Monday, July 30, 2012

Friendship Journey to Hanoi, Vietnam






               FRIENDSHIP JOURNEY TO HANOI VIETNAM: NOVEMBER 17 t0 19, 2006

  After visiting Ho Chi Minh City earlier there was a strong  pull to visit the northern part of Vietnam.  A visit to Hanoi was planned.  The Air Asia package to the City made the planning of the visit easier.  Accompanied by Kamariah, my wife, we departed by Air Asia flight AK 762 at 3.30 pm on Nov 17, 2006 for Hanoi.  It was a generally smooth flight in Airbus 320 taking 3 hrs and 15 mts to get to Hanoi from Kuala Lumpur.  We stayed at Rose Hotel.  The trip was a short one – only two days and we visited the following places:

a.     Halong Bay.  The visit to HB was scheduled on the second day of the trip (Nov 18)gIt was a a three-and-half hours drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay. We took a ship to cruise among the many islands which form the 1969 islands of the Halong Bay Archipelago situated in the Bay of Tonkin.  The islands are estimated to exist for 250 to 280 million years ago, made up of either limestone and schist  geology.  As usually common in this geological rock,  there are  many unique and beautiful formations in the many caves and grottoes. We visited one of the big caves with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.  The marine ecosystem of the Archipelago is rich in biodiversity registering 450 sp of shellfish and 200 sp of fish. The many islands with myriads of rock formation  and the rich biodiversity make the Archipelago unique and a tourist attraction.  It has been declared a UNESCO World  Heritage site in 2000.

b.     Hanoi got its name from two words: Ha – river, Noi – interior.  The city came into existence in 208 BC, initially under Chinese influence. It has a long history of Chinese and French colonialism.  Accordingly its city landscape provides a unique architecture of beautiful colonial villas, buildings and large trees.  The 18 lakes found in the city add to its attractive ambience.  We went on the city tour on the third day of the visit and the following paragraphs  provide brief background information on the places of interest we visited.

c.     Van Miew-Quoc Tu Giam.  This tourism attraction consists of  the Temple of Literature and the first university in Vietnam.  It was built in 1070 in honour of Confucius.  The University was first opened to serve the royal family and later admitted talented students. Thousand of scholars had gone through its door and the achievements of its students are inscribed on stele erected.

d.     Kim Lien Pagoda. The pagoda is located on the bank of West Lake. It was built in 1631 and the special attraction of the structure is the intricate architecture of its gate.

e.     Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum.  The Mausoleum and Museum was built in 1990 and opened on the birthday anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh,  May 19.  The main hall of the Museum contains exhibits that occurred during President’s life and important events that happened in the rest of the world.

f.       Museum of Ethnoloy.  The museum houses exhibits which depict all aspects of life -  culture, custom and religious practices of the 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam.                      

Sunday, July 29, 2012

FRIENDSHIP JOURNEY TO YANGON: April 8 to 12, 2006


FRIENDSHIP JOURNEY TO YANGON, MYANMAR: April 8 to 12, 2006

1.       It was the fact that Myanmar was kept out of the news due to the restriction and closed door policy of the military junta  which called itself ‘The State Peace and Development Council’ that attracted me to visit Myanmar.  The military government of the country was criticised for not practicing  democracy and having kept its well-known political activist, Daw Aung Sau Kyi, under house arrest and restricted her movement.  Myanmar is a member of ASEAN. In my planning to visit Myanmar I contacted an old MARDI friend, Dr Larry Wong, who visited the country regularly, because of his involvement in in the purchase rice when he was serving BERNAS (Beras National).  Subsequently, he established a company trading products from Myanmar. He introduced me to some contacts in Yangon and provided suggestion as to the hotel to stay in Yangon..

2.       I left with my wife on Saturday April 8, 2006, at 10.00 am in Flight MH 740 of Malaysian Airlines arriving at Yangon International Airport 2 hr 40 minutes later, approximately the same flight time from Kuala Lumpur to  Kota  Kinabalu.  The time difference is one-an-half hours with Yangon registering a later time.  On approaching Yangon the general ground appearance seemed dry and brownish grass cover.  The surrounding area of the airport appeared full of activities particularly construction work. It appeared that the airport was undergoing renovation work. We checked in at Grand Plaza Park Royal at a room rate of US$72 per night. The rest of the afternoon was spent at the Bogyoke Market or Scott Market, a popular shopping centre for gemstones for tourists.

