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Hell Me

The following entry depicts some sentiments about Hilmi’s origin in which he coined the phrase Budu Tales for the first time. It was originally published in on January 12, 2005. You’ll see how Budu-ed his life has been. 





Budu Tales


The which-state-you-come-from question has always been my nightmare. I used to lie about my state of origin. The correct and honest answer might bring a lot of unpleasant issues, at least for me. People always mistakenly (and blindly) associate a person’s state of origin with some kind of expected attitudes and behaviours, which are very discriminatory. Such generalizations always make me uncomfortable, since I am usually not like what people always predict, especially from this stupid formulation and deductive reasoning:


Kelantanese love budu.

Kamal is a Kelantanese.

Therefore, Kamal loves budu.


Such an oversimplification makes me sick. That is why I tend to lie when people ask about my origin. I will finally tell them the truth after some time, when I am sure that they know my personality that they will not misjudge me anymore. However, this conflict remains so, though not so badly like it used to be. A breaking-ice session during National Service training could well illustrate this.


“Where are you from?” asked the trainer. Afraid to be found out later that I had lied, I honestly answered, “Pasir Mas, Kelantan.”

“O… Kelate.” What a stupid remark! I hate this. I am not typical okay!


He looked rather skeptical. I had known already that the following comment would come out.


“You don’t look like one.” Bingo! I struggled to answer smartly so that I might not be misunderstood. My respond was: “Well, I have been living in KL since I was 15.”

“So that’s why you don’t speak and behave like a Kelantanese.”

“Yeah, maybe.” What the heck. That was none of your business.

“Tell me, why do Kelantanese people are so obsessed with PAS?”


There you are! …another tricky question to probe my political stand. I was caught again in a dilemma, not politically, but more about my self-perception which differs from many typical Kelantanese.


Well, to tell you the truth, it once almost killed my profession as a lecturer. I was previously asked the same question during an interview for a job confirmation in my workplace. The interviewer provoked me with the same subject matter, and my answer was: “PAS is culturally good.”


The answer was absolutely honest and innocently academic, and had nothing to do with my personal political stand. Yet, the result of the interview was disastrous – my probation was extended to three more months! It was utterly ridiculous and stupid. I did not, to the very least, expect that I would be ‘punished’ for a political reason (perhaps, social reason might be acceptable hehe). But, the truth is, my probationary extension might make people think that, drawing from a funny conclusion, I was a politically dangerous person! (If only my ‘satanic’ friends knew this!). It was cruelly amusing, knowing that I am definitely not that type of person.


Well, I am not interested at all in politics, despite the fact that my first degree was in this area. Matter-of-factly, my answer was simply a situational answer. The interviewee asked me a question, and I answered it so academically and naively, not knowing that I was actually trapped by my own honesty. Fortunately, three months later, after thorough ‘investigation’ done by the top management, I was declared politically ‘clean’ and happily confirmed. Of course, they could not possibly find any records showing that I was politically active when I was in the university. Stupid fools.


That was really an ironic experience. Truthfully, I hardly consider myself as a Kelantanese patriot. I used to detest Kelantanese people. My Kelantanese friends even labeled me as a Kelantan Murtad! Okay. Hell me. I did not mind at all being humiliated like that. Humiliation? I cannot ascertain this feeling. I might be an arrogant son of a bitch. On the contrary, the Kelantanese colleagues of mine have somewhat accepted this reality of my being ‘betrayal’ of my own country (quite ironically, they even speak to me in a normal KL ‘language’).


Or perhaps, the following essay, done when I took a pre-requisite subject Error and Contrastive Analysis in the university, might explain my complex peculiarity towards Kelantanese people.






Try to think of some areas of your affective or cognitive self in which you feel some prejudice towards member of another culture or even a subculture (such as people from different parts of your own country). What are the deeply-seated causes of that prejudice? Should you overcome that prejudice? How might a person go about eradicating such negative attitudes?




I am a Kelantan-born man.


Being apart from my family and my hometown for twelve years, I have developed this self-inflicted sense of alienation towards my very own culture – Kelantanese culture. This so-called prejudice towards my own people started, most probably, when I enrolled into a highly-appraised boarding school in 1992. That was my most critical moment when I had to leave my beloved family and undergo unexpected experiences in a place where everything was totally new and strange for me.


