Friday, May 20, 2022

Flesh of the Ancestors (revisited)

On 17 March 2010, forty busloads of Orang Asli descended on Putrajaya to air their grievances directly to the prime minister. They were prevented by police from marching to the PM's office, but their strong showing and vigorous protest made the headlines in Malaysiakini. I am heartened to note that the worm has finally turned and that our indigenous tribes are no longer politically passive. As a tribute to their semangat (fighting spirit), I'm reposting this essay originally published here on 29 January 2007 and reposted 17 March 2010...


I can relate to the French painter Gauguin who took a libidinal shine to the native girls of Tahiti. There is something irresistible about bronze, rubbery, supple, brown skin - and the edenic innocence that flashes in their shy smiles. Pagan eyes that turn prudish at puberty, because their mothers keep yelling "Malu!" ("Shame!") when they skinny-dip with ripening bosoms and pubes. Contact with "civilization" taught them to feel ashamed of their own simplicity, made them into "primitives" living below the poverty line.

And yet, seeing a bunch of Orang Asli kids play like otters in the river is nothing less than a glimpse of paradise. You can't stay cynical or depressed in such an environment. The verdant landscape itself is balm for the eyes, as much as the sparkling waters are a treat for the senses.

The Orang Asli soul is bonded with the land, the living earth, nature itself. In mythic terms they regard their wild habitats as the petrified flesh of their ancestors.

Just as Native Americans once revered the buffalo as a benevolent manifestation of Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit), a parental sacrifice to feed the children, the Temuan view each species of flora and fauna as a gift from heaven, as food, medicine, friend, or shelter.

The younger ones have all but forgotten, born as they were into homes with TV sets bombarding all and sundry with images of a Brave New World, where ancient wisdom and traditional ways are dismissed as irrelevancies or mere superstition. But the older ones know there is no separation between the land and life itself.

To destroy nature is to murder the Life Force that sustains all existence - and therefore it is viewed as the ultimate wrongdoing, akin to forgetting one's roots and turning one's back on all that is considered divine.

Well, that's a very general overview of the Temuan mythos, which applies to just about every indigenous culture you can name - at least the ones that haven't been completely assimilated and subsumed by industrial society. However, admiring their resilience of spirit, their innocence, and their wealth of hand-me-down knowledge is one thing. Living with them at close quarters is quite another. They can certainly drive an essentially middle-class, former urbanite like myself round the bend with exasperation.

There seems to be a testosterone-related problem with the males: as soon as they turn 18, a sullen surliness bordering on xenophobia grips them. The modest wages they earn cutting grass on road verges or gathering bamboo for the Chinese towkays are mostly spent getting totally pissed at the local bar; and then they fall off their motorbikes and the rest of their hard-earned pay goes into repairing them. If they happen to be married with kids, their wives quickly turn into nags - because it's not uncommon that their husbands will stagger home late at night stinking of cheap plonk, without any food for the family. Apparently, this happens wherever indigenous "dreamtime" cultures collide with industrial "machinetime" societies. Anthropologists generally agree that the trauma of "culture shock" so disorientates the tribal folk they become dispirited - and therefore attempt to regain their spirits by imbibing vast amounts of the bottled variety.


But as long as our tribal folk have the forest to return to, they have a chance of eventually regaining their psychic equilibrium. My chief contractor on the Bamboo Palace project, Yam Kokok, really enjoyed the process of gathering about 3,000 bertam leaves to weave into roofing material for Anoora's hut. First he built a cozy lean-to while his wife began lining bamboo tubes with fragrant leaves, before stuffing them with rice to boil on a woodfire. The widow Lumoh had packed some salted fish and bottles of clear spring water. They were all set for a long day's work, cutting the thorny bertam leaves and carefully weaving them into attap. Yam Kokok's grandson and nephews all came along to help and I could see that the six days they spent "camping out" in the forest reminded them of the good old days - even though every evening I'd pick them up in my van and chauffeur them back to the village and some home comforts.

The forest is the Orang Asli's briar patch; their racial memory of being sustained by Mother Nature goes back thousands of generations. Chop down the trees and replant the land with cash crops like rubber and oil palm - and the Orang Asli become rootless, disconnected from their own past, insecure about their future and therefore apathetic.

