IT will probably be most convenient to the reader if I now tell him something of the people whose country  I have tried in general terms to describe; The Malay of Malacca, Pinang, and Singapore Is a different being to the Malay of the Peninsula, of Perak, or Pahang, or any of the States that were independent in 1873. and it is to the latter that I propose to refer.

When Sir Harry Ord left the Straits to make way for his successor, Sir Andrew Clarke, there was not in existence, so far as I am aware, any published account of the people of the Peninsula ; certainly no one in the neighbourhood was then in a position to give one, and what follows is the result of years of observation, made under circumstances of dose intimacy with every class of Malay society. To acquire this information at first hand, it is necessary to speak, read, and write the language, to sympathize with the people — for without sympathy you cannot win the confidence of a shy and reserved race — to live in their houses, join in their festivities, be allowed to listen to their prayers, to attend the rites of marriage and of burial. The searcher after knowledge must journey with them by land, and river, and sea ; he must take the field with them, join in their sports, listen to their gossip, their complaints, their stories, tend them in sickness, help them when in difficulty, share their sorrows and their joys,


respect their prejudices, be kind to their superstitions, and always treat them with consideration. If he does this, and exercises a great patience, he will gain his end, and the end is worth the effort. Only he must be able to make or seize the opportunities without which he cannot reach the innermost heart of the people.

The Malay is a brown man, rather short of stature, thickset and strong, capable of great endurance. His features, as a rule, are open and pleasant : he smiles on the man who greets him as an equal. His hair is black, abundant, and straight. His nose is inclined to be rather flat and wide at the nostrils, his mouth to be large ; the pupils of his eyes are dark and brilliant, while the whites have a bluish tinge ; his cheek bones are usually rather marked, his chin square, and his teeth, in youth, exceedingly white. He is well and cleanly made, stands firmly on his feet, and is deft in the use of weapons, in the casting of a net, the handling of a paddle, and the management of a boat ; as a rule, he is an expert swimmer and diver. His courage is as good as most men, and there is about him an absence of servility, which is unusual in the East. On the other hand, he is inclined to swagger, especially with strangers.

His dress is a loose jacket, loose trousers, and a sarong — a kind of tartan skirt fastened round the waist and reaching to the knee. This garment has many uses : it serves as a bathing or a sleeping dress ; fastened over one shoulder and under the other arm a man can carry all his luggage in it ; slung on two sticks it forms a very good litter. On his head a Malay commonly wears a coloured kerchief, and he knows how to tie it so that it shall be becoming. All these articles of clothing are made of cotton, of silk, of a mixture of the two, or of silk and gold thread, according to the means of the wearer and the circumstances under which they are worn.

In 1874 practically all Malays went about bare-foot

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for shoes were useless in a roadless country. Nowadays they display a pretty taste in brown, or black, or patent leather, while the humble wear white canvas shoes, or a native pattern of sandal. In 1874 every Malay had as many weapons as he could carry : say, two daggers in his belt, two spears in his hand, a gun over his shoulder, and a long sword under his arm. The boys were usually content with two or three weapons. Now, the men carry umbrellas, and the boys slates and books.

The umbrella, especially if made of yellow silk or cotton, is used as a royal emblem, and it is probable that both the umbrella and the idea that yellow is the royal colour were imported from China. According to Malay history, at least two Malay Sultans married Chinese princesses. In some of the States of the Peninsula and of Sumatra both black and white are royal colours.

The Malay child wears no clothes and does as it pleases. When the parents are well-to-do there are always several people running about to attend to the child's wishes. I never saw a Malay child slapped, and they never seem to cry unless they are ill. They eat when they are hungry, and sleep when they feel inclined. The useful sarong, slung between two posts of a room, makes an excellent cradle or hammock. From about eight or ten years of age the boy is taught to read and write, and learns the Koran. Of course he cannot understand the Koran, because it is in Arabic ; but if he is a child of the upper class he has to read it through, and it will save his face and delight the ears and hearts of his parents if he can accept the challenge to take his turn when the book is read in the house after the first evening prayer.

Once out of the thraldom of the guru, the teacher, the boy of 1874 ran wild and did a deal of mischief, much of which was regarded as a proper exhibition of spirit. If the son of a poor man, he had then to work — to help his father plant rice, fish in the river, tend goats, or collect


jungle produce; The young Rajas and other gilded youths took to top-spinning, cock-fighting, gambling, opium-smoking, love-making, and some of them to robbery, quarrelling, and murder.

A course of that kind of life might end abruptly, but more frequently it lasted long enough to induce a certain ennui as regards some of the pursuits. Marriage was inevitable, and was always supposed to make for reformation, but the reform was seldom more than transitory. Then there would perhaps come some kind of office, which, of course, meant an opportunity for licensed oppression, and, if that proved lucrative, the man with advancing years would develop into a miser, with some simple and inexpensive vice like the smoking of opium.

The leading characteristic of the Malay of every class is a disinclination to work. Nature has done so much for him that he is never really cold and never starves. He must have rice, but the smallest exertion will give it to him ; and if he will not grow it, he can buy it for very little. Land had no value in the Malay States in 1874, and it was the custom for any one to settle where he pleased on unoccupied and unclaimed land, and leave it when he felt inclined. As a rule there would be a family cottage on a bit of land planted with palms and fruit trees, with an acre or two of rice land hard by. When the men of the family grew up and married, they would each in turn establish themselves near or far, while the old people and the girls remained in the original house till all the children were married or the parents died, or, more commonly, brought up grandchildren to inherit the usufruct of the land and occupy the house. No one was ever turned off the land, because it had no value, but sometimes a chief would lay claim to a productive orchard or a nicely-placed rice field, and the poor would find it impossible to resist the claim. All internal taxation was irregular, and the land was practically free. No culti-

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vator had any title, but chiefs of districts and others with official positions — some, indeed, without — possessed written documents investing them with extraordinary powers over large and ill-defined areas. These documents were granted by the Sultan, but it was well recognized that they could be revoked or confirmed by his successor. It was, however, an accepted custom of the country that certain high offices, such as those held by the four and the eight chiefs in Perak, carried with them control over districts, or divisions of districts, and within those areas the chief claimed and exercised the powers of a landlord.

Less than one month's fitful exertion in twelve, a fish basket in the river or in a swamp, an hour with a casting net in the evening, would supply a man with food. A little more than this and he would have something to sell. Probably that accounts for the Malay's inherent laziness ; that and a climate which inclines the body to ease and rest, the mind to dreamy contemplation rather than to strenuous and persistent toil It is, however, extremely probable that the Malay's disinclination to exert himself is also due to the fact that, in the course of many generations, many hundreds of years, he has learned that when he did set his mind and his body moving, and so acquired money or valuables, these possessions immediately attracted the attention of those who felt that they could make a better use of them than the owner. The Malay is a philosopher and a fatalist, and be would reason that, if the world is made like that, it is useless to kick against the pricks. The practical lesson conveyed to him was that when a Chinese passed that way, it would only be thoughtful to relieve the infidel of anything of value which he might have about him, and if the man with the pigtail resisted — well, that was on his own head.

