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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Malay Ideals: Conflict Avoidance

Tolerance Bar None

The Malays by nature are very tolerant, humble and unassuming people. They are probably one of the most tolerant races on the face of this earth... The Malays are so tolerant and accommodative to the extent that when a Chinese or an Indian speaks in Malay to a Malay individual, the Malay person would spontaneously alter his manner of speech and talk to suit the Chinese or Indian speaker. The Malay would vocalise words to the extend that he would speak Bahasa Melayu the same way a Chinese or an Indian speak his broken Malay. This still widely occurs today...

Conflict avoidance will always come into play. The Malays will usually retreat away from facing the problem that confronts them and adopt a timid-like posture of reaction. Thus, they become less aggressive and seem unable to meet challenges thrown in their path. It is not that they cannot face challenges, it is just that to the Malays it is the most common mode of mechanism in dealing with stress, avoidance. Had they faced these challenges and stresses, without doubt they would be able to handle them, but they chose not to, therefore, stresses were avoided but they would not have better themselves in the process...

Conflict avoidance is also the reason why, the Malays try so hard to avoid confrontations as much as they can and have over centuries developed the kind of tolerance, courtesy and politeness not seen in any other nations on earth. This level of tolerance and the humble nature of the Malays were even acknowledged by Raffles when he first came into contact with the Malays. The Malays developed a penchant for compromise and appeasement not seen in other communities. That is why, grievances were kept hidden, and ultimately they could not remain inside much longer and an outburst occurs in the form of amok and directed at all including the innocent bystander. This tendency to avoid conflict much as possible has led the Malays to be rather sensitive individuals, they avoid “attacking” other Malays openly and expect others to behave in the same manner towards them. Not surprisingly, the unwillingness of the Malays to confront directly has led them to resort to an extensive use of the ”surat layang” (poison-pen letters)“ in order to express dissatisfaction, if they were no longer able to hold down their feelings. This unwillingness to confront, has also led Westerners to stigmatise the Malays as being docile without justification. Out of the nature of a hierarchical community structure of the Malays, came out other Malay values such as respect for the elders, loyalty, hospitality and generosity. All as a result of the way the community was generally made up. That is why the spirit of collectivism is highly overweighed against the spirit of individualism in the Malay world. And as such, there is little desire for personal wealth and acquisitiveness.

--- The Malay Ideals / Asrul Zamani
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