What Has Oxford Done?
M. Bakri Musa and Din Merican

Both are graduates of Oxford, but what a difference between the two! What separates them is that elusive quality: class. One has it; the other does not. When you have class, Oxford will bring out the best in you. When you do not, not even esteemed Oxford can do much for you.

One is a crown prince, a sultan-to-be whose recent wedding warmed the hearts of Malaysians for its elegant simplicity and regal restraint. His eloquent speeches inspire the young and old alike; they enthusiastically embrace his enlightened vision of Malaysia. He appeals to their idealism and decency, and they in turn respond in kind. His understated passion and cool rationality resonate with the citizens. He elevates the tone of our civil discourse. In short, Raja Nazrin is “Yang Teramat Mulia” (“The Most Esteemed”) personified.

The other is a neophyte political operative, with grand pretensions of being the next Prime Minister. For now however, he is till struggling just to have the title (but not the qualities) of a “Yang Berhormat” (“The Honorable”) that goes with being a Member of Parliament. His obscenely ostentatious wedding a few years back dragged on for days, with multiple ceremonies. Its extravagance easily outmatched the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, minus of course the royal elegance. Today he is again indulging in excesses; this time hurling insults at Malaysians and assaulting their sense of decency.

In his speeches to his followers in UMNO Youth, he instigates and brings out their dark side. To him, the Mat Rempits, those midnight marauders of unemployable youths who terrorize our streets, represent the best of our community. He champions them. Like them, his trade in stock is taunting and provoking, with undisguised racist undertone. Lately he resorts to simian references; no surprise as he is surrounded daily by the opportunist monkeys in the jungle that is UMNO. This fraud of a leader coarsens our public debates, dragging them to his barnyard level.

We humbly apologize to Raja Nazrin for this jarring juxtaposition of images. We are comforted by the fact that a Prince Charming beside a toad will never lose his regal bearing. A toad beside a prince however, will make its warts all the more revolting to behold, and its croaking unbearably grating.

While the constant croaking of a toad may be harsh on the ears, the repeated racist rhetoric of a leader, genuine or fake, can have devastating consequences. We would have thought that this would be obvious; we need not remind ourselves of the ghastly tragedy of May 1969.

This wet-behind-the-ears pseudo-leader is oblivious of these dangers. Born years after those horrific days in 1969, he did not live through the calamity that nearly ripped our nation apart. It would be unlikely for him to have learned that part of our history at Oxford. It is also painfully obvious that no senior leaders in his party have taken him aside to apprise this uncouth young man of that blemish in our history. This glaring omission speaks volumes of the caliber of UMNO’s current leadership.

Elusive Quality of Class

While “class” is an elusive quality and thus difficult to define, nonetheless we know it when we see it, to borrow the phrase of an American jurist. We would definitely know it when it is not there, hence the dismissive, “No class!”

Equally revealing is what a particular culture considers to be a class act or whom that society views as “classy.” Rest assured that a “class act” by a mafia don is anything but in a civilized society.

Nelson Mandela has class; his nemesis the buffoon P. W. Botha did not. Many attribute “class” to breeding. If by that they mean genetic endowment, we demur, as that would imply that the attribute is not teachable. It also implies the acceptance of a certain degree of fatalism: either one is lucky to be born with the attribute, or one is not.

If the term “breeding” refers to upbringing, then we are in agreement. This does not mean that those in the upper crust of society would automatically have “class.” We have many uncouth presidents and leaders. Then there was the lowly born Mahatma Gandhi whose class act of non-violence shamed the crusty British establishment.

We would have thought that being the son of a career diplomat would ensure good upbringing. After all the profession of diplomacy itself is the epitome of class, as encapsulated in the expression, “being diplomatic.” We also would have expected some of the father’s classiness to rub off on the son. That it did not forces us to look for other explanations.