True, some of the younger generation have adapted quite well to video games and factory jobs; a handful of Semai and Semelai have even made it all the way through university, and have become academics and doctors.

A year ago or so I was contacted by three enterprising young Temuans with university degrees. They told me they had stumbled upon my website back in 2003, but waited till they were fluent in English to send me an email! One of them, Shahar Koyok, is a fine arts graduate who's beginning to make his mark in the local art scene; another, Mor Ajani, graduated in multimedia design and maintains a Temuan blog. What deeply gratified me was their passionate interest and pride in their own mythic roots.

It's easy to demonize the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (Aboriginal Affairs Department) but it's really just a case of horribly misaligned worldviews. JHEOA officers, mostly urbanized Malays, scorn their own humble ancestry and sincerely believe they can persuade the Orang Asli to join the mainstream Malay community. Their strategy is two-pronged: first, systematically convert the jungle into plantations, so the Orang Asli can't hide in the past; and then convert these diehard animists into pious little Muslims.

I've long advocated that the JHEOA (instituted in 1954 during the Emergency years) be dismantled, as it serves little real purpose today except to breed the most loathsome varieties of bureaucratic ineptitude and corruption.

Think about it: how would you like being treated as a minor all your life and have some government agency manage your affairs as if you were severely retarded? If everybody else who enjoys Malaysian citizenship is free to live without an official guardian, why must our first peoples endure such an ignominy?

The argument that Orang Asli need a "protector" because they are still largely illiterate and can't cope with the demands of the modern world is a totally spurious one. First of all, after more than fifty years under the JHEOA's thumb, the Orang Asli have gained little ground in mastering left-brained activities like learning to manipulate alphanumeric symbols. The question is: why not capitalize on their strengths instead?

Most Orang Asli are physically agile, imaginative, fun-loving, and possess incredible stamina: in areas like sports and the arts, they would certainly be champs. Well, some descendants of African slaves in America have made their mark as athletes, musicians, actors, and dancers: would you think of Charlie Mingus, Michael Jordan, B.B. King, Eddie Murphy, Tina Turner, Ludacris, or Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as handicapped or backward?

What keeps the Orang Asli insulated from the outside world is the Jabatan Orang Asli's feudal mentality. That and the noxious effects of a patriarchal bias the Orang Asli got infected with along the way. Traditionally, the menfolk have been the hunters and womenfolk, the gatherers and nurturers.

In Kampung Pertak, there are quite a few unmarried mothers - girls of 17 who got knocked up after some smooth-talking fellow handed them a Guinness at an all-night wedding party. With so many kids bawling and crawling around the house, 12-year-old girls are often forced to look after their younger siblings while both parents are out working. By the time they reach 15 or 16, many end up as mothers themselves, which gives them little time or opportunity to grow mentally. So we have generation after generation of Orang Asli kids raised by completely ignorant mothers with little on their minds apart from neighborhood gossip and a bleak view of marital life.

All this would change if teenaged dating was accepted as something perfectly natural. When I first asked my mother-in-law if I could take Anoora down to town and buy her a meal, I was told we would have to be engaged before she would allow it. In other words, the relationship between men and women is always a sexual one; post-pubescent boys and girls simply cannot be friends and go out together. They end up getting married very young, prompted by hormonal surges, and never really have the chance to interact with a variety of friends, of different ages and genders, and therefore lack the means of acquiring communication skills and a broader perspective on things.

Most families in the past slept together in one large room with no partitions - or only very thin ones, at best. Obviously, sex was something carried out under cover of darkness, furtively, quietly (so as not to wake the kids), almost involuntarily - and never became an artform, or developed any degree of kinkiness, as it has in the cities.

I witnessed what happened when a young friend of mixed parentage from the big city started dating a village beauty from Pertak. On their very first secret rendezvous, she had asked if he was going to marry her (that's what he reported). Soon, the whole village was bristling with resentment at the urban Romeo. Even little children, no more than 8 or 9 years old, would taunt him as he drove past; the men in the village became more and more hostile, sabotaging his vehicle wherever he parked it, glaring at him with hands on their parangs. Posses of grandmothers and babes-in-arm would confront him at his rented lodgings in the village, demanding to know where he was hiding the girl. They gave him no peace until he buckled under the pressure and married the girl in a tribal ceremony.

