In Malaysia, attempts to use archaeology to uncover the origins of race

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Once again, the debate in Malaysia of the origin of the ‘Malay’ ‘race’ using poorly understood and misused archaeology.

REALLY? Malays are not ‘PENDATANG’ – panellist
Malaysia Chronicle, 30 January 2015

Facts based on researches in the fields of DNA, folklores and archaeology has proven that Malays are not “pendatang” as claimed by some parties.

“We are not immigrants, and we have facts to prove it,” said one of the panellists during the Bestari Institute of the Malay World and Civilization (Atma) Talk Forum on “Melayu Bukan Pendatang” today, chairman of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and University Science Malaysia (USM) Ombudsman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Md. Salleh Yaapar.

“In Nov 2012, Dhamma speaker Datuk Dr Ananda Kumaraseri wrote in the New Straits Times that the origin of the Malays is traced to Tibet and the Yunnan Plateau, and some others claim that we are from China and Taiwan.

“But through folklore studies, which is my field of expertise, we have found out otherwise. In fact, the aboriginal tribes from Taiwan are all descendent of settlers from around the Malay Archipelago, their legends say that their forefathers came from the south, from the aboriginal race, and that race is Malayan,” he added.

Full story here.

Categories: Malaysia Politics

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Differing concepts of "Malay"-ness

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26 October 2007 (Jakarta Post) – I mentioned in the previous post about the Negara Kertagama about how Malaysia and Indonesia are embroiled in a dispute over the a traditional song, and I just wanted to highlight this editorial in the Jakarta Post which might shed light on our non-Southeast Asian readers who might not be familiar with the politics of the region. The term “Malay” does not mean the same thing in Malaysia and Indonesia!

This difference in the definition of Malay, while essentially a political one, has profound consequences in exploring the archaeology of the different Malay peoples in the region. I hope this editorial might add a little nuanced understanding in how current politics affects archaeology.

Malaysia, Indonesia out of tune
Ong Hock Chuan

Neighboring and serumpun (from the same root) countries Malaysia and Indonesia have been out of step with each other lately over the traditional song Rasa Sayang.

The song and dance over Rasa Sayang began when the Malaysian government used it as a jingle to promote the country’s tourism.

Indonesians were aghast that a homespun Ambonese song had been appropriated by its neighbor. Some legislators called for the Malaysian government to be sued in the international court for stealing an Indonesian song.

Malaysia reacted by saying that the song was as much theirs as Indonesia’s since the song came from the Malay Archipelago. And since Malaysia’s culture is dominantly Malay, they had a right to use it.

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