Whilst the Malay has no stomach for really hard and continuous work, either of the brain or the hands, if you


let him take his own time he can produce most beautiful and artistic things. Perhaps I ought to say he has produced, for, except in very rare instances, he does it no longer ; but I am convinced that if he were given the conditions which appeal to him, he would rise again to the height of his past achievements. Working in the precious metals, in gold and silver, in a mixed metal of gold and copper called suasa, and in a combination of silver, gold, and enamel, Malays have made vessels and ornaments and jewellery as beautiful in form, as original in design, and almost as perfect in workmanship, as anything of a similar kind to be found in the East. All this work was done under conditions which no longer prevail in the western States ; it was done under a feudal system, where the workman and his family lived under the protection and at the expense of his chief, with no anxiety as to his own needs, and no pressure to hurry on the work. He was supplied with the metals, the tools, everything he wanted, and a capable worker was held in high esteem. In the courtyards of successive Sultans and chiefs, the goldsmiths, the blacksmiths, and the carvers in wood and ivory produced exquisite specimens of their various handicrafts, and some of these may still be seen. In silver they made beautiful bowls and dishes in every size, boxes of quaint shape and attractive decoration, and vessels of every kind in use by the people. In gold there were gem-studded boxes to carry the folded sireh, scent-bottles which suggest early Greek work, chains and earrings, combs and brooches, hairpins, pillow ends, belt buckles, and the handles and sheaths of daggers. The most original and artistic work of all is called chutam or jadam, and it was made originally in the Province of Ligor, which was conquered and absorbed by the Siamese many years ago. This chutam consists of a silver vessel on which a conventional pattern is hammered ; a thin sheet of gold is then overlaid and hammered into the pattern

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The depressions are filled with black enamel, the surface is polished, and a pattern is engraved with a sharp tool on that part of the gold which is exposed. Sometimes the gold is omitted altogether, and the product then resembles niello. The hinges and fastenings of the metal boxes are often both ingenious and decorative, and no two pieces of Malay metal work are ever exactly alike. The Malay silversmith appears to have carried on his trade throughout the Malay Peninsula, the Archipelago, and in Java and Sumatra.  A little is still done in Trengganu, in Pahang, and in some of the islands under Dutch control.

The smiths were notably makers of spears, krises, all sorts of daggers, a very well-balanced and highly-tempered chopper of various patterns, spurs for fighting cocks, and a curious kind of scissor used for slicing the betel nut All these were made in Perak, and some of them in most of the other States. Celebes, Sambaua, Java, Palembang, Achin, Patani, Rembau, and Trengganu were all noted for the manufacture of spears and daggers, while the best choppers were made in Perak and Kedah. Some of the wood-carving is excellent, and the best now found in the Peninsula is done in the Nine States, where it was, no doubt, introduced from Sumatra. In Perak, as well as in Pahang and the other East Coast States, the Malays make rough, unglazed pottery of good shapes, ornamented with conventional patterns cut into the clay before it is fired.

Whatever the cause, the Malay of the Peninsula was, and is, unquestionably opposed to steady continuous work. And yet, if you can only give him an interest in the job, he will perform prodigies ; he will strive, and endure, and be cheerful and courageous with the best. Take him on the war-path or any kind of chase, or even on some prosaic expedition which involves travel by river, or sea, or jungle, something therefore which has a risk ;


then the Malay is thoroughly awake, and you will wish for no better servant, no more pleasant or cheery companion. Perhaps it is these qualities which, a hundred years ago, made him such a dreaded pirate, a life to which he was driven by the unpardonable proceedings of early European navigators and adventurers, especially the Portuguese and the Dutch.

The Malay is loyal, for loyalty is part of his creed. He is hospitable, generous, extravagant, a gambler, a coxcomb. He is of fair and quick intelligence, a ready imitator, good at most games and likes to excel, but more inclined to admire the greater skill of a rival than to be jealous of it. He is reserved with strangers, cordial and sympathetic to his friends; he has a strong sense of humour, and makes an excellent companion, equally ready to talk or be silent. As a casual acquaintance he is politely uncommunicative ; he will ask a few questions: but seldom give direct answers. Once you have gained his confidence he will probably make no concealments, taking a pleasure in telling you all he can. If he knows you well, he will be almost sure to borrow money from you, and he will seldom find it possible to repay the debt ; but he will hold himself ready to undertake any service on your behalf, and you will probably realize in time that the obligation is rather on your side.

Privacy, as we understand it, is unknown in Malaya ; therefore, secrets which mean life and death and dishonour are never confined to one or two people ; but it is to the credit of the race that the stranger will find it almost impossible to get from the poorest any information which they believe they are bound in loyalty not to disclose. That is a highly honoured tradition on which their Rajas and chiefs rely with great confidence. The raiat will only speak when his Raja, or some one whom he regards in the same light, tells him to do so.

As a race Malays are guided more by their hearts than

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their heads. They will accept advice, follow a man to death, or go there at his bidding, not because he convinces them that it is the more excellent way, but simply because they like him. They will do the behest of a Raja or a chief because that also is part of the tradition of loyalty, the injunction of the men of old time ; the responsibility is his, but they are willing to obey him blindly, expecting that he will support them in the day of trouble, and prepared to suffer if that be necessary. To do otherwise would be drahka, treason, and the punishment for that crime is death and disgrace.

There was, in 1874, a very broad line indeed between the ruling classes in Malaya and the raiats, the people. The people had no initiative whatever ; they were there to do what their chiefs told them — no more, no less. They never thought whether anything was right or wrong, advantageous to them personally or otherwise; it was simply, " What is the Raja's order ? '' Wherever the Raja was recognized his order ran ; the only exception would be where some local chief defied or disputed the authority of the Raja and told the people that they were only to take orders from him. Such a case would happen but seldom.

By nature and education the Malay is singularly conservative, and thirty years ago he held to customs and traditions with many of which Europeans could not easily sympathize. There was the practice of debt-slavery, a custom loathed by those who had to bear the burden of this iniquitous bondage, but upheld as a cherished privilege by the class which was benefited. And here it is necessary to emphasize the width and depth of the gulf which divided the governing from the working classes. The terms do not well fit the conditions of Malay society, for some of those who owned debt slaves did not pretend to authority in the affairs of the State, and from a European standpoint there were but few Malay labourers. At the time of which I am now writing there was not a wealthy


Malay in the western States, for the Mantri, of Perak, who once had money, had spent it all in vain efforts to overcome the Si Kuans, and he was deeply indebted to Pinang Chinese, from whom he had borrowed funds to meet his necessities. But Perak was full of anak Raja, men and women, boys and girls, who bore the title of Raja, by direct descent from an ancestor of Raja birth. All these people claimed that the State must provide for them, and that claim was generally recognized. As there was no Civil List, no Treasury, no regular collection of revenue, and, above all, no accounting for what was raised in the name of taxation, the members of this Raja class endeavoured to satisfy their wants either by the holding of some office which enabled them to impose taxation on the people of a district, a village, a river ; or they were given the right of collecting a particular tax in a particular place ; or they were granted a block of mining land, and they arranged with Chinese and Malay miners for a certain percentage of all the tin and gold which came out of it ; or they were given authority over a tract of territory, and squeezed as much as they could out of those who inhabited it. Rajas holding high office usually maintained scores of relatives and hangers-on who, in return for this support, held themselves at the disposal of the master for any service be chose to command. It was the same with the chiefs, their families, and their retainers, and as no one had a hired servant or ever paid wages, it followed that all menial work was done by debt slaves and by a very few real slaves, either aborigines caught for that purpose or Africans who had been purchased. The Muhammadan law does not recognize that a Muhammadan can be a slave, though there was, practically, no difference between slavery and debt-slavery. It had, therefore, come to be recognized that it was the right of Rajas and chiefs to order and the duty of the people to obey. This rule had a practical observance whenever the Sultan, or any Raja

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or chief of sufficient authority, wanted labour for any public or private work — such as the clearing of a river, the building of a mosque or house, the manning of boats for a journey — for then all the men within reach were summoned, through the village head-men, to come and undertake this forced labour, for which no payment was ever made, and though the labourers were supposed to be fed as long as the work lasted, that was not always done.

