Monday, March 11, 2013

A Few Armed Men


On Valentines Day, the Sultan of Sulu sent a few armed men to Sabah to 'reclaim' it. Mr. Sultan claims that Sabah belongs to the Sultanate and that it is merely on lease to Malaysia for Php70,000 per year -- which tells me that I've been renting the wrong place this whole time! It appears nobody remembered to consider inflation when they were hammering out the lease agreement. Big mistake.

Some argue that the island (which was originally owned by the Sultan of Brunei, but was gifted to the Sultan of Sulu as a reward for being such a helpful fellow) really was ceded to Malaysia, not leased. Well, actually the transfer was from the Sultan of Brunei; then to the Sultanate of Sulu; then leased/ceded to a British company; then to Great Britain, who was 'overseeing' some other islands in the area also; then Sabah was granted freedom and decided to be part of the Malaysian federation -- but who cares about details like that.

Now, the question is: If Sabah really was sold to the British North Borneo Company, how much was it sold for? One does not buy something without a definite price. In 1898, the Philippines was ceded by Spain (the bastards) to the United States for $20 million dollars. That is an exact sum, and it is huge, 1898 huge. Having said that, 5,300 Malaysian ringgit or Php70,000 per year sounds like rent money to me -- which still tells me I'm renting the wrong place!

Anyway. So, Mr. Sultan sent a few armed men to Sabah. Malaysia naturally didn't  like it. Both the Malaysian and the Philippine governments urged Mr. Sultan Kiram to send his men back to Sulu to avoid extreme awkwardness. No go. And more than two weeks after Valentines Day, violence erupted, both sides suffered casualties.

Then on March 06, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon came out with a statement urging people to just stop being such toddlers. Mr. Sultan heard that and promptly declared a unilateral ceasefire, which is his way of saying I don't have to consult with you but I'm telling you that I'm having this ceasefire. To which Malaysia replied: "Neknek mo." So, no, that did not work.

As of today, the Malaysians are still irritable and still hunting down Kiram's men in Sabah -- and being assholes to other Filipinos there along the way. Well, Kiram still wants that ceasefire and is urging UN to intervene. To this day, Malaysia is still pointing to its neck -- universally accepted signal for 'neknek mo.'


This wonderful excursion of Kiram's men into his very own Sabah is nothing more than an act of price haggling -- no less, no more.

I will not be so presumptuous as to assume that Kiram is stupid that he believes that he can rule over Sabah and its inhabitants.

I will not be so presumptuous as to assume that Kiram is stupid that he does not realize the headache it will bring us if we go ahead and 'subdue' Sabah. We will have seen a secession movement far more violent and fatal than any secession movement we have ever experienced.

Kiram knows it is foolhardy to claim and actually take over Sabah. He is much too shrewd to not know that. He is shrewd enough, though, to send a few men to their death to start the haggling process. Heads have turned, attentions have been gained, let's hope the haggling can start.

Anyone who believes that Kiram did not know what would ultimately happen to his Sabah excursionists is not fully appreciating the Sultan of Sulu.

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