Malaysia came from word Melayu, thought to derive fromthe Tamil words Malai and ur me aning "mountain" and "city,land", respectively.The term was later used as the name of the Melayu Kingdom, which existed between the 7th and 13th centuries on Sumatra.
Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy. The system of government isclosely modelled on that of the Westminster parliamentary system, a legacy of British colonial rule.
Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and Malacca, three federal territories. These are divided Johor, between two regions, with 11 states and Pahang, two federal territories on Peninsular Sarawak Malaysia and the other two states and one ,Sabah, federal territory in East Malaysia. Labuan Governance of the states is dividedKuala Lumpur between the federal and the state Putrajaya governments, and the Federal governmentWest Malaysia has direct administration of the federalEast Malaysia territories.
There are about 210 mammal species in the country.Over 620species of birds have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysiawith many endemic to the mountains there. A high number of endemic birdspecies are also found in Malaysian Borneo. 250 reptile species have been recorded in the country, withabout 150 species of snakes and 80 species of lizards. There are about150 species of frogs,and thousands of insect species.
Nearly 4000species of fungi,including lichen- forming species have been recorded from Malaysia.
About two thirds of Malaysia is covered in forest,with some forestsbelieved to be 130 million years old.
Rafflesia genus, the largest flowers in the world,with amaximum diameter of 1 metre (3 ft).
Malaysia is a relatively open state- oriented and newly industrialized market economy. Malaysia has had one of the besteconomic records in Asia, with GDP growing an average 6.5 per centannually from 1957 to 2005. In 2011 the GDP (PPP) was about $450 billion, the 3rd largesteconomy in ASEAN and 29th largest in the world.
In the 1970s, the predominantly mining and agricultural-based economybegan a transition towards a more multi-sector economy.Since the 1980s the industrial sector has led Malaysias growth
As of the 2010 census, the population of Malaysia was 28,334,135, making it the 42nd most populated country
Malaysian literature is the collection of literary worksproduced in theMalay peninsulauntil 1963 and in Malaysia thereafter.
Malaysian literature is typically written in any of the countrys fourmain languages: Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. It portrays various aspects of Malaysian life andcomprises an important part of the culture of Malaysia.
The earliest works of Malaysian literature were transmitted orallyin the absence of writing scripts. Oral literature encompasses a variety of genres of Malay folklore, such as myths, legends, folk tales,romances, epics, poetry, proverbs, origin stories and oral histories.
Early Malay literature was influenced byIndian epics, such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana,which later included other traditions.
Different ethnic groups have different versionsof the same story,although there are several recurring themes andelements in every tale.
The oral traditions of Sabah encompass folktales and legends, such as creation myths, that havebeen preserved bythe ethnic groups in the state.
By the 19th century, oralliterature on theMalay peninsulawas superseded by written literature.
Traditional Malay poetry was used forentertainment and the recording of history and laws.
Mantrais usually any repeated word or phrase, but it can also refer more specifically to a word repeated in meditation. Mantra comes from a Sanskrit word meaning a “sacred message or text”.
OMThe King of mantras of a single syllable is Om. It is the sound ofinfinity and immortality, containing within it all the scriptures of the world. Om is often used at the beginning of meditation to focus the mind, or as a prefix to other mantras. OM NAMO These words are often said before invocation of a particulardeity. Om retains its significance as above. Namo, in Sanskrit, means to honor, appreciate and be humble towards.Therefore, putting it before the deitys name means something like "praise be to" or "all thanks to".
The following are different mantras using these prefixes :OM NAMO GANESHAYAGanesha is the God of beginnings and success. Therefore, this mantra is formed at thebeginning of new undertakings and to bring about success by removing obstacles.OM NAMO LAKSHMAILakshmi is the Hindu Goddess associated with prosperity in all aspects of life - financial,emotional and spiritual. Mantras to Her bring richness to life and a wealth of goodfortune.OM NAMO SHIVAYAThis mantra represents the tranquil insight to the meditative experience. It helpsdestroy negative qualities.OM NAMO NARAYANANarayana is the name of Vishnu, the source of humanity. It is a mantra said in times oftrouble to re-establish harmony and balance. Many powers come from saying thismantra. It also aids in attaining enlightenment.
Pantun is consists of a quatrain which employs an abab rhyme scheme. A pantun is traditionally recited according to a fixed rhythm and as arule of thumb, in order not to deviate from the rhythm, every line should contain between eight and 12 syllables.
Example:Tanam selasih di tengah padang,Sudah bertangkai diurung semut, Kita kasih orang tak sayang, Halai-balai tempurung hanyut.
I planted sweet-basil in mid-field Grown, it swarmed with ants, I loved but am not loved, I am all confused and helpless. -Katharine Sim
SYAIR It is a form oftraditional Malay poetry that made up of four-line stanzas or quatrains. The syair can be a narrative poem, a didactic poem, or a poem used toconvey ideas on religion or philosophy, or even one to describe historical event.