It might be imagined that, under these circumstances, the Malay would welcome any change, but strange to say that was not the case, and centuries of Malay mis-government has produced a race which looked with suspicion upon every innovation, opposed it on principle, and only became reconciled to alteration when the feeblest intelligence was compelled to admit that there was no harm in it. Indeed, some voluntarily contracted debts when they knew perfectly that it would lead to bondage ; and when the whole system of debt-slavery was abolished, a certain number of the manumitted received the news of their freedom with regret, and hardly knew what to do with their new-found liberty.

It may seem curious that, living under such conditions, the ordinary Malay man should be extraordinarily sensitive in regard to any real or fancied affront, and yet that was, and is, characteristic of the people, I have already discussed this frame of mind, at some length, in another book,1 and will only say here that, when the Malay feels that a slight or insult has been put upon him which, for any reason, he cannot resent, he broods over his trouble till, in a fit of madness, he suddenly seizes a weapon and strikes out blindly at every one he sees — man, woman, or child —often beginning with those of his own family. This is the amok, the furious attack in which the madman hopes to find death and an end to his intolerable feeling of injury and dishonour. There can be little doubt that, except

 1 The Real Malay


In rare instances, those who are suddenly seized by this fury to destroy are homicidal maniacs, and a straw in the current of life gives the suggestion which alone was needed to impel them on their career of destruction.

The Malay has been a Muhammadan since the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah of Malacca, who flourished in 1276, and made his kingdom the third greatest in the Archipelago---Majapahit, in Java, being the first, and Pasi, in Sumatra, the second. It is unlikely that the Malay has ever been a religious bigot, it is not in his nature ; and though he is a professing Muhammadan and ready to die for a faith which he only dimly understands, he has never entirely abandoned the superstitions of his earlier days. The origin of the Malay race is still a matter of doubt, but there are good reasons for believing that Malays are the descendants of people who crossed from the south of India to Sumatra, mixed with a people already inhabiting that island, and gradually spread themselves over the central and most fertile States — Palembang, Jambi, Indragiri, Menangkabau, and Kampar. From Sumatra they gradually worked their way to Java, to Singapore and the Malay Peninsula, to Borneo, Celebes, the other islands of the Archipelago, and even to the Philippines, Sulu, the Caroline Islands, and perhaps to Formosa. The word Malay is said to be derived from a river of that name, the Sungei Malayu, which flows by the mountain Siguntang Maha Meru, in the State of Palembang, in Sumatra, but it is equally likely that it was carried by the first emigrants from the Mallia or Malaya country to Southern India. The Malay tradition, for which there is not only popular belief but the authority of the Malay Annals (whatever that is worth), is that the cradle of the Malay race is this Bukit Siguntang Maha Meru, now recognized as Gunong Dempo, and there appears to be there a stream with the name Sungei Malayu. People coming from that place would naturally

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describe themselves as Orang Malayu, the name by which they are known to-day. To support the theory of their Indian origin we have not only places like Singapura, with purely Indian names, but, when Perak Malays go back to their old superstitions and endeavour to propitiate malign spirits, they use a form of incantation which they do not understand, but which can certainly be traced to a Sanskrit origin.

I have said the Malay is a professing Muhammadan, his life is ruled by the Muhammadan law, and he accepts the teaching and the injunctions of the Moslem priesthood, but, with rare exceptions, he cannot be called devout ; he does not pray five times a day, he does not rigorously observe a forty days' fast, he is not a regular attendant at the mosque. He is married and buried as a Muhammadan, he is circumcised and goes through the outward observances imposed by his Faith, yet, when he is hard pressed, he has a way of harking back to original sin, and the practice of witchcraft abhorred by the priesthood. This tendency to backsliding applies to all ranks of Malay society, from the highest to the lowest ; but even when Malays take to devil-raising, to propitiating the spirits of earth and air and mountain, though many are implicit believers in the efficacy of the rites performed, some of the more intelligent enter into the game with extreme keenness, but with their tongues in their cheeks. If Malays are not inclined to work, neither are they greatly inclined to religious discipline or observance; still they are more tolerant than others whose lives are guided by a selection of higher moral principles.

Thirty years ago the Malay was not greatly impressed by the white man. Very few Malays of the Peninsula had ever seen any white men, and the popular impression was that they were people with loud voices, indifferent manners, and worse customs ; that they habitually used bad language in their conversation, and not infrequently


drank to intoxication. That impression has now been removed — to a large extent — but it is easy to understand that these failings were specially abhorrent to the Malay mind. His nature is to be reserved and severely polite, and be deeply resents a curiosity which leads Europeans into indiscretion. It is not the custom to ask a Malay his name ; it is well to make the inquiry when he cannot hear it, but if you must know at once, you should ask some one else. Similarly you are not expected to express any curiosity you may feel about where he is going, or on what business, and it is specially advisable not to inquire after the health of his wife and daughters. It is a mistake to enthuse over the beauty or excellence of a Malay's possessions, for the Malay may feel it incumbent on him to ask you to accept what you so greatly admire. If that happens, the European should firmly but politely refuse the proffered gift, remembering that it is not a spontaneous act, but the result of his own too pointed remarks. If a Malay is wearing a weapon, it is not the custom to ask to be allowed to look at it, and if this imprudence is committed and the owner hands you the kris, or whatever it is, you must not unsheathe it without first asking for permission to do so, and then you must draw the blade very slowly indeed and sheath it in the same way. Thirty years ago a Malay never moved without his kris, when he bathed he took it with him and when he slept it lay by his hand. He gave it more attention than his wife and probably put a higher value upon it. If it was a famous blade, of Bugis make, and perfect in all measurements and every other test, no money would buy it; a common saying was, " money will buy gold, but it will not buy a lucky kris." The owner of the "lucky" dagger was supposed to get home on his adversary before the latter could touch him. Therefore for a stranger to try the point of the weapon on the wall, or the floor, was a grave insult to the owner. If it is urged that all these injunctions are

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needless, and would naturally suggest themselves to persons with any pretence to good manners, I can only say that there are a number of people in the world who never get beyond the pretence, and I have seen Europeans, of whom you would not expect it, do all the things here mentioned as being serious offences to a Malay. He thinks that the white man's dress is very indelicate, but he will not tell him so, though the white man will, without hesitation, say, " Why do you wear this, or that ? " The dancing of white people is also inexplicable to the Malay, and unless he is prepared to bring his own ladies it is wiser not to invite him to that form of entertainment.

