The Melacca festival of traditional clothing & malay warriors will be held at the recently built Perkampungan Hang Tuah in Melaka on the 10th May 2014.
The festival will bring together practitioners, researchers and art lovers of the Nusantara Malay cultural civilization from within and outside the country seeks to bridge the friendship among us and be a model for a new generation which inherits the ancestral art of the Malay race. This festival is also in line with the celebration of the 6th anniversary of the Declaration of Malacca which will be held on April 15, 2014.
This festival is a continuation of the program's Clothing Traditions & Encounters Pendekar Melaka 2012 which has been made possible for the first time in collaboration with the Melaka State Government, the Secretariat and the DMDI (Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam) PERZIM on 25 November, 2012 at the Auditorium of the Melaka Foundation College (Seminar Discourse Knowledge) and on December 2, 2012 in the compound of the Malacca Sultanate Palace. An exptected presence of participants from within and outside the country for 2000 persons excluding existing tourists in the area.
· Silat Grandmasters Association of Melacca ( Sigma )
IN COOPERATION WITH
· Silat Federation of Malacca ( PESAKA MELAKA )
· State of Malacca
· Melaka Museum Corporation ( PERZIM )
· Malay World Islamic World ( DMDI )
· Malacca Historical City Council (MBMB )
· Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council ( MPHTJ )
· Department of Culture and Arts of Malacca ( JKKN )
· Tourism Promotion Bureau ( CSB)
· The Art Institute of Malaysia Melaka ( ISMMA )
· Urban Transformation Centre ( UTC Melaka )
· Ministry of Tourism Malaysia
DATE AND PLACE OF FESTIVAL
· 10 & May 11, 2014 ( Saturday & Sunday) - The village of Hang Tuah , Kg . Duyong , Melaka
1 . Teaching - teaching Silat of Malacca
2 . PERSILAT (national silat body of Malaysia)
3 . Teaching Silat Martial Arts - teaching throughout Malaysia
4 . Teaching Silat abroad
5 . Claimants universities / colleges locally
6 . Fans, players and observers of art & fashion / warriors / local / overseas
7 . Departments and Agencies Malaysia
Cultivate a love for arts and culture -SIlat & Traditional Clothing of the Malay Archipelago
Helping preserve the art of Malay culture in order prevent it from dying out from time to time .
Upholding the art of their culture to the highest level and help produce proffessionals which will act as merketers , practitioners as well as a catalyst in expanding the nation's cultural arts .
Catalyze the development of the art of warriors tradition and long-term basis through the organization of activities, performances , competitions, seminars, workshops, forums , and in the aspect of management .
Featuring a distinctive charm to the community and the tourism industry .
Generate a mindset towards theoretical concepts , practical and scientific
Raise awareness of the rule of the Malay Muslims regardless of their background and political leanings
To understand the role of Malays in Malaysia, particularly the importance of upholding the glory of Malay culture .
Raising self-esteem Malay children that can be more useful to the human race, religion and country .
SAPSA - The South African Pencak Silat Association (est 2010) members had met in Johannesburg in the past 2 weeks. Members of the Cape Town Silat branch (PSSPMSA aka Pukulan Melaka) was also invited.
Pak Sariat Arifia, President of SAPSA along with two pesilats Satrio and Tazkiah took the time to travel to South Africa for 2 weeks, taking time to develop Pencak Silat in South Africa.
Novia D. Rulistia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | People | Thu, September 05 2013
Having lived in the US most of his life, Jakarta-born Wona Sumantri embraced Indonesian culture through pencak silat, a traditional form of martial arts.
And now, the pencak silat instructor wants to teach more people in the US about it as a gateway to learning about Indonesia.
“I have been living in the US since I was five and I didn’t know much about the country I was born in. But through pencak silat, I now feel like I’ve gotten to know Indonesia better,” he said during the recent Congress Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta.
His interest in pencak silat was sparked when he saw his father practicing Cimande-style silat, a style which is believed to have originated in West Java, at home every morning.
But Cimande-style bored young Wona, because as a kid, he yearned to take part in activities that involved dynamic movements.
“And then I found out that the Indonesian Embassy in Washington offered a pencak silat class. I enrolled in the course and I also signed-up at Al-Azhar pencak silat school in Maryland, Washington, which is currently still active,” Wona said.
The 37-year-old said that it was pencak silat’s movements that made it more special to him than other forms of martial arts.
“It’s unique; the stance where we sit down or stand up still allows us to counter attack opponents. And it’s very receptive, every movement must have its own purpose,” Wona said.
