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April 3, 2010

I was taken aback (and almost rolling on the floor laughing) when I received a message from a concerned member of Pasir Mas Official Facebook (PMFB) campaigning everyone to ‘strike’ against a group called FANPAGE ANTI-KELANTAN. I was advised to cut and paste the following note and report it to the Facebook administrator:


“Due to the report and investigation, your friend, *** was created a racism idealogy here on Facebook. The KAMI BENCI BUDAK KELANTAN and ANTI KELANTAN Fanpages reported was create by him. Please remove him from your friendlist for us to make this investigation more easier and saving your Facebook Account. Thank You.”


Well, well, well – look at what the technology has brought to us (er, just ignore the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the note). My first impression was – what the hell is this? Do I care? Well, considering the fact that I myself used to hate the Kelantanese when I was younger, I think I should seriously look at this matter. Let me offer you my two cents’ worth to this issue.





Firstly, let’s look at some history related to racism. Trust me, it is not a new phenomenon like Facebook or Twitter. In the United States of America, the African Americans have been the ‘fashionable’ subject of controversy since the 17th century. Being the second largest racial group after the whites, the African Americans have been facing a lot of colourful events and issues, mostly slavery and racial segregation. But after four centuries, their history takes everyone by storm. It progresses so dynamically until the election of an American African as the 44th and current president of the United States. Their story testifies the amazing facts of the power of racism.


The Indian community has proven to be successful in America as well. They at least dominated the Academy Awards in 2009 and transformed Hollywood into their ‘spicy’ pop culture values. In Australia, the Indians are currently the famous target of racial attacks. But it is not really surprising, judging on the notable success brought by the skilled Indians all over the country. The huge influx of immigrants from India just shakes the integrity of the white Aussies. Some claim that the Indians are too proud of their traditions and are not willing to immerse into the Aussie cultures. But that’s not the real issue. It’s not their faults, to begin with (aren’t most of us like them?). Some people simply feel threatened when they see the strength of other people with a different skin colour or a different culture (or a different dialect!). Politically speaking, we might one day witness the first coloured Prime Minister of Australia from the Indian community. No, it’s not impossible. You’ll see that my prediction will one day materialise if the racial attacks persist. 


In Malaysia, racial issues are always at the centre of the nation’s history. The Chinese have proven to be more economically successful than the others despite the so-called discrimination in many pro-Bumiputera policies. The Indians have survived despite their underrepresentation in a larger Malaysian community. And of course, the Malays have been the champions amidst the unspoken threats inside the concept of a multicultural society. The concept of 1Malaysia is just another modern proof which acknowledges the existence of underlying racial tension in the society. So, should we hold dear to our roots or uproot it from our realities? Well, we can’t ask our mothers, “Mummy, why did you make me a Malay? Can I be a Chinese or an Indian?” So it’s okay to be rooted, kid. It’s not your parents’ faults. We can’t change our skin colours. But we can change the colours of our futures. How could you blame others if they speak different dialects or practise different customs? It’s not your duties to judge the way they lead their lives. But you are responsible to live responsibly with other responsible beings.  





To my dear Kelantanese friends, don’t worry too much about this petty matter brought about by the immature few. Don’t make a big fuss over it. You shouldn’t feel threatened over the weak hearts. In fact, you should welcome this new development with open minds and open eyes. It could mean a lot of good things for you, if you think about it creatively and innovatively. It’s high time to reflect yourselves. The enemies (if you think that they are enemies) might see your weaknesses and shortcomings. They might think that you are, for instance, too asabiyah, close-knit. Maybe they can’t just stand any longer with the sweet ‘crimes’ committed by the kind of you and therefore plot their sweet ‘revenge’ against you (aren’t you all the champions of all sweet ‘crimes’ in the metropolis?). So, do admit your weaknesses and open up yourselves to the outside world. Get yourselves out of your boxes. Talk to them and get rid of that ugly long face. Perhaps you can reach a matured decision.


However, if you flip the side of the same coin, you might see things differently. The ‘enemies’ actually ‘care’ for you. They might be pointing at your strength that you are not even aware of. Look at you. Look at what the Kelantanese have achieved around the country (and the world). Most of the universities are overcrowded with bright Kelantanese students (yeah, the losers too). Most of the successful professionals are Kelantanese (and Kelantanese-related). You are always known for being the extreme type – you always fall in the extreme ends in most of the critical matters. You guys are extremely bad people and extremely good people. You should know that you are always the best in this regard, and the best are always well loved and well hated (not everyone likes Siti Nurhaliza and Mawi, right?). Having said this, it doesn’t mean that you should be a pro- or anti-Kelantan and/or a pro- or anti-non-Kelantan. Personally, I always see myself as a world citizen who happens (and loves) to be a Kelantanese and enjoys (and sometimes prefers) to work with people outside my comfort zone.


