Thursday, November 13

We are waiting for a Dayak Obama

Future "Dayak Obama" in the making?

Every body is talking about Barack Obama’s election as 44th president of USA. From Asia, to Africa, to Europe and in the USA itself, newspapers, televisions, radio stations, big or small, rich or poor, hail the man’s victory.

For us in Sarawak especially the Dayaks what do we learn from his victory, the impossible victory for the black American in a country where the whites are the majority? Who would ever imagine of such a victory? And yet his victory has not only created history, it is also the first time in 60 years that the Democrats have scored unpalarelled successes in both Houses of Representatives. Obama’s victory is very inspiring.

Coming from various countries in Africa, the black Americans have been marginalized, suppressed and treated as slaves since the creation of USA as a nation. Although slavery was supposed to end in 1964, discrimination and humiliation by no means was over.

But tributes should be paid to one man, Martin Luther King, who inspires the black Americans with his “I have a dream.” The dream that America would one day rise up and live out the true meaning of creed. The dream that black Americans will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skins but by the contents of their character.

Like Martin Luther King, the Dayaks in Sarawak have a dream but we need someone like Barack Obama who can transform that dream into reality; because like the black Americans, the Dayaks have also suffered in the hands of injustices, treaded by the feet of marginalization and mired in the cruelty of poverty. Since the Brooke regime, the Dayaks have been subjected to divide and rule policy. They were and are pitted against one another; they fought and killed one another.

Like the black Americans, we also have a dream - that one day we will be able to reclaim our rights that we have lost such as native customary rights over lands; our rights to justice, equality, fairness, business opportunities, development, etc. We also have a dream - that one day we will be united under one political umbrella through which a Dayak can and will once again occupy the highest seat of the State government.

At long last the black American dream is fulfilled, even if it takes 200 years for its realization. For us Dayaks, 45 years have gone and our dream still remains elusive. But we must be patient and resolute. Surely one day a Dayak “Obama” will come along.

16 comments:

Aki Josh said...

Some fine sentiments. But should the Dayaks really have to wait for a Great Leader to emerge? And weren't the Iban engaged in internecine warfare even before the Brookes arrived on the scene (though no doubt the Brookes exploited this rivalry)? Perhaps the real challenge is to harness the admirable Iban belief that anyone can rise to be a leader (which can lead to factionalism and play into the hands of those in power) and develop a new sense of cooperation based around principles of social justice, not just for the Iban but for all. (A correction - slavery was formally abolished in the US in the 19th century - though it took a Civil War to do it.)

NEIL said...

WOW,that will be like the Christians waiting for their Messiah to come.

This is only possible when the dayaks form one party, speak with one voice and reach across party line.

Gossh!still I can't see the horizon.Tooooo looooong to dare think!

Anonymous said...

Can Joseph Tawie be our Barack Obama? Come on Gang. You are good enough to take over from Jabu.

june said...

Seriously, I think that is one of the main problems that Dayaks face today. We keep waiting for our 'Messiah' to save us when in reality, we have to save ourselves. Don't wait for the Dayak Obama - BE the Dayak Obama. Each and every one of us has the capacity to make small changes that inevitably makes the big change. How so? Get more involved in the social and environment issues that plague our communities. Don't just sit back and moan - assist those who are fighting to save their lands. Go out to the villages and make voters aware of their votes. I don't care whether u vote for BN, PKR or whatever - as long as you realize that as a voter, you can hold your elected representative responsible for whatever actions or inactions he takes. GET INVOLVED, don't sit back and wait for change to happen!

Anthony Dylan said...

Actually, the RED INDIANS would be better reference. They have still no leader in a land they have lost to those in USA

Anonymous said...

In America Abraham Lincoln declared that they have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Even then it took the black american 200 years to realized their dreams.

In Malaysia (Sarawak in particular), we have a government of the elites, by Taib cronies, and for Taib. 45 years have gone.

By virtue of current trend of leadership, from uncle to nephew, there is a possibility it will be from father to son - if that happens we could have a longer wait than black american.

Dayaks are chased from their land, then we become squatters, unemployment, beggers, natural death, gone.

free Sarawak said...

young dayaks not bother with sarawaks politic as most young dayaks has been moved to other places like malaya..no job opportunities in sarawak...all control by taib

Anonymous said...

Can Dr. Dusit be our Barak Obama

hippies mapap said...

duh..y'all know what? I only respect leaders, YBs or MPs, NGO activists who are able to live really like those who are in need; whom they represent or they try to 'help' or care for.

though many don't like Bruno Manser, but I really,really hold a deep respect towards him..at least he lives (if he's still alive; God please keep him safe) with the Penans and sends his message across the globe about what happens to that simple and nature lovers community. Simply put, I admire his approach..far from hypocrisy; he dwells with them, eats with them, really adopts their lifestyles in order to really know who they are unlike almost all the NGO activists clanging the cymbals without even knowing really what they represent for...I mean, most of the time, mouth-businesses, seminars here and there, awareness this and that..for the sake of the groups that they highlight. I happened to encounter a person who is just about to embark her careers as an activist to help the Penans because she pities them so much (she himself is not a Penan of course)..and after coming back from a short time exposure with the Penans community, walao.. that's what I'd call hypocrisy...I somehow have an ugly image of her being 'noble' and yet so 'judgmental' towards the Penans' lifestyles and attitudes..see, how hypocrites we can be?