After eight years in the US, he made a trip back to Indonesia at 13-years-old. He used his time in Indonesia to learn more about pencak silat. He took courses at Al-Azhar in Indonesia and met his father’s martial art teacher, Rifai Sahid, who became Wona’s private instructor, teaching him about different forms of pencak silat and its history. The more he learns about pencak silat, the deeper he falls in love with it.
“I should also say that different variations of pencak silat, like silat harimau (tiger-style), makes me interested in it even more,” Wona said.
It was not difficult for Wona to pass a series of tests that were required to progress to higher levels. At just 16-years-old, Wona successfully reached the instructor level and began teaching pencak silat two years later at the Indonesian Embassy. However, becoming an instructor was just the beginning of his long journey in mastering different aspects of the traditional form of martial arts.
“We can’t stop learning even if we become an instructor—that’s actually just the start. I knew that I was nothing, so I had to keep learning,” Wona said.
Wona is currently the head instructor at Al-Azhar pencak silat school, at the Indonesian Embassy and is an adjunct pencak silat professor at American University in Washington DC.
He currently has 100 students at Al-Azhar, mostly Americans who actively take part in many cultural events in the US.
“I teach my students, both at Al-Azhar and at the university, not only about pencak silat and its history, but also about Indonesia itself. I want them to know about Indonesia, too,” Wona said.
He said that one of his students at the university was so interested in Indonesia after taking his course that she earned a scholarship from the Indonesian government to learn about Indonesian culture for three months in Indonesia.
“Many Americans become interested in Indonesia after learning a little bit about the country. Now I realize that pencak silat is also a tool to promote Indonesia’s diverse cultures and tourism,” Wona said.
After teaching at Al-Azhar and the embassy for years, Wona finally decided to open up his own pencak silat school in 2010, naming it Silat Martial Arts Academy in Maryland.
He said that he decided to make it commercial because he wanted to give people an alternative place to study pencak silat that had more flexible hours and offered a variety of courses, including private lessons, bladed weapons training and defense and martial arts for kids. However, it is not easy living in the US relying solely on work as an instructor. In between teaching his pencak silat courses, Wona also works as an IT consultant.
“I’ve always loved IT, and the money is good. To be realistic, it would be hard to get by just as a pencak silat instructor,” the holder of a Master’s Degree in IT from Maryland University said. Nevertheless, Wona’s passion for pencak silat should never be questioned. He is currently working on creating a non-profit association that unites all pencak silat groups in the US.
“There are a lot of pencak silat groups in the US, but we don’t work together. If we have an association, we can tell people that it’s part of something bigger, that it does not only have one style,” he said.
When that goal has been materialized, Wona said was already setting is mind on another target: returning home and seeing the beauty of the archipelago.
“I don’t have the opportunity to explore my own country because I’ve been away since I was small. So when I make my return, I want to travel across Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. Soon, hopefully,” said Wona.
A father wants his family to learn silat because it is not only a form of martial arts, but steeped in the Malay traditions of adab (respect) and adat (customs).
EPIDEMIOLOGIST Dr Mustafa Bakri’s fascination with silat started from watching old Malay films from the 1960s such as Anak Buluh Betong and Dharma Kesuma.
“I was fascinated by how silat invoked the spirit of heroism and justice. But after being introduced to different silat techniques such as silat lintau and silat panji alamin secondary school, I realised martial arts acts in movies were choreographed, be it in Malay, European, Hollywood or Japanese movies.
“Silat teaches the core art of martial arts, minus the fancy moves seen on the big screen. In a real fight, the scenario is entirely different. Silat is thus far one of the best and most practical,” shares Dr Mustafa, 57, who works at the Seremban district health office.
The Perak-born doctor attends Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 lessons which he considers one of the most practical self-defence tactics.
“It is one of the few silat systems where students (beginners included) are encouraged to use the keris in both armed and unarmed combat. Silat exponents can use simple yet effective movements to counter attack the opponent.
“To me, Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 is the most practical silat by far as it combines skill and rigorous exercise. It requires minimal running, pumping or punching unlike other silat forms that I have seen, making it a perfect martial arts form-cum-exercise for me,” he said.
Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9 is an old system in Silat Melayu that can be traced back to the Malacca Sultanate and it is believed Malay warriors used it to fight Portuguese invaders.
The modern version of this form of martial arts was developed by silat exponent Prof Dr Azlan Ghanie, who had learnt it from his father Abdul Ghanie Abu Bakar, who inherited it from his grandfather Abang Salleh Datu Patinggi Borhassan.
