May13

malaysian faces

客户问我:今天是什么特别的日子,为何穿得一身黑?

我答:今天是May13,我为那些在69年牺牲的同胞哀吊。

话题一开,对513只有惨剧印象的这位年轻友族同胞就开始和我谈起513。。。。

其实我对513的印象也很模糊,当时只有3岁。只记得堂叔在吉隆坡被砍受伤,他脸上的伤痕至今历历在目。那时戒严,爸爸与和汉叔(当时的国会议员〕是当时有特别通行证在太平各区走动的2人,他们只是每天忙碌的做粮食分发工作,局势却是和平的,不分种族的太平人守望相助的度过了这段日子。。。。。。。

大了点,爸爸和我谈起513,他说513惨剧是在有心人(包括前雪州大臣哈仑〕煽动下发生的,也是因为各族在经济、生活水准和教育程度不平衡所致。。。。513是政治阴谋,它并不是种族冲突事件。。。。除首都部分地区因军人引发的族群冲突,全马其他地区都很平和。。。。。。。

我永记得爸爸的话。可是他的话总是与教科书的历史有所出入!

尽管为数不明的无辜人士失去了生命,我们对于1969年所发生的事件知道甚少;而所知道的,皆是来自国阵政府的资料。除了少数的外国记录,如去年发布的柯嘉逊著作《513- 1969年暴動之解密文件》

虽然513已迈入40年了,可是它仍然是我国一个缺页的历史。看来许多有权势者仍想隐瞒事实,也试图一代人的记忆

就如今天是513事件40周年,我努力的在各网站与主流媒体寻找历史,可是主流的各语文媒体,仿佛集体患上失忆症般,让这段重要的历史记忆继续埋葬,没有人追忆,也没有人检讨?这就是我们对待这个重要历史的方式?

还好,有唐南发在《独立新闻在线》与年轻学者法立诺(Farish Noor)在英文网站《The Nut Graph》撰文书写513事件,他们都不愿让历史留白。

513,捂·义山

作者/唐南发专栏 May 13, 2009 11:40:56 am

【乱石崩云/唐南发专栏】电台主持人张吉安最近制作了一段三分多钟的短片,里头有一民俗表演工作者以海南话唱出去番(注)先辈对家乡的思念。片名叫《捂·义山》,背景其实是一个家庭在清明节期间拜祭于1969年5月13号吉隆坡的种族冲突中死去的亲人,地点就在双溪毛糯希望之谷麻风院附近的513受难者坟场。

捂,就是捂住你的嘴巴,不让你说话;义山,是那些去番者客死异乡后的归宿。死了,也不让你说话,显然没有比《捂.义山》更不人道的行为。

今天是1969年那场悲剧的40周年纪念。尽管为数不明的无辜人士失去了生命,整个事件的来龙去脉至今依然笼罩在谜思、恐惧和误解当中。

如学者法立诺所指出,当时发生的族群冲突其实不过局限于首都部分地区,而回教党领袖最引以为荣的是当吉隆坡的巫统高层忙着利用该事件捞取政治资本之时,吉兰丹的局势却是和平的。回教党籍的州务大臣阿斯里哈芝慕达还特别指示所有马来人村长协助和保护非马来人州民,并表示“我不希望在吉兰丹看到流血事件” ( ‘Saya tidak mahu ada pertumpahan darah di Kelantan ini.’)。

其实,我个人完全无须老远跑到吉兰丹去重新经历多元族群的和谐。当年,我的外公外婆在马六甲州内一个叫做Kampung Bukit Senggeh的马来人甘榜内经营着村内唯一的咖啡店。纵使首都发生了种族暴乱,甘榜内的居民依然无所避忌地光顾这家小咖啡店。对我的外公外婆而言,他们依旧的笑容和友善比当时政府任何的口头保证都要踏实。

原本一个受地域局限的“513事件”,在执政者顽固地加以操弄以延续政权之后,从此变得具有全国性义涵。40年了,关于当时马来人与非马来人之间杀戮的实际情形依然很模糊,而民众也不断被警告不要公开谈论此事以免破坏族群和谐。手上握有权力的人,就这样地成功让人民自我审查,让族群之间存着猜忌,成为我们整体身份认同上一个永远的伤痕。

