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LIBRARY^
OF THE

University of California.
Class

)

MALAY SKETCHES

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

UNADDRESSED LETTERS
Crown
8vo, 6s.

Third Edition

"Deep gratitude is due to Sir Frank for giving these letters to the world . the lazy descriptions of Eastern life, the musings on great scenes, the stories, and the utterances of social wisdom are all
. .

delightful, and add body to a book remarkable for a rare delicacy and charm." The Athenceum. His narrative style is admirable, and his episodes are always interesting. One could read for many

' '

hours of the clever mongoose and tigers and crocodiles. ... Sir Frank Swettenham has a pretty

humour.
Letters'
Gazette.

.

.

.

The

style in
is

is

written

excellent."

which these Unaddressed The Pall Mall

THE REAL MALAY
PEN PICTURES
Crown
8vo, 6s.

pen except that of Mr. Conrad has drawn the Malay character so faithfully or so graphically. . . It is a combination that is very alluring, and we confess to finding Sir Frank Swettenham's book of " The Pall Malay sketches most fascinating reading.
.

"No


'

Mall

Gazette.

Frank Swettenham understands perhaps any other roving Englishman The Real The Morning Post. Malay.'
"Sir
better than
"

BY SIR FRANK ATHELSTANE SWETTENHAM JOHN LANE 5r : THE BODLEY HEAD MDCCCCIII 9f LONDON AND NEW YORK $ •$ & OF THE ^ .

London & Edinburgh . -2- ORIGINAL TO BE RETAINED CaL b ' MAR 6 1995 THIRD EDITION Printed by Ballantynk Hanson & Co. <r© %SS^.COPY ADDED PRESERVATION -.<.

. VIII.. . . . A XXI. XI. . ix . XV. Amok THE j6get THE STORY OF MAT LlTAH . . VII.. v... 211 227 248 NAKODAH ORLONG EVENING 27O 28l 163942 . . THE MURDER OF THE HAWKER meng-gSlunchor . I92 . XII. vi... IX.CONTENTS PAGT? INTRODUCTION I. XX. . IV... THE KING'S WAY l6l 1 79 A MALAY ROMANCE MALAY SUPERSTITIONS WITH A CASTING-NET XVIII. JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH PERSONAL INCIDENT .. THE ETERNAL FEMININE IN THE NOON OF NIGHT VAN HAGEN AND CAVALIERO THE PASSING OF PRNGLIMA PRANG SRMAUN BBR-HANTU 92 103 112 147 XIV... THE REAL MALAY THE TIGER A FISHING PICNIC . I II.. ARIS .. XIX.. XVII... 19 25 31 38 44 53 • 64 83 X.. XXII. .. 12 III... XVI. XIII.

.

sketches of Malay scenery a series of and Malay character drawn by one who has spent the best part of his life in the scenes and amongst the people described. and he will . publish his experiences of Malaya and the Malays but while he may look upon the country with a vil . known countries in the The traveller will come in time.PREFACE r I 'HIS is not a book of travels. These pages contain no statistics. the record of a traveller's It is experiences in a foreign land. no history. geography. — only an attempt to awaken an interest in an almost undescribed but deeply interesting people. no prophecy. real or spurious. in even * the smallest sense. no politics. no no moralising. no science. nor is it. the dwellers in one of the most beautiful and least East.

PREFACE higher appreciation and paint will its features with a more artistic touch. The Residency. trayed. 28 March 1895. he see few of those life characteristics of the people. Perak. none of that inner which. I make bold to say. rffl . is here faithfully por- FRANK SWETTENHAM.

inconnu a tout le ou toute si reste de la terre. here iz he has remained . he is here. A : land where Nature is at her best and richest where plants and animals. birds of the air. dustan and to a land of eternal Peninsula. and every living thing seem yet inspired with a feverish desire and reproduction. And Man? Yes. disaientTun a l'autre. passed by in the race for civilisation. beasts of the forest. from whence the early navigators brought back such wondrous stories of adventure. Forgotten by the world. et la na- ture est d'une espece differente de la notre?" VOLTAIRI T MAGINE yourself transported A to that Golden summer. as though they were for still growth in the dawn of Creation. 'twixt Hin- Far Cathay.ils "Quel est done ce pays.

clothed them in strange garments. and soon the Juggernaut of Progress will have penetrated to your remotest fastness. and stamped them with the seal of a higher morality. but the at last passed enemy has irresistible your gate. contact with Western inevitable result. him the of a Race that has spread over a wider area than any other Eastern people. but this is the or taken from. down your " civilised" your people. Whence name he came none know and few land that has given to.INTRODUCTION amongst his own forests. care. . unseeking and unsought. your secrets have been well guarded. The Malays of the Peninsula will not disappear. Malaya. cut forests. land of the pirate and the amok. That time of regeneration for the will come rapidly. by the banks of his well- loved streams. Education and people must produce the native Isolated races whose to the numbers are few must disappear or conform views of a stronger will and a higher intelligence. slain your beasts. but is moment the Malay of the Peninsula as he has been these hundreds of years.

.INTRODUCTION " awakenbut they will change. transition. but it is hardly likely to make them more personally This is inter- esting to the observer. the moment of and these are sketches of the Malay as he is. might be rash to speculate on the gain which in the future has store for this people. and the process of " ing It has in places already begun.

endroit habite agreables. si nous ne trouvons pas des choses nous trouverons du moins des choses nouvelles " ' Allons.aller dans cette petite barque.' dit Candide. ' ' recommandons-nous a la Providence " VOLTAIRI . laissons-nous Jetons-nous au courant : une riviere mene toujour* a quelque .

and share his pleasures and possibly his risks. speak his language. and this knowledge can therefore only come to those who have the opportunity and use it. Only through that confidence can you hope to understand the inner man. So far the means of studying Malays I in their own country (where alone they are seen in their true A . Only thus can you hope to win his confidence. Don Juan TO begin to understand the Malay you must live in his country. prejudices. be interested in his interests. sympathise with humour his and help him in trouble. respect his faith.OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MALAY SKETCHES I THE REAL MALAY He was the mildest manner'd ever scuttled ship or man cut a That throat Byron.

enough. worth some The real Malay is a short. worthy is in the discharge of an undertaking but he extravagant." is Scripture says : "There is no greater thing than and in the end of the nineteenth century that all a is form of friendship too rare. and is very fond of a good joke. slow in repaying He He takes an interest in the affairs of his neighbours z . and bright intelligent eyes. manners are is His disposition is generally kindly. The this. he polite and easy. quotes proverbs sense of humour. well-built man. is a good talker. reserved with strangers and suspicious. but to gain effort. has a strong parables. fond of borrowing money. thick-set. whose interest in the race is strong may is not only win confidence but the devotion that ready to give life itself in the cause of friendship. with straight black hair. in other parts of the Peninsula and the white man. Fortunately this it is a thing you cannot buy.MALAY SKETCHES character) have fallen to few Europeans. speaks in and wise saws. thick nose and lips. There are a hundred thousand Malays in Perak and some more . a dark brown complexion. does not show He is courageous and trust. and a very small proportion of them have shown an inclination to get to the hearts of the people. and very it. though he it. his Never cringing.

catches and tames elephants. He is rarely an opium- But he is fond of gambling. knows no regularity even in the hours of his meals. . carefully. At the same time he learner. lazy to a degree. he is advantage. He is by nature a sportsman. and considers time as of no importance. But if he has time to examine them upon him. when he has energy and ambition makes a good mechanic. and will resist their — sudden introduction. He is a Muhammadan and a but he is also never drinks intoxicants. and they are not thrust willing to be convinced of their is a good imitative and. His house is untidy. he is conservative to a degree. and very fond of personal adornment in the is shape of smart clothes. but he is bathes twice a day. and has a proper respect for constituted authority while he looks askance on all innovations. venerates his ancient customs and traditions. he smoker. and kindred sports. is a skilful fisherman. is proud and fond of his country and his people. A Malay intolerant of insult or slight to it is something that him should be wiped out 3 in . He method or enough is. fatalist.THE REAL MALAY and is consequently a gossip. things. even dirty. cock-fighting. for the task. very superstitious. Above all and thoroughly at home in a boat. fears his Rajas. however. is without order of any kind.

the appointment of high officers.MALAY SKETCHES blood. He will brood over a real or fancied stain he is on his honour for revenge. The to giving of gifts by Raja to subject. I The Malay has often been question whether he deserves the reproach more than other men. the orders of his hereditary chief. old or young. or subject is ruler. a circumcision. of blind fury. male or female. it a custom now falling into desuetude. called treacherous. The spirit of the clan is also strong in him. this vision of blood. while will protect his own relatives at all costs and make their quarrel his own. that he will strike out at the first human being comes It is in his way. this state that produces the amok. is to As with other Eastern people. . or similar ceremony. ear-piercing. rich and poor alike. Though the Malay is an Islam by would suffer crucifixion sooner profession. He he acknowledges the necessity of carrying out. He is courteous and expects courtesy in return. until If possessed by the desire it he cannot wreak on the offender. a marriage. hospitality the Malay a sacred duty fulfilled by high and low. and he understands only one method of avenging personal insults. and than deny his faith. but of still prevails on the occasion of the accession a Raja. even blindly.

He if is treated elaborate respect. his tolerance compares favourably with that of the professing Christian. and they give the impression of a constant open ever wider and wider in search of Unlike the child of something they never find. effort to Japan. eyelashes. as though he had left some better place for a com- pulsory exile on earth. with a far-away expression of sadness and solemnity. eats .THE REAL MALAY he is not a bigot . seem filled with a pained wonder at all they see here. he believes that the absence of hypocrisy is the begin- ning of religion. the immortality of He has a sublime faith in God. a heaven of ecstatic earthly delights. Those eyes. which are extraordinarily large and clear. which every individual is so confident will not be his its own portion that the idea of terrors. and sits up till any hour of the night he so desires. this cherub never looks as forgotten to if his nurse had with wipe his nose. sleeps when he 5 wishes. existence presents no Christian missionaries of all denominations have apparently abandoned the hope of his conversion. and. In his youth. a thing of wonderful eyes. and a hell of punishments. the soul. when he thinks of these matters at all. indeed. the Malay boy is often beautiful. and eyebrows.

runs away with his neighbour's wife. he seeks and obtains a position of credit and usefulness in society from which he begins at last to earn some profit. studious even. and duly learns to read the Koran in a language he does not understand. and generally asserts himself. and if. gambles. sows tion. gets into debt. he will. from the age of forty. to her. well then. open-handed. and hardly ever cries. probably develop into an intelligent man of miserly little and rather grasping habits with some one indulgence of no very expensive kind. is never whipped. that to say when . this atmosphere of He is often a better world remains about him. more commonly. Then. Then follows a period it. He takes his pleasure. his wild oats like youths of a higher civilisais extravagant. from sixteen to twenty-five or later he is to be avoided.MALAY SKETCHES when he is hungry. and less consideration is till She runs wild the time comes is for investing her in a garment. he weans himself gradually from an indulgence that has not altogether realized his expectation. Until he is fifteen or sixteen. when he either adopts this path and pursues or. has no toys. under the advice of older men. pet The Malay shown girl-child is not usually so attractive in appearance as the boy.

is proud of a wealth a spotless olive com" like a one-dayplexion. deceives nobody. of straight. very fond of pretty clothes and ornaments. From in then. of the arch of her brow of old moon — — of the curl of her eyelashes. is work the padi field. kept out of the way of all strange men- When . not uncommonly much fairer in complexion than the Malay man.THE REAL MALAY she is about five years old. she is taught to help in the house and kitchen. In Perak a man. to sew. good wonderful eyes and eyebrows — girl teeth. and of the dimples in cheek or chin. however over- strained. riage. perhaps to but she kind. a woman gets a considerable amount of freedom which she naturally values. with small hands and feet. fifteen or sixteen. and little the eyes of the Malay boy. After marriage. it is Until mar- considered unmaidenly for them to raise or interest in their eyes or take any part their surroundings when men are present. a happy smiling face. This leads to an affectation of modesty which. who tries to shut his womenkind up and prevent their intercourse with others and a 7 . " The Malay black hair. she is often almost interesting very shy. to read and write. Unmarried girls are taught to avoid all men except those nearly related to them.

and mesalliances. the meanings of which are hardly known to men. are with them very rare. is looked Malay upon as a jealous. language and they use uncommon words and expressions. extravagant evince and. they have several modes of speech not understanded of the people. there to luxury and display. though. For the telling of secrets. ill-conditioned and pleasures of person.MALAY SKETCHES participatidh in the fetes society. as understood in the West. about the age of an increasing fondness for jewellery and smart clothes. quickness a strong sense of humour and an from instant appreciation of the real meaning of those hidden sayings which are hardly ever absent their conversation. are in especially intelligent those of gentle birth. carriages. 8 . mildly fiercely — They up sometimes to — jealous. especially when it comes to marriage. often forty. In these latter days they are developing a pretty taste for horses. of conversation. Malays are extremely particular about questions of rank and birth. They are fond of reading such literature as their offers. and whatever conduces in their houses. are generally amiable in disposition. powers repartee. The general characteristics of Malay women.

The Malay has ideas on the subject of marriage. obtain a divorce from her husband. All forms of mad" ness. The an unknown quantity. nail people lead lives that are almost There are no drunken husbands. " settlements of a kind. the natural. no hobbecause a boots. and returned with such crumbs of lore as never the poor monogamist. A ideas born of his infinite experience. to divorce them. and often does. as there is no society ancient maiden lady . " Written conditions of marriage. and replace them. he usually takes more than one wife. bugbear. of property. The woman on her part can. but he seldom undertakes the responsibility of four wives at one time. so is the Malay public woman and. and the law provides division for the custody of children. He has even soared into regions of matrimonial philosophy. are common with people in the upper classes. allowed by law to have as A he is Malay is many as If four wives. mania.THE REAL MALAY are still a rugged simplicity and untidiness. absolutely all devoid of sense of order. 9 fall to . and no screaming viragoes — word would get rid of them. well off and can afford so much luxury. and so is on. to divorce advantage of the power to marry and secure successors. and brain-softening are extremely rare.

fact that he is in whichever you please) the impregnated with the doctrines of of his sensitive Islam. that if he has set his affections and in spite of his desire to (when young and attractive) on a woman.MALAY SKETCHES I life am not going to give . I if. will come afield. keep his own women away from the prying eyes of other men. spite honour and his proneness to revenge. says (certainly not to a stranger. she likes will me have no fear that she wish to go further All Malay girls marry before they are and the woman who has only known one twenty. sooner or later to the conviction that life with another promises new and 10 delightful first experiences to not found in the society of the man whom . I might over difficulties of expression but in spite of the Malay's reputation for bloodthirstiness. away if I the secrets of the behind the curtain trip wished to do so . rarely even to his Malay friends. and for any reason he is unable at once to make her his own. in spite of (or because of. after all this experience. husband. but to is this. however attractive he may be. His reason " He himself) best. he yet holds this uncommon faith. he cares not to how many others she allies herself provided she becomes his before time has robbed her of her physical attractions.

THE REAL MALAY
destiny and her relatives have chosen to unite her.

Thus some

fool

persuades her that in his worship

and passion she
it

is

only after

World's Desire, and perhaps a long and varied experience
will find the

that she realizes that, having started for a

voyage on the ocean, she finds herself seated at the bottom
of a dry well."
It is

possible that thus she becomes

acquainted

with truth.

ii

II

THE TIGER
Yon
golden terror, barred with ebon
stripes

Low-crouching horror, with the cruel
fangs

Waiting

in deathly stillness for thy

spring

Anon.

idea of

what Malays are

in

their

own

SOME country may best be
daily
life.

conveyed by taking the
seldom delibeis

reader in imagination through some scenes of their

The
;

tiger, for instance, is

rately sought
set to shoot

if

he

kills

a buffalo a spring gun

him when he returns

for his afternoon

meal, but sometimes the tiger comes about a village,

and

visitor.

necessary to get rid of so dangerous a Let me try and put the scene before you. But how describe an Eastern dawn ? Sight
it

is

alone will give

a true

impression of
12

its

strange

beauty.

Out of darkness and

stillness, the transi-

THE TIGER
tion to light

intense brilliant light

—and the sounds
The

of awakened

life, is

rapid and complete, a short half

hour or
first

less turning night into tropical day.

indication of

dawn

is

a grey haze, then the
hills

clouds clothing the Western

are shot with pale

yellow and in a few minutes turn to gold, while
Eastern

ranges are

still

in

darkness.

The

light

spreads to the

Western

slopes,

moves rapidly across
hills.

the valleys, and suddenly the sun, a great ball of
fire,

appears above the Eastern

The

fogs,

which have risen from the rivers and marshes and
covered the land, as with a
pall, rise like

smoke and

disappear, and the whole face of nature is flooded with light, the valleys and slopes of the Eastern

ranges being the last to
risen sun.

feel

the influence of the

That grey
signal for

half-light

which precedes dawn
stirring.

is

the are the

Malays

to be

The doors
in

opened, and, only half
slight

awake and shivering

their

made by the rising fog, they houses and make for the nearest stream,
breeze

leave there

to bathe

and fetch fresh water

for the day's use.

A woman
river,

dressed in the sarong, a plaid skirt

of silk or cotton, and a jacket, walks rapidly to the

carrying a long

bamboo and some gourds,
fills,

which, after her bath,

she

and begins

to

walk

If

OF THE f MNIVFRSITY A

I

MALAY SKETCHES
home through
the wealth of vegetation that clothes the whole face of the country.

She follows a narrow

path up from the bed of the clear stream, the jungle trees and orchards, the long rank grasses and tangled

Suddenly she under her, the way vessels drop from her nerveless hands, and a speechless fear turns her blood to water for there, in front
creepers

almost hiding

the

path.

stops spellbound, her knees give

;

of her,

is

a great black and yellow head with cruel

yellow eyes, and a half-open mouth showing a red

tongue and long white teeth.

The shoulders and

fore feet of the tiger stand clear of the thick foliage,

and a hoarse low roar of surprise and anger comes An exceeding great fear from the open mouth.
chains the terrified
tiger,

woman
sulkily

to

the spot,

and the

thus

faced,

and with more hoarse
into the jungle

grumbling, slowly draws back
disappears.

and

Then

the instinct of self-preservation

returns to the

woman,

and, with knees

still

weak

and a cold hand on her heart, she stumbles, with what speed she may, back to the river, down the
bank, and
dwelling.
It

to the

friendly shelter

of the nearest

takes

little

time to

tell

the story, and the

men

of the house, armed with spears and krises and an
old rusty gun, quickly spread the
14

news throughout

THE TIGER
the kampong, as each cluster of huts and orchards

Every one arms himself with such weapons as he possesses, the boys of sixteen or seventeen climb into trees, from which they hope to see and be able to report the movements of
is

called.

the beast.

kampong,

the

The men, marshalled by the ka-tua village chief, make their plans for

surrounding the spot where the tiger was seen, and

word

station

sent by messenger to the nearest policeand European officer. Whilst all this is taking place, the tiger, probably
is

conscious that too
his lair

many

people are about, leaves

and
far

stealthily creeps along a path

which

will

lead him

from habitations.

But, as he does so,

he passes under a tree where sits one of the young watchmen, and the boy, seizing his opportunity,
drops a heavy spear on the tiger as he passes, and The beast, with a roar gives him a serious wound.
of pain,
leaps into the jungle, carrying the spear
;

with him
interval,
circle of

and, after what

he

considers

a

safe

the

boy climbs down, gets back to the

watchers, and reports what has occurred.

For a long time, there is silence, no one caring to but this monotony go in and seek a wounded tiger

is

skirts of the

broken rudely and suddenly by a shot on the outwide surrounding ring of beaters where
15

MALAY SKETCHES
a young Malay has been keeping guard over a
jungle track.
spot
firing

Instantly
find

the

nearest

rush to

the
after

only

to

the boy badly wounded,

a shot that struck the tiger but did not pre-

vent him reaching and pulling
fired
it.

down

the youth

who
to

Hardly has a party carried the wounded man
shelter,

than news arrives that, in trying to break

the ring at another point, the tiger has sprung upon
the point of a spear held in rest by a kneeling Malay,
and, the spear, passing completely through the beast's

body, the tiger has come

and

killed

him.

regardless of the

down on the man's back The old men say it is because, wisdom of their ancestors, fools
whereas
in

now

face a tiger with spears unguarded,
it

the olden time
crosspiece of

was always the custom

to tie a

wood where blade

joins shaft to pre-

vent the tiger "running up the spear" and killing
his opponent.

The game

is

getting serious

now and

the tiger

has retired to growl and roar in a thick isolated
copse of bushes

which
it

and tangled undergrowth from seems impossible to draw him, and where would be madness to seek him.
it

By

this time, all the principal people in the neighcollected.
16

bourhood have been

The copse

is

sur-

The terrified occupants of the howdah are thus deposited on the ground. There is the shock of flesh against steel. his friends. throwing off the tiger with a accompanied by his fellow. Severe remedies.THE TIGER rounded and two elephants are ridden in the at the cover. a young Malay chief and several of where he execution. hope of driving the wounded tiger from his shelter. between them and their enemy. maladies After a want short desperate and heroic consultation. when the huge beasts tiger. rushes from the place and will not be stopped till several miles have been covered and the river is broken tooth. They have not long to wait in doubt for the wounded and enraged beast. the with a great roar. into They immediately put the plan Shoulder to shoulder and with spears in rest. terror whirls round. an awful snarling and straining of muscles and the already badly wounded b n . get inconveniently near to him. for. springs on to the shoulder of the nearest elephant and brings him to his knees. charges straight at them. express their determination to seek the tiger lies. and. they advance to the copse. armed only with spears. with open mouth and eyes blazing fell purpose. A vain hope. but lose no time in picking themselves up The elephant with a scream of and getting away.

The or general result of a tiger hunt. . two of the pursuers. under such the death or serious injury of one circumstances.MALAY SKETCHES tiger is pinned to the ground and dies under the thrusts of many is spears.

mounted on twelve or fifteen elephants. flows clear a mountain-bred lie stream. and. Again. for. early morning. which under the shadow of the 19 are the fish . The word hill is given to out make for a great limestone plain. and some boys and followers are prepared to walk.Ill A FISHING PICNIC I have given you lands to hunt in. the guests have been invited overnight and warned to come on their " rice and salt. Filled the river full of fishes LONGTILLOW NOW the sun come to a it is Malay picnic. eating its way into the unexplored depths of subaqueous caves. I have given you streams to fish in. rising abruptly of the close round the foot of this rock." elephants and bring is By the time well up there are fifty or sixty people (of whom about half are women). in the silent pools cliff.

m. and. as it is certain that some . those which elude the grasp of the It will swimmers are caught by the women.MALAY SKETCHES which with the feast. but this poisoning of the water affects the river for miles. reached. and immediately the dead fish come to the surface and begin to float down stream. Twenty men spring into the pool. the elephants and the men of the party ready In days gone by. ready to catch the escape the hands of the Two cartridges of dynamite with a de- tonator and a piece of slow match are tied to a stone and thrown into the deepest part of the pool. The is to select a large and deep pool round which in. business. miles of is country and virgin is and it 9 or for 10 a. rice and salt. the method would have been to tuba the stream above a pool. will make the coming The road open lies through six or seven forest. and with shouts and laughter struggle for the slippery fish . men stand ready to spring while the its women make a cordon swimmers. fish then be probably discovered that no very big have been taken . across the shallow at fish that lower end. before the river hobbled. and dynamite which plan the is not nearly so destructive is preferred. there is an explosion sending up a great column of water.

There is fish are roasting in split sticks. and salt and while nature supplies the forks and spoons. and the hungry company is settling itself in groups It is a matter of honour that ready for the meal. grilling. great silvery fish weighing ten to fifteen pounds each. is tired of the a general change of wet garments for no difficult matter. if the total take is not a large one. the boldest and best divers will search the bottom of the pool and even look into Success rewards the water-filled caves of the rock that there rises sheer out of the stream. some sixteen or eighteen feet deep. the operation will be repeated in another and yet another pool. or the is coldness of the two hours' bath. from the bed of the pool. and. rice is boiling. while long before this dry ones. this and. it Whether is the exercise. There is much joy over the capture of these klah and tengas. until a sufficient quantity of fish has been secured and every one water. that sponsible for most re- the keen appetites 31 is not worth . effort. frying. so every one has a piece of fresh green plantain leaf to hold his rice fish.A FISHING PICNIC at least should be there. the divers bring up two at a time. no plates should be used. fires have been made on the bank. the best kinds of fresh water fish known here. the excitement.

large and and unripe. that has smuggled in a few condiments and they add largely to the success of the Malay and bouille-abaisse. front. as the elephants kneel riders. and leave the old to mind the houses). and salt did it you go away assured that That is part of the game. ripe this and. and if you. all. the sun has long passed the meridian. The timid amongst the ladies feign alarm (Malays are sensible people who take only the young to picnics. and a desire to get away is in at once. and there is a mile or two of forest before getting into the open country. down to take their you may observe that usually two men sit in two women behind. The is elephants are brought up and each pannier found to be loaded with jungle fruit. hard and soft. And now it is time to return. you will declare you never before realised how delicious a meal Some one can be made of such simple ingredients. but there are others who know what store for them. Every one knows the meaning of small. but people affect not to know they rice are there.MALAY SKETCHES inquiring. but generally hard as stones. but thorough justice is done to the food . and the latter are anxious about their umbrellas and show a tendency to open . should ever be fortunate enough to take part in one of these picnics. reader.

there count the damage done. and there may be a few bruises treated with much *3 . gloom of the forest. and either succeed or put the enemy to flight only to find a succession of ambuscades laid for so. the whole party clears the jungle and. and. the supply of am- munition having run out. who are slily waiting here The attack is returned with interest and the battle wages hot and furious. file. they The first two or three elephants in the move off quickly. a succession of wild charges soon gets every one into the fray and. but some garments are stained. It is having turned a corner in the necessary to proceed in Indian path. comers. The leaders of the rear column try to force their way past those who dispute the path with them. and throughout the length of the forest. the more venturesome or taking up an all pushing their way to the front independent line and making enemies of until. each resulting in a deadly struggle. and as the next elephant comes to this corner he and his company are assailed by a perfect shower of missiles (the jungle fruit) from the riders of the first section of elephants to surprise those behind. them. disappear. at last. taking open order. are not needed.A FISHING PICNIC them here where. It is is nothing left but to principally in broken umbrellas which have been used as shields.

found that otherwise tedious is journey have been passed and every one home ere the lengthening tell shadows suddenly contract and set. the sun has 94 . by the time it the party is has straightened of dishevelledness.MALAY SKETCHES good miles humour. its and.

The local headman viewed suspicions. saying he would at some of the villages that line at intervals the banks of the river.IV THE MURDER OF THE HAWKER It is a damned and bloody work. The next day boat as it this man's dead body. and 25 . while nothing in it seemed to have been disturbed. He was alone in the boat and dropped call down stream. was discovered in the drifted past the village of Pulau Tiga. Bota with his usual cargo and a hundred dollars which his cousin. in 1892. had been keeping for him. a foreign Malay named made a living left by hawking a boat on the Perak River. it. the son of the Penghulu. who in afternoon. lying partly under a mosquito curtain. heavy hand The graceless action of a King John ONELenggang. for but arouse his valuables the saw nothing boat was full to of and a certain amount of money.

and there tied up for the night to a stake.MALAY SKETCHES there were no marks of violence on the corpse. stopped three of his acquaintances walking on the bank. Arrived there. as they had only promised to keep their mouths shut so long as they themselves did not suffer for it. Shortly afterwards a Malay named Ngah Prang. indeed that he had been murdered at a place called Lambor a few miles — below Bota and above Pulau Tiga. who denied to know- ledge of the and took them Teluk Anson. number of affair. details of the story as told in evidence are as and they are very characteristic of the Malay It : appears that the hawker duly arrived in his boat at Lambor. inquiries were after made but they elicited nothing. asked them 26 if they had seen the . and said they had good reason to believe that he had met with foul play. An intelligent Malay sergeant of arrested a police proceeded to the all spot. these people said they were able to give all the necessary information if that would procure their release. people. Some months the relatives of the dead man appeared at Teluk Anson. which was duly buried. The follows. about twenty feet from the bank of the river. When the matter was reported.

work to know what by they even addressed them their names. and at 8 p. and. but it is said that those on the bank heard a noise of rapping as though feet were kicking or hands beating quickly the deck of the boat. and suggested that thing to rob him. whence they saw. at their barely twenty by the brilliancy they were doing away. several people " cries of help. It only lasted for a moment and then there was the silence.. but these gave no answer. in the Prang and two other men Ngah in the hawker's boat. the hawker lying flat on his back while one man had both hands at his throat. and. . and lighted of an Eastern moon. getting 27 .m. As down those who had been feet roused by the cries came bank they called to the men in the boat. and him to have nothing to do with the business dispersed. being told. advised said they were would be a good afraid." from the men ran out of their houses down to the bank. and the third his feet . and the party heard That evening. brilliant moonlight. five or six I am being killed. it They some other men coming up asked one of those to whom the proposal had been made what they were talking about.THE MURDER OF THE HAWKER hawker's boat. help. another held his wrists. river. a distance of only fifty yards.

Meanwhile the three murderers would be the worse till told several of if the eye-witnesses of the affair that. Several of them naively remarked that they heard the next day that the in his boat. he asked him what he was doing in Lenggang's boat. meeting 28 on the way one of the . The hawker did not move. on the following day. who appawould save himself at the rently was the original instigator of the job. said anything. hawker had been found dead and it appears that when one of these witnesses. they them. and the man replied that they were robbing him. and. Then Ngah Prang. met one of the murderers. it for and nothing particular occurred in the Mosque calling was posted upon any one who knew a notice it anything about Lenggang's death to report village to the Headman. that he held the hawker by the throat.MALAY SKETCHES up from off the hawker. He was The witnesses of this tragedy appear then to have to returned their homes and slept peacefully. untied the boat. dead. the others by the hands and little feet. one taking a pole and another the rudder and disappeared down the river. thought he expense of his friends. and actually went himself to make a report. as so often happens. but that really they had got very for their trouble.

he persuaded him to give a qualified promise to help in denying Ngah Prang's complicity while convicting the others. even his own clothes. gradually recovered. The murder is is discussed practically in public 29 it executed also . outside influence. Needless to say disclosure that. the was gradually brought property. every smallest to light. and no single link left wanting to convict in the chain of evidence strong enough I and hang the guilty men. That indeed was the result. from the moment the to first was made and communicated the police. and those who were not afraid determined that the opportunity was not to be lost. resulting in the arrest of a number of those hawker's who had detail actually witnessed the crime. the money stolen from him traced. have told the story of this crime. because will give some idea of the state of feeling in a real Malay kampong of poor labouring people far from any . which it is devoid of sensational incident.THE MURDER OF THE HAWKER eye-witnesses going on a similar errand. . the idea that he The man murdered was a Malay was worth something which could life be obtained by the insignificant sacrifice of his seems to have at once suggested that Providence in the was putting a good thing way of poor people.

they are silenced threats by the of the men who so easily throttled the hawker. For them the incident ends there. The only further concern of the is community if in the matter as to how much the murderers got. It is only when inquiries are pushed. that is the truth paid.MALAY SKETCHES in public. unwillingly disclosed. in the presence of a feebly expostulating opposition. and the penalty 5° . and. and things are made generally unpleasant for every one. and then every one goes to bed. any one has any qualms of conscience.

sprinkling and twinkling and winkling. and. I believe. to the iaded pleasure-seekers of the West. Though I of ancient origin.MENG-GELUNCHOR And And And And falling ing. and crawling and sprawl- driving and riving and striving. and bounding and And trumping Dividing and gliding and sliding. and plumping and bumping and jumping. Given a fine sunny morning (and in that is what most mornings are Perak) you 3i will drive four or . as offer new it sensations are the desire 01 our time. it is is peculiar to them. And dashing and flashing and splash- ing and clashing Southiy THE Malays of Pfirak occasionally indulge them- selves in a form of amusement which. sounding rounding. not well known even here.

about sixty feet long. inclined at an angle of say 45 °. viting lynn not At the base of the rock feet deep. however. In spate this rock might it be covered. Up- stream. path brings the party to the foot of a spur of whence a mountain stream leaps down a succession of cascades to fertilise the plain. A walk of a couple of miles along a shady jungle hills.MALAY SKETCHES five miles to the appointed place of meeting. there a sheer smooth face of granite. is an in- more than four On either . leading out of the great pool which lies at the head of the waterfall. a certain quantity. who have been duly bidden to mZng-gtlunchor and to take part in the picnic which forms a recognised accompaniment to the proceedings. flows steadily down the face. and there find a crowd of one or two hundred Malay men. here can be increased at will The depth by bamboo of water troughs. now the water flows round and dashes wildly over is the falls below. and children. There is clear stiff a climb for several hundred feet until the party gains a great granite rock in the bed of the stream. women. large enough but itself to accommodate a much more numerous a " " gathering. only an inch or two deep. and. while the main body of water finds its way down one side of this rock and then across its foot.

and you will not be left long in doubt as to the meaning of It is to slide.MENG-GELUNCHOR side. The women 33 begin timidly. to join the sliders fast But now the men. grouped in artistic confusion. on bank and rock. sit in steep. and the game is to nrtng-gllunchor. this waterfall into the lynn at its A down crowd of little boys is already walking up the to the very top. those behind coming on the top of those who have already reached the lynn. only c . and immediately begin to slide down the sixty feet of height. slippery rock. the river is shut in by a wealth of jungle the foliage through intervals. before they have gone half way. in a constant They succeed each other stream. in the shallow They go water with feet straight out front of them and a hand on either side for guidance. They only sit for a brief rest after the climb. "toboggan" down base. are drawn and the fun becomes indeed both and furious. which sun to strikes at rare just sufficiently give the sense of warmth and in their colour. gaining. to collect wood. and lastly the women. It is delightfully picturesque with all these people many-coloured garments. so great a speed that the final descent into the pool like the fall of a stone. make fires and get the work of cooking started.

straight on the slide. to read this poor de- scription. if you go to meng-gZlunchor with a Malay with party. and mixed parties of four. if do not keep your feet together. start together and. velocity. you would think impossible that any sane person would spend hours in struggling up a steep and slippery rock to slide down it on two startling inches of water. above all. but. but soon grow bolder. having gained a people will a shallow pool where half a dozen be on you before you can get out of the 34 . and. slide is a graceful you understand the game. six. or four each. if you you lose your balance and do not remain absolutely progress. from graceful. The it fascination of the extraordinary. three. if you fail to sit erect. screaming crowd of young If people of both sexes. the final may even be is and plunge into the It lynn will be distinctly leave your dignity at undignified. dash wildly into the pool which is almost constantly full of a struggling. for those who do not weary themselves with absolutely tobogganing laughing thing is become exhausted at the sliders. with a good deal of laughter and ill-directed attempts at mutual assistance. leap into and. the if you don't. well to home. and eight in rows of two. it then your descent will be far slightly painful.MALAY SKETCHES half way up the slide.

enough. little By I p. at most the loss of a tooth." is It usual for the men. or ridicule.m. dry be garments are donned. nor be the first to cry " hold. spent in company will An hour smoking and gossip. but it. to the trystingplace where all met in the morning and whence they now return to their own homes. down the slippery descent. the women do not seem to want It is surprising that there are so importance —some few casualties and of such small slight abrasions. will be the extent of the total damage. and. is perhaps advisable. a little bumping care of heads.MENG-GELUNCHOR way. and with a there need be none at all. and through the forest. every one will probably be tired. The intelligent reader will realise that this is in possibilities. when sliding down the rock. And yet are not stiff persuaded that. as the shadows begin to lengthen. or personal will damage (and you admit none of those things) you would mbiggllunchor with the best of them. to sit upon a piece of the thick It fibre of the plantain called upih. if your joints with age and you are not afraid of I am cold water. a long procession slowly wends its way back. 35 a game abounding but the players . across the sunny fields. and a very hungry does ample justice to the meal.

the venue at and the climate such as can be found a hundred places between St. Louis XIV. would be inconvenient and out of place when sliding down a waterfall in the hope of a safe and graceful plunge into a shallow lynn. and surroundings of natural beauty are necessary . the clutchings at the nearest straws for help —there are infinite opportunities for designing and donning attractive the human form would be sleeves garments wherein the graceful lines of less jealously hidden than in the trappings of stern convention. if there is in the costumes and the luncheon only a fair application of Art to Nature. the Eastern pastime is capable of easy and successful acclimatisation 36 in . But if the company be well chosen. but a wooded ravine on the Riviera or by the shore of an Italian lake. the exhilarating motion. and the little can be easily arranged by a cutting and polishing of stone. the semblance of danger. and an eighteen inch waist. a clear A sunny climate stream leaping rest down a steep rocky bed. Tropez and Salerno.MALAY SKETCHES should be chosen with discrimination and with due regard to individual affinities. Puffed heels and a bell skirt. Besides the novelty and charm of the exercise.

glorifying colours.MENG-GELUNCHOR the West. they have not by then topic. . will found some more mutually interesting very unanimous in their praise of be Mtng-gZlunchor. and the sinking sun across their shafts of light path. not least the tint of hair and if eyes. the pleasure-seekers. And the as the knights and dames stroll slowly strikes down long all wooded glen.

to and that a very vague one." is with many English people their only idea of the Malay. the object and murder the means the term is more commonly used to describe the action of an individual who. Mbtg-amok attack. is to it make a sudden. has been made of the Malay amok. seizes a weapon and 38 strikes out blindly.. as other languages.. Weary with wallowing leaps forth in the mire. what. it may be of interest briefly describe this form of homicidal mania. suddenly and without apparent cause.VI Amok There comes a time When the insatiate brute within the man. with our happy faculty for mispronunciation and misspelling of the words of is called " running amuck. or where plunder to arrive at is it. man and the soul sinks a devil And leaves the Lewis Morris MENTION and. Devouring . kill- .. murderous is and though applied to the onslaught of a body of men in war time.

