Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Changing Times Changing Labels: Orang Ulu Want to 'modernise' name

Orang Ulu want to 'modernise' name

Joe Fernandez Jan 28, 09 11:40am

Tired of being the butt of local jokes about being ulu (backward), some Dayak Orang Ulu (interior people) in Sarawak are looking for a name that will do the community proud.

‘Lun Daya’ has been suggested by Federation of Orang Ulu Association Malaysia (Forum) president Lihan Jok, who is also the state assemblyperson for Telang Usan.

“Orang Ulu seems not to reflect, and does not befit, the community in the modern context,” said Lihan who plans to hold a symposium in April on the name change and forward the idea to the Sarawak cabinet for its consideration and incorporation in the state constitution.

“Many Orang Ulu have migrated to urban areas where some have found success in various endeavours. Some have become professionals, not only in the country, but internationally as well.”

In particular, he cited Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Officer Idris Jala who has been credited with turning the national carrier around after a spate of near bankruptcies.

“Most of the community’s professionals, intellectuals and leaders have agreed in principle to the name change,” said Lihan.

‘Lun Daya’, he said, would reflect the resourcefulness and strength of the Orang Ulu in bringing changes and development to their families and communities.

The Orang Ulu will remain within the Dayak grouping which includes the Iban (formerly Sea Dayaks), the Bidayuh (formerly Land Dayaks) and the Melanau whose Muslim third often identify themselves with the Sarawak Malays. The word ‘Dayak’ comes from the Melanau word dayeh (land).

Apparently, the term Orang Ulu was chosen to ‘differentiate’ the community from others as they live mostly in the ulu or upper reaches of the great rivers of northern Sarawak. However, many have come to associate the name with ‘backwardness’ in all aspects of modern life.

Others feel that there is no harm in taking pride in the current name, which covers over 30 sub-groups in Sarawak. It was coined in 1969 by the now defunct Orang Ulu National Association which preceded Forum.

“Forum should not think of just a name change for the Orang Ulu but play an important role in the socio-economic development of the community,” said William Ghani Bina, the special adviser to the Sarawak Lun Bawang Association.

“The name should be retained as it signifies the identity, culture and way of life of the community.”

Bina advised Forum leaders to concentrate on organising courses in entrepreneurship and agriculture for the community, instead of wasting time on cosmetic changes.

However, his remarks have not gone down well with some urban Orang Ulu who point out that the Lun Bawang themselves were formerly known as Murut, which they had considered a derogatory term besides denoting a certain coarseness or roughness of nature and backwardness.

Views on proposal

Businessman Henry Opang Luhat, from the Kayan sub-group, thinks that Lun Daya is an idea whose time has come. “Orang Ulu sounds too much like Orang Utan.

I think that it’s about time that we have a name change,” said Luhat, also the executive secretary of Parti Rakyat Sarawak, a member of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

“Orang Ulu are Malay words. It is only fair that any new term is chosen by the community itself and not by others, as in the past.” Jane Liang Labang, a Kelabit, said that she would support a name change if it truly reflects the identity of the community.

“I am not sure what Lun Daya means. Any proposal for a name change must be from the community and must be accepted by all,” said Labang who is general manager of the Sarawak Cultural Village.

According to one Internet site, Lun Daya is an alternate name for Lun dayeh. Other names for Lun dayeh include Lun Dayah, Lun Daye, Lun Dayeh, Lun Dayoh, Lundaya, Lun Lod, and Southern Murut.

Lawyer Richard Lah, also a Kelabit, agrees with the name change but suggests that ‘Daya’ be spelt as ‘Dayah’.

“I feel offended whenever people call me Orang Ulu. The word orang is degrading. We were always referred to as natives. The term 'Orang Ulu' does not exist in the constitutions of Sarawak and Malaysia. Forum itself should not have been formed until after the name change.”

The Orang Ulu are famous for their unique musical instrument called the sape, elaborate beadwork and tattoos, as well as making swords and totem poles.

They typically live in longhouses elaborately decorated with murals and woodcarvings. The majority are Christians, but traditional spiritual practices are still found in some areas.

Some community elders fear that any tussle over a name change may result in some members calling themselves by a new name while others retain the term Orang Ulu.