Though the Malay is hardly ever a bigot in matters of religion, he has the strongest possible objection to a Malay woman marrying or living with a Chinese, and this is another of those matters which have caused a great deal of trouble in the Protected Malay States. A fairly well-to-do Chinese, a small shopkeeper for instance, appears to make a satisfactory husband, and it has happened that Malay women have preferred life with the Chinese infidel to a harder lot with a man of their own race and faith. The common result was, first a warning to the woman to leave the man of her choice, and if that failed the Chinese was killed, and sometimes the woman also. If the Chinese chose to become a Muhammadan these primitive measures would not be resorted to, but there was, and there is, a violent objection on the part of the Malay community to these domestic arrangements between the Celestial and the Malay woman. Of course no one was greatly shocked if a Malay man gathered a Chinese woman into his household, but the practice, seldom resorted to, was never regarded with favour.

The attitude of the Malay towards his women was not that which is observed in most Muhammadan countries. Married women seem to have always been allowed a very considerable liberty, and the man who tried to exclude his


womenfolk from such amusements and social intercourse as was open to them was regarded as a jealous curmudgeon, and whatever happened to him the sympathies of society were with the ladies of the house and not with the master. On all festal occasions — a wedding, ear piercing, the appointment of officers by the Sultan, and so on — it is the invariable practice to give great entertainments to large numbers of people. At these times those who are invited are expected to bring their wives, and often their daughters or other near relatives as well. All these ladies lend a hand in making the necessary preparations for a series of festivities, which may last from one or two days to several weeks, and it is they who organize, direct; and actually assist in all the cooking, which is the main feature of the entertainment. 
The guests who come from a distance are accommodated in the house of the host, or of any of their own friends in the neighbourhood, and it is usual to give them a meal which would correspond to luncheon — some time between twelve and one o'clock — and a dinner as soon as it is dark — that is, about seven o'clock. The evening meal is the one of real importance. When it is ready, the host and his principal guests sit in a circle on the floor, on mats spread for the purpose, and a great variety of dishes of food are placed in front of them, within easy reach of every one. They are waited upon by girls who either belong to the house or have come in to help, and who are dressed in a sort of uniform, and in the house of the Sultan they carry a strip of embroidered yellow cloth on their right shoulders. As soon as the diners have taken their places vessels of water are handed round, and every one washes his right hand — that is, the hand with which he eats. Then great bowls of boiled rice are served, from which the guests help themselves with a spoon made of wood, or of the shell of the cocoanut. For the rest, each man helps himself from the dishes in front of him, and

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when all are satisfied the servants bring a course of sweets — things that are half cake, half pudding or jelly, very sweet and rather insipid. After that there is tea or coffee, another washing of hands, and then cigarettes. In old days the sireh box used to be passed round immediately after the meal, and all the older guests indulged in the delights of this astringent. Now the chewing of betel has gone so completely out of fashion that it is seldom seen. Sireh is the leaf of a vine on which a little lime is spread with the filler, a scrap of betel nut and a bit of gambir are then wrapped up in the leaf, and the packet put In the mouth and chewed.

Whilst the host and his friends were being served in a special corner of the room, usually on a higher level, numbers of men of lower degree would sit side by side all round the walls, and the servants would attend to their wants in exactly the same way as to those at the higher floor. Very shortly after the meal was over the guests would leave the house and visit all the various entertainments prepared for their amusement These would usually consist of Malay theatrical performances, shadow plays, chess, or gambling in one form or another.

As soon as the men have finished, the women take their meal ; but that is always behind the veil, in the women's apartments. When poor people are quite alone, the man of the house, his wife and children eat together, but in the case of Rajas and well-to-do people the master very seldom eats with the ladies of his family.

When there is no great gathering for a State function, or a ceremony, such as the wedding of the son or daughter of an important person, the Malay still does a great deal of quiet hospitality. Either he entertains his own friends who are visiting or passing that way, or some stranger comes with an introduction or recommendation which practically makes the offer of hospitality a necessity. Amongst those who know each other well it often happens


that no invitation is given in so many words ; the visitor is there, and, when a meal is served, he shares it as a matter of course. It is on such occasions that the privileged friend sees the real inner life of a Malay family ; for after dinner his host will invite him behind the curtain, where he will meet all the ladies of the household, and probably some of their relatives and friends as well.

Even in his most unregenerate days the Malay dearly loved a real picnic. He would go with a great party, on elephants, or by boat, to some charming spot in the depths of the jungle, a picturesque pool or waterfall on some clear mountain stream, and after a few hours of fishing, swimming, diving, rock-sliding or similar sports, fires would be made, rice cooked, fish roasted, and a most excellent meal improvised out of almost nothing, served on leaves of the wild plantain and eaten with fillers only. Here you would find men, women, and girls all mixing perfectly freely, and with very little pretence at shyness ; but it is true that the party would include no real strangers. There is something strangely attractive and fascinating about the primeval forest, and even now it is probable that to Perak Malays of every class, especially those of the Sultan's own household, nothing would appeal more than four or five days' journey, in boats or on elephants, into some part of the country which is still practically unexplored. There is just such a place, full of the mysterious attraction of the unknown, straight inland from Pasir Panjang on the left bank of the Perak River. It is called the Folding Plains.

If I give to the Malay woman a space which is all inadequate to her merits and influence on Malay society, it is not because I count her as a negligible quantity, but because, as a matter of history, she never had much to do with those affairs with which this book is mainly concerned. As a child she does not receive as much attention as a boy, but she is invested with the national garment, a tiny

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sarong, rather earlier than he is. Whilst the boy is learning to paddle a boat and help his father in any way he can, or is being taught the aliph-ba-ta (the Arabic alphabet) and the reading of the Koran, she is mostly in the house, helps her mother to carry water from the river, morning and evening, when all Malays bathe, and assists in the cooking, or any other household work. A Malay cottage is the embodiment of untidiness, and usually of dirt and insanitariness, but in this respect there has been a marked improvement of late years. The house is not cumbered by furniture or any attempt at decoration ; there are no tables or chairs, no whitewash, and very little paint. The floor, which is always raised four or five feet above the ground, is of planks, nibong or split bamboos, and it is covered with mats ; the walls are of plank or palm leaves, bark or interlaced cane ; the thatch is of palm leaves. Every small Malay house is divided into three parts ; a narrow veranda in front, and the rest of the floor space under the main roof, form the house ; while, tacked on behind, is a small excrescence used as a kitchen. The same principle is carried out in more pretentious houses, only each of the three divisions is much larger and often forms a separate building, joined to the next one by a few feet of covered way. Strangers seldom pass beyond the veranda.

In some of the Malay States a great deal of weaving — often very beautiful — is done; there almost every house has a loom, and the main occupation of the women of all classes is the making of silk or cotton fabrics.. In Perak they pride themselves on their skill in mat-making and embroidery, and not without reason. In Kedah the women plait the inner fibre of the pandanus into baskets of a marvellous fineness, and they also weave a cloth of mixed silk and cotton. Selangor was once famous for its sarongs of cloth of gold, but years of warfare destroyed the industry, and now they make nothing. In Pahang the women make excellent mats, of various colours, and very


good silk cloth ; but the best and most beautiful weaving is done in Trengganu, an independent State on the east coast, and in Kelantan, its northern neighbour.

The girls of poor people share all the women's tasks from an early age, and, in the season, they do most of the lighter work in the planting, the reaping, the winnowing, husking, and pounding of rice. Many of them find time to learn to read and write, and nowadays, in the Federated Malay States, there are successful schools for Malay girls. A girl sometimes, but very rarely, marries at fourteen ; but from seventeen to twenty is a much more common age. Until she marries she is not supposed to have any conversation with men, and when out of doors (never alone, of course) she meets a man she covers her face with extreme ostentation. Sometimes the effort is so great that her face is for a moment entirely disclosed. It is no doubt the result of excessive modesty and nervousness.

