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MALAYS

measurements of the Malays and an examination of their hair sections seem to bear out the theory that they are distinct from the Mongolian races. Their language, which is neither monosyllabic nor tonic, has nothing in common with that of the Mon-Annam group. It has, moreover, been pointed out that had the Malays been driven southwards by the stronger races of the mainland of Asia, it might be expected that the people inhabiting the country nearest to the border between Siam and Malaya would belong to the Malayan and not to the Mon-Annam or Mon-Khmer stock. As a matter of fact the Sâkai of the interior of the peninsula belong to the latter race. It might also be anticipated, were the theory of a southward immigration to be sustained, that the Malays would be new-comers in the islands of the archipelago, and have their oldest settlements on the Malayan Peninsula. The facts, however, are in exact contradiction to this; and accordingly the theory now most generally held by those who have studied the question is that the Malays form a distinct race, and had their original home in the south. Where this home lay it is not easy to say, but the facts recorded by many writers as to the resemblance between the Polynesian and the Malayan races, and the strong Malayan element found in the languages of the former (see Tregear’s Maori and Comparative Polynesian Dictionary, London, 1891), have led some students to think that the two races may have had a common origin. John Crawfurd, in the Dissertation to his Dictionary of the Malay Language, published in 1840, noted the prevalence of Malayan terms in the Polynesian languages, and attributed the fact to the casting away of ships manned by Malays upon the islands of the Polynesian Archipelago. The appearance of the same Malayan words in localities so widely separated from each other, however, cannot be satisfactorily accounted for by any such explanation, and the theory is now more generally held that the two races are probably allied and may at some remote period of history have shared a common home. It has been suggested that their separation did not take place until after the continent which once existed in the north Pacific had become submerged, and that the Malays wandered northward, while the Polynesian race spread itself over the islands of the southern archipelago. All this, however, must necessarily be of the nature of the purest speculation, and the only facts which we are able to deduce in the present state of our knowledge of the subject may be summed up as follows: (a) That the Malays ethnologically belong to a race which is allied to the Polynesians; (b) that the theory formerly current to the effect that the Sakai and other similar races of the peninsula and archipelago belonged to the Malayan stock cannot be maintained, since recent investigations tend to identify them with the Mon-Annam or Mon-Khmer family of races; (c) that the Malays are, comparatively speaking, new-comers in the lands which they now inhabit; (d) that it is almost certain that their emigration took place from the south; (e) and that, at some remote period of their history, they came into close contact with the Polynesian race, probably before its dispersion over the extensive area which it now occupies.

The Malays to-day are Sunni Mahommedans of the school of Shafi’i, and they habitually use the terms Orang Malayu, i.e. a Malay, and Orang Islam, i.e. a Mahommedan, as synonymous expressions. Their conversion from paganism took Religion and Superstitions. place during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries of our era. The raja of Achin, in northern Sumatra, is said to have been converted as early as 1206, while the Bugis people in Celebes are supposed not to have become Mahommedans until 1495. Mahommedanism undoubtedly spread to the Malays of the peninsula from Sumatra, but their conversion was slow and gradual, and may even now in some respects be regarded as imperfect. Upon the bulk of the Malayan peoples their religion sits but lightly. Few are found to observe the law concerning the Five Hours of Prayer, and many fail to put in an appearance at the Friday congregational services in the mosques. The Fast of Ramadhān, however, is generally observed with some faithfulness. Compared with other Mahommedan peoples, the Malays are not fanatical, though occasionally an outbreak against those of a different creed is glorified by them into a holy war. The reason of such outbreaks, however, is usually to be found in political and social rather than in religious grievances. Prior to their conversion to Mahommedanism the Malays were subjected to a considerable Hindu influence, which reached them by means of the traders who visited the archipelago from India. In the islands of Bali and Lombok the people still profess a form of Hinduism, and Hindu remains are to be found in many other parts of the archipelago, though their traces do not extend to the peninsula. Throughout, however, the superstitions of the Malays show indications of this Hindu influence, and many of the demons whom their medicine-men invoke in their magic practices are clearly borrowed from the pantheon of India. For the rest, a substratum of superstitious beliefs, which survives from the days when the Malays professed only their natural religion, is to be found firmly rooted in the minds of the people, and the influence of Mahommedanism, which regards such things with horror, has been powerless to eradicate this. Mr W. W. Skeat’s Malay Magic (London, 1900) is a compilation of all the writings on the subject of Malay superstitions by the best authorities and contains considerable original matter.

