Atchafalaya Swamp

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By the Tongue, By The Sword, By The Dick: A Bugis Philosophy

IT SOUNDS A BIT CRUDE, I know, but this was exactly the theme of DPM Dato Sri Muhammad Najib Tun Razak’s acceptance speech when awarded the doctorate honoris causa (honorary degree) from Indonesia’s Hasanuddin University in Makassar, South Sulawesi Monday.

Najib, awarded the doctorate in Political Economy, was the 6th recipient in a convocation attended by Indonesia’s Vice-President and fellow Bugis Jusuf Kalla. Najib admitted that in preparing for the speech he was “coached” by Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla on this seminal Bugis philosophy.

To the uninitiated, the Three Tips philosophy - tellu cappa in Bugis-speak (literally tiga ujung) - hence, three tips - is often quoted as a useful philosophy for solving disputes.

George Acciacoli, a noted Bugis scholar, writes that:

The three tips [tellu cappa'] encompass the tongue, the knife blade, and the penis. If a Bugis cannot integrate himself with the local leaders by diplomatic consultation (by the tip of his tongue), he may have to resort to armed battle (by the tip of his knife blade). But, best of all, he will be able truly to integrate himself in the new community by marrying one (or more) of the local women (by the tip of his penis).[1]

Interestingly the Sulawesi press made much of Najib’s genealogy as a descendant of Raja Gowa.

Najib – if the claim holds true - is therefore an Anak Raja Bugis.

The other famous Anak Raja Bugis is of course, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, owner of popular Malaysia’s website Malaysia-Today. Editorials and articles in Malaysia-Today are often critical of Najib.

The embattled Deputy Prime Minister is also implicated in the Altantunya murder by virtue of his association with close political adviser Abdul Razak Baginda. Abdul Razak is jointly charged with murder along with two bodyguards from Najib’s own personal security detail. Critics have questioned how an ordinary civilian like Abdul Razak was able to order “the hit”, thus giving rise to speculation and lending credence to conspiracy theorists.

Najib was also once scandalized by rumors of a romantic link with a popular local songstress. For the record, Datin Sri Rosmah is Najib’s second wife. Najib’s first marriage to Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar ended in divorce but the earlier union produced three children.

In light of Najib’s “Ladies Man” reputation, I wonder if it was appropriate for him to quote the Bugis Three Tips philosophy in his acceptance speech; particularly with regards to the tip-of-the penis, which I’m sure, many will find to be in very poor taste. Hopefully Najib had attended the event in a private capacity, and had not hurt the Malaysian taxpayers one bit by paying his own way to Makassar. If he flew by government private jet (read: rakyat's money), only to deliver a speech paying homage to the tip of the penis . . . well then, the rakyat has every right to be upset.

Fajar Online
also reported that during his short stay in Makassar, Najib officially inaugurated Malaysia’s Honorary Consulate and installed Hashim Kalla, Vice President’s Jusuf Kalla’s younger brother as the Honorary Consul. Makassar has a sizeable Malaysian population comprising mainly medical students from Hasanuddin University.

©Mat Salo 2007.


Source (1) http://wwwsshe.murdoch.edu.au/intersections/issue10/idrus.html#n49#n49 (Original Source: Fajar Online, South Sulawesi)