3.       Among the places of interests that we visited  during the four day stay were as follows:

3.1   Shwe Dangon Pagoda ( shwe –gold,  Dangon  is old name for Yangon).  The main stupa of the pagoda is coated with gold, thus its name.  It has four main prayer  halls situated to the north, south, east and west of the main stupa with many altars located throughout the compound of the Pagoda.  Being a Sunday the Pagoda was full of pilgrims and tourists. Many young boys in groups were in processions with monks, family members and elders  in the initiation ceremonies for monkhood. 

3.2   National Museum at Kau Dau Gyi Lake.  It is a four floor building.  The first floor is devoted to the development of the Burmese language through the periods of Pagan (11 to 13th century), Inwa (14th to 16th century) and Taungnga (16th to 17th century); the second floor – culture of the people;  the third floor displayed the the various tribes in Myanmar and works of art of the artists; the 4th topmost floor display images of Buddha.

3.3   National Races Village.  There are more than 135 tribes that make up the population of Myanmar.  Among them are the Zaiwar, Rawang, Lauwar, Lisu, Mai Thai, Tam Khon Ti, Tai Lon, Tai Lam, Tai Long, Kajan, Bwe, Sakaw Kayin. West Vokayin, Talipiwar, Mawneypwar, Mopwar, Kayin Pligu, Phalau Chin, Khmee, Mro, Khamer, Thak, Intha, Paoh, Lishaw,and Yin Kyar.  We visited to see exhibits and the culture displayed in the Bauyow Village, Rakhine Village, Hto Kekhanthew Temple, Kayai Village, Mon Village, Shan Village and Kayan Village.

3.4   Bogyoke Aung San Market.  This is the main shopping centre for tourists in Yangon.  Many gemstones stores are found in the area and a few of the sales people can communicate in Malay. Among the gemstones that are displayed were jades, amethysts, aquamarine, topaz, sapphires.

3.5   Silom Thai Village.  This was the location for traditional massage and Thai cuisines.

3.6   Wet Market.  Cashew nuts and dried shrimps were comparatively cheap.

4.        General Observations.  People are skinny and thin.  People still do a lot of  walking.  Cars, motor cycles or even bicycles are few. Buses were old with dents and scratches. Betel chewing was widespread and many carrying special trays with the  betel leaves and the condiments plying their sales of betel.     

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mencari Kebahagian (In Search of Happiness)


 

1. At last the book is out - the translated Bahasa Malaysia (BM) version. The original text is in English and entitled 'In Search of Happiness'. The publishers felt that the BM version might have a better market in the Malay speaking world and suggested that the text be translated. It was assigned to someone that I myself have not met though I was happy with the translation. Nevertheless, the English version will be published and scheduled for January 2009.
  2. 'Mencari Kebahagian' (MK) is autobiography which details my early education at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star; had a memorable three years at the College of Agriculture where the author confessed that he learned a lot of things in life besides agriculture, and finally completed the post-graduate studies at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA where I obtained the M.S and subsequently, the Ph.D from North Carolina State University. I shared my experiences in managing two agriculturally-related institutions - the Malaysian Agricultural & Development Institute (MARDI) and the Malaysian Cocoa Board. My travels to around 40 countries brought me to some of the exotic places in the world, among them - Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Copenhagen in Denmark, Lake District England, Berlin Germany, Madrid Spain, Rome Italy, Athens Greece, Istanbul Turkey, Isfahan Iran, Katmandu Nepal, Kashmir and Agra India, Yangon Myanmar, Chiang Mai Thailand, Bunekan Island Manado Indonesia, Beijing China, Siem Reap Cambodia and Tasman Park in New Zealand. My involvement in voluntary activities such as sustainable development, creativity, innovation, eco-tourism and social work is discussed. In Chapter 14 I share my experiences in keeping constantly in good health which are a combination of regular exercises constituted of jogging, cycling and swimming on one side and a balanced diet comprising among others, herbs and fruits.
  3. The book took two years to complete. I started it in January 2006 and by September 2007 the draft was completed. I approached my alma mater UPM (The Publications Unit) to consider publishing it. The Unit sat on it for three months and I decided to approach a new publisher, Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn. Bhd, which quickly got it published. It was an exalted feeling to see the copies fresh from the printing press.
  4. MK is my fourth book. The titles of the other three books are as follows:a. Strategies in the Development of the Malaysian Cocoa Industry, b. INDUSTRI KOKO MALAYSIA - Himpunan Ucapan Ketua Pengarah 1989 - 1995, c. Adventure Journeys in Sabah.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Friendship Journey to Yokyakarta: January 20 to 23, 2009


