The Malays Journey
Posted On April 3, 2017
The Malays originated in Yunnan, China. The Proto-Malays were seafaring people who also known as Jakun. Probably, due to their seafaring way of life or trading, they were believed to have lived in coastal Borneo. They then expanded into Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. A Portuguese historian, Godinho de Eredia, referred to the Malays as Saletes (Orang Selat, or People of the Straits), who are descendants of the tribal proto-Malays mixed with modern Indian, Thai, Arab and Chinese blood. Some posts the majority of the Malays hold in Singapore include civil policemen, district government agents, servants, gardeners. Police service proved particularly popular, maybe because of the similarity to military work.
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The Malays are indigenous to Singapore. Singapores Constitution recognises Malay-Muslims as indigenous people of Singapore and commits the government to support and advance their lives.
They did face challenges during the World War II period. They were not completely spared by the Japanese. Those who rose up against them were also sent to work on the death railway and some of them were killed by the Japanese for showing anti-Japanese feelings against them. There are three main categories of Malays in Singapore. They are: Bugis, Javanese and Orang Laut.
The Bugis is an important branch of the entire Malay colony in Singapore. Its vast community here was mainly originated from the Celebes Islands in Indonesia. By the 1830s, it had established itself in Singapore and formed the majority of the pioneer communities in the Kampung Gelam area, which is now a famous tourist attraction in Singapore. Some of the Bugis were mercenary soldiers of the English Empire. They rarely lost and acquired a respectable reputation as fierce warriors. While the rest were usual farmers, traders and fishermen.
The Bugi cultures recognize five separate genders that are needed to keep the world in balance and harmony. They are makkunrai??”feminine woman, calabai??”feminine man, calalai??”masculine female, oroane??”masculine man, and bissu??”who embodies both male and female energies and revered as a shaman. Pertaining to prominent Bugis, Sultan Hussein Shah who signed treaties with the British is one of the examples. Also, among the Bugis traders were members of the nobility like Engku Karaeng Talibak, who brought more Bugis traders to Riau.
Javanese are native to the Indonesian island of Java. They came to Singapore as bonded labourers with the Singapore Chinese Protectorate, hence performing manual labour in the rubber plantations in the later 1880s .They also have an unique culture ,having not to be compulsory to pass down a family name`. Wayang, a term commonly used for Puppet Theater, is a Javanese word for shadow or imagination. In addition, art of kebirs and batik, especially from Yogyakarta, has special meanings which are rooted to the Javanese idea of the universe. Though some people think that Java is losing its heritage, it is still prominent in Singapore. A Singaporean-Javanese sent his friends an email in Krama Inggil, normally used when a younger speaker is talking to older or respected fellow. The Javanese lived in Kampong Jawa, in Rochor riverbank, and Kallang Airport Estate when they settle in Singapore.
The Orang Laut, referring to sea nomads and sea gypsies, originated mainly from the numerous tribes and groups inhabiting the islands and estuaries in the Riau-Lingga Archipelagos, the Pulau Tujuh Islands, the Batam Archipelago, and the coasts and offshore islands of eastern Sumatra and southern Malay Peninsula. They are hence indigenous to Singapore. The Orang Laut mainly fished for a living, as many of them were unacquainted with agriculture, and also because the coasts and rivers of Southeast Asia where they settled were rich in marine life and the waters yielded more than the inland jungles did.
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They plied the waters around the Malay Archipelago in their house-boats or prahus, combining their aquatic skills and intimate knowledge of the forests to create a living based on fishing and collecting jungle and marine produce. Today, Singapore is a bustling metropolis with 4.8 million people, and no longer merely a fishing village with only about 500 Orang Laut. Othman Wok, however, was one of the more prominent individuals.
book:the President Notes-field book
President Yusof bin Ishak and the Portrait Notes