The brother-in-law's wife children. attempted to enter the house. rushing her.e. in the back as he this moment. received a mortal wound in in the heart. left the door.AMOK ing and wounding less of age or sex. the man falling to the ground and getting away. a Malay named Imam Mamat quietly into the Mamat the priest) came house of his brother-in-law at Pasir River. a man. pointed cutting knife. a boy. abdomen with the to assist She fell. sharp. is 891. the Having secured two more spears which he found in the house. and a golok i. when the Imam rushed at him and inflicted a slight wound. The Imam went up his to his brother-in-law. way. carrying a spear Garam on y the Perak a. strangers. diately stabbing her fatally in the golok. regardwhether they be friends. Just before sunset on the evening of the nth (that February. all who come in his or his own 1 nearest relatives. immehis own wife hand and asked his pardon. the woman murderer now gave chase to the and her three little children and made short 39 . and her brother. was the house with four and they managed to get out before the Imam had time to do more than stab the last of them. At ot who had heard the screams women. took He then approached and similarly asked her pardon.

back to him and. friend named Uda Majid. Uda Majid wrested the spear from the Imam. He greeted the Imam respectfully. who again stabbed him twice. " Yes. with two more stabs in the back. and said. " You recognise me. killed him. lung and windpipe. and a boy of seven were received while the third child two wounds disposed of the mother— in the back . the Imam went . Out of the six wounds fatal. when the murderer turned on the newcomer and pursued him but. where he was met by a The Imam now walked down the river bank." The Imam replied. but my spear does not. rash enough to think his unarmed influence would prevail over the other's madness. Though this time in terribly injured." and immediately stabbed him twice. to along the river bank. inflicted on this man three would have proved The murderer now rushed and was twice seen and return. .MALAY SKETCHES work of them. fell. a spear thrust all this within one hundred yards of the house. seeing Uda Majid get up and attempt to stagger away. and he Another man coming up ran unarmed to the assistance of Uda Majid. far out into the wade 40 water Then he was lost sight of. A tiny girl of four years old killed. I know you. don't let there be any trouble.

who had barely time to slam the door in his face and The house at that moment contained four fasten it. and to Lasam through it Imam replied by an attempt the window. and with the help of his son. At 6 p. Lasam asked the Imam what he wanted. abroad an armed man who would neither give nor By this time the receive quarter. For two days. During this struggle. and seven children. on the second day.AMOK news had spread up stream and and every one was aware that there was down. Imam Mamat suddenly appeared in front of the house of a man called Lasam. He was to spear told he could do so this the if he would throw away his arms. a body of not less than two hundred armed men under the village chiefs made ceaseless but unavailing search for the murderer. and Lasam seizing his spear.m. the shaft of the spear broke leaving the blade in the wound. In the fall. wrested out of the Imam's hands. the Imam had forced himself halfway through the window. and he men. women. thrust fell it into the thigh of the murderer. 41 . own who to the ground. Lasam however. The latter. and the only weapon they possessed was one spear. seized the weapon. receiving a stab in the face from the golok. five said he wished to be allowed to sleep in the house. off.

Mumin. Mat Sah Lasam • • • 4* . On his arrival the light of a torch showed the Imam lying on the ground with his weapons out of reach. Kasim. but he died from loss of blood within twenty-four hours of receiving his wound. and. wife of Imam Mamat aged Mamat Ngah Intan. daughter of Bilal Abu Abu • . and the headman promptly pounced upon him and secured him. a man went out by the back to spread the news and call the village headman. wife of Bilal Abu Puteh. daughter of Bilal Abu Bilal Abu. son of Bilal Abu . son of Bilal Teh. Wounded. Uda Majid . Alang Rasak. The Imam was duly handed over conveyed to to the police and Teluk Anson. brother-in-law of . as the people of the house did not know the extent of the Imam's injury or what he was doing. Here is the official list of killed and wounded — Killed.MALAY SKETCHES It was now pitch dark.

of good repute with neighbours. wound on the outer side of right thigh the internal organs were healthy except that the membranes of the right side of brain were more adherent than usual/' . his nearest relatives and friends. women were far advanced Imam Mamat was a man ilis of over forty years of age. : An I hereby certify that I this day made a post-mortem examination of the body of Imam Mahomed. and 11 find him to have died from haemorrhage from a . without apparent reason. and children. ing quite possible that the man was suffer- under the burden of some real or fancied wrong which. It is. women. this darkened his eyes and possessed him with insane desire autopsy was performed on the murderer's and the published report of the surgeon says body. and I never heard any cause suggested why this quiet. however. develop the most inhuman instincts and brutally murder a number of men. to kill. after long brooding.AMOK It is terrible to have to add that both the in pregnancy. elderly man of devotional habits should suddenly.

The enter- tainment has an undoubted fascination for Malays but it generally forms part of a theatrical perform44 . the striking together of two short sticks held in either hand. and swaying a couple of women their hands in gestures that are practically devoid of grace or even variety — that is the Malay dance —and it is accom- panied by the beating of native drums. and consider that part those " are not dancers. is strangely wanting in attraction shuffling their feet. and the occasional boom of a metal gong. The spectacle usually provided . but they pay profes- amuseis with watch. at their ease. the exertions of a small class whose members are not held in the who highest respect.VII THE JOGET As Every footstep fell as lightly a sunbeam on the river Longfellow's Spanish Student MALAYS performers to dance for their sional M the better ment.

only for the amusefriends. a message came from the Sultan inviting us to witness a jdget. Pahang. and we were vainly courting sleep in a I miserable lodging. probable that Malay came originally from Java . the astdna. well-built and commodious house on . belong to the Raja's household. at We accepted to with alacrity. however.THE JOGET ance. had gone to Pahang on a political mission acompanied by a friend. budak jdget. and for Western spectators it is immeasur- ably dull. may even be and his attached to him by a they perform seldom. when at a.m. Years ago to is saw such a dance. far as the it and though peculiar States Pahang as it are concerned. has for years been the custom for the ruler and one or two of his near relatives to keep trained dancing girls. I ment of their lord and the public are not admitted. the instruments used by the and the airs played are certainly far more orchestra common I in Java and Sumatra than in the Peninsula. it In one of the Malay States. who perform what is called the u J6get " —a real dance with an accompaniment of something like real music. though the orchestral instruments are very rude indeed. they closer tie . and once made our way 45 a picturesque. The dancers.

The three steps were to provide for sitting accommodation according to admitted to the astdna. The middle of the was covered by a large the guests sat were placed for us. seated on the carpet. chairs in question. and gorgeously and picturesquely clothed. and the front of the house was a very on large hall. two of them about eighteen and two old. open on three sides. on the night carpet. and the on the steps of the dais.MALAY SKETCHES the right bank of the Pahang river. A palisade enclosed the courtyard. On their heads they each wore a large and curious but very pretty ornament of delicate work- manship — a sort of square flower garden where all the flowers were gold. entered. The floor of this hall was approached by three wide steps continued round the three open sides. were secured to the head by twisted cords of silver 46 . but covered by a lofty roof of fantastic design supported pillars. their rank those floor. trembling and glittering with These ornaments every movement of the wearer. rest of When we four girls. all attractive all about eleven years according to Malay ideas of beauty. we saw. the fourth being closed by a wooden wall which entirely shut off the private apartments save for one central door over which hung a heavy curtain.

so large that they reached quite across the waist. and their fingers were covered with 47 diamond . while a scarf of the reaching to the same material.THE JOGET and gold. passing round the neck. The bodices of their dresses were made of tightfitting silk. the arms and knotted in front. hung down to the hem of the skirt. ankles. leaving the neck and arms bare. folded cornerwise. fastened in its centre to the waist-buckle. combed down in a fringe. tied under The points of the handkerchief hung to the middle of the back. whilst a white band of fine cambric (about J inches wide). was cut in a perfect oval round their foreheads and very becomingly dressed behind. Round their waists were belts fastened with large and curiously worked pinding or buckles of gold. except that the elder girls wore white silk bodices with a red and gold handkerchief. came down on the front of the bodice in the form of a V. All four dancers were dressed alike. The girls' hair. On their arms the dancers wore numbers of gold bangles. In the case of the two younger girls the entire dress was of one material. The rest of the costume consisted of a skirt of cloth of gold (not at all like the sarong). and was there I fastened by a golden flower.

the notes of which he struck with pieces of stick held in each hand. by Malays. now by Western were bare. with similar pieces of wood. but they played with the greatest spirit from 10 p. We forward. till 5 a. as the instruments are seldom seen in the Malay Peninsula. inverted Both these performers seemed to sufficiently hard work. for when we came into the hall the four girls were sitting down in the usual* Eastern fashion.MALAY SKETCHES rings.m. There were two chief performers. and the inverted bowls. with fans made of crimson and gilt paper which sparkled in the light. one playing on a sort of harmonicon. which were towards the audience.m. and our special attention was called to the orchestra. and indeed Their feet. had ample time to minutely observe these details before the dance commenced. bending elbows resting on their thighs. played on metal bowls. their on the carpet. The other. In their ears were fastened the diamond buttons so much affected ladies. have The harmonicon is called by Malays chelempong. of course. 48 . which give a pleasant and * The attitude is that obtained by transferring the body directly from a kneeling to a sitting position. and hiding the sides of their faces. On our entrance the band struck up.

The orchestra was placed on the is left of the entrance to the Hall. selves I question whether there were more than twenty spectators. while the audience was in semi-darkness. All these performers. masters and a mistress in their craft. The other members of the orchestra consisted of a very small boy who played. we were first told with much solemnity. and stick. but sitting on the top of the dais near to the dancers it was hard to pierce the sur- rounding gloom. a position evidently chosen with due regard to the feelings of the audience. capable of accomonly modating several hundreds of people. was dimly lighted.THE JOGET musical sound like the noise of rippling water. were artists of the order. with a very large and thick old woman on a gigantic gong an who beat a drum with two sticks. the light was concentrated on Besides our- the performers added to the effect. that rather to the side and rather in the background. The Hall. From the elaborate and vehement execution of 49 d . and if vigour of execu- tion counts for excellence they proved the justice of the praise. — several other boys who played on instruments like triangles called chdnang. of considerable size. but the fact that. a gambang.

and the want of regular time in the music. . of agriculture. each lasting quite half an hour. that we had entered as the overture began. the reaping So . acting in perfect accord in every motion. All these dances I was told till- were symbolical ing of the soil. Gradually raising themselves from a sitting to a kneeling posture. making much and effective use all the while of the scarf hanging from their belts. with materially different figures in the music. I judged. considering that the movements are essentially slow. the music changed the regular rhythm for dancing. raised their hands in the of S^mbah or homage. and then began the dance by swaying their bodies and slowly waving their arms and hands in the most graceful movements. They danced and time five or six dances. but when it concluded and. hands and body being the feet are scarcely the real performers whilst noticed and for half the time not visible. one. hiding their faces as have described . without into any break. then rising to their feet. and rightly. the arms. the four girls dropped their act fans. with the the sowing of the seed. the I dancers sat leaning forward. During its performance.MALAY SKETCHES the players. they floated through a series of figures hardly to be exceeded in grace and difficulty.

THE JOGET and winnowing of the grain. last The the dance. might easily have been But those guessed from the dancer's movements. grew to a wild revel until the dancers were. or pretended to be. This nautch. which began soberly. music being much faster. bound with three rings of burnished gold which glittered in the light like precious stones. and other the two striking at each with their wands seemed inclined to turn the symbolical into a real 5« . handed them another. possessed by the Spirit of Dancing. as the girls tossed one thing on Sometimes it was the floor. inspiriting. a fan or a mirror they held. almost and the movements of the dancers more free and even abandoned. to represent a sword. of the audience whom I was near enough to question were. sometimes a flower or small vessel. For the latter half of the dance they each held a wand. Malay-like. as it is in the management of the fingers that the chief art of Malay dancers consists. they returned. but oftener their hands were empty. the was perhaps best. and leaving the Hall for a moment to smear their fingers and faces with a fragrant eldest. oil. hantu mZndri as they called it. unable to give me much informaAttendants stood or sat near the dancers and tion. symbolical of war. from time to time. like the others.

and the nautch. The band. slowly to the vessel waiting for us off the river's mouth. the rising sun was driving the fog from the like numbers of lovely green islets. who looked as if they too would possessed. ceased playing on the removal of the dancers. The Raja." lived for months on nothing but flowers. after some trouble. which had begun at 10 p. however..v. who had only appeared at 4 a. but not until their captors had been made to feel the weight of the magic wands. strains had been increasing in wildness and in time. They were." but did not know how accomplish it. told me " that one of the elder girls. The to like to two younger be " girls.MALAY SKETCHES battle. and taking boat rowed c. that seemed to float dew-drenched lotus leaves on the surface of the shallow stream. when she became properly possessed. -a pretty and poetic conceit As we left the Astana.m. caught by four or five women and carried forcibly out of the Hall.m. 52 . was over. whose were easily caught and removed..

and so sparsely inhabited was the country they were to pass through.VIII THE STORY OF MAT I smote ARIS would a him as I worm. With heart as steeled. that they could not even find a habitation in which to pass the night. The interest of Mat Aris in couple was a of the desire to get rid of Sahit and possess himself woman Salamah. their road lay along a jungle track. The travellers whom he had conceived began their journey at a spot many miles up the Perak River. of no occupation and suaded one Sahit to take his wife Salamah and on a journey through the jungle to a distant this country. They had to look S3 forward to many days' . for an overmastering passion. with nerve as ] firm He never woke again Whittier was in the year 1876 that a man named Mat less repute. per- IT start Aris.

and. not altogether the counterpart of The reading and difficulty public. Sahit and his wife started on their journey in the company of two brothers of Mat Aris. with which they share the forests of the interior. aboriginal tribes almost as shy and untamed as the elephant. that accompany them. but meeting him the brothers returned. and one is apt to exaggerate one's peculiarities 54 Whatever gruesome there are about . In the afternoon of the first day's march a Sakai named Pah Patin met the being to three. a shelter was built in the jungle wherein the night was to be passed. known to Mat Aris. for a good soil. within miles. no doubt. it It may be own so. terror without parallel. but few of those who know have visited Malaya. in one of the hottest and dampest climates is in the world. It is as well to understand what a Malay jungle is like. believes that the jungle of Darkest Africa is a place of gloom.MALAY SKETCHES journey through the primaeval forest. well watered. as there was no dwelling worthy ordered him Pah Patin did as he was told. troubles. Mat Aris undertaking the part of escort. the bison and the rhinoceros. the home of wild beasts and Sakai people. and when evening came on. produces all a forest that other forests.

and though this mitigated light cannot stretch of imagination be called darkness. with a prodigality of vegetable life. of bush. that shows how It is richly Nature deserves fact. however. and most of 55 creepers . a curious remarked by every one who has been brought the Malay forest. from the smallest shoot to the giants of the jungle. I know that is not excessive. they by any afford a pleasant shade from the pitiless rays of the sun.THE STORY OF MAT the African jungle. Under them. towering to a height of 150 feet. Every conceiv- able kind of palm. flourishes there with a luxuriance. of creeper. that a very large in contact with number of its its shrubs. her title of Mother. off it is possible to take If it your hat without fear of sunstroke. it ARIS for large bodies it seems possible of men and women it to make their way through at a fair pace without great difficulty. there is an undergrowth so thick as to beggar description. many of its palms. treading on each others roots and crowding the older and feebler out of existence. but in this forcing climate there are an enormous number of such trees. In that respect forest. These are nothing. were only for the trees jungle walking would be pleasant enough. all at least has the advantage of the Malay To begin with there are the trees of sizes.

" The names are as apt as they are suggestive.MALAY SKETCHES are armed with spikes of various length. that will resist their powers of penetration and destruction. them. so thick that the soil is often entirely hidden. caterpillars that thrust their hairs into the skin and leave them there and to cause intolerable irritation. wasps. centipedes. and last." and an ant known as the " fire ant. and stinging flies." a thorn called " Kite's talons. snakes poisonous otherwise. but all of about equal sharpness. and flying unpleasantness . being. short of armour. Under the creepers lie fallen trees. but not least. and the ground is covered with ferns. mosquitoes that. myriads of leeches that work their way through stockings and garments of any but the closest texture . but only given a sample of what any traveller will meet in a day's journey through a Malay jungle. rank grasses. when they find a tunity. It may be added as a minor but unpleasant detail that this tangle of vegetation harbours every species of crawling. ants with the most murderous proclivities. human I make the most of their oppor- have not exhausted the catalogue of pests. and no Some are so formidable that the thickest skinned beasts avoid contact with human apparel has been devised. There is a wasp called "the reminder. scorpions. jumping. and what is generally termed undergrowth. 56 .

I the country the have often noticed where a river flows it between low banks clothed for with virgin forest. It will naturally be asked how I travellers make their way through reply is jungle such as have described. tracking is possible. rattans. or has some special object and the No means to clear his I jungle is not as thick as that All Malay way. The that there are existing tracks (not worthy of the name of footpaths) which have been 57 . have described. and as the beasts frequent the sought by the sportsman naturally more open places. would be almost impossible to force his even a strong swimmer way water on to the land through the thickly interlaced out of the tangle of branches. by cutting a one attempts to walk through virgin forest unless he be in pursuit of game. even on fours it could not be crawled is through. and other thorny creepers that stretch their uninviting arms from the bank far over the water of the stream. though severe enough work even at the slow rate progress necessary to enable the pursuers to approach the quarry without being seen or heard. the only means of progress path. and that. of The lower and more swampy thicker the undergrowth.THE STORY OF MAT ARIS To force a way through such all a place is an im- possibility.

in Such were the surroundings his wife found which Sahit and themselves compelled to spend a his Sakai night in the company of Mat Aris and in this acquaintance. originally no doubt formed by the passing and repassing of wild beasts. cases similar means of passage have been formed by driving tame elephants through the forest from place to place. Mat Aris had a house neighbourhood. and is a darkness so absolute as to give to wide-open eyes the impression of blindness. and on the day following the events already narrated a Malay went to the Headman of his village and said there was a woman in the house of Mat Aris sobbing 58 . Those who have been so unfortunate nothing to be done as to be benighted in a Malay jungle without torches or lanterns but to sit know that there down and wait for is day. then adopted In other by the Sakais. falls When once the sun has set darkness it upon everything within the forest.MALAY SKETCHES used for ages. and lastly by Malays. especially if he be the garments and boots of western civilisafilled progress through the succession of holes with water and is mud which marks the track of elephants neither rapid nor pleasant. clad in tion. For the pedestrian. That is the jungle of daylight.

here a succession of rapids The Headman and very difficult to navigate. but the landed. on the following day. the first police station. When Mat Aris arrived at at Kota Tampan he once arrested by the native sergeant in charge of the station. distant thirty more by river. went to the place and saw Mat Aris was Headman there and a woman with him. Accordingly the sergeant and some police entered the boat and a start was miles or made for Kuala Kangsar. and was woman sergeant said name was Salamah. In places where there are no roads.THE STORY OF MAT ARIS The and saying her husband had been murdered. and. and often when they do exist. he hurried on and gave the information he possessed. Malays live on or close by the bank of a river. and the he must take them both to his Divisaid her sional Headquarters at Kuala Kangsar. who accused him Mat Aris denied the charge. the Head- man observed Mat Aris and the woman in a boat going down the stream. and getting near to a place called Kota Tampan. 59 It shortly appeared that . followed by a jungle track. of murdering Sahit. Mat Aris had a reputation which probably induced this Headman not to attempt to interfere with him further than to keep a watch on his proceedings.

Mat Aris upset the boat and threw every one into the water. Choosing a convenient place where the stream was both deep and rapid. he swam with her bank and they both disappeared. as Mat Aris offered his services to steer and there was no the police. and even more serious ringleader. this important post was given him. to crimes were laid at his door. and. with his brothers. to For the next eight years Mat Aris attempts at capture. and. and complaints of the Mat Aris were constantly 60 . lives. who were doubt of his to ability. Of Sahit nothing more was Meanwhile the Government of Perak had established a station in the neighbourhood of the spot lawless proceedings of where Sahit had disappeared. became the terror of the neighbourall hood. hampered by get out of the river with their their uniforms. and it be living with was also known that she had a child by him. to the oppo- The police had enough to do. eluded all He lived in the jungle beyond the jurisdiction of the Perak Government. The woman Salamah was known Mat Aris as his wife. natives of India. Then seizing the site woman. seen or heard.MALAY SKETCHES were not very skilful in the management of the boat. levying black mail on Mat Aris was the who passed his way.

there 61 was a witness who . this story is that. where he was duly tried. This time the prisoner was conveyed in safety to Kuala Kangsar. went to the Perak officer and asked work. for who else would be likely to know what happened Salamah. but Pah Patin did not speak. one thing to give information against a man and able to resent it. and Mat Aris and Salamah were the only other people who knew what he could say. But the strange part of sible as it may seem. in the consciousness of his own for rectitude. and quite a different thing to say what you is in know when to Sahit.THE STORY OF MAT made to the officer in charge of it. a long time. and travellers worth robbing having grown scarce. That mistaken step resulted in his arrest on the strength of the warrant issued eight years before. ARIS but he was help- less. willing. is. that the toils. like at night in the depths of the jungle miles from the nearest habitation? As seemed for the Sabine women. Mat Aris. It is who man is free. for the outlaw was beyond his reach. she impos- to have reconciled herself to her captor. There was a witness who was and that likely to know what had happened was Pah Patin the Sakai. At least that appeared to be so. especially an Eastern. Eight years to however.

MALAY SKETCHES saw what took whither the place in that hut in the forest. food to spend the night. That witness was a Sakai man who had been collecting getah (gutta-percha). Mat Aris and the Sakai Pah Patin had built a It will shelter fire where they proposed lighted. unsuspecting Sahit had been lured with his wife under the escort of Mat Aris. 62 . he saw Mat Aris who stood get up and stab to death the man. the unusual sight of these strangers sleeping in his wild and lonely jungle. the other Malay fell sleep. attracted by the firelight. The Sakai saw more than that. between him and the woman he had determined to possess. Pah Patin was found and induced to tell his tale. A and was Mat was cooked and the four lay fire down to sleep. On one side of the Aris. and. on the other was the The man and pretended to his wife slept. and then Sahit. Sakai. noiselessly whilst wondering at approached the hut and. and the Sakai into that state which passes for sleep with creatures that are always on the alert for possible danger. and other Sakais completed the narrative. be remembered that Sahit and his wife. but when once he had disclosed what he knew. next him Salamah. eaten.

fell and struggle up again when Mat Aris shouted kill to the also. and possibly the banks. Mat Aris and Sal£mah of still sleeping by the corpse." said Pah Patin when he told the story. the landmarks were no longer the same. " there was a little life in him. but Mat Aris followed her and brought her back to the mat by body of the murdered man. even bones its many times flooded had gone and others grown. and " stick. and there they slept together. hit the wounded man on the Then. an attempt was made to find the body. and the river had is rapid. Years afterwards. trees exact site of the grave was missed. but decomposition in this climate disappear. The tried to wretched man staggered to his feet. the Sakai returning to his place on the the other side of the fire." The woman rushed out of the hut. and these by the bank of the river in the presence of Mat Aris and the woman. and by order three buried Sahit Mat Aris fetched two more Sakais. but he never moved after I struck him. The night Before daylight Pah Patin left was young then.THE STORY OF MAT Half an hour with later ARIS softly Mat Aris rose up Sahit in and a kris stabbed the throat. it failed . Sakai to strike him or he would him head with a at last Pah Patin obeyed. when the details were known. 63 .

to the Hospital de la Charite in Paris. 14 was privileged.IX LATAH Ofttimes he falleth into the oft into the fire and water Matthew the spring of 1892 I xvii. there was the strange power of hypnotising. influencing and awakening certain sujets whose nervous organisations seem to be specially susceptible. There were patients undergoing successful treatment for nervous disorders where the disease relief was in process of gradual by passing from the afflicted person to a medium without injury to the latter . There is some- thing more than usually uncanny in the sight of a 64 . visit Luys. and there was the astonishing influence of the magnet over these same sujets when already hypnotised. by the IN kindness of a friend and the courtesy of Dr. where I witnessed some very remarkable and in- teresting experiments in suggestion.

and when the negative end is sud- denly turned fall towards him. (I Amongst Malays there is a well-known disease use the word for want of a better) called latah .LATAH person delight filled with an inexplicable and unnatural in the contemplation of the positive end of a magnet. where the Malays are mostly from Kedah. was deeply both for their in the own strangeness and because I had Malay Peninsula seen equally extraordinary proceedings of a somewhat similar kind. to see him instantly down unconscious as though sujets (there struck by light- ning. As to the negative end. in hesi- words and with every appearance of dread. far it is more common at certain places than at others. they tating that reluctantly explained. so exquisite in colour and beauty that it transported them with delight. a man and a woman) described the appearance of the positive end of the magnet as producing a beautiful blue flame about a foot high." and I sinister import. 6rang latah to be found in every kampong in Krian. but a red one of fearful interested in these " manifestations. there also was a flame. The were two of them. in other 65 e . and amongst certain divisions of the great Malay Thus while there is generally one or more family.

can vouch for facts but nothing more. in Netherlands India. the disease seems to be more common amongst the people of Amboina.M. and committed on a Malacca trading vessel. for he was said have killed ninety-nine men State (sd rdtus kurang sdtu) with his own hand. than those of Java. Though His Highness's personal record was one of which he might to be proud. diagnose the disease (if it one). An unusually hideous piracy. had been the fighting-ground of several ambitious young Rajas for some years. whatever may have been the original cause to produce the affliction in certain places more than in others. who after . personally conducted by one of the Sultan's own sons. search for its cause or attempt to cure it. Hart to reside with the Sultan of Selangor.S. and due when the perpetrators. Again. for no English authority appears to have studied the matter or attempted to either is I observe latah people. for it his was not altogether a happy one. Sumatra or the Malay Peninsula. In both cases heredity is pro- bably accountable for the result. speaking generally. In 1874 I was sent in H.MALAY SKETCHES parts of Perak it is rare to ever meet a latah person. had necessitated a visit from the China or those 66 fleet. I can I only speak of my own experience and what have personally seen.

and high tide most of the place was under water. selected not so virtues as their so-called vices. for much on account of their The exchange was whatever sins they committed they showed no signs of panic. and we lived all together in an old stockade on the bank of the Langat river. were not repeated. which for numbers and venom could not be matched. as it was was a collection of huts on a mud at flat enclosed between the Langat and Jugra It rivers. and has for years now been almost deserted. grandiloquently styled. 67 . for all its unpromising appearance. was only seven miles from the sea. even from it a Malay point of view." as His Highness called them. satisfactory. lived The place where the Sultan then was hardly a desirable residence. but the police were seized with panic and had to be replaced by another batch from Singapore. Bandar Ttrmdsa. it Whether was the mosquitoes. had been executed (the Sultan lending his own kris for the " boyish ceremony).LATAH inquiry appeared to be the perpetrators. With me there went twenty-five Malay police from Malacca. Later on I was encouraged by the statement that Bandar TSrmasa. or whether it was the evil reputation of the place for deeds of violence is needless to inquire. I was sent to see that these amusements.

had " If he is remarked. attempted to stab him with a long kris she had brought in for that purpose. His A the bars. I Bandar have said we lived all together in a stockade. doctor place a lady. as she did not know whether much killed. what laconically Highness had asked. a 68 . bury him. That was then the state of society Termasa. and. as a badly wounded man was carried from the that." residence in the During times my his jealousy. for a reason. would like to purchase fancy the weapon. one night. story that duelling field past the palisade which enclosed the Sultan's house. if he dead. stabbed a with to man of considerable note thirteen own dagger. six feet thick and eight a mud floor. being told. The our man was Another stockade side. it where those who had a found differ- ence settled promptly with the krts. not and similar made the no complaint. and cowards either their who came there courage or amused the gossips was departed. and. visited lady. and sent the next I morning it. through was the matter.MALAY SKETCHES was a place for men. for him . pushed finding the sentry on one man she wanted. It was a very rude structure with log walls about feet high. is wounded.

but the ladder Of roads there were none. because there was nothing to walk upon but deep mud.LATAH Outside it was a high thatch roof. but very different in disposition. posts. but a river mud path ran through the stockade from bank to village. to which walked With the second batch of white police I had come an European inspector. in a well or I pond a quarter of a mile every day to bathe. Amboina. and the log say that of snakes. watch-tower of the same materials. and that the only water fit to use was contained off. Amongst the twenty-five police were two men of the name of Kasim they were both natives of . and he and were the only men in the country. distant some 300 yards. while the My men own accommodation was a cot borrowed from the Hart and slung between two slept on the walls of the stockade. and no doors. and they were known among their comrades as Kasim 69 Bhar . the tide at high floor. to it had fallen down. The for the public path ran water completely walls were full through covered the it. The I state of the surI roundings will best be understood when during the many months lived there I did not wear boots outside the stockade. place had drawbacks other than mosquitoes.

he saw Kasim Minor up a coco-nut tree just outside the stockade. it at all.m. and pleasant-looking young fellow They were not related to each other in any way. it is no easy matter to climb a coco-nut tree . about 4 p. and he told me that during my absence he had one day been away on duty for some hours.MALAY SKETCHES and Kasim Kkhil Minor. In reality there was a of rattan tied round the tree. and Kasim did not possess 70 But the inspector ascertained that the other police had found out by . he replied he could not come down because there was a snake at the bit bottom of the tree. of about twenty. Kasim Minor. this being removed. reserved. was a smiling. used often to be away on the coast and up and on my return from one of these expediI tions noticed the men teasing latah. talkative. and when he returned. silent I man of and afterwards realised that he had a somewhat violent temper when roused. happy. Now. and. it requires a special training to do it.. On asking him what he was doing there. Kasim Minor. I river. and I saw at once that he was questioned the inspector. on the contrary. — that is Kasim Major and Kasim Kasim Major was a about twenty-five. Kasim came down. quiet.

some one had taken a bit of rattan. when close by. studying constantly with I me learnt that Kasim Major was also latah. male and female. ever they were told to do. till the afternoon.M.LATAH accident that their comrade was latah. which he had then. holding up a finger. Speaking generally. I made Kasim Minor my orderly. and instantly they appeared to lose all control of themselves and would do. and then you can't come down. u Do you once done. when the returned and released him. but that is told to me. calling them by name in a rather pointed way. The time of Kasim's penance greatly exaggerated. was probably how the story was was an eye- and of all that follows I witness." and so him from inspector IO A. but whatever 71 . and as he was had better opportunities of About this time also I his peculiarities. that they had at ordered him to climb the tree. it was only necessary for any one to attract the attention of either of these men by the simplest means. to look them hard in the face. gested by I have seen many latah people. and that see this snake ? I will tie it round the left tree. not only what- was suga sign. touching them or even. said. out of sheer devilry.

a noise. 72 . or the sight of something unexpected. by a touch. will not only show all the signs of a very nervous person but almost invariably will fire off a volley of expressions more or less ob cene. The latah man or woman usually met with. for another because they are inclined on the spur of the moment to do ludicrous things or say something they would under ordinary circumAlmost invariably latah stances be ashamed of. As a rule it is necessary to startle these people before they will say or do anything to show that they are differently constituted to their neighbours. if suddenly startled. having no reference at all to the circumstance which has suddenly aroused attention. so ready to blindly obey a word or a sign. The kindly disposition of Kasim Minor made him quite harmless. for one reason because it is so exceed- ingly easy. but the other Kasim was rather a dangerous subject to play tricks with. none so susceptible to outside influence. latah person .MALAY SKETCHES but never any quite like these two. as I will pre- sently explain. and when they have betrayed themselves either by word or deed their instinct is to get away as quickly as Children and even grown-up people " a cannot always resist the pleasure of " bating possible.

this when actually showing the evidences of people are strange peculiarity. It must be understood that except when under influence. but I know they are to be found. or they simply say. any one present accidentally drops something on the floor. if a lizard falls from the roof on to or near If a Idtah person. have never seen a Idtah boy or girl. " I am Idtah" as a full explanation and excuse. a Idtah person of the class it speak of will probably find necessary to at least say something not usually heard in polite society. by word or deed they commit them- selves (and that is not uncommon) they either run away. Of this class I by far the majority are women. Idtah undis- tinguishable from others. though the disease certainly becomes more evident as the subject grows older.LATAH people of this class (and one) are very good think it is by far the most common humoured and never seem to of resenting If the liberty taken with their infirmity. if the wind blows the shutter of a window I to with a bang. or appear to be unconscious of having said or done anything unusual (this however is rare). this It is sufficient proof of amongst my twenty-five police there should have been two men more completely Idtah that than any I have seen before or 73 since. .

