Tulisan Jawi

“ارفع كلماتك ولا ترفع صوتك فالمطر هو الذي ينبت الورود وليس الرعد”
Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.
-Jalaluddin al-Rumi

To preach is so much easier than to practice. Such is often the case. For to speak words of virtue and idealistic views is far simpler than to be a change; foreign and, subsequently, isolated and frowned upon. Yet, just how far can we go if we only talk, but do not walk? How long can we shout the same words before it becomes nothing but a broken record? 

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

Throughout the many years that I have spent writing and worrying about the future of our nation and its rich heritage, I have always been upset and frustrated about my subpar capabilities in writing and conversing in my own mother tongue; Bahasa Melayu. I felt as if I am a hypocrite; preaching about how important it is to protect our culture and heritage and yet, being unable to master Bahasa Melayu myself. I wasn’t incapable of conversing and writing in Bahasa Melayu, but I often make grammatical mistakes and my vocabulary index was so shallow that it was laughable.

Then, one quiet morning in November 2018, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Allahyarham Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Omar Mohd Hashim, who played a key role in establishing the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination to replace the Cambridge’s examination and empowered the role of Bahasa Melayu in our primary and secondary education. On top of that, he was also one of the people responsible behind the construction of Wisma Sejarah as the headquarters for Persatuan Sejarah Malaysia– which was where I accidentally met him as he was reading a newspaper (Utusan) in the library. And for a man who played such a great role in preserving and strengthening the role of our own language as well as our history, he was greatly uncelebrated. He rode a humble car and dressed in smart, but humble clothes and looked at me perplexed when I asked for his autograph because he didn’t understand why would I ask for his autograph. And from this experience and the words that he wrote and spoke throughout his lifetime, I came to understand that he didn’t care about the fanfares which came with his many credentials. All that he wanted was to preserve and strengthen the role of our language and history and thus, he worked to ensure that it happened by raising his actions and words, and not his voice.

Thus why I was inspired to take the opportunity to relearn Bahasa Melayu from the basics and try my very best to finally master the language while I was studying for my SPM examinations last year so that I won’t just simply excel in the exams, but can write and speak in the same language that my forefathers spoke in. And now, I can proudly say that my proficiency in Bahasa Melayu has immensely improved and my “karangan” being arguably better than that of my elder sister’s.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

For the past months, the issue of including a section to observe our traditional script, Jawi, in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus has been so hotly debated that half of us have forgotten the point of including the section in our syllabus in the first place. However, for all the damages it has caused, what good has the debate brought us? Are the ones who shout as they defend the decision to include the Jawi script in our syllabus actually using the script in their daily lives and working to ensure that the script is preserved by teaching their children to appreciate, love and write in the script? Everyone left and right are screaming and shouting about the implementations of the action, and the implementations of opposing the actions, and the implementations of opposing the opposition of the action that it is dangerously close to turning into an annoying sound like that of a mosquito which the public would swat away when they hear it, or a grenade which explodes and destroys bridges in between friends, neighbours and the nation.

Then, the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah binti Almarhum Al-Mutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj, simply posted four words in Jawi script on her twitter calling for the public to “هيدوڤ کن کݢوناٴن توليسن جاوي”, or to start writing and applying the usage of the Jawi script in our daily lives, and subsequently only wrote in Jawi script on her Twitter. However, her actions have triggered thousands of Malaysians to start learning and using the script on social media as well as their daily lives; a refreshing and exuberant sight for all of us. Her Majesty didn’t call for war or for us to preach to those who are bent on despising and calling our traditional script propaganda. All that Her Majesty did was to call for us to practice it in our daily lives and encouraged it by doing so herself. Yet, the good it has brought us is tenfold the effect we have seen from the months-long debate on Tulisan Jawi.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

We’ve heard these words from Jalaluddin al-Rumi countless of times– perhaps, have even quoted it. Yet, how often do we sit back and ask ourselves if we are embodying it? How often do we sit back and reflect on our past actions and look for countless of times we went against the words we preach? 

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