The three young backpackers who participated in the trip



Ladies selling traditional cakes at the market




On the way to Borobodur

At the summit of the Borobudur



Friendship Journey to Yokyakarta from January 23 to 27, 2009

  1. 1.  Introduction

       1.1 After visiting Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia the pull to visit Yokyakarta was great as here lies another great religious monument , the Borobudur. I recollect having visited the city quite some few years (April 1986) back when a I led a delegation of researchers from the Malaysian Agricultural Research Institute to familiarize with agricultural development on the island of Jawa. We started the educational journey from Jakarta, then proceeded to Bogor, Puntjak, Bandung, Yokyakarta, Surabaya, Malang, Banyuwangi and the Island of Bali. The only aspect of the visit to Yokyakarta that I remembered was dinner cultural show in an open air theatre. The schedule of the visit was tight and there was hardly time for sightseeing.

       1.2 I made inquiries with with my regular travelling mates as to who would be free to join on the journey. Initially Dato’ Dr. Mohd Nor Ismail agreed and the package booking (airfare + hotel accommotion) was made about two months before the scheduled date of travel. The package price was RM 1 500. Rahim A. Rahman decided to join later. Finally the delegation was a three member group.

        1.3 Checked the internet (en Wikipedia) on the city. According to this digital publication the city has an area of 32.5 sq km. The tourist attractions include Borobudur, Prambanan, Universiti Gadjah Mada,  Kraton Ngayogyakarta, Djalan Malioboro. From other source of information, for entertainment outlets, among the night clubs listed are Hugo’s, Embassy, Republic, Caesar CafĂ© & Lounge.

        1.4 We departed at 2.00 pm by Air Asia flight. It was a two-hour flight and with a one hour lost of time we landed at Yokyakarta Airport around 5 pm local time (WIT –West Indonesian Time). The Airport was small and congested. It took almost an hour for immigration and baggage clearance. We were shuttled to …. Sakthi Hotel, one-half an hour ride from the Airport.

    2.  Programme of Activities and Places Visited

        2.1 On Saturday January 24, 2009, on the advice of our guide we decided to visit Borobudur and go on a city tour of Yokyakarta. The city tour covered the visit to the Kraton and Taman Sari. On Sunday January 25, the itinerary include the visit to Solo and the complex of temples of Prambanan. On Monday January 26 we headed for the beach and the small home industries around the city. Finally on the last day (Jan 27), with the flight schedule late in the afternoon, I visited the heart of Yokya – Jalan Malioboro-which is considered the main tourist area.

       2.2 Borobudur – it was Borobudur that enticed me to visit Yokya. I was excited to have a glimpse of it. There were many visitors on the day we visited it and the entrance fee for foreigners was Rp 175 000. Situated 42 km from the city the Buddhist temple was built in the 8 th and 9th century during the Sailendra Kingdom. Its foundation is estimated to have an area of 123 sq m.with the original height of 33 m.However it has reduced to 31.5 m caused by soil subsidence and tremors of the earthquake. It was said to have been constructed from 1 600 000 blocks of volcanic stones. It has ten levels – a courtyard, 6 main rectangular terraces and three round terraces. It is in the walls of these terraces that inscriptions of the life of Gautama Buddha and how he obtained enlightenment were made. The temple underwent a massive restoration work by UNESCO between 1973 and 1983.

       2.3 Prambanan - this complex of 237 temples was built at around the same time as the Borobudur, in the reign of the Hindu Sanjaya dynasty. They are considered the sanctuaries of the Hindu God, Siwa. The statue of Siwa is located in the central part of the complex with smaller statues of Vishnu and Brahma.
  2.   2.4  Karaton - this is the palace of the Sultans of Yogya.  It is walled and inhabited by more than 25 000 people. It was built in the period of 1755-1756.  A large part of it is used as a museum and holds an extensive exhibits which include gifts from the monarchs of Europe and heirlooms of the royal family.
  3.   2.5 Taman Sari - this was the pleasure complex of the Sultan 
   3. The city - Yogyakarta. It is regarded as the artistic and intellectual heritage of Indonesia with the kraton serving as the hub of traditional life. It was established by Sultan Mataram, Sultan Hamengkubuwono in 1755 - 56. To the Indonesians Yogya is a symbol of resistance to colonial rule and became the capital of the Republic from 1946 until its independence in 1949. Jln Malioboro is the main road and centre of tourist attraction, with many souvenir shops and stalls. 



