The Malay expression Kurang Ajar (or Kurang ‘Jar, K ‘J) is the idiomatic translation of the phrase “No class.” Literally it means, “Not adequately taught,” as by the parents and other elders in the village. Stated another way: uncouth.

In Malay culture however, that phrase means much more: it is the most damning insult. In the words of Usman Awang in his poem Kurang Ajar, it is sebuah perkataan yang paling ditakuti untok bangsa kita yang pemalu) (the most feared phrase by our race.)

That aside, the literal translation is quite meaningful as it points out possible ways of remedying the deficiency. Thus, “Teach your children well!” as the song advises, is one useful way. There is no advantage in being born to a diplomat’s family if your parents have not provided you the necessary tutelage. Or, as is increasingly becoming common among Malaysians, they delegate this important parental responsibility to maids.

Malaysia imports thousands of these maids annually. As only the affluent could afford these “servants,” as they are referred to in Malaysian homes, we are now seeing a generation of the elite that has grown up kurang ajar. Many are jockeying for leadership of the nation. We shudder to think of the social and political implications.

Toxic Combination of Greed and Kurang Ajar

As obnoxious as this kurang ‘jar (K ‘J) young pseudo-leader is, the situation is worse. He is also aggressively ambitious, barely concealing his greed for money and lust for power. He fancies himself an “investment banker,” but his primary indulgence is stripping off valuable assets from government-linked companies. ECM Libra’s (the company he is associated with) well documented plundering of GLCs is a ready example. He also grandly aspires to be Prime Minister by age 40! It is this combination of greed and kurang ajar that is highly toxic.

This K ‘J pseudo-leader’s political career in UMNO is consumed with endless Machiavellian maneuverings in the blind pursuit of his ambition. None of his tricks are original of course; they are primarily the familiar “sucking up to your superiors,” or variations thereof, including the most extreme form: marrying the boss’s daughter.

If perchance the particular leader this K ‘J character is backing suddenly stumbles, he shrewdly shifts his target. His tactics and underlying strategies however, remain the same. After all, innovative imagination is not his forte!

Thus now that Anwar Ibrahim is out of power, this K ‘J character readily heaps scorn upon him. Earlier when he thought that Anwar might dramatically resurrect himself upon his release from prison, this K ‘J was the first to greet Anwar at his home on the pretext of expediting his passport application. Had Anwar remained the Deputy Prime Minister, this K ‘J would probably go after Anwar’s daughter instead!

Meanwhile supplicating supporters of this K ‘J are busy groveling to him; like leader, like followers. One particularly sycophantic subordinate went so far and without any trace of modesty referred to this K ‘J character as UMNO’s Beckham! This sycophant missed the salient fact that Beckham’s talent excites the crowd; K ‘J’s is to incite them.

Along the same vein, a tabloid columnist gushes in quoting an “anonymous” UMNO insider who likens this K ‘J to a young Mahathir. Laughable! Her groveling piece reveals more about herself than her subject: a drooling lapdog ready to lick her master at the snap of the finger.

We are heartened that some are beginning to see through the fraud of this K ’J. Zahar Hashim, head of Petaling Jaya Selatan UMNO, likened this K ‘J to the devil haunting UMNO Youth. Zahar is a retired army officer; meaning he has guts to go with his self-discipline. It would be tough to borak (hoodwink) your way through this former soldier.

The most effective way to teach these K ‘J types a lesson is to land them a tight slap on their face. Many we presume would like to do just that, especially Zahar. While we cannot do so literally, we are metaphorically slapping his face with our piece.

We have unequivocally declared here that Raja Nazrin is a class act, while this other K ‘J character is just that: kurang ‘jar. In so clearly drawing the line, we are also explicitly stating our values of what we consider worthy of praise and emulation versus what we should condemn and discourage.

(Din Merican is a senior research fellow with the Cambodian Institute of Cooperation and Peace. He was recently named an adjunct professor of global business strategy and a board member of the newly formed University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Din Merican had worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bank Negara Malaysia and Sime Darby.) He can be reached at: dmerican@yahoo.com.

