RJ Rithaudeen: Jae Senn is one of the more mature and accomplished writers I’ve come to know in my lifetime and has an extraordinary talent. He is able to dissect the most sensitive of issues and reconstruct them in very positive, people-centric and unifying ways. He’s truly the product of the “ideal Malaysian race” many of us hope to achieve
A DAP cybertrooper wrote about pornographic Malay novels being written in Jawi, and a dumb DAP assemblywoman repeats this story to a crowd, with clear intention to ridicule Jawi and the Muslims’ reverence for Khat calligraphy.
Here’s the thing. Jawi is just the Malay language written in an Arabic-derived alphabet system, but Khat calligraphy, most of the time, are artistic carvings and representations of Islamic verses. I’ve seen a large elaborate 3D wood carving of Surah Yasin before and it boggles my mind as to how the person who made it even managed to complete it!
An Arabic speaker would know how to read such a piece of art and would understand what it means. A person who knows Jawi, however, might be able to read it phonetically but may not know what it means.
It’s just like how English speakers may be able to approximate the pronunciations of Spanish sentences that they see, but they may not understand it.
But right now, the teaching of Jawi has become associated with Islamization because Khat calligraphy usually display verses from the al-Quran, although the calligraphic writing of Malay in Jawi script can be about anything.
Meanwhile, in a tit-for-tat, someone has just posted that the Chinese had old pornographic texts written in Chinese calligraphy.
What are we trying to achieve here? Nothing productive comes out of this.
Okay, how about this. Forget about pornography. Leave Islamophobia aside. Let’s take a quick look at the Hongwu Emperor, also known as Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the most illustrious Chinese era, the Ming Dynasty.
Whenever we watch medieval-themed kungfu movies, the underlying dogma is always “Overthrow the Qing, Restore the Ming”. The Ming Dynasty has been highly romanticized and exaggerated in countless tales and stories. Chinese art, literature, music, etc. flourished during this dynasty.
What many people may not know is that the Hongwu Emperor wrote, in old Chinese calligraphic writing, a poem called the “Hundred-Word Eulogy”, which was dedicated to Prophet Muhammad.
It wasn’t written in Arabic calligraphy, but it was about Islam. A praise of Islam’s prophet, written in Chinese calligraphy.
So, guys, stop slinging mud at each other by using pornographic novels as examples of Jawi and Mandarin calligraphy.
Use examples of calligraphy that can build bridges instead.
Reproductions of the Hundred-Word Eulogy are found in most mosques throughout China until today, still written in Chinese calligraphy.