In neighbouring Sabah, a decision by some Dusuns to call themselves Kadazan, a new umbrella term, resulted in a split with the emergence of two groups.

Attempts to merge the two terms, Kadazan and Dusun, into the more unified KadazanDusun about a decade ago was not enough to heal the split, resulting in the emergence of three groups and three separate cultural associations.

Purists in Sabah and Sarawak see the emergence of new umbrella terms as politically motivated and feel that ethnic groupings should be allowed to retain their unique identities in a celebration of differences.

Source: malaysiakini

Blogger: Orang Ulu are Malay words indeed but the Sarawak Malays never gave the label Orang Ulu to various groups who have elected or been subsumed under the said label. As the report says the label "Orang Ulu" was coined in 1969 by the now defunct Orang Ulu National Association (OUNA) which preceded Forum. Members of the Orang Ulu group should be able to recall the fact that a few distinguished members of the Council Negri from the Orang Ulu group and especially one famous Temenggong (Oyong Lawai Jau?) was actively involved in this name change in the late 1960s.

It should be noted that before the arrival of the Brookes, the various linguistic groups in Sarawak used to describe and identify themselves according to the name of the rivers or river branches they occupied. Thus, they would refer to themselves as "We from Ulu Skrang, Batang Ai, Batang Lupar or what not". In many areas Malays and non-Malays used to stay in the same vicinity. For instance members of my Malay grandfather's household in Kampung Siling, Lundu, Kuching Division used to include non-Muslim Dayak Sebuyo or Sebuyau. In those days there was a great deal of inter-marriage and adoption. It was not a big deal then. However, things changed drastically with the arrival of James Brooke, followed later by his great nephew Charles Brooke and the ethnic policies that the latter implemented to make the demographic map of Sarawak appear clean and tidy. From the days of Brookes onwards many groups in Sarawak had conveniently subscribed to the labels given by the Brookes and various colonial scholars.

In the context of ethnic relations in Sarawak many local groups have employed interesting terms to describe the others. These names or labels that others give to other groups are known anthropologically as exonyms or "outside names" while a name or a label that an ethnic group creates to identify itself is known as an autonym or "name given by the author". In Simanggang where I grew up, my Iban schoolmates used to describe, refer and call Malays (and Muslims) in Sarawak like me as Laut. Do Sarawak Malays like this term? No, most Sarawak Malays are quite irritated and take offence at this term. Like the terms "Orang Ulu" or "Orang Daya" the term has bad connotations. It refers to the other end or most opposite end of "Ulu". It is being on the fringe or "margin". Indeed, one does feel very "mariginal" on being described as "Laut" or "Orang Laut". Thus not many urban-born, educated and sophistacted Sarawak Malay would like to be referred to by the exonym "Laut' because it is simply the mirror opposite of the term "Ulu" or "Daya". Sarawak Malays prefer the autonym Melayu. This blogger totally agrees with the report that,
"It is only fair that any new term is chosen by the community itself " Hopefully, the new name chosen by members of the OU community would bring greater satisfaction and prosperity to every tribe affiliated with this group. We pray that everything runs smoothly pre- and post-Sarawak Cultural Symposium in March 2009.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Jakarta Complains: Majority of Malaysian publications portray Indonesia negatively