Now the girl in question has had several lovers, and at 18 gave birth unexpectedly to a baby girl while trying to move her bowels, thinking it was one huge stomach upset she was experiencing. As to be expected, she's a lot more savvy and sophisticated than the other girls in the village. She could certainly learn to cope with life in the city, and has actually expressed a desire to someday get a job in KL.

Now, is there any correlation between an active sex life and intellectual curiosity? Remember that biblical myth about the forbidden fruit? Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll (or hip-hop or techno-rave, if you prefer) are definitely evolutionary triggers - that's why the patriarchy everywhere is so determined to outlaw them. What would happen to the Orang Asli if their youth got into sex, drugs and rock'n'roll in a big way?

Soon, they'd become pretty much the same as you and me, don't you think? And maybe that will prompt cityfolks to adopt more of the Orang Asli lifestyle - to reconnect with the earth, with Mother Nature, fresh air and sunshine. Sort of a cultural exchange: they become more experienced like us, and we become more innocent like them. Perhaps that's how things will ultimately balance out, and paradise will be regained on earth.

------
Recommended reading:

Proposed Orang Asli land policy: Planned poverty? [Aliran]

[First posted 24 May 2014]

Sunday, May 15, 2022

WHAT THE BUDDHA SAYS... (reprise)


BETTER BE NUDIST THAN BUDDHIST!

Why so? Simply because the Buddha represents the Awakened Soul incarnate in human form. The Buddha is nobody's personal name, it denotes an enlightened state of consciousness that is now available to all souls in physical bodies - thanks to the brilliant accomplishment of Prince Siddhartha 2,500 years ago, who left a privileged existence within a royal palace and the creature comforts of home in quest of truth and deeper wisdom.

It's utterly pointless to be a Buddhist. Might as well strip off your clothes and become a Nudist. At least you would have nothing to hide!

This Vesak Day, in honor of Siddhartha's enlightenment quest, I beseech all who consider themselves Buddhists to forsake their text-book Buddhism - and go straight for Buddhahood instead. You can attain enlightenment at the snap of a finger, in the blink of an eye, in a single heartbeat. Being enlightened simply means you become aware of your own robotism, your own mechanical behavior, your own cultural and social programming... and therefore are able to successfully transcend it.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL BUDDHAS (AND BUDDHAS-TO-BE) ACROSS THE UNIVERSE!

P.S. To all Archontized Pseudo-Humans still serving a control-freak totalitarian globalist agenda, I wish you an unexpected attack of candor and a wholly cleansing “We Suck” Day.

[First posted 19 May 2010]


CONDITION CRITICAL BUT NOT SIRIUS ~ Cosmic Fact and Fiction by ANTARES

I can't believe this cosmic joke
I tried to break the news, 
It broke... (from ‘Mary Malone of Moscow' by Dr Strangely Strange)


If I didn't find it all so hideously funny, I'd die of exasperation and grief. What am I talking about? That four letter word, LIFE? Correct.

I'll tell you another joke. A funny thing happened to me on the way to Eternity. I got caught up in Time.

Entangled in History. Of course, in retrospect, I could honestly declare I did it deliberately, in full consciousness, of my own volition. Well, it sounded like an amusing digression at the time. The whole universe was abuzz with gossip about this bright bluegreen watery world called Gaia, Tellus, or Earth: third planet from Sol, a small star orbiting Sirius in the remote reaches of Galaxy 13, locally called the Milky Way. The food and sex were unutterably addictive - that's what all the guidebooks said.

Having been on assignment here for nearly 260,000 spins around the Sun, or 10 Galactic Years, I can confirm that. Now, 10 Galactic Years doesn't sound that long. But bear in mind it took only 5 Cosmic Days to get Earth's ecosystem tooled up and ready to receive the Zoo Program. And only in the last 11 minutes of the 6th Cosmic Day was the part simian creature called Homo saps released from the undersea labs and distributed over the land masses. Don't ask me how many Earth Years one Cosmic Day represents, I'm running low on zeroes.