M. Bakri Musa ( http://www.bakrimusa.com. bakrimusa@juno.com)


55 responses »

  1. monsterball says:

    Mahathir thought he was the King Of Malaysia.
    Why can’t Khairy who is strong in UMNO thinks he can be future PM?
    So as long as UMNO stays in power….lets be realistic…Khairy’s dream may come true.
    And if so…we deserve him as one.
    Voters choose….remember?

  2. lucia says:

    i love this article. why? it talks on my hero… and my zero. haha.

    i admire raja nazrin very much and welcome so much whatever came out from his mouth. whereas for KJ… the opposite. i had been very critical of KJ all the time in my blog. thus this is a very good article for me to enjoy indeed. i will put it up in my blog too.

  3. hutchrun says:

    The most effective way to teach these K ‘J types a lesson is to land them a tight slap on their face.
    That I agree with wholeheartedly and have posted too elsewhere.

  4. bamboo river says:

    This article worth posting in your blog , Susan.
    This is a good example of what the citizen felt about our ‘Yang Teramat Mulia’ Raja Nazrin and what we says about that ‘Yang Tak Tahu Hormat’ KJ.

    One is a diamond and the other is a piece of coal hoping to turn into diamond.

    Oxfordians are highly respected by academicians around the world.

    Yes, Kurang Ajar is the most painful and embarassing word to swallow not only to bangsa Melayu alone , but to all bangsa Malaysia.
    We have lived together as a multi racial citizen learning and even practising each others ‘Budi Bahasa’ and ‘Sopan Santun’

  5. hamzah says:

    YM Raja Nazrin for PM!

    Long live Raja Nazrin!

  6. bolehbug says:

    Malaysia boleh
    It is important to distinguish those who enter on merit and those who enter on payment.
    Ivy League varsities and Oxbridge are not immune to the sweet though filthy lucre (L. lucrum)
    Education is a business, the higher the educational qualification, the bigger the business.
    For some Ivy League varsities, if your parent attended the same varsity previously, you have already an additional qualification for entry.
    Yes, to maintain standards, they do give scholarships for the better students to study there, knowing full well that these students will do well anywhere.
    On a blinded marking of test answer scrips, candidates from nonIvy varsities scored equal and higher than the Ivy’s yet when the scrips were not blinded, Ivy’s scored higher – same examiners.
    Yes Oxford is a premium brand…
    with questionable QC…

  7. wits0 says:

    “Toxic Combination of Greed and Kurang Ajar”
    The bottomless abyss of infamy by any other name….enabled also by indulgent FIL and fawning MSM.

  8. monsterball says:

    WOW! MCA said must help Chinese poor. He knows about our sorrows and difficulties. PM said he will be fair to all races.
    You see….if both are sincere…no need to talk all these now. It’s their responsibilities..and there for years.
    Did anyone experience or see help to Chinese and Indians…any actions or good results?
    It is either we are a bunch sickening ungrateful Malaysians or they are a bunch of low down scums to talk same thing near election time….never deliver ..never can be trusted.Samy Vellu is taking notes all the time..so it seems. Only that biggest clown knows what he is writing at his pad…maybe what dishes to eat…where to go for holiday..what to buy for grand children…who knows!! I don’t trust him one bit…do you?
    Fall into the trap again….we will get what we vote for. No one to be blame. Live with it!

  9. wits0 says:

    “PM said he will be fair to all races.”
    What does he know about fairness?
    The front page Star declaration by the MCA’s OKT makes me never to buy another copy of it again….not even for the Intech section on Tuesday. Noted the color of the “dunno” one’s suit:

  10. monsterball says:

    And that Samy Vellu must have heard Mahathir said same thing over and over again in few UMNO & MCA general assemblies…taking notes and smile like he is doing now.
    He is so excited…like hearing for the first time. What a sickening hypocrite!
    He wrote a love poem for Mahathir…then abandon him…and focus carrying Pak Lah’s balls now.
    What will take voters to realize all these are election gimmicks…never truthful nor sincere promises .

