Budi as the Malay mind: A philosophical study of Malay ways of reasoning and emotion in peribahasa / Lim Kim Hui

Lim, Kim Hui (2003) Budi as the Malay mind: A philosophical study of Malay ways of reasoning and emotion in peribahasa / Lim Kim Hui. Doctoral thesis, University of Hamburg.

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This research is a first scientific and theoretical attempt to look into the logic and emotion of the Malays from their proverbs, peribahasa. Fascinated by the conclusions of Goodwin & Wenzel (1979/1981) that there are parallels between what the logic textbooks teach and what the Anglo-American proverbs teach, the author sets his objectives to explore whether the proverbs of Malay culture indeed illustrate a significant number of logical principles as well. The author proves that the same “socio-logic” as described by Goodwin & Wenzel (1979/1981) can also be discovered in peribahasa. Nevertheless, he rejects the dialectical approach (normally engaged by the western tradition), and believes that the ways of Malay argumentation are rather monolectical (non-dialectical). Apart from this socio-logic rationality, which represents the realm of the mind, there are also rather strong elements of emotions as shown by the regular use of hati as the source of passion in Malay proverbial literature. This interesting contrast of a reason-emotion relationship, according to the author, is always akin to the up-down movement of a thinking see-saw, and the focus of striking a balance between this ‘contradiction’ is how skilful an arguer will be in using the concept of budi as his fulcrum. The art of argument in this sense will then be determined by the acumen of a rhetor to synthesise the harmony between akal budi (the realm of budistic reason) and hati budi (the realm of budistic passion). As such, the ideal state of the Malay mind or the way of resolving disagreement (argument) is how reason and emotion can work together under the mediation of budi. However, at times when the arguer ignores the rational dimension of budi (akal budi), then budi (i.e. budi pekerti) will appear as something rather ceremonial, whereby if the hati-budi is being eclipsed, then the soul and sublimity of culture will be rather nonhumane and monotonous. Therefore, the person who can motivate himself/herself into achieving the summit of this ideal state is a budiman (the person of wisdom). Drawing his evidences from various sources, viz. historical, etymological, geographical, sociological and philosophical, be it textual or contextual insight, the author further elaborates that this conceptual Malay mind – budi – is a Malay cultural construct, which was smartly assembled and developed as a result of culturing falsafah air (philosophy of water) – representing the physical form (body) of maritime culture, and adoration of semangat padi (the spirit of paddy) – representing the soul of their mind. This molecular budi, as he believes, is a crystallisation of cultural insight after going through centuries of various civilisation dialogues and intermarriages. The author, therefore, suggests that “the theory of budi and its networks,” what he would like it to be called, should be used as the important platform for researchers, who are interested to understand the Malay mind generally or the Malay logic, rhetoric or philosophy particularly

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Funders: None
Additional Information: Thesis (PhD) - University of Hamburg, Department of Austronesian Studies, 2003.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Malays proverbs; Peribahasa; Malay argumentation; Dialectical approach; Malay logic; Rhetoric
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Mrs. Siti Mawarni Salim
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2022 01:22
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2022 01:22
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/28892

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