Sunday, July 22, 2012

Friendship Journey to Cambodia: July 12 to 15, 2012

Signing the Visitors' Book at the Embassy of Malaysia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Wearing the mask as we moved around Phnom Penh as it gets dusty on a hot sunny day.  The 'tut-tut' is a popular and convenient form of transportation in Phnom Penh

With HE  Datuk Pengiran Hj Mohd Hussein, the Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia and Mr Marith

Two hostesses at a seafood restaurant at a small port at the Gulf of Som, some 65 km from Sihanoukville

Wood carvings by Cambodian carvers in front of the souvenir store

The Mekong River Esplanade, a popular place to tourists

With the Cham Malay Community in Phnom Penh we met in the compound of the mosque 

Children of the Cham Malay families

Friendship Journey to Phnom Penh – July 12 to 15, 2012

1.        I usually like to visit neighbouring ASEAB countries  for a holiday.  ASEAN countries that I have preferenced for include Cambodia,  Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.  The attractions to these destinations include friendly people, reasonably prized food and entertainment, cultural institutions such as museums, nature parks. The journeys I have made to these countries on various occasions are reported in the blog. I have also visited the other ASEAN countries.  At one time when I was still working in the  Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI),my visit to the Philippines was frequent as we were involved in a collaborative research management project with University of the Philippines at Los Banos and rice research link with the International Rice Research Institute.  Among the cities in the Philippines that I have visited include Manila, San Jose, Zamboangga.  I visited Brunei Darussalam a couple of time and of course Singapore.
2.       This is my third trip to Cambodia, the first was to Siem Reap and this is the second trip to Phnom Penh.  It is a pleasure cum business trip.  Though I have communicated to a few friends who were my regular companions on the backpackingtrip, it was Mr Walter Netto from New Zealand, who accompanied me.
3.       I booked the Golden Holiday flight-hotel package at RM 680 per pax for a hotel stay of 3 days on a twin sharing basis. My choice of the hotel was Juliana as it has a swimming pool (an important criteria) claimed to be the biggest in Phnom Penh.
4.       It was an early flight scheduled at 6.45am on Thursday July 12. I left the house at 4.45am. I had to resort the assistance of my son to send me to the airport as the taxi was not available at that early hour of 5.30am.  LCCT was busy even at the early hour.  The KL- Phnom Penh flight took about an hour and forty-five minutes and with a saving of one hour we arrived in Phnom Penh at 7.30am local time. The taxi to the hotel was US$9.  All transactions in Cambodia are in US$. We rested until the lunch appointment at 12.00 oonwith Mr Marith, a businessman.  Mr Marith was introduced to me by a friend and he is closely associated with Malaysian businessmen who have or plan to invest in Cambodia.  He spoke of a massive agricultural projects extending into an area of around 300 000 acres being planned by a Malaysian investor.  He also knows the Malaysian Ambassador well. I have solicited the assistance of Mr Marith to fix an appointment for me to pay a courtesy call on him.  We managed to get an appointment at 2.45pm inspite of the his busy schedule as he is in the midst of participating in the ASEAN Ministerial meeting and other associated meetings.  The Malaysian Embassy that afternoon was quiet as most of the personnels were involved in the ASEAN deliberations.  We were about 15 minutes with the Ambassador, exchanging pleasantries and latest development. Before departure I presented the Ambassador my two books, Adventure Journeys in Sabah and In Search of Happines, for the Embassy’s library. We decided to have an easy first day.  On my return to the hotel I did my regular laps in the pool, following with a two-hour body massage at the hotel health centre.  It was a good massage by a 35 year old plump masseuse who has a liking for  karaoke singing at a fee of US$15.
5.       We were up early on the second day (Friday July 13) as we were scheduled to travel to Sihanoukville. After the breakfast at the hotel the Land Rover vehicle that we rented at US$150,  came by with Mr Ma Soktha, Director of the Department of Forest Plantations and Private Forest Development. Mr Soktha is an associate and business partner of Mr Marith.  We took Highway N4 heading for Sihanoukville and I observed that on both sides of the road there are paddy fields with  cattle grazing the unplanted fields.  Other areas which are vacant are planted with forest species such as Acacia and fruit trees such as longan and mango. As we approached the southern region of Cambodia we observe oil palm being planted.  According to Mr Soktha oil palm yield attains 18 tonnes FFB per ha, which is low compared to that obtained in Malaysia but however, adequate to provide the profit margin for the investment . We stopped for lunch at a small port located around 65 km from Sihanoukville.  After lunch with rain falling we decided to turn back and head back for Phnom Penh.
