A majority of Malays are content to look only as far as the Sultanate of Malacca in the 15th and the 16th century, apparently accepting the era as the golden age of ancient, classical or medieval Malay civilization. Thanks to the education I received through the Malaysian system, I had the same perception too and I do think even Malaysians as a society in one way or another accept Malacca was the greatest civilization in ancient, classical or medieval Malaysian history. My love for history has allowed me to delve far beyond Malaysian textbooks. While Malacca was a great empire, a greater civilization was Srivijaya, an empire that was almost forgotten. I truly believe that Srivijaya was that brilliant light that stayed bright from nearly a millennium. Malacca was a just spark, though brilliant as it may be.

The Malaysian education system fails to give Srivijaya the respect it deserves. So many Malaysian textbook pages concentrate on Malacca and successive minor Malay states but ignored that one large Malay empire that spanned from the Isthmus of Kra all the way down to Central Java and, at one point in time, even the banks of the Mekong. Admittedly, Srivijayan border was porous unlike modern states but its sphere of influence was far wider than that of Malacca or even of Malaysia.

Perhaps part of the reason why the Malays stress so much on Malacca is the fact that so little information is known about Malay history earlier than the 14th century. Relatively modern Malays have been so ingrained with the notion that their history starts with Malacca. That misconception pushes Srivijaya into that one book in a section of a library that nobody goes to.

Srivijaya, despite its status, was only discovered by historians in the early 20th century. The reason why it was so easy to overlook Srivijaya’s existence is the material used for Srivijayan architecture; many of Srivijayan structures were made out of wood. In harsh tropical climate, wood would not last for too long, definitely not for one thousand years. Malacca itself did not leave too much behind to be marveled at by tourists and so, one could not hope too much for Srivijaya. The rain and the sun conspired to erase a chapter of a history book, hushing Srivijaya from history to myth to total obscurity.

That does not mean Srivijaya failed to leave its mark in history. The Sailendra, under the auspice of the Srivijayan Emperor Samaratunga, constructed the Borobudur which still stands today in the middle of Java. But even that monument was only rediscovered in the 19th century by Stamford Raffles. As for the Sailendra, the East Javanese pushed them out of central Java, causing the Srivijayan ally to migrate to the west and built a new hope under the protection of Srivijaya. The royal court of Sailendra was finally eliminated by Srivijayan Emperor Culamanivarmadeva after the Sailendra betrayed the emperor. That act led to the loss to Srivijayan capital, Palembang, to the East Javanese in the early 11th century. Palembang was reconquered by Culamanivarmadeva but by that time, Srivijaya had gone over its hill. It was dusk time.

Notice the names? Yes. The Malays were Hindus then. And Buddhists, and animists, despite whatever the religious conservatives might assert, despite how our history is being rewritten by those that have no respect for truth.

The Sultanate of Malacca itself was founded by an heir to the Srivijayan throne. The struggle between the Malays and the Javanese continued well into the 14th century and sometimes by the late 1300s, Parameswara, a Malay Srivijaya prince, fled Sumatra when Majapahit finally crushed the last remnant of a Malay empire that started humbly by the Musi River.

In a way, Malacca was the successor of the glorious Srivijaya. If Malacca could be seen as a sultanate that later led to Malaya and Malaysia, then Srivijaya could be seen as such as well.

While I was in Bangkok, I visited some of the museums there. It is truly sad to find out that the Thais are more appreciative of the Malay empire than the Malays and Malaysians in Malaysia themselves. Perhaps, that could be explained by the presence of Srivijayan temples, biaras, in Thailand, reminding the Thais of an empire long ago. In Malaysia, almost nothing.

Almost nothing but the Bujang Valley which was under the control of Old Kedah, a state within the realm of Srivijaya. Is it not odd that Bujang Valley, itself being far richer in historical terms, has been outshone by relatively young ruins (if it could be called as such) of Malacca?

Something must explain this bias that sides with Malacca. Could it be religion?

