Monday, February 16, 2009

The Half-Breeds & The Indian Nation

A long time ago, there was a cinema theater in Penang that showed cheap matinee on weekends. The Star theater was located in Dato' Keramat. The ticket cost .20 sen and seats were reserved by rushing in and tying a hanky.

Shows were mostly the chapter type (a precursor of the series ) such as Captain America, Buffalo Bill, Roy Rogers, Randolf Scott, etc. Favorites were the cowboy and Indian movies.

The white immigrants, the settlers and the US cavalry always won. The finale was always the bugler-led US cavalry on full gallop coming to the rescue of the white settlers in their wagon train encycled by the savage half-naked Indians. The Indians in the movies differed only by the tribes involved, Sioux in one and Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, Utes, etc. in the next.

Leading the US Cavalry or the long knives as the Indians called them, were the Indian Scouts who were good at tracking. These scouts were either renegade Indians or half-breeds who have an axe to grind against their tribes.

How we children cheered when the cavalry came to the rescue. The excitement was further enhanced with a thundering soundtrack.

Little did I realise this type of attack (rescue to some) would be played two three centuries later here in Malaysia. We have the half-breeds and renegade Malays scouting for and leading the later-day immigrant cavalry attacking the Malays.

The Red Indians are now living in reservations surviving on blanket and vase sales to tourists.

And the Malays here? Happy to be Mat Rempit and voting in Akademi Fantasia now and their future is almost certain as that of the American Indians.

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