TS Abdul Aziz Tapa, an historian cum politician who is well-versed in Malay history. His mind on the the existence of the Malay warrior "Hang Tuah" is deep-rooted.
Even though Blogger "Aku Peduli Apa" made the comment below about three months ago, I think the issue is still relevent. who was this figure Hang Tuah and his four warrior brothers. Were they Malays from the Nusantara region or were they of Chinese origins as suggested by some. Or as TS Prof. Khoo Kay Kim suggested they were just myth or stroies from the Malay traditional narratives (folklores). If that was the case then the book entitles " The Malay Annals" or "Sejarah Melayu must be a fiction.
It is not my intention to further make unnecessary comment on this issue, but merely want to reiterate the comment made by "Aku Peduli Apa", which I think still lingers in the people's mind, especially the Malays and Chinese. The issue is so dear to their hearts and souls that by reading the article times and again I beleive it may strike into everybody's mind that history is not just 100% myth but surely there must be some truth in terms of facts and figures. With regards to this, I beg to differ, TS Prof. Khoo Kay Kim and Minister DS Dr. Rais Yatim!
Hang Tuah Hang Myth and Hang Khalsa by aku peduli apa 23 jan 2012There is a good write up about Hang Tuah in today's Star here, titled "Is Hang Tuah fact or fiction?" I have taken certain points from the article and added my comments. Here goes :
1. "Even Indonesians acknowledge his existence. (Is this an) effort to discredit Malay history?”
My comments : Hang Tuah is not just a figure from Malacca but in Riau the legends of Hang Tuah are well known. There is a Jalan Hang Tuah in Pekan Baru in Riau. The Riau people call their country 'Riau - Tanah Melayu Lancang Kuning'. Here is a picture of the Masjid An Nur in Pekanbaru, Riau which is located at one Jalan Hang Tuah area (this is from Google but I have also been to Pekanbaru, Riau).
The Malay Civilisation has strong roots in Riau. (Err that is why this part of the world is called the Malay Archipelago. From the northern tip of Sumatera to the eastern tip of Borneo is over 2000 miles. "Sumatera" is a corruption of the Malay "Samudera" and "Borneo" is a corruption of the Malay 'Brunei'.)
Also plus the fact that "history" places Hang Tuah in the 15th century (about 600 years ago) which is fairly recent. The Dutch and British who appeared here in the 18th-19th centuries already heard these Hang Tuah stories as well.
Of course the stories about Hang Tuah are often too fantastic, certainly plenty of myth has been added to the story. We have to differentiate between his existence and the fantastic deeds he was supposed to have done. The two are not the same.
2. 'questions about his ethnicity and origin..'
My comment : The questions over Hang Tuah's ethnicity are more recent - post 1970, post NEP in Semenanjung Malaysia only. The five Malay warriors were Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekiu, Hang Kasturi and Hang Lekir. And there is also mention of a Chinese woman Hang Li Po.
The presence of the very Chinese Hang Li Po does seem to neutralise the comment which says that Hang Tuah and gang were Chinese. The advocates of the "Hang Tuah was Chinese" theory say that the name Hang Tuah was actually a Malacca Malay corruption of "Hung Too Ah" or something similar. And they say Hang Lekiu was Hung Lee Kiu. Well lets hang on to the 'hung' for a while ok.
Then how do we explain "Li Po" from the "Hang Li Po" which is a perfectly Chinese name? How come Hang Li Po was not corrupted by the same Malacca Malays to "Hang Lipat" or something like that?
And there is no way that Hang Kasthuri was a Chinese. Kasthuri was a 100% mamak name - saya punya gang. Dont believe me? Here is proof. There is a well known Kasthuri Palaykat Company in Jalan Masjid India. They have also been selling Kain Pelikat Cap Sauh in Jalan Masjid India since the 15th century I think.
So no way Hang Kasthuri was a Chinese. Kasthuri was mamak. Hang Tuah was likley Malay or a mamak campur as well. Dont forget that Malay - Mamak mixing has been going on for a very long time on the Peninsula and Sumatera. Folks in places as remote as Sri Menanti should have their DNAs profiled as well :)
There may not be records of Hang Li Po in China perhaps because she may have been not significant at all. The Chinese married off their girls to all sorts of people to establish friendship. Its no big deal. The Austrians did the same thing too. Remember Marie Antoinette? When the French lost their cool, she lost her head.
According to Gavin Menzies who wrote the book "1421 - The Year China Discovered The World" Chinese records show the arrival of a ship from Malacca way before the 14th century with over 500 people on board !! It is not just the early date that seems surprising but a ship that could take 500 people aboard must have been one massive vessel. There were few tourists then. People who travelled were either traders or conquerors. This means there were already long established trade routes between the Malay Archipelago and China which even predates Hang Tuah.