40 Responses to “[1219] Of why Malacca but not Srivijaya?”

  1. on 15 May 2007 at 19:54 NSDS3HvLDjJd


  2. on 15 May 2007 at 19:55 moo_t

    Thanks for the info. As a Chinese, I can easily get the information about Chinese history, and there is historian working on “modern” Malaya history. But Malay history are rather intriguing.

    In Malaysia history text book, it seems Malay empire suddenly pop out from the stone. And the worst part : Malacca empire literary information are pretty poor. Why a a “golden era” empire failed to build up a literary cultures.

  3. on 15 May 2007 at 20:00 The Boinq

    Really interesting read. Kudos!

  4. on 15 May 2007 at 21:15 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Thank you but pardon some of the typos and sentences that did not make sense. I usually do proofread my post only hours later. =(

  5. on 15 May 2007 at 23:29 menj

    That’s probably because the Srivijaya capital was in JAVA ISLAND, and not anywhere in Peninsula Malaysia. Duh. I bet that education you received in low-class University of Michigan did not benefit you in Malaysian history.

    And your remarks about my level of education did not escape me. FYI, I am a Staffordshire University undergraduate. And Staffordshire University is #3 in the UK.

    - MENJ

  6. on 16 May 2007 at 00:27 noelbynature

    Insightful read, Hafiz, and I think you’re onto something there when you talk about a bias towards Malacca due to religion. I think the dominant (government?) discourse is that Malacca is the first Islamic sultanate – and you’ll find that Malacca is described as the golden age of Malay culture.

    Whether or not that is the case is really a matter of perception. Within Srivijaya was the first “Malayu” people (whose territory lay somewhere in the vicinity of Palembang), which is politically incorrect to point out now, especially since it means the Malayu came from Indonesia, and also, they were Hindu-Buddhist.

    Within the Malayan peninsula itself, you might be interested in two kingdoms that were contemporary to Srivijaya: that of Langkasuka, which occupied much of what Kedah is today, before it was invaded by the Cholas of South India (and left their architectural remains in Bujang Valley); and also the kingdom of Chi Tu, or Tanah Merah, whose possible location is what is now known as Kelantan. Chi Tu was described by the Chinese Sui Dynasty in the 6th century as an advanced kingdom!

    So there is certainly a lot of archaeological and historical richness in Malaysia before Malacca, and besides Srivijaya. However, I must point out it would be more accurate to say Malacca was the successor of the Majapahit empire in Java.

  7. on 16 May 2007 at 03:04 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Dear Noel,

    Indeed that Malays were Hindus and Buddhists prior to the coming of Islam is an uncomfortable fact to the power that be. That however does not make it any less untrue. And yes, the center of Malay culture, the origin at least centered around Palembang and Malayu (otherwise known as Jambi, as I believe you would agree).

    And yes, there are many kingdoms on the Malay Peninsula. Sadly, information on them is very limited. Even when a large chuck of Srivijayan history is unknown to us, what hope could we learn about the smaller ones?

    Finally, I respectfully disagree that the successor of Srivijaya is Majapahit. I do think Osborne, Wolters and Munoz have pointed out quite clearly that Malacca is the successor of Srivijaya. The prince of Malacca came from the court of Srivijaya. In fact, that blood still flow in the house of Perak and Pahang today!

  8. on 16 May 2007 at 10:10 kukuman

    The Biggest and most shinning Empire in the Malay archipelago was the Majapahit empire!
    Sriwijaya was always under threat from Majapahit!
    And later there were a Satelite sate under the control of Majapahit!

    You can see there legacy uptill now.

    Off course they live in a more industrial land/enviroment with a more industrial culture.

    But they were not true or proper Malay…
    They were Javanese!
    You can say maybe the same serumpun..

    hence the term Pamalayu(Perang sama Malayu) went about everytime when Sriwijaya try to rebel against the Majapahit.


    The Reason why Sriwijya is not popular among Malaysian historian is because
    Palembang(Sriwijaya) is not part of Malaysia!
    And the Sriwijaya never play a part in Penisular Malaysia!

    Penisular Malaysia only became really significant only by the Time of Malacca Empire!