MALAY SKETCHES
I

took occasion to carefully observe the
It

two

always companions teasing them, especially in a place where there was absolutely no form of amusement

Kasims.

was impossible

to

prevent their

were as unpleasant as they well could be, but no harm was ever done, and
and
all

the conditions of

life

I

am

satisfied that while influence

was

in

any way

exercised over the latah
of his

man he was
directly
it

not conscious

own

actions,

and

was removed he

became his reasoning other self, and the utmost that remained on his mind, or came to him with the
recovery of his

own

will,

was

that he might

have

done something
If

foolish.

the

attention

of either

of these

men was

have said by word, sign, or a meanfrom that moment until the influence ing glance, was removed, the latah man would do whatever he
arrested, as I

was

told or signed to

do without
difficult,

hesitation,

whether

the act signified were

dangerous, or painful.

When
could

once under this influence any one present
give the order and the latah
it
;

man would
he

immediately obey

not

only that, but even at

some distance
appeared
to

(as in the coco-nut tree incident),

be equally subject to the will imposed

on his

actions.

A

curious thing about both these
74
i

men was

that,

LATAH
having attracted the attention of
"

Kasim, go and

hit that

you said, man," he would invariably
for

either, if

repeat what

was

said,

word

word, including his

own name,
11

while he carried out the order.

When
say,

the person hit turned on him,
It

Kasim would

was not

I

who

hit

you, but that

man who

ordered me."
I

have seen Kasim the younger, when the
his

man

influencing him put

own
it

finger in his

mouth and
but really
I

pretended to bite
bite his finger

it,

imitate the action

and

bite

hard.

Similarly

have

seen him, in imitation and without a word being said, take a lighted brand from the fire, and he would

have put
carried

it

in his
far.

mouth

if

the experiment had been

so

jump
till

into the river,

he had

swum

told him one day to and he did not get out again nearly two hundred yards, for the

Some one

stream was both broad and deep, with a terrible
current,

and infested
called out

by
"

crocodiles.

If
"

at

any

moment you Kasim "), the

Tolong Kasim ("help! instant he heard it he would jump up

and crying " Tdlong Kasim," dash straight to you over all obstacles. If then you had put a weapon
in his

hand and
I

reach

done

it

told him to slay any one within have not the slightest doubt he would have without hesitation.
75

MALAY SKETCHES
I

have said there was a ladderless watch-tower

outside the stockade.

The

police

wanted firewood,

they were not allowed to burn the logs forming our
walls, but at the top of the

watch-tower there were
told they could burn.

also log walls that they

were

They were
were going

lazy,

however, and did not see

how

they

to get up, so they ordered

Kasim the

younger to climb up, which he did as he had
climbed the coco-nut
tree,

and,

when once

there,

throw down logs until they thought had enough. I watched that operation, and they the feverish haste with which the man swarmed up
they told

him

to

one of the supports, gained the platform of the tower, and threw down huge logs as though his
life

depended on

it,

was

rather remarkable.

I

gave

orders that the man's infirmity was not to be used
for this

that

purpose again, but in my absence I know when more firewood was wanted Kasim went
it

up

to the watch-tower for

until that

supply was

exhausted.

The path from
day
I

the stockade to the village
its

was

in

sight of the stockade throughout

length, and one noticed Kasim Minor, as he walked leisurely

down

this mud embankment, stop every now and then and behave in a peculiar fashion as though he

were having conversation with the
76

frogs,

snakes and

LATAH
other denizens of the ditches that bordered the path.

When

he had gone half way he stopped and peeped up into the branches of a small tree on the road side, then he seemed to be striking blows at an
invisible

enemy, ran
after

to the ditch

and began throwinto the tree.
I

ing

lump

lump of hard
it

mud

had not seen

this

phase of his peculiarities before
out, but

and could not make

suddenly his arms

went about
and
I

his

head

like the sails of a windmill,

realised that his

enemies were bees or hornets,

and that he was getting a good deal the worst of
I sent some of the men to fetch an unequal fight. him back and found he had been rather badly stung,

and when

I

asked him

why

he attacked the nest he
flying out
at them.

said his attention

of the tree
I

was caught by things and he was impelled to throw

understood that the hornets flying out of the

nest appeared to be thrown at him, and he could

not help imitating what he

saw

in the best

way he

could, and so he took what was nearest his hand and sent it flying back.

Kasim the

elder

was

quite as susceptible as his
little

shy of provoking him as they soon realised that his temper

namesake, but his comrades were a

made

the

amusement dangerous.
teasing
77

must have been

him,

One day they and, when he was

MALAY SKETCHES
allowed to recover his
laughter

own

will,

I

suppose their

made

it

evident to him that he had

made

himself ridiculous, for he suddenly ran to the arm-

and seizing a sword bayonet made for his tormentors with such evident intention to use it that
rack,

they precipitately

fled,

and

in a

few seconds were

making very good time across the swamp with Kasim and the drawn sword far too close to be
pleasant.

persuading him to abandon his purpose, but after that and a lecture his comrades did not greatly bother him.
I

had some

difficulty in

I

we

remember, however, that on another occasion had secured and erected a long thin spar to
flagstaff,

serve as a

but the halyard

jammed and

it

seemed necessary to lower the spar when some one called out to Kasim the elder to climb up it. Before
I

could interfere, he had gone up two-thirds of the

and he only came down reluctantly. Had he gone a few feet higher the pole would inevitably
height,

have
fall.

snapped and he would have had a severe
this time a friend

About

came and shared my
had had experience
inclined to
to do.

loneliness for a fortnight.

He

of latah people before, but the two Kasims were
rather a revelation, and he

was perhaps

doubt what

I

told

him they could be made
78

LATAH
One morning we were
the towels,

bathing as usual at the pond,
in attendance carrying

and Kasim the younger was

&c
over,

The bath was
"Mart,
the

and we were

all

three stand-

ing on the bank, when
kita terjun"

my
to

friend said to
let

Kasim
in),

:

(come,

us jump

at

same time feigning

jump.

Kasim

instantly
splut-

jumped
tering,

into the pond, disappeared,

came up
:

and having scrambled
"

out, said

" Itu tidak

baik, Titan

(that is not

good of you,
I

sir).
I

My friend said,
let

"

Why,

did nothing,

only said

us jump in and went like this," repeating his

previous action,
his plunge,

when Kasim immediately repeated and we dragged him from the water
first

looking like a retriever.

When
it

I

was
that
I

ordered to Selangor,

I

thought

possible

some

sort of furniture might

be

took up a few chairs and other things, useful, a large roll of what is known as Calcutta including

and

matting.
the

mud

floor

The things were useless in a place where was often under water twice during
whenever a Malay of distinction whom it was necessary to find a
to see that the seat

twenty-four hours, and they lay piled in a corner of
the stockade, and

came
chair,

to see
it

me

for

was advisable

was not

already occupied by a snake.
79

The

roll

of matting,

here with ! your wife. in Every night. almost sighing to himself. wife. and as I have said elsewhere. for the benefit of the the roll one of the men was inspired to of matting. they have a strong sense of humour if not always of a very refined description.MALAY SKETCHES about four feet high and two-and-a-half feet diameter naturally remained unopened. and introduced one of the Kasims. village One in. here is your Even now and I satisfaction do not forget the smile of beatitude with which Kasim Minor regarded that undesirable words " in and figureless bundle." "Kasim. . middle of the stockade. Under such circum- stances Malays have a happy knack of making the best of things. owing a large bonfire was for only in the lit to the in the myriads of mosquitoes. in his character of an drang latah. had come night some Malays from the and the police were trying to amuse them and forget their own miseries by danc- ing and singing round the fire." he embraced the fervour. they laugh easily and often. and solemnly presenting said. Some one had strangers. is Kasim. " ! matting great " My wife my wife Some one 80 constantly repeating " Kiss said. Breathing the a low voice. smoke of that fire was it possible to eat one's dinner. fetch it to Kasim the younger.

during which the audience.LATAH her!" and he kissed her — repeatedly kissed her. and introducing him to the other side of the roll of matting. some one brought up the other Kasim. which I only add because some readers hunger for detail. and embraced her with not rival. and as each tried to monopolise her charms a struggle began between them to obtain complete possession. 81 F . almost frantic with delight. I do not pretend to offer any explanation of the cause of this state of mind which Malays call latah. urged the actors in this drama choice. " Kasim. less fervour than his namesake and It was evident that neither intended to give up the lady to the other. that neither of the Kasims possessed a wife. and as they nearly and seemed disinclined even abandon the lady. said. also very quietly. this is your wife " ! and Kasim the elder accepted the providential appearance of his greatly-desired spouse. It is a detail. to manifest their affection to the lady of their In the midst of this clamour the Kasims and their joint spouse fire rolled into the to fell down. Then by another inspiration (I do not say from whence). she was taken away and put back in her corner with the chairs and then snakes.

and is whether the disease. I if it be one.MALAY SKETCHES I imagine it is a nervous disease affecting the brain but not the body. I have never met a medical man who has in- terested himself in the matter. I should doubt it. 82 . cannot say curable or not I — have somewhere read that individuals similarly affected are found amongst the Canadian lumber- men.

nor attractive. . she was born of the people. herself a stranger in that country. like many others of a more permanent It character.X THE ETERNAL FEMININE Le bonheur de saigner sur le cceuf d'un ami Paul Virlaine was a woman of Kelantan named Siti THERE Maamih good nor ally herself to I . was apparently an arrangement formed for mutual advantage. nor even young. more than the expectations of the contracting parties. neither beautiful. but she had chosen to a white man whom I will call Grant. If the connection it began without any satisfied semblance of romance. work know nothing of these two. and the when and moment of trial came the highest affection the most sacred bond could hardly have suggested a greater sacrifice than this 83 woman offered. but that he had far away in a Malay jungle and she shared his loneliness. as youth goes in the East.

There followed what Uncivilised state of reprisals. was on the watch for To expect is. Grant's immediate neighbourhood did not seem and he was probably unconcerned. fearing no attack. however. One morning two Malays appeared house. no police and Maamih. but he was white. Grant was not even remotely connected not un- with the matter.MALAY SKETCHES lives there Whilst these two were living their unattractive came difficulties between white man and brown white —not specially between : this white man and any with a darker skin the quarrel was between authority and Malay resentment of interference. But his hut was other white isolated. sometimes. and. Therefore he went about his work and took no special affected. precaution. and the trouble came quickly. comparatively local. who do not is it fine distinctions in such matters." known as " a people. man anywhere near him. who understood Malays her protector. and under such circumstances a want of discrimination is common. there was only one within miles. understand war. called The disturbance was. to go half way at to meet. better than trouble. took . having given some their presence 84 trivial Grant's excuse for and looked about the premises.

to be ten was a jungly is place. three large boats and two small ones arrived in the river close by. nection with the Malays then in arms. They belonged to a minor chief who had no conhut. had thrown himself down to rest. and yards off in the jungle as good. however. There was nothing unusual in that. took no precautions. but though he had been about day he had seen and heard nothing to arouse his suspicions. Grant. But even ere this. Grant had been out all morn- after his work.THE ETERNAL FEMININE their departure. prudence would have told most white men under similar circumstances that it would be well to see to their arms and keep them handy. as he had pro- bably convinced himself that none were necessary as for arms. Seen nothing. or it may have been the evening before. for those 85 who seek concealment . and now he was back and breakfast. and only a very nervous person would have seen in so simple an event any cause for alarm. . but kept out of sight of Grant's and he probably did not know they were there. That was not strange. he does not appear to have had any. he had returned to been out again. He was a busy man and his work took him out of all doors. The day wore ing looking on. glad to get under shelter from the oppressive heat. That morning. it certainly.

a new-comer. The men had no fowls.. about 4 p. carrying only the ordinary jungle knives. at all. as to be in another district. and the only condition is to be obtained from Malays about Malays would be an intimacy with and respect for the threatened man to which Grant could hardly aspire. at any rate. the only means of communication the Malay language. a party in of nearly twenty armed front of the house men suddenly appeared and stood some fifty yards away. possessed friends who would do so much He was still resting when. of on which information which Grant knew very little. to tell a Christian that there is a Muhammadan if plot against his it life. and the whole body advanced towards the house. at There must be some very powerful influence to induce work a Muhammadan. At this moment Maamih appeared. came up to the house and asked Grant if he wanted to buy fowls. could hardly expect that he. and instead of going to to his servant. he thought about for him. : As for hearing anything. the servant's quarters they rejoined their companions. while two of them. Grant. He told the inquirers to take them and got up as the Malays left him. who is not per- sonally in danger.m. that too was most unlikely the only people he could hear from were Malays.MALAY SKETCHES and know the jungle. and 86 instantly .

was There was no time is is to think : instinct said. order of the — " I shall stay with him." Grant may not have understood this sentence of death on himself. we you as well as the white man." screamed out. own death sentence. and. he may not have realised how strangely the times were out of joint. disagreeable : Death It is shun it. m There 41 Death. who who had done no wrong. she us. and she said. " If you do not go. hear his in the same breath learn that he was facing his executioners and his account with the world closed. that he was the enemy of no man.THE ETERNAL FEMININE divining that the strangers meant no are to good. leave the infidel and go away. "What harm have we done ? " The answer was * Titah " it is by — Raja and they told the woman to But she replied. "They going But Grant said that he and she had done no harm murder and the Malays could mean none. taking the woman with him." and doubtless instinct also said. These last stopped some twenty yards from Grant and the woman." commonly reputed that there are people 87 who . and who represented no cause. in the broad light of day." several Then will kill men said. he went out of the house and a few steps forward to meet his assailants. should suddenly.

put arm. further notice of The murderers took no woman. the man then struck Grant a heavy blow on the back of the neck." he on his face A but the Malay rushed up with a heavy chopping knife. A shot was fired. different . Grant her behind him and two more shots were fired. but he was already dead. to the "They ground. he probably felt the fear of sudden and violent death. for he took her in his arms. as he saw here and there a gun raised and pointed at him from a distance of a few paces. to them in such a situais no doubt suggests that death a new With this man it was and pleasant experience.MALAY SKETCHES do not know what fear tion instinct is . except to try 88 the and rob her of the jewellery . and if he was in any way responsible for what he did in that supreme moment his thought must have suggested that these men would not harm a woman of their own nationality and religion. woman threw herself on the body and put her unwounded arm over Grant's neck to save him. have killed me. and the bullet shattered Maamih's left Then. one of which struck Grant in the breast. seeing what had happened. The Malay's first blow inflicted a deep wound on Maamih's arm and made her loose her hold. fell and saying.

she was told to go away and warned that if she did not separate herself from the white man she would share time after that to think. woman left realised what was going life to happen before she the shelter of the house. and as Grant's isolated position made His him a specially easy prey. The motive of this outrage was simply the desire of an individual and his small following to wipe out the white man. think they are. I know of no similar attack being made by Malays on a white man within modern times. he fell a victim. they threw the remains into the river and departed. her his fate. where. and I question whether there is such another instance of a Malay woman's devotion — not that they are I not capable of such self-sacrifice. Moreover.THE ETERNAL FEMININE she wore. after weeks of suffering. her The woman was cared for by a countryman of own until she could be removed to a hospital. and having decapitated the dead man and otherwise mutilated his body. but they plundered the house. she had was not sought. but the circumstances necessary to call it forth very seldom This arise. she knew 89 that no sacrifice of . only European neighbour was also murdered by the same band. she recovered from her injuries.

No one can fail admire the pluck which takes no thought of danger. have been as high as it was by Just as there was nothing to fear standing aside (for none would have blamed her). — United to the devotion which deemed no too great for one she loved. so there was nothing to hope from the forbearance of Grant's murderers. Even can hardly be said that the sensation of fear has never been and cannot be experienced by the most formidable and gallant denizens of the forest 90 . the instinct which impels a wild beast to charge an enemy and pro- bably achieve thereby then it its own destruction.MALAY SKETCHES hers could save him. after receiving the first shot. The motive which and which kept Maamih by Grant's side led her. and that she did not also lose her life ill- an directed shot by her devotion to him was the accident of and a well-aimed blow which sought to sever the woman's arm and reach the neck it protected the neck of a dead man. to interpose herself between his body and the weapons of his foes. and more than all. must powerful. as affecting her woman's nerves. sacrifice was to that other sort of courage which comes of knowledge and deliberate intention. she saw face to face the men with murder in their faces and the means to accomplish it in their hands.

Forth to your Lips to quaff— You shall not shrink. and a child has put a tiger to flight by suddenly throwing a basket in the face of the beast." . offering his Cup. All sportsmen know the contrary. whereas it saved the clutches. in whom the love of life was strong. invite your Soul. Had the child run away. writing eight centuries ago. vanquishing fear. and on whose nerves the horror and certainty of what awaited her must have had a terrifying effect.THE ETERNAL FEMININE and the desert. This Malay woman. life of an old man already in the tiger's and yet the child's action was not the result of courage but of fear. deliberately renounced safety. with that higher re- solve which. its death was probable. faces the unknown in the spirit described by the Persian who. has found so preter in the author of the lines •• — worthy an inter- So when the Angel of the darker Drink At last shall find you by the river brink And.

Many rivers. covered with mangrove trees to the verge of high-water further. soft and clinging. way to the sea through this wide At high water they the tide left is look imposing enough. in shell-fish sinks which the searcher for almost to his waist.XI IN THE NOON OF NIGHT Her soul upheld By some deep-working charm Kirkje Whits ON the western coast of the Peninsula. Beyond this forest the receding tide leaves great wastes of evil-smelling mire. find their flat. it more especially that part of which forms one side is of the Straits of Malacca. small and great. but when is out a narrow and shallow channel 92 winding about . the shore-line generally one long stretch of mud. for mark and rather when the tide is up there are thousands of acres of mangrove whose roots and several inches of the stems are submerged.

there is the Malay fisherman. and all sorts of particu- larly loathsome-looking and foul-smelling dead things These birds are often to be found in such a place. for he pushes his dugthe fifty or a hundred yards up a mud creek. attracted by the great possibilities of gain to the industrious searcher after garbage. through which the receding tide finds easier road to river or sea. Then there are myriads of birds. sunk above his knees mire.IN THE NOON OF NIGHT between low slimy banks. alone break the monotony of the unsightly waste. he is there at little he out it will be hard to see. The mud-flats have their denizens. and right and left the eye wanders over a desolation of glistening mud with an almost imperceptible slope to the edge of the distant sea. snaky of neck and spiky of are bill. but they are not overattractive. Pools of shallow water and tiny channels. leaves in and fossicks about. strange-looking creatures. First. stranded fish. long and lank of leg. they ing just in the tiny ripple of the smallest wavelets 93 . vast of size. hunting If for all mussels and other shell-fish. That is as far as physical features go. But they always seems to be stand- wary to a degree.

or a stranded palm-branch.MALAY SKETCHES where you instinctively know the mud and sea meet. a half- buried spar of a wrecked boat. basking in the sun which makes and water and blistering slime shimmer and dance before your eyes. As that great mouth suddenly opens. you will not air notice the creature. if you are not quite a stranger. as the horrible scaly claws dig deep into the mud in their agony and 94 . and look always for this other thing. even when pointed out to you. it disclosing the rows of shining teeth. or even a lighter or darker ridge of the surrounding mud — certain it is that as the crocodile lies there. as shuts again with the noise of a steel trap. as though they took no real interest in the daily toil of sustaining life. and there they watch the gradually receding tide with melancholy abstraction. But get nearer. Perhaps it is the extraordinary fitness of her surroundings (I say her advisedly). perhaps the art with which nature has designed the body of the saurian to make you think her a log. Last. nay. you will look first. look longest. it is ten to one that you will not even then realise that she is there. speak no word and let your rowers pull a long and noiseless stroke till some one with a quick eye and a steady hand can put a bullet in the reptile's neck. and. there is something else here.

has torn the murderers your feelings towards these be softened. If it should happen to you to have to fight a wounded arm or crocodile at close quarters. river- will not There are reptiles that at river's Malay rivers so infested by these low water for a mile or two from the will mouth they be seen. in twos and threes or larger groups. and a consuming desire to slay the whole brood will seize you then and remain with you for all time.IN THE the great spiked NOON OF NIGHT lashes round in fury. lying on either bank basking or sleeping in the sun. if accident lost brings you in contact with a man who has just leg. a crocodile is shot dead on the bank. in less than half an hour the carcase will will be dragged into the river and a crowd of the reptiles be tearing it in pieces and fighting for the 95 remains. It repeatedly happens that knock people out of their boats and then kill they and devour them. then is. and in places where the creatures if are specially numerous. . you will realise and you will what manner of thing she probably conceive for her and all her kind a deadly horror and loathing. or with a corpse out of which a crocodile life. as the tail loathsome yellow belly slides over the ooze and you catch sight of the stony cruelty of the crocodile's eye.

great stretches edge of the mangrove which backs the village far out to the west the 96 At low water and the waters of the Straits of Malacca. — is that is. salting and drying The whereabouts is of a village of this kind recognised by the traveller on sea or land yet a great may be when he way off. running from swamp mud. . the immediate neighbour- hood of a fishing the crocodile. the catching of fish supplemented by curing them. industry of any importance. it number of Chinese as well as Malay water inter- boasts a police-station.MALAY SKETCHES Villages on the Malay coast are nearly always situated on the bank of a river . . Probably for that reason. It is thriving. the sea is full of fish and the men of a coast village are mostly If the village is of any size and the fishermen. there are a fishermen. fish loads and because the cleaning of thousands of the water with food of a kind that is specially attractive to the saurian. The houses at high are built for the most part on piles the sea washes under them. village is the favourite resort of At the mouth of a wide there is river on the Perak coast and as just such a village. and the means of communication are house. wooden stagings from house there is to of mud.

went about 10 p. A slight breeze was blowing off the sea. and on the night in question these three. as was their wont. and. except the one Guardian of 97 o . but the when plain moon still lit up the water and made things as day. In it there lived a Malay revenue to sleep officer with his wife and child. —though observed by all good so few of them know why or the details of the touching story which the sufferings of the Martyrs of Kerbela — that one night. when begin fast those forty days of Muhammadans they tells fast. swept gently hills.IN It THE NOON OF NIGHT the was in month of Ramthan. blending far till it looked like a away with the hazebordered land- enshrouded waters of the sea. a strange thing happened at this small coast village.m. and the moonlight glorified the hideous expanse of slime limitless mirror. blowing against the falling tide. past the middle of the month. but wards by that dark fringe of mangroves. played through the brown nets hanging up to dry. being at home. towards the distant All the village slept. scarcely great stirring the tops The wind of the mangroves. sighed up the river. the thick forest forming a striking contrast to the moonlit beauty of the glistening shore.

" man himself.MALAY SKETCHES the Peace. After a few minutes there feet. but I awoke hearcould not see I mother. who showed his devotion to duty by punctually striking the hours on a huge metal gong. " I was ing the child crying for its What is the matter. steps and the voice of the man calling to his wife. Have you heard anything of her ? " The constable had heard nothing. but no answer. but she is nowhere to be seen. Then 1 got up and saw at once the door of the house was open. was the sound of approaching followed by the a shout from the Malay. in a village such as this. asleep. where the paththe background. and the waters of left in the river the foreground. Che Mat ? " Che Mat replied. The man on guard roused his comrades. and. and she did not answer when spoke. for. as 98 . but there was evidently something uncanny about this disappearance. when suddenly he heard a child crying in the house of the Malay Then there was the noise of footrevenue clerk. where the houses are less more in the water than is mangrove on land. The constable called out. there are few places which to look for any one or anything with any chance of finding them. her anywhere. The night was far advanced.

and then listened. the woman on the ground As crocodiles go. they went some distance. falling. some one at once made a move . and woman was Making in sore all distress did not admit of doubt. six or eight feet is no great length. sinking above their knees at every step. each six or eight feet in length. till it became necessary to strike right out across the this time there mud. they the brilliant moon- being literally worried by three crocodiles. at last to their horror. hearing the cries at intervals and ever more plainly. in ever pressing on. the speed they could. stumbling. there was a distinct but faint cry ! platform. wafted on the incoming breeze. By was no doubt about that the the source of the cries. for the voice of the object of their search was recognised. It did not take the men long to get down to the ground. the others followed. through the silence of the night.IN THE NOON OF NIGHT Malays do not sit down and discuss plans of action. and they all walked out to the last house on the something ? Yes. but saw light. " Hark not hear did you " from the direction of the sea. but to wake up at your own house and within a hundred feet of the midnight go to sleep in 99 . and first hurrying along the edge of the trees.

and arms. Suddenly I was awakened by feeling the teeth of a crocodile in my leg. and whilst filled with ecstatic rapture ship of these Celestial Beings. and. u and had a vision. no means of defending myself. the police beat off the scaly beasts with difficulty. After a short but exciting fight. is calculated to shock the strongest nerves. but with half a mile like of mud between you enough to kill and anything assailed dry land. and . I by the companionseemed to be borne through enchanted along without fields of effort of my own more than earthly beauty. with three crocodiles attacking me. and found the woman had i been badly torn in legs.MALAY SKETCHES sea. I found I was out here on from home. and they would show me a sight more glorious than is vouchsafed to mortals. Whilst the men were arranging wet to carry her back. but close to the sea. I fell. rise Two Transported with joy. I rose and followed them. biting 100 my arms. radiant Beings appeared to me and bid me and follow them. and neck." she said. and little hope of help. and at the same time by three crocodiles quite big you. and this mud-flat half a mile the beasts tore and worried me. no easy matter over half a mile of soft but sticky mud and ooze. she told her tale : " I was sleeping. to my horror.

all. though she had flat. were all on the and she had crossed the soft. after that. neck. So the men bore her home. other sleepers have walked further. ." Well. far. there is nothing very strange in A woman of peculiar nervous organisation. She walks rather That is . abandon her the ferocious attentions of the crocodiles. the men sank woman had was only When found. and. they surface. not wondering over- much. unstable mire as easily as though it had been a metalled road. The woman were herself. her husband. and.IN THE NOON OF NIGHT while I legs. at every step. a somnambulist. there mud on were the soles of her feet. walked half a mile across the and her tracks plainly visible in the moonlight. for in this thing they saw the hand of the her feet with such to Celestial Beings who guided to consideration. life beyond the Only this was curious : that while the deep into the never sunk in mud at all. but found the end xox too hard for their understanding. and has a rude awakening. and the police satisfied as to the means. screamed for help until you came and rescued me. dreams a dream and walks out into the balmy atmosphere of a moonlit Eastern night. nothing and their awakening has been to the grave.

iii. She will help you. you are afraid. pray to God for Scraggsville courage . and." The mere male has his uses. and another to be within crocodiles about. one of which is to assist the unsullied sex to perpetuate the Spirit of God. chap. when asked " where the true " replies. moved upon the face of the waters. however. 102 . We have preserved it and handed it down from one generation to another of our own sex unsullied. when ordering him to go and purchase a " If divided skirt."* Doubtless —from it is the time when the Spirit later. on the Sea but more difficult to understand how woman. idea is. the product of higher educain divers subjects." she modestly in us women. of Galilee . unaided. and deep research the real clue to the phenomenon. supplies for. has handed anything down from one generation to another. more happily conveyed in the injunction of the President of the The same Woman's Suffrage League to her husband." book iii. * hail when there are "The Heavenly Twins.. I Spirit of God is can tell you : it is.MALAY SKETCHES The tion ideal woman.

an tall.XII VAN HAGEN AND CAVALIERO How loved. for one day I was told that he and a Hollander named Van Hagen had of all collected about a hundred natives sorts and conditions and had accepted service with the Viceroy of the Sultan of Selangor. heap of dust alone remains of thee Popi NOT dark. but it could not have been very attractive or profitable. He was quite young. in a club in Singapore. of a pronounced Italian What his occupation was I have no idea . I suppose he had some sort of business. so independent and almost only employment of fighting. type. Selangor was then an absolutely independent in fact that the principal its Malay State. To whom A related. 103 inhabitants was . many months I after my first arrival in the East met. and good-looking. avails thee not. how honoured once. Italian called Cavaliero. or by whom begot.

not in mine. and if the young Selangor Rajas took their pleasure in this way. I took the liberty of asking his Highness what meant.MALAY SKETCHES is an old gentleman for have the highest regard." He was 104 evidently tickled . he was inclined to regard their escapades with an in- dulgent eye. provided they did not interfere with his opium cum Sultan's dignitate and his immediate sur- roundings." but. Some time was myself in Selangor. "Quite correct. but he recog- that boys will be boys. as he explained always replied. u correct in Sultan if that their view. " btnar to me. had his own fighting day and was tired of it. he The Sultan was and I whom wished to be nised left alone. and I desire to He had speak of him with the greatest respect. and. that was all . stated his case. The own sons were very much interested carried in the guerilla warfare that was then being on throughout Selangor. promptly pointed out that each of these Rajas in turn came to him. ka-pdda dia. and asked the He His Highness was not correct. as ment was constantly being dinned into later I this state- my it ears. bukan btnar ka-pdda kamt" which being interpreted means. and the feature of the disturbances was that every chief said he had the Sultan's approval of his proceedings.

the principal mining had just been captured by a notable warrior named Raja Mahdi. give a tangible proof of his them to On I this every applicant with strict point the Sultan told me indiscreet free nothing. Sultan gave his only dia Udin. the principal port of the State. and. as he was created Viceroy and had powerful support in Singapore. however. brother of the Sultan of The Sultan's son-in-law driven espoused the cause of those who had been from Klang. and was not is enough to inquire. Certain Rajas held certain important strategical points from which other Rajas kept trying to oust them. by the way. All this is. and that he gave impartiality. gossips declared to that Highness was always requested approval in the shape of gunpowder and lead. and Kuala Lumpor. matters were further complicated 105 . I no more from gossip than put the statement down to irrespon- sible chatter.VAN HAGEN AND CAVALIERO by his this happy inspiration and laughed heartily his at own The ingenuity. hottest about Klang. and the fight waxed centre. and its whilom to As Klang. its but as Selangor neighbours. it defenders driven out daughter in when the marriage to Tunku Kedah.

and success was now with the Viceroy and now with Mahdi and his friends. pay the money did As with all Malay war. arms. the operations languished and revived by fits and starts. who helped him with ball money. rolled along. his The Capitan China did his share in own way. and thus the Fortune was. styled the * Capitan China. Dame fickle. and supporters outside the State stores.MALAY SKETCHES The Viceroy and his friends recovered possession of Klang and secured the friendship and assistance of the Chinese miners at Kuala Lumpor. He offered fifty silver dollars for every enemy's head delivered in the market-place in front of his house at Kuala Lumpor. and ammunition. and he told me himself that his man who stood there ready to receive the hideous trophies and quite a brisk business. merrily and arms. Plenty of money meant plenty of men." whose instincts were distinctly warlike and his authority with his countrymen supreme. These Chinese were led by one Ah Loi. 106 Then would . and with them a spasmodic effort would be made and follow dire probably a success gained. Raja Mahdi also had friends who were acting against the Chinese in the interior. a remarkable man. as usual.

for there the battle the hottest. would in their turn gain an advantage. The debts of the defeated would naturally be irrecoverable. qualified approval. but their leaders were becoming involved plete in debts which only the comfollowed success of one side by lasting peace and order could enable the victors to pay from the revenues derived from the tin-mines. conceived the plan of raising a force in 107 . The survivors on both sides were not only being reduced to penury. being in funds. It was at this time that the Viceroy's party. the ground in the immediate neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpor town being thickly planted with corpses. and the other side. While the State was the Sultan still distracted by all this trouble secured a comparative tranquillity by his diplomatic sympathy with the combatants. and the only plain and evident was that the population of Selangor was rapidly diminishing. Thus the tide of battle ebbed and flowed for scarcity. months and result years.VAN HAGEN AND CAVALIERO having raised some money. special was always both because of the Capitan China's method and because of the value of the mines. and whichever side held the Klang custom-house supThat was the price of his plied him with funds.

but command of the recruits. character. provisions ran threatened at once with starvation and the probability of being surrounded and entirely cut off from their base at Klang. and they 108 . disembarked and made its way with guides through the jungle to Kuala Lumpor. and while the force was daily harassed by the works. from the enemy's short and the men were fire Under these circumstances. who less. His heterogeneous composed of natives of half-a-dozen nationalities. I took knew little of Cavaliero. went by sea to Klang. supplies were cut But the place was invested by the off. and probably moved by the growing discontent of their men. to They were endeavour to make their way back to the port. I have said Hagen. Van Hagen and Cavaliero determined. he had been an of I Van know was told that officer in the Netherlands army. all strangers in the country. twenty-five miles distant by a jungle track. hill There they stockaded above the town and did valiantly enemy. and that he lost his commission owing to some breach of discipline. themselves on a in its defence.MALAY SKETCHES Singapore with which they hoped to deal an effective blow I to their enemies. force. but that he was a man of birth. ere it should be too late. and courage.

food. It is was no track visible. but their difficulties became so great that evils. as I know from my own experience.V r OF / VAN HAGEN'AND CAVALTERO could find no one to guide them through the jungle. I have elsewhere tried to describe a Malay jungle. not surprising that Not only that. and led for a great deal of the way through swamp and there water. arrived in the evening. they decided to risk the journey as a choice of and early one morning they set out. Pataling. Pataling was held by a considerable body of the Malay Rajas. a feeling of despair overcame many of them. The main after a body. and they wandered off in different directions never to be seen or heard of again. and with the knowledge that they were seeking blindly for a road unknown to all. and the path which these men had to traverse was. but weak the party lost its way. and had got back to a point not far from that of their original departure. wanting in cohesion and discipline. from want of food. beset with peculiar difficulty. where. and the weary 109 enemy under two . with Van Hagen and at Cavaliero. only four miles from a place called Kuala Lumpor ! They had been walking in a circle. of course. weary day's march and no utterly exhausted.

and. and in the evening. For the Finding the principal defenders of Kuala Lumpor had withdrawn. In excavating for the foundations of the houses which now form the town of Kuala Lumpor. took them into Pataling. I never heard rightly what became of the rank file. and and they told to find officers may have been given their their own way out of the was reserved another fate. The leading Chinese were made very uncomforttheir able. the . usual to dig up a large it was number of no skeletons. a guide presented himself and that offered his services. when thoroughly exhausted. they were taken out and shot.MALAY SKETCHES wanderers walked straight into their arms and gave themselves up without a struggle. at the last moment Kuala Lumpor. but on them depended the working of the mines. through the jungle. arrived there. before leaving Another story says that. lives. I and they were allowed to purchase this do not think alternative was offered to Van Hagen and Cavaliero. liberty State. which were he led the party hither and thither accepted . the place was occupied without difficulty by those who had for so long invested it. They were escorted from Pataling to Kuala Lumpor.

were thus many years ago.VAN HAGEN AND CAVALIERO bones of those who had fallen during the years of Selangor's internecine strife. They and were the skeletons of two locked in each other's arms. in . men face to face. than those usually met with. As many as sixteen skeletons have been discovered in digging out the foundations for one house. two skeletons The bones were larger. One day. not figures taller. the discovered.