Dr Mustafa, who has been learning silat since 2007, is one of Azlan’s students. He was so enthusiastic about silat that he has persuaded his wife Noraishah Mohamed, 49, and his sons Muhammad Syahridwan, 13 and Muhammad Syahriezlan, 11, to participate in Azlan’s classes.
“Since my wife and sons do not do much physical activities, the classes help to keep them active,” said Dr Mustafa who has six children.
Noraishah, a homemaker, was inspired to join silat classes due to its simplicity and practicality. “We learn self-defense tips for women, be it in public spaces or at home. It is especially useful as I am a housewife and I am home alone most of the time,” said Noraishah, who has been a silat student for two years.
Muhammad Syahridwan’s interest was sparked by his father’s enthusiasm. “My parents have been silat enthusiasts and their interest rubbed off on us. I enjoy my silat lessons as they build confidence and discipline. It is also a good form of exercise,” said the secondary school student. Dr Mustafa works in Seremban but travels back to be with his family in Rawang during weekends. Every Saturday, his family travels from Rawang to Setapak, Kuala Lumpur for their silat lessons.
Students start their classes with Senaman Melayu Tua, an ancient form of physical exercise that focuses on breathing techniques, stretches and movements to strengthen the body. After the warming up session, students learn different forms of loks (a Malay term for the curve on the blade of the keris).
There are five loks (numbered one, three, five, seven and nine) to be learned to complete the basic syllabus. Learning the loks is the key to the principles of fighting in armed and empty hand combat. The basic syllabus takes two years of regular training to complete.
Dr Mustafa adds that besides an art of self defence, silat also places emphasis onadab (respect) and adat (customs). Traditional Malay values are maintained throughout classes where students are taught how to respect their elders and each other. Students are also taught how to confront danger (with or without weapons) which is useful for different age groups and gender.
“Silat practitioners are taught to respect our opponents and training tools. Before each session, we have to bow a little to shake hands with partners and kiss our weapon as a sign of respect. This traditional martial arts form teach us to avoid trouble and protect ourselves from danger. Being able to handle the keris during practice has helped boost my sons’ self confidence,” explained Dr Mustafa, adding that plastic or wooden knives are also used during sparring sessions.
Traditionally, the keris is regarded more than just a weapon and the adab (manners/ rules of behaviour) surrounding this art is extremely important. The keris is a symbol of the ancient Malay culture and must be respected, and those who own a keris carry heavy responsibilities. Learning the customs and traditions associated with the kerisis an integral part of the syllabus.
Another benefit of learning silat is that it is good for health as its practitioners learn how to regulate their breathing. “Some silat students with asthma and shortness of breath are now more aware of proper breathing techniques. Learning how to improve breathing is among the core essentials of silat,” said Azlan, who charges RM50 monthly for his silat classes.
Azlan has also further developed Senaman Tua – a traditional exercise system based on the movements found in Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9. He had turned to this exercise form after he suffering from a stroke at 32, which left him partially paralysed.
“Although I sought all sorts of treatments ranging from modern to traditional, I didn’t show signs of improvement. I eventually started to practise various techniques ofSenaman Tua (which I had learnt from my father) and my health gradually improved,” recounted Azlan, who is the founder and editor of Seni Beladiri, a monthly magazine dedicated to the Malaysian martial arts scene.
Dr Mustafa hopes more youngsters will learn silat as it is a self-defense art passed down from the warriors of the olden days. “Sadly, some feel that silat is out of fashion and not a necessity. Hopefully more students will sign up for classes as it is a powerful martial arts form that stresses on team spirit and confidence.”
*For more details on Silat Melayu Keris Lok 9, go to senibeladiri.com.my.
article from: http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Family/Features/2013/09/25/Bonding-over-an-ancient-art.aspx
venue : 99 southern cross drive
date: 23rd february 2013
time: 9:00 AM - 15:00
The subject of the CAPE MALAYS has long been one which many debates has come about. The Cape Malays today have a distinct culture, and some elements of this culture takes its form in spiritual practices, educational and festive practices.
The Muslim Judicial Council recently issued a fatwa (religious decree) banning muslims of participation in the Coon Carnival. Please see the attachment above.
The Kaapse Klopse, known as the Cape Coons and the Malay Choirs are usually active during New Years celebrations. Singing and dancing accompanied by musical instruments and afrikaans / dutch lyrics makes up a cape malay choir performance, while performers are dressed in english two piece suits and a Red Koefiyah (muslim hat). The coons however, march through the streets wearing multi-coloured uniforms and hats. Their music is somewhat different to the Malay Choir, where brass bands are used, as well as a brigade style percussion.