Other types of Malaysian PoetrySeloka - a poem, similar to pantunMadah - a kind of rhyming speech, a discourse through poetry Gurindam - poetry, set to music
Fables in MalaysiaAnimal fables are often used to explain certain natural phenomena. Other times, they are simple moral tales. In almost all instances, the animals in these stories possess the ability to speak, reason and think like humans, similar to Aesops Fables.
The kancil or mouse-deer serves as the main character in a number of the stories. The Malays regard this humble animal in the highest esteem due to its ability to overcome obstacles and defeatadversaries despite of its rather small and benign appearance.The mouse-deer appears in thestate herald of Melaka and even plays a part in the legend of Malaccas founding.
Below are listed some of the common fables as well as their approximate title translations. (Note that the word sang, an Old Malay honorific meaning "revered", appears in all instances preceding the name kancil to indicate respect) Kisah Sang Kancil dengan Buaya - The tale of the mouse-deer and the crocodile Kisah Sang Kancil dengan Monyet - The tale of the mouse-deer and the monkeyKisah Sang Kancil dengan Harimau - The tale of the mouse-deer and the tigerKisah Sang Kancil dengan Sang Sempoh - The tale of the mouse-deer and the bison Kisah Anjing dengan Bayang-bayang - The dog and the shadow Kisah Burung Gagak dan Merak - The crow and the peacock Kisah Burung Gagak yang Haus - The thirsty crow Kisah Labah-labah Emas - The golden spider Kisah Labah-labah dengan Burung Merpati - The spider and the pigeon Kisah Kerengga dengan Pemburu - The fire-ant and the hunter Kisah Burung Murai - The mockingbird Kisah Burung Kakak Tua - The cockatoo
Malay Ghost MythsThe Malay word for ghost is hantu. However, this word also covers all sorts of demons, goblins and undead creatures and are thought to have real physical bodies, instead ofjust apparitions or spectres.The most famous of these is the pontianak or matianak, the ghost of a female stillborn child which lures men in the form of a beautiful woman.
Below are listed other popular supernatural beings and ghosts as well as their descriptions.Bajang: the spirit of a stillborn child in the form of a civet cat (musang). Hantu kopek: a female ghost with large bosoms who lures men who cheat on their wivesHantu kum-kum: the ghost of an old woman who sucks the blood of virgin girls to regain her youthHantu tinggi: lit. "tall ghost", a type of giant that will flee at the sight of a naked bodyLang suir: the mother of a pontianak. Able to take the formof an owl with long talons, and attacks pregnant women out of jealousyPenanggal: a flying head with its disembodied stomach sac dangling below. Sucks the blood of infants
Epics (HIKAYAT) The hikayat or epics are collections of stories andlegends of heroism that often involve mythological and historical figures in a setting usually engaging the role ofprotagonists and antagonists.
Fairy tales (kisah dongeng) Kisah dongeng are a loose collection of bedtime stories,fables and myths that involves human or non-human characters, often with superhuman powers along with talking animals, and an unearthly setting.
Abdullah binAbdul Kadir 1796MalaccaDied 1854 (aged 57–58)Jeddah, Ottoman EmpireOccupation Author,translator and teacherPeriod19th centuryGenres Non-fictionSubjects Early Malayhistory
His most important works are the Hikayat Abdullah (anautobiography), Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Kelantan (an account of his trip for the government to Kelantan), and Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Mekah (a narrative of hispilgrimage to Mecca 1854). His work was an inspiration to future generations of writersand marks an early stage in the transition from the classical Malay literature to modern Malay literature.
Ee Tiang Hong (1933–1990) was a Malayan poet of Chinese ancestry. Born at Malacca during the British colonialperiod, Ee wrote poetry in English. His first book of poetry appeared in 1960.
Usman Awang (12 July 1929, Kuala Sedili, Johore - 29November 2001, Kuala Lumpur)was a Malaysianpoet, playwright and novelist.
Much of his poems aresimple, clear, oftentimesromantic, and justbeautiful. He is a master atweaving words intostriking phrases, sentencesand verses that are ofexceptional classicalbeauty and sometimesappear to be nostalgic andeven escapist.
Huzir SulaimanMalaysian actor, director and writer. One of Malaysias leading dramatists, acclaimedfor his vibrant, inventive use of language and incisive insight into human behavior in general and the Asian psyche in particular.
He is best known for his works "Atomic Jaya", "The Smell of Language", "Hip-Hopera" theMusical, "Notes on Life and Love and Painting", "Election Day","Those Four Sisters Fernandez", "Occupation" and "Whatever That Is" which have been published in his collection of"Eight Plays" by Silverfish Books. He also contributes articles to the The Star (Malaysia).
Philip’s prominent family, the Huttons, are the 3rd generationdescendants of English settlers who have achieved fame andsuccess in the running of their business concern, Hutton &Sons which was founded by Philip’s great-grandfather, GrahamHutton and now under the control of Philip’s father, NoelHutton. Noel Hutton has 3 other children (William,Edward and Isabel) from a previous marriage to anEnglishwoman. Upon her death, he had remarried a localChinese lady, Khoo Yu Lian (Philip’s mother) from a well to dofamily. As a child of mixed-parentage, the young Philip feels tornbetween two worlds – his father’s and his mother’s. He is calleda “half-breed” by the locals and “slant-eyed” by the European community.
