Monday, 4 February 2013

The Ming Princess Hang Li Poh

In our race to study genetics and genealogy, we forget that one great mixed marriage and gene mix occurred in Malacca. Nobody even cites it in scientific journal publications. Why? Because nobody cares to even think about this historic genetic mixing and its outcomes.
A historic mixed-marriage took place in the year 1459 between Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca and Princess Hang Li Poh, the daughter of Emperor Yung Lo of the Ming Dynasty. The princess with her 500 beautiful band maids resided in Bukit China in the mid-fifteenth century. Putri Hang Li Poh

The Portuguese attacked Malacca 52 years later and the Malacca Sultanate disappeared for good. The Dutch forces came next and last was the British. The Indian and Arab genes probably came throughout Malacca history or after the last European force left.

Gene pool-wise, there seems to be many gene pools and mixes which we should expect coming out of the Malacca gene pool.

From Malacca history alone, we should be able to gauge the times when these gene pools were created:

First generation mix:
  1. Malacca Malay-Ming Chinese gene pool from 1459 onward
  2. Malacca Malay-Portuguese gene pool from 1511 onward
  3. Malacca Malay-Dutch gene pool from 1641 onward
  4. Malacca Malay-Arab gene pool from 1734 onward? .... refer to Kg Batu Uban story
  5. Malacca Malay-British gene pool from 1824 onward
  6. Malacca Malay-Indian gene pool from 1824 onward

Second generation mix onward:
  1. Malacca Malay-Ming Chinese-Arab gene pool from 1734 onward
  2. Other gene mixes

If we take the lifespan of Malay men in the past to be approximately 55-60, then 1734 to 2009 would be 5 generations of Malacca Malay-Arab gene mix of the descendants since 1734.

If we take the Ming princess's marriage into consideration, 1459 to 2009, that would mean we should have 10 generations of Malacca Malay-Ming Chinese descendants. And if the Arab blended into the flux, then the Arab gene markers would appear in the 5th generation onward (since 1734). How do we do this research? Is it possible? What genetic markers do we use for each gene pool?

Where is her grave? How many issues did she have with the sultan? Who has her family tree? What was her real name?

Masjid Kampung Kling

The Indian mosque in Malacca is Masjid Kampung Kling which was built in 1748 during the Dutch era. It underwent renovations in 2013.

Masjid Kampung Kling

Masjid Kampung Hulu

Malacca had many important mosques. Each mosque has its own history, architecture, lineage of imams and related events. The lives of the Malays who were Muslims were connected to the mosques nearby. One of these early mosques is Masjid Kampung Hulu which was built in 1728 during the Dutch era in Malacca. It is sited far away from Banda Hilir, the strategic city centre.

Masjid Kampung Hulu

Flor de la Mar: The cursed Portuguese galleon

I have always loved stories about pirates and the high seas. I collect paintings of the high seas, lighthouses, harbours and wooden beach homes.

My mother was a good storyteller. She told us kids good bedtime stories before we jumped into bed in our government quarters at Jalan Day, Alor Star in Kedah. The home felt spooky even during day time and bedtime stories meant we had to sit up close to my mother's feet! Her stories began right after dinner. This is the story from my mother when we were playful little kids. It was related again when I was a big girl.

The Portuguese attacked Malacca, destroying man, wife, children, and all. The Portuguese masters ruled Malacca, by killing and looting. All the loot was brought up onto the galleon, a pirate cargo ship. When it was all packed with Malacca's treasures, away it sailed from Malacca's waters. The people of Malacca cursed the galleon which had taken its many treasures. A storm then built up and the galleon fought fiercely to sail onward to Lisbon. Alas! The Malacca prayer was answered and the galleon sank in the high seas. Down went the galleon and its men. That's the story of those evil looters.

As I reflect back on the state of Malacca where I grew up, I think Malacca was a Muslim state with a lot of important mosques that played a big role in Malacca's history. The mosques were led by Sufi people and I can understand why the Flor de la Mar was shipwrecked - it was unfit to sail when overladen, and it was cursed by the Sufi prayers and by the Muslim people of Malacca.

Sometimes I wonder where Malacca had obtained its gold treasures. The nearest that I know of is the one at Raub which was later attempted by the Australian gold diggers. My great-grandfather was a goldsmith and gold trader but nobody has mentioned where the gold originated. He was a close friend of Imam Haji Khalil, after whom the road Jalan Haji Khalil was named - the road that leads to the Malacca General Hospital. My grandfather Haji Mohamed Sharif and Imam Haji Khalil and another man all made their respective houses with one design - the Minangkabau house. Our house was demolished. I don't know whether the other 2 houses are still standing today.

If Malacca had so much gold, then her hospitals at the time would be a place of luxury? I suppose the gold found in Malacca was brought by the Indian traders from the Indian subcontinent. They could be the same Indian gold traders who brought gold to the gold shops at Beach Street in Penang.

I once met an Indian gold trader at Masjid Acheh in Penang but I didn't have time to ask him about the Indian gold trade of the past. He is a Penang resident and comes to pray (Solat Fardhu) at this mosque.

I still have a big unanswered question, "Did gold influence the health status of the people of Malacca?"

Flor de la Mar

Flor de la Mar, 3D rendition by Muhammad Ibrahim Adzim, Kursus IT (Multimedia), Kolej Universiti Islam Selangor (KUIS). 10 February 2012