The Persatuan Seni Silat Pukulan Melaka, has been in existence since 1997 promoting one of the main elements of true malay culture. The malays of Nusanatara, has been keeping Silat alive in their everyday lives. Silat performances can even be seen in wedding ceremonies, which is usually accompanied by silat music, in honour of the bride and groom which is seen to be the King and Queen of the day. see more in the video below.
The Seminar "The Cape Malay Question" will be hosted by Mr M G Hartley (independent Cape Malay researcher) on the 26th January (saturday) 2013. It aims to encourage discussion around the Malay community of Cape Town, known as the 'Cape Malays'.
Those who wish to participate should submit their papers on the topic "The Cape Malay Question" in PDF format by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hand deliver to 2B Block rd, Kenwyn 7800.
For More info please call Mr Hartley on 0733497663.
Many Asian countries have each evolved their own system of martial arts, and Malaysia is no exception. Most Westerners are familiar with Karate, Judo, Tae-kwondo and Kung-fu thanks to action movies from Hollywood and Hong Kong. Yet there is also a graceful, yet deadly, martial art called Seni Silat that is deeply rooted in Malay culture. This art of self-defence is practised not only in Malaysia but also in Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and in varying degrees even in the Philippines and Southern Thailand. In Indonesia, Silat is referred to as Pencak Silat, while in the Philippines it is called Kali Silat. The late Bruce Lee, Hong Kong's martial arts legend and founder of Jeet Kwon-do, was also known to have been learning Silat to prepare for his next movie prior to his untimely demise.
The word Silat is coined from the term "Si Kilat", meaning "one who moves like lightning." However, the origins of Silat are hard to trace because of lack of written records; nevertheless, it is believed that Indonesia is its birthplace. This martial art resulted from the observation of the fighting tactics of animals such as monkeys, tigers, eagles and cobras. Such movements were slowly built up into an elaborate system of self-defence. The turbulent history of the Malay Archipelago made fighting ability a much-valued asset; thus, silat spread far and wide throughout the region.
Archaeological finds indicated that formalised fighting systems had existed during the 6th century in the Malay Archipelago. Warriors from the ancient kingdoms of Srivijaya in Sumatra (4th to 7th century) and Majapahit (13th to 16th century) displayed effective Silat skills that enabled them to overrun what is now Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. According to Hisbullah Rahman in his book titled "History of the Development of Pencak Silat in Indonesia", many Chinese went to Srivijaya's University of Nalanda to learn both Silat and Buddhism. Early trade and migration from other countries also brought foreign influences to Silat. As a result, many Indonesian Pencak Silat systems feature Hindu weapons such as the trisula (forked truncheon), Indian grappling styles, Siamese costumes and Arabian weapons. Early migration by settlers from Indonesia fleeing from clan wars and, later, Dutch domination gradually swept Silat to the Malay peninsula.
Malaysia's legendary Silat experts were Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat who lived during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1459-1477) in Melaka. Today, though the Multimedia Super Corridor is paving the way for the IT era in the country, Silat is still alive and kicking. Both rural villages as well as cities have Silat schools. Silat performances are incorporated into wedding ceremonies, official functions and the performing arts. The national organisation for the promotion of Silat is the Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (PESAKA) or The Malaysian National Silat Federation.
Silat has many styles, and they are named after the region of origin, an animal, its founder, a spiritual principle or a physical action. An estimated 200 styles are currently practised. Among the two most popular styles are Silat Seni Gayong and Silat Cekak. Silat Seni Gayong was founded by the late Dato' Meor Abdul Rahman bin Uda Mohd Hashim (1915-1991). It has practitioners in the Middle East, America and Europe. A Bugis, Dato' Meor was a direct descendant of Daeng Merewah, a famous silat expert from Sulawesi. Silat Cekak has is roots in Kedah, and was developed by the late Ustaz Haji Hanafi bin Haji Ahmad. During the reign of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin (1854-1879), it was widely practised by his senior warriors. While many Silat Gayong moves are acrobatic, Silat Cekak techniques are mostly executed with a straight posture. A third school of Silat that also has a huge following in Malaysia is Silat Lincah.