    You want to know more about Sriwijaya… Read the Indonesia history book!

  9. on 16 May 2007 at 10:27 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Dear Kukuman,

    The large empire in the Malay Archipelago was Srivijaya, not Majapahit. To say it again, Srivijaya\’s realm of influence ranged from Isthmus of Kra (near Chaiya, including Langkasuka and Old Kedah) all the way down to where the Saleidra ruled (point of interest – the Borobudur). That included most of the Malay Peninsula. So, Srivijaya did play crucial role on the Malay Peninsula. In fact, Old Kedah/Langkasuka reached their height under Srivijayan influence!

    Majapahit\’s rule only covered Java and Sumatra. It did not get to the Peninsula first because of Siam and later, Malacca.

    And no, Majapahit was not Malay. They were Javanese.

  10. on 16 May 2007 at 11:49 noelbynature

    Haha, I think I understood “successor” in a different way. It’s true that Parameshwara was a Palembang prince. I was thinking more about the chronology of the major empires in island SEA – Srivijaya, Sailendra, Majapahit and Malacca.

    Great discussion you have going on. Thanks for the link to my site, I’ve added you to my blogroll as well. =D

  11. on 16 May 2007 at 12:27 kukuman

    Majapahit was the most culture, advance and most condense place of the Malay archipelago. even up till now, Java has a superior number and other advancement than the ‘Malay’.

    It had a more advance agriculture and farming then the more casual ‘Malay’ culture of Sriwijaya or later Malacca. even if the environment favor the Malay.

    It empire actually defeated the horde from Mongol of Kublai Khan cosing them to leave Java.

    And the Malacca empire was really afraid of them, hence the need of protection from China. And the mystical TamingSari is from Java a place where the Malay cannot conquere! So comes the legend of that undefeatable keris .

    Malay King always pay homage to a Superior Malay King. By the Malacca time the king from sumetera/minang and others small Malay king Pay their homage to the more superior King the Melakan Kings.

    but even at it glorious day’s The Hang Tuah and Melaka Sultan knew the suicidal nature to go against the Majapahit empire to the south with its vastly superior technology and strength. No Homage was done to the Malaccan.

    Sriwijaya had to play homage to Majapahit(the later dynasty). and later were destroy by KertaNagara and successsor when they try to rebel against them. at the end they were wipe out by a more advance empire rather than self-destroyed

    While it may be argue that previously, Sriwijaya had a larger empire, the fact was that in those day only Sumetra and Jawa were consider the valuable real estate at that time. Malay Peninsula was consider to be a useless inhabitant with no significant civilization(sure the were some small ‘Malay’ kindom near the north to Thailand ).

    Only by the time of Malacca did the Malay Peninsula gain any significant importance. That is why Malaysia have a small population because the Malay Peninsula actually started to gain ‘proper’ history and civilization only by that time.

    Sriwijaya biggest flaw was it was never able to suppress or conquered totally the Older Java. Kingdom

  12. on 16 May 2007 at 14:55 古越遺民

    I have discussed about the issue in a community blog last time. But it was written in Chinese.


    We see the term of “Kesultanan Melayu Melaka” so frequently but we have never seen “Kerajaan Melayu Srivijaya” before.

    The Malay identity has to be bundled with the religion.
    Without the religion, Malay will no longer be Malay.

    This is quite ridiculous to the Chinese. No matter what religion we believe, may we be Taoist, Buddhist, Traditional Folk religion practitioner, Christian or Muslim, we’re still Chinese.

  13. on 16 May 2007 at 18:59 Hafiz Noor Shams

    To menj:

    That’s probably because the Srivijaya capital was in JAVA ISLAND, and not anywhere in Peninsula Malaysia. Duh. I bet that education you received in low-class University of Michigan did not benefit you in Malaysian history.

    And your remarks about my level of education did not escape me. FYI, I am a Staffordshire University undergraduate. And Staffordshire University is #3 in the UK.

    Dude, Srivijayan capital was Palembang. Palembang is on the Musi River, in Sumatra.