要让过去伤痕愈合

我同意马来西亚应该走出过往的黑暗以达到真正的和平,前提是我们必须能够让过去的伤痕得到愈合。我不认为今天大部分马来西亚人所经历着的喜乐与友爱全都是虚假或表面的,但这并不意味着我们无须探索真相以营造更实质的族群谅解。

此刻的马来西亚的确是处在一个十字路口,而国阵和民联都根据各自的愿景勾画了国家的未来。然而,只要朝野双方的政治人物不肯正视历史,无论是“全民的马来西亚”抑或“新政治”都无法让我们脆弱的民主体制能够茁壮成长。

就此而言,国阵更加责无旁贷,因为任何探索513真相的行动必然要触碰到巫统最高领导层当时所扮演的关键角色。当首都的华人在街上游行高喊“马来人滚回甘榜 ”的时候,教唆马来人青年报复的不就是巫统党籍的雪兰莪州务大臣哈伦依德里斯吗?当然,当时在野党究竟在整个悲剧中起了什么样的政治影响,也必须得到探讨,毕竟历史真相往往都不是黑白对立的。

面对过去需要勇气,因为那可能导致伤痛的记忆再度复活,甚至引发恐惧和仇恨。513是一个充斥了族群特征和符号的事件,也因此让探索真相的努力显得困难;例如有资料显示当时的皇家马来人军团成员曾开枪对付游行的华人,并造成人命伤亡,要深入追究必定会使马来人和非马来人之间产生一定程度的反感。

正因为如此,有人坚持让一切成为过去;统治精英更因为不必负上任何责任而松了口气,但却便宜了那些参与策划或尝试隐瞒真相的人,数十年来不曾接受任何检验。

探索是为了原谅

然而,只要我们一天不去面对那段过去,就无法取得深入的族群谅解。执政党团掌握了资讯和话语权,更乐此不疲地引用513恐吓民众。我们究竟还要允许他们嚣张到何时?

探索513,不是为了报复,而是为了原谅。即使我今天遇见了一个曾经对民众开枪的皇家马来军团成员,我必须准备原谅他当初违反人权的行为.,毕竟他不过是在执行上级的命令而已。换言之,他也是这场悲剧中千千万万的受害人之一,我们应该做的是看到他背后那个权力无限的国家所犯下的恶行。与此同时,我也必须谴责当时非马来人的种族性言论,并谦卑地寻求宽恕。唯有愿意承认彼此的短视和自私,我们才能开始梦想一个共同的救赎。

物质的赔偿也不应该是族群谅解最主要的内容。诚如南非的杜杜大主教所言,金钱无法赔偿一个在残酷中失去孩子的母亲的伤痛,而国家最应该做的,是“承认你的痛苦,并给予你把故事说出来的权利,为的是原谅肇事者”。如果只有物质的补偿却继续捂住你的嘴巴,就完全失去了族群谅解的意义,无法达致正义转型,而我们的社会只会变得更加健忘和功利。

不同的族群必定会有不同的历史诠释,而且通常是彼此矛盾的,但我们应该承认这些相悖的历史真相都是我们集体社会记忆的一部分。通过分享彼此的痛苦经历并加以原谅,我们或许能够找到一个中和点,也不再为过去所囚禁。真相往往让人感到不舒服,但真相也同时具有超强的释放能力,让我们自由。所以,追寻513真相的终极目标是为了族群和谐与国家的正义转型,不是为了报复,以牙还牙。唯有这样,我们才能严正地告诉政治人物:不要再操弄历史的伤口来达到政治目的。

(注:海南岛文昌人素称下南洋谋生为“去番”,并有民谚曰:“送郎送到码头分,郎你去番侬心闷。眼汁滴到土落窟,日头看路夜看船。”)

A million 13 Mays

By Dr Farish A Noor (www.thenutgraph.com)

AND so once again, we are on the cusp of the fateful day of 13 May. Tomorrow, we will be joined together in a state of national mourning over the passing of what many have described as Malaysia’s golden years.

Year in, year out, Malaysians are reminded of the tragic events of 13 May 1969, and made to repent for the sins of our forefathers and foremothers. Like a restless ghost, we cannot get past this date without a sense of foreboding and the fear that one day, the past will revisit the present in no uncertain terms.