  11. wits0 says:

    “For now however, he is till struggling just to have the title (but not the qualities) of a “Yang Berhormat” (“The Honorable”) that goes with being a Member of Parliament.”
    As possible as it is for a spoon to savor the taste of the soup, it is for him to understand the meaning of honor. As real as the existence of honor in “honor” killing.

    Don’t they all murder semantics and blather crap?

  12. Jonah says:

    Wits0 says: “PM said he will be fair to all races.”

    Well, Wits0, I’m trying very hard to make sense of Abdullah’s rhetoric at the MCA meeting:



  13. kittykat46 says:

    The SIL (Simian-In-Law) is the ultimate anti-thesis of meritocracy.
    The guy would be a Zero clown if he weren’t the SIL to you-know-who..

  14. wits0 says:

    Correction, KK, he’s the anti-thesis of decency and honor where the affairs of humanity is concerned. He would be the reincarnate of Kauravas who caused the legendary Kurukshetra war – between brothers, the Kauravas and the Pandavas :

  15. hutchrun says:

    Thousands gather in Putrajaya demanding end to marginalisation of Indians

    Chinese should do the same.

  16. Mike says:

    Khairy jamalludin.How the hell did such a idiot get in to oxford

  17. THE OBSERVER says:

    “Correction, KK, he’s the anti-thesis of decency….” Wits-oh

    Oh yeah?? And you’re not?

    It wasn’t too long ago that you called a reader here ‘a dog’, ‘worse than a dog’, ‘vile nut’ and ‘scumbag’.

  18. wits0 says:

    Oh, so “THE OBSERVER”, the one who observes while standing on his head.

    His friend just gotten blog-terminated and I now wave a keris too.

  19. Frank says:

    OBSERVER has a point.

    Did you or did you not say those words, Wits0?

    Answer the question.

  20. wits0 says:

    Who are you to demand an answer? The Onus of Proof is on you to show where I did in the form and context alleged.

  21. Frank says:

    LOL! Somebody is trying to be a half-past six lawyer.

  22. Frank says:

    Nobody is asking you about ‘form’ and ‘context’. Just answer the question.

  23. Mason From Kuching says:


    Khairy’s no idiot. He’s betting and riding on the ‘winning-horse’ always.

    I just get to know Bakri Musa superlative article HERE. He’s comparable to Jerry Brukreimer in film-making.

  24. wits0 says:

    The law school pretender was banned for mischiefs and his supporters moan loudly. How sorrowfully!

  25. wits0 says:

    The upside down OBSERVER and Frank(in nothing) in all likelihood works for the Cybertroopers by the manner in which they(or just the selfsame one?)view instigatory mischiefs as being very forgiveable indeed and/or is just upset because the devious cover is blown.

  26. wits0 says:

    Yes Mason, indeed, Khairy’s no idiot. He’s just totally unscrupulous and Machiavellian(as Bakri Musa puts it).

  27. O.J. Sampson says:

    THE OBSERVER AND FRANK are probably the same comentator.

    Wits0 is not in the dock, and just ‘YES’ n ‘NO’ without duducing any references makes hay for your anti-dialectic investigating style, shipping you to CHina-“leniency for the one who confess, severity For the one who resist “.

  28. Frank says:

    Weeds0 has now morphed into O.J. Sampson. Pathetic!

  29. Frank says:

    I apologize Judge. That was a rhetorical question to test his credibility. Weeds0 has no credibility whatsoever and is a person who cannot be believed.

  30. Frank says:

    That was a side bar.

    To return to the topic of the thread, personalities like KJ only emerges when there are people like Weeds-0 who claims he is decent when obviously he has trashed this blog with his obscenities.

    KJ is beating the drums of narrow Malay nationalism because he knows there are many willing to dance to his beat.