Majority of Malaysian publications portray Indonesia negatively

The Jakarta Post Tue, 01/27/2009 6:19 PM National
The Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, reported Tuesday that 60 percent of news stories in local publications which mention Indonesia were damaging to the country's image.
Embassy spokesperson Eka A. Suripto told state news agency Antara that only 40 percent of newspaper stories on Indonesia, gathered throughout 2008, were positive.
The clippings, he said, were taken from The New Straits Times, Harian Metro, Utusan Melayu, Berita Harian, The Star and Kosmo.
The negative coverage included stories on the arrest of illegal Indonesian workers in Malaysia, crimes committed by Indonesians, Indonesian men eloping with local women and corruption in Indonesia.
Positive stories on the other hand, included news on bilateral cooperation, talks between Indonesian and Malaysia, promotion of tourism, Indonesian music, film and sporting events, he said.
"The clippings only cover Malay and English publication and not those in Chinese or Tamil," he said. (and)
Source: The Jakarta Post Online
Blogger: The Indonesian government representative in Malaysia should talk with the owners of these publications regarding their reports. Indonesia could always ask the owners of these Malaysian papers to tone down their language and behave as good Malay neighbours and Muslims. These Malaysian papers are in one way or another linked to or owned by the major ruling parties like UMNO, MCA or Gerakan. To be fair to all Malaysians, Indonesia should also look into what the local Chinese and Indian dailies write about Indonesians in Malaysia or about Indonesia. Perhaps Indonesia should send their diplomatic staff who are well versed in Mandarin or Tamil to monitor what is written about Indonesia in the Malaysian Chinese or Indian dailies. Since there are many Indonesian students doing all kinds of courses in Malaysian universities some should be sponsored to do Mandarin or Tamil after they have completed their BA or MA to help the Indonesian government monitor what Chinese Malaysian or Indian Malaysian dailies write about them. Most Malaysians want to maintain good relations with Indonesian Bapaks, Ibus or Nyonyas. And of course many Malaysian officers look forward to perform the Poco Poco with their Indonesian counterparts after official dinners in Bandung, Jakarta or even Kuala Lumpur. Bisa Diatur.

Japan Changing Lifestyle: Househusband not such a bad gig, one-third of men say

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Househusband not such a bad gig, one-third of men say

Staff writer

Nearly a third of married men would not mind being househusbands, according to a recent survey by the Housework Aptitude Test executive committee.

Among the 2,080 married men and women in their 20s to 50s who were polled in Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, Hokkaido and Fukuoka in November, 29.5 percent of the men said they could bear the brunt of the housework, with those in Tokyo leading the way at 31.2 percent.

"In many modern households, wives have jobs and contribute significantly to the income, so husbands know they must share domestic chores in a way that reflects the balance," said Emiko Imaizumi, a representative of the Housework Aptitude Test committee.

The data were collected by the committee in charge of the Kaji Kentei, (Housework Aptitude Test), an examination that assesses knowledge of domestic skills, including cooking, cleaning, budgeting and writing letters.

According to the survey, husbands in Hokkaido spend the most time doing housekeeping, at 54.0 minutes daily, ahead of those in Osaka at 49.7 minutes and Tokyo at 48.4 minutes.

Broken down into age groups, Tokyo-based husbands in their 40s ranked at the top, spending more than an hour each day on housework, at 69.8 minutes.

"This was an interesting result for us," Imaizumi said. "Many wives in Tokyo work full time and jobs are often the hardest during their 40s, so their partners appreciate that it would be hard to maintain the housekeeping, too."

But not many men are yet willing to have their domestic skills assessed, accounting for only 10 percent of entries for the first Housework Aptitude Test last March.

"Because everyone should be doing housework, we feel that it should be 50 percent," Imaizumi said.

The second test will be held this March.

Source: The Japan Times Online

Gong Xi Fa Cai To All Chinese Friends

To all Chinese Friends and Students in Malaysia and Brunei
Xin Nian Kuai Le
We Wish You all a Happy and Prosperous Year of the Ox
Selamat Menyambut Tahun Baru Cina

Monday, 26 January 2009

Previously Malaysia, Now ... Indonesia bans 'Hindu' yoga with mantras for Muslims

Indonesia bans 'Hindu' yoga for Muslims

Sun Jan 25, 12:09 pm ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) – Muslims in Indonesia have been banned from doing yoga if they engage in Hindu religious rituals during the exercise, the chairman of the country's top Islamic body said Sunday.

About 700 clerics from the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) agreed on the action late Sunday at a national meeting in West Sumatra province, Ma'ruf Amin told AFP by telephone.

"The yoga practice that contains religious rituals of Hinduism including the recitation of mantras is "haram" (forbidden in Islam)," he said.

"Muslims should not practise other religious rituals as it will erode and weaken their Islamic faith," he added.

But Amin said that Indonesian Muslims were still allowed to do yoga strictly as exercise.

"If it is purely a physical exercise or sport, it is not considered as 'haram,'" he added.

Religious edicts issued by the MUI are not legally binding on Muslims but it is considered sinful to ignore them.