To add to our fear, the country’s leaders (though they tend to be those on one side of the political fence) are wont to resurrect May 1969 whenever it suits them most, and to frame the event in a decidedly jaundiced aspect. We are told time and again that to demand political freedom, the right to speak, the right to believe, the right to love, will lead us down the path that ends in the impasse of communal bloodshed and violence.

But does it and will it?

The Magic Trick

History conceals a deep conceit that we historians often try to hide, like magicians with their bag of tricks. The historian’s craft is to collect the disparate facts of history and assemble the broken body of the past as if it were a cohesive whole: all pretty and prettified.

And even when the history that is put together is not exactly a candidate for the town hall beauty pageant, we nonetheless present it to be something that is wholesome, sutured and complete. The trick is to play the card of linearity and determinism, and to give the false impression that there was only one path that could have been followed.

Let me let you in on a trade secret: we historians know for a fact that history is contingent, confused, complex and multifarious. We simply dress it up in the garb of cohesion to let lay readers think that it is miraculously endowed with fixity and teleology.

The fiction of 13 May

The exact history of 13 May 1969 is one such history, and for too long we have entertained the polite fiction that this tragic story had only one beginning and therefore only one conclusion. That lie has to be exposed, debunked and deconstructed for the instrumental fiction that it is.

The fact is, whatever happened on 13 May 1969 was not a nationwide experience. Indeed, there are enough anecdotal accounts to suggest that whole swathes of Malaysia remained unaffected by the violence that took place in the urban areas of the peninsula’s west coast. If you don’t believe me, take the next flight to East Malaysia where I grew up as a kid, and ask fellow Malaysians there what it was like for them on the day, and how many of them were moved by the events in Kuala Lumpur.

We also forget that behind the facade of ethnic and racial compartmentalisation that has become the leitmotif of the 13 May disturbances were real private and isolated histories that ran counter-current.

How many of us have asked the obvious question: what was it like to be an ethnically and religiously mixed couple then, in May 1969, when the frontiers of race and religion were suddenly raised and guarded? Though no official census has been done thus far, one is intuitively certain of the fact that ethnic and religious relations were far more friendly, cordial and real then compared with now.

Indeed, here lies the dirty trick that belies the conceit of history: with each passing year as the ghost of 13 May 1969 is conjured back to life again and again, we are in fact distancing ourselves from the reality of a multi-culty Malaysia that was more authentic, peaceful, loving and comfortable with itself compared with today’s segregated and exclusivist Malaysia.

For the ghost story of 13 May, instrumentalised as it has been by the right-wing communitarians in our midst, has been the script and template for the divided and segregated Malaysia we know now.

13 May was not the result of racial conflict, but rather the blueprint for further racial and religious polarisation. The sleight of hand of history is the magic gesture that has erased this simple fact from us, and we — now duped — continue to gawk at the same old trick that has been played on us on a yearly basis.

Revisiting 13 May

Revisiting 13 May 1969 therefore has to begin from the other entry point of the multiracial, complex and plural Malaysia that was, but is now in danger of waning.

Rather than write about the violence and mayhem that ensued, we need to retrace, redeem and reactivate the manifold histories of inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue, relationships and love that were real and genuine then. There were and there remain a million 13 Mays that we need to recover. We should not let this date be singularly defined by one and only one event above all.

This is how we challenge, overcome and eventually deconstruct the hegemony of power and official historiography. For too long, we have been held captive by a singular and totalising account of history that admits no contenders and no other alternatives.

As a historian activist, I would rather write about the stories of all mixed, hybrid couples who were making love and whispering sweet nothings to each other on the night of 13 May, who were — thankfully, perhaps — unaware of the nastiness happening elsewhere.

Sadly, many of these truly Malaysian relationships were tried and broken in the years that followed thanks to the racialisation of Malaysian politics. But for their sake, and for the sake of those millions of Malaysians who lived and loved together across the frontiers of race and religion then, let us not deny their past (and ours) by buying into to the hegemonic account of 13 May perpetuated by communitarian doomsayers in our midst.

Malaysian history is much richer, more colourful and certainly a happier story than that. Even if some of our politicians want to dwell only on tales of blood and gore, we — the Malaysian public — can and must reclaim our history for ourselves again.

2 thoughts on “May13

  1. 可惜我有工作在身,无法出席黑色507论坛或《从513到一个大马:马来西亚建国的未来》的公共论坛。

    不过,我永远记得513。它改变了大马政治版图,改变了大马人的生活。

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