Ma’ase’ kam…its the Sinama for “Have pity.” The Sama, known in Malaysia as the Bajau, see their lifestyle and culture threatened in all of their traditional territories. Threats to peace and order in Malaysia as well as the government’s response to such threats are also a threat to the Bajau way of life. Malaysia has a reputation for being the land of opportunity for the Bajau. Sama culture has slowly been shifting towards Malaysia over the past few decades. Due to recent kidnappings in the region as well as other border crime, politicians are calling for changes that would entirely disrupt the Bajau way of life. Lahad Datu assemblyman, Datuk Mohammad Yusof Apdal is calling for a ban on the usage of all pump boats in Malaysia. Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed is calling for the demolition of the country’s water villages.
What is a Bajau man without his boat? What is the Bajau tribe with no water villages? Ethnocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic destruction of the culture of an ethnic group. To take away the Bajau boats and the Bajau water villages would be death to their culture. We all want to see these crimes stopped, but please in the process have pity on the Bajau people. Ma’ase’ kam! This message is for the criminals. This message is for the politicians. Ma’ase’ kam. Do not commit ethnocide. Ma’ase’ kam!