6.         We decided to tour the city and visit places of interest on the third day (Saturday July 14) of our stay .  We thought the ‘tut-tut’ was a convenient vehicle to travel around the city and through the hotel, rented one. We negotiated and agreed that the rental for a day from 10 am to 4 pm would be US$25.   The first stop was a row of handicrafts shophouses displaying the usual wooden figurines of Buddha and those of the Angkor Wat fame. The second stop was the National Museum. The entrance fee was US$3.  The museum contains an excellent collection of Khmer sculpture.  The highlights of the sculpture were the eight-armed statue of Vishnu and statue of Shiva.  We stopped by the Esplanade by the Mekong River and was heading for Naga Hotel, where the casino is, when we decided to cut short the ‘tut-tut’ trip as Mr Soktha contacted us and invited us for lunch and agreed to take us to visit the Cham Muslim community after that.
7.       Phnom Penh is situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers.  It is a sprawling city but its population is not known.  The city population went through a tragic history when, during the Khmer Rouge regime in a period of 1975 to 1978 when the people  were forced out to the rural areas to far.Mmany were also tortured and killed.  The tragedies during the Khmer Rouge regime are remembered in the many photos and artifacts kept at the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek .  I visited these Museum and Killing Fields on my previous trip to the city. Cambodia is politically stable under the able leadership of Cambodian People’s Party, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, with investments coming from South Korea, Thailand, China.  The main foreign exchange earnings are from tourism and the textile industries.
8.       We visited the Cham Muslim community at Km 8. There were 3 big mosques in the area.  The interest in meeting with the Cham Muslim people arose following the International Conference of Malay-Polynesian Ancestral Nations held in Seremban on 5 and 6 July, in the effort to  reconnect and reenergise the common ethnic heriatage of the MP peoples.  We stopped at a mosque that had a group of people chatting.  We introduced ourself with ‘Assalamualaikum’ to the elders in the group, which include the ‘siak’ (caretaker) of the mosque.  We tried to speak in Malay which they appear to understand but find difficult to respond.  We were lucky as one of the elders called his grandson, Nory El, who speak fluent English.  We explained who we are and why we are there. 
9.       The Chams belong to the Austronesian stock, the same ethnic link with the Malay-Polynesian. They has established a kingdom stretching from the present Hue to the south of Vietnam in the 9th and 10th century. However, the kingdom was invaded by the Vietnamese and the Chams  were pushed to the southern and interior part right to present day Cambodia. The Chams are Muslims, estimated to number 400 000 in a population of 15 million in Cambodia, largely living in the provinces of Kompong Thom, Kompong Chhnang, Kompong Speu and Kompot.
10.   We woke up at 4.30 am on the fourth day in Phnom Penh (Sunday July 15). After breakfast we left the hotel at 6.30am for the airport to catch the 8.30 am flight to Kuala Lumpur.
11.   It was a satisfying trip.  We manage to go outside the city, to the rural areas of the country; met the Cham community, able to do my laps in the pool and enjoy the massage.                       

Monday, July 16, 2012

International Conference on Malay-Polynesian Ancestral Nations: 5 & 6 July, 2012

The Conference was officially opened by
YAB Dato' Seri Utama Hj Mohamad bin Hasan.
the Menteri Besar of N.S
A total of 560 delegates from 11 countries attended
the Conference


The Maori delegates from New Zealand



One of the concurrent sessions chaaired by Dr Makhdzir Mardan


Cultural Show at the Official State Dinner

Lady VIP

Delivering the Summing-Up Address at the Closing Ceremony of the Conference
THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE MALAY-POLYNESIAN ANCESTRAL NATIONS HELD AT KLANA RESORT SEREMBAN NEGERI SEMBILAN ON JULY 5 & 6, 2012
______________________________________________________________