Our local NGO activists, YBs & MPs..whoa.. shout here and there, raising awareness lah..whatever la.. I do read their blogs, yeah,yeah, everyone is championing for this rights, that rights.. proudly, not only the old people, even the young ones, church youths, welfare groups. But only one thing that I see lacking in these people most of the time.. they just simply don't have enough exposure. What is a 1-2 exposure with poor folks in kampungs or in the forests as compared to, say how many years they've lived in marginalized situation and 'bad' condition.. perhaps, we want to chek our intentions.

yeah, more intellectuals are penning down their ideas, criticisms and what ever in their blogs talking whose and what rights..whatever, but the crux of the matter is, are these people willing to live with and really experience the life and the plights the people whom they represent?

I dun direct this criticisms to JT or those who have lived those miserable and painful times in life and managed to get out of poverty because of their strong wills, but those who are from towns claiming to know more of how poverty among the rural people is like. Not that I say your work and cause isn't noble, but most of the time I doubt your intentions.. dunno why, but as I shared an encounter with a 'hypocrite' acitivist. Neither do I hate people from the towns and big cities; I just don't like hypocrites...just like Hippies who say the wanna save the Mother Earth, and yet all they do is smoke pot and smell bad, all day long!!They don't live what they say.

Nothing wrong being activists or champions of noble works; it's just we have to be careful with our own intentions. No matter how noble our words, ideas and actions are, if they sugar-coat our hypocricies, they are rubbish too.Down with the hypocrites!

Respect.

Anonymous said...

Nama Dr. Dusit nyadi Dayak Obama, akai dai...manjong sida di Lebor nin, entau bada agi!! 'Nyelai' amat enti pia.. alu moden Lebor udah iya.. sorry, ngena jako Lebor ditu...hehhehe

june said...

hippies mapap - considering that your comment has no direct relevance to the actual blog post, I assume that you are referring to the comments made here, including mine. Don't fall into the same trap our controlled print media has into smearing a negative portrayal of people who toil in NGOS. Yes, some are hypocrites and condescending but not all. Believe me, people like your friend don't last long. Don't begrudge those who grew up in towns, and gave up better paying jobs for NGOs/beliefs that they feel strongly about. Remember, probably most Dayaks raised in towns are from families where their parents and grandparents have grown up in the kampungs/longhouses/etc.. and are strongly aware of the struggles that our parents went through to give us a better chance in lives.

EL Sheila said...

May I know, Ms/Mr Hippie,

What have you done for your community thus far and how have you created awareness for ANYTHING??? I must say "ALL TALK AND NO ACTION" always equals to nothing. You talk poorly about the NGOs but at least they are doing SOMETHING. Please do not form your opinion based on a few people you know because logically, that does not equal to the population at large. You wouldn't want anyone to judge Sarawakians based on what you are, right? As for living with the community, how long would be good enough (as you think that short encounters are not good enough)? And my next question is, if you remain with the community, who then would advocate for them from where they are?

As for the Dayak Obama, the reason Obama is great in my eyes is that he did not complain about what was wrong in his community. He saw what needed to be done and did it. That is power! It started with minute work but look where he is now. SO, my dear Hippie, at which stage are you now?

Borneo Warrior said...

I have read two books by Barrack Obama the last 3 days,namely;1. Dreams from My Father,and 2.The Audacity Of Hope.

A beautifully told and remarkable story.Fresh and with sheer honesty as he traced his roots across continents.

Can a Dayak Iban amongst us,especially the youths of today dream and emulate Obama?

Henry Anak Joseph said...

Obama's victory is a mark of mature politics.

Malaysian political leaders from current ruling party often alluded BN's victory in the past to mature politics too. But Malaysian and American politics have marked diffences in many aspects.

Free media almost don't exist in Malaysia. BN's victory depends greatly on controlled media. In the United States, freedom of the press is almost absolute. Obama's vistory was because of free media.

When BN leaders talk of political maturity in Malaysia, they mean that the people are mature because they have voted for BN. If they have not voted for BN they are not matured yet because they do not know how to choose. Voting for BN is a symbol of political maturity. In the United States, when they talk about political maturity they mean they have absolute freedom of choice and that choice had been exercised freely.

Waiting for a Dayak Obama is a subjective issue. Sarawak is a plural society. Even if Dayak are fully United, we can't have Dayak Obama until Dayak leaders are accepted by all and that acceptance must be absolute and unqualified. But in order to be accepted by all a Dayak leader cannot be parochial in outlook, character and vision. He must be a leader for all. Unless Dayak people can create such a leader, a Dayak Obama will never be born.

Anonymous said...

Hello there everyone.
As a dayak, to me, we dont really need a leader from the dayak community, but what we dayaks want is a leader who is fair and just. It is the circumstances and the situation the dayaks are in now demanded the the dayak leader to come forward to fight for the rights of the dayaks. As for now, we dayaks especially the iban, are badly treated unjustificably. We are being sidelined in all angles, from education, development, employment and promotion, business opportunities and everything. That is not enough. Our right as a native over the land is not respected(luckily we still have judges who really uphold justice done and fearless of Taib).Not a surprise one day our young beautiful maidens may be taken as they wish, remember Idi Amin.
I can feel now the wind of change is beginning to sweep through not only among the dayaks, but also among the malays. Not only the dayaks, all races in sarawak need a leader who is just and fair. We need a leader who is not corrupt and greedy, but truelly develop sarawak with fairness.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone there.

Just for curiousity reason, Taib successor will be Salleh Jaffarudin, why? Simple. Remember Ming Court Drama? Ha, this time around, Taib have to bethankful to his uncle rahman who has helped him seived the distrusted dayaks and malays leaders to be thrown out from PBB. SO this time, with patience, Salleh Jaffarudin is rewarded.
Watchout PKR leaders, dont ever abuse your power and overstep procedures, because rahman and taib is influential with their monies and rewards to any enforcement bodies to disturb. THIS IS A SERIOUS REMINDER.