, kita apa cara bisa me bilang kitang (Kita Orang) “Ja Minissu”?

To understand this problem one has to trace the History of our Mother Tongue (Bahasa Ibu). It was in the 17th century A.D that the Dutch VOC occupied the East Indies Archipelago (now known as Nusantara Indonesia). The Dutch soon established Batavia (now called Jakarta) as its’ Central Hub of Trade & Commerce; and the Central Seat of Administration. 

The Indonesian People of 250 to 300 Cultural & Ethnic Groups; speaking in over 700 languages & dialects, converged to this Central hub for commercial and administrative purposes. In doing so they created their own ethnic “Kampongs” in and around the city of Batavia. With so many different ethnicity, languages & dialects the communications between them became an issue and a necessity. It was this issue that created a “Bahasa Campuran” (mixed language) which was also called “Bazaar Malay”. 

This appears to be the fore-runner to the officially designated “Bahasa Indonesia” the State Language of the Republic of Indonesia today; as was officially designated in 1947.

We, as Sri Lankan Malays, will never know our ethnic groups; as we were lumped under “Javanese” by the Dutch and was to be followed on the British takeover as “Malays”. It’s ones guess that this was done for ease of Administration.

This “Bahasa Campuran” is the Language our Ancestors brought along with them when they arrived in Sri Lanka with the Dutch troops in 1670 AD. 

The written Language was in the Jawi script; but as we understand there were not many who were conversant in writing because of the difference in their ethnicity and dialects. The practice of writing was very soon to reach its’ demise and we ended up with our Bahasa Ibu being only a “spoken language”. With the passage of time folks started speaking “the way we heard it” from our elders and in time, like what our forefathers did in Batavia, imported words from Sinhalese; Tamil and English to make themselves be understood by the indigenous public. Hence the erosion/ deterioration of the Language raised its’ ugly head.

Getting back to the question of our Bahasa Ibu we have to first find out what we know of the Language (or the little bit that is left of the Language). Albeit it is known that it was not a written language. It is also very likely that the "Jawi Script"; may have also faded away with the influence of the English Language under the British takeover of Ceylon; ending in its’ demise. But by far the worst catastrophe to affect our Bahasa Ibu was to follow; when we followed the grammar of the English Language and did direct translations from English to Malay. 

For example: “A white man” was translated from English to Bahasa as "Putih Orang"; whereas the Malay way is the "objective" or “subject matter” to be followed by its’ description - "Orang Putih". An extremely good example will be when you order a pair of eyeglasses – “Saya mau satu pasang Mata Kaca"; and are given two eyes made of glass. 
Instead it should be “Saya mau satu pasang Kaca Mata”. You will appreciate how the aforementioned examples lead to two extremely different meanings. 

The Malay Grammar is indeed a simple one; if we continue translating what we say from English into our Bahasa we will no doubt confuse our Malays in the Malay speaking world.

Changing the grammatical way of speaking and writing should be our first and foremost step in cleansing our Bahasa Ibu. This may need a conscientious effort on the part of the speaker/writer; as we are so used to the English and direct translating practices for so long. Having said that I must refer to my experience in Indonesia and the problems I encountered in making myself understood and also understanding the Indonesian people that I met. 

In fact I had to unlearn and learn all over again. Into these woes also crept in the fact that our vocabulary is limited and the many alien words (languages) that have crept in. Thus making the experience of making conversation difficult. Most of our words are also abbreviated (concise/abridged). 

For example: we would say Luorangpe - which are indeed 3 words conjoined: Lu + orang + punya. Meaning: "owned by you people". etc. etc... But these abbreviations are common in Indonesia too; and they call it "singkatan". In our vocabulary we use a lot of these types of abbreviated words. These words may never be found in any Kamus Melayu (Malay dictionary) or on the Internet.

Having said all that; I can only give my opinion on the teaching of the Language. We must get the Malays to speak in the Malay they know and then try to explain to them the correct words and grammar whenever it is required. Additionally, introduce them to words that should replace all those alien words we are used to. It will be a better way as they will be learning from their mistakes; and there is no better way to learn as has been my own experience. In other words it will be like learning from "The known to the Unknown". Care must also be taken in imparting knowledge; without offending the learner. Encouragement and gentle goading should be the principal methodology. 

One has to remember that some are quick learners and some take a little bit longer. A bit of advise to the Teacher would be - "If the student has not learned; the Teacher has not taught". Of course there will be the odd failure; which would be beyond the control of the Teacher. But the aim of the saying is to try different methods of teaching the subject to get the lesson across. It would be better to preserve and build up on whatever is left of our Mother Tongue than to venture into teaching afresh.

Finally one must remember that the Language is indigenous to our own Community; and would not have a "commercial" value in the Land of our domicile. Our Bahasa Ibu is very unique and is much older than Bahasa Indonesia or Malaysia. We should take great pride in this fact and nurture our language to its’ pristine glory.

Bahasa Ibu kita adalah Bahasa yang unik (Khusus/Wahid – Special/Unique). Kita mesti memilihara (nurture) dan menghidupkan kembali.

In conclusion I must quote my meeting with an Indonesian Ambassador in the mid 1960’s who told me – “Speak your Language the way you are doing; for there may be some region in the Indonesian archipelago that they speak the way you do”. To which I reiterate that we have the words and all we have to do is change the grammar; and we will be able to communicate with our Malay counterparts in the rest of the Malay World. For this we need the co-operation of our elders and knowledgeable Malays to conduct “conversational classes” before we start on the younger folks. In passing it should be mentioned that teaching the young kids may not have the desired effect if they are unable to go to their homes and continue communicating with their siblings and parents. The child will soon lose interest and all labour would be lost.

Pertama tama kita orang tua mesti belajar Bahasa Ibu kita. Kalau ajar anak-anak dan dia tidak bisa omong bahasanya dengan Baapk-Bapak dan Ibu-Ibu dia harus buang pelajaran karena dia tidak bisa “kebiasaan bahasa” di rumah. Hasilnya (Result) Bahasa hampir mati. Dengan begitu perkataan: “Bahasa Bangsa, Bahasa Jiwa” juga mati.

In doing so it would be incumbent to remember that our Elders spoke in a mixture of Jawi; Ambon; Sunda and other dialects; that they brought with them when they arrived in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with the Dutch. Though there are many common words with Bahasa Malaysia there are words that can confuse the Community due to differences in meaning. 
Even the way the languages (Malaysian & Indonesian) are spoken differs slightly too; in pronunciation. However, having said that this is a giant stride and great stepping stone into the revival of our Language. I pray that the Community will take advantage of any project that a Malay Association will take in this matter.

So Dear Readers; please take cognizance of these facts and shoulder the responsibility of reviving; improving and cleansing our ancient Bahasa Ibu. We are indeed unique in the Language we speak.
Bapak-Bapak; Ibu-Ibu; Saudara-Saudara; Saudari-Saudari dan Teman-Teman Bahasa Ibu kita adalah Bahasa yang lebih lama dari zaman 1700 tahun. Ini Bahasa adalah lebih lama dari Bahasa Indonesia atau Bahasa Malaysia. Kitang (Kita Orang) mesti ambil anggara (kebangaan/rasa bangga) meng hidup Bahasa kita.  
Marilah kita kumpul bersama dan pecah kesalahan (“solve the problems”).
        
Kemajuan Bangsa Melayu Sri Lanka selalu.

Noor Rahim

November 22, 2016

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