Silat Gayong Fatani is infused with influences from Muay Thai or Thai kick-boxing. Silat Chikalong is based on the wing motions of a flying bat while Silat Harimau feature techniques similar to that of an attacking tiger. From Kelantan comes Silat Kelantan which is similar to Japanese judo as it incorporates a lot of throws and locks. In East Malaysia, Silat Betawi (named after Batavia, the Dutch name for Jakarta) has a strong following. This style is similar to Chinese Kun Tow (martial arts) and originated from Java. Silat Medan emphasizes weapon techniques, while Silat Setia Hati is named after a flower, which is beautiful yet deadly poisonous. Distinguishing the various styles of silat is not easy, and only experts can do so.
Irrespective of the style, silat consists of two dimensions: the pulut and the buah. Pulut is soft glutinous rice that is eaten at wedding receptions and gatherings. Therefore, Pulut simply refers to the aesthetically beautiful moves that are executed for entertainment purposes. Pulut is also referred to as Bunga (flower). On, the other hand, Buah, (which literally means Fruit) alludes to the practical aspects that are not displayed to the public. In actual combat, however, both the Bunga and Buah are combined with devastating effects. Bunga will distract and confuse the opponent with its graceful moves, which will suddenly change into explosive strikes at lighting speed -the Buah. In this strategy, the Flower leads to the Fruit.
The traditional attire of the silat exponent is a pair of loose pants and top. A sash completes the outfit. For exhibition purposes, a tengkolok is usually worn. Silat instructors are categorized according to the following levels: kang (lowest), guru, pendekar and mahaguru. In the olden days, finding a Silat instructor was extremely difficult as each teacher used different criteria in selecting students, though the prime consideration was always character and moral standard.
Training with weapons plays an important role in the advanced stage of silat. Depending on the curriculum of the school, a student is expected to master the following: kris (a short wavy dagger), pisau (a short knife), tali (rope), belantan (cudgel), pedang (sword), lawi ayam (a sickle), tongkat (a walking stick made of hardwood), tekpi (trisula), and badik (dagger with straight cutting edge and a back curving at the tip)..
Silat offensive moves are usually executed with the arm, knee, fist, elbow and legs. In addition, there may be a combination of claws, tear and pokes to the vital points. The Silat exponent practises with a combination of Juru-juru (or upper body manouevres) and Langkah (or footwork). The amount of emphasis on one or the other depends on the style and tactical approach.
Silat is not just a system of fighting techniques. There is also the spiritual and moral dimension that complements the blows, locks and kicks. Most Silat instructors in Malaysia are Muslim so their spiritual systems reflect the tenets of Islam. However, Silat transcends religion. In the Philippines, for example, Kali Silat incorporates Catholic ideals in its spiritual dimension, while in Bali, Hindu teachings are prevalent in its spiritual component. This religious aspect of Silat is aimed at personal development.
The future for Silat is exciting. Though, The Netherlands, by virtue of its historical association with Indonesia already has a strong following, Silat schools and interest groups are expanding in Japan, USA, France and the United Kingdom. The establishment of Pencak Silat Federation of the United Kingdom, Silat Federation of United Kingdom and Pencak Silat Bongkot of France are testimony of the growing popularity of this art of hand-to-hand combat.
For more details about the author, please visit his website at http://ewepaikleong.blogspot.com
_Fight-choreography in West Java is a source of cultural pride
Haji Uho Holidin is a 72 year old performer who lives in Bandung, West Java. He is a senior teacher in Pencak Silat Panglipur Pamager Sari, a club that teaches and performs pencak silat seni. This is a movement art based on the fighting techniques of pencak silat, the authentic martial art of the Indo-Malayan archipelago. Pencak silat practitioners consider it to be a sport, an art, a form of combat training and a tool for mental and spiritual development. Panglipur Pamager Sari is a prestigious school that attracts a large number of local students of all ages, both male and female.
Despite his advanced age, Haji Uho still actively surveys and monitors the progress of students. Training usually takes place after Isha prayer on Tuesday nights at a performance space near his home. Devoted students also schedule their own training sessions in their respective suburbs. At training, Haji Uho teaches movements and explains their functions, urging students to understand the intent of each movement so that their performances are both meaningful and attractive. Younger students model their performances on Haji Uho’s moves, which are still graceful and powerful despite his age.
Pencak silat as cultural art While pencak silat is traditionally regarded as a sport for men, the artistic component of pencak silat seni offers women an attractive way to learn fighting skills. The beauty of the music and the choreographed movement allow practitioners to enjoy the art without the pain and struggle of combat practice. Dian Nur Dini, a 22 year old female performer who has toured Korea and Malaysia with Panglipur Pamager Sari, said ‘Women must know how to defend themselves. Inside the beautiful music and movement of pencak silat seni, there are effective combat techniques.'