The some sort of were soon the notoriety. got sight of and fell in love were with her. More than twenty years ago there dwelt in this village a man named Megat girl Raja. and just above the tidal influence. and her attractions gossip of the place. The gilded youths of Ban- dar fired by the description of Meriam's and one of them. about fifty miles from its and orchards. where the water is clear and shallow and the banks are lined with palm groves large ON the Perak River. there is a Malay village called Bandar.XIII THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN Oh vengeance ! thou art sweet Lewis Morris mouth. married to a par- ticularly well-favoured fact of her marriage drew her into named Meriam. 112 . and means. position. a boy of good family. charms.

Megat Raja. drawing his kris. Che Nuh. and fearing instant death if her husband should discover Che Nuh. Megat Raja called out "Who is that ?" Che Nuh replied " It is I. proby that fiting opportunity. but absence. and. but not before his presence had been perceived. at the front was being Che Nuh complied. pushed his addresses with such fervour and success that he became the lady's lover.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN called to The husband. was conveniently away to accompany the Sultan on a journey Penang and Che Nuh." The husband. Late one night when Che Nuh was in the house of his mistress. He drew back. The house was a large one enclosed by a palisade. he drew back seeing Megat Raja waiting on the ground beneath them. Megat Raja unexpectedly returned and the the first the lovers knew of their danger was demand of the husband to be admitted. said u What h are 113 . implored her lover to escape by the door at the back of the house while that opened. the youth aforesaid. as the lover the husband had evidently to descend the heard something of what had been going on in his was about steps. and Meriam thus suddenly surprised.

and the uncertainty of his the only guilt. and that he was no contemptible adversary. the husband entered the house and questioned one of the servant-women. Thinking to assure him- whom self on this point. and Che Nuh replied that it was a girl in the house. and once there he shouted for help and was soon surrounded by 114 his friends. but the youth unsheathed his kris and went down ready to accept the chances of a hand-to-hand struggle. and his father was one of the principal chiefs in the country. knowing three their Seeing that Mat Nuh would defend himself. There was.MALAY SKETCHES you doing in my house at this time? Come down on to the ground. therekill fore. however. . As men stood mutually on the defensive. minds was that Che What was of more account Nuh belonged to in a powerful family. taken advantage of Megat Raja's momentary absence to get outside the gate of the palisade. The latter had. the certainty of retaliation should they him. Megat Raja asked him he had come to see. for Meriam was not the woman in the house." Mat Nuh was alone and Megat Raja was accompanied by two other men. but dissatisfied with what he heard he dashed out again determined to attack Che Nuh. the men hesitated.

and he was reputed one of the she possessed principal warriors in the country.THE PASSING OF PENGLTMA PRANG SEMAUN In reply to a call. divorced her. He. On tion the strong suspicion that he held. his inclinato at least was make short work of the woman. This action was considered a very serious indignity by Meriam's friends. and he was still uncertain whether his wife were unfaithful or not. therefore. Che Nuh bid his adversary come outside the gate and he would give him any satisfaction he pleased. the Semaun. decided on another course of On the assumption that his wife was guilty (and of this he became tolerably well assured). and it so happened that a relative named PSnglima Prang an adherent of the Sultan's Wazir. That of course meant an internecine struggle between the two parties. and Megat Raja declined it. Penglima Prang SSmaun called upon the Chief of "5 . turned her out of his house. for the odds were now against him. Raja Bendahara. he treated her as though he held the proofs. but here again he was deterred by the knowledge that her relations would certainly be revenged on him. action. and declined to let her have any of her own possessions or to remove any of his.

MALAY SKETCHES Bandar and laid a formal complaint against Megat Raja. if it well to it sing small . a pleasant face on the matter . of the village of Bandar to put all her relatives to The Chief Shabandar. He listened politely to Penglima latter Prang Semaun. demanding to into his know why he had taken the law own hands and treated Meriam in a manner shame. was also one of the great officers of State named the Orang Kaya for He was a man renowned his was wealthy. and lived at the upper end of the village." The latter advice was meant in good part and not as a it taunt." . it is is well to put if you have no better to be quiet. revenge of you with only a 116 will have my kris. but Penglima Prang Semaun took retired with rage in his as the and heart. the Shabandar put his advice in the form of this ancient saw is : " If you have no gold. you have no pivot-guns (jingals). the receiver of customs. courage. a trusted officer of the Sultan. saying " It is well for tell you who have gold and jingals and cannon to but I me I have none of these things. and cannon. if and when the wound up his complaint saying he would certainly attack Megat Raja by he obtained no redress.

stream. and Che Nuh's negative wrath attitude towards the lady only increased the of her kinsman. and then deal with Megat Raja at his leisure. "7 . felt it necessary to report the inten- tion to his master and. kill the highest authority in the State after the Sultan. for that was his tntfiert was the henchman of the Raja BSndahara. and he to knew that he was not strong enough resist a combined attack from both of Therefore he determined that force must be backed by cunning if he was to achieve his end. I have said that this bravo. having determined to the Shabandar. to ask his sanction.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN Then he returned to his own home this was to be worked out. Che Nuh had expressed his desire to marry MSriam. PSnglima Prang Semaun. He concluded that his only plan was to attack the Shabandar. but as his relatives recognised that such an open avowal of his liaison must lead to trouble with Megat Raja and his folk. they declined to allow him to do this. down them. mindful of possible wrath to come. Penglima Prang Semaun. and Megat Raja. to think how The Penglima Prang Semaun's house was between these of the Shabandar. Meanwhile. up stream. dispose of him first as the most important.

Penglima Prang Semaun. The Sultan was at Pasir Panjang (only a few miles above Bandar). told his tale and asked for leave to kill the Shabandar.MALAY SKETCHES Accordingly the Penglima went up river to Blanja where the Bendahara lived. obtained adit mission to his house. another bravo of reputation as evil as his own. suit. the day to which the most religious Muhammadans prolong the fast of Ramthan. go on. you think you are able to do it. in the afternoon. On the following day. made a formal visit to the Shabandar. however. The " If reply of the Bendahara was. Ali. settled their plan of and these two worthies soon operations. with a large following and a crowd of boats. and found in 118 no one besides himself and a Sumatran Raja. Haji and three others. there were too many people constantly about the Shabandar's house. and the Penglima and his friend determined to wreak their vengeance on the Shabandar on the Rdya Haft. however. Penglima Prang Semaun returned to Bandar with a kindred spirit named Haji Ali. and the conspirators had to return home without effecting their purpose. a visitor from down . The day did not." That was enough.

and in order to do this honour. I aged ladies. bent. The visitor five men waited until they saw the Sumatran Raja take his departure. there were in the Shabandar's house two river. the Shabandar unarmed and un- attended. Haji Ali. while Haji Ali the others stabbed him in turn.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN say no one else but. 119 . but instead of letting from Penglima Prang Semaun's iris. for the This was the moment plot. the useless it Then the Penglima threw away weapon. accompanied him to the river-bank and there bid him farewell. and the reply to his question of what this meant was a stab in the back the Shabandar's hand. and the was repeated with the same result. Haji Ali the while holding the unarmed man by the hand. the mother of the Sultans children and her sister. a very big powerful man. and each of who fell to the ground. development of the Penglima Prang Semaun took leave of the Shabandar and shook hands with him. as Penglima Prang well knew. then also took leave and grasped it go he drew the Datoh towards him. plunged time body of the Shabandar. and. it The thrust all blade did not pierce the skin. seizing another after time into the helpless kris.

the Sultan's late and her to sister. sat all those things which he previously down to calmly await the development of events. taking particular care that the two ladies already mentioned should not get away. besides the murderers. shut the gates of the enclosure and immediately prepared to defend themselves. Then gates and doors were closed. Penglima Prang Semaun having rifled (which contained the customs collections as well as the Shabandar's private property). and few minutes the Shabandar's adherents rushed up one after the other to be slaughtered as they arrived by the Penglima and his party reinforced by their own men who had been awaiting the denouement. The brutal murder of the unarmed chief was certain to be plot The instantly avenged.MALAY SKETCHES Leaving the body lying on the bank. had been cunningly conceived. windows and the house barred. . the men rushed straight back into the house. and muskets loaded. cannon. pivot-guns. who were 120 wellnigh sure to come harm in the assault. The news carried of a murder perpetrated like this is for a on the breeze. and that would have been done it by an attack on the house had wife not been that it contained. and thus possessed himself of lacked.

THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN
The
people,
risk of that possibility deterred the Sultan's

who

had
all

surrounded

the

house

with

stockades, and

that could be

done was

to prevent

the Penglima, Haji AH, and their men, from escaping.

The

process of starving out the besieged could not
to, for

be resorted
suffered.

here also the ladies would have

The moment

the deed

Semaun proclaimed

that he

was done, Penglima Prang was merely the instru-

ment of the Sultan's Wazlr, and that he had acted on the authority of the Raja Bendahara. That, if true, complicated the case considerably, and as
matters had arrived
called,
at

and

it

was arranged

an impasse, a parley was that the Penglima and
a safe-conduct to the

his people should be given

Sultan at Pasir Panjang.
Accordingly, the Penglima Prang, Haji AH, and
the others
left their

shelter

and embarked

in boats

provided for them, but they took good care not to
let

the ladies,

who were

their prisoners, get out of

reach.

Arrived at Pasir Panjang, Penglima Prang at once sent a messenger to the Raja Bendahara to inform him of the state of affairs and ask his aid.

The Bendahara responded
boat, and, with a great
121

to this appeal

by taking

following,

descended the

MALAY SKETCHES
Once there, he availed Panjang. himself of an ancient custom called tkat-diri- that
river to Pasir

is,

" to " bind yourself

—and, accompanied by

all

his

people, he

went and stood

in front of the Sultan's

house with his hands loosely tied behind his back with his own head-kerchief, and, thus uncovered in
the sun, he and
all

his following shouted

Tuan-ku, be-ribu-ribu dmpun thousand-thousand pardons."

dmpun
lord,

u

Pardon,

my

a

After a quarter of an hour's waiting, while the
air

was

filled

with this plea for mercy, and the
like prisoners in

Bendahara and his company stood

front of the closed house, a door opened, a herald

bearing the Sultan's insignia appeared and cried
out
:

" Our lord pardons you, and permits you
settled

to

enter into his presence."

That

the

affair.

The

Sultan's minister

had accepted the responsibility for what had been done ; he was far too great a man to be treated as
a criminal, and, taking advantage of an old custom, he confessed his fault, offered himself a prisoner,
sought and obtained the Sultan's pardon.

Amongst those who had
peace, and

received the message of

who

entered into the presence, were the
Ali,

Penglima Prang Semaun, Haji

and the three

other murderers of the Shabandar.

THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN
Now,
a
the Shabandar had a brother, and he

was

man

of war, and the Sultan well

knew

that this

method of dealing with the murderers would not satisfy him, so he at once created him Datoh
Shabandar
in succession to
gift

the dead man, in the

hope that the

of this dignity might

make

for

the general peace.

The Raja Bendahara, accompanied by Penglima
Prang and
his friends, then returned to Blanja.

The new Shabandar had no

intention of leaving
exploit,

his brother's murderers to boast of their

and, in a very short time, he asked for the Sultan's

permission to attack them and wipe out the disgrace
of his relative's unavenged death.

The

Sultan said the request must be preferred to

the Raja Bendahara, for so long as the Penglima

Prang was

in his village

he could not be attacked
Application
replied that

without the Wazir's sanction.

was duly
it

made
be

to the Bendahara, to

who
to

would

contrary

custom

attack the

Penglima
if

Prang while living at his door,
could get him
pleased.

but that

they
they

away they might do what

The Penglima Prang was, however, far too wary to be lured away from safety, and matters were in this state when there returned from a pilgrimage to
123

MALAY SKETCHES
Mecca a man
called Haji

Musah, nearly related to
time a rather small, spare

the late Shabandar.

Haji

Musah was

at this

man

of middle age, but his heart

was out of propor-

tion to the size of his body,

and when he heard

what had recently taken place in Bandar, and how Penglima Prang Semaun and Haji Ali had got away unpunished, his anger knew no bounds.

He
for

promptly waited upon the Sultan and begged
to

permission

attack

the

Penglima, and,

if

necessary, to include in the operations his protector,
the Raja Bendahara.

The Sultan

hesitated to give the desired permis-

sion, but the fact that the proposal had been

made

very soon reached Blanja and the ears of both the

Wazir and Penglima Prang. Whatever the latter was he could not be accused of cowardice, and he
at

once offered to anticipate an attack by making
Haji

an expedition against
arrogant a
foe.

Musah

to silence so

The Raja Bendahara enraged at the idea that name should have been mentioned with so little respect, and apprehensive that Haji Musah might find the means (as he knew he had the will) to
his

carry

out

his suggestion,

cordially approved the

Penglima's proposal.
124

THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN
It

did not take long to collect from the neigh-

bouring village of Lambor enough
boats, and, as that

men
for

to

fill

two

was

all

the Penglima wanted for

his purpose, the party

had started
before

Batak Rabit

(Haji

Musah's

village)

the

down-stream

people had the smallest inkling of

their intention.

The

time was specially well chosen from the fact

that the

Shabandar was absent in a remote district. In Japan they say, " If you have not seen Nikko

you cannot say gekko," and if there is anyone who knows the Malay Peninsula and yet has never
watched the sun
set

across the rice-fields,

when

the ripe grain hangs heavily in the ear, his knowledge of the beauties of Malay scenery
is

very in-

complete.

A

wide,

flat

plain covered

by the golden harvest,
feet

the rice-stalks standing five or six

above the

ground from which they have sucked all the water which nourished them in the earlier stages of
growth.

One yellow

sea of yellow ears, the green

stalks only discernible in the near foreground.
is broken by islands of palms and fruitwhich nestle the picturesque brown huts of cottagers, houses of wood, built on wooden piles

This sea

trees in

with palm-thatched roofs and mat walls.

The

setting sun strikes in great
125

beams of

saffron

MALAY SKETCHES
light across this

distant ranges of soft blue hills.

wide expanse of grain bounded by How greedily one
and, as

drinks

it

all

in

!

the

Eye of Day droops
its

lower, there

shoot from between

closing lids

rays of fire which tinge the glistening palms with a

rosy effulgence, followed

all

too soon

by the pale

opalescent shades which proclaim the approach of

the fast-driving chariot of night.

A
to a

grey haze rises from the

damp

earth, spreads

in thin wreaths across the darkening plain, thickens

heavy dead-white vapour, and as the
over the distant
hills
it

silver

sickle rises

shines upon

clustered plumes of dark fronds mysteriously poised

above a motionless

drift

of snow-like cloud.

the edge of such a field was the home of Musah. Behind stretched the rich plain, in Haji front a great river, both wide and deep, its banks
lined

On

by groves of coco-nuts

in the

neighbourhood

of villages, but elsewhere covered by forest and the

nipah palm.

The

dwelling stood a few feet back from the

river, and, as its

structure

owner was a man of means, the was of some size, the floor and walls of
strong palisade enclosed
the

stout planks and a

surrounding yard.

The house was,
126

as

usual,
piles

on
but

wooden

piles,

and the kitchen, also on

was connected with It it by a platform. and the of darkness. Prang Semaun had. and. Haji crew arrived one morning before daylight and quickly landed under the cover The enterprise they had undertaken was a perilous one. Penglima Prang Semaun. that rest of their was here AH. the gate being locked. they had come about ninety miles right into the heart of the there were any failure. or a long pull to the river's mouth under the same conditions and then the sea. and he counted on a sucPenglima cessful surprise and. if need be. however. It so happened that the house contained only two men and two women — Haji 127 Musah and his wife. Once on shore the palisade of Haji Musah's house was cautiously it approached. Bandar. scaled. enemy's country. lessly and the whole party noiseestablished themselves beneath the house and was waited for daylight. calculated the chances. Their force numbered about thirty men all told. the pursuit at of those tactics which he had already. found so useful. if retreat was a choice between a return against the current with a hostile people on either bank. .THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN separated from the main building. and.

and Haji Musah. and with a scream she rushed back towards Ere she could gain it. and Haji Ali was joined by another man. and Haji Musah from the inside making a great drew his wife towards him. an effort which she seconded with all her might. The man into the released his hold. In a that the space beneath the house moment Haji Hawah discovered was full of armed men. while her husband. effort true an aim that he transfixed her would-be captor. the At daybreak the back door of the house was opened and the two women came out and went into the kitchen.MALAY SKETCHES Hawah. upon the platform and seized one of her hands. and at the same time. unpleasantly alive to the situation. Haji son-in-law. Haji Ali sprang the door. drawing his wife house and believing he had wounded Peng128 . caught hold of the other and tried to pull her within the door. Local tradition says that Haji Ali experienced suddenly a feeling that something dire was going to happen. and he asked his companion to relieve him The man took of his hold of the woman's hand. and their daughter and latter named Haji Sahil. fell with a groan into Haji Ali's arms. thrust out beyond her with so it. with a spear. A real tug-of-war was carried on for a few moments.

a polite way had of expressing a disaster. to the The Penglima. By the time they got the for the spear man ground he was dead. shouted as he closed the door." "Burn else said Haji Musah." " Shoot away. and that had disabled him. " I will burn the house down." it. " " That has wetted you. "and do whatever not give 139 in. finding the door immovable. a Haji Ali called to the Penglima. In the scuffle before the door was closed Haji Musah had accidentally given his son-in-law a flesh wound on alone." will riddle the was the reply. leapt on the platform. dashed open a small side-window with the butt end of a musket and fired into the house." "Then.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN lima Prang Semaun. but hurt no one. Penglima ! Wetted him with blood. "I house with bullets. 1 ' watering has befallen our friend " . u I will not surrender. furious at this sight." i you like. struck home." said the Penglima. so the defence of the position rested on one man Penglima Prang Semaun now summoned Haji Musah to surrender. and. " Help me. but the reply was. the shoulder. but I will .

" said the Penglima. what will become of us?" The wisdom it of this advice was apparent. and as was necessary to deal with those in the house quickly the leader set to plan. seriously wounding him and placing him hors de combat. the effects of the shot called The assailants realised irom what they heard said within and again 130 . and tying the gun to a post just beneath the spot where he thought the Haji must be standing. Musah's voice. A large hole was rent in the all floor. "Are you mad. in a basket. having loaded with missiles manner of a pivot-gun which he found under the listened attentively to the sound of Haji house. But Haji AH protested.MALAY SKETCHES 11 Let us burn it. "already and then our enemies are collecting outside. without walls or roof to shelter us. fired it. and. one of them struck Haji Musah in the thigh. you would burn down and these people in what should we do ? Caught like fish the house it." he urged. work to devise another An evil inspiration came to the Penglima. the various missiles scattering in directions. but only slightly injured. His wife was also hit. and he told Haji Ali to get Haji Musah into conversation all again while he.

she had not thought of the girl further than to suppose she was sitting terrified in some corner had of the never brilliantly lighted house. the struggle at the door and subsequent events." declined to listen to this persuatheir worst. house. seeing the crowd of men and her mother's struggles to gain the too terrified to leave her shelter in the kitchen. what with the discovery that the enemy was within their gates. She remembered that the girl had left the house with her and gone into the kitchen. have it was certain that she failed to get back before the door fallen into the was closed and must . Now. fact first As a matter happened. however. strange of the nothing of the kind had On alarm. yield. I sion and only said. but until that moment. the girl was and had hidden herself being all The enemy under the house when the 131 women first . what make terms with them "Let them do ? we do. Strange to say it was only then that Haji Hawah realised that her daughter was missing.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN upon Haji Musah to to do so. His wife and cannot can " said. hands of the enemy. so am I and so is Haji Sahil. better " Haji Musah stubbornly will not yield. but he declined utterly What is the use. you are wounded fight.

the girl replied that he accepted the proposal and would restore the girl on condition The door was then opened and closed again and Haji admitted. . and a search of that place very soon discovered her. intolerable idea. At first the besiegers could not understand the meaning of this proposal. however. no one had particularly noticed the girl or ever thought of entering her hiding-place.MALAY SKETCHES came out. The moment Haji Hawah was convinced her daughter was not in the house. Shortly after. therefore. the loss of blood pain of his stiffening limb sible made movement imposand compelled Haji Musah to abandon all idea 132 of further resistance. She. besought girl her husband to offer to yield provided the were This new factor in the case persuaded him. she must be in the kitchen. but light very soon came to them and they argued that if the girl was not inside the house or in their hands. but no sooner was she in the it house than was Musah and declined to give himself up. and Haji Musah called out that he would yield if his daughter were given back to them. and that was an restored. The Penglima accordingly her father yielded. she became equally certain she was in the hands of the enemy.

was the river and here again. The Shabandar's In front party had built a series of enclosing works which practically cut off escape to landward. Meanwhile the Shabandar. and underneath their only window a sentry was placed night and day. set himself to devise a plan whereby he might the house and one gain his end by The Penglima's men occupied or two small stockades close by it. informed by messenger of what had taken place. hurried back to the neighbourhood and reinforced the adherents of Haji Musah. the investing force. who now commanded craft. The Penglima's successful. who so far had contented themselves with building and occupying stockades to command Haji Musah's house.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN The Penglima and his friends having gained the house proceeded to make themselves comfortable and did not attempt to disturb or annoy Haji Musah and his family. there lay a small of guard-boats. both up stream and fleet down. These latter occupied a curtained portion of the principal room. to The Penglima's own two boats were chained the landing-stage where they were safe. and as it tactics was impossible were again completely to fire on the captors without danger to their imprisoned friends the Shabandar. for 133 it would .

MALAY SKETCHES have been impossible to seize them without being exposed to fire from the house. if only he could be bought This sentry. while the Penglima. this man there was the best chance of escape for the prisoners. by means of spies. the band. from his wife. and in that time Haji Musah. the who had some foreigner. Haji Ali. and for a sum of two thousand dollars he promised to get the prisoners out of the window and through the lines to their friends. At any the rate communications were opened between the Shabandar and him. A month went by. and a number of their men slept peacefully on the other side of i34 . learned that the prisoners occupied a side of the house that always guarded where there was but one window. Meanwhile the Shabandar. and at night by the same man. he authority over part of was a was getting tired of like the game and probably did not altogether or see to outlook situation how his party was to turn their own advantage. to which no reply could be made. In the dead of a dark night (and moonless Eastern nights can be black as a sepulchre) he assisted the four prisoners to make their escape through the window. and son-in-law had fairly recovered their injuries. Through over.

the little party made its way in safety to the friendly shelter of the Shabandar's stockade. followers together. had already shown that he was a man of resource. he could not tell at what moment his position might him in this . and he had also prepared an unpleasant surprise for the cuckoos in temporary occupation of their stolen nest. their movements hidden in Cimmerian darkness. pointed out attempt to pass the enemy's stockades under cover of the night or to 135 . Penglima Prang Semaun and his friends were awakened from sleep by the banging of jingals and muskets and a hail of various missiles. The Penglima called explained the situation and the choice that lay before them —an urgency. He was expecting them. moment's search showed that the prisoners had escaped.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN the sheltering curtain that gave privacy to the women. It was clear that for them was reserved the fate of those the morning were all who when his its they got up in dead men. protected them. not be rushed. Guided by the traitor. and that would not last moreover. and the Penglima instantly realised that he A was in the toils. and his presence of mind did not desert He The darkness alone dangerous crisis.

where they. tight- ening the grasp upon their into the night. cast off and pulled out into the stream.MALAY SKETCHES run the gauntlet of the guard-boats. 136 and the pack were . certain. where capture was. Every one in the guard-boats was on the alert. and . This was exactly what Penglima Prang Semaun he had created a diversion. as the Penglima had meant they should do. accompanied A very wily man was the Penglima. as he said. Of these . seizing his opportunity. the wretched Lambor conthe tingent. strangers in that part of the country. never thinking that they succeeded they would only reach a pathless jungle swamp. he made for the river and got into one of his boats. had expected by Haji Ali and a few of his particular associates. to try and force their way through if enemy's lines. deplorable eventualities they took no thought there was little time for hesitation . the firing and shouts from the shore had warned them that the fox was being hunted in the covert. elected. and in weapons they went out a few moments the shouts from the surrounding stockades showed that their intention had been discovered. The men of the band. must either perish miserably or return to the tender mercies of the investing foe.

now." and towards the I am going to warn the the craft turning round other line disappeared sentinels. he gave orders that no man should speak. bring the Shabandar's orders to you to keep a good look-out." replied the Penglima. it. moved with plenty of noise and no attempt concealment right towards the line of guard-boats. and as he ordered those who had taken the oars to pull out boldly into the stream. Still there uncertainty about and that was just a trifle of was the Penglima's one chance of salvation. against the tide. some one they are attacking the Penglima Prang. " Who goes there ? " " It is "I I. undertaking the whole responsibility himself. boats Be ready for him. called out. and as he can't hold out he will probably try to escape by the river. and neither the Penglima nor any of those with slightest hesitation The him would ever see the dawn. It was still so dark that no one could see quite whence but as at this boat came. or distinguish it who was in it.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN after him in full cry. down stream. of river- No one of course suspected a ruse under such a *37 . He knew it well enough. the smallest of false steps. he grasped the helm and steering straight up the middle of the river.

and escape. and with 138 . but eager to revenge the murder of his brother.' the Shabandar sends orders to watch Penglima Prang Semaun. Jdga-jdga. only to find it empty.MALAY SKETCHES bold disguise as that. steering right on and through " them. pulling straight for the down-stream boats. be on l for the your guard. or even catch more than a shadowy glimpse of a spectral craft as she glided through the line. to rush the house at once without waiting for dayfeeling that at last the in his and were light. Penglima and Haji Ali power. the renowned Penglima and his amiable friend gone. he determined to mZng-dtnok. No in the excitement of expectation. or whether that was the sound of their oars echoing The Shabandar on his part faintly in the distance. he is trying to I am warning all the boats. no one took special heed as to which way the messengers went. Whilst summoning his men for the assault. and. and without further delay he dashed into Haji Musah's house. made no long tarry- ing. the noise of firing and rival battle-shouts on shore. he heard the cries that told him the besieged were making an attempt to break through his stockades." one could distinctly see who this messenger was. the Penglima called out.

his party did in not number still and they were one boat. The Penglima meanwhile had wasted no 139 . line and see that none passed time. and the missing boat. coupled with the missing property. for the sea. and there take out to sea. however. it became evident that once again the Penglima Prang Semaun had justified his reputation for both daring and resource. too plain. There time to overtake or intercept them at the river's lift mouth. swept a fleet of boats set off to search the creeks and backwaters. Many shouted questions from the bank drew forth many assurances from those on the water that no enemy had passed that way. as the grey light of dawn began the veil of mist and the freshening breeze in chilly gusts over the water. while straight to the river's others had orders to pull mouth. Torches and an examination of the muddy ground soon established the direction taken. and. and as the boats one by one came up to the landing-place. and the watchers told their tale. He was to had made ten. convinced the least astute that by this way went the Penglima Prang Semaun.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN them a considerable quantity of thing that was both valuable and dollars and every- easily portable. all The evidence to the contrary was.

he had no safety . the boat was forced through heavy overhanging branches into an all but imperceptible creek. place nor did they spend an altogether for they were not yet out of still the wood. and with his crew he could it not hope to reach the sea without being overtaken. and watched the boats of their enemies pass by intent on the fruitless search. leaving it entirely hidden. difficulty in determining which it way lay but he also realised that could not be an hour. indeed the chances of escape were decidedly against them. It was not a pleasant happy day. but for the moment they their leader were safe.MALAY SKETCHES 'Twixt the devil behind and the deep sea in front. ensconced themselves in a tangled mass of jungle foliage from which they commanded a view of the river. might be only a few minutes before his ruse would be discovered. and whatever was to come could not be worse than the situation from which had already extricated them. The rowers needed nerve. so narrow the entrance and so thoroughly concealed that no one would dream of its existence. 140 . and after a little exhortation to strain every few miles had been travelled. The boat could only be got a few yards up this ditch. and the party. Here the fugitives lay all day.

None of attack this band returned they sought their fate Lambor. of course.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN Whilst the Penglima was running the gauntlet of the guard-boats his late companions. and if and made an unprovoked to it upon Haji Musah is is not altogether sur- prising that to this day there no wasted affection between the people of Lambor and the Lower Perak Chiefs. the men of Lambor. it But when these stragglers fully realised that was a choice between the enemy and painful wandering in a swampy and well-nigh impenetrable jungle. Some were shot. others were speared and krised in handto-hand encounters. with the prospect of starvation and a lingering death. while a few got away to the forest under cover of the darkness. as one by one these doomed men appeared from the jungle fastness and went down before the weapons of their adversaries. waiting tirelessly expectant in the certainty that no 141 . were having a worse experience on shore. they were. Being a large party and in their haste not overcautious. discovered as they tried to break through the line of stockades. they chose rather to return to the light and a speedier reckoning. some twenty or thirty in number. All through that sultry day.

the night until. stiffened their backs and put whole strength into the work before them. had already up-stream. There were wide intervals between each vessel. All day long the Shabandar's boats passed hither and thither. and with the nightfall many appeared to abandon the search and returned on the rising tide. At this final juncture the Penglima's Familiar did not desert him. it but even in that uncertain light for a boat to was impossible run this blockade without being seen. noiselessly out into the river for the vessel was pushed and bracing themselves their a final effort the rowers gripped their oars. The Penglima and boat. in they saw a line of boats guarding the river's mouth. his friends had regained their and as. Of course the earth ought to have opened and 142 .m. The at river as it approaches the sea grows wider returned fugitives every bend. and after that thick darkness.m. the Penglima and his little band lay close in their concealment and longed for sheltering night. about midnight. the searchers were exhausted and or asleep. Then an hour or two of the new-born moon. the tide began to ebb. and were unmolested the last reach.MALAY SKETCHES refuge would be found in those inhospitable depths.. 5 a. was dark and the between 4 a.

a palpable miracle was wrought to save their misercannot be said that anything very unusual hapis pened. and a few other passably wicked The Lambor people. Dathan. in the strongest flow of the ebb-tide (now of course slackening). life of one of them. like falling into a well had saved the and being tended by a beautiful maiden. met with violent deaths and no miracle. At any rate this was an men. as these cold-blooded assassins cowered together and wondered how they were going able skins ? It to elude the vigilance of their enemies. he ought to have been shot or drowned or speared if he were not being reserved for hanging. and all their company . because the thing of common occurrence. not even so much as a small streak of luck. but that it was certainly thoughtfully arranged that at moment there should sail round the bend of the river. excellent opportunity for getting rid of two hardened villains. an enormous mass of floating palms. whose crimes were as snow compared had all to those of these two arch-criminals. a very island of foliage broken away from some undermined bank and the wider waters of the sea.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAUN swallowed up this hardened criminal as it did Korah. i43 drifting majestically to . it Why was then that. Abiram.

