Verifiable memories of historical events in the Malay classical literary sources

Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abd Rahman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    There are many texts of the classical Malay literature available for this study. Among the oldest are believed to be Hikayat Raja-raja Pasai and the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annal) by Tun Sri Lanang. There are also Hikayat Hang Tuah, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, Hikayat Patani and Misa Melayu. Scholars in the past have dismissed the contents of the books as myths and legends. But scholars such as O.W. Wolters and a few others who studied some of those texts such as the Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa believe that they contain verifiable happenings. Stories such as Raja Suran (Malay Annal), Sri Tri Buana, Demang Lebar Daun and Merong Maha Wangsa are not myths or legends but representative of personalities that really existed during certain periods of the Malay history. Hikayat Hang Tuah especially, stresses the importance of the relationships between Melaka and China and India. Those foreign policies practiced by Malay rulers in the past as told in the Raja Suran adventure was the Cola king who left the dated 1025AD Tanjore Inscription and who had belligerent relationship with the king of Srivijaya. Sri Tri Buana was his descendent, the incident on the Bukit Seguntang Maha Meru can be interpreted as the Avalokitesvara's world. The allegiance given by Demang Lebar Daun that he and his descendents (rakyat/people) will not go against Sri Tri Buana (ruler) as long as the ruler remains "just"which reminds us of the Telaga Batu Inscription of Palembang which inscribes about the consequences of being disloyal to the king. Also, the story about Merong Maha Wangsa who liked to drink blood can be equated with the practices in Bhairava Cult practiced by King Adityavarman in Sumatera and also by Kedah's kings in the 12th/13th C.A.D. The most important issue which can be elucidated from the classical Malay literary sources is the foreign policy of the Malay rulers. They established trade and political relationships with India and China because India and China were the most powerful nations in the world at that time, politically and economically. In this 21st century, the world recognizes the fact that these two nations will become great economic power again to challenge Europe and United States of America. Therefore, the memories of the past will become the mirror of the future. The world will clamor for the hands of friendship of those two countries. Southeast Asia will definitely face a bright future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)58-63
    Number of pages6
    JournalAsian Social Science
    Volume9
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2013

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    event
    India
    China
    foreign policy
    myth
    economic power
    CAD
    Southeast Asia
    ritual
    friendship
    incident
    personality
    Literary Sources
    history
    Ruler
    Foreign policy
    Foreign Policy
    Legend
    South-East Asia
    Economic power

    Keywords

    • Adityavarman
    • Avalokitesvara
    • Demang lebar daun
    • Hang tuah
    • Sri tri buana
    • Verifiable

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)
    • Arts and Humanities(all)
    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

    Cite this

    Verifiable memories of historical events in the Malay classical literary sources. / Rahman, Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abd.

    In: Asian Social Science, Vol. 9, No. 6, 28.04.2013, p. 58-63.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Rahman, Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abd. / Verifiable memories of historical events in the Malay classical literary sources. In: Asian Social Science. 2013 ; Vol. 9, No. 6. pp. 58-63.
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