The Chinese also arrived in Sabah a long time ago. The Kinabatangan River takes its name from 'Chinese River' or 'Kina - batangan'. Chinese used to sail up the Kinabatangan to trade in birds nests. In short Hang Li Po was not the "discoverer" of Malacca for the Chinese.
3. •several versions of the Sejarah Melayu (it is known that there are more than 20 versions)
•too many inconsistencies among the different versions.
•There were those who felt “betrayed” and asked if everything else they had learnt in History was false and mythical as well.
•If you deny Hang Tuah’s existence, it means you also deny the whole historical text of the ‘Sejarah Melayu’.
My comments : These are the most important as well as most logical points about this Hang Tuah debate. No one knows what really happened in history. Hang Tuah goes back 600 years and we dont know myth from reality. Just go back to 1962 - who really killed John F Kennedy? Was it a lone assassin or was there a grand conspiracy? We cannot even answer questions about 1962.
A few weeks ago I wrote a Blog titled Sadaqallaah Al Azeem which questioned the Battle of Siffin - a catastrophic event in Islamic history which also caused the great divide between the Sunnis and the Shiahs. (Do read it again if you have time). Just like Hang Tuah or Jack Kennedy's assasination, we really dont know who did what to whom at the Battle of Siffin. We do not know the myth from the reality.
Some people really believe that their hero flew down from the sky and defeated another bad villain who had also flown down from the skies to torment people. Other people believe that their hero was the product of a union between their god and a virgin woman. Yet others really believe that their hero also flew through the sky on a hybrid animal (never seen hence) to get from Point A to Point B.
Folks I have just described at least three major religions here. If you say Hang Tuah was a myth, then what about your own beliefs? Are you saying that all your own beliefs are based on solid historical facts ? Langsung takde myth ke? Wahh ! Banyak cantik.
I think they are all myths. The whole world is confused because it runs on too many myths. So please dont get too carried away by all these grandfather tales. Dont start hating your neighbour today just because of what was done by or done to your own mythical hero about a thousand years ago.
Don’t dislike your neighbour today because his great grandfather magically flew through the sky and cut off your great grandpas nose or your great grandpa jumped over a short horse in one big leap and cut off his grandpas ears. You know lah - stuff like that. Lets live in the real world ok. Do grow up.
4. “He is not a Malay supremacist, if anything, but a wandering diplomat who had no sense of superiority or arrogance towards others,” he says
My comments : Well if you are in Italy, there is no such thing as an Italian restaurant. All restaurants are Italian. In the same way, during Hang Tuah's time, there were only Malays living here - with transient Indians, Arabs and Chinese traders passing through.
Even if Hang Tuah felt supremacist, to whom would he have shown his supremacy? To the Javanese folks at Kampong Jawa by the Malacca River? Or the Kalinga folks folks at Tanjong Keling? Or the Mamak folks at Klebang (Keling Bang) in Malacca ? Or the Chinese folks at Lubok China? Why would Malay supremacists allow their land to be named Kampong Jawa, Tanjong Keling, Klebang (Keling Bang) and Lubok China? Can anyone explain this mystery. And no one has changed these names yet.
Now we come to the Raj Karega Khalsa part. You can see the stickers in the rear windscreens of cars driven by many Sikh people in Malaysia.
Raj Karega Khalsa means 'The Sikh Shall Always Rule'. In India, the Sikhs have an ongoing thing with the majority Hindus. They want to create a separate Sikh only nation called Khalistan. "Raj Karega Khalsa" is their Sikh nationalist slogan. (It has perhaps gone past them that a Sikh has now become the Prime Minister of Hindu majority India).
The fact that many Sikhs in Malaysia still identify very closely with Sikh nationalism in India does indicate an identity crisis. The stickers on the rear windscreen just say the words Raj Karega Khalsa - they seem innocent enough, especially in Malaysia where only the Sikhs (and me of course) understand what they are saying. But here are more militant versions of the "Raj Karega Khalsa" slogan from the Net.
The character holding the sword and the AK47s do not exactly represent your friendly neighborhood milk supplier or trial lawyer. And those three handsome heavily armed guys are not security guards at the Gillette factory either.
But imagine if Hang Tuah or Perkasa did the same thing. They will certainly be accused of being racial supremacists. I am quite certain of this.
I think this 'Malay supremacy' thing has been stretched too far by the more racist folks among us.
यदि मलायी supremacist थे वे तुम्हें फेंक दिया होगा एक लंबे समय सेपहले.बस म्यांमार, केन्या और युगांडा जैसे
Posted by Aku Peduli Apa @ APA at 1/23/2012 08:00:00 AM