  31. oA says:


    Yes Mason, indeed, Khairy’s no idiot. He’s just totally unscrupulous and Machiavellian(as Bakri Musa puts it).


    Pure hypocrite.

    Thats what the party is all about. It bends you then you stoop to kiss asses for all eternity. LoL



  32. Frank says:

    Yep – there goes another one. No end to multiple handles. LOL.

  33. […] Oxford must be ashamed of Khairy… What Has Oxford Done? M. Bakri Musa and Din Merican Both are graduates of Oxford, but what a difference between the […] […]

  34. […] Oxford must be ashamed of Khairy… What Has Oxford Done? M. Bakri Musa and Din Merican Both are graduates of Oxford, but what a difference between the […] […]

  35. hutchrun says:

    KJ is beating the drums of narrow Malay nationalism because he knows there are many willing to dance to his beat.
    MCA n MIC, major partners in the BN, agree that malay dancers are vital to their survival. They eat from the same plate.

  36. Mike says:

    yeah mason but aTleast i thought the oxford admissions tutor would have seenthrough such an arsewipe but then again bureaucracy rules the world doesnt it

  37. goon says:

    Yeah, the difference is like between heaven and hell. Raja Nazrin from heaven and the ape baboon from hell.

  38. wits0 says:

    Raja Nazrin has true Class ; KJ can only look like a goat.

  39. hutchrun says:

    Goat with silly beard. He looks mighty stoned in the pic in Pg.17 NST, today.

  40. bru99 says:

    hutchrun, your comment at 5:36 pm, its remind me of the call for the gathering of MCA and UMNO in KL just before the OPS Lalang, please learned from history ….. it will be of no good , the malays too could call for a meet at Putra Jaya , about 100,000 or more of them and see what will happen……

  41. Mason From Kuching says:


    Thanks for the exchanges of thought.

    You wrote:-yeah mason but aTleast i thought the oxford admissions tutor would have seenthrough such an arsewipe but then again bureaucracy rules the world doesnt it.

    You see Mike, all higher learning institutions-Oxford, Harvard, etc.,etc, of the 1st world country never has a segregative racial biasm of coed entry unlike the racist higher learning education in Malaysia. Have you ever see
    other than a “BUMIPUTRA” (1st and second class, bidayuh, kadazan,) coed in University teknologi MARA?

    and a non-malay student will have to endure 2 years of lower n upper level of FORM 6 to have a slim chance of competence against the Malays
    entry that requires a FORM 5 pass.

    In retrospect, I vividly recalls when NEWSWEEK columnist, Fareed Zakaria’s been interviewed locally where the interviewer keeps on waylaying him questioning whether there is any racial discrimination in the States.

    Zakaria repeatedly gave versions that in The ‘Big Apple” (New York) you can see Indians executives anywhere, from stock-brokers to scientists. His inference is racisms is tackled well if existed.

    Racism are impossible to be repelled in any countries but the courage within one race to punish the same race should the acts be commited against another race.

    Nelson Mandela liberated the apartheid systems
    not because the blacks were superior in the military, but because the WHITES are condoning and repentence and should Nelson Mandela or Gandhi were to fight using their very same methods in Malaysia, I bet on my life, it will never work at all.

    If you resides in a 1st world country like australia, England, US, if a caucasians or native white
    marginalised other races, you will always find a venue to redress your duress sucessfully but in this BOLEHLAND, if the same instances apllies on you, and if you lodge a report to the authorities,
    the latter would probably arrest you for racial instigation.

    Eric Hofer-“Power corrupts the few, weakness corrupts the many” just like UMNO’s underlings-MCA, MIC, SUPP, etc. Just say THANK YOU UMNO, and you are ensured of an unbre.
    akable ‘rice-bowl’ forever.

  42. You’re right racism is everywhere – not peculiar to just Malaysia.

    In the United States there are written laws prohibiting racial discrimination at the workplace – meaning you can get compensation for damages suffered provided for example that you have been denied promotion purely because you’re of a minority race and you could prove it. It is harder to prove if you were refused a job.