Malay girls are sometimes surprisingly fair for Easterns, but they vary from all shades of light to dark brown. Their hair is always black and usually abundant ; their eyes are large and dark, their noses rather flat, mouths of moderate size but good shape, and teeth extremely white ; they have good foreheads, round chins, and their faces are rather wide than oval. They nearly always have strongly marked eyebrows and long curling eyelashes. The genera] effect is that of a pleasant and good-humoured face, with plenty of character but no great claim to beauty. In height they are short, cleanly made and well formed, with smooth skin, very small hands, and small but square-toed feet They admire small waists but use no appliances to produce them. As a rule they have pleasant voices and seldom raise them. In the house they wear a sarong and a loose jacket, long or short, but when dressed to be seen they often wear two sarongs, one over the other, and a long jacket of silk or satin, fastened in front by three gold or jewelled brooches. Their hair is pulled off

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their foreheads and fastened in a knot behind with five or six jewelled pins. They are fond of rings, bracelets, and earrings, and not above the use of powder on their faces.

When the Malay States were entirely independent, it is probable that no girl was ever consulted as to her wishes in the matter of matrimony ; everything was arranged by her parents and relatives, and indeed the young man was usually treated in the same way. Now it is rather different, and the most enlightened Malay parents would not press a girl to marry if she expressed a strong objection to the suitor. The wedding, especially in the case of the children of people of rank, is a very long, very tedious, and very expensive affair; all that need be said about it here is, that the wearing of orange blossoms and the throwing of rice are both Eastern customs and simply mean “be fruitful." The giving of wedding gifts, always money, is also a well-recognized custom amongst Malays. I have often known the Sultan of Perak — one of the most thoughtful of hosts — when he invited Europeans to witness the final and chiefest ceremony at the marriage of one of His Highness's children, provide his guests with the wedding gift lest they should be taken unawares.

With poor people it is usual for the bride to accompany her husband to his own home very shortly after the conclusion of the marriage ceremony ; with Rajas and people of rank, the bridegroom often stays for months in the house of his wife's parents before they will let her go away. Not infrequently the husband goes and leaves his wife with her parents ; he may even return several times, making long or short visits, before he can persuade the parents to part with their daughter. When at last she does leave her home it is possibly only for an absence of a few months, and for years she may spend almost as much of her time with her parents as with her husband. A Malay, like other Muhammadans, is allowed by law to have four wives at the same time, and, if he can afford it,


he usually takes advantage of the permission. It nearly always happens that one of these ladies, of the same social rank as the husband, is the principal wife, and she remains, while the others, or some of them, are divorced and replaced. When a man embarks on the luxury, or extravagance, of more than one wife it is always understood that he is prepared to provide a separate house and establishment for each additional lady, and it is his duty to treat them all alike, to pass the same amount of time with each, and, if he makes a present to one, to give an identical present to each of the others. It need not be assumed that all Malays are scrupulous to act up to the letter of this law, but some of them do so.  Divorce is certainly easy, but it is by no means the man who alone seeks it, and when the tie has been finally loosed, and the hundred days of grace, or abstinence, have expired, the woman is almost as certain to remarry as the man, especially if she is young. Women of good birth and of means sometimes marry for the third or fourth or nth time, when they are between fifty and sixty years of age, but as a rule Malay ladies do not count on their physical attractions after they have reached the age of forty. I have often discussed the position of married women with the leaders of Malay society, and I have been struck by the fact that they have only one complaint to make, and that is their strong objection to being one wife of several. To divorce, as it obtains with them, they seem quite reconciled ; but the idea of sharing a man with several other women is distinctly repugnant to them. Probably that opinion is very seldom expressed to a man, and never unless it is sought, but it is discussed by women.

Once a woman has married, and so obtained a certain amount of independence, she will, especially if she is of strong character, develop into a considerable power in her own household, and often exert her influence in many

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directions beyond those narrow limits. She may earn a reputation as a good housewife, an excellent manager, a capital hostess, and even develop much business capacity. As the wife of an official she takes an interest in State affairs, and does her best to push her husband's claims to preferment and title; in this last ambition she has a special interest, for certain offices and titles held by the husband confer rank and title on his principal wife, and that helps greatly to assure her position. It is also the custom to grant offices, titles, and salaries to ladies connected with the Court, and in these cases, the husband, if there is one, is not concerned. Malay women of the better class, and most of those in the entourage of the Sultan and the leading Rajas, are distinctly intelligent if they cannot be called highly educated. They are usually of a cheerful temperament, capital company, witty and interesting, with a strong sense of humour ; a man has to do his best to hold his own in their society. Both men and women are very quick and accurate in their estimate of strangers of any nationality, and especially of their social status. A Malay man hardly ever speaks of his food, either in anticipation of a meal or in criticism afterwards. Perhaps more curious is the fact that a Malay woman does not discuss another woman's clothes, either in praise or disparagement, but Malay men sometimes do it .

In illness Malays rely upon their own doctors, usually ''wise women" with almost no real knowledge. Though the country is now supplied with many excellent hospitals, in the charge of able English surgeons, it is almost impossible to persuade Malays to enter them, except in cases which require surgical treatment. With great difficulty, and the assistance of a legal enactment, the people have been compelled to submit themselves to vaccination, with the result that smallpox, once the greatest scourge of the country, is now almost unknown. This is one of the innovations the value of which the Malay gratefully recog-


nizes. Cases of deformity, imbecility, and hesitation of speech are very rare, and the Malay has an instinctive dislike to persons so afflicted. As already mentioned, when a patient becomes dangerously ill, and the usual forms of treatment have failed to give any relief, it is common, especially in Perak, to call in a pawang, a kind of wizard or witch, who tries by incantations and other forms of the black art to lure the evil spirit from his prey.

For any one who has to do with Malays a knowledge of the language is an absolute necessity. To acquire such a smattering of the tongue as will enable a person to carry on a very simple conversation with the various Eastern people to be met with in the Straits Settlements and the Malay States is an easy task; but to speak, read, and write Malay really well is a matter of great difficulty, and the knowledge can only be obtained by years of study, and constant intercourse with the most cultivated Malays of the Peninsula. The Malays had several written characters of their own before they became Muhammadans. Since that date they have used the Arabic character and alphabet, with the addition of six letters, which were necessary to express sounds not known in the Arabic language. On the other hand, thirteen of the letters are only used in the writing of words of Arabic origin, leaving twenty letters for writing purely Malay words. As in all languages which use the Arabic character, Malay, is of course, written from right to left, and what greatly increases the difficulty of reading it is, that, to the unskilled eye, there appear to be no divisions between the words, no beginnings or ends of sentences, no commas, semicolons, or full stops, and the vowels are often not written at all. For instance, the common word minta, which means "to ask", is always written mnt; the compound word ka-pada, which means "to" is written kpd and the compound word sa-blas, meaning "eleven" is written sbls. Nothing but practice

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and the context will enable the reader to get over this difficulty and, when an unknown word is met with, the correct pronunciation can only be guessed, though a practised eye will probably divine the pronunciation without hesitation. The language is not burdened with much grammar and, for a long time, the study is mainly an effort of memory, to learn so many thousands of words and recognize them when met with in print and manuscript All the real difficulties begin when ordinary conversation is no longer an effort To speak Malay well, as Malays always talk to each other, is to speak in idioms which, as a rule, have no counterpart in European tongues. This, again, is an effort of memory and the result of constant practice. There is a step further. It is the delight of Malays, who recognize that they have made conversation a fine art, to talk in parables; to express what they mean by something which, to the uninitiated, would seem to have no connexion with the subject under discussion. The more difficult the riddle, the further the actual words from their implied meaning, the more subtle is the thrust and the more delighted the audience. If the less intelligent listeners find that something is going on which they cannot in the least understand, so that they smile vacantly as people do when they fancy something witty has been said in a foreign tongue, that only adds to the enjoyment of the rest of the company. There is still a higher level of attainment, almost beyond ambition, and that is to be able to take part, on fair terms, in a conversation with bright and intelligent Malay ladies. This is difficult because they use words and expressions not found in dictionaries and story-books, and they do not make allowances for ignorance or pretend not to hear mistakes. Quite the contrary, they are merciless in ridicule, especially if they are young.

