I’ve always been intrigued by history. I regretted not taking up this up seriously during my formative studying years and took up the ‘safe’ route instead.
I’m a boring engineer now who cracks lame engineer jokes like
Q: What do engineers use for birth control?
A: Their personalities.
Not funny right …
Anyway I was interested to find out more about the Malays. I pose myself this question always. “Where do I come from? or what is my calling in life”. Only when you know your past and take a closer look at the events of the past call history we may find the answers
It’s intriguing after hours of reading and research I might add. So there might be parts to this entries. I’ll just start with the basic of the Malays, their origin
Malays are seafaring people
For the clueless, I hope you can differentiate Malays and Melayus. Malays is in English language while Melayu is in Malay language. We’re 99% entirely Islam with Malaysia with the most bulk of Malays around with 12 millions in population. Singapore has about 600,000 Malays in total.
In fact our Malay roots are hotly contested and questioned these days as experts believe there’s no such race as Malays but we’re a new race that includes various ethnicity such as Thai, Orang Asli, Sabah and Sarawak indigenous people, Indian Muslims, Bugis, Bawean, Javanese, Thai and Achehnese.
Our roots can be traced back to Yunnan, China. The Jakun are seafaring people. These sea tribes people probably expanded to coastal Borneo (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei), then into Sumatra (Indonesia) and then the Malay Penisula (Malaysia, Singapore)
The modern Singapore, Indons and Malaysians you see nowadays are infact the descendants of these Jakun mixed with modern Indian, Thai, Arab and Chinese blood. How cool is that. This is due to the Jakun nature of life trading and seafaring way of life throughout from China to Malay Penisula.
So basically we’ve a upward migratory route from south to north, although our roots are traced back to Yunnan, China
The Jakun people are sub-divided into two categories. One that is seafaring and the other is those the jungle types. They’re a branch of pre-Malay. Only after much mixing with the other tribes and races, do we get the formation of modern Malays.
They are aboriginal races of Malay Peninsula. Now the Malays now know the origin of the term ‘Jakun’. We use it to describe someone who is in confusion or hillbilly.
The original migration was said to start some 6,000 years ago in Southern China by the Jakuns. Then they moved to Taiwan, then into Phillipines (ever wondered why the Tagalog sounds like Malay, now you know). Then we moved into Borneo, some 4,500 years ago and we split into the various places such as Sulawesi, Sumatra and Jawa.
Our final migration to Malay Penisula was around 3,000 years ago. The remainder from Borneo moved into Vietnam. And part of these group was said to move to Kelantan, Malaysia later on. Confusing? Yes indeed …
Our culture and religion
Malays though now majority are Muslims, we are largely Hindus before the 15th century before the conversion. This is due to the influence of Hindu India, much due to the trading between the Archipelago and India.
Our Malay culture is entirely influenced by a mixture of various cultures like Siamese, Javanese, Sumatran, but largely Indians. That’s why you see some Hindu ritual still survive in Malay culture
Did you know that the legendary Malay Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir are probably Chinese. The ‘Hang’ refers to Hang Li Poh family descendant.
She’s a princess in the Chinese court Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty married to the wife of Malacca’s Sultan Mansur Shah (reigning from 1456 to 1477). She came with 500 other female attendants, these attendants later on married the locals, thus you see Peranakan Baba Nyonya
Did you know that the famous Taiwanese singer Ah Mei can be considered a Malay too. Her tribe Alisan are the ancestors of the Malay, when the migration took place some 4,500 years ago. Ain’t we all inter-connected.
So all these shockers might seem that we’re indeed not a race itself but a melting pot of various races intertwined over the timespan of few thousands years by migrations and inter-marriages
Well it does not matter we’re not a race of rich in history such as the Arabs or English, but we’re still a race. A new modern race trying to better oneself. It’s an interesting journey so far for me finding out about my race, the Malays.
Hopefully today’s entry is an eye-opener. More entries on this in the future aite