Saturday, 13 April 2013


I spent the whole day reading Facebook about Cirebon and Kuningan in West Java, trying to learn Bahasa Sunda and not understanding a word! Anyway, I will write what I have learnt today so I can depend on my own notes later.

When I first did the eel research with the 'fish' lecturers of UPM, I came across 'Cili' and 'Chipangi' names. I wondered what the words were. Today I learnt a few more: Sanskreta, Ki Ageng, Mempawa, membabah, Medang, kerbo, Andi, and many more.

About Kuningan

Kuningan means yellow and not golden. It could refer to the sulphur deposits found in the area.

Bugis keris

The Bugis keris is laden with gold, especially the sheath and keris head. Where did the gold come from?


How much gold is used in Cirebon and Kuningan? Which is the richer of the 2 cities?

Cirebon apparel

The official Cirebon male attire (kelambi Cirebon) has elaborate embroidered golden threads. The cloth cap is batik. The inner shirt is white satin. I didn't see the shoes. What do Cirebon women wear?


I have just joined Cirebon Heritage in FB to see if I can get help about Cirebon and Kuningan. There is also a man by the name of Prabu Raksa Bumi Kusuma who writes about the actual history of the Malay Civilisation in this region (Nusantara), and highlights how the west changed our historical records and created misleading information about our history. He also highlights Singapore and its geographical significance. There is mention that the Arabs could be responsible for spread of Islam to Aceh and Minangkabau and onward to Cirebon. There are details of who are the Malays. There is also something on Filipino Malay. There is a lot on history and pre-history  details, a lot of stone inscriptions than any textbooks can cover. He also discusses about Imam Mahdi. That's enough.

Temenggong Ngah Ibrahim

There are 3 big names in Perak's history, Temenggong Ngah Ibrahim (1836-1895), his father-in-law, Laksamana Mohd Amin, and Shahbandar Uda Maamor (mayor).

The men were exiled to the Seychelles for having plotted to kill then British Resident, JWW Birch, in Pasir Salak in 1875. Birch died while bathing by the river, and the Ngah Ibrahim and Mohd Amin lived in exile in Seychelles, then Sarawak but died in Singapore.

Temenggong Ngah Ibrahim was buried at the Al-Junied cemetery and Mohd Amin at Kubor Aman, both in Singappore.

I remember the news about bringing back Temenggong Ngah Ibrahim's remains from Singapore to Perak. News of bringing their remains back to Perak caught many by surprise. The remains of Temenggong Ngah Ibrahim was brought back to Taiping. He was a Malay warrior and sufi. The remains of Mohd Amin was laid to rest at the royal mausoleum at Bukit Chandan.

The lands surround Masjid Banda Lama Taiping belonged to Temenggong Ngah Ibrahim. His wife is buried at Tanah Perkuburan Masjid Banda Lama Taiping. It is in a big enclosure with thick but low brick perimeter wall.

External link:

Cirebon Trails

I'm trying to locate the early religious settlers from Cirebon who came to Malacca in the early 1820s. They possibly came to 2 places in Malacca, Tengkerah (Tranquera) and Banda Hilir. What is special is that they brought along their practice of folk medicine, mainly of Chinese influence. There is also a big mystery surrounding the death of the founder of the 2 mosques, Masjid Tengkerah and Masjid Banda Hilir. He maybe 2 separate imams but I suspect he is one and the same man, my great-great grandfather. Why did the British kill him in their lockup? What fruit or nut can be forced into an adult man's oral cavity (mouth) and left in place to make him die of thirst, hunger and whatever? Since when are humans allowed to torture others?

I'm doing the Cirebon write-up first. I've not been to Indonesia but this is what I have gathered on Cirebon so far. I have not investigated the mosques and mausoleums in Cirebon. The last clue from Cirebon was in 2012. One year has passed and the Cirebon people have not returned to visit the great imam's tomb (makam) in Malacca. Things are still hazy.

Cirebon comes from 2 words - chai river and rebon (geragau, shrimp). Cirebon is a fishing port in West Java (Jawa Barat) and is famous for fish and shrimps (Kota Udang) in addition to batik and kaca tulis.

There is a main mosque (Masjid Besar Cirebon) and an ancient mosque (Masjid Trusmi, dated to 1500s). Trusmi village is also famous for batik. The awan mega mendung (stormy clouds) motif with Chinese details are characteristic of Cirebon batik.

In Kasepuhan village, there is a grand palace called Keraton Kasepuhan, in Cirebon city centre. It is regarded as the oldest keraton in Cirebon. However, there is another old palace nearby, Keraton Kanoman. The entrance to Keraton Kasepuhan has 2 white lions which are symbols of Prabu Siliwangi's pride. Keraton Kasepuhan is in Cirebon city centre, in Kasepuhan village. Gamelan  music dominates at palace performances in Cirebon. The most famous piece is the Gong Sekati or Sekaten, which is played twice a year. The marketplace, Pasar Kanoman is near Keraton Kanoman.

Approximately 5 km north of Cirebon city, towards the beach, is Astana Sunan Gunung Jati which houses the royal graves of Gunung Jati on its hill slopes. There are mausoleums (makam) behind the pavillion which only the sultan will open to visitors. Otherwise the mausoleums are closed to visitors. The locals come together during festivities to relive the story of a shipwreck where many died and were buried here.

Kuningan is a small town in the southern suburb and is cooler compared to Cirebon. It has the Sangkan Hurip hot springs and the historical Linggardjati building (Gedung Naksa). It was at this Linggardjati building where The Netherlands signed The Linggardjati Treaty with the Indonesian authorities, and the Republic of Indonesia (RI) was born in 1947. The hills lead to Mt Ciremai, the nearest volcano, and rice terraces cover its slopes.

External links

Sailing With The Dead Around The Cape of Good Hope

I was reading the account of 4 Dutch ships which sailed from the East, westward towards the Cape of Good Hope. They were faced with the grave danger of losing a large number of their crew, to scurvy. They had loads of dead bodies (2 boats-full), and with more dying, if they don't reach land. They had to find land and a port to anchor. They needed fresh food supplies and clean water. They needed milk and fruits. They managed to anchor off Madagascar and traded with the Hottentots, describing them as ugly shriveled people. But they managed to get cattle and goat, risking their lives in the process. The Hottentots preferred the silver cutlery - a knife was bartered for a goat!

The articles and website are in Dutch but I used an online translator.