    Anyway what remark did I make?

    But Staffordshire University as #3? You are kidding me…

    Then where would you put Cambridge, Oxford and London? Or Nottingham or Bath or Warwick etc? Not that I am degrading Staffordshire but you are making up stories.

    Besides, what would I care if you are going to Staffordshire? Oddly, you are transfixed that I graduated from Michigan.

  14. on 16 May 2007 at 23:14 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Dear Kukuman,

    Just as Majapahit was the most cultured and advanced empire in its time, so was Srivijaya in its time.

    But I am not sure what is your beef with the Malays though. Are we talk about Srivijaya/Majapahit or Malays/Javanese?

    Nevertheless, before Majapahit, there were many other older Javanese kingdoms that succumbed to Srivijaya. In fact, in the 10th/11th century, Maharaja Culamanivarmadeva razed the strongest Javanese empire of that time, Dharmavamsa. Subsequent Javanese empires like Airlingga avoided Srivijaya in order to not share the same fate. That clearly shows that neither the Malays nor the Javanese had always been in the top.

    Talking about the kris that cannot be defeated, don’t you find it odd that the undefeated were defeated, hence ownership change of the kris?

    You have to remember, Majapahit only were formed after Srivijaya was weakened by raids by Rajaraja of Cholas from India and the abolition of tributary system by the Chinese empire.

    And it is untrue that before Malacca, the Malay Peninsula was worthless. Langkasuka, founded in the 2nd or 3rd century, was a large modern kingdom of that time even before it was incorporated into Srivijaya in the 7th century. Langkasuka reached its peak in the 9th century, coinciding with Srivijaya’s own golden age. Langkasuka’s control of trans-isthmus trade route made it the entrepot between Chinese and Funanese with the Indians and the Arabs.

    Finally, it is wrong to think that Majapahit was the sole source of Srivijaya’s downfall. As mentioned earlier, the Cholas and the Chinese played crucial roles in the downfall of Srivijaya. Only after both that occurred, already weakened, did Singhasari come to being, the predecessor of Majapahit, claiming its sovereignty from a fading Srivijaya.

  15. on 16 May 2007 at 23:59 Sorry but I am a Malay

    [Admin: Deleted. Out of topic.]

  16. on 17 May 2007 at 00:40 Hafiz Noor Shams

    To Sorry but I am a Malay,

    I would like to kindly remind you that accusation of Mohammad of being all that is unrelated to our discussion. Please stay on topic.

  17. on 17 May 2007 at 01:23 maer

    well, kudos to the author for bringing up this issue. i would certainly like to read more on this later.

    anyway, about the main question at hand, i think(based on my knowledge and understanding of history, and also a bit of guessing), here it goes:

    1. the issue of religion. historians are ‘scared’ to look deeper into Srivajaya history, as the Malays will then be connected to religions other than Islam. This is scary, as it’ll have an impact/fuel for revisionist movement of re-intepretation of status/definition of Malays in the Malaysian Constitution, which says that Malays must be Muslims

    2. historians (local and earlier) would like to kill the flame of ‘unity’ or ‘semangat Nusantara’ (area covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, southern Thai, souther Philippines)which will be ignited again once the history and connection between Malays of the whole region is brought up. remember the earlier history of ‘penubuhan dan kemerdekaan Malaya vs Indonesia Raya’??

    3. to protect the terms/definition of ‘Bumiputera’. if it is made known that malays had their golden time OUTSIDE malaysia, that would mean that we are not from here, and we were just conquerors which ousted people. hence, why then should we get the title Bumiputera?

    4. to protect the source of income for some states such as Malacca which relies heavily on its status as “Bandaraya Bersejarah: Di sini segalanya bermula”. just imagine, if the issue of Srivajaya is brought up, then, we (Malays) would be pronounced as ‘tidak bermula’ in Malacca. no real link to this Peninsular land then, and it continues back to point #3.