"If Muslims refuse to follow this clerics' fatwa, it means that they commit a sin," Amin said.

Yoga, an ancient Indian aid to meditation dating back thousands of years, is a popular stress-buster in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

The clerics failed to issue an edict banning smoking in one of the most profitable tobacco markets in the world, agreeing only to ban smoking in public places, for pregnant women and children.

"There was disagreement between clerics over the smoking ban. But we all agreed to decide that it is "haram" for Muslims to smoke in public space, for pregnant women and children," Amin said.

"We took this decision as smoking is harmful to health," he added.

Clerics at the gathering, which started Friday and ended Sunday, also decided to ban Indonesian Muslims from abstaining from voting as the country gets ready for legislative elections expected to be held in April.

"As long as there is a candidate leader that meets criteria such as being Muslim, honest, brilliant and ready to fight for Indonesian people's aspirations, it is 'haram' for Muslims to abstain from voting," Amin said.

But he added: "It is forbidden for Muslims to vote for a non-Muslim candidate leader."

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim, most of whom practise a moderate version of the religion.
Source: Yahoo! News

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Universitas Indonesia Rector: Research In Indonesia Unfocused?

TIDAK FOKUS: Penelitian di Indonesia masih tidak fokus pada pengembangan kehidupan masyarakat.

By Republika Newsroom

Rabu, 17 Desember 2008 pukul 13:47:00

JAKARTA--Pencapaian tertinggi dalam penelitian dan pendidikan adalah menjadi diamond. Demikian pemaparan Rektor Universitas Indonesia (UI), Prof. Dr. der soz Gumilar Rustiwa Somantri dalam Stadium Generale "Prospek dan Tantangan Menuju Universitas Riset di Indonesia," yang berlangsung di Kementerian Negara Riset dan Teknologi RI, Rabu (17/12).

Diamond tersebut, kata Somantri, bisa dalam bentuk nobel ataupun sumbangsih terhadap peradaban. Namun, kata dia, Indonesia belum bisa mencapai hal tersebut. "Umumnya riset yang dilakukan baik dari Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (LIPI), Riset dan Teknologi (Ristek) dan Perguruan Tinggi tidak fokus," kata Somantri. "Tidak disini, riset tidak memberikan sumbangan pada pengembangan kehidupan," imbuh Somantri.

Somantri menanalogikan perkembangan riset seperti riak gelas dalam air dimana posisi peneliti Indonesia berada pada tepi gelas bukan pada pusat riak. Hal ini, kata Somantri, apa yang dilakukan para peneliti Indonesia tidak berada pada posisi terdepan (Frontier) tetapi lebih cenderung mengikuti trend riset yang ada.

Somantri melihat paling tidak ada dua hal yang perlu dipenuhi dalam penelitian yakni Touching dan Strength. Touching yang dimaksud adalah penelitian dilakukan sesuai dengan maksud meningkatkan peradaban sedangkan Strengh menyangkut kegigihan para peneliti untuk terus bekreasi meskipun dengan dana yang dana terbatas."Setelah fokus baru ada kemungkinan kedepannya kita bisa memperoleh nobel dan menjadi frontier," katanya.

Untuk fokus penelitian, dia menyebut tiga hal yang seharusnya menjadi hal penting yang terus di teliti yakni penyakit, nutrisi dan pengobatan herbal. Ia mengatakan seharusnya peneliti Indonesia tidak perlu malu meneliti nutrisi.

"Jangan pernah malu melakukan riset nutrisi, karena masa depan bangsa tergantung pada anak-anak yang sekarang terkena kurang gizi. Para peneliti dan universitas yang seharusnya bertanggung jawab," tegas Somantri.

Menyikapi hal itu, Somantri menilai perlu dilakukan dua hal yakni reformasi perguruan tinggi (PT) dan konteks. Reformasi yang ia maksud ialah integrasi berbagai departemen yang selama ini berdiri sendiri-sendiri dalam sebuah federasi yang bernama universitas,kemudian konvergensi keilmuan,pengembangan nilai-nilai penelitian, dan internasionalisasi. Semua itu, menurutnya, akan menjadi mesin yang mendorong penelitian.cr2/it

Source: Republika Online

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