It is possible that to another man the passing drift would have suggested nothing. and that boats to get in know very much His craft better their way. kicking up sleepy boatmen and frantic struggles to avoid this river Juggernaut. but to the open from sore stress to safety.MALAY SKETCHES If these great clumps of root foliage and branch and day down a it may be seen sailing every Malay river into the Straits of Malacca. he calmly sat the huge down and awaited the issue. there mass got near enough to the guard-boats for them was a deal of shouting and pulling of anchors. Here he floating remembered than that the Malays these islands dpong. from an earthly death to an earthly life. The island sailed slowly along. and when to realise their danger. forcing it covering it as well as was amongst the palms and possible. One can almost hear him chuckle as he 144 sails . So passed the vales and sea. not to Queens of Avilion. that in size at least was miraculous. the Penglima Prang Semaun . and. this parti- cular island was so gigantic. in then he promptly steered right into the back of this Satansent refuge. but the Penglima Prang with Fortune that he gical Semaun was on such terms knew exactly the psycholoto moment at which take call her.

arrived safely Blanja and received the congratulations of his master. fallen into desue- let us hope it is because the damsels of the nineteenth century are never in distress. in that moment of tired but delicious drowsiness. the Raja Bendahara. Malays do not pine for manual labour. and Penglima Prang Ali Semaun. they lay down to sleep. or despise that of the 145 mere man. and as they were now being towed idly along. they wrought many startling deeds. Unfortunately. * . what occult powers this leader possessed to secure at such a moment the powerful help of this great leviathan. with Haji at and a considerable booty. the practice has tude . they had already had more than enough of it." safety and or two of pleasant coasting. We to read that when it was the fashion for knights devote themselves to the service of distressed damsels. a walk across day A country. under whose green and shady sails they were being wafted to " the haven where they would be. vaguely wondering. which cannot always be satisfactorily explained without recognising that devotion in so good a cause was sometimes supernaturally aided.THE PASSING OF PENGLIMA PRANG SEMAU through that last danger and watches his enemies' efforts to get back into their places. want no assistance.

and I like to think that in this veracious story the Penglima Prang Semaun made his first appearance as the champion of a lady in distress. a few hundred years behind the age.MALAY SKETCHES Malays are perhaps. 146 . in some respects.

XIV BER-HANTU Striving to reach the mystic source of things. across the clear wide river late one afternoon. three houses on 147 . this phenomenon appeared above the spur of a picturesque range of mountains which separates the valleys of two considerable streams whose united waters flow into the Straits of Malacca. Morris WE curious last could all see the tunggul merah. hill Looking from the top of our green-terraced in the sky. the crimson streak which boded the death of the King. and ricefields which fertile plain. the secrets of the earth and sea and air L. and the wealth of foliage hides from view the houses. Standing on the right bank of the river. a stretch of level land lies between the opposite bank and the foot of this range. orchards. a structure. cover that palm-thatched wooden But the Sultan's house.

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from fifteen hundred to several thou- sands over of feet in height. there the cry. kings.MALAY SKETCHES into greater contrast the deep shadows that lie under the overhanging foliage of the banks. Four miles of glistening water. Close beneath us twinkle the lights of the village. like a lost soul wendthe ing its uncertain. us as with draughts of nectar. range after range of jungle- covered hills. then the river narrows and fades into the mist-enshrouded forest. But hark distance —now much slowly ! is nearer. making unsubstantial. The extraordinary charm ment. There is a luminous haze all distant objects. itself ! and now — before our very eyes the banshee Sailing through the air between the feathery leaves of the palms. and on either side. giving the idea of indefinite all height and distance. the houses spreading from river-brink to the high In front ground which rises abruptly on our left. wailing in the forgotten. was a creature with heavy . and ghostly warnings were Yes. and in that enravish- omens. purposeless way through balmy Eastern night. yet infinitely things vague and that satisfying other sense which only awakes under the influence of of this scene intoxicated perfect beauty.

then came the principal structure. That weird apparition. a head disproportionately large. stumbling along the bank. and. and attached to crescence forming the kitchen. that did not prevent us from returning to dinner. the first a sort of ante- room. while the third devoted to women. and As it slowly passed and horns. veritable horns ! mcaned its childlike plaint. down the hill. wooden pillars dividing off verandahs on either side. took boat across the river. and though we felt that the King's fate was sealed. no reasonable being could doubt that he had heard and seen the mes- senger of death. beyond which strangers of inferior rank did not in ordinary circumstances pass . reached the house where the sick I man was lay.BER-HANTU dark wings. house was exclusively it was an ex- The unsteady were full light of several lamps and many candles showed that both the centre and ante-rooms of people sitting on the mats which covered 151 . entered upon a peculiar scene. sobbing its fateful cry. which consisted of one large room. I said the building in three parts. Just after midnight a scared Malay came to say I hurried that it was feared the Sultan was dying. broke the spell under which we had stood enthralled.

them but the friends of be~r- the patient decide that the time has arrived for hantu. and was therefore quite prepared for the raising of the Devil or any other uncanny manifestation. despairing of effecting a cure by native medicines administered by native Ber-hantu. but room con- on one side there was evidently a bed. and there cluded His Highness lay. It a treatment commonly fail. to engage in something as nearly akin to a witches' revel on the Brocken as Malay is traditions and surroundings will permit. to raise the devil. and I noticed that there were about equal numbers of men and women. nothing will satisfy if to have it. resorted to in Perak when other remedies When. The were curtains which usually divided the centre up. devil or spirit.MALAY SKETCHES the floor. It was plain from the preparations that. it was intended to to try a little witchcraft and have a performance of what is called That seemed me to fall in very well I with the tunggul merah and the banshee. however. at any rate. doctors. I screened by patchwork hangings. I may as well say here that hantu is a ghost. and all the principal Malays of the neighbourhood were there. or. and ber-hantu means to devil. There must have been between one and two hundred present. and the sick man or woman dies during the perform- 152 .

but they have to be a little careful. at was spread a puddal. a sarong. prae-Islam darkness. large newly-lighted candle in a candle- Between the woman and the taper were two or three small vessels containing rice coloured with parched padi. commend btr-hantu the soul of the dying is.Allah. and the priests abominate or say they do . a survival of it. nothing to do with the btr-hantu. a small narrow one end of which was seated a middle-aged dressed like woman jacket.Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet. man The of course. but one God. a man in a short-sleeved tightly trousers." confession of faith — La~ is " There This pious has. and a scarf fastened At the other end of the round her waist. there is still the satisfaction of everything was done for knowing that them which love and skill could devise. it comes in afterwards when the seal of death is so evidently on the lips of the sufferer that his friends cease to call on the Devil. turmeric. mat was a stick. of the floor mat. was with God. because the highest society affects the practice of the Black Art In the middle To return to the King's house. however. and perfumed water. Muhammad Rasul. and the issue illahd il. attendant sat near at hand.BER-HANTU ance. i53 An . and to God.

after reciting his praises. holding in her right hand against her left breast a i54 . while the orchestra began to sing a I weird melody in an unknown tongue. the Witch. from under- ground or overhead. to besought him come from the mountains or the sea. and the invocation. the air was one specially pleasing to a particular Jin. instruments with a skin stretched over one side only. As the song continued. corner of the room were five or six girls holding drums. The I leader of this orchestra was the daughter of Raja Ngah. and relieve the torments of the King. but of as great repute in her own country and among her life own people. down. accompanied by the sat rhythmical beating of the drums. or Spirit. not of Endor. it was told was the spirit language . the proceedings began by the Pdwang covering her head and face with a Shortly after sat silken cloth.MALAY SKETCHES The woman in male attire was the Pdwang. In ordinary she was an amusing reigning lady named Raja Ngah. the Raiser of Spirits. a scion of the house on the female side and a member of a family In a skilled in all matters pertaining to occultism. and this is beaten usually with native the fingers. the Pdwang with shrouded head in front of the lighted taper.

and. became aware of and made obeisance round it to the taper. its ascertained that each Malay State has own special Spirits. after a brief pause. murmuring the while a string of gibberish addressed to the Spirit. she performed the same ceremony before each male member of the reigning family all present in the room. but by and by. by a stiffening of the muscles. each district is equally well provided. This done. sprinkling the fumed water . At first the flame was steady. together with her whole body. called upon him I to come and relieve the King's distress. she resumed her seat on the mat. and. with saffron-coloured rice and perthen. conscious of her actions. the wick began to quiver and flare up. while all eyes were fixed upon the taper.BER-HANTU small sheaf of the grass called daun tightly sambau tied together and cut square at top and bottom. i55 . who was be "possessed" and no longer this. singing the praises of another Jin. and initiated that the it was manifest the to the Jin was introducing himself into the candle. as the singers screamed more loudly to attract the attention of the laggard Spirit. This chddak she shook. rising to her feet and followed by the attendant. By some means to now supposed she floor Pdwang. the minstrels struck up a different air.

the State also called Junjong dunia uddra Spirit Supporter — . As one star exceeds another in one Jin surpasses another in renown. — of the Firmament Air . and they are the guardians of the Sultan and the glory. and have named them in the order of their greatness. There are common devils iS6 who look after common . is Only the Sultan of the State entitled to traffic with these distinguished Spirits decline to when summoned they . they are the Jin ka-rdja-an. in the In their honour four white and crimson umbrellas were hung room. Mahkota Mdia uddra.MALAY SKETCHES and there are even some duals. to spare for special indivi- In this particular State there are four prin- cipal Jin. the Crown of Royal . the Spirit of the si-rdja Jin. sung by at least four singers and led by a BHuan is (singer) of the royal family. Spirits and Stan AIL These four are known as Jin druah. set to their own peculiar music. presumably for their use when they arrived from their distant homes. so I State. entitled to The Jin ka-rdja-an have the royal drums played by the State if drummers his presence is required. but the other I three have to be satisfied with the instruments have described. move unless appealed to with their own special invocations. Exalted Spirits.

" Israngy Raja Ngah's special familiar. in stood centre candle. floor near the Pdwang's decorated its The stand was an with yellow cloth. the of politeness feelings. the "Wonderful Jewel. about six inches high and shaped like this diagram. and several of these were carrying on similar proceedings in adjoining buildings. had been placed on the mat. which seat called this PHrdna panchaldgam (meaning i57 of . he the " Tiger Devil/' but out " called Blian." to save his Then there is K&ndla ajdib. Most hantu have their own special Pdwangs. Hantu Maldyu and last is Hantu Blian. and a host of others. a There was is just room on stand. in order that the sick monarch might reap all the benefits to be derived from a consultation of experts. Meanwhile a sixteen-sided stand.BER-HANTU people : such as Hantu Songkei. enormous it while round corated delicacies rice were gaily deand toothsome prized this specially to sit by Jin. as spirit after one another notified his advent by the it upstarting flame of the taper. to feel was impossible not that one was getting into the very best society. and.

The cause of offence was removed. the performance continued. The Sultan sat there for some time. and that the sight always frightened him to such an extent that his Pdwang fell down. his head. while the minstrels shouted for him with all their might. was brought out and he spread the upon A veil was placed on in his hands. and having received hand an enormous chddak of grass. barking of a dog. and it was explained to fell me that Israng. the various vessels rice were put into his round the taper. the mewing of a Just before and so dawn there was a sudden confusion . sprinkled the perfume. the spirit by whom she was possessed. and cannot cat. supported sat by it. she suddenly as though shot. There are other spirits who bear the on. and the Sultan. His Highness was conducted back again to his couch. down Whilst striding across the floor. occasionally giving a convulsive shudder. and there lay the King. to 158 . many attendants. and when this taper had duly flared up and all the rites had been performed.MALAY SKETCHES particular shape). had seen a dish-cover. calmly awaited the coming of the Jin Ka-rdja-an. and the Pdwang continued her minis- trations alone. within the curtains which hid the Sultan's couch they were thrown aside.

He told me he took part in this ceremony to please it his people and because " I was a very old custom. clothed and in his right mind. the Sultan. the herald of misfortune and death. sent to say he would like to speak to me. I That reminds me of the ba shee. while there was great excitement. Shortly after. just did not know you were I I there till now . It had very round. and the mind all was no longer under For a little its owner's control. I could not see you because was not myself and did not know what The King I did not die. was sent twice again because he till was not expected to live Death — the morning. later. seems that with Malays i59 is an ill- omened bird. in saw it sitting a Malay house some months the boys had caught it. it yellow eyes. and yet he cheated for a time.BER-HANTU The Jin Ka-rdja-an appearance in a swoon. it me its that and they told was an owl. had taken possession of the sick body." the contrary. and there was no mistake about the horns. . was carried to a side verandah and a quantity of cold water poured over him. after for all —on was doing. and he added. and name was Toh It ka-tampi. So ended the stance. and then the King recovered consciousness.

" and Chdrek kafan.MALAY SKETCHES and it shares this reputation with two other owls." The to are said be by the peculiar cries of these "ghost 160 ." names are rather gruesome. and suggested birds. that is "Nail the cloth for the shroud. called respectively coffin/' which are Tumbok larong. "Rend the Toh ka-tampi means u Old- man -winnow -the -rice -for -the -burial -feast.

The King was one with whom things had gone badly until the appearance of the white country.XV THE KING'S We WAY or Hell know what Heaven bring may But no the man knoweth King the mind of Rudyard Kipling HE was the Sultan of an important Malay State. on the rare occasions when he travelled outside his own dominions. his enemies . and the consequence was that when he ought to have 161 L . man in his His character had not endeared him to the people. but to those who knew him best he was. and shield. and "Craddock's King. and." principally because he always sent for Craddock whenever he wanted anything that he thought needed the assistance of will remain. who should have been his subjects. a European officer. interpreter. Craddock used to go with him as guide. almost without exception. but were.

though now inclined a firm. were writ large in both face and figure. These strained relations with his loyal to the British. and whose tongue was plainly 162 over -large. and later. own people made him indis- and as his claims were putable. . I will try to draw the man as he was time. in his .MALAY SKETCHES been elected birth to a high office. caused to some ex- by the difficulty of understanding one whose teeth were few. fair. his claims were ignored in favour of junior men. the obstinacy of character. and often in open to resistance such authority as existed. while an imperious manner was accentuated by a loud voice tent and impatient speech. The face — strength of mind. very broad-shouldered and to over-stoutness a powerful figure. when his nominated Sultan. at Tall for a Malay. an exceeding hauteur. and in his manner the plain evidence of something more than this a masterful and overbearing disposition. be and the opportunity came when they might satisfied. with grey hair and a white moustache thick-set. upright carriage . and even in want. Up to the age of fifty or more he had passed his life entitled to him be in poverty. he at last attained to the position this which was his by right. rather .

pair of very The nether garment silk was a waist- wide and loose white trousers fastened by cloth. com- bining many violent colours and fastened at the this jacket neck only. on which were sewn. King flat on in Arabic characters of black cloth. in walking. clothed his body collar had a high which enclosed the wearer's bull-neck and reached to the ears. the toes were turned out to such an extent as to give a decided waddle. the wore a wonderful round bright yellow cap. A . wooden sheath. and his appearance. His Highness averred. a verse from the In his waist-cloth the King usually carried a short knife in a polished ing he leant when walkupon a spear or long bamboo stick. the calf leaving a fair expanse of uncovered limb between them and the sky-blue feet. by eating the of the white buffalo. the top with stiff sides. tartan silk jacket. and feet Both hands and and mottled were white with an unnatural caused. tilted rakishly over one ear. canvas shoes which encased the stockingless On his head. 163 . many the yards of a scarlet silk These trousers reached a point low down on of leg. Koran. not to say remarkable. flesh whiteness. when he took his walks abroad. was striking. and.THE KING'S WAY The King affected gay colours.

He was not an opium- smoker. and vin- unconcerned with the misfortunes of others to wishes. He knew his own mind. difficult of access. selfish. his consistency and good a merit. He was a keen sportsman. he was overbearing to cruelty. deter- mined to obstinacy. jealous of the good fortune of any of dictive his subjects. . to suppose that early disappointment his life. having sought the friendship of the British. incredibly mean. and just those He was to earn him the dislike of Malays. rapaciously grasping. never wavered in his loyalty. decidedly unreliable. nor was he in any sense a religious man. undeniably intelligent. his defects likely and vices were numerous. and had a wider knowledge of his country and its ancient customs than any other for man in it. the dislike in which the King was It is held by them was extraordinary. a who gambler who those offended him or opposed his nearly always contrived to win. were On the other hand. charitable had embittered He was he possessed good qualities. 164 . If it be said that in this he consulted his with his faith own own still interest and knew his unpopularity people. was and. and in matters where the other sex were concerned. courageous.MALAY SKETCHES For people with an article whom loyalty to their rajas is of faith. and asked counsel of few.

was ready both writings. cannot. therefore. 163 . and at the moment indignity. but there came an the estrangement. this misguided individual somehow obtained against a summons local His Highness to appear before a tribunal and answer to the plaint. he observed none of its outward forms. having ascertained that the King was going and did not care about the things. and. though the in his own It country. sold to His Highness a tricycle and a musical-box for which he could not obtain payment. or thought he had. whenever a witness was needed to support the King in any action or statement. The King. be said that he was in good odour — to with the priesthood and yet one of his firmest friends for a time was the priest of the neighbouring vil- — lage who. vouch to supposed facts and prove his master's case by the authority of Muhammadan The and constant appeal to the priest for justification persistence the with which this man found methods excellent reasons for the King's peculiar was a little discouraging .THE KING'S WAY " " Defender of the Faith and. visited a neighbouring British possession. accompanied by priest and others. stayed there some days. of his It return was faced by a serious in this place appeared that someone who did not understand the King's peculiarities had.

and both parties gave their respective versions of the trans- action before a highly edified and delighted Council of Arbitration. As for the tricycle. and he supposed he would not have done so unless he wanted to have it played. and had done it without thinking. and the the party returned own " State with musical-box and Then " a Priest as to things. and said that. noises and understand the discordant made by these inventions of the white man. as it was the priest's busiThe priest ness and his only.MALAY SKETCHES The King. He heard had seen a thing of the kind in his house. did not enjoy in the least. raised the amount necessary to their to meet the bill. tricycle. private pique arose between King and firm friends who should finally pay for these playfirst For the in time to these appeared opposition each other. expressed his extreme unconcern. being informed. had it. did not like musical-boxes. First the King did : He knew not nothing of any musicalfor box. he could settle it. had no ear music. had even himself made it play its absurd it tunes. how in 166 the could a tricycle concern him ? name of misfortune The bare idea of a . but knew it would please the priest as he had bought the thing.

and he 167 . the district. and. or even a buffalo to pull them. might fall and hurt himself.THE man of his age and to KING'S WAY enough was make a dog bark (and here His Highness figure riding a tricycle at laughed consumedly jured up). King. a man whom he had heard over and over again say that the one thing he desired was a tricycle. something on which about his he could take exercise. the spectacle he had con- tricycle ? it Had anyone ever Where was he going seen him to ride it ride ? a Was on the sandy shore of the river where he lived ? and if not there. then where ? He understood that tricycles across padi fields. to lend him money to buy the machine. carry letters ? that he was going to join the Post Office ? If the imputation were not so stupid he could almost be angry with the priest. creature " would neither go through the jungle nor " the if he were to take out shooting. and at the same time get He had even asked him. he supposed it would not greatly help him to get a shot at a bison or a Did anyone imagine he was going to rhinoceros. He saw the tricycle lying under his house. but he had no money to lend and tried to dissuade the man because he thought that in his inexperience he Malays did not understand things that ran on three wheels without ever a horse or a bullock.

All he knew was that he had been insulted by the issue of a sumof the priest's mons because be he. it and. Therefore. which never shied at bullockcarts or ran to start with and nothing through the lives away from elephants. nor harness. and there the whole details of the two transactions 168 were arranged. the obedient slave of the King. while any one who : liked might pay. the priest. and after much difficulty he had found them. By the express order of the King the priest had bidden the owners bring them to the house in which the King was lodging. . had sought the sweet-voiced box and the stomachless carriage. nor expensive and impertinent horse-keepers. and which lasted of many beasts. extravagant tastes. he. strains of which his soul delighted) and a silent the beautiful cost little carriage which to keep.MALAY SKETCHES heard the priest haggling with someone about the price. but he would take any oath that the priest or anyone else could devise that he had never set eyes on the man who sold the thing. would not Then the told Priest Long him to before they that left the State. His Highness this visit (in it when they made was his desire purchase a musical-box three-wheeled the sweet tricycle. wanted no horses.

So they stayed. in- deed. the King sat on the other. or. and while he. As for the three wheels. because the were needy men and wanted the money . the King had expressly declined to see them (was not the King all-wise?). and the King drank in the sound and was glad. but in the end. had to turn the handle and make music. but they had been brought into a room of the house across which hung a heavy curtain. they lay 169 .THE The KING'S WAY people who trafficked in these goods could not be taken into the presence of his master. had expressed his entire approval of the price. the priest. dis- cussed the terms with the seller on one side. when the priest went behind the curtain to consult his royal master. and the King turned the handle of the box and made it sing. they seemed to distrust his master. and. and not only heard all that was said. from prayer-time to prayer-time he. the priest. But he arranged that the singing-box and the seat on three wheels should stay with his master for four days. and that then they should be returned or paid for . This he had with some little difficulty. for some reason which he could not fathom. the King. only stipulating that he should first hear the box sing and ride the stomachless arranged sellers horse. more often. moreover. those were the orders of the King.

to man. is whose duty in the mosque and by the grave ? My master I the King knows that in this thing as in others have but obeyed the voice of my master. Could I. and the next day. and the priest 170 . can I I ride on the stomachless horse with three wheels. These are the words of the days went by and the told Priest : "The four I men came to be paid. who am who only live to pray and to preach. and went out and borrowed the money and paid it." So Church and State quarrelled. knew the men who owned the box and the saw my master wanted business but mine. and the King said told the was not his men they could take the box and the carriage back because they did not please the King. sent them away I to come again till In this way and the time passed the day for our departure. I carriage were angry. who am a priest. and the King looked upon the machine and said it was good and cheap and would eat nothing. not of a poor exhort the living and to bury the dead. and I was I afraid lest shame should come on my master. When it at last the trouble came. but I the things. but they would not. play with a box that sings God nor the Prophet ? Can I. but he seemed to be busy with I other things.MALAY SKETCHES under the house. and my master.

The King also bestowed upon the lady sundry jewels of price. But there were many who said "S2pMi Nasruan dbtgan Bahtek Bbr-satu rangkesa B2r-ch2rei jadi sentosa" "They Bahtek. and the King's eye fell upon her approvingly. their divorce it Indeed." were heard on all sides." and. as unprincipled Eastern kings will do.THE KING'S WAY : found no more favour in the sight of the King. By-and-by the King got tired of the woman. 171 . somein the own " forefinger which pokes one While you carry the Raja's business on your head. It is proverb-monger. was the opportunity of the " as. The King had a fully for clerk who had served him faith- The clerk had a twenty years or more. solace. and such sayings times one's eye. things that please poor heathen women with hardly any moral character and no education to speak of. not to rid himself of her. so the King sent the clerk into a far country to chase a wild bird. don't forget to keep your own under your arm. and bestowed his favour upon the wife who remained under his care. and he sought about for some means. wife." are like their Raja Nasruan and his minister union brought ruin.

a youth of no account was arrested by the King's people. and procured the restitution of the jewels. therefore. and charged with a liaison carrying on absence of her husband. This charge was sufficient ground for the display of royal displeasure. 172 . sort of skirt. but to get back his gifts they would serve again as they had done same time to already) and at the throw a little dust in the eyes of the clerk. and even said bluntly things about his late master that were not altogether loyal.MALAY SKETCHES that (for was simple enough. and. for probable that he learnt the he declined to further serve the King. aggravated by the fact special protection of the guilt with the lady during the The crime was. but man accused by in spite convince anyone that the King had done any wrong. of course. Accordingly. the Malay national garment. facts. nothing The plan. that she was under the ! King The by clear proof of was the alleged possession the woman of a sarong* belonging to the man. miscarried some extent. who was known to be on his way back. and when the clerk returned it is to him. I have elsewhere stated that Malays try to wipe The Sdrong is * usually in tartan. of the strenuous exertions of His Highness it failed to the to get the was done to man banished from the country. a worn by men and women alike.

and the i73 . because he knowledge that if they divorced him or compelled him to divorce them they would lose the allowance. he was always anxious that whenever he took to himself a new wife she should receive an allowance from the State. as his country possessed the which limited his own income. the result will probably be. sooner or later. Then King fell ill of some fell disease that no native medicine-man could diagnose. wives. though several times renewed. con- sented to share the royal and the King for immediately applied on her behalf civil list. said the He had succeeded in securing allowances for several lady. but this does not apply when the offender a raja and of a the injured man of lesser rank. had an excellent effect on their behaviour. KING'S WAY minds they count as is what in their uncivilised dishonour. the usual suc- The the application. however. Sarefa. The person raja is sacred to a Malay. an access of blind fury resulting in a case of amok. and if he feels that he has been disgraced beyond bearing. His Highness made a special point of this grant to the ladies. was not cessful. when a new named Raja smiles.THE out. The King had as many wives infinite blessing of a civil list as the Muhammadan law permitted. in a savage and bloodthirsty fashion. and.

when every day seemed certain to be his last. had often been over to see him when he was tended and that the Raja Sarefa had devotion. spoke slowly and in a small voice.MALAY SKETCHES evil spirit. of him. and shortly after relapsed into his former state. for. also a divorced wife of his parties. the iron constitution prevailed. my thank- fulness at seeing him so on the way to recovery. He was weak. own. I said that I ill. and found him lying on his bed. he ordered that a young nephew should be sent priest. After weeks of torment. During an interval of temporary return to consciousness. and sitting by him the wife. him with extraordinary i74 never . when for a few hours the patient seemed to have a rest from the attacks of the tormentor. Raja Sarefa. and a Then. so that all had men said the King must die. convalescence I went to see him. In the first days of his and the King recovered. in his eyes the light of conscious- ness and intelligence. its will with which he seemed to be troubled. against the earnest wishes of both he insisted upon these young people being married in his presence. After expressing well but said that by God's grace he only wanted time to regain his strength.

but rarely. but I am very glad you remarked how carefully it. "I was " I do not know what blind. the evil spirit again took possession of the King. blessings sometimes go astray. to recognise that. and death. accounted for the first attack. happened. and this time made short work of him. and a sudden rapid development that as sometimes. Sarefa nursed me. happens. After a respite of eighteen months. the was of the disease brought on a return of the symptoms. the for a time arrested. caused tumour on the no matter what. The scientific explanation." he said . even though she did not raise her eyes from the floor. if curses it was difficult not come home to roost.THE KING'S WAY At once he I seeming to leave his bedside. " " You noticed did ? that. said that a deriding the evil-spirit brain. and that you have mentioned for now you will recognise that she ought to have an allowance. At the . a violent but hopeless struggle. by and growth tumour contracted. But the mischief was there. I you replied that had been very much struck by her care of him. in a manner." In the presence of the lady. canonise i75 its Sultans. and the pressure on the brain was removed. theory. It is the custom in the country of which I now write to. said.

when the moment arrives for carrying the body to the place of sepulture. and Co. before the Assistant Judge and a jury. the Lord Mayor's Court on Oct. this King was buried. money for paid by the to the defendants.. the dead man is given a known. to his earthly Thus.MALAY SKETCHES burial. received an order for a special perambulator. — Since writing the above. It which they had received no consideration. which was to be given to 176 His Highness . a firm was an action brought by of Bombay merchants. and so on. Saville. "The Sultan who Merhum Kahar. Brown. the plaintiffs appeared that in July. 14. 1892. and the meaning May God pardon him. who carry on business in this country. the name conferred upon him was Merhum Rafir. new name. the plaintiffs sum of £73. to recover from Messrs. I have read the following in the Home News : i "In v. Sultan to whom God gave strength "). Brown' was concluded.Allah.. by which he is ever afterwards That name is chosen with some reference life." Note.Allah Panjang"). When " is. there is Al-merhum or Medium died (° at Pasir Panjang (that Pasir The late is. the case of Fischer This (says the Times) Fischer and Co.

This order was given to the defendants by the also an automatic arrangement plaintiffs on July 4. in 1. Rajah of lator Patalia. and there was to be a good strong musical-box under the seat. Fischer's interference. which were the colours of the Rajah. be electro-plated. Fischer heard this he said would not suit the Rajah. 15. birthday had passed before the present arrived.THE by his secretary. would run by itself. and then the secretary refused to take it. The it wheels and springs should of the perambulator. as Sham Shir Sing. and the perambulator was to to be ready for order that it shipment Bombay by Aug. had been agreed. 177 He was told this m s . and this the plaintiffs had accepted bill had paid the money. The perambu- was to be painted dark green and old gold. and it had to be sent back. which was the date of his birthday. ambulator. should reach the Rajah by Oct. but it when Mr. KING'S WAY a birthday present Tikah Sahib. which they were now For the defence it was stated suing to recover. and they must be gilded. In the meantime the defendants had drawn a and upon the plaintiffs for the price of the perambulator. and by which the peron being wound up. did not finish the The defendants and the Rajah's work in time. F. that the cause of the delay in delivering the per- ambulator was Mr.

The jury found a verdict for the plaintiffs for the amount claimed." 178 .MALAY SKETCHES could not be done in time. and it was implied by handles the orders he gave (which were that the perambulator should have elephant-headed and papier-mache figures of elephants and peacocks) that a further allowance of time would be given.

slight but graceful in figure. She was a girl of royal descent . just tide. flashing or wooing in changeful expression 179 . and the hope of Paradise Justin McCarthy's Omar Khayyam A QUARTER youthful wife. her name. where stream meets a Malay Raja and his for She has been dead twenty years. for a Malay. whether that heart Mosque or Synagogue. the dark iris. with very small hands and feet. glistening bluewhite wells in which floated. Exceeding fair. the fame of her wit and beauty has become a byword with the people.XVI A MALAY ROMANCE Every heart in which heaven has inclines to its set the lamp of love. Raja Maimunah. if name be it is written in the Book of Love freed from the fear of Hell. of a century ago there lived on at the point the bank of a broad river. an oval face and splendid eyes. lotus-like. but in this land of brief regrets her memory is still green.

fen* iwi nn Ip- a& Mtefcol C - .

. again. to conceal the face from male eyes. a scarf of rich Malay-red one or two more silken $drong§ of varying coloor and richness of material were worn over the underskirt.A MALAY ROMANCE When wear a oat of toon. while she waa nmmmmmmmj imnmmi snm with a downward torn at the r. a moat Over this. He 1 about thirty years of age. waa held coqtsettishly. occasions she wore heavy gold State di a mond cannot draw an fniMffy attractive picture of Raja lakander. the husband of this lady. Maimdnah would Mack or white gossamer embroidered with very narrow fold ribbon. mn a* . the Raja veil of darkest blue. fffdflm seen wit hoot diamond fflfftafr cs hi the ears and n lumber of <n rings on her fingers. <* nmm mm perpetual expresmon of extrex His vanity was inordjnate.

until (especially early if he have pretensions to become ultimately the ruler of his country. and rings the changes often. but her husband thought he had good reason to doubt her fidelity. He begins Malay Raja has many wives. and. he should marry a lady Then. he lacked courage. and sought counsel from thought was their men of no standing. moreover. if he is young. in acting on his right. and he was palpably neglecting her for a concubine. her done. the marriage takes people usually insist that any wife he has must be divorced. whose only own profit.MALAY SKETCHES continually led him into difficulty. law that is nevertheless extremely strict in its injunctions all wives are to be treated with equal considera182 . been married to Maimunah for about three years she was the mother of two children. At the time of which I write. that place. and. and he smoked opium to excess and to the neglect of all his duties and his interests . That he should have other wives or concubines was of course only what she had been educated to expect. as A was the case with Iskander) his relatives decide that of his own rank. Raja Iskander was simply following the practice of his ancestors The Muhammadan and the custom of the country. Raja Iskander had .

the lazy suited him and his habits. his extravagance was purely selfish. he supplied a boat. and economy was an object. 183 a stranger from a neighbouring State. The house where Raja Iskander then unattractive spot fifty miles from the river. more economical. while their claims are clear. a good many own were always in attendance. and the slight is enor- mously exaggerated when the wife is of high birth. and. and boats besides his opium-smokers of the neighbourhood. an mouth of the but yet not far enough to escape the tidal banks. in his like many people with extravagant tastes. muddy life flat surroundings. Raja Iskander passed a good deal of his time in boats. . and. and influence and the unlovely accompaniments of turbid water. for. lived was within a hundred feet of the bank of the stream. cock-fighters. The boats lay in the river in front of the house. and as Raja Iskander's presence was the excuse for a rendezvous of all the gamblers. Amongst time was a the visitors attracted to this spot at this man called Raja Sleman. and the favourite only a woman of the people. the concubine has none. To neglect a wife for a concubine is a dire offence to Malay women. instead of having to provide a house for each of the ladies That was much harem.A MALAY ROMANCE tion.