    “money/income + legality + to avoid hassles = YES to Malacca, no to Srivajaya”


  18. on 17 May 2007 at 02:02 古越遺民

    i suggest Hafiz to delete the Sorry but I am a Malay’s comment. I feel that guy/gal is taking advantage of my comment to propagate his/her seditious agenda.

  19. on 20 May 2007 at 00:44 The Expedited Writer

    Now I wish I had paid more attention to History when I was in high school. My teacher bored us to death and she was ALL about the glories of the Melaccan sultanate too. All she does is read out of the textbook really. I think i learnt more reading that one post than in her class for a year, dammit :P It’s really really interesting. I do think that factors like religion is the one that creates biasness towards the srivijian period. Just like how fundies would outwardly deny the existence of dinosaurs.

    Anyway, it really amused me what menj replied to your post. Staffordshire is #3? Maybe in the county, not country. LOL.

  20. on 27 May 2007 at 07:29 Emmanuel

    MENJ went to APIIT, not SU, just as I did, 3 years earlier.Sadly, the quality od APIIT grads now and before seems to be worlds apart.SU is the twinning partner of APIIT.And Michigan State Uni is another one of its 2+1 and 1+2 partners (not sure if you are from that particular uni, Hafiz)

    APIIT seems to be more recognised than SU, IMHO and I’ve been in the IT industry for near 3 years at lower-middle management level.When you meet people, even people that I’ve met at seminars and conferences, here and abroad, that APIIT is a familiar name among the professionals in the IT line,namely those from Sun,Cisco,IBM and Motorola.Even overseas lecturers of courses I’ve attended at Cisco,IBM,Grid, and so on instantly recognize APIIT,which is much,much more than I can say for SU.In fact one of my HODs made a stupid remark once that should have pissed me off, but made me laugh.He made a reference to the Shire (Hobbiton, from LOTR- the Hobbit’s homeland)

    MENJ, I dunno where you got the info that SU was number 3,but during my year, it was ranked number 14 in UK.

  21. on 27 May 2007 at 11:14 Hafiz Noor Shams

    I am not from Michigan State.

    Let us stay on topic.

  22. on 28 May 2007 at 12:31 Gardam

    Hi Hafiz,

    I must say that I find it very interesting to see a Malay (and indeed he has to be expatriated to do so) daring to ask the question if the version of Malay history currently prevailing isn’t biaised for religious reasons.I came to study the subject of Sriviyaja/Singapura/Malacca because of a research I did a few years back on Bintan and the Riau archipelago and found it indeed a fascinating subject.

    There is in my opinion no doubt that Srivijaya was a far greater civilisation than Malacca. It lasted many centuries as opposed to barely one, it laid the basis of an economic and trade pattern that still defines the region to this day and which Malacca only tried to re-enact. It made the Malay language the lingua franca of South East Asia. Much less known, the Hindu-Buddhist spiritual legacy of Srivijaya is still alive today in Thibetan Buddhism (on that subject you should research the life of the Bengali Buddhist monk Atisha who brought the Srivijayan spiritual knowledge to the Land of Snow in the early 11th century).

    And there is no doubt that the consensus in modern Malaysia to take Malacca as the starting point of Malay history exist only for purely religious reasons, to bind it to a Muslim identity which is largely a fabrication. This can be explained if one looks a little more closely at how the transition from Srivijayan heritage to Muslim Malay world took place in Malacca.

    To carry on with this subject I am afraid to have first of all to correct you on something you said in the other blog that carries the answer to Menj. Your mistake can easily be explained because you simply repeat what keeps on being said everywhere, that the first “sultan” of Malacca was Parameswara/Iskandar Shah. For a long time this was indeed the version that prevailed, largely based on Wolters’History of Malacca. However more recent researchs, summarised in “the Malay Sultanate of Malacca” by Muhammad Yussoff Hashim (1992), have established that the first Malacca king to convert was the son of Parameswara who had taken the name Iskandar Shah by the time he went to the Ming Court to announce the death of his father in 1414.

    The third ruler still had a Srivijayan name and was enthroned as Sri Maharaja. He eventually converted to Islam to become Muhammad Shah in 1436, a conversion told in the Sejarah Melayu as a miraculous event of the boat from Juddah. He is credited with initiating the rise to greatness of Malacca, but according to Ming sources was not yet a “Sultan”.