This feeling of non-belonging leads Philip to staybehind one holiday as the Huttons take one oftheir regular sojourns home to Mother England.In the solitude of their palatial sea-side mansioncalled Istana (which means “palace” in the localMalay language), Philip comes to befriend hisfather’s “tenant”, a man who has rented theHutton’s small island just a short distance out tosea from Istana. His name is HayatoEndo or Endo-san, as Philip calls him.
Endo-san is the Deputy Consul at the JapaneseConsulate on Penang Island and is an avidphotographer of the local scenery. As Philip begins tospend more time with Endo-san, each day rowing hisboat to the island, Endo-san agrees to impart his skill inaikijutsu to Philip in return for Philip’s giving him a tourof Georgetown, Penang and later, the surroundingMalayan states. (From this point onwards, the book islittered with various aikijutsu jargon and its underlyingphilosophy of violence as an act of last resort)
The world is at war and there are references to theadvances made by the Axis in Europe and the slaughterof innocent civilians in China by the invading Japanesemilitary. Life in Malaya is relatively tranquil with boththe colonials and locals in agreement that Japan wouldnever invade or successfully mount such an attemptagainst the might of the British Empire. Malaya wasprotected by Fortress Singapore with its heavy guns alltrained at the sea as military tacticians anticipate aJapanese assault to start from the South China Sea.
The Huttons return from England. Philip’seldest half-brother William, wastes no timein joining the war effort and is assigned toHMS Prince of Wales to form the mainBritish bulwark at sea near Singaporeawaiting the Japanese landing. (Later, theHMS Prince of Wales would go down at seatogether with the HMS Repulse, both sunkby Japanese aircraft)
Much to his father’s chagrin, Philip spends more and more time with Endo-san, showing him around Penang and its surroundings and travelling with him to KualaLumpur; sharing his knowledge of Malaya and its peoples. This would also later prove to have disastrous results as bits and pieces of information from Philip are gathered and passed back to the Japanese Government, enabling its war planners to alter the plans for the assault on Malaya by having Japanese invading troops enter from the South of Thailand and down towards Singapore from its unguarded rear. To overcome the difficult terrain, the troops transport themselves on bicycles – just like Philip did when exploring with Endo-san earlier.
The relationship between the Sensei (or Master)and student is further forged when the JapaneseImperial Army takes over and occupies Malaya.The ‘liberation’ of Malaya by the Japanese isanything but and soon violence, summaryexecutions, rape and pillage are exacted on thelocal populace to ensure total submission. (Theauthor asks the simple question of how a racethat prides itself with so much culturalrefinement and finesse such as the Japanese canresort to such brutal and barbaric behaviourduring war. It is something that I myself findhard to understand about the Japanese psyche.
Endo-san works within the confines of his duties to protect Philip and on a few occasions coverup his actions against the Japanese. Throughout the book, there are instances of Endo-san’sinner struggle between what he perceives to behis duty to his country, that is, to obey and carryout the orders of his superiors, and to walk away from all the aggression and pursue that whichhis heart truly yearns for – his love for a woman he left behind in Japan and to practice the discipline and philosophy of peaceful co- existence advocated by aikijutsu
To survive, Philip offers his service to theJapanese Occupying Forces and through Endo-san is recruited as a translator at the Consulate.Using his position, he passes information to hisChinese friends who are in the local resistancegroups to be used in their acts of subterfuge andsabotage against the Japanese. In the capacityof translator, he is also brought along by theJapanese on raids of villages to flush outmembers of the Resistance.
He witnesses (and is helpless to do anything) thecapture and massacre of people he knew. Somelocals regard him as a Japanese collaborator andsome, a saviour. His own father is unable toaccept his decision to work for the Japanese. Hiswork with the Japanese also tears apart hisfamily with ruinous results. His close friend, Kon,joins Force 136 – a paramilitary group formedand trained by the retreating British Forces tostay behind and continue the fight against the Japanese.
Ultimately, the tide turns against the Axis Forces. The bombs are droppedon Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Japan concedes defeat shortly thereafter. The British return to Malaya andthough cleared of the charges of beinga Japanese collaborator, Philip remains a person both loved and despised by the locals.
His decision to work for the Japanese is something he comes to terms with and accepts in the later part of the book as inevitable, destined ... fated. A childhood prophecy oncerevealed to his father by a temple fortune-teller – that he (Philip) would bring destruction to his family and those around him; theGift of Rain – fulfilled. In the end, Philip arrives at the conclusion that: “While I now accept that the course of our lives has been set down long before our births, I feel that the inscriptions that dictate the directions of our lives merely write out what is already in our hearts; they can do nothing more. ... we being beings capable mainly of love and memory. These capabilitiesare the greatest gifts given to us, and we can do nothing else but live out the remembered desires and memories of our hearts”.