journal of southeast asian studies department of southeast



journal of southeast asian studies department of southeast
ISSN 1823-4127
(Journal of Southeast Asian Studies)
A multi-disciplinary of area studies blind reviewed journal published annually by the
Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University
of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur is concerned with research results in the areas of politics,
economy, culture, anthropology, sociology, history, geography and other social sciences
and humanities pertaining to Southeast Asia. Every paper should include 250 words of
abstract and keywords in English. Contributions in English or Malay/Indonesian should
be typed singled-spaced and should not exceed 15 pages. The citation should follow
APA style with endnotes and list of References.
JATI (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies)
Department of Southeast Asian Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
University of Malaya
50603 Kuala Lumpur
[email protected]
Telephone: (603) 79675613
Facsmile: (603) 79675461
JATI (Journal of Southeast Asian Studies) is indexed by MyCite
©2014, copyright by Department of Southeast Asian Studies,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya
Volume 19
ISSN 1823-4127
December 2014
Volume 19
ISSN 1823-4127
December 2014
Continuity and Change in Southeast Asian Development: The Challenges
of Complexity
Introduction to Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (Jati 19)
David Martin Jones (Guest Editor)
The Arbitration Case between Philippines and China over their Dispute
in the South China Sea
Lowell Bautista
The International Legal Definition of Piracy and its Motives
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
Pulau Pisang Light: A Non-Malaysian Lighthouse on a Malaysian Island
Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli, Rahmat Mohamad & Roman Dremliuga
Laissez-Faire in the Malay Archipelago: A Western Concept?
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah
Melayu dan Indonesia (Islamic Scholars and Discourse of
Intellectual Relations in Malaya and Indonesia)
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim, Ridzwan Bin Ahmad
& Khafidz Hamzah
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
(Distribution of Muslim’s Estate and Issues in Singapore)
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers
in Malaysia?
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014
NGOS and the Homelessness in Kuala Lumpur: Towards Moralistic
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure
of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
Jem R. Javier
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur
dalam Peristiwa Melunas Rindu
(Politeness Analysis of Leech and Grice: The Structural Patterns
of Politeness Manifested in the Novel Melunas Rindu)
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Future Aspirations of the Elementary Pupils in School of Saint Anthony,
Lagro Philippines
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, E., De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W.,
Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P., San Jose, K. & Sugay, J., & Violanta, M.
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
Rie Nakamura
Re-Examining the Objects of Mystical Reality
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan
Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
Hanafi Hussin
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014
Chief Editors
Hanafi Hussin (University of Malaya)
Guest Editor
David Martin Jones (Queensland University)
Desiree Quintero (University of Malaya)
Ederson Delos Trino Tapia (University of Makati, Philippines)
Francisco Perlas Dumanig (University of Malaya)
Hanizah Idris (University of Malaya)
Kim Hyung Jong (Changwon National University, Korea)
Lili Yulyadi Anarkim (University of Malaya)
Linda A. Lumayag (University of Malaya)
Lowell B. Bautista (University of Wollongong)
Mala Rajo Sathian (University of Malaya)
Maria Kristina Manueli (Theologische Hochschule Reutlingen, Germany)
Mary Susan Philip (University of Malaya)
Mazlan Majid (University of Malaya)
Rodney C Jubilado (University of Hawai’i)
Stephanie Pillai (University of Malaya)
S. Thirunaukarasu (University of Malaya)
Wayland Quintero (University of Malaya)
Advisory Board
David Martin Jones (University of Queensland)
Elizabeth Collins (Ohio University)
MCM Santamaria (University of the Philippines)
Jacqueline Pugh-Kitingan (Universiti Malaysia Sabah)
Mohammad Raduan Mohd Ariff (University of Malaya)
Business Manager
Department of Southeast Asian Studies
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Malaya
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp 1-2
David Martin Jones (Guest Editor)
School of Political Science and International Studies,
University of Queensland, Australia
The latest edition of JATI addresses a number of issues that are of enduring
significance to the study of South East Asia. Indeed, as the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations has become more fragmented as China’s growing
influence in the Asia Pacific has asserted itself. It is salient to maintain the study of
Southeast Asia as a distinctive cultural, historical and geographical grouping that
shares distinctive commonalities despite long standing ethno-religious and
political differences. As the region’s politico-religious and cultural character
grows more complex in the face of internal pressures to homogenise and external
pressures to globalise it is increasingly important to grasp the continuities as well
as the changes that impact both on the region and its study.
