By Michael Chick
It's been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on an all "Malaysian" free for all. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled Contesting Malayness by Timothy Barnard?
It's written by a Professor of National University of Singapore and costs about S$32. It reflects anthropologists' views that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with. If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000 yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and then into Borneo about 4,500 yrs ago (Dayaks).
They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000 yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Cambodia around 4,500 yrs ago.
Interestingly, the Champa deviant group moved back to present day Kelantan. There are also traces of the Dong Song and Hoa Binh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia.
To confuse matters, there was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. (see also "Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular")
Of course, we also have the Minangkabau's which come from the descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian Princess. (Sejarah Melayu page 1-3)
So the million Dollar Question. Is there really a race called the "Malays"? All anthropologists DO NOT SEEM TO THINK SO.
Neither do the "Malays" who live on the West Coast of Johor. They'd rather be called Javanese. What about the west coast Kedah inhabitants who prefer to be known as "Achenese"? Or the Ibans who simply want to be known as IBANS. Try calling a Kelabit a "Malay" and see what response you get.
Damn, but you'll be so glad that their Head-Hunting days are over.
The definition of "Malay" is therefore simply a collection of people who speak a similar type of language. With what is meant by a similar type of language does not mean that the words are similar. Linguists call this the "Lego-type" language, where words are added on to the root word to make meaning and give tenses and such.
Somehow, the Indonesians disagree with this classification. They refuse to be called Malay.. Anyhow you may define it. Watch "Malays in Africa "; a Museum Negara produced DVD. Also, the "Champa Malays" by the same.
With this classification, they MUST also include the Phillipinos, the Papua New Guineans, the Australian Aboroginies, as well as the Polynesian Aborigines. These are of the Australo Melanesians who migrated out of Africa about 60,000 yrs ago.
Getting interesting? Read on.
"Malay" should also include the Taiwanese singer "Ah Mei" who is Alisan as her tribe are the anscestors of the "Malays". And finally, you will need to define the Southern Chinese ( FunanProvince) as Malay also, since they are from the same stock 6,000 yrs ago.
Try calling the Bugis a "Malay". Interestingly, the Bugis, who predominantly live on Sulawesi are not even Indonesians. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa .
Ready for this?
The Bugis are the cross-breed between the Chinese and the Arabs. (FYI, a runaway Ming Dynasty official whom Cheng Ho was sent to hunt down)
Interestingly, the Bugis were career Pirates in the Johor-Riau island areas.
Now the nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed the First Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese! Try talking to the Bugis Museum curator near Kukup in Johor. Kukup is located near the most south-western tip of Johor. (Due south of Pontian Kechil)
Let's not even get into the Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir, who shared the same family last name as the other super famous "Hang" family member. Hang Li Poh. And who was she?
The princess of a Ming Dynasty Emperor who was sent to marry the Sultan of Malacca. Won't that make the entire Malacca Sultanate downline "Baba"?
Since the older son of the collapsed Malaccan Sultanate got killed in Johor, (the current Sultanate is the downline of the then, Bendahara) the only other son became the Sultan of Perak. Do we see any Chinese-ness in Raja Azlan? Is he the descendant of Hang Li Poh?
Next question. If the Baba's are part Malay, why have they been marginalized by NOT BEING BUMIPUTERA? Which part of "Malay" are they not?
Whatever the answer, why then are the Portugese of Malacca BUMIPUTERA? Did they not come 100yrs AFTER the arrival of the first Baba's? Parameswara founded Malacca in 1411. The Portugese came in 1511, and the Dutch in the 1600's.
Strangely, the Baba's were in fact once classed as Bumiputera, but they were strangely "declassed" in the 1960s. WHY?
The Sultan of Kelantan had similar roots to the Pattani Kingdom, making him of Thai origin.
And what is this "coffee table book" by the Sultan of Perlis claiming to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed? Somehow we see Prof Khoo Khay Khim's signature name on the book. I'll pay good money to own a copy of it myself. Anyone has a spare?
So, how many of you have met with orang Asli's? The more northern you go, the more African they look.
Why are they called Negrito's? It is a Spanish word, from which directly translates "mini Negros ". The more southern you go, the more "Indonesian" they look. And the ones who live at Cameron Highlands kinda look 50-50.
You can see the Batek at Taman Negara, who really look like Eddie Murphy to a certain degree. Or the Negritos who live at the Thai border near Temenggor Lake(north Perak). The Mah Meri in Carrie Island look almost like the Jakuns in Endau Rompin. Half African, half Indonesian.
By definition, (this is super eye-opening) there was a Hindu Malay Empire in Kedah. Yes, I said right. The Malays were Hindu. It was, by the old name Langkasuka. Today known as Lembah Bujang.
This Hindu Malay Empire was 2,000 yrs old. Pre-dating Borrobudor AND Angkor Watt. Who came about around 500-600 yrs later. Lembah Bujang was THE mighty trading empire, and its biggest influence was by the Indians who were here to help start it.
By definition, this should make the Indians BUMIPUTERAS too since they were here 2,000 yrs ago! Why are they marginalized?
So, in a nutshell, the "Malays" (anthropologists will disagree with this "race" definition) are TRULY ASIA !!! (main continent and West Asia included)