Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals)

I had a hard time in the last few months searching for The Sejarah Melayu or the Malay Annals. O Yes at last I found them in Dewan Bahasa bookshop.. the luxury version will cost me a bomb, what with leather bound et all, and the cheaper version are from the STPM series. Even then there are claims that the cheaper version may have differences in facts. So what is so special about the Sejarah Melayu?

Sejarah Melayu(Malay Annals) is clearly the most famous, distinctive and best classical Malay prose to be ever produced, sharing in the great literary tradition other Malay works such as the Hikayat Hang Tuah, Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai and the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa. It chronicles the establishment of the Malaccan sultanate, charting a course of more than 600 years in a solid compact book filled with intricate details regarding royal protocol, royal lineages, weaving in various historical, mythical and legendary figures and episodes in a compendium that still captivates its audiences three centuries later.

The Sejarah Melayu or Malay Annals are unique in that they constitute the only available account of the history of the Malay Sultanate in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century. They are in the nature of what may be termed as historical literature conveying a historical narration on the origins, evolution and demise of a great Malay maritime empire, with its unique system of government, administration and politics. The Annals have universal appeal as they relate to a major transformation in the lives of the people of the Malay Archipelago from a Hindu-Malay matrix to an Islamic – Malay culture. Being an entrepot port, Melaka made rapid progress on account of its cosmopolitan population comprising merchants from India, China, Arabia, Portugal and various other nations of the world. They contributed to the social, economic and political evolution of the Malay Kingdom.

The main theme of this work was to laud the greatness and superiority of the Malaccan state, which had been founded about 1400. Although the Sejarah Melayu mentions only one date, events described in it can be verified by other historical sources. The Sejarah Melayu consists of a collection of stories, not historically connected, focusing on the activities of the Malaccan sultans, their courts, and government officials. In addition, foreign rulers were also described, as were Malacca's foreign relations and its importance as a regional trading centre. A noteworthy omission was the absence of any mention of peasant life. The Sejarah Melayu is significant for its well-written narrative and characterization of personalities, and it is also an important historical source about Malacca and the Malay world prior to Malacca's defeat by the Portuguese in 1511.

Attributed to Tun Seri Lanang as its first editor, the work was commissioned by Sultan 'Ala'u-d-din Ri'ayat Shah of Johor. It was claimed to have been begun in on Sunday May 13, 1612, in Pasai, Sumatra, where the Sultan was being held captive Mahkota Alam of Acheh. However, some scholars think that the original text was written prior to 1536 and underwent changes in 1612.

The main aim of this work was, undoubtedly, to laud the spleandour, greatness and superiority of the Melaka Sultanate - and it was written at a time when the Johor court, successors of the Melaka sultans, were being attacked by Portuguese and Achinese, their capital sacked many times and having to be moved from one part of the Straits to another. The court was frequently on the run from marauding invaders, their territories being overrun. The Sejarah Melayu was probably an attempt by the Johor court to overcome its sense of lost fortunes by regaining the past glories of a mythical golden age that was less than a generation past. It still serves to inspire the Malay of today - and to remind them of the heights that they can be, and have been, capable of reaching.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

From Seoul to Kota Kinabalu

stopped at KK on the way back to KL from Seoul

Final day in Seoul

The plane waiting to fly us back via Kota Kinabalu

The old and new Seoul railway station standing next to each other. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 29, 2005

Happy Birthday To You

Birthday of my better half. Unfortunately this year I couldn't celebrate it with her as I was away in Seoul.

Photo: A restaurant in Goodview Hotel, Dong Guan ,China to remind me of her (beautiful hotel next to a lake)

German-Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
Greek-Eytyxismena Genethlia! or Chronia Pola!
Gujarati -Janma Divas Mubarak!
Hawaiian-Hau`oli la hanau!

Is Happy Birthday Really Copyrighted?Yes.
The melody for Happy Birthday was first penned by two sisters from Kentucky, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill. The song was called Good Morning to All, but bore the recognizable melody. The tune was first published in 1893 in the book Song Stories for the Kindergarten. The melody has since passed into the public domain, and is safe to hum in public without permission.
While it is not entirely clear who first wrote down the words for Happy Birthday, it showed up in a few places before Jessica Hill (another Hill sister) was able to demonstrate undeniable similarities between Good Morning to All and Happy Birthday and to secure the copyright to the song


our trip to the NAMDAEMUN (I believe it means South Gate, old gateway to Seoul) with Mr Park Jr and Mr Park Sr, and the famous Namdaemun Market, mak cik makcik from Malaysia will go crazy over the brooches, 1 big building selling brooches

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Zhaoqing, Guangdong

from Shenzen it was 3 hours by road to Zhaoqing.