The current edition is consequently divided into four discrete sections that
address: the maritime international relations of Southeast Asia; the evolution of
Islamic self-understanding in Southeast Asia; socio-economic factors in Southeast
Asian development; patterns of language, cultural and educational formation in
Southeast Asia. Given the fact that maritime links have long dominated the pre
and post-colonial history of Southeast Asia and the difficulties that Chinese claims
to the South China Sea present to a number of littoral South East Asian states. The
papers devoted to international relations draw attention to the contested maritime
claims that perennially vex and trouble ASEAN’s harmony and consensus. Thus
Lowell Bautista examines the manner in which the Philippines and China have
attempted to arbitrate their overlapping claims in the Spratley Islands, whilst
Ahmad AlmaududyAmri examines the legal definitions of piracy as they impact
on the South China Sea and Mohammad Rusli, Rahmat Mohamad and Roman
Dremliuga discuss the ongoing difficulty for Singapore-Malaysian bilateral
relations posed by the Pulau Pisang lighthouse on a Malaysian island.
The following section examines the manner in which Islamic understanding
has historically and contemporarily affected regional self-understanding.
Sivachandralingam Raja interestingly explores how a precolonial discourse of free
trade operated around the Malay Archipelago, the Java Sea and the South China
Sea prior to the European colonisation of the region from the seventeenth century.
Indeed, as Raja indicates the pre-colonial model of maritime trade was something
David Martin Jones
the Europeans found highly congenial. Somewhat differently, Badlihisyam Mohd
Nasir and his colleagues from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and University of
Malaya examine the impact of the Islamic scholars or ulamak movement on Malay
Muslim self-understanding in the 1930s and on the dakwah movement in the 1970s,
and how it continues to offer resources to the Malay Muslim world in the context
of modernization, whilst Feirul Maliq Intajalle and Lukman Abdullah explore the
manner in which Muslim estate’s have been administered and distributed in
Singapore prior to and post the independence of the city state.
Section three of these issues discusses a variety of socio-economic factors at
play in South East Asia that affect contemporary social and economic practice.
Linda Lumayag and Rahim Sail examine how Indonesian migrant workers in the
Johore palm oil industry transmit ideas and practices to their homeland via social
exchanges. Prescious Oraya and Nobaya Ahmad and Hanina Hamsan discuss the
impact of NGOs on homelessness in Kuala Lumpur.
The final section of this issue examines language, cultural and educational
issues that impact on identity formation in Southeast Asia. Jem R. Javier offers an
intriguing analysis of how the Tagalog language’s grammatical structure affects
material and psychological self-understanding. In a similar vein, Sara Beden and
Indirawati Zahid examine how politeness patterns in literary texts impact upon
the linguistic behaviour of secondary students in Johore, Sabah, Sarawak and
Wilayah. Meanwhile, Semorlan A. Atendido and her colleagues explore the future
aspirations of students at a Catholic elementary school in the Philippines. In a
somewhat different vein, Rik Nakamura examines the installation works of the
Vietnamese artist Nguyen Ngoc An and his role in preserving the culture of the
catholic Bana community in Vietnam’ Central highlands.
Similarly, Sarena
Abdullah and Chung Ah Kow examine the way in which Malaysian artists of the
late 1960s New Scene sought both to develop and critique abstract expressionism
to establish a culturally distinctive mystically real aesthetic through their art.
Finally, Hanafi Hussin also examines how distinctive rituals associated with the
consumption special foods and beverages invoke an unseen realm that links past
and future amongst the Peranakan community of the Straits of Malacca.
Ultimately JATI 19 offers a compelling insight into the often elusive socio cultural
and political practices of the Southeast Asian mind.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp3-24
Lowell Bautista
Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS),
Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia
([email protected])
This paper will examine the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China
over the West Philippine Sea on 22 January 2013. The first part, and by way of
introduction, will provide a concise summary of the competing territorial and
maritime jurisdictional claims over the South China Sea highlighting recent
developments. The second part will discuss the system of dispute settlement
under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as
relevant international jurisprudence and State practice. The third part will examine
the arbitration case in greater detail discussing its factual antecedents and the
specific reliefs sought by the Philippines. In the final part, the paper will conclude
with an evaluation and analysis of the arbitration case in the context of its potential
implications to the management of conflict and resolution of the sovereignty
disputes in the South China Sea.
Keywords: South China Sea, West Philippine Sea, law of the sea, international law,
On 22 January 2013, the Philippines instituted arbitral proceedings against China
under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
(UNCLOS) in respect of their maritime jurisdictional dispute in the South China
Sea. The arbitration is the first international litigation initiated by a claimant state
in the South China Sea. It is clear that this bold move is a game changer. The
proceedings have altered the terrain of strategies available to the claimant states,
which has always eschewed legal options. More importantly, the decision of the
Tribunal will have significant, lasting and far-reaching implications affecting the
Lowell Bautista
legal rights of all the claimant states and will strongly impact the management and
resolution of the conflicting claims in the South China Sea.