   The Conference was mooted in a cruise ship in the the Bay of Islands New Zealand in September 2011 when a delegation of Malaysians made up of representatives of Sendi Pertiwi Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd, Unit Adat Perpatih Lembaga Muzium Negeri Sembilan, LESTARI of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, MASA College visited New Zealand to get to know our Maori friends. Recognising that:  

+ there is a significant population of Malay-Polynesians  totalling around 350 to 400  millions living in 33 countries (Belau, Brunei Darussalam, Cocos, Cook Islands, Easter Islands,  Guam, Hawaii, Hooru, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malagasy, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, North Marianas, Philippines,  Pitcairn, Polynesia, Samoa, Singapore, South Africa, South Myanmar, South Thailand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tonga, Tokelu, Tuvalu, Ueva and Vietnam (Highlands) extending in the Indian and Pacific regions;

+ having common biological, cultural and language link

+ and the needs to bring these ancestral nations together
the Conference was organised with the following objectives :
     .To promote the uniqueness of ‘Adat Perpatih’ in Negeri Sembilan to the Malay-  Polynesian peoples

·         To share the common cultural values, practices and customs of Malay-Polynesian in daily life

·         To compare the similarities of culture, language, traditions among the peoples in these countries

·         To strengthen cultural, trade, tourism networks within Malay-Polynesian countries

·         To create closer relationships among the peoples of Malay-Polynesian.

  . The Conference was organised in conjunction with Pesta Persukuan Adat Perpatih N.Sembilan and organised jointly by Pertubuhan Adat Perpatih K.Lumpur, the N.S State Government, the Ministry of Information, Communication & Culture and the Lembaga Muzium Negeri Sembilan. The Organising Committee was headed by Colonel Prof Dato’ Dr Kamarudin Kachar. It has attracted the participation of 560 from 11 countries and 35 papers were tabled for information and discussion.

Opening Ceremony

   In the glittering traditional ceremony, the Conference was officially opened by YAB Dato’ Seri Utama Hj Mohamad bin Hasan, the Chief Minister of N. Sembilan.  In his opening address, YAB Dato’ Seri Utama indicated that the Malay-Polynesian communities were divided by the imperialists – the Spaniards, the Dutch, British and Portuguese and gave the undertaking that the State Government will continue to support the efforts to bring the Malay-Polynesian peoples together in sharing knowledge, education and economic activities that will mutually benefit them.

  The keynote address by YAM Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz gives a Y Generation and scholarly perspective of the Malay-Polynesian issue and highlighted the many definitions and description of  of a Malay by orientalists for the administrative and political purposes. He posed the question, is the present discussion on Malay – Polynesia an effort to establish a Malay superstate.  Efforts in this direction had been made over the years such as Maphilindo, Indonesia Raya. YAM advocates the establishment of an international body for Malay-Polynesian Association to strengthen blood ties, expand opportunities in transborder trade, education and as a force that can tie us together and inculcate the ‘merantau’ spirit.  This initiative should be a private sector driven.

Highlights of the Papers Presented

  The papers that were invited for presentation cover the categories of: 1. History, 2. Society and Culture, 3. Economic, Trade and Tourism Development, 4. Education and Manpower Training, 5. Politic and Law, 6. Agriculture and Industrial Development, and 7. Health. 

   Prof Nik Hassan Suhaimi, in his well researched paper, provided insight of the origin of the Malay World, which has existed for around 60 000 years and that the Malays were also known interchangeably in historical writings as Austronesians or Malay-Polynesians. More recently a Malay has been given many definitions. There is the UNESCO and the Malaysian Constitution versions.  There were two theories as to the migration routes of the Malay-Polynesian communities.  One theory propounded that the migration was from the north, initiating from Taiwan and moving south to Philippines, Peninsular Malaysia and subsequently to the myriads of islands in the Pacific Ocean.  The second theory is the migration from Africa.

     The details on the way of life (adat) of the Malays was propounded by Prof Dato’ Dr Zainal Kling and he expressed concern that many factors such as the liberal market economy and the individualistic spirit of the West are eroding the Malay traditional cultural systems.  However, he is happy to see positive efforts in Malaysia to rejuvenate and enhance traditional culture and custom of the Malays by  modernising the Malay language with the establishment of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and the creation of many cultural institutions such as museums, R&D centres, training centres for such skill as traditional craftsmanship, metal works, carvings, painting etc     

   Dato Maharajalela provide in his half-an-hour highlights the Adat Perpatih. AP is not wholly Minangkabau but incorporated the adat from Siak and the Indigenous people of Negeri Sembilan. He also discussed the hierarchical leadership within the Luak, Suku, Perut, Ruang and Rumpun.