To write, I will not say exhaustively, but to write at all fully of the Malay language and literature would certainly


be a matter of a volume or two, and the subject would probably appeal to a very limited circle. In the early part of the last century there were three recognized English authorities on the Malay language, Marsden, Raffles, and Crawford ; the last named having been already mentioned as Major Farquhar's successor in the Singapore Residency. There were also a number of distinguished Dutch writers, but they dealt rather with the Malay of Java and Sumatra, which is not quite the same language as that spoken in the Malay Peninsula. The researches of Marsden and Raffles were also conducted mainly in Sumatra, and of the three English writers, all of whom took up the subject with enthusiasm and studied it with great diligence, Crawford wrote with probably the highest authority. The following extracts from a lecture and a paper by Crawford, both printed in 1848, are of special interest as the thoughtful and reasoned views of a writer fully qualified to deal with the subject of the Malay language and the sources which carried it over so vast an area.

'' Distinct and unequivocal traces of a Malayan1 language have been found from Madagascar to Easter Island, and from Formosa to New Zealand, over 70 degrees of latitude, and 200 of longitude."

''To account for this remarkable dissemination of a language, singular for its extent, among a people so rude, it has been imagined that all the tribes within the wide bounds referred to constitute, with the exception, however, of the Papuas or Negroes, one and the same race, and that the many tongues now known to be spoken by them were originally one language, broken down, by time and dispersion, into many dialects. This is the theory adopted by Mr. Marsden, Sir Stamford Raffles, and the Baron William Humboldt, as well as by many French and

1I use this word as a common term for all that belongs to the Archipelago."

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German writers, but I believe it to be wholly destitute of foundation. . . .

''A brief examination, phonetical, grammatical, and verbal, or glossarial, of some of the principal languages will, I think, clearly show that they are generally distinct tongues, not derived from a common stock, and that the Malayan words they contain have been engrafted on them as Teutonic words have been on the continental languages of Europe of Latin origin ; or as French words have been on our own Anglo-Saxon, although, indeed, the course through which this has been effected has been, in general, very different.

“ The languages from which, in my opinion, the words so engrafted have been for the most part derived, are those of the two most civilized, numerous, and adventurous nations of the Archipelago, the Malays and Javanese. The Malayan words found in each language that has received them will, I think, be found not only numerous, but correct in sound and sense in proportion to the facilities, geographical, navigable, and lingual, possessed by the parties adopting them of communicating with the parent countries of the Malay and Javanese nations.

" The dissemination might be direct from Sumatra and Java, the parent countries in question, or indirectly from some nearer country; and it would happen through commerce, piratical expeditions ending in settlement and conquest, or by the fortuitous wreck of tempest-driven vessels, to all of which I shall, afterwards, more particularly allude ……

" When European nations first visited the Indian Archipelago, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, they found the Malays and Javanese conducting the first stage of that commerce in the clove and nutmeg, by which these then much valued articles found their way, first into the markets of Continental India, and eventually into those of Arabia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome— that is.


making trading voyages which extended from the western bounds of the Archipelago. The spices in question were found in the Roman markets of the second century of our era ; and the great probability, therefore, is that the Javanese and Malay trade alluded to had, when Europeans first observed it, been going on for at least fourteen centuries. . . .

" Respecting the probable era of such adventures, we have just one faint ray of light. With the Malayan there came in a few words of Sanskrit, such as are popular in the Malay and Javanese. From this it may be fair to infer, that the chance migrations I have supposed, whether they bad before taken place earlier or not, may have taken place, at all events, as early as the epoch of the connection of the Hindoos with the Indian Archipelago — a connection, the commencement of which cannot, I think, be placed later than the birth of Christ . . .

"Within the Malayan Archipelago the Malay and Javanese languages have been communicated to others by conquest, settlement, or colonization, and commerce ; while to Madagascar and the islands of the Pacific they have been communicated by the accidents of tempest-driven praus or fleets of praus
" The insular character of the whole region over which a Malayan language has been disseminated, and the periodical winds prevailing within it which, on a superficial view, appear obstacles, are, in truth, the true causes of the dissemination, for had the region in question been a continent, stretching north and south like America, or lain within the latitudes of variable wind and storms, no such dispersion of one language could have taken places.

" Such is the most rational explanation I can render of a fact in the history of our race, mysterious without explanation, and wonderful enough even with it . . .
. . . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . .
" The use of letters has been immemorially known to

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all the more civilized nations of the Indian Archipelago, of the brown-complexioned, lank-haired race, and many alphabets, at once distinct from each other, and not borrowed from any foreign source, are to be found among them, from Sumatra to the west, to Celebes and the Philippines to the east.

" Modern writers have supposed that the earliest writing was pictorial or hieroglyphic, and that in process of time this became vocal or phonetic, ending in literal alphabets. Of the truth of this theory, however, no evidence is to be discovered in the insular languages. Hieroglyphic writing is nowhere to be seen on any ancient monuments — the letters of the numerous alphabets which exist bear no resemblance to any object of nature, animate or inanimate — the names of the letters simply express their sounds, and the word for an alphabet consists, as with ourselves, only of an enumeration of a few of the first letters in order of which they are composed.

" The Javanese is certainly the most perfect alphabet of the Archipelago, and a brief account of it will give a general notion of the rest which, although they differ in form, bear it, in principle, a common resemblance. It has a distinct and invariable character for every sound in the language, and so far, therefore, it is a perfect system. . . .

" We have then, in all throughout the Archipelago, no fewer than nine distinct alphabets, every one of which appears to be a separate and a native invention. But they are not only distinct from each other ; they differ equally from all foreign alphabets.

" Some, indeed, have fancied that the Malayan alphabets may have been borrowed from the Hindus, but there is assuredly no solid ground for such an hypothesis. Some improvements in details, there is no doubt, they did receive from this source, but on examination they are not found to be essential. The most striking of them is the


organic and rhythmical classification. But two of the alphabets of Sumatra, the obsolete alphabet of Sumbawa, and the Javanese alphabet have not adopted this arrangement. The last of these is the most remarkable instance, for it was the one of all the characters of the Archipelago most amenable to Hindu influence, as is sufficiently attested by the greater number of Sanskrit words in the language of Java, and by the existence in that island of numerous Hindu monuments, including inscriptions in the Dewanagri, side by side with those in the ancient native writing. . . .