The Malays of the coast are a maritime people, and were long famous for the daring character of their acts of piracy. They are now peaceable fisher-folk, who show considerable ingenuity in their calling. Inland the Malays live by Mode of Life, &c. preference on the banks of rivers, building houses on piles some feet from the ground, and planting groves of coco-nut, betel-nut, sugar-palm and fruit-trees around their dwellings. Behind their villages the rice-fields usually spread, and rice, which is the staple food of the people, is the principal article of agriculture among them. Sugar-cane, maize, tapioca and other similar products are grown, however, in smaller quantities. In planting rice three methods are in use: the cultivation of swamp-rice in irrigated fields; the planting of ploughed areas; and the planting of hill-rice by sowing each grain separately in holes bored for the purpose. In the irrigated fields the rice plants are first grown in nurseries, and are subsequently transplanted when they have reached a certain stage of development. The Malays also work jungle produce, of which the most important are gutta, rattans, agila wood, camphor wood, and the beautiful kamuning wood which is used by the natives for the hilts of their weapons. The principal manufactures of the Malays are cotton and silk cloths, earthenware and silver vessels, mats and native weapons. The best cotton cloths are those manufactured by the Bugis people in Celebes, and the batek cloths which come from Java and are stamped with patterns. The best silks are produced by the natives of Pahang, Kĕlantan and Johor in the Malay Peninsula. Lord Leighton pronounced the silver ware from Malaya to be the most artistic of any exhibited at the Colonial Exhibition held in London in 1886. The pottery of the Malays is rude but curious. When the first Europeans visited the Malay Archipelago the Malays had already acquired the art of manufacturing gunpowder and forging cannon. The art of writing also appears to have been independently invented by the Malayan races, since numerous alphabets are in use among the peoples of the archipelago, although for the writing of Malay itself the Arabic character has been adopted for some hundreds of years. The Malays are excellent boat-builders.

While the Malays were famous almost exclusively for their piratical expeditions they naturally bore an evil reputation among Europeans, but now that we have come into closer contact with them, and have learned to understand Character, &c. them better, the old opinions concerning them have been greatly modified. They used to be described as the most cruel and treacherous people in the world, and they certainly are callous of the pain suffered by others, and regard any strategy of which their enemies are the victims with open admiration. In ordinary circumstances, however, the Malay is not treacherous, and there are many instances recorded in which men of this race have risked their own lives on behalf of Europeans who chanced to be their friends. As a race they are exceedingly courteous and self-respecting. Their own code of manners is minute and strict, and they observe its provisions faithfully. Unlike many Orientals, the Malays can be treated with a friendly familiarity without such treatment breeding lack of respect or leading to liberties being taken with the superior. The Malays are indolent, pleasure-loving, improvident beyond belief, fond of bright clothing, of comfort, of ease, and they dislike toil exceedingly. They have no idea of the value of money, and little notion of honesty where money is concerned. They would always borrow rather than earn money, and they feel no shame in adopting the former course. They will frequently refuse to work for a wage when they most stand in need of cash, and yet at the invitation of one who is their friend they will toil unremittingly without any thought of reward. They are much addicted to gambling, and formerly were much given to fighting, though they never display that passion for war in the abstract which is characteristic of some of the white races, and their courage on the whole is not high if judged by European standards. It is notorious, however, on the coasts that a Malay gang on board a ship invariably gets the better of any fight which may arise between it and the Chinese crew. The sexual morality of the Malays is very lax, but prostitution is not common in consequence. Polygamy, though allowed by their religion, is practised for the most part among the wealthy classes only. The Malays are an intensely aristocratic people, and show a marvellous loyalty to their rajas and chiefs. Their respect for rank is not marred by any vulgarity or snobbery. The ruling classes among them display all the vices of the lower classes, and few of the