    After two muslim kings ( and again according to foreign sources not yet sultans, this is an important point because they are much more neutral on this subject than the Sejarah Melayu) Raja Ibrahim, son of Muhammad Shah, again reverts to a Srivijayan name and is enthroned as Sri Parameswara Dewa Shah. This probably marks a Hindu/Buddhist reaction in the aristocracy living in the palace of Bertram, further up the Malacca river. He is the son of a princess form Sumatra and of pure Malais aristocratic descent. His half brother, Raja Kassim, is the son of a Tamil common woman, but he has the support of a Tamil faction that enjoys a growing influence in the port.

    In 1445 Sri Parameswara II was killed in a coup d’etat by his half-brother who is the first Malacca king to take on the Arabic title of sultan to become Sultan Muzaffar Shah. And it is only under Raja Kassim’s rule that Islam became the state religion of Malacca.So we see that in fact Malacca was truly a Muslim state for barely more than half a century. Of course, later literature such as the many versions of the Sejarah Melayu (and remenber that they were in fact written in the 16-17th century in Riau when the descendants of the Malacca line were trying to boost their prestige) started calling kings of the Malacca line “sultan” all the way back to Temasek (first Iskandar Shah in the supposed grave of Fort Caning), as a way to give a Muslim identity to Malacca as early as possible, a fabrication now so well entrenched that it can hardly ever be corrected.

    So why is Malay history today trying so hard to erase the memory of Srivija? Because the full transition from the Srivijayan heritage to an Islamic state in Malacca rests on a coup d’etat, a regicide and a fratricide, and because the first real sultan of Malacca was not a pure Malay aristocrat. Not quite the clean start that many people would like it to be, in particular in regards to the adat of utter respect and obedience to the king on which part of the Malay identity is supposed to rest in the Bumiputra concept. In my opinion this is precisely the reason behind the problem which Mahatir came to define as “the Malay dilema”. There is indeed an untold dilema because most of what defines the Malay identity rest on a lie that Malays can not help but subconciously perceive. Congratulation on raising the question. And sorry if the comment is a bit long, but I hope it answers your question.

  23. on 11 Sep 2007 at 21:58 Michael Chick

    Hello all, was glad to read on some of the insightful notes on the Malacca History. There are also, a few other books for which reading will be required to further one’s information pallete. They are the Hikayat Siak, Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai, Eridia’s Malacca, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa (Kedah Annals) and maybe even the Suma Oriental by Tome Pires (Portugese text). As much as we would all like it to be the Sejarah Melayu would be deemed the least accurate simply because it was written 200 years AFTER the Malaccan Story. Sejarah Melayu unfortunately, was written circa 1623.

    And yes, although the Srivijaya empire was indeed great (perhaps the greatest) but you must not ommit the Pasai Empire as well. Considering the fact that Parameswara’s son married the Pasai princess, and became the first Muslim convert.

    BTW Hang Li Poh was no Princess from Malacca, as her father’s name (Emperor of China) was Zhu (pronounced “Choo”). In fact, not a single Ming Emperor was ever called Hang. So either Hang Li Poh was one either just one of the handmaidens, or spare concubines, or just a mere commoner. Gone is the “romantic” version that the Sultan of Malacca married a Chinese Princess.

    What I enjoy are people who really search for valid information. And to that end, I salute you for your efforts so far. The only other question which I have is; for all the “Glory” that Malacca was we find not a single Sultan’s grave. Did you all not ever think it was odd? And for those who point to the Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, etc; didn’t it ever occur to you that these graves look typically “Indian”? Now unless you insist that they were all Hindu, I’d say they are just graves of the local “Chitti’s” which live in Malacca.

    Last word… read up on “Nina Chatu” and dicover how he was the James Bond spy for the Portuguese circa 1500′s.