Foto: 1,2. Hope Fortune Ltd factory, 3.toll plaza from Shanzen to Zaoqing

Monday, July 25, 2005


We arrived in Hong Kong and took a hydrofoil, something like a fast boat to Shenzen, my first time in China.
Photo: 1. Shenzen Port (entry point from Hong Kong) 2. Shenzen city skyline 3.Hang Sheng Electronics factory in Shenzen, 4. straight into the meeting room with them

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Enrique of Melaka : Was the first man to sail around the world a Malay

I read an interesting article reproduced here on the theory that a Malay and not Magellan was the first person toe sail around the world....who is this Enrique?

some answer from
Enrique de Malacca, also known as Enrique Negro, Black Henry, or Panglima Awang, was possibly the first person to circumnavigate the earth.When he was a 13 year old boy, in Malacca on the Malaysian peninsula, he was captured and enslaved by Ferdinand Magellan, at some point around the year 1500. In 1519 Magellan's expedition set out to discover a route sailing west from Spain to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands. When the expedition reached the Visayan islands of the Philippines, Enrique was able to communicate with the islanders. Magellan was killed on the island of Mactan, betrayed by the Spanish officers in his service. Enrique then betrayed the officers to Humabon, Rajah of the neighboring island of Cebu, and jumped ship. The question is, did Enrique know the language of the islanders, or did they know Malay, a popular trade language? The impression from Pigafetta's journal is that Enrique was communicating fluently with the islanders of Cebu. If this is true, it's possible that he, not Juan Sebastian Del Cano, Antonio Pigafetta, and the other 16 survivors of the expedition, was the first to go all the way around the world.

Photo:Magellan, from acontemporary painting

Over the years, there has been considerable debate about who actually was the first man to sail around the world. We were all taught this historic honour belongs to Ferdinand Magellan (Fernao de Magalhaes, in his native Portuguese)who led the expedition of five ships and over 270 men out of Spain in 1519 and sailed westwards, reaching the Philippines, where he was killed. However, Magellan was thought to have travelled to as far as Sabah before, and one can argue that he had indeed actually completed circumnavigating the globe. Thereare also those who argue that the accolade should rightly belong to Sebastian del Cano, a mutineer from Magellan's crew, who led the one surviving ship, Victoria, and 17 other men, and limped back to Spain on September 8, 1522.

However, only one individual can truly claim to have been the first man to leave his home, sail around the globe and arrive at a part of the world where his mother tongue was spoken. That man was a Malay, Magellan's able servant and interpreter, called Enrique of Melaka or Henry the Black.

If there is any single Malay ever who has had the greatest impact on world history, it would probably be Enrique and we know so little of the man. He is called Panglima Awang in Malay literature but there is no mention of him in any credible Malay historical records. There is brief mention of Enrique in the official Spanish crew lists, as well as Magellan's last will and testament. Almost all of the certain facts that we know of Enrique come from the most comprehensive chronicle of Magellan's voyage, the narrative by Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian volunteer who joined Magellan's crew.

Pigafetta does briefly mention Enrique's origins - he was a Malay who had lived in Melaka but was originally from 'Zamatra' (Sumatra). Magellan was among the crew of the Portuguese squadron of five ships under Diego Lopez de Sequeira which sailed into Melaka on September 1, 1509, and became the first Europeans to have contact with the Malay Peninsula. Magellan also took part in the capture of the city by the Portuguese in 1511 and it was probably then that he acquired a Malay slave, whom he gave the name Enrique.

Photo:The Death of Magellan, from
a 19th century illustration

The young Enrique may have been about 18 at the time - Magellan's will and testament made eight years later cited Enrique as being "of the age of twenty-six years, more or less". The will also stated specifically that Enrique was a "captured slave" - indicating that Enrique was not bought in a slave market by Magellan. There were thousands of slaves in Melaka belonging to the merchants and Malay nobility, and Portuguese records indicate that Sultan Mahmud of Melaka alone had over three thousand 'hambarages' ('Hamba Raja' or royal slaves). Many were in fact prisoners of war brought back from Melaka's successful campaigns against the kingdoms of Sumatra, Enrique's birthplace.

Enrique must be a guide and interpreter when Magellan travelled to different parts of the East Indies after Melaka's capture, reaching as far as Sabah. He then sailed back to Lisbon in 1512, with his loyal Malay servant in tow, and was dispatched to the Portuguese campaigns against the Moors in Morocco. Magellan was later accused of corruption left the service of the King of Portugal and offered his services to King Charles I of Spain in 1517. Magellan presented the King of Spain with his plan - to find a route sailing westwards to the Spice Islands, avoiding the Portuguese. It is said that he even had Enrique presented to the King to convince that he a man with the local language, knowledge and experience will make the voyage a success.

Magellan later declare in his will and testament that, upon his death, Enrique “shall be free and manumitted, and quit, exempt, and relieved of every obligation and subjection, that he may act as he desires and thinks fit.” Magellan even left Enrique a comfortable share from his estate, “the sum of ten thousand maravedis in money for his support”

The Spanish king agreed and Magellan was provided with five sailing ships - San Antonio, Conception, Victoria, Santiago and his flagship Trinidad -
and crews comprising over 270 men. They left the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda on September 20th, 1519 and began the daring and historic voyage of exploration ever - a voyage equaled to Man's landing on the moon 450 years later.