" In fact, the main characteristic of the Malayan letters, their differing among themselves, and then differing equally from all foreign letters, leads to the inevitable conclusion that each alphabet was a separate and independent invention, made, in all likelihood, in the localities in which we at present find them. If this be the case, the kind of fertility of invention which the fact evinces is a curious contrast to the utter absence of it in rude and early Europe, which never invented an alphabet, although in substantial civilization It is not to be imagined that the natives of Java and Sumatra two thousand years ago were superior to the energetic inhabitants of Germany, Gaul, and Briton.

" What causes conduced to this early invention of letters among Malayan nations, and at so many different and distant points, it is not very easy to say. It is certain that the discoveries must have been preceded by a very considerable advancement in civilization, such as would afford leisure to some class of men to attend to such things. That class was unquestionably a priesthood of some kind, and the first and earliest use of letters would assuredly be, not for the common conveniences of life, or even for its amusement, as in a more advanced stage, but for the sheer purpose of conjuration or incantation.

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" The development of a civilization in which the invention of letters would spring up would require that the natural circumstances of a country should be favourable. The territory must be sufficiently large, and sufficiently fertile and easy of cultivation, to produce a population numerous enough for its own defence, and, therefore, to afford sufficient leisure to any class of its inhabitants. No respectable amount of civilization has ever risen, and no letters have ever been invented, in any country of the Archipelago destitute of these advantages.

“The nine alphabets of the Archipelago are the produce of five large islands only, out of the innumerable ones which compose it The most fertile and civilized island, Java, has produced the most perfect alphabet, and that which has acquired the widest diffusion. The entire great group of the Philippines has produced, and that in its greatest and most fertile island only, a single alphabet ; even this one is less perfect than the alphabets of the Western nations, in proportion as the Philippine islanders, when first seen by Europeans, were in a lower state of civilization than the nations of the west of the Archipelago.

" The Malayan Peninsula and Borneo, extensive as they are, have never given rise to an indigenous civilization sufficient to raise their inhabitants beyond the condition of small and miserable communities, and hence no indigenous alphabet can be traced to them. Their more civilized inhabitants are invariably stranger emigrants. This must be owing to the absence of a certain kind of fertility in the land available to the rude and feeble efforts of a native industry, such as elsewhere gave rise to a concentrated population, to leisure and to letters.

" No kind of native writing can be traced to the Spice Islands, which, notwithstanding their rich native productions, are incapable of yielding corn, iron, or cattle, the rough staples of early civilization, and without the presence of which letters have never been invented or existed.


In the great island of New Guinea, with its savage negro population, and with the same deficiencies, the presence of any kind of writing is not reasonably to be looked for.

" No trace of a written character has been found in the wide extent of the islands of the Pacific. Most of them are, probably, too small to have furnished a population, at once sufficiently numerous and concentrated, to generate the amount of civilization requisite for the purpose. In the great islands of New Zealand, with their comparatively energetic race of inhabitants, the discovery of letters would, most probably, have been made, as among the rude nations of Sumatra, had the civilization necessary not been precluded by the absence, as in the smaller islands, of the larger animals for labour, and of all the cereal grasses for food.

" The facility with which materials to write on are obtained in the countries occupied by the Malayan nations has, probably, contributed something towards the early discovery of the art of writing. The want of them, on the contrary, is known to have proved a great obstacle to the progress of letters, and, probably, was to their invention in temperate regions. The absence of a good material in ancient Europe hindered the invention of printing, and its presence in China, no doubt, contributed largely to its early discovery in that country.

"The Indian islanders write on palm leaves, which have received no other preparation than that of being dried, and cut in slips --- on the inner bark of trees, a little polished only by rubbing --- on slips of the bamboo cane, simply freed from its epidermis, and on stone, metal, and finally on paper.

" The palm leaf employed is that of the lontar, or borassus flabelliformis. The Malay word is most likely a corruption of two words : ron, a leaf in Javanese, and tal, the proper name of this palm in Sanskrit. This seems corroborated by the Javanese name, which is written rontal.

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From the use of this word it might, at first sight, be imagined that the practice of writing on palm leaves was derived from the Hindus. But it happens that this word, with many others wholly or partly Sanskrit, belongs to the ceremonial and factitious dialect of the Javanese language, a genuine native name, kropyak, existing for it, in the ordinary one, so that no safe conclusion can be drawn from this etymology.

The instrument for writing with on the palm leaf, bark, and the bamboo is an iron style, and their writing is, in fact, a rude engraving, which is rendered legible by rubbing powdered charcoal over the surface which falls into the grooves, and is swept off the smooth surface.

" The Javanese alone understand the manufacture of a kind of paper. This is evidently a native art, and not borrowed from strangers, as is plain from the material, the process, and the name. The plant, in the Javanese language, is called gluga (Brouponotia papyrifera) and the article itself daluwan changed into dalanian for the polite language. The process is not the ingenious one of China, India, Persia, and Europe, but greatly resembles that of making the Egyptian papyrus, and still more closely the preparation of the South Sea cloth, the raw material being, indeed, exactly the same. The true bark, cut in slips, is long macerated and beaten, and after being thus treated, slips of it are joined to each other over a smooth surface, and defects made good by patching. The fabric thus obtained is of a brownish-grey colour, unequal in its texture, rigid but strong.

" With the exception of the Javanese, it does not seem that the natives of the Archipelago ever wrote with ink before they were instructed by the Arabs, no doubt from the absence of paper. The Javanese have a native name for ' pen ' and ' ink ' — sua and mansi; but with the other nations the only ones are Arabic — kalam and dawat, often, indeed, greatly disfigured, as in the example of the


Bugis who convert them into kalah and dawak. The pen generally used is not reed, as on the Continent of Asia, or a quill, as in Europe, but a stub obtained from the Aren palm {Saguerus saccharifera).

" Even paper is generally known to the Indian islanders by the Arabian name of kartas, so that it is probable that a true paper was imported long before the arrival of Europeans, although the natives were never taught the art of preparing it. At present European paper is in general use by all the more civilized nations, to the exclusion of Asiatic"

I have quoted these extracts because of their authority, their interest, and the soundness of the reasoning by which Mr. Crawford supports his conclusions. Since the time of Marsden, Raffles, and Crawford, no Englishman has publicly discussed the same questions, and established with his contemporaries anything like the same reputation for Malay scholarship. It is certain that all the three writers named used great industry in their studies, but it is a pity that they confined their work to research into, and criticism of, the published results of what they and the Dutch authorities had already gleaned from the field of Malay letters. Some of the dictionary work is inaccurate ; the original collector has gone wrong, and his mistakes have been perpetuated by the simple process of repetition. All the books by English writers are very incomplete, probably because the few who had an inclination for this form of study lacked opportunities for making thorough inquiry, and never realized how many and rich were the sources of information. Raffles' active mind was busy with too many important matters to allow him to give the necessary time for a careful study of the Malay language. Marsden's researches were mostly, or wholly, confined to Sumatra, and Crawford failed to go to the Malays themselves, from whom alone he could have gained a thorough and accurate knowledge of their

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language. In later years, with the opening of the Peninsula to Europeans, and with the special opportunities given to Government officers of exploring out-of-the-way places in all the States where English influence now prevails, and even beyond those limits, it has been possible to learn far more of the Malays and their language than ever was known by Englishmen before. These reasons induced Mr. Hugh Clifford (formerly British Resident in Pahang) and the writer to collaborate in the compilation of a Malay dictionary, in the hope that we might push the work done by our predecessors a little nearer to the distant goal of completeness. The scheme was, however, too expensive and exacting for unaided effort, and as it did not meet with any encouragement from the Government, we were obliged to abandon it, after putting only one-third — about five hundred pages — through the press. It is some consolation to know that Mr. R. J. Wilkinson, of the Straits Civil Service, has carried out a less ambitious programme, and produced a Malay dictionary which establishes his industry and scholarship, and does much to remove the reproach that no Englishman had attempted to compile such a work for nearly a hundred years.

