REVISTA DE ADMINISTRAŢIE PUBLICĂ ŞI POLITICI SOCIALE
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Thursday, 22 June 2017
THE STORY OF THE KERIS AS AN INTERCULTURAL MISCOMMUNICATION ISSUE PDF Print E-mail

THE STORY OF THE KERIS AS AN INTERCULTURAL MISCOMMUNICATION ISSUE
ABDUL MUATI AHMAD
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Faculty of
Modern Languages and Communication, Serdang, Selangor. Malaysia
Tel: +6019-2294644 Fax:+603-89439914 E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
HAMISAH HASAN
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication, Faculty of
Modern Languages and Communication, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: +6012-3717054 Fax:+603-89439914 E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


ABSTRACT
During the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) General Assembly in 2005, its youth
wing leader Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Onn was shown by the media waving a keris (a traditional
Malay dagger) as a symbol to defend the Malay supremacy and to threaten those who opposed the
Malay special rights. There were mixed reactions from the public to such a notorious act. While
his party comrades commended such heroic action, the act has also drawn uproar from other races
especially the Chinese. A year later, in the following assembly Hishamuddin defended his usage of
the keris, which to him was meant "to motivate the Malays". However, the Chinese politicians
declared themselves unconvinced by Hishammuddin's explanations. Even the youth chief of the
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), an allied party to UMNO, affirmed that Hishamuddin’s act
was inappropriate and insensitive to multiracial setup of the country. Nonetheless, another analyst
stated that "A keris does not make people uncomfortable. It is the gesture and brandishing that
makes people uncomfortable". The unsettling feelings by all parties may have occurred as a result
of misinterpretation or miscommunication amongst the communicators from different cultural
background.

Keywords: communication, culture, intercultural communication, nonverbal communication; symbolic interactionis

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INVITED EDITORS FOR THIS SPECIAL ISSUE: Mr. KAMARUZAMAN JUSOFF and Ms. SPERANȚA SOFIA MILANCOVICI

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