Monday, July 11, 2016

PLEASE Don't Undermine the Dignity of Kadazans

In days long gone, there was this place where people call themselves "Kadazan". However, the Bruneis who took the liberty to claim the land as their own called these people "Dusun" because they saw that these people worked in farms, tilling the land and planting rice, fruits and vegetables.

This place was Papar. Owen Rutter ("The Pagan Tribes of North Borneo", 1929) confirmed that these local people had always called themselves "Kadazan" long before the British came. Papar still exists today and the descendants of the original Kadazan live there to this very day. With the rise of nationalism among the people, the name "Kadazan" was adopted wholeheartedly by the "Tangaah" of Penampang and the surrounding villages.

With this new development, Kadazan was chosen as the language for the first local radio broadcast. Kadazan was taught in Native Voluntary Schools that were established in the 1960s. There were the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) and Koisaan Komuhakan Kadazan Sabah (KKKS). There was also the United National Kadazan Organization (UNKO) renamed later as United Pasok-Momogun Kadazan Organization (UPKO).

Now, there are the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA), formerly KCA, the Kadazan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), UPKO (United Pasok-Momogun Kadazan Organization, Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) and other organizations that are much smaller. And there is the Kadazan Chair at UMS.

Do not make a mistake that may prove costly
MNC (Momogun National Congress) proposed to use "Momogun" for three groups of  natives, namely, the Dusunic, Paitanic and Murutic groups of people, thereby conveniently subsuming Kadazan under Dusunic. Based on Sabah Tourist Association list, Paitan is classified under Kadazandusun. Murut is in a separate grouping.

KDCA had already made known its stand that the agreed name is 'Kadazandusun' and will not accept 'momogun'. KDCA had issued a press statement on this. Why must KDCA agree to a proposed name that was very recent whereas the name 'Kadazandusun' adopted in the 1960s - affirmed by KDCA Congress in 1989 - has been proven as acceptable to the native people comprising of more than thirty tribes? Why must MNC open the wounds of old between the two camps of Sabahan natives, namely, the Kadazan and Dusun? Who will gain from any renewed rivalry?

Refrain from repeating the mistake of the past. Many of the things that the natives enjoy now were the results of the hard work and dedication of certain Kadazan leaders. Let us acknowledge the important contribution of Kadazans.

This is not to deny that natives, whether Kadazan or Dusun, are way behind other races in many areas including in the economic field. But when someone says that the 'momogun' (to use MNC's proposed name for these people) are weak or disunited politically, surely it is not the ordinary Kadazan or Dusun who caused the disunity but leaders. When people say that the 'momogun' lag behind other races in business, who is to be blamed? Why didn't 'momogun' leaders do something concrete and practical for their people for the past fifty years? Why did elected 'momogun' representatives forget the pledges they made during political campaigns? Why didn't all of these leaders support KDCA's educational objectives so that 'momogun' students could be sent to study in universities overseas?

The ordinary 'momogun' is not expecting to be given financial handouts every month to send their children to school, college or university. They just want to be given opportunities to get affordable loans, perhaps soft loans, for various purposes. They just need opportunities to earn an extra ringgit in order to make ends meet.

Further to this, why must a people burn a house that is still strong and only needs innovative improvements? Which people in the world do not want to succeed financially? Which race in the world do not want to be united, to be respected and accorded due recognition, to progress and prosper? Which people in the world do not aspire to have some degree of control over events that have a bearing on their future and, thus, determine their destiny as a people?

It takes years to build a people. It takes only one mistake to undo everything good gained so far. Native leaders cannot afford to make that mistake. If changes are indeed needed, these need to be studied in depth before proceeding further. 

Note: This blog is not meant to belittle the noble aims of MNC and its leaders.
First created on July 7, 2016

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