Malays possess very few writings which can be dignified by the name of literature, and that is curious considering how well they know, and how diligently the most intellectual of them read, the best-known works when they can get them. As books written in the best style and of the greatest repute amongst Malays the following may be mentioned: the Sejdra Malayu (the Malay Annals already referred to), the Hikaiat Hang Tuah (the history of a famous Malay warrior who flourished in the sixteenth century), the Taj Al-saldtin (otherwise called the “ Crown of Kings"), the Hikaiat Iskandar Muda (the history of an Achinese Sultan), the Bestamam and the Hoya Memun. There are also a number of less important works which


are translations of Indian and Persian stories. In modern times the only book of any note written by a Malay is Abdullah's History. As already stated, this writer's style is far from classic, and his biography is not much read outside the Straits Settlements Colony.

Malays of both sexes, in their youth, are given to the writing of verses, like love-sick damsels and swains in other latitudes. These effusions are called pantun ; they consist of verses of four lines, the first and third and the second and fourth rhyming ; their peculiarity is that the first two lines often mean little or nothing, and have no real connexion with the last two, which alone embody the writer s message. Three examples are enough to give an idea of the style of these love ditties.

Nyior tinggi chondong ka-kota,
Kain soIok di-makanaipi.
Abang ditang men-dapat kita
Ka-mana nak di-tolak lagi ?

A lofty cocoanut palm leans towards the fort ;
The cloth of Solok make is burned in the fire.
If my beloved comes to seek me,
How can I send him away ?

Senudoh kayu di rimba,
Benang karap ber-simpul puleh.
Suinggoh dudok ber-tindeh riba,
Jangan di-harap kata-kan buleh.

The senudoh bush grows in the forest ;
The strings of the loom are in a tangled knot
It is true that I sit on your knee,
But do not hope for any further advantage.

Brapa tinggi puchok pisang,
Tinggi lagi asap api.
Brapa tinggi gunong me-lentang
Tinggi Iagi harap hati.

However high the stem of the banana.
The smoke of fire goes higher still.
However high the mountain range,
My heart's desire is higher still.

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On any moonlit night, when the river shines like burnished silver, you may see a long, narrow dug-out, black against the water, with a Malay youth in the stern, poling up stream or paddling down, bellowing these pantun to the soft Eastern night ; to relieve his feelings and, possibly, in the hope that they may reach the ears of his innamorata. If she is within half a mile she can hardly fail to hear him, and he is rather an attractive person the Malay boy.

Reference has been made to the Malay's fondness for proverbs, for epigrams and wise saws ; in his conversation he never fails to introduce one or other, when he sees an opportunity for their fitting application. The following specimens of this " wisdom of the many and wit of one" will give the reader a good idea of the habit of the Malay mind, and how the people draw, from their surroundings and the common things of everyday life, ideas, metaphors, and injunctions with which to season their conversation.

" To hang without a rope" ; said of a woman who is deserted but not divorced.

" It is in sugar that you see the dead ant" ; those who give themselves up to pleasure find death in the pot.

" What is cracked must break " ; said of two people who are seeking for an excuse to sever their connexion.

" The house is finished, but there is still the sound of the chisel"; trying to reopen a matter which ought to be settled.

" The owl sighing for the moon " ; hankering after the impossible.

" Like writing on water" ; wasted energy.

" Like a crow returning to his own country " ; to return as you came, no richer nor poorer.

" To move like a wounded snake " ; said of a very lazy person.

" As inseparable as the quick and the nail " ; the closest friends.


" The elephant makes a wide track through the jungle without killing the ants on which he treads"; said of a person very particular in certain observances but ignoring defects in himself which are patent to every one.

" Out of concern for the strong to throw away the jacket " ; probably losing both. It is said of a man who wishes to get rid of one wife in order to secure another.

" To light a fire on the roof" ; to pretend to be very useful while really doing the extremity of harm.

" The bean forgets its pod " ; ingratitude.

" Four is odd and five even " ; a definition of untrustworthiness.”

“A house where the wife rules is spoken of as " a boat steered from the bow.

" To love one's children one must weep for them sometimes, to love one's wife one must leave her sometimes."

" You may bale out a sinking boat, but in a shipwreck of the affections the vessel founders."

"A wound heals, but the scar remains"; one forgives but does not forget.

"In full daylight, he still carries a lighted torch"; a definition of the upright man who has nothing to conceal.

" Bored with life, but unwilling to die" ; said of a very lazy and useless person who is only a burden to others.

" Will a man put his salt out in the rain ?" ; will a man publish his own dishonour ?

" Can you cover the sun with a sieve ? " ; a great crime cannot be concealed.

"Poison is harmless when handled by experience"; hatred and prejudice cannot hurt those who know bow to deal with them. So on a day when the atmosphere seems all sunshine, one sees a great kite fall like a stone into a swamp and, instantly rising again, fly slowly to the top of some high tree carrying a snake in his talons, but so held that the reptile is quite powerless. Then, at his leisure the kite makes a meal of his enemy.

THE MALAY Page 171

“ Standing like a pawned spear " ; said of the awkward person, who moves about uncomfortably instead of sitting down at his ease and joining in the conversation.

“ Enmity with a wise man is better than friendship with a fool “ ; the former may change, the latter can never be of value.

" Don't borrow from new-made men, or visit the newly married " ; in either case you will make a mistake.

“ To pole down stream makes crocodiles laugh “ ; the height of absurdity.

" People help to prop up what is firm and stamp on what is down"; human nature wishes to be on the winning side.

" When the key is wicked, the box may turn traitor." If a man is unfaithful, he can't be surprised if his wife betrays him.

“ If you smack water in a dish, some of it is sure to fly in your face '' ; curses come home to roost.

“ A year's drought is washed away by a day's rain " ; an hour's joy drives out the memory of months of sorrow.

“ Those who quarrel with the well must end by dying of thirst " ; life is hard enough, do not add to its bitterness by refusing all that makes for happiness.

" While you carry the Raja's burden on your head, do not forget to keep your own bundle under your arm." Duty to your country and King come first, but your own affairs have a claim on your attention.1

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the Malay language has a peculiarity which is found in other eastern tongues. Certain special words are used when speaking of people of royal birth which are never applied to persons of lower rank. For instance, when referring to the eating, sleeping, bathing, dwelling, journeying, or commands of a Raja, terms are employed which are never

1 In the selection of these proverbs some use has been made of the collection published by the late Sir William Maxwell in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.


used in the case of ordinary mortals. Ceremonial is strictly observed between persons of different classes and different ages, and this is specially the case in the use of the personal pronouns, of which there are many forms, each with its recognized application as between those of different social status and on varying degrees of familiarity. Even children in their play never employ the wrong word.

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