Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Origins of the Japanese People

Do you think the Japanese and the Orang Melayu are related? I stumbled across the ancient Jomon people who are a minority group in Japan today while going through the Facebook album of Dr Rahmat Haroun. The Jomon Melayu looks just like Orang Melayu but they have inhabited Japan for ages. Next time you see a Japanese, ask him/her whether he/she is a Jomon. Approx. 43% of Japanese have a Malay gene.

The Japanese people are descended from the Chinese and Koreans, from the Mongols and others, and also from the south-north migrations of Vietnamese Melayu and Filipino Melayu. Thus, the Malay Archipelago is actually more extensive than we think otherwise. Almost half the world on this side is dominated by Orang Melayu. From Japan down to Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia and Australia, the dark skin people are all Orang Melayu stock.

Prostitution is a big part of any ethnic group, be it Orang Melayu or other. Along the longitude, from Japan down to Australia, it should not surprise us to see prostitution as a main occupation or second occupation of any of the established groups in this part of the world. 

Looking through the Japanese glossary, there are terms such as nampa (Malay nampak) which refers to someone looking for some excitement, shabu-shabu (Malay serbu-serbu) restaurants where men can peek under the skirt of waitresses who don't wear any underwear, suki (Malay suka) and many more. The Japanese, like the Orang Melayu also have a term for spinsters.

Whether Orang Melayu genes were passed on by sea travel or overland routes may tell us whether our ancestors preferred the dry or wet travel routes. Travelling on overland route would mean they ate dried foodstuff. Travelling by sea means they also carried with them dried foodstuff (ikan masin, beras, garam, etc). Then, what made our ancestors switch from eating tubers and sago to eating rice? Now everybody takes rice but there are so many rice types. The Orang Melayu Kelantan love pulut (I love pulut too). The Thai people love pulut. They must serve ikan bilis goreng for their king. Nowadays everybody eats ikan bilis goreng - so the regal dish came down to the pauper's dining table after all. Seaweed and agar-agar are familiar to everyone but Orang Melayu Malaysia hardly eat seaweed, they take agar-agar (jelly) but a spongy and sweet version. So far, only the Japanese consume seaweed. Both the Orang Melayu (generally) and the Japanese do not eat much meat (beef, teriyaki beef). The Orang Melayu prefer satay (sate) while the Japanese prefer beef teriyaki. Both the Orang Melayu and the Japanese eat very lightly. Only recently have the Orang Melayu become gluttons and suffer from weight problems. A majority of Japanese are normal weight and obesity is not a problem. 

Okinawa was where the US Army had stationed its forces. From that army base and its associated activities, we see two types of Okinawans - the unadulterated (pure) Okinawans and the US-Japanese Okinawans. When we read articles about Okinawans, we have to be careful about what type of Okinawans are being reported. Black American-Japanese Okinawans are easily spotted as they are tall, dark and handsome but with Affro hairstyles and slant eyes. Similarly, the Japanese left for the US after WWII. The second generation of Japanese Americans are Japanese who have adapted American ways and cuisines. Should we expect to see a blood profile similar to their counterparts in Japan? They can't speak much Japanese except for what is taught at home by their Japanese parents, so are they Japanese or Japanese Americans? Okinawans in Hawaii are Japanese as well as Americans.

Shisa performance:!

The drumbeats and jumps in the Okinawan drum dance looks like a cross between dondang sayang, ghazal and zapin. The music sounds a bit Arabic. The small flat drums resemble the Orang Melayu kompang. The headgear looks like the Orang Melayu smotar or kain ikat kepala. and the Okinawans wear it as the Orang Melayu Kelantan males wear it. What a striking resemblance. Do the Orang Melayu Kelantan sail up north to Okinawa? Do they sail that far north, into cold waters? The Okinawans are fish eaters and so are the Orang Melayu Kelantan.

Okinawan drum dance:

The Orang Melayu dance but they do not dance that much nowadays. The Asadoya Yunta looks like a graceful well-coordinated dance routine, suitable as aerobic routine for the elderly. It has a lot of twists and turns which may be difficult for some. There is no Orang Melayu equivalence of this dance routine. The Mak Yong court dance may be about the closest match.

We have to be very careful when we try to group people by looks alone. This was what happened to Orang Melayu and the others in British Malaya. It is a mess trying to find out where a person stands in all this. Sometimes it is best to ask a person to explain what happened in the family's history and then try to place him/her in the most suitable group. It is interesting to read that as one travels through the various states of West Malaysia alone, one can be an Orang Melayu in one state and not an Orang Melayu in another state. States make their own definitions of Orang Melayu and tie that to land entitlements and land rights. Kelantan is very strict about this.

I still think the term Orang Melayu majmuk is a better term that applies to all mixed ethnic groups of today's Orang Melayu. Maybe we can look at Orang Melayu pekat, Orang Melayu tipis, and Orang Melayu campur as other options for describing the Orang Melayu.

Dr Lim Ju Boo

I received a comment from Dr Lim Ju Boo on 10 May 2012. It disappeared from my Boxbe holding box. When I clicked Moderate for blog, it vanished. I had copied it to Notepad just in case and that was all I had to work on. I Googled him on 11-12 May 2012. This is what I have on him. He is a man of many talents, and a highly dedicated person. I feel a lot of regret not knowing him from the beginning of the research on the early Malay doctors. He has a lot of answers to some of my queries earlier. I don't have his email yet. He was previously with IMR.

Dr Lim Ju Boo

Scientific Logic

estidotmy, Utusan Malaysia, Rabu, 3 April 2002, Edisi Ketiga, muka 8

Syarahan Umum: "A Career as A Food Scientist. What to Expect"
(16 Mei 2007) - Dr Lim Ju Boo
Pusat Sains Negara

Nutritional Status In A Rural Estate Community
N Kandiah & Lim Ju Boo, Rural Health Research Division, Institute for Medical Research, Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur

25 years Promoting Nutrition For Life
An Unwavering Commitment, 1992

Mangosteen adds colour to your health

Is Beta-Thalassemia Minor a health hazard to an airline pilot?
Flying - Dr JB Lim's Corner
Thursday, 06 December 2007 18:47

Airline pilot - a very responsible and noble profession - a medical scientist's insight.
Flying - Profession
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 19:21

Food For Thought - Lau Tai Onn
(also has very nice bkgr music)

Indian Board of Alternative Medicines, Kolkata, India

Nutrition Research in Malaysia 1900-1979

This UM-IMR publication of 1980 has many names and abstracts written by the early Malay doctors and their colleagues.

An Annotated Bibliography of Nutrition Research in Malaysia (1900-1979)
annotated & compiled by
ASEAN Protein Project
National Sub-committee Malaysia
Printed by the University of Malaya Press