Raja Sleman appeared with two boats and about fifteen followers. Whatever the lodestone. of the muddy river were fringed by the which is never seen beyond tidal influnipah palm. might have been the congenial society of another opium-smoker. water.MALAY SKETCHES It might have been the cock-fighting or the gambling always to be found also in the society of Raja It Iskander that drew Raja Sleman to the place. the banks were covered by rank grasses. 184 . a flight of steps led into the front of the exit at the back. a kitchen tacked on behind. once arrived. a building of mat sides and thatched roof raised from the damp and muddy wooden piles. The edges was flat and desolate. the country nificant. or possibly the fame of Raja Maimunah's attractions. reptile. and. the jungle insig- and in the heat of the day the oppression of steaming that sleep mud and shelterless plain was so great seemed to force itself on insect. it A very modest dwelling earth on was . he elected to lemain. ences. and sisted of a closed-in verandah. but Raja Iskander passed most of his time on the Maimunah lived in the house on shore. house and a ladder served for interior The accommodation conone large room. and every living thing.

Then each day he watched for her. extremely quiet. Under Maimunah. In his country he had never beheld a fell woman as beautiful as this one. the equal of Raja Iskander.A MALAY ROMANCE At night the myriads of the water. such circumstances and amidst such life surroundings. and of courtly manners . was a striking difference two men. if was not quite. but in rank he almost. Sleman was a man of pleasing features. Of to realise that this worldly goods he had little enough. One day as Sleman sat in his boat he saw Maimunah and her maidens come down to the river to bathe. gave fireflies sparkling in the riverside bushes. the casual observer would probably fail outward appearance concealed a firm determination and a dauntless courage. and never evening. and he hope- lessly in love with Iskander's wife. and small prospect of multiplying them. 185 . their twinkling lights reflected in some relief to tired eyes . Raja Sleman came into the of He was between but in other respects there the about the same age as Raja Iskander. to morning and follow her with his eyes for the few failed. but the gain in the change of temperature and scene was hardly appreciated flies when the mosquitoes and sand- began their merciless attacks.

Maimunah. had heard all about the arrival of Sleman the tales of his valorous and readily listened deeds.MALAY SKETCHES moments when she slowly wended her way from house to river and back again. to Soon she began to look for him. too generally satisfied with himself. Sleman and Maimunah had already mutually declared syllable. Malay ladies are adepts in speaking the language of the eyes. suffering from the spretce injuria formce and chafing under the monotony of existence. was not long coming He pleased her. and what he then beheld only increased his passion. the chances of verbal speech are but few. and. she would drop the covering but her eyes. to notice what was going on. Meanwhile. 186 Had he . themselves without the exchange of a confidence that friendly aid and it was with perfect Sleman sought a closer intimacy by the of a messenger. and his Iskander was too much engaged with his opium latest favourite. so thoroughly understood. that principals and witnesses never fail to rightly interpret the signs. and so carefully is this art cultivated. it and as he was ever watching for her before their eyes met. when that hid all she saw in his face the admiration he had no desire to conceal.

hazards if she were prepared to face the Her courage was meant probably death own (for failure to her as to him). and he was not satisfied to continue indefinitely filling the role of false friend to Iskandcr and fearful lover to his wife. It is unif likely that he had any suspicion of Sleman. for Least of all would seem possible a foreigner supported by a dozen followers to brave the power and resentment of well nigh the greatest chief of a powerful State. However much he despised the man. he was misled by the suave manners of the quiet stranger. In this. 187 .A MALAY ROMANCE realised the state of affairs he would not have been indifferent to the disgrace that must be his. however. while Iskander lay in his boat dreaming over off his his opium-pipe. Sleman's suit prospered. he meant to play a bolder at all game and make Maimunah equal to his his own risk. however easily he found he could profit by Iskander's indifference. and of that he suspected Mai- munah had it already been guilty. he had. it would never occur to him that any man would have the courage to do more than carry on a clandestine intrigue. almost from under his very eyes. but. and one night. should his wife's liaison become public property. the stranger was carrying royal spouse within earshot.

. he procured a small boat and a messenger. fear of the outraged On the contrary. All night long the rowers bent to their work. He added that he would wait there for one night and one day against the coming of any who might wish to try and take the lady from him. for with the dawn the elopement would be discovered and Iskander would be in pursuit before to up the boat and rest. and the bark had been to drift out of sight unmoored and allowed and hearing. and he indited a letter Raja Iskander. little time was lost in getting out the oars and pulling with might and main down river towards the coast. but that he had not to gone far. informing him he had carried away the Raja Maimunah. Raja Sleman's quiet serenity was not disturbed by anticipations of capture or husband's fury. having only reached the place he named. Sleman ordered the men fasten It in to the bank. but when morning broke and less than half the distance to the river's mouth had been to pull traversed. seemed a foolhardy proceeding the sun had cleared the tops of the jungle trees.MALAY SKETCHES Once silently in Sleman's boat. waste the precious time. and that after that time he should continue his journey to the coast and thence to his i83 own country.

the old people say.A MALAY ROMANCE Raja Iskander received this missive whilst yet undecided what course to take in the untoward disaster that had befallen him. Neither Iskander nor any of his people ever started on that quest. for like As her mother. though not. Sleman and Maimunah. they were duly and she bore him a daughter in all respects married. The letter did not greatly help him still to arrive at a decision. her 189 . decided to divorce his faithless wife and leave her lover to marriage science. Iskander had one revenge he discovered amongst Maimunah's women two who had carried messages between the lovers. whose ideas were accord with a civilisation beyond the education or sympathetic comprehension of his subjects. and both were in- continently strangled. the other a girl of fourteen. and It is the punishment painful fact of his that own con- a this conduct earned him not the admiration but the contempt of his people. in The disconsolate husband. and Raja in safety to his Sle*man carried Maimunah own country. and he was discussing with his chiefs who should have the honour of pursuing and punishing the abductor when the twenty-four hours expired. One was a woman of twenty: five.

and then defied the whole country to take her from him. the victim . of a malignant disease but Slgman still lives in his own sified country. but otherwise he shows few signs of age. There are no local bards to record Sl€man's story in deathless song. accompany his gentle no one would suspect that this chief man. truthful person. Maimunah died years and years ago. but many years ago I was told that a full Christian missionary came to Malaya of zeal and confident of success. carried off the spouse of an Oriental prince. and have no condemnation for this ruthless destroyer of Iskander's happy home. and the people are so impregnated with vice that they seek for no excuses to palliate his conduct. He began with a man who seemed an earnest. and seldom allow themselves the luxury of burning mora! convictions. the courteous Time has only inten- bearing and to fitly quiet repose of manner which seem winning voice .MALAY SKETCHES peer in beauty. The laudator temporis acti is a common and is flourishing plant in Malaya. almost single-handed. But they are Muhammadans. In the two children born before the elopement. anxious to 190 . I have never seen a missionary proselytising amongst the Malays. it difficult to trace any resemblance to their mother. his hair is getting grey.

M If that had happened to my wife. The Malay listened to the end. The missionary told him the story of the Immaculate Conception. a promising subject.A MALAY ROMANCE learn. then he said. I should have killed her. showing great interest in the miraculous narrative of the Blessed Virgin ." I9X .

What was the Faith of Malaya seven hundred years ago it is hard to say. the practice of a kind of witchcraft for the .XVII MALAY SUPERSTITIONS There are more things earth. but only to describe a few that are both curious and I interesting. but there is a certain it amount of evidence to lead to the belief that was a form of Brahmanism and that no doubt had succeeded the original Spirit Worship. do not propose to attempt to enumerate all the various forms of superstition. and their strong hold on the people is only another proof of the conservative tendencies of the race. their name is legion. in heaven and Than are dreamt of in your philosophy Hamlet MALAY antecedent superstitions are the survival of a time to the advent of the gospel of Islam. Horatio. I have already referred to what 192 is known as bfr- haniu.

it will suffice. origin. Rabiah Jamil was thy mother's." The the final threat to drive demon by using name of the Almighty 193 curious as showing N .MALAY SUPERSTITIONS healing of the sick devils in might here give some of the incantations commonly spoken by the exorcist. but one devils" I —and reminds one of a casting out the name of Beelzebub the Prince of the . " will curse you by the name of By the Grace of God. Here is the translation of a most potent exorcism believed to be efficacious against the malevolent : attacks of a thousand lesser demons Heigh thou Spirit whose name is Jin Pari of the Jin Aruah . thou art the grandgreat-grandchild of Spirit child of Hakim Baisuri. by out the is the Grace of God. spawn of Hell's spouting flame If do not any longer torment I this person." Heigh ! you white ants Sekutanai. flying up stream make me think you are on your way down. by the Grace of God. ! Imam Jamil thy father's name . Spirit of the ant-hill known as " Piebald Horse. you disobey. saying. and flying down stream give the impression that you are going to the interior ? I know your . Thou of the path Lorin. why do you. Sekutapa. the Most High. Spirit of the rising ground Sri Permatang. the Malim of the Forest.

....:: /'n/nn..I . ||„ ...'immunity U reasonable as the "proof" of the exerciM i.ll ... H'«l "" I'.1 .u/.11 .lli:..l .-..i idr .n is that certain . The III ..<:•• W. I..Ily call ...... I. ' i« in -I •' vlll I.I „. ii...ill . possibly the attacks.. in "....l. '.11 . .... and the way i in which their i possession it !»». ..lilt. it I may be -. -. I.... ./!..r tX.. ....r convulsions.. unconsciousness... • .J.1 (..I . .h.»ii v ".11 mrlliiMl v. r u piri. y ii.. .. ...I l\ •!« - I'M' I '"h....n (In •'...//. will.„ Ii. .«» in.. will .. pirieHI instance of their owner*.I .. I. . ro. Impression .m In U.i..-. relatives (I. .///. or delirium... i.. i 'i tie . . ..1. ) suggestlm... -. Ill. A very wtdeepreid superstition »">/' l.. . deeired to injure.t will...I dl . I.UM... practice of witchf craft.\.... . il....iny '«. :. These I 'th.« ". ••• native III I. .i i...MALAY %KWTCHU hew the e*ordst seeks by a judicious blending of tradition with his latter-day Faith to get the better u\ Mir l/#M««-nior.l...il/. i< mil.puil... bV IM|. ' m I"'- without II" ' It.. Hit* III.. II.„..1 104 . They are hiIim jiii..'l' »'"!"• I.iy l.. enter into and plague //I. ...«niMi«ii iiM|inif. Langriior.V.<„..... /w/.11.it. the last being a female spirit....1.||f| one whom . . . will arise V" .I i:..I ..w.npl.... U. in will Ji mil . .. tM any evil .....i N my ll.

and if he knows his business his power is such that he will place the sorcerer in one room. of pass through the ordeal without course he will fctiMfn have been assured that the shaving process is so efficacious that. but this It test of guilt is not always employed. This should be done by some independent person of authority who is supposed to he able to ascertain call in the truth. sponding spot. fall wherever off in it is scraped. the culprit's hair will mil off as though the raior had That been applied to his head instead of to the vessel I is supposing he & the culprit. while he in another scrapes an iron vessel with a razor. the people *95 . and. when several cases of unexplained sickness have occurred in a with possibly one or two deaths. if not. as the vessel represents the head I of the person standing his trial. A further and convincing proof is then to a " P*w*H£ * skilled in dealing with wixards (m Malay countries they are usually men).MALAY SUPERSTITIONS patient is in a state of delirium is the him or her as to who and then to question author of the trouble. the wizard's hair will a corre- might be supposed that under these circumstances the accused is reasonably safe. is that What more commonly happens village.

but the acquired bdjang is usually obtained from the newlyburied body of a stillborn child. started and effects on a raft and them down the river. The hereditary bdjang comes like other evils. I many years remember a case in Perak less than ten years village accused ago when the people of an up-river a man of keeping a bdjang. They went away if hardly satisfied and shortly after made a united representation to the effect that the person sus- pected were allowed to remain in their midst they would kill him. which 196 is supposed . his family.MALAY SKETCHES of the place lodge a formal complaint against the supposed author of these punished. and the present Sultan. told then the principal Malay Judge in the bdjang if them he would severely punish the they would produce it. who was State. Before anything could be done they put him. the unsought heritage of a dissolute ancestry. and such executions were carried out not very ago. but not long afterwards he disappeared. ills and desire that he be Before the advent of British influence practice to kill the it was the wizard or witch whose guilt had been established to Malay satisfaction. On their arrival at Kuala Kangsar the man was given an isolated hut to live in.

. and the three nights in all.MALAY SUPERSTITIONS to be the abiding-place of a familiar spirit until lured therefrom by the solicitations of someone who. and bending forward try to embrace If you fail try again several times. stands over the grave and to by potent incantations persuades the bdjang forth." night before the full moon and stand with your back to the moon and your face to an ant-hill so that your shadow falls securing this useful ally " You she on the ant-hill Then you recite certain jampi (incantations). at dead of night. till If you cannot then catch your shadow. is where is chiefly used in the State of Kedah considered rather chic to have a pelsit. A Kedah lady the other day. come Polong and PHsit are but other names the latter it for Bdjatig. repeating the next night and night after if make a necessary — further effort. you will succeed. go out. thus described : " on the said. eulogising the advant- ages of possessing a familiar spirit (she said that amongst other things it gave her absolute control the method of over her husband and the power of annoying people who offended her). wait Sooner or later i97 the same day on the following month and renew the attempt. If not successful go more incantations. your shadow. and.

when under the control of a man. reptile or insect. of society must be in the fashion at any cost but there are plenty of people living in Perak who have seen more than one ancient Malay dame taken out into the river. Langsuior. that seize and it will remain while the rest of the child disappears. with hands 198 . Go home and in the night. differs hardly at from the bdjang except that she is a little more baneful. leaders . and she will even bear him elfin children. a small animal. and one not surprised is to hear that everyone in Kedah. the form of a child will appear before you and put out its tongue . the female familiar. who anybody.MALAY SKETCHES as you stand there in the brilliance of the moonlight. despite her protestations. and. keeps a pelsit. whether sleeping or waking." is sounds easy enough. It is all their shadows very well for the Kedah ladies to sacrifice to obtain possession of a pelsit. In a little while the tongue will turn into something that breathes. have watched her. her tears and entreaties. and when you and the It see the creature has life put it in a bottle pelsit is yours. and. you will see that you have drawn your shadow into yourself. he all sometimes becomes the victim of her attractions. and your body will never again cast a shade.

issue from the have also been assured that the bdjang. down put into the water and slowly pushed out of sight by means of a long pole with a fork at one end which fitted on to her neck. and not add that after uncommonly two or three examples had been made I there would always ensue a period of rest from the torments of the bdjang. no doubt. and man. but .MALAY SUPERSTITIONS and feet tied. Those who witnessed these executions have no doubt of the justice of the punishment. for He took some clay from the earth and fashioned it into the figure of a Then He body with took the Spirit of Life to endue this vitality figure. is made on the authority of those who condemned and executed the victim. and the body. could not hold pieces and scattered into the air. bdjang. seen to The following legend gives the Malay conception of the origin spirits. and placed the spirit on the head of the But the spirit was strong. of all Jin. The Creator then formed another 199 clay figure. it being only clay. and was reft in Those fragments of the first great Failure are the spirits of earth and sea and air. has been drowning person's nose. That statement. hantu. in the shape of a lizard. and other The Creator determined that purpose to make Man.

went further up country. and in that disguise they wreak vengeance on those they wish to every Korinchi man can do this. and. and that night a number of fowls The strangers left and were taken by a tiger. the Korinchi man slips down from assuming the form of a " tiger. That man was Adam. district of Perak. still Not the gift is of this strange power of metamorphosis pretty well confined to the people of the small Sumatran State. and the iron that is in the constitution of his descendants has stood them in good stead. Another the article of almost universal belief is that people of a small State in Sumatra called Korinchi have the power of assuming at will the form of a tiger. At night when respectable members of society should be in bed. to and they begged the local headman bury it ! . so that when received the vital spark withstood the strain and became Man." I have heard of four Korinchi men arriving in a his hut. they become of type the little When they lose it. more account than their proto- first failure. goes about seeking whom he may devour. but injure. and shortly after only three of them returned and stated that a tiger had just been killed.MALAY SKETCHES into this it one He wrought some it iron.

Even there. was my misfortune some years ago to be robbed of some valuable property. ! and shortly vomited chicken-feathers only fair to It is say that the Korinchi people tendencies strenuously deny the and the power ascribed to them. and several It Malay friends strongly advised me to take the advice of an astrologer or other learned person (so they said) would be able to give the the thief. however. but of the visitors fell sick. for the East a curious place.MALAY SUPERSTITIONS On also another occasion some Korinchi in a men appeared and sought hospitality Malay house. but was anxious to see what is could be done. of transforming themselves and the Korinchi people profess themselves afraid to enter the Chenaku district. but aver that they properly belong to the inhabitants of a district called Chenaku in the interior of the Korinchi country. and there visit were unmistakable traces of the the next day one after of a tiger. and there the fowls disappeared in the night. elhnu it is only those stht'r. and lived no one with an inquiring mind can have 201 . and probably recover most of the stolen things. I who name of fear that I had no great I faith in this method of detection. the occult who are practised in the arts who are thus capable into tigers.

He told and prayer. after gazing intently into first this divining-glass. what he sought. with pleasant features and extraordinary grey-blue eyes. though he said He promised to follow me by an early steamer. he would not be able to see me that after his vigil. robbery. he said. fast. I was travelling when I met him.books on Natural Philosophy. clear and far-seeing. it the inquirer recognised the little old man. and tried to persuade him to return with me. into this he would pour a little water. he would lay in his there would be hand a small piece of paper on which some writing. tall. perty then was. I was first introduced to an Arab of very remark- He was about fifty years old. and that all where the stolen prohe would want was an empty house wherein he might fast in solitude for three days. figure of a this Jin. He declared that. he would be able to tell me all about the who committed it. and in that extemporised mirror he would see a vision of the whole transaction. but that he said he could not do.MALAY SKETCHES in it long without seeing phenomena that are not always explained by modern text. without which preparation. a man of striking and able appearance. impressive personality. was only necessary 202 That having duly saluted to ask him to conjure .

and mothers of it took the astrologer two state. and never met him again. but when. My friend was not. A local Chief. the truthful child. only it had been stated to me then that the medium through whose eyes that it the vision could alone be seen must be a young child of such tender years could have never told a lie ! The Arab. however. had heard this before. Unfortunately. professed himself not only able to conjure up the scene.MALAY SUPERSTITIONS up the scene of the robbery. but would follow his to let me see it for myself. however. he said that a difficulty had arisen because just when the child (a little boy) was beginning to relate what he saw he suddenly became unconscious. declared his power to if read the past by this method. when all the details would be re-enacted in the liquid glass under the eyes of the all gazer. if I directions. 203 at the end of his . he came to disclose to me the results of his skill. however. that who would I there and then all describe he saw. my I grey-eyed friend failed to keep his promise. on the following day. hours to restore him to his normal tender-aged All the truthful and possibly children declined after this to lend their offspring for the ordeal. only he could find In this he appeared to succeed.

and the proceedings began by the two 204 . and. thief. I did so. this For me to give at the time the robbery was committed. to write the name of each person house when the robbery was committed on a small piece of paper. he undertook to try by other methods to find purpose he asked him the names of everyone in the house the culprit. opposite to each other. his sister. We all sat to in a very small room. the sister against A clean new unglazed one wall and I in a corner. and a piece of fair white cotton cloth tied over the top. That afternoon wentwith him to a small house belonging to his sister. near him the two men. and the next day he gave me one of those names as that of the I asked how he had arrived at this knowledge. and then to place one of the names on the cover of the vessel. and to fold each I was asked present in the paper up so that all should be alike. and two men whom I did not recognise. filled with water. of the the Chief in the centre with a copy Koran on a reading-stand. This was earthenware bowl with a wide rim was produced.MALAY SKETCHES resources. he described the method and consented the experiment in to repeat I my presence. making a surface like that of a drum. though only an amateur in divination. Here I found my friend the Chief. I did so.

This occurred four times. and the men supported the strain by resting their right elbows on their knees as they sat cross-legged on the floor and face to face. and as nothing happened he said that was not the name of the guilty person. The vessel being large and full of water was heavy. I tion to the company. however. and as 205 . vessel. " " That. impart that piece of informa- by him. but went on to the end of my papers." said the Chief." It was the name of the person already mentioned did not. hands go round with it.MALAY SUPERSTITIONS men placing each the middle joint of the fore-finger of his right hand under the rim of the bowl on it opposite sides. but at the fifth the reading had scarcely commenced when round from the bowl began to slowly turn the supporters letting their left to right. It was then that it I selected one of the folded papers. and so supporting about six inches above the floor. until it twisted itself out of their fingers and fell on the floor with a considerable bang and a great spluttering of water through the thin cover. and I changed the paper for another. is the name of the thief. I said I should like to try the test again. nothing more happening. and placed on the cover of the The Chief read a page of the Koran.

I it did not break. itself off their fingers The name disclosed by 206 this experiment was .MALAY SKETCHES the Chief at once consented this time I put the first. After trying a few more the ordeal of the bowl was and was Then the Chief asked me whose name had been on I the vessel when it moved. satisfied. and name of the suspected person on and once more the vessel turned round and till it twisted itself out of the hands of the holders. we began afresh. all I wrote. wrote the names . it. I asked the men who held the bowl why it they made turn round at that particular moment. was and no one but the Chief ever spoke till the seance over. in English. placed a went from my corner and name on the vessel already held on the fingers of its No one except I touched the papers. but they declared they had nothing to do with and that the vessel twisted against their inclination. and told him. I I was so placed no one could see what so. they were shuffled together. and Then exactly did not know one from Each time I the other till I looked inside myself. I It was a curious coincidence certainly. which no one could read that moreover. supporters. and they none of them attempted to do the papers were folded up so as to be alike. fell on the floor and I was I surprised said over.

magician. and." or to the place where anything stolen is concealed. many Malays and one or two Europeans may be found who profess to have seen water drawn from a kris. it) He takes the kris (yours. 207 . he recites a short incantation that he knows all about iron and where it comes from. the rod vibrates in a remarkable manner. but beyond that learnt nothing. The modus operandi is simple. or medium. and that hand proceeds then with the thumb and right to must obey his orders. He first two fingers of his gently squeeze the steel. This is a favourite device of the suspicious husband. secret Another plan suspected person for is to surprising get into the after the room where person is sleeping. Yet another plan is to place in the hand of a pdwang. and when he gets close to the person " wanted. and making certain passes to question the slumberer. The " pawang " (I dare not call him conjurer) great A works with bare arms to show if there is no deception. you prefer from its wooden wards handle. when he may truthfully answer all the questions put to him. holding the steel point down- in his left to the effect it hand.MALAY SUPERSTITIONS certainly that of the person whom I there was most of a that reason to suspect. a divining-rod formed of three lengths of rattan tied together at one end.

or teacher. 208 who . a of Compassion to His servants. The tell " pawang to you bend you making two or three passes over the " this will find no difficulty in doing. Fountain "From Haji Wan Muhammad. and did not notice that the spiritual teacher of His Highness had entered and was waiting prayer. Teacher of His Highness the Sultan of Perak. for the next day I received from him a letter. no doubt heard the end of our conversation and was duly scandalised. the Giver of all good. The only drawback kris that to this trick or miracle is that the process ruins the temper of the steel. will then hand round the blade and it . fall After while a few drops of water krt's. of which the following is the translation : " First praise to God. from the " point of the and these drops quickly develop fill into a stream that will a cup. to lead the evening The guru. to the Resident administers the Government of Perak.MALAY SKETCHES moving a little his fingers up and down the blade. and a has been thus treated I is useless. but krt's it by the pawang " can render it again so hard that cannot be bent. One evening was discussing these various I superstitions with the Sultan of Perak.

For that practice is a Faith. and only they will in the end arrive at real greatness. and He gives as an inheritance to The true religion His subjects. and Heaven is the reward of those who fear the Most High. and none can be powerful except by the help of God the Most High. I want you for this your indulgence to give me an answer. who is also Most Mighty. Resident. Mr.MALAY SUPERSTITIONS •'The whole earth is in the it hand of the most High God. right according to is it Resident. while others broadcast How is such conduct treated through the jungle. is also of God. and waste cast it their substance for nothing some of them scatter it into the water. The practice is very hard on the poor. No Raja can do good. Salvation and peace are will of whom He for those who follow the straight path. in Headmen collect from the rayats. is it right or wrong? by your religion. driving oneself mad and is it losing one's reason. I wish to about the practice of b&r-hantu. deadly those sin to the in Muhammadan it because who engage lose their reason . as has been the custom of Rajas and Chiefs in this State of Perak . or not? your religion. and then they make elaborate preparations of food. Mr. "I make ten thousand inquire salutations. killing a buffalo 209 o .

and stated. Mr.MALAY SKETCHES or fowls. do not be angry. "(Signed) Haji Muhammad Abu Hassan. for I do not understand your customs." aio . all this is thrown away as already According to the Muhammadan religion such proceedings lead to destruction. Resident. u I salute you many times.

advanced.XVIII WITH A CASTING-NET Where fountains of sweet water run between. and it is unquestionably here that all ancient rites and customs have been most carefully preserved. it is where probably the rulers can claim the clearest genealogy and the longest recorded descent. Whilst it was to Perak that the first British Resident was appointed. and prosperous of all those under British influence. education and in had no more part 211 their lives than . And sun and shadow chequer-chased the green JJLmi is PERAK of the the one one of the largest and most populous States of the Malay Peninsula. and this State is now the most wealthy. the Malays still maintain their traditions and observe their honoured customs as though railways sanitation and steamers.

but lays a larger egg. the tuntong or river-turtles ascend the Perak River their eggs on cersand stretches in the neighbourhood of Bota. tracts (usually surrounding of mineral water) for their own hunting. that is the custom of their ancestors. 212 . just below Bota. about ioo miles from the river's mouth. river-turtle is a great deal smaller than the it sea-turtle. annually or oftener. when the river has been swollen to flood-height for a couple of months. as and with their relatives. chiefs. In the lull after the first about the month of December. and followers take their it was duly chronicled had been heavy rains.MALAY SKETCHES when Albuquerque was striving to effect a landing on the shores of Malacca. which the Malay considers one of the greatest delicacies known The to him. a hot spring resort. and certain jungle There they would kingly pleasure. and it is here that the ladies of the Court is annually assemble to dig up the eggs. and one much more valued by Malays. The most frequented of these laying grounds in considerable numbers and lay tain convenient a place called Pdsir TZlor (egg-sand). For ages it has been a practice of the Sultans of Perak to reserve certain waters for their own fishing.

The second set of nests is party. and the third is that takes six months. turtles left to hatch. feet as the river rises watchers are stationed turtles are said to lay three on the sands. the turtles themselves . During the laying season boats are not allowed to stop at the sands for fear they should disturb the turtles. Directly the watchers report but that. having that the turtles have made the second nests. and contain from about fifteen nests are The to thirty-five eggs each. is opened by the royal an operation There no sitting. the Sultan and his f mily. open them and scatter and destroy the eggs accomplished their task. walk down into the river and swim away.WITH A CASTING-NET As soon times. have returned to the the watchers open the nests and send the eggs up to the Sultan. after the third "lay. Fifteen or twenty large house-boats 213 . take boat and paddle down the stream to and several Pasir Telor." they take their departure. It is said that if left the first and second nests are untouched. the young simply emerge from the sand. with the neighbouring chiefs and their families. and the dug between two and three under the sand. When turtles the first set of eggs has been laid and the river.

in Inside this house. holding open black umbrellas with silver fringes. and two others are in the bows with long bamboo poles held close together and 214 erect. and are manned by crews of rafts are from four to sixteen polers. but the boats are of which the graceful and picturesque barges. The covered the Sultan's scarlet-bordered portion of the barge which carries six principal wife is decorated with white umbrellas. while curtains secure privacy. foundation is a long dug-out of hard is wood drawing raised very little water. Two officers stand all day long. The crew occupy sit the forward half of the boat. with mat walls and a high thatched roof. to paddle down stream or The steersman has a high seat is from whence he able to see clear of the cabin-roof. and people make an imposing The simply floating houses. in the stern. and lie on mats and cushions the owner and his family or friends. where they stand to pole up. The royal . just outside the state-room. the roof of which rises sit a sharp curve towards the stern. the freeboard by the breadth of one or two planks. and over the stern half of the boat is built a palm-thatched covering on a slight wooden frame.MALAY SKETCHES bamboo fifty rafts containing about one hundred procession.

and bangles of curious jewelled brooches. disembark for the turtle-eggs. ceremony of digging out the in The ladies are their smartest It is and wear their costliest jewels. necklaces. garments a blaze of brilliant-coloured silks. and from time to time blows a trumpet of the regalia. and sarongs striking hues. attracting the attention of riverine. with all their attendants and children (a good many still in arms). sunshades. gold bracelets.WITH A CASTING-NET bugler sits on the extreme end of the prow. and on the morning of the ladies of the party. and altogether the pleasurefleet makes a brave show and a considerable all noise. trousers. call on the antique silver Flags are flown. massive hair-pins. of bright . flashing with the light of diamonds and The men appear of hardly less in jackets. other boats carry gongs and drums. and nothing offends the eye as 215 . the dwellers on the The journey from the third all the Sultan's palace at Kuala Kangsar occupies two days. and rings rubies. cloth-of- gold scarves. and embroidered gauze veils . of painted sarongs. but the horror of Western dyes and Western schemes of colour has not yet demoralised the Malay's innate sense of beauty and fitness.

with her little crowd of attendants.MALAY SKETCHES all this wealth of bravery moves slowly across the strand. with of picturesque boats. and then the lady. A scorching sun shines down on the gaily-clad figures with their background of dark jungle. the nest. there the whose nest yields the largest 216 number of . twigs the various and each lady of rank. and gives light and a charming picture. and the sides of eggs. and the eggs are carefully handed Besides the pleasure of actually removing the eggs with one's own hand. the hole have a way of falling in on the digger. can just manage to reach up. so man or boy is desired to remove the overburden and make things easy for the lady. and with her hands begins to dig up the sand in search of the But the nest is deep down. sitting on the edge and stooping far down. The overlying sand is quickly scooped out until one or two of the a white eggs are disclosed. of showing how garments rivalry of little it matters in the that the costliest is should trail sand. makes for one of these. burden to shadow The watchers have marked with nests. of displaying to admiring eyes a vision of taper fingers and rounded wrist. on the its yellow sands and sparkling river.

Then every one scrambles back which are pushed off into into the boats. the rowers gong and the musical notes of the silver seritnai. return to the boats. from that which they commonly wear. the sands are growing so hot under the rays of the fiery sun that bare feet can hardly endure what is There is an almost hurried little short of torture. with jest and laughter. and they thoroughly enjoy this opportunity of revelling in the clear waters of the sand-bedded stream.WITH A CASTING-NET eggs. the picturesque . the finery all is exchanged for simpler garments. seize their paddles and with beat of deep water. and bright eyes sparkling 217 behind the rainbow-coloured blinds. By all the nests have been rifled. It is only on such occasions as this that a strange so he is man can see these ladies unveiled and even not expected to look at them or go very near them at all but their bathing-costume differs hardly . pennons waving. in the men and many to of the and there disport themselves refreshing a manner that is sun-scorched bodies and the eyes of the Western spectator who is fortunate enough to see how it is possible to be unconventionally natural and yet perfectly modest. and ladies take to the river. Anything over twenty-five the time is considered a satisfactory find.

while the cooking and breakfasting of the members of the " court" is done on board the various barges.MALAY SKETCHES flotilla glides in on its course down the long sunny islets. the riverside hamlets and the orchards. The graceful turn of the leading barge towards a sand-spit flanked by a long inviting backwater. the stately bamboo that overhang the water like great plumes of pale green feathers. reach. In this feudal and conservative the people eat they country when mdkan but t the Raja does not mdkan. the roll of a drum and every prow is headed for the shallows of the bank that divides the dyer mdtt\ the " dead water." from the living hurrying stream. a chief or a beggar and that is tidor. the crews land. headland. When " the masses" bathe they niandi. that a wide gulf divides Malay 218 classes. and out amongst the deeply-shadowed round a past heavily-wooded. and boil the rice for their mid-day meal. but when the Raja may sleep This does not mean sleeps he is said to ber-ddu. there is . with him case of a Raja it is santap. make fires. the clusters of so ever onward through sunlight and shadow till another bourne is reached. and palms. but the same operation in the is called seram. The boats arrange themselves in divisions.

children and parents. no and no State junketings where noble and peasant meet in generous rivalry of skill with a single desire to snatch from the toil. a prized legacy is and courtesy are which it not yet considered a sign of either independence or good manners to despise." They have kill. Education and contact with Europeans will alter all this. tions that mark fine shades of rank or age.WITH A CASTING-NET rather that old communion as of the members of an clan. But then also there will be no royal preserves. but . whose guiding principle is rather " insufficient greater in the knowledge that is for the day is the pleasure thereof. the class privileges. speak to each other with studied deference and never forget the little distincbrothers and sisters. People of the same rajas and chiefs. Future possibilities do not disturb our friends. Boys and girls are as careful in the observance of these courtesies as are their elders. if and then they these the desire is strong 219 enough. Scotch but respect characteristic of the race. fits attacks of hatred and gloom. disappointments. and in the next century there will be more equality and probably less politeness and fraternity. and the sorrows of of pleasure life one week wherein individual it joy may grow shared by many. class.

