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477
MALAYS


virtues except that of courtesy. They are for the most part, when left to their own resources, cruel, unjust, selfish and improvident.

Much has been written concerning the acts of homicidal mania called amuck (amok), which word in the vernacular means to attack. It was formerly believed that these outbursts were to be attributed to madness pur et simple, and some cases of amok can certainly be traced to this source. These are not, however, in any sense typical, and might equally have been perpetrated by men of another race. The typical amok is usually the result of circumstances which render a Malay desperate. The motive is often inadequate from the point of view of a European, but to the Malay it is sufficient to make him weary of life and anxious to court death. Briefly, where a man of another race might not improbably commit suicide, a Malay runs amok, killing all whom he may meet until he himself is slain.

The nervous affliction called latah, to which many Malays are subject, is also a curious trait of the people. The victims of this affliction lose for the time all self-control and all sense of their own identity, imitating the actions of any person who chances to rivet their attention. Accounts of these manifestations will be found in Swettenham’s Malay Sketches (London, 1895) and Clifford’s Studies in Brown Humanity (London, 1897).

The Malays wear a loose coat and trousers, and a cap or head-kerchief, but the characteristic item of their costume is the sarong, a silk or cotton cloth about two yards long by a yard and a quarter wide, the ends of which are sewn together, Costume, Weapons, &c. forming a kind of skirt. This is worn round the waist folded in a knot, the women allowing it to fall to the ankle, the men, when properly dressed in accordance with ancient custom, folding it over the hilt of their waist-weapon, and draping it around them so that it reaches nearly to the knee. In the hall of a raja on state occasions a head-kerchief twisted into a peak is worn, and the coat is furnished with a high collar extending round the back of the neck only. This coat is open in front, leaving the chest bare. The trousers are short and of a peculiar cut and material, being coloured many hues in parallel horizontal lines. The sarong is of Celebes manufacture and made of cotton, to the surface of which a high polish is imparted by friction with a shell. The typical fighting costume of the Malay is a sleeveless jacket with texts from the Koran written upon it, short tight drawers reaching to the middle of the thigh, and the sarong is then bound tightly around the waist, leaving the hilt of the dagger worn in the girdle exposed to view. The principal weapon of the Malays is the kris, a short dagger with a small wooden or ivory handle, of which there are many varieties. The blade of a kris may either be wavy or straight, but if wavy the number of waves must always be uneven in number. The kris most prized by the Malays are those of Bugis (Celebes) manufacture, and of these the kind called tuasek are of the greatest value. Besides the short kris, the Malays use long straight kris with very narrow blades, shorter straight kris of the same form, short broad swords called sundang, long swords of ordinary pattern called pedang, somewhat shorter swords curved like scimitars with curiously carved handles called chenangkas, and short stabbing daggers called tumbok lada. The principal tools of the Malays are the parang or gôlok, a heavy knife used in the jungle, without which no peasant ever stirs abroad from his house, the beliong or native axe, and the pisau raut, which is used for scraping rattan. Their implements are very primitive, consisting of a plough fashioned from a fork of a tree, and a rude harrow. Reaping is usually performed by the aid of a curious little knife which severs each ear of grain separately. The fisher-folk use many kinds of nets, which they manufacture themselves. Sails, paddles, oars and punting-poles are all in use.

Malay Language and Literature

The Malay language is a member of the Malayan section of the Malayo-Polynesian class of languages, but it is by no means a representative type of the section which has taken its name from it. The area over which it is spoken comprises the peninsula of Malacca with the adjacent islands (the Rhio-Lingga Archipelago), the greater part of the coast districts of Sumatra and Borneo, the seaports of Java, the Sunda and Banda Islands. It is the general medium of communication throughout the archipelago from Sumatra to the Philippine Islands, and it was so upwards of three hundred and fifty years ago when the Portuguese first appeared in those parts.

There are no Malay manuscripts extant, no monumental records with inscriptions in Malay, dating from before the spreading of Islam in the archipelago, about the end of the 13th century. By some it has been argued from this fact that the Malays possessed no kind of writing prior to the introduction of the Arabic alphabet (W. Robinson, J. J. de Hollander); whereas others have maintained, with greater show of probability, that the Malays were in possession of an ancient alphabet, and that it was the same as the Rechang (Marsden, Friederich), as the Kawi (Van der Tuuk), or most like the Lampong (Kern)—all of which alphabets, with the Battak, Bugi and Macassar, are ultimately traceable to the ancient Cambojan characters. With the Mahommedan conquest the Perso-Arabic alphabet was introduced among the Malays; it has continued ever since to be in use for literary, religious and business purposes. Where Javanese is the principal language, Malay is sometimes found written with Javanese characters; and in Palembang, in the Mĕnangkabo country of Middle Sumatra, the Rechang or Renchong characters are in general use, so called from the sharp and pointed knife with which they are cut on the smooth side of bamboo staves. It is only since the Dutch have established their supremacy in the archipelago that the Roman character has come to be largely used in writing and printing Malay. This is also the case in the Straits Settlements.