  24. on 12 Sep 2007 at 11:55 Michael Chick

    MC: To address Maer,

    “1. the issue of religion. historians are ’scared’ to look deeper into Srivajaya history, as the Malays will then be connected to religions other than Islam. ..”
    MC: Yes, it is very obvious, it’s just that the poor Malaysians have been shielded and presented a warped history. Just look at Lembah Bujang (aka Langkasuka Empire). It was there that the Hindu Malays spread the religion till the entire outh East Asian continent. Lembah Bujang was in the 2nd century (pre-Christian and pre-Islam) then Borrobudor in the 6th century and Angkor in the 8th sentury. We actually have a VERY VERY important Archaeological site. Looked from a touristic standpoint of view, we stand to make millions just from one site alone. Lembah Bujang stretches from Sg Patani till Alor Star covering an area of over 240sq km. That’s almost the size of Angkor!!! Would the govt choose to highlight this?

    “2. historians (local and earlier) would like to kill the flame of ‘unity’ or ’semangat Nusantara’ (area covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, southern Thai, souther Philippines)which will be ignited again once the history and connection between Malays of the whole region is brought up. remember the earlier history of ‘penubuhan dan kemerdekaan Malaya vs Indonesia Raya’??…”
    MC: Yes, but also let’ not forget Maphilindo to combine Malaysia, Phillipines and Indonesia. That was also in 1962+, Please read “Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular” for a more indepth understanding of your no.2

    “3. to protect the terms/definition of ‘Bumiputera’. if it is made known that malays had their golden time OUTSIDE malaysia, that would mean that we are not from here, and we were just conquerors which ousted people. hence, why then should we get the title Bumiputera?…”
    MC: You are partially incorrect. The Malays had a GOLDEN time IN MALAYSIA. Unfortunately, it was the 1,500years known as the GOLDEN HINDU ERA centering around Lembah Bujang which was not to be discussed. Consult Prof Nik Hassan on this. Don’t even get me started on the origins of Malays. Please read my 6 page digression at


    “4. to protect the source of income for some states such as Malacca which relies heavily on its status as “Bandaraya Bersejarah: Di sini segalanya bermula”. just imagine, if the issue of Srivajaya is brought up, then, we (Malays) would be pronounced as ‘tidak bermula’ in Malacca. no real link to this Peninsular land then, and it continues back to point #3….”
    MC: So, you have all these people who arrive at Malacca hoping to see the “Great Malaccan Empire” and what do you get? The Porta De Santiago (it is NOT the A Famosa!!!! The A Famosa was destroyed. The A Famosa would have been directly in front of Christchurch red building facing the river). Next, you see the red Dutch buildings. St Paul’s Hill, St Paul’s Church, St John’s Hill and the Portuguese settlement. Can you actually find any physical trace of the Great Malaccan Empire? Show me just ONE Malaccan Sultan’s Grave!!! Just ONE please…….

    “…so, “money/income + legality + to avoid hassles = YES to Malacca, no to Srivajaya”
    MC: Look for a publication by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka on the “Conference of World Malays” published circa 1982. You will find your exact discussions as to why Malacca was chosen and not anything else on homeground or in Indonesia. You will see all these Dr.This and Prof That fervently & feverishly deciding that it HAS TO BE Malacca. It also provides a sort of “cloud cover” about the fact that most “Malays” are migrants from Indonesia anyway.

    Go to my website at http://www.discovermalaysia.biz download the FULL Trailer and see how I addressed the “Bumiputra” issue there.

    Knowledge Empowered Citizens

  25. [...] “On why Malacca and not Srivijaya?“: A majority of Malays are content to look only as far as the Sultanate of Malacca in the [...]

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  29. [...] is Parameswara that has two names?..when we already had much earlier version of the Royal Malay Kingdom that started long ago with the finding of human skeletons the Hobbits and the AEmbun in Maluku? [...]