This a time for action. all men of the party get ready their casting-nets and don the garments that will least hamper the free use of their limbs and will not be injured The backwater has across to guard called poachers. and length varies to cast it. a long one is twelve or thirteen cubits. and this entrance in the staked West would be Through the stakes a way has now been made wide enough to admit of the pasThe Sultan's barge and a few other sage of boats. it by a thorough wetting. according to the ability of the owner A very short net is five or six cubits in length from centre to edge. and. These nets are of the make. the mesh is small. sometimes is in reality. the mid-day meal the disposed of. and these are accompanied by a fleet of fifty uncovered dug-outs. each with a light grating of split-bamboos over half its length. the thread of twisted strands of finest cotton. house-boats have passed the barrier. steers and one man standing on the local extreme end of the bow ready to cast the net. sometimes figuratively.MALAY SKETCHES are rare. a narrow from what and shallow is entrance on the river. and when not actively engaged in amusing themselves they are lotus-eating. one of whom and each carrying two or three paddlers. and to cast that with .

and the boats move off slowly and at once form themselves into a crescent. a dozen young are in dug-outs and the others are occupied by their owners. By most 3 p. while is a fine cord from the centre wrist of the thrower. men from to join in the neighbouring villages the sport. The backwater where is this annual netting is done a long narrow strip of fairly deep water widening centre and contracting at the ends. all is ready skilful netters . The net usually dyed a dark brown with a solution made from the bark of the mangrove. with the royal barges in the centre. The bottom is weighted with small leaden attached to the right is rapidly through the water. the 221 . some of the oldest and stand in the bows of the royal rajas barges.m. stirred here and there into tiny wavelets by every passing zephyr.WITH A CASTING-NET accuracy so that it reaches the water perfectly extended requires a very or edge of the net rings that sink it skilful hand. who have come The Sultan gives the signal. The horns of the crescent draw towards each other. is slightly in the On one side it bordered by a low grass-grown shore and on the other by a jungle-covered bank from which the overhanging branches cast dark shadows on the glassy surface.

The operation its is fleet of boats works way slowly from end to end of the haul. the paddlers back-water. and the a pound each. and each net fish is slowly drawn to the surface and the taken are dis- engaged from the fine meshes and thrown into the boat under the bamboo grating. Then with 222 his left hand he takes it up part of the skirt of the net and hangs over his . all backwater. is well done. the act of casting tive. until the leaden rings clear the boat and reach to about the thrower's knee. the whole surface of the water within the ring of boats. and the moment when becomes covering sufficiently circumscribed every net is cast.MALAY SKETCHES boats make a simultaneous at in-turn. graceful and attrac- First the slack of the cord is taken it up in loops in the right hand and after the net. the it circle is completed. Directly the nets have been cast they sink. but. Sometimes every net makes a good times only one or two do very well. a distance of about a mile. It is some- the rest insecure foothold to no easy matter with such an cast a long and heavy net. fifty and the numbers or sixty bright weighing from half a pound to then repeated. and indifferently. Almost every net contains vary from two or three to silvery fishes fish.

quaintly-clad form with the net hanging in graceful folds from arm and shoulder. flashes . while fifty dark earnest faces gaze eagerly In that instant 223 it on the narrowing space. The game will looks easy enough. The boats now at a bend in the middle of the backwater. on every bow a half-bent. Atmospheric changes come quickly here . so close to each other that they almost touch. outer edges sinking instantly under the weight of the leaden rings and drawing together by reason of the resistance of the inner surface of the net. are Watch the experienced hand. but try it and you first probably find yourself in the water at the cast with the net tied up into an inextricable knot. like a huge brown cobweb. This cordon of low black boats. the sky has become suddenly overcast. the in-turn is the ring narrows. and the water is now dark and gloomy. a heavy rain-cloud is being rapidly driven before a rising wind. shoulder. circle is the formed. and back balance of the skirt in his sends the net straight out over the water to fall the perfectly extended. the scene is picturesque to a degree and strangely weird. This done he seizes the left hand. swings his and then forwards with a strong body backwards that propelling movement of arm.WITH A CASTING-NET right arm and shoulder. and at this moment given to the bows.

knowing that the lead. which has been long threatening. He pulls the net up a way. and as the take lifted into the boat there are shouts of delight and congratulation and clapping of hands from the ladies.MALAY SKETCHES across the spectator's fell mind that some mystic rite of intent is to be performed within that magic is zone." Just as the furthest end of the backwater is reached the rain. All eyes are fixed on the is lucky Raja. frightened by this rain ot dash for the only spot where there seems Then deftly he casts a net with a to be a gap. But the skilful thrower waits for a second or fish. and from boats the nets out with a swirl and settle on the water with a gentle hiss. who are keenly By this single cast the thrower has fish. The 224 dug-outs with three . plunging his struggling mass of fish. two. will diameter of forty feet. and the moment he strains the cord he realises that he has made an little extraordi- nary capture. Then heigh ! Abracadabra fifty ! The word fly given to cast. interested. comes down shelter in torrents. grasps the meshes on either side and calls for help to raise the then. and arms into the water. and there is a race for and dry clothes. secured one hundred and twenty-one and his contribution for the afternoon is over seven hundred " tails.

but happy in the knowledge that the bag numbers over late ten thousand fish. The fun is much 225 the same. float and the stupefied fish are speared and netted as they and swim aimlessly about. not satisfied with the ease and dignity of a royal barge. but the pursuit is less sporting p .m. Then there is a lull in the storm. Amongst these comers and most ardent sportsmen are several ladies who. but long before the river as wet as the fish. the method the water is is rather different — poisoned with the juice of the tuba root. perhaps. in the discomfort of the dug- That is how its the Sultan of Perak's annual fishing pleasure. and rain. however. unmindful of hunger. There. when they return thoroughly tired out. and the more enthusiastic return to the netting and. party takes time His Highness of Pahang expedition and about the very same will be leading a an old similar in the quiet waters of channel of the Pahang River. darkness. still cast the nets till IO p. have braved the elements and gone fasting to share the excite- ment of the netting outs. is reached the netters are in the and have a swim warm water of the river before changing into dry clothes.WITH A CASTING-NET or four paddlers easily beat the barges with a dozen..

the perfect oval of their faces. themselves essay to scoop of the Court are up the scaly quarry.MALAY SKETCHES than by the means employed in Perak. and. armed with silken nets on hafts of gold. meet with disappointment. the pageant is conducted with much of the state and ancientry. for. and the glances of their liquid eyes so embarrass the of the party that men its many a spear flies wide of mark. Amongst the ladies some the exceeding fairness of whose skin. and I do not fear to reveal the secrets of this remote of the earth. also. It is not fish however. perfectly easy to spear even drugged without both skill and practice. as the nature of the pastime requires only a moderate effort. In Pahang. 226 . language of Western culture. There are some things still hidden from the ken of Cook and the race of Globe trotters. the ladies Harim smile on the proceedings and. put a penny in the slot and set in motion the wheels cannot. if comer any be thereby induced to visit the Peninsula in search of such displays as I have he will tried to describe. in the You of this barbarous Eastern figure.

one of the highest positions in the Island. and was promoted to be Gov- ernment Agent of the Eastern Province. true and brave honest and downright man Whittiir James Wheeler Woodford Birch. this I propose why and how life murder was com- mitted. In 1870 Mr. was assassinated by Malays at a place ON the 2nd November 1875. and when Major-General 227 Andrew . where he spent the as a in life. British Resident of Perak. Mr. called Pasir Salak to describe on the Perak River. Birch was appointed Colonial Secretary of the Sir Straits Settlements. Birch began He Royal Navy.XIX JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH Such was our friend. formed on the A good old plan. ment employment best years of his midshipman in the abandoned the sea for GovernCeylon. Mr.

concluded the Pangkor Treaty with the Perak Chiefs in 1874 and introduced a new departure in the relations between the British Government and the the Malay States. prejudices. looking to the people with whom he had to deal and his own powerlessness to enforce an order.MALAY SKETCHES Clarke. difficult Mr. Birch for post of adviser to the Sultan of Perak. At that time the Malay Peninsula was a terra incognita to white men. customs. and superstitions that had to be learned. then Governor of the Straits Settle- ments. each with some kind of 228 privilege or vested . peculiarities and prejudices of the Malay had yet to be learnt. he selected Mr. he had undertaken a well-nigh impossible task.E. and very soon found that.. and with many of which it was difficult to symIt had an unusual number of Rajas and pathise. Birch assumed his duties in the end of 1874. Of all the States in the Peninsula Perak was probably the least well suited for the schooling of a Resident and the initiation of the interesting but dangerous experiment of Government by the advice of a British It officer. R. had a large Malay population. and the characteristics. Chiefs. people whose ancestors had for generations belonged to the place and who were saturated with ancient customs.

Abdullah and his immediate following to mend their ways. " spying out the land. to bring the guilty to punishment. Muhammadan all clung to by torn the was supported and The State was upper classes. The revolting practice of debt-slavery. The white man was an unknown and unfeared quantity. and the consequence was that his extraordinary energy in travelling about the country. and to induce the then Sultan. however. the He was man to sit down in the face of opposition either to save himself trouble or to ac- knowledge defeat. Birch. and people greatly increased his not." and his persistence in attempting to redress grievances. for experience. were the only means of getting about the country. and. to save lives. was to the the slaves often suffered indescribable rife in the land. though contrary religion. and. the inability to carry on a direct conversation with chiefs difficulties. under which wrongs. though he always had with him a very capable Malay interpreter. Mr.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH interest. all his long Eastern knew very little of Malays and almost nothing of their language. unfortunately. earned him the determined opposition of all 229 . the and rivalries of opposing claimants to the Sultanship The rivers and jungle tracks and oiher high offices. jealousies by internal dissensions.

and he constantly bothered the Sultan about business and kept pressing him to introduce reforms. He was white. Mr. some attention. while every change is regarded by the Malay with suspicion and distrust. of personal feel- was none. if it The Malays have always seems strange that I should it make a point of the motive. to state a few of the more prominent First. but to trace with care the reasons why his relations with till Abdullah grew daily more strained matters culminated in the assassination It is of the Resident. he restless.MALAY SKETCHES those who disliked interference. 230 is because Europeans . was a Christian hills and a stranger. Birch went there were people who had to thank him for some kinding there ness. for the reasons I have already given. it is necessary to say in the most positive terms that Mr. sufficient facts. That was his crime in their eyes . wherever Mr. he interfered with other evil-doers. Birch was assassinated solely and entirely for political reasons. state of uncontrolled lawlessness to and preferred the which they were accustomed. admitted this. Birch lived in Perak as its Resident for barely twelve months. would be to write a volume. and. he was journeyed murderers all climbed and over the country.

JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH who for did not know have suggested is that the Resident's murder was due which there to non-political causes. his voice was that of one crying in the wilderness. come was to a dead- With the Resident. very strained relations existed. and while best. elected by some of the chiefs but admitted to have no sufficient claim to the post. appointed tion at his special request. Between the partisans of these rival Sultans. Then ship in lived there was another claimant to the Sultan- the person of the Raja further Muda Jusuf. Ismail. was a Sultan. matters had By September lock. in what called the down-stream country. his claims were undoubtedly the larity his personal unpopu- was so great that the people would not accept him as Sultan." Up-stream there was another Sultan. a suggestion not a semblance of foundation. created by the British Government. 1875. and no sufficient means to for as the compel " its adoption. success of the Residential idea (for no one had attempted to formulate any scheme or system) 231 The . who still up country. but declining to accept the advice of the Resident who had been effective. Abdullah's opposi- was mainly negative but absolutely Resident could only tender advice and had no commission. Abdullah.

collecting revenue. unfortunately. discussing at least. finding that the Raja Muda and others had at once and gladly accepted the suggestion. they sleep for most of the day and sit up most of the night. He hesitated for some days. they do not even attempt to work for that month. 232 talking. as after many months of patient effort on the part of Mr. As the result of that visit and of interviews was made between the Governor and the Chiefs. Birch the desired result seemed further away than ever. a proposition to Sultan Abdullah that the government of the State should be carried on in his British officers. is the case . It when these last is not an auspicious time for conducting negotiations with Malays. This. wanting. was the Malay fasting-month. no doubt. and otherwise carrying out the provisions of the Pangkor Treaty. fearing.) determined to visit Perak and see what chance there was of establishing administrative authority. Jervois. the governor of the neighbouring colony (then Major-General Sir W. the bulan pudsa. eating and affairs and hatching plots. R. that otherwise he might be It left out of the administration altogether. and.MALAY SKETCHES depended on the existence of mutual confidence and friendship between Sultan and Resident.E. events occurred. name by but. he determined to do the same. That was.

about below that of ex-Sultan Ismail. that the British Resident should be got rid but one of them. entitled the Maharaja Lela. During the month. Lower Perak during this particular month of Ramthan. Birch him. on the right thirty miles above the residence of Sultan Abdullah. Sultan Abdullah. and leave the plotting is the chiefs. was a chief of considerable rank. visited This man. was possible (though living only miles from him).JAMES WHEELER concerned in WOODFORD BIRCH it with the upper classes. the Maharaja Lela. movements the who are common it people do not to a rule. after the Sultan he was the seventh in the State. an unusual amount of discussion had been carried on between Sultan Abdullah and his chiefs. undertook to do the business the next time Mr. Birch whenever five it He avoided Mr. and political fast as is they only . and about forty lived at Pasir Salak. He bank of the Perak River. summoned his chiefs and informed them that he had given over 233 . theirs to obey. whose business they think to scheme and In to direct. a couple of miles below the Maharaja Lela's house. and managed to keep friends with both Sultans. and they determined not only of. who was then with his boats at Pasir Panjang.

said. exactly opposite to Pasir Saiak." The Sultan said. placing the ad234 . Birch or the white men. Truly degree from the old arrangement. Birch to set his foot in my kampong at Pasir Salak." The Sultan then Two or three days before the end of the month the Sultan called another meeting of his chiefs at a place called Durian Sa'batang. I will do. but the MahaLela said. the Mentri and the Penglima Kinta telling me on no account to I will not obey the English Government in Perak. Birch. allow Mr. who lived on the other side of the river. At that meeting the Sultan produced the proclama- tions which were to be issued. I will never acknowledge I the authority of Mr. u Even if your Highness has done it do not care at all. announcement was received to in silence by the whom raja so. I was doubtless no news. I Maharaja Lela?" and the Chief will not depart in the smallest replied. ten miles below the small island on which the Resident's hut stood. " Do you really mean " that. the Datoh Sagor." Another chief.MALAY SKETCHES the government of the country to Mr. have received letters from Sultan Ismail. This others. u What the Maharaja Lela does got up and withdrew.

and asked his chiefs what they thought of them. Laksimana. a large and comparatively new arily building of a more than ordin- substantial kind. there will certainly be a fight.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH ministration in the hands of British officers. Arrived at his out messengers to own home." left. Very well. by the Resident. proclamations river. The Maharaja Lela immediately and having loaded his boats with rice. in the lower part of the " . said. collected and when they were he addressed them and stated that Mr. we must accept the but the Maharaja Lela said. The an influential chief. Pasir Salak was the usual collection of Malay houses scattered about in groves of palm and fruit trees by the river-bank. Prominent amongst these was the Maharaja Lela's own dwelling. round which he had for months past been digging a great ditch and throwing up a formidable earthwork crowned by a These preparations had been duly noted palisade. 235 ." To this the Sultan and other chiefs '* said. u Down here. returned up river to his own kampong. the Maharaja Lela sent summon all the men in his immediate neighbourhood. u In my kampong I will not allow those proclamations. If any white man to post they insist on doing so.

joining Mr. the orders of the Sultan and the down-river chiefs were that. if those were the commands of the Sultan and the chief then The Maharaja Lela.MALAY SKETCHES Birch was coming up the river in a few days. It was one or at two days Salak. The assembled people said that. and Perak with them. and directed that everyone should give to him the same obedience as to himself. Birch in his house on the 26th October. of whom Sir I was one. handed his sword to a man called Pandak Indut. fortnight later I went to Singapore with important papers and the drafts of proclamations A defining the authority of the Resident under the new arrangement. if to kill him. I returned to I found the Resident had met with an accident 236 . his father-in-law. Birch to assist him in his negotiations with the chiefs. Mr. These proclamations were printed. number of officers. The people then after this that dispersed. they would carry them out. left W. . and he attempted to post any notices there. Jervois in his journey When I the Governor and those with him the State was directed to remain behind with Mr. accompanied Perak. Birch arrived Pasir Before describing the events of the 2nd ber I Novemhad to A must go back for a moment.

There. He must have got through his part of the work more rapidly than he expected. Mr. and others. all having distributed important villages from Kota Lama downwards.N. and. the boatmen. to try to meet him at Pasir Salak on the 3rd November. to interview the ex- Sultan Ismail.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH had slipped down and so badly sprained his ankle that he could not walk without crutches. and other up-country the proclamations at chiefs. The Sikh guard was mutiny to their in in a state bordering on but by the the evening of the 27th. where were also quartered the Sikh guard (about eighty men). Birch down stream at the same time. he told me. Abbott. Mr. the Raja Bendahara. R. following morning they seemed to have returned senses. and four bluejackets were at Bandar Bharu (the Residency). the Raja Muda. Birch undertook to distribute the proclamations himself in the down-river districts. The . and about noon for I left Bandar Bharu with two boats starting the interior.. for he reached Pasir Salak with three boats at midnight on the 1st November. he expected trouble for which he was quite prepared. and directed me to go up river. and anchored 237 in midstream. lie Lieut.

an armed guard of twelve Sikhs. forty people in the the Mr. and a number of Malay boatmen and servants. whose a few feet from the riverside. the first made fast to the floating bath-house of a little Chinese jeweller.MALAY SKETCHES day At daylight his boats went alongside the bank. Birch had with him a 3-Pr. Directly after their arrival Mr. There must have been about party. besides other property. Birch. After this conversation. Birch was accompanied by Lieut. brass gun. and the Resident's own boat was after the 1st November was Fast. Mr. a Sikh orderly. shop stood on the high bank This was the only Chinese house in Pasir Salak. Malay interpreter (an eminently respectable Malay of nearly fifty named Muhammad Arshad). Abbott borrowed a small boat from the Chinaman and went across Kampong Gajah to shoot snipe. which was held in the Resident's boat. the Chief of that place. the Datoh Sagor. where he at once sought the river to an interview with Mr. a small mortar. the Datoh Sagor and interpreter Mr. returning in the boat to Pasir Salak. and 238 the interpreter said to the Maharaja Lela that the . and a number of English fire-arms and Malay weapons. the Hdri Raya. Abbott. Birch's went to the Maharaja Lela's house.

Birch's boat. Birch now gave some proclamations interpreter. but at the same time began an " to abuse the Resident. but his boatmen heard and realised that trouble was brewing. and that they should be The Datoh told them told to stand further away. Mr. They were all armed with spears and krises. sixty or seventy men had assembled and were and those in the now to standing about on the bank of the river close Mr." and the interpreter returned to the boat and reported to his master the result of his interview. and would go to Mr. Birch asked the Datoh Sagor what they wanted. but if the Chief preferred be it. and they gave a few infidel. neighbourhood were ordered to come in.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH Resident wished to see him and would go to his house for that purpose. 239 . " I have nothing to do with Mr. he would The Maharaja Lela said. By this time. The news spread in of the Resident's arrival all had been every direction. Probably the Resident did not understand these ominous signs." yards. and Mr. Birch. to the who took them on shore and posted them on the shutters of the Chinaman's shop. calling him and asking what he meant by coming there asking questions and speaking like one in authority. glad to meet him there. Birch's boats. to move away.

Sikh orderly at the door with a This bath-house was of the type common in Perak. and. up inside It and a person even standing cannot see what is taking place on the and in spite of the shore close by. leaving his loaded revolver. tore them down and took them off to the Maharaja u Pull Lela's house. and Pandak Indut went out to may be execute his master's orders. threatening attitude of the large crowd of armed Malays standing in groups 240 and passing between . Meanwhile.MALAY SKETCHES Almost immediately. and on them built a small house with mat sides about five feet high. was down the proclamations. fastened together by cross-pieces of wood. and. and a roof closing on the sides but leaving two open triangular spaces at front and back.m. breakfast. Pandak Indut. the Maharaja Lela's father-in-law. The it structure is so moored that it floats parallel to the bank. two large logs floating in the stream. was now about 10 a. after giving directions to prepare his went into the Chinaman's bath-house to bathe. Mr. Birch had handed to his interpreter some more proclamations to replace those removed. it them." Then supposed he washed his hands of all responsibility. That chiefs if dictum.. kill they persist in putting them up.

when Pandak Indut and a number of other men came quickly from the Maharaja Lela's house. "What M are the Chiefs Pandak Indut me. so that he the stream. turned towards the bath-house. go and struggled out Q into 241 . made took half a dozen steps. The crowd orders ? asked. seeing no heed was paid to He had not him. he began ." replied. The wounded man down the bank into the river and caught hold of his master's boat. fearing the signs boded a catastrophe. others sleeping in the boats. followed him and cut him over the head but others let and hands. and. They had not long to wait. the Malays.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH the river-bank and their chiefs house. the Resident was composedly bathing in the river. when Pandak Indut spear fell over- him and thrust his into the man's abdomen. and a few. while his people were some of them cooking on the bank. anxiously expectant. He leaves the matter to Going tearing straight up to the Chinese shop. The interpreter was still replacing the proclamations on the Chinaman's hut. down the newly-posted papers the inter- preter protested.

followed by three or four others shouting amok. and a moment he came to the surface of the water astern of the house. Birch's head above the mat wall . difficulty they gained the boat and got the man As they dropped down 242 the river Mr. Birch's Malays were supported the grievously swimming wounded while they interpreter. and was not seen again. killed. standing with a revolver out any warning to his master. Birch in the bath-house. the boats and saved himself. slashed He sank the Resident over the head with a sword. jumped into the river with- swam off to one of The melee. Some of the murderers were already waiting there. Birch's ." and. river. is Pandak Indut cried " Here out. and one of them. At that time men in the boats could see Mr.bank A was now the scene of a general Malay boatman and a Sikh had been two but the others had got one of the boats away it from the bank into midstream and towards of Mr. dmok they t leapt on to the floating timbers and thrust their spears through the open space in the front of the house. him. With in. at the door of the bath-house. it disappeared after without any sound from him.MALAY SKETCHES The let interpreter disposed of. come. us kill Mr. The Sikh orderly. a man called Siputum.

before they arrived there the interpreter died. " It is well. Long Mr. and two of them were wounded by shots from these The coxswain then wrenched a rifle from a men. Sikh and shot one of these assailants. After this the boat proceeded unmolested to Bandar Bharu. and some fire ! coxswain urged the Sikhs to shots were fired which for a bank. claimed The Chief said. the Sikh and the boatman. was place. A small boat moment with two men in cleared the it put out lower down stream to intercept the fugitives. The attack. shooting on the other warned of what had taken difficulty bank. but they said they could not do so without an order He accordingly gave the order. credit for their murderous work. and with great got into a dug-out and made his way down stream under the fire of the Malays on the bank." He then called a man forward 243 . Abbott. the murder of the Resident. his in- terpreter. and the others. the Maharaja Lela walked into their midst and asked whose hands had done the Resident and his men to death. Instantly Pandak Indut. and the escape of the rest of the party was the work of a few passion of strife minutes. none but those who struck blows can share in the spoil. Siputum.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH on the Malays. bloodthirst Whilst still the and swayed the crowd.

Birch." That evening the Maharaja Lela sent a letter to ex-Sultan Ismail describing what he had done. Residency was planned. so they elected to return with their object unattained. These are the tion. within a few hundred yards of Bandar Bharu it but to rain. and a number attack An upon the of men began started on the expedition. and even got . " Very well. and the the Laksamana that I have The message was delivered the Laksamana said.MALAY SKETCHES and " said. facts about Mr. he sent with it the Resident's own boat. By the help of a friendly Malay. and there buried on the night of the 6th November. I tell will tell the Sultan. Birch's assassina- and it may be of some interest to add that the Resident's two boats were immediately rifled and all their contents carried up to the Maharaja Lela's house. ordered to be carried out that night. Mr. brought to Bandar Bharu. 244 . to remove any doubt on the subject. and a man at whose house the party called told reception. a foreigner. and it them they would get a warm would be quite a different thing to murdering the Resident. and." same day. Go and killed Mr. Birch's body was recovered.

a weeks he had been a hunted to think that capture life sorcerer. For many outcast.JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH The Maharaja Lela and his neighbour the Datoh " burnt their ships. Birch's murder. late He was in to Bandar Bharu I early part of 1876. who had order of his Chief. and he seemed was almost preferable to the he had been leading. the subsequent fighting. one died an The brought first man captured was Siputum. the rebels driven out. and one evening in the went to see him in the looking creature lock-up about midnight. Birch was a good man. responsibility of the individual 245 The for his own . a medicine man. ment that Mr. He was a Pdwang. Some fell during outlaw in the jungle. having stockade their villages. He sat on the floor and described to me his share in Mr. pausing between the sentences to kill mosquitoes He volunteered the stateon the wall of his cell. been kind to him. and their villages destroyed." proceeded to Sagor. and those stockades were subsequently taken. and that what he did was by whom he was bound to obey. it A wilder hard to would have been find. and also nearly all those who were indirectly responsible. Sooner or later punishment overtook every man directly concerned in this crime.

and other Chiefs whose complicity in the assassination fullest by the evidence. and zealous officers. but. the State of Perak gained in twelve months what ten its " " years of advice could hardly have accomplished. to him. and established was a like sentence was passed upon his adherents. and he learnt In too late to profit Maharaja Lela. they were severally found guilty and condemned to death.MALAY SKETCHES actions was a it doctrine that was strange by it. They were prosecuted by Colonel Dunlop. After a trial which lasted eight days. That was not all. on behalf of the Government. Sultan Abdullah. were banished from the State. and defended by an able and experienced member of the Singapore Bar. and four others were arraigned before the Raja Muda Jusuf and Raja 1876. but the extreme penalty was exacted only in the cases of the three first named. Birch and the others at Pasir Salak on the 2nd November 1875. the Datoh Sagor. for the events of those twelve 246 .. the ex-Sultan Ismail and some of In Mr. and charged with murdering Mr. Pandak Indut. able. and myself. by the action which his death made necessary. the December Alang Husein. Birch the British Government lost one of most courageous. R.A.

JAMES WHEELER WOODFORD BIRCH
months,

when they came
on the inner

to be fully

a

light

life

known, threw of the Malay and his

peculiar characteristics, that
revelation.
It is all
its

was

in the nature of a

too soon to forget the lesson

or disregard

teachings.

«47

XX

A PERSONAL INCIDENT
Haud multum
ceretur abfuit

quin

interfi-

Horacx

From Captain Speedy,
Larut,
to

Queen's Commissioner,

H.E. Sir William Jervois,
the Straits.

Governor of
TExtract
:1

Larut, November

gth,

1875.

"TN the second report, that of 7th
A

instant, Sergeant

Din states that he was told by one Kulup Riau that Mr. Swettenham had been murdered by
the Raja Lela at Pasir Salak on the 5th instant.
regret to state that I
that the report is
I

have every reason to believe but too true. My inspector, Din

Mahomed, reached Kuala Kangsar (where I sent him with a party of men immediately on hearing of
Mr. Birch's death, to warn and guard Mr. Swetten-

ham)

at

2 p.m. on 4th instant, but, on his arrival,
248

A PERSONAL INCIDENT
he found that Mr. Swettenham had unfortunately left, to return by the river a few hours previously
;

owing

to the

rapidity

of the current,

the

boats

should have reached Pasir Salak by the following
day.
I

Malay, to
if

have sent detectives, both Chinese and inquire into the matter, and to obtain,
the

possible,

remains

of

these

unfortunate

officers."

I

came across the above passage
I

and

will explain

why

Blue Book, Captain Speedy had every
in a

reason to believe in the certainty of

my

death, and

how

it

was

that

my

remains were not to be collected

just then.

In the preceding sketch

I

mentioned that

I left

Bandar Bharu

at

noon on the 28th October with

two boats, and intended, if it were possible, to meet Mr. Birch at Pasir Salak about the 3rd

November.
Besides the Malay boatmen,
celebrated Selangor chief
I

had with

me

a very
a

named Raja Mahmud,
it

man whose whole

life

had been passed

in jungle

warfare, and as he had

come through
His

scathless he
re-

was regarded by Malays as invulnerable and
spected accordingly.
to take
latest exploit

had been

command

of a body of Malays in an engage249

MALAY SKETCHES
ment with Her Majesty's troops
State (Sungei Ujong), and as
I

in a neighbouring

persuaded him to go to up to the Governor, he had attached himself to

had subsequently Singapore and give himself

me

and thoroughly enjoyed the
Perak.

possibility of trouble in

Then

I

had a Manila boatman, one of the best

coxswains

on

the

river,

a

marvellous dancer of

himself

hornpipes and no less courageous than Raja more so he could hardly be.

Mahmud
Lastly,

Mahmud had
and
I

a couple of

men devoted

to himself,

had a Chinese servant.

This being the wet season the river was high,
poling difficult and progress slow, so that
it

was

not

till

the morning of the 30th that

Blanja, the village

of Sultan

Ismail.

we reached As Ismail
influential

had been elected Sultan by a number of
chiefs

who

declined to recognise

either Jusuf or
far superior

Abdullah (though both of them had
claims),

and, as by the Pangkor Treaty and refelt

cognition of Abdullah, Ismail no doubt
I

aggrieved,

did not expect a very friendly reception from him,
I

nor did

suppose that

I

should be specially welcome

as the bearer of proclamations which could not be

otherwise than distasteful to him.

It

was only

six

weeks since

I

had been

at Blanja

with the Governor,

250

A PERSONAL INCIDENT
and again a fortnight later I went there alone. Since then Ismail (or his advisers in his name) had summoned nearly all the principal people of the

had arrived

upper country, and a very large number of boats at Blanja, bringing all the chiefs and
Moreover, to increase his following

their retainers.

the ex-Sultan had resorted to an expedient not un-

England ; certain high offices of State were vacant, and into these he inducted his own
in

known

adherents

in fact, created peers, to give himself a

majority in the
I

Upper House.
said

waited half the day hoping to see Ismail, but

he was asleep and meant to That is a common form remain asleep a long time.
failed.

They

of Malay diplomacy, and, as

I

could not afford to
left

delay longer,

I

explained the proclamations,
said
I

a

number of copies and
on

would

call

on Ismail

As a piece ot back in a few days. news they told me a customs station had been established at Blanja, and everyone who passed

my way

I said I would be taxed, white men or Malays. should be glad to see the collector, and he was in-

troduced, but seemed embarrassed, and assured

me
I

he was only carrying out his master's orders, so
continued

my journey.

If

any conclusion could be

drawn from the conversation and manner of the
251

MALAY SKETCHES
Blanja people, disturbances (war, they called
it)

were

imminent.

The next day and had a long

I

was

at the

Raja Muda's

village,

talk with him.

He

also

was

for
it.

war, but did not think the Malays would begin

He

no good would be done in the country, till " the malcontents " had been Untaught a lesson.
said

fortunately, as far as could

be seen,

all

the chiefs

with very few exceptions, were in that category.

The

people

hardly

count,

they are passive and

recognise that they live to obey their leaders.

That night

I

reached Kuala Kangsar, and the

then important personage of the place, an old lady who lived on the hill where now the Residency
stands,

informed

me

that she

had been living in
in

daily fear of attack
village

by the people of a neighbouring

called

Kota Lama.
all

The shops

Kuala

Kangsar were

closed,

and everyone was waiting
here was that a notoriously

for the bursting of the storm.

The

latest excitement

bad character named Raja Alang, living in a house by the path which led from Kuala Kangsar to the
neighbouring
(a
district of Larut,

saw a

foreign

Malay

man

of Patani) walking past with his wife and

two

children.

When

the

man

got opposite Raja

Alang's house he raised his trousers to keep them
252

at the time of my arrival. into the house. and a child of Raja Alang. and as Raja Alang considered this disrespectful to him. Just at dawn on the following morning the Patani man got up. he wounded Raja Alang hastily left the himself considerably. It is a detail. his own two while children. and because this inci- dent. dividing the interests of the people of Kuala Kangsar. them there till the money was After a couple of days. hurting the steps in the hurry of his exit. during which they were given no food. On the ist November I read and posted the pro- 253 . was.A PERSONAL INCIDENT out of the mud. The man was of course unable to comply with this monstrous demand. and said he would keep paid. killing another man. and with it stabbed the owner to death. Raja Alang said he would sell the woman and children to raise the amount of the fine. took from a Malay lying near him a kris. he called to the man and told him he must pay a fine of a hundred dollars. I mention it only as then escaped. his wife and children. so the Raja took him. for he forgot house. Then he struck out wildly. a woman. with rumours of war. The murderer went next door and killed two more women and his own wife. Altogether he killed nine people and wounded three. showing the state of society.

and on the following day I went to see the Raja Bendahara. and rehabilitate themselves with be obliged for the if and would dollars would lend him a thousand purpose the 3rd On and in tions in villages I distributed the proclamabetween Kuala Kangsar and Larut. the third highest officer in the State. who gave I me I his version of the amok. Amongst the crowd was Raja Alang. and the people in it 254 . the unenviable reputathen. tion of being the It most impossible place in Perak. to which he replied that he had done wrong but was now taubat (a reformed character). and gave the Bendahara some copies.MALAY SKETCHES clamations in Kuala Kangsar. and denied that he had ill-treated the Patani man. was a very large village. that he wished to go to to Mecca (the desire of all Malays who want I ! wipe out a bad record society). lookthe infamous way in which the people were that I expressed by the Rajas. and to him and a large crowd of his followers I read the proclamation. He lived across the river. which I asked him to have posted. see from the journal kept in those that such things ing to treated my surprise days were not of daily occurrence. as indeed it has still. the afternoon went with Raja Mahmud and November This village had one boat up river to Kota Lama.

having carefully calcu- had got underneath lated their host's position. apology later. head by an inch or two. their before Mr. and. Malay houses. and the other went through the floor and the mat and penetrated his shoulder. nor of compelling an of forcing a landing then. and while engaging him in conversation and eating his sireh. Birch had visited Kota Lama. I went to see a man who had been shot through the shoulder the night before by two men who had against a grudge him. like all It was a wooden raised high above the ground. but the people turned out with firearms. he had not since been to the place. and advised his relatives to send him Then we walked about the to Kuala Kangsar. it. the floor was That night they and. building. had measured the distance of his sleeping mat from the walls of the house. they fired simultaneously One bullet missed the victim's and decamped. and said that if he He had no means landed they would shoot him.A PERSONAL INCIDENT prided themselves on it neighbours called independence . and had settled it in a truly Irish fashion. and. They called at his house. I had been in Kota Lama a month before this . I now went to see this man again and found him doing badly. their A few months impudence. 255 . therefore.