   Mr Robert Willoughby representing Maoridom, shared with the delegates who were predominantly Muslim Malays from Malaysia, the Maori way of life which are guided by the following six principles as encapsulated in Mautaranga Maori    

a. The principle of Tikanga Mauri is about life essence and creation, the  connectedness of all things

b.     The principle of Tikanga Whanaungatanga is about kinships, relationships,family and genealogy. Our connections to each other in benevolence and goodwill.   

c.     The principle of Tino Rangatiratanga is about sovereignty, common good and self-determination.   

d.    The principle of Tikanga Kaitiakitanga is about the guardianship of creation & resources, exercising stewardship and maintaining harmony and balance.

e.    The principle of Tikanga Manaakitanga means generosity toward others, hospitality, giving of our best.  

f.     The principle of Tikanga Hau is about the spiritual basis of reciprocity in relationships and economics.



  The early sessions of the Conference were devoted to country reports. It is evident that in countries where the Malay-Polynesian communities form a minority group such as in South Africa, Singapore, Thailand and Sri Lanka, they are marginalised and face many challenges.  Whilst many in the communities wish to continue practicing the ancestral heritage in culture, language and customs, national policies in each respective countries however restrict them.  There is progressively less and less in number especially among the young speaking the language, practicing the culture of their ancestors         

  Two papers cover education and manpower training.  Fauziah Fauzan El-Muhammaly, well-known for her educational institution in Padang. Indonesia discussed the potential of Educational Tourism which is already flourishing in the Malay-Polynesian countries.  Prof. Wan Rafaei A. Rahman and Siti Maimon spoke of the educational opportunities for young people especially at the tertiary level at the higher institutions in these Austronesian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand.

  The key paper in the category of Economic and Trade was presented by Dr Ridzuan, who discussed the prospects of the maritime industries in the Malay-Polynesian nations.  Many of these countries are island nations with extensive archipelagos extending the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The seas surrounding these island nations are rich in marine biodiversity- the fishes, the corals, the sea animals – that  need to be inventorised and conserved.  The marine ecosystems are of socio-economic importance as they provide an important source of food and opportunities for eco-tourism such as sports fishing, whale watching, scuba diving, sailing etc. The vast sea areas may also have fossil fuel reserves in the seabed which remain to be surveyed and identified.  Farming the seas for supply of food is the industry of the future as the global expansion of population will put pressure on food production.

   On health only one paper was submitted. Dr Hashim A. Wahab examined traditional medicines as practiced among the Malay-Polynesian communities. He focussed his attention to the practices of traditional medicines among the Malays in Malaysia, the Indonesians, the Maoris and the Rotumans which, he observed, have many similarities.  The approach is holistic, incorporating the elements of physical exercises, prayers and chants, abstinence (avoiding certain foodstuffs, fasting) and consuming traditional medicines made from a mixture of herbs, wildlife parts, marine products such as sea cucumber and minerals.  He also indicated that traditional medicines is widely practiced in the world and that in Malaysia, it is incorporated in the national health system where traditional medicine units are established in a number of hospitals.  Traditional medical products is widely marketed through the internet.      

  Other papers touchĂ©d on traditional architecture, international relations and proposals to establish a coordinating international body for the Malay-Polynesian communities that will provide the networking to facilitate the exchange of information, strengthen cultural and customary bonds, educational and manpower training, economic and trade, development of maritime industries and traditional medicines.

