Thursday, 8 December 2016

Menora, Mak Yong and Main Peteri Dances

Both Mak Yong and Menora dances are Thai dances. They are different dances. Menora dancers are usually males, while Mak Yong dancers are females.

The Menora originates from northern Thailand, where it is called Khon. It is not called Menora in Thailand.

Menora is performed as part of a worship and involves a mantra before it is presented to the audience. Since it is a part of worship, it is no longer performed by Malay dancers.

There are two types of Menora - the Thai Khon (Menora Siam) and Malay Menora (Menora Melayu).

The movements of the Thai Khon are sudden jerks, jumps and turns, which differentiates it from the Malay Menora.

The Malay Menora has smooth graceful movements - like that of a flying eagle, and with the arms spread out during the dance.
Thai Khon (Menora Siam) oil on canvas painting by Ayub Mohamed, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Mak Yong is a Kelantan royal court dance, but is now performed at many public occasions. It is not part of worship, but it has Hindu elements, and is no longer performed by Malay dancers.

Mak Yong water-colour painting by Ayub Mohamed, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

Main Peteri (Main Puteri) is performed in plain kampung clothes by male dancers, as part of a ritual to entertain mothers after maternal delivery. Certain mothers feel depressed. Main Peteri is performed to prevent them from suffering from postnatal blues. The men dance to make the mother(s) happy. There are many versions.

Source of information on Menora and Mak Yong:
En Ayub Mohamed, Kelantan painter, based at Kg Kraftangan in Kota Bharu.

Other links:
Thai Khon (Menora Siam):
Mak Yong:
Main Peteri:

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Portuguese colonial Influences in Malacca

Of the 3 European colonial masters in Malacca, which had the most influence (or impact) on Malayans and why?

  1. The Portuguese were the first European power to attack Malacca in 1511. The Portuguese took note and came to trade in Malacca in 1509. They studied Malacca for 2 years before launching an attack on Malacca, causing grave damages to Malacca and its people.
  2. The Portuguese Settlement remains the only Portuguese village community in Malacca. They are mainly fishermen.
  3. There was no Portuguese hospital (none mentioned in relation to Malacca history).
  4. There was no Portuguese school built in Malacca
  5. There was no Portuguese church
  6. There were no significant Portuguese structures built except for the famed fortress, A'Famosa. Only one gate of that fortress remains today, the Santiago gate.
  7. There was no Portuguese market or square mentioned in Malacca history.
  8. Malacca's history is still remembered today and so are the names Alfonso and de Sequira. But the names are forgotten by Malays who disliked the Portuguese invasion.
  9. Malacca was the only Malay state that fell to the Portuguese in our history. The other states did not meddle with the state of affairs in Malacca at the time when the Portuguese ruled Malacca. It sounds intimidating or the Malacca people lived in fear or were intimidated somewhat.
  10. The Portuguese community of the Portuguese Settlement dance Portuguese folk dances despite they haven't been to Portugal or lived long enough in Portugal or speak Portuguese. Culturally, the Portuguese conquerors lived their lives Portuguese-style in Malacca and the people of Malacca merely allowed it. Even though the Portuguese only ruled Malacca for 150 years, culturally they transformed Malacca to follow the Portuguese way of life with Portuguese folk dancing and music. 
  11. Portuguese is not spoken in Malacca today but there are Portuguese words used in spoken Malay in Malacca. Examples are (similar words): sapatos (Malacca Malay sepatu, Malay kasut, English shoes); camisa (Malacca Malay khamis, Malay baju, English shirt); toalha (Malacca Malay tuale, Malay tuala, English towel); bazar (Malay bazar, English bazaar); pistola (English & Malay pistol); varanda (English verandah, Malacca Malay berande, Malay berandah); bandeira (English flag, Malay bendera, Malacca Malay bendeire); tanque (English tank, Malay tangki); tombar (English fall, Malay tombang); tomate (English & Malay tomato); ananas (English pineapple, Malay nenas); manteiga (English butter, Malay mentega; Malacca Malay mentege); 
  12. Many Portuguese words did not assimilate into the Malay language in Malacca (dissimilar words): escravo (English slave, Malay hamba), dinheiro (English money, Malay duit), navio or nau (English ship, Malay kapal); mercado (English market, Malay pasar); rio (English river, Malay sungai); casa (English house, Malay rumah); dona de casa (English housewife, Malay surirumah); portao or porta (English gate, Malay pagar/pintu); coco (English coconut, Malay kelapa, Malacca Malay kelape); leite de coco (English coconut milk, Malay santan); saco (English sack, Malay guni or karung); Dom (English Sir, Malay Tuan).
  13. Altogether, the Portuguese have contributed some 1,400 words into the Malay language.

That's 500 years of Portuguese history in Malacca today.