Pencak silat practitioners consider it to be a sport, an art, a form of combat training and a tool for mental and spiritual development For dedicated practitioners like Dian, pencak silat seni offers opportunities to travel to other countries. But it is certainly no way to earn a good living. Even a well known and respected pencak silat teacher like Haji Uho has to run his own business. Haji Uho does not request payment for teaching pencak silat. To make money, he makes clothes for pencak silat performers. As a sign of appreciation and respect, his students and his students’ students buy their silat costumes from him. He employs a small number of young tailors to sew the clothes which he sells to schools in Bandung as well as to some affiliated training centres in Europe. At night, if Haji Uho is not training students in the front room of his house, he will often be found in his workroom (which is also his kitchen) cutting material and preparing silat clothes. For Haji Uho, it is a business of love. He believes that the art form fulfils a human need for beauty, and he gets great pleasure from creating pencak silat costumes that add to the beauty of the performances.
In West Java, pencak silat seni is accompanied by a variety of local instruments. The most important of these instruments are the kendang (a double-sided barrel drum), the tarompet (a double-reed woodwind instrument) and the gong. The drums are used to accompany and illustrate the performers’ movements. There are a variety of different rhythms which all have different origins, like the rhythm known as Paleredan, from the village of Palered, and Tepak Dua, from Cimande. The drummers follow the movements of the performer with their playing, and develop great sensitivity to the choreographed movements of the art form.
Pak Darman Santikahidayat is one of several blind musicians who accompany pencak silat performances and competitions throughout Bandung. He accompanies pencak silat on the double-reed tarompet, matching the rhythm and tempo of the performances. Although he cannot communicate through gestures or observation, Pak Darman can nevertheless respond immediately to changes in rhythm, speed and excitement. As he can play both woodwind and string instruments, he receives many invitations to perform at local events.
Being a musician enables Pak Darman to earn money and avoid the hardships often faced by people with disabilities in Indonesia. When not playing music, Pak Darman works as a masseur, an occupation not uncommon for blind people in Indonesia. Most of Darman’s patients arrive in the late afternoon or evening. During the morning to early afternoon, Pak Darman sometimes gives music lessons. However, music lessons, massage patients and music performances arrive sporadically, so a steady income is never a certainty.
From improvisation to choreography Maenpo is a form of pencak silat from from Cikalong, Cianjur (West Java). It differs in two ways from contemporary pencak silat seni. Pencak silat seni is largely a choreographed art form in which the movements are illustrated by the music. By contrast, maenpo is based on improvisation. The music is also different. Maenpo performers are accompanied by the zither and bamboo flute, a pairing that creates a soothing, melancholic atmosphere. To this music, they practice mostly soft and slow movements, punctuated with fast and lethal attacks and blocks.
The word maenpo is an abbreviation of ‘maen poho’ which means to play with your partner’s forgetfulness. The idea is to remember all your moves and to capitalise on the forgetfulness of your adversary. If a practitioner forgets to keep guard then the opponent can take advantage of the opportunity and win. If, however, the opponent forgets to take advantage of an opportunity, then it is he who loses the game. The soft lulling music ensures that this contest does not develop into a fight.
Maenpo has few followers in contemporary West Java. The popularity of the improvisation-based forms of pencak silat like maenpo have declined as the choreographed forms of pencak silat seni have become more popular. According to Haji Uho, pencak silat has undergone many changes since Indonesian independence in 1945, especially since the establishment of organisations that have systematised and standardised pencak silat. This has created a trend away from spontaneous improvisation such as maenpo to rehearsed choreography.
Sundanese audiences become very involved in the performance. The music is loud, and the audiences love to add to the atmosphere by shouting in time with the music and crying out their support for the performers The modern, choreographed form of pencak silat in West Java is performed at weddings and circumcision ceremonies. Clubs come together at contests and festivals to demonstrate and sometimes test their skills with one another. Sundanese audiences become very involved in the performances. The music is loud, and the audiences love to add to the atmosphere by shouting in time with the music and crying out their support for the performers. The double reed tarompet player contributes to the festive vibe by playing songs that match the tone of the performance and the audience’s reaction.