I should have posted After this we had a long and comparatively them. and I they did not say them the permission was unnecessary.MALAY SKETCHES village. and is possible they might have acted differently had he 256 . when I got back. They added." but the politest fashion. and he was the Raja Bendahara. that he might post them in Kota Lama. but inquired. and I asked the headman to send to Kuala Kangsar. the Sultan ? What about To which to it they replied that he lived a long way off. if I had had the proclamations. Raja Mahmud stood by and said nothing. and it was nearly dark when I left them. accompanied by four or five men all armed to the and we had a conversation wherein I think its each side did best to " bluff" the other. and they would do nothing without his orders. and in the absence of the headman I sent for his deputy. as. I told them I would ask the " Bendahara to give the " necessary instructions. in "We won't hinder you told if you want post the proclamations. but it they knew well enough who he was. He came teeth. It so happened that we had come away without the proclamations. He said they only acknowledged one chief in Kota Lama. friendly talk. talked to the people. and I would give the papers.

you and Raja force. Blanja at 4 p. and they were very cordially reciprocated. I found the Raja Muda Jusuf.m. They are quiet now because you will here . spend and continue my journey the next day. It my was my intention the night there." Little as he thought it. being done. find that he said and. The Raja Muda's feelings towards the Arrived at Kota Lama people were quite beyond expression. The I next morning. Stopping only for breakfast. as soon as you go they will begin again. was at hand.A PERSONAL INCIDENT not been there. 257 R . started down I river I at saw the Raja Muda before left. the time for force . interview ex-Sultan Ismail.m. Mahmud come. was so amazed that he felt it at way back he told me he the way the Kota Lama men talked our On wiser not to join in the conversation. and told him the result of my visit to Kota Lama. without making an example of some of the opposition. the 4th November.30 a. referring to my journal. again " No : early or permanent settlement can be made without are If force. I my work 8. for some was already past diction but if his pre- was right. and we may use we can settle the matter in a fortnight. his estimate of the means required boats reached to to settle matters was over-sanguine. Kuala Kangsar.

Birch my boat and at once had sone to Pasir Salak. and while our men were engaged waded out to in distance from the shore. and still some a man called Haji Ali my boat and came on board. This Haji of life. killing who had not saved themselves by the Sikhs flight. which bordered by a long and wide boats of those strip of sand. but we were hardly prepared for the news that awaited us. well-made man in the prime was the genial person of evil reputation who. but I distrusted him in common with the rest of the Blanja faction. doing this. We had noticed the unusual number of people on the not less than two or three hundred and sands — — of boats alongside there were at least fifty. a tall. who had then attacked all and captured Bandar Bharu. Notwithstanding this fact the Haji was always anxious to convey the impression that he was entirely friendly to me. with Penglima Prang Semaun. had already distinguished himself by murdering one of the lowcountry chiefs.MALAY SKETCHES The left river at Blanja shoals rapidly towards the is bank. The who call here are dragged as close in as possible. This it news was so startling that 258 I could not believe and . that there he and sixteen of his people had been mur- dered by the Maharrja Lela. Haji Ali seated himself in stated that Mr. Ali.

Birch's own boat to Blanja to prove to Ismail the truth of his statement. that they returning. Ismail. first At Haji Ali's caught up his kris. The Haji completed siderately telling information by con- me that the Maharaja Lela and his people had staked the river right across at Pasir Salak. as no one else knew the country. it being their belief that when once they had got rid of Mr. had declined to receive the boat. who 259 would .A PERSONAL INCIDENT said so. words Raja Mahmud had and was now tightening his his waist-belt and preparing for instant trouble. but the man assured me it was true. Birch and myself they would have no further I knew was interference from white men. telling the it men who had killed brought Mr. making it impassable for boats. He concluded with an invitation from the ex-Sultan to go and see him on shore. I As soon as he had left the boat I held a hasty said it consultation with Raja Mahmud. and added as a proof that the Maharaja Lela had sent Mr. he said. Birch he had better keep his boat. and the messengers had accordingly left with it only two that as the Maharaja Lela hours before our arrival. and were waiting for me. and to get rid of him asked him to go back and say that I was coming. thanked him.

but just as the men were preparing to get the boat out into the stream. and producing a long knife said It was quite clear that he did not mean to move. I if it When came to close quarters he would give a good account of himself. and Mahmud's two men formed the crew. however. The once. he smiled a not quite pleasant smile. Perak man declined the journey . to leave I decided one boat and only take those who volunThat question was very soon settled. he asked him. idea of returning up-river it was unpleasant and well nigh impossible. and as some of them did not relish the prospect of trying to run the gauntlet. By this time we were ready to start. Haji Ali appeared again to take us on 260 . and Mahmud I were the passengers. three foreign Malays and teered to go. There was my Chinese was not a man of war. I thought he remain where he was. was therefore discarded at All the men in both my boats had heard what Haji Ali said. and to would prefer me. at Blanja. for they all realised that the danger would be in staying with servant.MALAY SKETCHES be madness to land like rats in a trap. my Manila every boy took the rudder. where we should be and the only course was to go on at once and at all hazards before they had time to stop us.

and we pointed out to him that as was moving to into if much time get out deep water he had not he wanted to return to the shore. but you will be killed all the same. 261 myself— man in the boat — last us long and I certainly can believed that he had started on . true I I at once told him that if his story was could not stop at Blanja and must go on at once. but his surprise He said." We told him that whatever was we were the boat going. " No doubt you think yourselves very fine fellows." He was still standing in the same place when we had gone some distance. but he stood there and shouted. pleasure of thinking that we had at any rate cheated the Blanja people did not believe every for speak a journey of which sudden death was the inevitable bourne. and it was rather deep. It seemed to us The I them the unexpected had happened. and as we passed outside the long line of boats the many people on shore realised that we had started again and were rapidly dropping that for down stream. impossible.A PERSONAL INCIDENT shore. He got out. the whole country down it stream is arms. you cannot pass. is now was genuine enough. How "It in far he had been acting before was doubtful. is certain it destruction.

If the conditions were as they had been 262 stated. . that we should reach the point of greatest danger in broad daylight.m. worst of the river at Pasir Salak was staked from bank to bank. that the Residency boats were all painted white. Speed was our best chance. There were two points of minor moment first. Secondly. we were told. and no native-owned boat in the That fact made us so conspicountry was white.. and now there was a no time night's work before them and to stop for cooking. therefore. and if so no boat could pass that barrier. they had had one meal. truth of that Then the both banks of the river for miles above and below Pasir . had been murdered people on at Pasir Salak.m. the next morning. and we could not well doubt the report. but here again we were handicapped by the fact that our men had been paddling since 8. we had one of them. the Sikhs killed or fugitives in the jungle all. cuous that the — we did not think it worth while to lower up to that time Union Jack we carried at the stern. . no house-boat had ever made the like journey from Blanja to Pasir Salak in anything twelve hours. probably about 9 a.MALAY SKETCHES The Resident.30 a. Salak were on the watch for us the Residency was in the hands of the Maharaja Lela's people. and we calculated.

but we we decided that it was un- wise to waste the time and rouse the whole village. fate ' we saw own boat. while it lasted. water lessened our a way that often The height of the but for all that we to were driven at times very close the banks. the boat could see no one in or The enough night was moonless but in the starlit. fine and clear for our purpose.A PERSONAL INCIDENT and as we believed them us. for. dusk we reached Bota. for with to be. The at river was high. a surprise to them. nothing could save two rifles and a shot gun we could hardly hope to force the barrier unless aided by a miracle. The stop idea was attractive and no doubt it would have been was at an end. dark enough to conceal us when we were the Perak is middle of the stream. As we passed about it. and just Fastened by an island Mr. it was 263 . and with that doubt as to his we might Raja Mahmud suggested that and attack the people in charge.m. Birch's all opposite the village the " Dragon. But a river where to the navigable channel in wanders from side baffles the side most skilful pilot. the current strong. difficulties. Between 9 and 10 p. This was very confusing. a thick white mist came down and enveloped the river in impenetrable fog.

was so tired that about half-past ten I longer keep awake. and waking. was possible because we I dared not have any light. for we calculated that if cious time. and only smoked with could no the utmost precaution. but some time by the succession of watch-fires on the banks and the realised. The mist lifted and fell again at intervals all through the night. that we were getting It seemed to me. and several times the wearied boatmen dropped asleep over their paddles. We were not at all certain of our whereabouts. for now. I had told them to rouse me when we got near to Pasir Salak. numbers of men moving about. 264 it . and so dense time was it that at one we lost our way. to our great surprise.MALAY SKETCHES impossible to see half a boat's length in any direction. that this lasted for a long time we were getting callous of the people on the bank when we found that no one seemed to observe us however close we were forced to go. and at last discovered by a snag that we had got the boat completely round and were paddling up stream! That discovery gave us rather a bad shock. dozing . after eleven o'clock we into the zone of danger. and we had lost half an hour of prewe could make such a mistake It once it might occur again.

and that feel the shock of we had determined when that happened we would push our boat along it till we found the usual opening closed by a floating log and guarded. and the deepest water was on the left or Kampong necessary to That we decided to take. the its sheltering cover we glided swiftly light of the blazing logs.30 a. loomed out from the fire-lit haze. the place before dawn. while now and then a man's figure. the whole grouped a number of armed men — place was apparently on the qui plied their paddles. shining vaguely through the fog. Every instant we expected to the boat against the barrier.m.A PERSONAL INCIDENT seemed evident hours quietly that we should reach 1. We knew that to get past Pasir Salak it was go right under one bank or the other. and under down. vive. As noise- lessly as possible. close though they were. Huge fires Gajah side. In the darkness we meant 265 to try and force . About Mahmud woke me. and round each were indeed. as we supposed. the men and we made Just at this for the deep the water under the bank. of seemingly gigantic proportions. were blazing on the bank. thick white veil of mist moment came down over the river. by boats. but none the less vigorously. and the boatmen nerved them- selves for the final effort.

a large fire seized the shot-gun. For an instant the steersman had given the rudder a wrong turn. — The only in the imagina- more probably. barrier never existed in fact tion of Haji Ali. the Maharaja it. when a man on " the bank called out. We could hardly realise the truth when we found ourselves at the lower end of the village without having encountered any obstruction. Two of our men with poles were making superhuman efforts to push off the boat. and we two of the knelt with fingers on trigger covering figures that were distinct enough in spite of the we were hardly ten feet distant from them. you from ? mist. Mahmud had a rifle.MALAY SKETCHES our way through or take one of the enemy's boats on the down-stream side of the stakes. I To my I saw on the high bank. of laziness Just as I was thinking a very sincere thanks- Lela had intended to make giving. and we were stranded. exactly with eight or ten over us. the bow of the boat suddenly ran on the fast. but the Malay habits and procrastination defeated his plan. " Whose boat is that ? One " of our men replied." having Haji " " Where are seen his boat at Blanja. for 266 . or. men round it. shore and stuck there We were so close to the bank that this happened without the slightest warning. Mat Yassin's. dismay.

confident that we had nothing more to We passed Bandar Bharu quietly. down the river.. but by and we were time the bow of the boat was off drifting stern-foremost out into the fog. Where are you for ? this and the reply was. but there at least hands of the Maharaja there was no barrier. and in the we had been was Lela. and we said to each other that it would be very easy to shoot the men as they placed themselves so con- veniently en Evidence." " and other questions fol- lowed.A PERSONAL INCIDENT was the next " inquiry. miles lower Ten very welcome challenge. we saw a light on each bank and a man on watch by the light.m. and we were fear. the distance the answers to returned were derisive and misleading. it being then we were suddenly hailed by a voice only 3 a. told this miles lower down. . was true that we had yet five to pass the Residency at Bandar Bharu. "Blanja. for 267 I recognised the voice. for every- danger was past and the life he had made up his mind to lose would not be one felt that the real required of It him that night after all. stream and the sheltering widened and shouts came As stop. threatening death and other penalties if we did not That was a immediately declare who we were.

but we congratulated ourselves on the forbearance later not shooting the sentries. for subsequent disclosures proved that I had landed at Blanja the intention was to immediately attack left and murder me. daresay. In my case he was also a wise counsellor. The Maharaja Lela and they found I friends professed themselves both surprised and disappointed when had arrived at Bandar Bharu. and morning. having I passed Pasir Salak without their knowledge. Only then we learnt that Bandar Bharu had not fallen into the hands of the enemy. however. and when we so abruptly that place the ingenuous Haji Ali and his friend the Penglima Prang Semaun with a number of their men were sent after us in fast boats on a mission similar to the one they had previously undertaken 268 . suggested that if the Sikh felt lonesome in the we nad snown m in the night watches it would perhaps be wiser his for him not to stand in the full blaze of a large lamp. that some of them were not alto- gether sorry that they had been spared a meeting with Raja Mahmud.MALAY SKETCHES and in a few seconds we were alongside a Selangor steam-launch. when we got up to the Residency. and we had therefore come ten miles further than was necessary . for he was reckoned a mighty man of valour.

During the subsequent military operations in Perak.A PERSONAL INCIDENT As we saw nothing and successfully carried out. and. t69 . of them I conclude they did not exert themselves to overtake us. and when looking at I find him me there is no anger in his face. after some weeks spent on a British man-of-war. I don't know why. now. but he seems depressed. only a great sorrow as of a the world and of man who is misunderstood by who suffers without resentment. he became I occasionally see him quite a reformed character. but this expression is a source unfeigned amusement to the Malays who happen it. to see It is very unfeeling of them. Haji Ali fell into our hands.

Captain Innes. the nearest British Settlement. together with the Superintendent of the Penang Police (Hon. H.E. member in of was then Birch's in civil employ as Penang. ON the day after my arrival at Bandar Bharu. R. with murder reached place. Captain Innes the sent a force to take charge of Residency.XXI NAKODAH ORLONG Two One things greater than are. 270 .M. ioth Regiment. an exceptionally able his distinguished corps. is all things Love and the other War Rudyard Kipling Captain Innes.. Plunket) and twenty native constables armed with rifles. came from Penang accompanied by two officers and sixty men of the First Battalion of H. that head of the Public Works Department When was the news of Mr.

was determined Pasir Salak before the Maharaja Lela had time to collect a large following. was decided to take two howitzers and a rocket-tube. the November. With is Easterns. An immediate advance was also considered advisable to prevent the number of our enemies being increased by what might look still like our indecision. fifty R. his four it bluejackets. and to about attack so-called Sikhs. the force at our disposal. settled that was. 271 in boats. knew that the Maharaja Lela was throwing We up works. that we . therefore.NAKODAR ORLONG It is not my intention to detail the subsequent is events except in so far as necessary for a right understanding of an death of a incident connected with the man called Nakodah Orlong. but outside of it it. which included Abbott. to sit and stockade your position probably. Pasir Salak was It not on our side of the river. a Sumatran Malay.N. With Lieut. The was distance from Bandar Bharu to Pasir Salak miles. . we should start at daylight the next 7th morning. five every yard of it covered with vegetation of some sort. not only and to force them in his village.. under such circumstances. the only road a narrow path by the river-bank moreover. the worst course possible.

came him if he would join us he at in. and undertook to find these. I hard was only we had started that learnt the intention of taking guns had been abandoned. and said he could bring fourteen of his own men with him.30 a. Late that evening. pressed for after hands to however. for we do the poling. The and took care that the mistake was never repeated. however. as we found to our cost. in line with the shore All that was wanted was a body I of scouts to feel the way. whom I knew well. and the but it was hard to such short notice. any work defended by Malays means a certain sacrifice of life. We men without 4. his There were Raja Mahmud. the guns being served by the bluejackets from two boats that would be kept party. say where any other trustworthy Malays could be got at two followers.m. carriage of guns and rockets through the jungle 272 . without guns. got start all into boats. To attack.30 a. Nakodah Orlong..MALAY SKETCHES should pole up stream two miles and walk the rest. Manila boy already spoken of. on the 7th. were up at That made us twenty.m. not were It difficulty. a it very unfor- tunate change of plan as turned out. and made a by 7. and when I asked once consented. and the was enough for the purpose.

and so thick and close that it was impossible to see more than three or four yards in any direction . landing was effected. On entering this field we opened out to cover half as large a front as possible. passed a gigantic fig-tree growing on the edge of the river bank. followed at an interval by half the detachment of the ioth.NAKODAH ORLONG means delay and hard work. and. was accomplished without a moved off. and Penang Police under of all the remainder of the We to began the march gaily enough. always close by the river-bank. then the Sikhs last Mr. whatever the will and delay. we came to a large field of Indian corn. After walking a mile or so. not expecting meet with any resistance till near Pasir Salak. The plants were eight or ten feet high. and to the right of him one of s his men called Alang . and the party The scouts were in front. Captain Innes and the sailors with a rocket-tube came next. on my 273 left was Raja Mahmud . river journey The incident. On my right was Nakodah Orlong. and ioth Regiment. when way through the corn. between the corn-stalks was planted with and that was a couple of feet in height. Plunket. trouble justify but. the ground hill-padi. hardly any consideration an attack without at least one gun.

274 of a brisk fusilade ." was him and followed I his advice. for I Probably my said. There they are. while we had no tence shelter whatever. and the enemy were hidden behind a rampart of logs and banana-stems. The its absurdity of the situation was apparent. At this moment Nakodah M Orlong said. our position was so uncomfortable that my own inclination was unhesitatingly to get out of the way. fast Raja Mahmud obliged to " Stand and shoot. the enemy maintaining a brisk fire. for the last few feet of the corn had been cut down. and That decided us unpleasantness was heightened by the opening in our rear. and of the rest of the force we could see and hear nothing. and the rest of the scouts. but as the Manila boy and were the only possessors of shooting-weapons. when we were Nakodah Orlong fell without uttering another sound. We were talking and laughing (being still a long way from Pasir Salak) when suddenly we came to the end of the cover. and. intention was apparent. We had been walking fast. to their our continued exis- was due simply want of skill.MALAY SKETCHES the Manila boy." and the words were hardly out of his mouth greeted by a volley from the enemy concealed behind a stockade not a dozen yards in front of us.

twice again during the day That was only the beginning of misunderstanding we were placed in the position. as no one had that was the It last man on seen him.NAKODAH ORLONG and we stepped back under cover. and. we concluded he also had been killed. for he fell within a was the only one missing. however. . we were between two and thought it rate from shooting us. Once also the Sikhs made a determined 275 attack on the men with me we were trying to outflank the Malays. . us. same uncomfortable behind and a man kneeling me was as shot in the back of his thigh. Alang was no doubt. was no it use. but our own people keeping up a was at merciless discharge in rear. there we found that besides Nakodah Orlong (about whose fate there yard of me). He the right. best to try and stop our friends at any We shouted. of our position. and the their best in front. but that. no one could either see or hear minutes before and was some realised we were able to let Captain Innes know fire. take us long to decide that the side towards the enemy was the safest. once proposed that we should go back and secure the bodies. and then moved Arrived to the sheltering trunk of the fig-tree. of course. In that time we that even a large tree offers poor shelter from a cross It did not. enemy doing fires.

The 276 rockets. with one end on the bank and the other in high jungle. it is to prove how say that it did not take long serious a mistake had been made in leav- ing the howitzers behind. and as they all went over the top of . That was no sense his fault. They were so dispirited left by this waste of effort. I am not now concerned sufficient to attack. and he had never seen them before the previous evening. Birch's with the details of the murderers. of course. it affording perfect cover. for they were not his men. with much was not for this kind of work that they had engaged. The were work was backed by a thick plantation of bananas. it and explained afterwards. that police had retired en masse at an even earlier hour. The Penang force. The enemy's stockade was a long rampart imit was faced by a deep and penetrable to bullets . and his Pan dak Indut.MALAY SKETCHES and in spite of our shouts only desisted when almost It is true. were ineffective. that they incontinently the place and went straight home in spite of all Plunket's attempts in to stop them. within touch of us. wide ditch cut at right angles to the river. an old pattern. foremost of Mr. that the cover was so dense they could not see us until the last moment. and those defending commanded by father-in-law the Maharaja Lela in person.

NAKODAH ORLONG the stockade were greeted by the jeers of the enemy. to carry this and a succession of other stockades without the loss of a man. bluejackets. their weapons take some time to load. protected We enemy. Experience is usually costly. fear into the enemy. We could not get across the ditch in the face of an unseen. and other casualties. About officers. had to retire with the loss of Captain Innes killed. 1 p. (our force being then reduced to the the men of the 10th.m. a week later. We were close enough to hear even what they said in the intervals between the firing. That was done. while we were entirely at their mercy. both the officers of the 10th (Lieutenants Booth and Elliott) severely wounded. and Malay scouts) Captain Innes gave the order to charge the stockade. we had gained nothing by rushing the Though 277 . but they are deadly distance if enough at a few yards the men who hold them would not fire at the tree-tops. The Malay's it idea is to loose off his that piece as often as he can. makes a noise and puts heart into the man who fires. but without guns to clear the way it was a hopeless task. If men to with weapons of precision and the knowledge handle them had held the work. none of our party ought to have escaped. and what we learnt on the 7th en- abled us. But with Malays you can take liberties .

and see what had become of Alang. and we expected the Malays would leave their shelter and come after us. taken away. down they had met the lad swimming the river with his master's body. and the return journey was one that is not pleasant to recall. we did not know it then. About 8 body of p. For some time I was very busy trying to attend to the wounded. I We me gave the boat and they started. We were wounded engaged and organising an orderly retreat. for it was late. but then my Malay friends asked for a boat. picking up the sonally I did not killed. Innes and the others had already been had no surgeon. a wounded man. his chief 278 . and when we got back to the middle of the field where Abbott and Plunket were waiting. as they said they must go and fetch Nakodah Orlong's body. We reached our boats at 3 p. we had some miles to go.m. they returned with Alang and the .MALAY SKETCHES place. A British soldier was also missing. I know Captain Innes had been and he was on the extreme was in the centre My party was hampered by having to carry right. Perin counting the cost. no stretchers..m. and the Residency a quarter of an hour later. the enemy only did not like that style of attack and retired.

except that was a great hole in the centre of his forehead. it retire. and there remained from morning declining till evening. had seen him last. him off. wounding him on the hand. the track of an iron bullet from Of that. the coast being river clear. he could never been conscious. passed close by him. he dragged the boat met him. but simply A man even abandon the corpse. no doubt. was right in the line of the Alang pulled the body as close to the bank as he could. but Alang beat After the final charge. however.NAKODAH ORLONG When Nakodah got away Orlong fell. 279 . go away and leave ot his where- Then. I into the it and was swimming down stream with to the boat to see when went down he looked just as I his hair and clothes were drenched with water and there Nakodah Orlong . and he allowed us when our people was he who saw the Malays all to him without giving any indication abouts. nor yet of the devotion of the have man whose life had been in extremest peril througha swivel-gun. marking. and the rest of us behind the great tree. came out from the stockade and attacked him with to a kris. and as he thickest cross-fire. making no sign. unable to carry the it body so great a distance. this boy stayed by the dead man.

only determined that none but loving hands should be laid upon the voiceless.MALAY SKETCHES out a long day to guard his chiefs dead body. Given a glorious sunny day and a good cause. and in face of the foe has its and robs the inevitable of its sting. pulseless clay he once called master. without thought of gain or praise. But who can hope that after his death there will be one other being whose love is great enough to offer his own life a willing sacrifice to guard the thing that was to-day a friend and to-morrow will be corruption? 280 . the idea of ending existence suddenly and painlessly in the pride of life attractions.

and perhaps even sympathise with the motives that will lead self-sacrifice. and all ride up this mountain path. Come. the back- ground against which he stands. seething in the heat . courage and then the fault The glory of the Eastern morning. understand something of his life. the sultry heat of and the fragrance of the these plains and slopes of eternal green on which the moisture-charged clouds unceasingly pour fat- ness —these are the home of the Malay. we have done with it all plain. so you could see into his heart. through 281 the wealth . If I have failed to bring you close to the Malay. him to acts is of high mine.XXII EVENING Phoebus loosens all his golden hair Right down the sky Eric Macxay THE that tale of these little lives is told. the freshness forest. let us leave the of early afternoon.

and look down on the land for Our callous eyes on brilliant — the last time. by the argus pheasant and the peacock —are blind to the infinite beauty of our surroundings. a bewildering luxury of foliage. the voices of numerous sides streams in steep mountain cascades dashing down the of sparkling foam. by which we slowly rise to cooler altitudes and a new flora. the distant sea. This path. The path twists zags. up the face of the and winds. great stretches of sea and forest. the plains below. the peaks and valleys of other hill ranges. surfeited with years of gazing colours. would excite in the stranger feelings of wonder and rapturous itself is cotta. granite boulder and massive tree-trunk.MALAY SKETCHES and the magnificence of tropical jungle. and the ear constantly catches the delightful sound of falling water. delight. soil The road shade of terra cut through all of a deep the colour the more vivid by reason of the hues of green by which it is environed. intensifying colour and deepenHere and there are seen glimpses of ing shadow. falling on red soil. huge trees. across a narrow saddle 282 . often by sharp zighill. beasts measured birds by the elephant and rhinoceros. The sunlight strikes in rays of brilliant light across this path.

That faint blue peak in the north. gain the summit of the mountain. but the general effect is an unbroken expanse of dark jungle. and far south again to those blue islets off the lie flat Dinding coast. A through a golden grey streak of water shot with it gleams of sunlight divides from the mainland. We are nearly 5. and the forty miles of country thence to the foot of this hill. eyes. a feast for the Vivid green patches mark thousands of acres of sugar-cane and rice-field. and from north to south the eye travels over a distance not miles. and soon on the western horizon the sun will meet the far short of two hundred distant hills are fully a sea in a blaze of glory. hazy and indistinct. Eastward. Stand here. will scarce find till at last we you The limit of vision is wide . is Gunong Jerai in Kedah. and fertile. is Penang. which smiles veil. those hundred miles away.EVENING and then by an even steeper ascent. for all this land from hill-base to sea-shore is of comparatively recent formation. and the island to the westward. the erosion from the hills carried down seawards and covered with a wealth of foliage ever renewed by the 283 excessive .000 feet above the sea. mostly mangrove. as though kindling at the touch of loving arms long waiting for his coming. a grander spectacle in this Peninsula.

deeply indented by three great bays. public buildings. amid trees and gardens. open spaces. You might cover the place with a tablecloth for inhabitants. it is difficult to understand why eye they should make such an imposing entry on the sea. is A mile or two inland from the coast the little caught by twenty linger. They are the mouths of three rivers. no bare hills. shallow and insignificant in themselves . short. for their seeming. lakes. alluvial workings from which the ore has been removed. its long all its many wide streets. No rocks. on which the sun loves to burnishing them to gold 284 when . : no arid plains. and around the town. in part. might have stood for half a century. nestle the red roofs of Taiping. this desolation of gaping holes and upturned sand. Only at our feet does the hand of man make any mark on the landscape. the buildings of a year. And They those pools of water all what are those? are abandoned tin-mines. There. and water mercifully covers.MALAY SKETCHES heat and excessive moisture of this forcing tropical climate. The is shore. due west and distant some twenty miles from the foot of the range on which we stand. everything covered with vegetation new graves look all old in a month.

Biong and Inas and Bintang. whose roots stand deep in water when the tide is high. lie has turned to deep waveless lagoons winding through the mangroves. The shore-line is a ribbon of glistening light. glimpses of bay and headland. are as yet scarcely above the level of the sea. a deep valley lies beneath us. live and these mud to flats. rapids. and showing to the distant spectator only broken reaches. bordering the wide expanse of forest trees. through which its upper waters dance in a succession of may be discerned peaks of the main range which look down on the China Sea. the Kurau. The mangrove cannot brine from which it beyond the reach of the seems to draw the sap of life.EVENING the setting in which these jewels purple. running eastward into the heart of the Peninsula. They are fragments of estuaries. the source of a long river. in their gradual accretion. Miles and miles beyond rise range after range of lofty mountains. and across the narrow valley. Further is the country near the sources of the Perak River. Now we divides it are facing the south-east and the valley of the Perak River. and surely there are few fairer sights in the East than this 285 . The ridge on which we stand from the Province of Larut. Turning the north-east.

and In the south-east. with many then fantastic limestone cliffs standing clearly out follow Chabang. southwards nearly to the coast. rise five or six ranges of hills of ever-increasing height. only one long. A lurid moment later and the sun it itself from the spot where disappeared 286 is has gone. but radiating a fire glow which kindles the clouds into and . range can be seen the valley of the Kinta. winds in a silver streak. plainly visible twenty miles away. The spurs of this mountain spread out in every direction. The waters beyond There is is the influence of the sun's light are a brilliant sapphire. low bank of cloud. the great disc. and finally the mountains dividing Perak from Pahang. and that on the horizon. the isolated mass terminating in a needle-like point nearly 6000 feet high. is sink- ing through a bank of clouds into a sea of flame. the right stands On Gunong Bubu. now grown a deep crimson. across the Perak River. north to the Pass from Larut into the Perak Valley. Korbu. Those hills fading out of sight in the far-away south are near the borders of Perak and Selangor. a reflection of the sky above. As we turn our faces back to the setting sun.MALAY SKETCHES same valley through which the river. Over the first its . east to the Perak River.

like scraps of mirror stealing borrowed glory from the sky. takes soft hues of opal and heliotrope deepening into purple. still the sky and hills are vivid with its But even the plain assumes night garb with no less grace and beauty. the empyrean. returns caress. hill western sea and eastern lies that great sea- indented plain over which night settles slowly but surely. seventy miles This golden light spreads for a space upapart. transfiguring peak after peak and clearly defining every ridge and This aftermath of day. spreading itself over the land. then fades reluctantly away. till.EVENING shoots rays of gold over Penang in the north and the Dinding Islands in the south. the 287 . and ever it gaining in intensity. Soon this light wanes . to fills kiss the hills the whole with one last lingering atmosphere with a rosy 'Twixt effulgence. purple turns to grey. risen from A faint mist has swamp and river. while only the pools and river-reaches shine out. ward through the bank of clouds. rises to the zenith and fills Meanwhile the darkness which seemed to be settling over the distant eastern ranges is gradually suffused with soft tints of rose doree. wherein the sun valley. paling into a belt of grey that again deepens into blue. and. while colour.

the boughs are covered with moss and lichen. yet. fitful in resistless to darkness all things is The only sound break the silence the is and plaintive croak of a wood-frog. the moss-carpeted ground gay with a myriad flowers. only the shore-line keeps white its sheen. and over the eastern . clouds. and a great bat sails aimlessly across the waning light. orchids and ferns flourish in the forks. the night is not quite Close around us still the jungle. some brilliantly plumaged songless birds flit silently between the trees. Here. The darkness is but for a peaks spreads a 288 moment. gor- geously blossomed creepers twine round the branches and hang from tree to tree. stalk slowly round the the mountain. there no need for regret. If night treads closely on the heels of day. through the Pass into the valley of the Perak River. but the trees are dwarfed. The shrill scream of the cicada is but faintly heard far down the height. at this elevation.MALAY SKETCHES colours fade from sky and sea. like coming from out the mines and great and marshes a troop of giant spectres risen in their foothills of grave-clothes. The air is full of the is scent of the magnolia. Then this too dies. like a closing hand grasping visible. and night comes.

dazzling the eyes. and as soars serenely upward seems the very perfection of beauty. and sea. half-risen. rising rapidly. clears the mountain and sheds a flood of wonderful. it against the dark foliage of the mountain. indescribable. Strange that the delight and glory of mankind since ever the earth was peopled. plain. pointing with brilliance the most striking features. light.EVENING silvery sheen. glitters it like molten silver. and casting into a fathomless shadow the dark valleys of the western slopes. the emblem of unattainable longing. mellow radiance over forest. softening what is crude. and purity. There is nothing cold about this Eastern moon. Seen. should be only a gigantic cinder . herald of that great orb of splendour which.

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nor to use this colour in the decoration or furniture of their houses. are stitched into covers of white is In some of the States the royal fag yellow. " Roya/" colours in one or other is of the Throughout the Peninsula yellow the special colour toorn or used by those oj % birth. but in most confined to the These laws are no longer rigidly States the use of yellow fabrics is Malay class. %aja It is a universal practice to put letters addressed to Malay rulers {when they are of %dja birth) into covers of yellow cotton cloth or yellow satin. it is birth. while those addressed to %ajas who have of7{aja no official position.NOTE ON THE COVER DESIGN \ colours used on the cover r'HE Malay of this book are those recognised as States. or to chiefs of importance but not cotton. in others white or black. s aja *By the ancient to Malay sumptuary laws the lower classes were not allowed wear yellow garments. while in several of the more important States . observed.

' <*:? . black garments are the the special privilege of %aja class. for the last twenty years. heir ted {sty %aja Muda). iS^J. S. been adopted as the Perak State flag. J. In Terak the {the the three highest native authorities in the his State. yellow. The three daggers on the cover are good types of the Malay "kris." the favourite national weapon. particular specimens The originals of these are in the Perak museum and were photographed for this design. Sultan. fly fags of and white.NOTE ON THE COVER DESIGN of Sumatra (as for instance in dcheen). these three colours united have. F. Xmat day. and his Wazir %aja Bendahdra). and black respectively.

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!Ut V74 LD 21-95m^ll. JAN12196S6 3 REC'D JAN 6 '66 -5 PM LOAN DEPT. C 6 - 1974 - ttct>e*c *** .UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY BERKELEY Return to desk from which borrowed.*50(2877sl6)476 . This book is DUE on the last date stamped below.

LBERKELEY LIBRARIES mm ILWfc- / 1>S S92. Su UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY .Td lOIOO »-.

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