The arbitration was initiated by the Philippines after a series of increasing
aggressive behavior and provocative actions including a tense standoff in April
2012 between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de
Masinloc) which brought tensions in the South China Sea to their highest level
since the 1994 Mischief Reef incident (Bautista, 2013). China has made it
abundantly clear that it does not accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines
and has refused to participate in the proceedings. The non-participation of China’s
will affect neither the legitimacy of the proceedings or the validity of the judgment
(Article 9, Annex VII, UNCLOS).
The strategic imperatives behind the institution of compulsory arbitration
by the Philippines are evident. The legal track appears to be a logical option given
the stark economic and military asymmetry between the Philippines and China.
The Philippines insists, and quite rightfully, that arbitration is a peaceful, open and
friendly mechanism allowing for a final, rules-based and enduring resolution to
the disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with international law. China
has assailed the arbitral case and vehemently refuses to participate in the
proceedings, insisting instead to manage the dispute through regional mechanisms
and bilateral negotiations. Despite the objections of China and its decision not to
participate, the arbitration will continue.
This paper will examine the arbitration case filed by the Philippines
against China over the West Philippine Sea on 22 January 2013. The first part, and
by way of introduction, will provide a concise summary of the competing
territorial and maritime jurisdictional claims over the South China Sea
highlighting recent developments. In the second part, the paper will cover a
discussion of the system of dispute settlement under the 1982 United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as relevant international jurisprudence
and State practice. The third part will examine the arbitration case in greater detail
discussing its factual antecedents and the specific reliefs sought by the Philippines.
The final part, the paper will conclude with an evaluation and analysis the
arbitration case in the context of its potential implications to the management of
conflict and resolution of the sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea.
Brief overview of the South China Sea dispute
The competing claims over the West Philippine Sea are part of the longstanding
territorial and maritime jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea. In
Philippine law, the West Philippine Sea refers to the maritime areas on the western
side of the Philippine archipelago including the Luzon Sea as well as the waters
around, within and adjacent to the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo De Masinloc,
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
also known as Scarborough Shoal (Bautista, 2013; Section 1, Administrative Order
No. 29, 2012). The 2009 Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law asserts that the
Philippines exercises sovereignty and jurisdiction over both the Kalayaan Island
Group and Bajo de Masinloc, under the Regime of Islands, consistent with Article
121 of UNCLOS (Section 2, Republic Act No. 9522, 2009). The renaming of the
South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea bears no legal implications with
respect to the claims of sovereignty over the disputed area or over the insular
features found therein as well the maritime entitlements they could potentially
generate. Undeniably, it does however carry a very strong patriotic assertion of
sovereignty with positive psychological and propaganda value to a domestic
audience. In this paper, the terms West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, as
well as Bajo de Masinloc and Scarborough Shoal, will be used interchangeably.
The South China Sea is a semi-enclosed sea (Articles 122 and 123,
UNCLOS) encompassing an area of around 3,500,000 km² surrounded by the
countries of Southeast Asia. The South China Sea encompasses a portion of the
Pacific Ocean stretching roughly from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca in the
southwest, to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast. The sea is bordered by Borneo
to the south; China and Taiwan to the north; Vietnam, Thailand and Peninsular
Malaysia to the west, and the Philippines to the east. It encompasses a
continuation of the Pacific Ocean stretching roughly from Singapore and the
Straits of Malacca in the southwest, to the Straits of Taiwan (between Taiwan and
China) in the northeast.
The South China Sea Islands is an archipelago of over 250 islands, atolls,
cays, shoals, reefs, and sandbars, most of which have no native inhabitants. The
islands of the South China Sea can be further subdivided into four subarchipelagos, listed by area size: (1) The Spratly Islands; (2) the Macclesfield
Islands; (3) the Paracel Islands; and (4) the Pratas Islands. The majority of the
disputed islands are located in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains (Bautista,
2007, p. 704). The area is the subject of competing claims among the following
claimant-States: People’s Republic of China (China), Republic of China (Taiwan),
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. There are some analysts who
include Indonesia as a possible seventh claimant-state. However, while Indonesia
does not claim any of the islands in the South China Sea, Chinese and Taiwanese
claims in the South China Sea extend into Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone
(EEZ) and continental shelf, encroaching upon Indonesia’s Natuna archipelago.
There are some authors, notably Chinese scholars, who do not regard Taiwan as a
claimant-state since its status as a State is disputed in international law, but merely
as a province of China.
The greater number of these islands are partially submerged islets, rocks,
and reefs that are little more than navigational hazards not suitable for habitation.
All the claimant-States, with the exception of Brunei, have established military
Lowell Bautista
garrisons over some of features in the disputed area. In 2009, the number of
features occupied in the South China Sea are as follows: Vietnam (21), the
Philippines (9), China (7), Malaysia (5), and Taiwan (1) (Schofield & Storey, 2009,
p. 10).