Using the movements of the improvised art-form as building blocks, the choreography has developed to allow the expression of a certain kind of cultural memory that gives important meaning to the music and movement. Haji Uho has been a key figure in developing many new choreographies based on the material taught to him by his teacher, Abah Aleh (who is said to have lived from 1856 to 1980). These choreographies are much loved by the West Javanese and are a source of cultural pride. Dian Nur Dini states, ‘Apart from being a hobby and a great way to keep fit, pencak silat is part of being Indonesian. It is a way for me to preserve my culture.’ As Dian Nur Dini suggests, pencak silat is part of Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage. From the young practitioners to the handicapped and elderly, it empowers communities and adds beauty to the lives of those who encounter it.
Paul H. Mason (email@example.com ) is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney. He is researching practices of fight-dancing in Indonesia and Brazil.
Today is Heritage Day in South Africa, and all south africans will celebrate their heritage. The Cape malay community forms part of South Africa's rich cultural, social and religious history. Despite the many facts which points to the very real existence of the Cape Malays, many historians and reseachers are adament that this community is an ímaginary'community. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the Malays (a term used to describe people originating from the malay lands i.e; indonesia, malaysia, thailand, cambodia, philippines, brunei) were responsible for establishing Islam in South Africa.
Lets revisit some happennings of the past, and see how this community has thrived due to the persistence and perseverence of the Cape malays and the rest of the Muslims at the time.
1804 Attainment of freedom of worship
By 1804, the number of the Vryezwarten or Free Blacks, majority of whom were Muslims, had reached such significant proportion that the Dutch rulers changed their policies in order to enlist their support, pending the British invasion of the Cape. They granted religious freedom to the Vryezwarten. Thus on July 25, 1804 the patience and perseverance of the Cape Muslims was rewarded when religious freedom was permitted for the first time at the Cape of Good Hope.
Prior to this, the Cape Muslims, in practising their religion, were severely restricted by the Statutes of India: a set of laws particularly aimed at restricting the religious practices of the Muslims of the Batavian Empire of which the Cape formed a part.
Commander de Mist published Ordinance 50, which declared equal legal protection to all religious societies. However, these religious societies were still required to obtain permission from the Cape Governor for the construction of places of worship.
General Janssens, also a commander at the Cape, enlisted the free Malays to serve as "soldiers" at the Cape while the British attack was imminent, and this in reality, necessitated change in social and political conditions. Thus, during 1804, two "Javaansche Artilleries" were instituted: one under the command of the Mohammedaansche Veld-Priester [Muslim lay-preacher], Frans van Bengalen, and the other under the command of a Frenchman. These artilleries were deployed at the Battle of Blauwberg in 1806, and the soldiers were well trained. Their gallantry in the Battle earned them great praise and the respect of their British adversaries. Commentators on the Battle of Blauwberg generally agree that the Cape Muslim Artillery would have won the day for General Janssens had he not retreated to the mainland. And so, when the British took over the Cape, they honoured and praised the Muslim Artillery for its bravery and courage in the Battle. Thus, General Baird, the British commander, as a special gesture to the Cape Muslims, confirmed General Janssens' promise to the Vryez-wartens of a masjid site. Islam actually took root in the Western Cape after 1800 when prayer rooms, at five respective sites, were made available.
1805 Land grant for Tana Baru: the first Muslim cemetery
The first piece of land for a Muslim cemetery - Tana Baru - was granted to Frans van Bengalen on October 02, 1805 by the Raad der Gemeente [local authority] as a burial ground for the Cape Muslims. This gesture by the Batavian Republic officials followed the granting of religious freedom in 1804, accompanied by the right to build a masjid. The purpose of the Batavian Administration in granting these privileges to the Cape Muslims was to obtain their loyalty in the event of a British invasion of the Cape. Tana Baru, presently in disuse, consists of several cemetery sites adjoining each other, at the top-end of Longmarket Street in Cape Town. It is situated opposite the site where the Cape Muslims buried their dead for years before 1805. Another site, in close proximity to that of Frans van Bengalen was given "as a present" to Paay Schaapie [Tuan Nuruman] "for him and his family as a burial ground" by General Janssen who was the Batavian Commander at the Cape during 1803 and 1806. More land was granted to the Cape Muslims by the British Governor at the Cape, Sir Thomas Napier, during the reign of Queen Victoria, in 1842. It was practice of the 19th century imams of the Cape to purchase properties, in trust, for their congregations for the purpose of either masajid sites or burial grounds. Thus extra land came to be subsequently adjoined to Tana Baru. The cemetery was officially closed on January 15, 1886 by Government decree: Section 63 to 65 of the Public Health Act of 1883.
