Honestly, I am tired of hearing my nation being affectionately called, Malingsia. Ever since I was young, I have been taught to embrace and accept the multicultural of Malaysia, and how this small country is a melting pot of so many customs, traditions and culture from so many ethnicity. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Buginese, Javanese, so on so forth.
Looking back in history, there are so many links between us and our neighbouring countries. Before we were Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Phillipines, Thailand, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Before, when we were just people of the Malay Archipelago who depended heavily on trade and strong political ties between these different islands and people. And the Islam came, and more people travel to spread the teachings of Islam. These were the days when the current country borders means nothing to them. People travel, people move about, people settle down, people assimilate, bringing with them their culture, food, history and background.
Which is why, I don't find it strange that our children (and your truly too) grew up to the song Rasa Sayang, get bundled up in a comfortable wrap of batik to keep them safe and warm, or even learn how to dance Kuda Kepang for their school events (Kuda Kepang, incidentally, was once a form of totemic worship, had strong links with spirit possession and often dancers went into a trance-like state. However with the Islamisation of Malaysia, this dance now generally renders the tale of nine Javanese men who spread the Islamic faith in the interior of Java. This dance is performed in accompaniment to a rich and exotic rendition of traditional music played with indigenous instruments such as gongs, tambourines and angklungs.) Ahh, angklung.
Now, let's take a walk down the memory lane shall we? (Of course, these are not MY memories. I am not THAT ancient, hello!)
Malacca was founded by Parameswara, a Srivijayan prince of Palembang who fled Sumatra following a Majapahit attack in 1377. He found his way to Malacca c. 1400 where he found a good port accessible in all seasons and on the strategically located narrowest point of the Malacca Straits.
Who are the Orang Jawa?
The Orang Jawa ('people of Java', also known as 'Javanese') migrated from Central Java, Indonesia, to Malaysia from 1880 to 1930. They migrated to seek a new life away from the Dutch colonists who ruled Indonesia at that time. Today the Orang Jawa live throughout Peninsular Malaysia in parts of Perak, Selangor, and Kedah. There are also isolated communities in coastal areas of Sabah. Some Jawa have even gained influential positions in society. The Former Chief Minister of Selangor traces his roots back to Orang Jawa ancestors.
note: The Former Chief Minister of Selangor, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo even claimed that his beauty secret for his youthful and glowing complexion is tempe. Tempe, the staple food of Java!
Who are the Bugis?
The Bugis people are acclaimed sea traders and legendary warriors from Indonesia. They first came to Malaysia in the 16th century and settled in various parts of Malaysia in the states of Johor, Selangor, and Pulau Pinang. Francis Light once called them "the best merchants" among the eastern islands. By the 1700s, they dominated Selangor's politics and economy and eventually established the Sultanate of Selangor; the current Sultan traces his roots back to the Bugis Empire. The 18th century has been called, the "Age of the Bugis." There are several Bugis communities scattered along Sabah's southeast coast.
Right, here's a recap. Malacca was founded by a prince from Palembang, Javanese migrated from Central Java, Bugis people first came to Malaysia in the 16th century, don't even get me started on the Banjars, The Acehs, the Minangs, etcetera etcetera etcetera. And there's a place in southeastern West Java, Indonesia named Tasikmalaya.
Hey, even myself, a myself, Malaysian with Buginese and Acehnese blood. How do you define me then?
Do you still not realize the historical ties between our two nations?
I found an interesting link here by Souza Nurafrianto. And I quote,
The problem here is that Malaysia claimed that Pendet originated from the Malays, which is most of the people domiciled in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Brunei. Malaysia have never said that the dance originated from Malaysia and I'm not sure that any dance or culture can be patented, and so be forbidden to be displayed in other countries. Logically, cultural identity is an abstract identity that has no creator. Culture is the emulation of human behavior and the rules that occurs naturally.
No, I am not claiming that any cultures nor dances are rightfully Malaysian. All I am saying is, please realize that the ties we have goes beyond sharing country borders. Ask any Malays in Malaysia about their bloodlines, most of them could probably trace it back to Indonesia. And I say this even to the people of my nation who sometimes get too carried away with their harsh words, we need each other. We are one, we are siblings, we are so much similar in so many ways, perhaps even more than you care to realize.
So shall we bury the hatchet and try to live in harmony, happily ever after?