Before I carry on (as I'm wont to do), let me explain a few important developments that have made this true life account possible. My dear friend Drunvalo Melchizedek recently arrived from the 13th Dimension with some really Mind Blowing Info (if you have access to the internet, key in "Drunvalo Melchizedek" for a summary of the exciting news from Headquarters). He revealed that our planet was digitized and frequency enhanced back in 1972, and that the experiment worked beyond everyone's wildest expectations. And so, in 1987, it was possible to announce the Harmonic Convergence, and the beginning of a new era of glasnost and perestroika (da, da, Gorby is part of the mission, even if he won't publicly admit it). After which it was no holds barred on previously classified information. You mean you didn't know there was an embargo on any intelligence that might cause the inhabitants of Earth to question the status quo?

Indeed there was, but the lid has been lifted at last. Who laid on this embargo, you might ask?

Your wicked stepfather did. Hold it a second, you say. You don't have a wicked stepfather, your mum and dad are alive and well and still happily married and living in Setapak. Listen, we're speaking metaphorically here. I personally know a few stepfathers who happen to be real sweeties. So let's not get too literal. That doesn't help when we're discussing really BIG issues.

Your real father, if the truth be known, was an Angel. More than that: he was an Archangel, one of the Elohim (that's Hebrew for "Sons of God"). These days we'd call him a Sirian (not Assyrian, mind you, but remember there are interesting clues to be found therein). A real wizard with gene splicing, your Father contributed his DNA to a long and tedious experiment involving a particularly receptive female specimen of modified primate, with whom he felt a passionate bond beyond the bounds of scientific duty. This superseded earlier humanoid breeding experiments conducted by the ruling council of Elohim, collectively called Yahweh. The results of these earlier attempts didn't survive very long because they lacked a sense of humor, which only comes from compassion.

Anyway, it gets rather technical, and I shall leave the sordid details to other storytellers. Suffice to say, it was a tricky and unauthorized experiment in hybridization that led to your Father's vilification for simply granting humanity the precious gift of Fire – Intellect, and its dangerous by products, Language, Reason, Self Awareness, Poetry, Humor, Free Will. Your mythologies have recorded this momentous event as the Promethean Revolt, the Eating of the Fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the Expulsion from the Garden, and the Departure of the Gods. If you were brought up on christian dogma, you may recall that the blame was put entirely on the Serpent and the overly adventurous feminine spirit of Eve, the Temptress, Mother of Evolution.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ring, we have Darwin's Evolutionists. Having split open the atom and found virtually nothing inside apart from some Strange and Fascinating Qualities, a few Quirks and Quarks, but no bearded patriarch icon, no uncanny likeness of Ayatollah Khomeini, John Paul II, or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh aka Osho or even Sun Myung Moon... they had to assume that all previous theories were based entirely on superstition - and therefore classifiable as Mystical Hogwash fit only for the backyard bonfire. Our unknown Father was renamed Hap Hazard, or Pure Chance, or Mr Random Factor.

It was very convenient to have a dad named Random Factor: his mad brother Max managed to make a killing in the cosmetics industry - making up for (or covering up) the fact that humanity was just an illegitimate Child of Fortune after all, a regular Ugly Duckling.

So what became of our real Father? What kind of Daddy was he? Nobody knows for sure, because he has yet to complete his memoirs and get them published. However, speculation is rife that the Elohim are by and large a quiet, contemplative breed - quite unaccustomed to the gooey melodrama of a hydrocarbon protein existence. It's possible that our Father might have regarded the experience of being immersed in a flesh and blood scenario as somewhat odious, and would thus have been inclined to remain aloof from it all, content to take a peek into the nursery from time to time. And if the situation warranted, he might occasionally expend some energy rearranging the furniture, so as to prevent the infant humanity from banging its head on sharp objects (like flaming tektites).

In any case the child didn’t seem too badly off in the day-to-day care of the hired help, those hardy hide-bound hench-humanoids from the planet Nibiru. Which, alas, led to the first instance of child molestation – but we won’t venture into this psychic quagmire just yet. A remarkably racy race, us humans.

You see, the idea of sexual reproduction was perfectly fine for zoomorphs – but for a highly intelligent and geometrically precise species to be so intimately involved in the messy viviparous process was altogether a different kettle of fish.