  30. on 25 Jun 2008 at 14:54 Chuck

    Hi Hafiz,

    An engrossing read; so much so, I feel compelled to add my dua sen’s worth. Regarding the teaching of the history of Sri Vijaya and Majapahit in our schools, I’m not too sure about what’s being taught these days, but back in ’62 (yup, I’m an old timer)when I was in Form 2, I remember clearly the history lessons taught passionately by one Mr. Gafur Baba (hope I got his name right)about the said kingdoms. To this day, I still recall, among other historical vignettes, the story of how Paramaswara, a Sri Vijayan prince, had to flee the vengeful wrath of the Majapahit and finally ended up in Malacca.

    Yes, Hafiz, what I was taught regarding the two illustrious Hindu/Buddhist kingdoms basically tallies with your account – Sri Vijaya first, then came Majapahit. Menj’s legerdemain in argument is, I think, borne out of a desperate attempt to deny a historical fact – i.e. the Malay were once Hindu or Buddhist – that is anathema to a fundamentalist mind. What is it they say about a drowning man?

    Btw, I live hardly half an hour’s leisurely drive from Merbok where the Bujang Valley archaeological site is located. ‘Tis a pity misguided religious-nationalisitic sentiments are preventing further excavation of the area to uncover the rich historical-cultural heritage of our nation.

  31. on 02 Jul 2008 at 02:01 Pinoy

    Even in the 21st century it is exceptionally difficult to let go of religious and cultural biases. This utter disregard for the significance of the Srivijayan culture is very similar to the Filipinos’ disregard of their Hindu and Sanskrit heritage, even though Sanskrit is heavily embedded in the Tagalog language. Why? It’s because of the 500 years of Spanish Catholic brainwashing that had permanently damaged the beautiful islands. There is an overall aversion to being remotely connected to Indianized civilization, as there are negative stereotypes propagated by the devout Catholics against non-Christians and Hindi people in that country. Most notably I see a recurring pattern in human history: that of burrying the truth under mounds of lies to maintain the social comfort zone. Recall the fact that the ancient Romans (read Livy) denied the existence of the Etruscans, and their overwhelming influence over Roman culture, engineering, religion, science, and law. Instead they attributed their greatness to their bogus descendance from the legendary Aeneas. It’s a tragic comedy.

  32. [...] post about this and how Malays look upon their own history is at a blog called the__earthinc in an article about the ancient Malay kingdom of Srivijaya. Here the present day historical concentration on the [...]

  33. [...] Sri Tri Buana, the Prince and Demang Lebar Daun, the minister representing the Malays in time when Palembang was the center of the Malay [...]

  34. [...] such rewriting and denial was the initial reason why I brought up the question of Srivijaya in the first place. I was sidetracked but such digression was temporary as I am proving it here [...]

  35. [...] Throw away the political explosive and the emotional debate, rationally under this assumption a Malay nation would originate as far back as between the second and the sixth century of the common era, when possibly, the first recorded Malay nation was established as Srivijaya. [...]

  36. [...] the idea of trade cutting through the Malay Peninsula went as far back as about 1800 years ago. Beyond Malacca, if I might [...]

  37. [...] Srivijaya, the discussion moves on to Malacca. Gardam writes: …I came to study the subject of Sriviyaja/Singapura/Malacca because of a research I did a [...]

  38. [...] Srivijaya was great but it was not the only empires or kingdoms that impacted Malay or Malaysian history. Despite the perception that nothing important occurred before the coming of Islam to Southeast Asia and the Sultanate of Malacca, there were a number of kingdoms that flourished thanks to trade. We know this through Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arab and sometimes even European records. One of the kingdoms, as a reader shared his thought with me earlier through email, was a kingdom founded by Adityavarman. [...]

  39. [...] was one of the greatest empires in the Malay Archipelago. It lasted for possibly about 1,000 years and had interacted with so many [...]

  40. on 10 Aug 2010 at 16:52 Anonymous

    ALL HAIL THE GLORY OF LANGKASUKA!!!THE MOTHER EMPIRE/KINGDOM OF MALAY ARCHIPELAGO 200-900 AD!Say wat ever u guys want LANGKASUKA is still the earliest KINGDOM ever in ARCHIPELAGO.Nobody can erase dat name from our history MELAKA can kiss my ass.