So ladies and gentlemen, focus on your strength and do your level best. You could be the gems, the crème de la crème, of Malaysian society. Maybe this is the sign of the rise (or the fall) of the Kelantanese. But again, it doesn’t mean that you should be too proud of yourselves. You are not the Jewish who are too restricted and stubborn in your mindsets and physically harm others. You are good people who will be the leaders of the world and who will work and play harmoniously with others. So, act more maturely and ignore all these nonsensical ideas of retaliating against your so-called opponents. Do celebrate the differences and always aim for the common grounds. You are too wise to be arguing against a few fools.


To the anti-Kelantan fans out there, think again of what you are doing now. You might be challenging the peace that we Malaysians have enjoyed so far. But if you insist, go ahead. This is, after all, a free country. But you might just make the Kelantanese stronger and bolder. You’ll just bring out the best in them. You’ll just see that, one day, the sweet saliva you spit for them will fall back into your own cute faces.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. ikpunye permalink
    April 3, 2010 9:26 pm

    It is not about from-which-state-you-are-come-from, but it depends on individual attitude.

    Well said Hilmi!


    • April 5, 2010 7:12 pm

      It’s hard to be individual when there’s a peer pressure. But we all must try. Thanks, Ik 🙂


  2. April 4, 2010 3:03 am

    Stupid bastards… I mean, seriously… I know that many Kelantanese have a certain attitude (I myself and half-Kelantanese, though I enjoy none of the perks or the peculiarities), but it is no reason to broadcast hatred.

    Seriously… Get a life…

    I mean… Seriously….


    • April 5, 2010 7:15 pm

      haha… cool brother. I won’t use that phrase. I shall call them a legitimate son trying to legitimize what is already legitimate. Well, that’s their life. Respect and live with it 🙂


  3. April 4, 2010 3:05 am

    Typo – I myself and half-Kelantanese = I myself am half-Kelantanese


  4. ema permalink
    April 4, 2010 9:16 am

    this is sooo true..i’ve been going trough this skeptical perception toward Kelantanese for the past few years. i dont see any negative drawbacks of having semangat assabiyah. come on people, is it wrong to be so protective over your own community??


    • April 5, 2010 7:21 pm

      No, it’s not wrong, dear ema. It’s even holy by our religious standard. It is only wrong when you start looking at others with animosity. Because animosity only generates hatred, not love.


  5. Azrai permalink
    April 5, 2010 1:40 am

    2 of my best friends in boarding school were Kelantanese, and of course, one of them was you, Hilmi. We clicked instantly to each other when we met. That time, I do not see you as Kelantanese, only as one of many people whom I met. You does have any perculiar traits which make me think and said “what a Kelantanese!’.

    As time passed, I heard many people to stereotype Kelantanese into certain ways, always in disgusting manner. But they failed (and always failed) to cover up the smell of envy in thier comments.

    I found that people who hate Kelantanese are hate at the same trait which I found and admire in most Kelantanese- PASSION. Passion for thier roots, passion for thier kinds, passion for thier family, passion for thier lands, in short, passion for every Kelantanese (in case for you Hilmi, thoose things make you koya).

    I agree with Hilmi’s comment that Kelantanese are always at the two extremes, either doing too good or too bad. Never a mediocre! A crystal clear indication that they have such passion in running thier life, good or bad.

    I do not denied that many Kelantanese are annoying, but so do others, even my own n9 people. May be I am soo bloody lucky, that I always meet with Kelantanese who make my life richer, better and and luckier.

    As far as I concern, limiting my life choices by strereotyping and hating certain group will only denying myself the colourful world which God has offered to me. I refuse to stop to smell roses just because I hate the thorns.

    It does not apply only to me, it apply to all of us, the haters and the being hate, as God created diversities for us to get to know with each other, and thus to understand of each others.We all very knew and acknowledged that God more than could to make us to swallow your own words. Beware!


    • April 5, 2010 7:25 pm

      “I refuse to stop to smell roses just because I hate the thorns.”

      Well phrased, Azrai! You are a true believer in humans’ good sides, not the bad ones. Thank God I found you, Azrai! 🙂


  6. July 15, 2010 1:16 am

    though this was months ago, but here’s my comment:

    to my beloved Kelantanese, going against them who do not like US will just make things go worst. I’d rather choose to give them the biggest smile I’ve ever had to show that they’re wrong about it.

    Care and love do not mean asabiyah. Lets learn the Hofstede theory of relations, understand it and we shall understand others.

    Say, I LOVE U ALL!

    -I’m so outdated, but thank you for your remarkable, imposing, inspiring writing!-


    • July 15, 2010 11:34 pm

      Liyana, you are never outdated. My post is intended for larger audience beyond time limit. Thanks for your inspiring advice as well. Let’s make the world a better place to live. And let’s start doing that at our very own homeland.


  7. nur kartina permalink
    April 28, 2011 11:15 pm

    buat ape gaduh sesama islam…it’s better for us to mind what it is going to happen to us when we die ….our endings are not determined by our states…


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