Culture shock – that was what happened to me then. I was terribly astonished by the new cultures directly exposed to me in both school and hostel life. Many things happened that made me more bewildered, confused and, most of the time, scared. I started to critically analyze my Kelantanese friends’ prejudicial behaviours towards other schoolmates from different states in Malaysia. Asabiyah, or an extreme he-is-not-from-our-state feeling – that is the right word that I can use to describe them. I detested their narrow-mindedness and chauvinism towards other cultures.


When I entered a pre-university matriculation centre in 1994, I had developed a vast social network – most of them were people from various states, and very few of them were Kelantanese. I had developed within myself a strong loathe towards my own culture that everything about myself – my personality, physical appearances, social preferences, etc. – was no longer Kelantanese in nature. So, I brought within myself a strange prejudicial feeling which is, some of my friends considered as, absurd and discriminatory. Should I overcome this prejudice?


The question deeply triggered me that I started to refresh my past and figure out the positive reasons for my ‘Yes’ answer. Such prejudice should and can be overcome simply because it got me nowhere. If I were to retain the feeling, would I prove to my people that I am smarter than they are? Would I defeat my own people and culture? I don’t think so. That is something ridiculous, destructive and negative! So, how do I go about eradicating such negative attitudes?


First and foremost, all these conflicts must be brought into the open. I must confront myself first and make me believe that I love and am proud of my own people and cultures. Such love should be channeled in positive and constructive ways. Then, I must face the reality that my origin is not ideal that imperfections are supposed to be harmonized, not rebelled negatively. Differences should be synchronized and brought into an agreeable pattern that would satisfy and bring together all parties cooperatively. Staying away or escapism is not the solution to put the situation in order. It will only make things worse and more unbearable.


The next thing that I must do is to ‘return’ to my own people and cultures- emotionally and socially. I must start developing social contacts with them and avoid classifying them as ‘racists’. As Malay saying goes tak kenal maka tak cinta, so I should know my people better so that I can judge them in a better and fairer way. All the similarities should be appreciated and the differences, if any, must be accepted in an optimistic tone. Perhaps, an open talk among Malays from different states should be held to clarify many deeply-rooted questions regarding such taboo issues as social prejudice, status quo, etc. Besides, to a higher political level, the government should pass a new law, or amend the existing policy, if any, to ‘abolish’ the geographical borders within Malaysia that separate states and their people into somewhat different entities.


No matter what the solutions are, the situation would remain the same if the society refuses to accept changes imposed upon themselves. Most importantly, the society, particularly my people, must realize that they are, after all, human beings and human beings must socialize together so that the world is a better place to live, not to suffer.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2008 9:05 am

    hej! wow! interesting…


  2. June 5, 2008 6:32 am

    ahh kelantanese hahaha great people there 🙂 really friendly..


  3. For You To Guess permalink
    August 20, 2008 9:06 pm

    I cant help but agree more with your statement. I have a bunch of Kelantanese friends who always pick on students from different states. Their so-called ‘gang’ can be really irritating at times. I don’t understand them at times. A handful of them can be rude under certain circumstances too.

    p/s: this is just my personal view of my observation and i do not wish to impose this on any individual. I believe that Malaysia is a democratic country and we practise freedom of speech and press. Thank you!


  4. August 28, 2008 12:23 am

    i faced the same situation as yours. pfftttsssss annoying! what i always get from people when they found out that i am a kelantanese- “wahh cakap xda slang klantan pon?!?” typical of them, the non-kelantanese.

    and yes, i totally agree with u on the Asabiyah thing. what is it with most of them, so unwilling to accept other culture/people. nak geng klate aje. slalunya guys ar yg camni kan? sbb girls sy lom pnah jumpa lg yg mcm ni. cth terdekat yg sy tgk, my own cousin. he said to me, his friends in college are all kelantanese. they have problems with ‘budak luar’ sbb depa tu blagak katanya. but i silently disagree coz i’ve been living among ‘orang luar’ my whole life. never had any experience being isolated just bcoz i’m a kelantanese. :p


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