    In Malaysia racism is institutionalized and no one can do a damn thing about it. There are no laws prohibiting racial discrimination. It is not unconstitutional or at least nobody has challenged its constitutionality.

    However, it is still not anything like apartheid. You don’t see signs saying, “Muslims Only” or “Non-Muslims not allowed”. Do you?

    Today depending on which part of London you find yourself in, try getting a room at the local Bed and Breakfast. Don’t be surprised if the clerk tells you there is no vacancy. Then when you are about to leave you hear a white couple asks for a room and the clerk says “Yes, there is Sir. Follow me please.”

    The difference is in Malaysia it is practiced openly. “Jobs for Bumis Only” or “Non-Bumis need not apply”.

    There are laws prohibiting racial discrimination but there are no laws that could stop or prevent racism.

  43. monsterball says:

    See It As It is….Well said. However vast majority of people from all races do not think or practice what you wrote or think like that.
    It is the dirty politics that harbors of such methods to keep winning votes…yet if total votes are counted and analyzed sincerely…you will know I am right.
    Much as we are different from the British…there are much more racialists and hypocrites in England than Malaysia and we Malaysians do not hold wish to be them too. We have our own special identity…great three races and cultures…living happily and peacefully.. side by side..inspite of our differences.
    We ARE smart and not ignorant people….plus with great generosity in our hearts….sometimes taken as a weakness. Why do we need to be like others?
    Those signs you mentioned may mean respect for other religions..race… instead of showing racism. You may not understand this logic…never mind.

  44. Mason From Kuching says:

    See It as u can,

    good rationale. That’s also a dubious
    racist factor.

  45. wits0 says:

    “There are laws prohibiting racial discrimination ”

    The defining difference is M’sia openly glorifies it -as the only way. Therefore there is gonna be no way of resolving/alleviating this big human problem – ever.

  46. Mitesh says:

    its like two sides of a coin

  47. Australian Flashpacker says:


  48. Azman says:

    KJ would be a more refined person if he is in RN’s shoe and likewise RN will be a more agressive politician if he is in KJ’s position. Long live KJ and RN, I am sure Oxford are proud of you all.

  49. GLADDEN MOK says:

    This Royal Highness is another of this clique of this Khairy…
    Formerly, I did respect his Highness for his great speeches in the News media..
    But not for his ineptness in choosing the MB of his state government…

  50. GLADDEN MOK says:

    Anyhow, the Perak MB seems to me all these while a decent fellow,,, very likable…. maybe, I do believe in him although, he is from PAS…

  51. khairy-torn in my frresh says:

    Khairy, young man with no brain, but good in creating racist issue, I suppose being an MP, he may also raise this topic, how to preserve Malays in Malaysia 30% stakes, I say it is extremely easy and also effective to cut crab for future.

    That is to pass law to only STAMP all the initial IPO share certificate with :”NON Transferable Malay Reserved Share”, so, nobody is able to transfer nor buy any Malay reserve shares but only Malay and this is the fool-proof way to maintain the quatas of 30% reserved . Khairy, kindly raise this idea in parliament, pls…………………………… I shall raise up my 20 toeses to support this idea.

  52. […] 9, 2008 by pilgrimsmaster Curious as to how Abdul Razak Baginda , K”I-Was-Never-A-Crossdresser”J and any Tom,Dick and Harry can enter Oxbridge nowadays? Well, take a gander here. Hmm, now let me […]

  53. Isabella says:

    Khairy,one sights of you on TV,your speech,body language,reactions reflects your character.
    You have no characteristic of a good,sound,matured,educated,intelligent
    man. How much you pay to get to the U.
    Don,t risks the nation of your hooligans character and deters those
    like Dr.Mahathir.Stop wasting your time.Understand yourself before you go out bluntly.
    I,ll date you if I see improvement, daa……..aaaaa!

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