By the simplicity of its phonetic elements, the regularity of its grammatical structure, and the copiousness of its nautical vocabulary, the Malay language is singularly well fitted to be the lingua franca throughout the Indian archipelago. It possesses the five vowels a, i, u, e, o, both short and long, and one pure diphthong, au. Its consonants are k, g, ng, ch, j, ñ, t, d, n, p, b, m, y, r, l, w, s, h. Long vowels can only occur in open syllables. The only possible consonantal nexus in purely Malay words is that of a nasal and mute, a liquid and mute and vice versa, and a liquid and nasal. Final k and h are all but suppressed in the utterance. Purely Arabic letters are only used in Arabic words, a great number of which have been received into the Malay vocabulary. But the Arabic character is even less suited to Malay than to the other Eastern languages on which it has been foisted. As the short vowels are not marked, one would, in seeing, e.g. the word bntng, think first of bintang, a star; but the word might also mean a large scar, to throw down, to spread, rigid, mutilated, enceinte, a kind of cucumber, a redoubt, according as it is pronounced, bantang, banting, bentang, buntang, buntung, bunting, bonteng, benteng.

Malay is essentially, with few exceptions, a dissyllabic language, and the syllabic accent rests on the penultimate unless that syllable is open and short; e.g. dātang, namā́ña, bĕsár, diumpatkanñā́lah. Nothing in the form of a root word indicates the grammatical category to which it belongs; thus, kāsih, kindness, affectionate, to love; ganti, a proxy, to exchange, instead of. It is only in derivative words that this vagueness is avoided. Derivation is effected by infixes, prefixes, affixes and reduplication. Infixes occur more rarely in Malay than in the cognate tongues. Examples are—gūruh, a rumbling noise, gumūruh, to make such a noise; tunjuḳ, to point, telunjuḳ, the forefinger; chūchuk, to pierce, cherūchuḳ, a stockade. The import of the prefixes—mĕ (mĕng, mĕñ, mĕn, mĕm), pĕ (pĕng, pĕñ, pĕn, pĕm bĕr (bĕl), pĕr, pĕl, ka, di, tĕr,—and affixes—an, kan, i, lah—will best appear from the following examples—root word ājar, to teach, to learn; mĕngājar, to instruct (expresses an action); blĕājar, to study (state or condition); mĕngajāri, to instruct (some one, trans.); mĕngājarkan, to instruct (in something, causative); pĕngājar, the instructor; pĕlājar, the learner; pĕngajāran, the lesson taught, also the school; pĕlajāran, the lesson learnt; diājar, to be learnt; terājar, learnt; tĕrājarkan, taught; tĕrajāri, instructed; [pĕrāja (from rāja, prince), to recognize as prince; pĕrajākan, to crown as prince; karajāan, royalty]; ājarkanlah, teach! Examples of reduplication are—ājar-ājar, a sainted person; ājar-bĕrājar (or bĕlājar), to be learning and teaching by turns; similarly there are forms like ājar-mĕngājar, bĕrājār-ajāran, ājar-ajāri, mĕmpĕrājar, mĕmpĕrājarkan, mĕmpĕrajāri, tĕrbĕlājarkan, pĕrbĕlājarkan, &c. Altogether there are upwards of a hundred possible derivative forms, in the idiomatic use of which the Malays exhibit much skill. See especially H. von Dewall, De vormveranderingen der Maleische taal (Batavia, 1864) and I. Pijnappel, Maleisch-Hollandsch Woordenboek (Amsterdam, 1875), “Inleiding.” In every other respect the language is characterized by great simplicity and indefiniteness. There is no inflexion to distinguish number, gender or case. Number is never indicated when the sense is obvious or can be gathered from the context; otherwise plurality is expressed by adjectives such as sagāla, all, and bāñak, many; more rarely by the repetition of the noun, and the indefinite singular by sa or sātu, one, with a class-word. Gender may, if necessary, be distinguished by the words laki-lāki, male, and pĕrampūan, female, in the case of persons, and of jantan and bĕtīna in the case of animals. The genitive case is generally indicated by the position of the word after its governing noun. Also adjectives and demonstrative pronouns have their places after the noun. Comparison is effected by the use of particles. Instead of the personal pronouns, both in their full and abbreviated forms, conventional nouns are in frequent use to indicate the social position or relation of the respective interlocutors, as, e.g. hamba tuan, the master’s slave, i.e. I. These nouns vary according to the different localities. Another peculiarity of Malay (and likewise of Chinese, Shan, Talaing, Burmese and Siamese) is the use of certain class-words or coefficients with numerals, such as orang (man), when speaking of persons, ekor (tail) of animals, kĕping (piece) of flat things, bīji (seed) of roundish things; e.g. līma bīji, tĕlor, five eggs. The number of these class-words is considerable. Malay verbs have neither person or number nor mood or tense. The last two are sometimes indicated by particles or auxiliary verbs; but these are generally dispensed with if the meaning is sufficiently plain without them. The Malays avoid the building up of long sentences. The two main rules by which the order of the words in a sentence is regulated are—subject, verb, object; and qualifying words follow those which they qualify. This is quite the reverse of what is the rule in Burmese.

The history of the Malays amply accounts for the number and variety of foreign ingredients in their language. Hindus appear to have settled in Sumatra and Java as early as the 4th century of our era, and to have continued to exercise sway over the native