Across the Atlantic, down South America and across the Pacific, they sailed and finally, on March 16th , 1521 they sighted Samar, the most easterly of the Philippine islands. But on March 28th, a momentous event occurred. Pigafetta wrote: “.... we saw approaching two long boats, which they called Ballanghai, full of men, and in the larger was their king seated below an awning made of mats. And when they came near the captain's ship, the said slave (Enrique) spoke to that king, who understood him well.”

As they continued their voyage to the surrounding island kingdoms, it was Enrique alone who, on behalf of Magellan and the Spanish crown, spoke with kings and traders. Magellan had befriended the ruler of Cebu, Raja Humabon and was asked to punish rebellious natives in Mactan, under a warrior named Lapu Lapu. On Saturday, the 27th of April, Magellan attacked LapuLapu's with 60 men-at-arms - cannon, muskets, crossbows and steel swords against bamboo spears and poison-tipped arrows. But the small Spaniard force suddenly found itself overwhelmed by over 1,500 of Lapu Lapu's warriors.

Pigafetta noted that Lapu Lapu's men were converging their attacks on the Spanish captain himself - Magellan was first struck in the right leg by an arrow and later a spear stabbed him in the arm. For some reason, his cannon had now stopped firing and, despite being pressed by attacks for nearly an hour, no reinforcements had arrived from his waiting ships. Wading knee-deep in the surf, he was finally pierced by a spear in the right leg and he collapsed face down dead.

Enrique himself was wounded in the battle. Pigafetta writes that “he no longer went ashore to do necessary business but was always wrapped in a blanket” A new commander replace Magellan - a Portuguese by the name of Duarte Barbosa. Shouting at Enrique, Barbosa told him that although his master was dead, he was not to be freed but was to remain a slave.

Pigafetta writes that Enrique went ashore and told Humabon that the Spaniards were about to depart immediately “but, if he would follow his advice, he would gain all their ships merchandise ... and so they plotted a conspiracy.”

The next day, Enrique told the Spaniards that Humabon had prepared jewels and presents asked them to come ashore to receive these. A party of Spaniards led by Barbosa did come, accompanied as usual by Enrique, but they were attacked. A lone survivor fled back towards the ships and, when asked if there were any others who survived the attack, he said all were dead, except the interpreter, Enrique.

Official Spanish records list Enrique of Melaka as one of the 27 men massacred in that attack, so we really do not know if Enrique did survive that attack, as Pigafetta claims. What we do know is that was the last we hear of Enrique in Pigafetta's diary - and he disappears into the mists of history. If Enrique had indeed made his way home from Cebu he would be the first man ever to have sailed around the world, rather than Magellan or del Cano.

One could also argue that the Spaniards may have indeed changed the official crew lists to ensure that this was not a possibility - how could a Malay slave have beaten the flower of Spanish manhood in the race around the globe? Certainly, Enrique was to be just a footnote to the heroic deeds of Magellan and del Cano that were told in countless books about this remarkable voyage written over the next few hundred years. Little was known about him even in Malaya until, in 1958, the writer Harun Aminurrashid published one of the greatest historical novels in modern Malay fiction, "Panglima Awang".

Despite Pigafetta's quite clear statement that he was from Sumatra, Filipino writers and historians are now claiming Enrique as one of their own countrymen. The most convenient feature of these theories is that if Enrique was indeed from Cebu, that would without any doubt make a Filipino the first man to have sailed around the world.

The main argument behind these theories is that Enrique could speak in the language of the people inhabiting the islands around Cebu - Bisayan - and therefore must have been from Cebu himself. There is a fatal flaw in this argument - Pigafetta's narrative above does show that Enrique could not communicate at all with the natives in his first encounter with them. It was only when he spoke with royalty - in this case, their king - or with traders that they suddenly found a common language among them. This is certainly not surprising - Malay was, by then, the 'lingua franca' of the whole Archipelago, and the official language of international diplomacy and trade for the whole region. All references to Enrique in Pigafetta's chronicle have him speaking with kings, chiefs or traders - rather than the common folk who may not have known the international language of Malay.

Enrique of Melaka had sailed the seas of the East Indies with his master; followed him across the Indian Ocean and around the rim of the African continent; loyally fought alongside him in North Africa; lived in the splendour of the royal courts of Portugal and Spain. He embarked upon the greatest adventure ever - to circle the globe, the final frontier; to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Having done that, he had returned full circle, to a land where he could understand the people and they could understand him. And there is just still the possibility that this humble Malay slave was indeed the first human ever to have sailed around the world.

Pigafetta, Antonio, journal, quoted in Skelton, R.A., 'Magellan's Voyage--A narrative Account of the First Circumnavigation', New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969
Zweig, S. Magellan. 'Der Mann und seine Tat', Wien-Leipzig-Z├╝rich, 1937 and Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1983
Pintado, M J, 'Portuguese Documents On Melaka', National Archives of Malaysia, 1993.

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