Boy: Eh mat, lu mana punya?
Mat: Eh boy, lu apa hal dengan gua sekarang ni? Tak puas pe?
(Punches and kicks start flying)
Those are some of the common lines that I used to hear and continue to hear today. Lines uttered by Malay gangsters. Raised in an environment whereby more than 3 quarters of my school population were gangsters, I’m quite used to seeing fights occuring very often. I’d see plates flying over my head or my classmate would ask me to take my plate off the table because he wanted to borrow the table to whack someone before putting it back down for me to eat.
It happens and it’s the truth.
Gangsters exists even in law-abiding Singapore and they are still active today. The business of collecting protection money perhaps is less visible now or even abolished as law enforcement has been stepped up. Gangster now engage in business activities of both the legal and illegal trade, mostly of the latter (massage parlours, import of contraband cigarettes, prostitution, drugs and even exotic animals).
For most Malay Singaporeans who are so used to the hokkien gangs that we have here (in existence even before Singapore gained independence), you might be interested to go catch KL Gangster. A story of two gangs who control areas in the Malaysian capital which led to a fight for more control and power centered around two brothers who are much feared amongst both sides of the gangs.
The story starred two leading man, Aaron Aziz and Ady Putra, both Singaporeans playing gangsters in KL. Aaron is Ady’s big brother who also happens to be a man feared by many whilst Ady plays a lunatic gangster who’s interest lies only in money.
As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but perhaps draw an assumption that the movie could have possibly been inspired by the story of a real gangster who reformed but got back into the scene for some reason. My best guess would have to be Aaron Aziz. When he first shot to fame on tv, my friends who were gangsters were already talking about him.
He was quite well-known amongst Singapore gang it seems and his name was brought up in many conversations every time we spoke about the clubbing scene at one point of time because Aaron co-owned ‘Tunnel’, which was the old Big Splash at East Coast with Sheikh Haikel. And if you’ve been there before, you’d know that that is one club that all the ‘Budak Busuk’ would go to club simply because Aaron was a member of that gang and it makes sense to go to that club and support it because if your ‘Chong’ owned it, why should you be going to others.
I’m not sure if he is still a gang member today, although I do suspect that he still is because once a brother, always a brother and the only way out is to give something up. It used to be allowing your brothers to have sex with your girlfriend if you had one or to let yourself get beaten up so bad, you probably won’t be able to recognise yourself thereafter. These days, I’m not sure how it works anymore.
But watching KL Gangster and understanding how gangsters operate, I found it rather hilarious that gangsters were fighting using the Muay Thai fighting style because from what I understand, gangsters ‘bulldoze’ and have no particular structured form of fighting. My friends would always ask to spar with me because I was martial arts trained and that’s how I know.
The language is also slightly different from typical gangster talk, perhaps changed to ensure that it doesn’t look too obvious.
Nonetheless, I’d encourage Malays to go catch that movie before it runs out!
PS: Want to know which areas are controlled by gangsters? Read on
Shopping Centres, Arcades, Coffee Shops and Clubs.