   Finally, the Conference participants were enthusiastic to see the continuation of the efforts to reenergise and revitalise the ancestral link among the Malay- Polynesian communities and accordingly, endorsed the following Resolutions              



                                                                    RESOLUTIONS



1.       PREAMBLE

THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MELAYU-POLYNESIAN  ANCESTRAL NATIONS HELD ON THE 5TH AND 6TH OF JULY 2012 AT KLANA RESORT  SEREMBAN, NEGERI SEMBILAN, MALAYSIA   PARTICIPATED BY 670 DELEGATES FROM 11 COUNTRIES WITH THE OBJECTIVES OF



I.                             To promote the uniqueness of ‘Adat Perpatih’ in Negeri Sembilan to the Melayu-Polynesian ancestral peoples;

II.                   To share some basic common cultural values, practices and customs of Melayu-Polynesian in daily life;

III.                 To compare the similarities of culture, language, traditions, customs and heritage3 of countries originating from Melayu-Polynesian Ancestral Nations;

IV.                 To strengthen cultural, educational, trade and tourism networks within the Melayu-Polynesian countries; and

V.                   To create closer relationships among the 387 million peoples of  the Melayu-Polynesian Ancestral Nations.



AND ON RECOGNIZING  THE NEEDS  TO RESESTABLISH AND REVITALIZE  CULTURAL COMMON GROUNDS AND GLOBAL RELATIONSHIPS AMONG THE 384 MILLION PEOPLES IN 33 COUNTRIES THE CONFERENCE HEREBY RESOLVED THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS:



1.    TO ESTABLISH AN INTERNATIONAL BODY  “THE WORLD MELAYU-POLYNESIAN COMMUNITY  SECRETARIATE” THAT WILL INITIATE THE PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF RELEVANT ACTIVITIES MUTUALLY BENIFITTING THE 384 MILLION  MELAYU-POLYNESIAN ANCESTRAL PEOPLES IN 33 COUNTRIES COVERING CULTURE, LANGUAGE, EDUCATION,  TOURISM, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, AGRICULTURE, TRADE, TRADITIONAL MEDICINES AND OCEANAGRAPHY.

THE SECRETARIATE WILL LATER BE UPGRADED TO A LEGAL IDENTITY CALLED   “ORGANIZATION”: “THE WORLD MELAYU-POLYNESIAN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION”



2.    THIS SECRETARIATE/ORGANIZATION WILL :



I.         ESTABLISH A COMMUNICATION PORTAL TO ENSURE THE NET WORKING FOR THE ABOVE PROPOSED ACTIVITIES.



II.       ESTABLISH A VOLUNTEER TEACHING SERVICE CORP TO PROMOE MALAY LANGUAGE AND MALAY CULTURE ESPECIALLY “ADAT PERPATIH” –PERPATIH CUSTOMARY LAW.



III.     IDENTIFY ESTABLISHED UNIVERSITIES  FOR PLACEMENT OF MELAYU-POLYNESIAN CANDIDATES FOR HIGHER DEGREE PROGRAMMES AND POST GRADUATE STUDIES



IV.     ESTABLISH A  NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM/ HERBAL GARDEN THAT WILL PROVIDE RAW  MATERIALS FOR THE MANUFACTURING  OF   TRADITIONAL MEDICINES.



V.       TAKE INVENTORY OF THE BIO- DIVERSITY OF THE FAUNA AND FLORA IN THE TERRESTORIAL AND MARINE ECOSYSTEMS; AND TO CONSERVE THE BIO-DIVERSITY.



VI.     ESTABLISH AN EMPLOYMENT BUREAU TO ASSIST YOUNG GENERATIONS IN GAINING EMPLOYMENT ALL OVER THE WORLD.



VII.   ESTABLISH A THEME PARK FOR MELAYU-POLYNESIAN VILLAGE



VIII. ESTABLISH A BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP BUREAU TO ENCOURAGE AND ASSIST MELAYU-POLYNESIANS IN TRADE AND COMMERCE



IX.     PROMOTE AND DEVELOP THE SPIRIT OF “MERANTAU” ( VENTURING  TO OTHER COUNTRIES SEEKING FOR KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, EMPLOYMENT AND WEALTH ) AMONG THE YOUNG GENERATIONS.



X.       ESTABLISH AN ONLINE  COMMON MELAYU-POLYNESIAN CULTURAL MUSEUM



XI.     ESTABLISH A PORTAL FOR ALL CENTRES OF MALAY LEARNING THROUGH OUT THE WORLD



XII.   ESTABLISH AN INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MELAYU-POLYNESIAN HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT



3.     The Secretariate will be located at Negeri Sembilan State Museum Board, Jalan Sungai Ujung 70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, MALAYSIA

Tel.606 763 1149 Fax. 606 761 5355 HP 012 3209965








Hashim bin Abdul Wahab
Email: hashim.abdulwahab@gmail.com

16/7/2012