Eons ago, the Elohim weren’t at all an individualized race. They were a group intelligence emanating from the pineal gland of the Great One like rays of pure focused will. They knew no gender and lived only in Light – and therefore were unfamiliar with tactile sensations, sensuality, sexuality – and all their attendant pains and pleasures. Their encounter and entanglement with Earth’s carnal karma was for the most part a bewildering but immensely educational process, which is still unfolding just beyond the threshold of our perception. Little wonder, then, that over the eons, watching our microbic human cosmodrama unfold has become a favorite pastime of the Elohim, who have indeed grown pretty protective of their dense-bodied runt, the human being, formerly called the Adama (“clay-formed entity”).


Where does the wicked stepfather come in? Ah... this is how official history begins. With a systematic fudging of the books, a laborious tampering with the records, conducted by grim-souled clerics working under the orders of a new CEO – some whizkid flown in from Rigel Kent, Orion, who seemed to have an instinctive grasp of primate politics.

Some say there was protracted debate in the High Council of the Intergalactic Confederation as to the wisdom of allowing such an unpredictable turn of events to manifest. Others aver that the whole episode was unforeseen and unpreventable: an invasion from Deep Space, no less. Ships suddenly appearing over the horizon of Business-as-Usual, flying the Jolly Roger. Will we ever get a full account? Whoever organized the cover-up did a damn good job. Crystal data banks deactivated, cellular memory files erased, deleted, or grossly distorted. Collective amnesia. Total News Blackout in the War Zone. Direct all enquiries to the Information Retrieval Department. Fill in forms XYZ/123/Q/ABC. In triplicate, please.

This is the Martian Inquisition. Identification papers will be issued to all new arrivals. Gene encodement procedures to be strictly observed. Put it down in black and white. Now, let’s ignore the Grey areas. Reticulate and gridify all internodes. Seal the portals. Sign and deliver on command. By Order.

With the altering of our DNA circuitry, it was relatively easy for the new “owners” of Planet Earth to claim exclusive sovereignty and exercise parochial jurisdiction over the proliferating tribes of humans.

And so the Dark Lords – to employ an archaic term – declared themselves our legal Guardians and Trustees to our Further Evolution. They set up monolithic Institutions, established Priesthoods, introduced the Guild System, spurred the invention of Barbed Wire. Crime was identified and duly Punished. Judgement was passed and Decrees proclaimed. Statutes and statuary lined the public walkways.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t entirely a “bad’” thing, this sinister twist in the plot. It gave us the dynamic flux of Duality.  We became obsessed with concepts of Good and Evil, entered into the not-so-merry-go-round of vicious and virtuous circles. And, of course, it was invariably THEM that were Evil. WE were always the Goody-Two-Shoes.

Perhaps it’s time to stop calling our stepfather “wicked.” The fact that he has never learned to trust his children is his problem.

Perhaps the horror of history was our collective crucifixion on the cross of Materialism. The dense and claustrophobic spacetime continuum in which our immediate past has been lived is now at the point of revealing itself as a mandala of kaleidoscopic meaning and metamorphic beauty.

Our stepfather wasn’t really all that wicked. He was merely terrified of losing control.

Now, you may be wondering, where is the humor in all this?

Sit back for a moment and contemplate your perspective of reality. What are you doing “for a living”? Are you succeeding at your chic “lifestyle”? How often do you feel confused, helpless, caught in a permanent double-bind? Are you perpetually looking back over your shoulders, fearful that any moment you may be struck down by disaster, disease and/or death? Is that why you succumbed and bought “life insurance” last year? Is the Inland Revenue Department or your bank manager sending you messages in red ink? Are you worried about your performance at work, at play, and in bed? Have the trees in your garden been felled for a new access road?

Surely, surely these are matters of grave consequence. Why waste precious time time tuning into weird stations when you can keep that dial set at 99.3 FM? Time (reverb FX) Highway (reverb FX) Radio (digital delay)!

Hey, the laugh is on you. Everything is perfectly okay. Stay tuned, folks. We’ll be right back after this commercial break, with an exclusive interview, transmitted live from Andromeda, with....

The Man Who Sired Humanity! (Cool funky theme music.)


© Antares, 1996-2004-2020-2022

[Originally published in Journal One, May 1996. First posted 11 March 2020, reposted 4 November 2020]