Within its confines lie some of the earliest and most respected Muslim settlers of South Africa: Imam Abdullah ibn Kadi [Qadi] Abdus Salaam [Tuan Guru], Tuan Sa'id Aloewie [Sayyid `Alawi], Tuan Nuruman [Paay Schaapie], Abubakr Effendi and others, along with prominent Muslim women of the time, such as Saartjie van de Kaap and Saamiede van de Kaap . Despite its closure, the Tana Baru has always been regarded as the most hallowed of Muslim cemeteries in Cape Town.
1807 Death of Tuan Guru
Tuan Guru died at the ripe old age of 95 and lies buried in Tana Baru Cemetry on Signal Hill, Cape Town. He had exerted a considerable influence on the Cape Muslims, especially in the field of Islamic education. Seventeen years after his death in 1807, his madrasah had, according to the evidence of the Colebrooke and Bigge Commission of 1825, a total of 491 "Free Black and Slave Scholars". Imam Achmat van Bengalen took charge of the madrasah after Tuan Guru's death.
1807 Establishment of Palm Tree Masjid: second in the country
After a dispute with regard to succession to the imamate of the Auwal Masjid, Frans van Bengalen and Jan van Boughies together parted from the Auwal Masjid. They purchased a property in Long Street, Cape Town, initiated their own congregation and opened a prayer room which later was converted into the Palm Tree Masjid, the second oldest in South Africa.
Imam Abdolgamiet [`Abd al-Hamid] served as the first imam of this masjid from 1807 to 1808, followed by Imam Asnoon [Jan van Boughies] [180818461, Imam Abdol Logies [1846-1851], Imam Mamat [Muhammad] van de Kaap [1851-1866], Imam Isma'il [1866-1889], Imam Moliat [1889-1894], Imam Mogamat [Muhammad] Joseph [1894-?], Imam Lalie Mogamat Salie , Sheikh Mogamat Geyer, Imam Isgaak [Ishaq] Eksteen [d 1955], Imam Abas [`Abbas] Kamalie [1955-?].
1808 Appointment of Jan van Boughies as Imam of Palm Tree Masjid
Jan van Boughies, the most prominent of the slaves from Celebes to arrive at the Cape of Good Hope, had a remarkable administration as imam of the Palm Tree Masjid [also known as Jan van Boughies Masjid] during the first half of the 19th century. Jan, also known as Imam Asnoon, succeeded Imam Abdolgamiet [ `Abd al-Hamid] from 1808 to 1846. Jan, who had been manumitted by Salia van Macassar [a free Muslim woman], later married her. Jan died in 1846 at the age of 112, leaving behind his second wife, Sameda van de Kaap , who dedicated the property as a masjid in memory of her late husband and called it "De Kerk van Jan van Boughies" [The Masjid of Jan van Boughies].
1823 Abdul Ghaliel granted a burial site
The slave, Abdul Ghaliel, served the Muslim community of Simonstown, Cape, as their imam. In 1823 a land grant was made in his favour to be used as a burial site by the Muslim community of Simonstown. Abdul Ghaliel was the first slave to be granted a piece of land in Simonstown.
1828 Restrictions on Muslim life
Having attained freedom of worship, Muslims, however, faced social restrictions and political inequality which in turn became the greatest obstacles in the spread of Islam in the Colony. The South African Commercial Advertiser of December 27, 1828 states in its editorial:
"As to the public worship of Mohammedans, although it was tolerated, no Proclamation of Law, as far as we know, was issued in this Colony, by which it was sanctioned or recognised! Perfect toleration was, however, one of the few praiseworthy principles of the old system. Thus we have seen, that an industrious and peaceable class of inhabitants, whom an enlightened policy would have cherished and perfected, were up to July 3, 1828 treated with utmost harshness and ignominy. Their marriages were declared unlawful, their issues degraded. They were refused admission to the rights of Burgership. They could not hold landed property nor remain in the Colony, though born there, without special permission and ample security. They were placed under the arbitrary control of the Burger Senate and the Landdrost - compelled to perform public services gratuitously - punished at discretion with stripes and imprisonment - unable to leave their homes without a Pass - their houses entered and searched at the pleasure of the police. They were liable to arrest without a warrant - and yet they were taxed up to the lips, like the other Free inhabitants"
This is the probable reason why only 20 Cape Muslims of a total of 2 167 [of whom 1 268 were slaves] owned property in 1825.
Lets celebrate our history and not turn a blind eye to the hard efforts of the malays who has contributed much to the fabric of todays cape society.
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