In brief, the disputes over the South China Sea fall into three broad
categories. The first category involves the competing sovereignty claims over
territory, in particular over the numerous island features in the area. Second, the
overlapping maritime jurisdictional zones among the littoral States of the South
China Sea, which have not been delimited. The third concerns the potential
maritime zones to be generated from the island features once the sovereignty issue
over the same has been settled.
The dispute over the South China Sea is a complex issue primarily
revolving around international law, but also involves geopolitical, regional
economic, international relations considerations. A detailed discussion of the
various claims over the South China Sea is beyond the scope of this Opinion. There
is however extensive academic literature on this topic (See for example, Beckman,
2013; Beckman & Schofield, 2014; Dupuy & Dupuy, 2013; Gao & Jia, 2013).
The six claimant-States that have overlapping and conflicting claims over
the South China Sea all base their claims on principles of international law, both
customary and conventional, and in particular on provisions of the UNCLOS.
These principles are principally discovery and effective occupation (Bautista, 2007,
p. 700). In 2014, the United States Department of State analysed the maritime
claims of China in the South China Sea, and concluded that “its dashed- line claim
does not accord with the international law of the sea” (p. 24).
Recent developments
It is profoundly counterintuitive to assert but in reality, despite the popular
depiction in academic literature and on media, the South China Sea is relatively
peaceful. However, the significant escalation in tensions in the South China Sea in
recent years is undeniable. The arbitration case filed by the Philippines should be
viewed from the broad context of assertive and provocative actions from claimant
states over the years.
In April 2012, the standoff between the Philippines and China over
Scarborough Shoal brought tensions in the South China Sea to their highest level
since the 1994 Mischief Reef incident. The incident started on April 8, 2012, after
eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored inside the lagoon of the Shoal were spotted
by a Philippine Navy surveillance plane and confirmed by the Philippine Navy
warship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar on the same day. On April 10, 2012, following
established rules of engagement, a boarding team aboard BRP Gregorio del Pilar
was dispatched to inspect the Chinese fishing vessels, collect photos and their
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
catch. On the part of the Philippine boarding team, the apprehension of the
Chinese fishermen was regarded as a routine maritime law enforcement operation
which has been customary in Bajo de Masinloc. The Philippine boarding team,
after inspection of the fishing vessels, discovered large amounts of illegally
collected corals, giant clams and live sharks inside the first vessel. The arrest of the
Chinese fishermen was blocked by two Chinese maritime surveillance ships,
China Marine Surveillance 75 (Zhongguo Haijian 75) and China Marine
Surveillance 84 (Zhongguo Haijian 84) (Dawnay, 2012; Department of Foreign
Affairs, 2012; Inquirer Research, 2012; Santos, 2012).
On 11 April 2012, in order to de-escalate the tension, the Philippines
replaced its surface combatant vessel with two civilian ships from the Coast Guard
and the Bureau of Fisheries. On its part, China deployed its largest and most
advanced patrol vessel equipped with machine guns, light cannons and electronic
sensors, the Yuzheng 310 (de Castro, 2013). During the height of the standoff, in
May 2012, there were at least 80 Chinese fishing vessels in Bajo de Masinloc. In
July 2012, weather conditions brought about by a typhoon compelled the
Philippines to pull-out which effectively left the shoal under the de facto control of
the Chinese (Bonnet, 2012, p. 5). The retaliatory actions of China against the
Philippines during the standoff included punitive economic measures such as the
imposition of a travel ban on Chinese tourists travelling to the Philippines, severe
restrictions on the importation of bananas from the Philippines and the
announcement of a unilateral fishing ban in the South China Sea covering the
shoal (Thayer, 2012). There were also other widespread rhetoric and propaganda
from the Chinese alluding to the possibility of armed conflict erupting with veiled
threats of using force against the Philippines (Bonnet, 2012, p. 5; de Castro, 2013, p.
7). In July 2012, for the first time in its 45-year history, the Association of
Southeast Nations (ASEAN), failed to issue a joint communiqué following its
annual foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, over intense
disagreement whether the communiqué should reflect the confrontation between
the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal (Bower, 2012).
In September 2013, the Philippines released aerial surveillance
photographs which showed about 75 concrete blocks allegedly installed by China
on Bajo de Masinloc, which China denies. The Philippines was apprehensive that
these concrete blocks could be used as platforms or foundations of larger
structures in the area (Agence France-Presse, 2013). The Philippines declared plans
to consider removing the concrete blocks allegedly installed by China on Bajo de
Masinloc as well as filing a diplomatic protest (Dalangin-Fernandez, 2013).
However, in October 2013, Philippine President Aquino disclosed that the blocks
shown in the photographs were “very old” and “not a new phenomenon”, with
some of them have barnacles attached to them” (Mogato, 2013).
Lowell Bautista
Another contentious feature in the South China Sea is Ayungin Shoal
(otherwise referred to as Second Thomas Shoal or Ren’ai Reef) which is located 105
nautical miles of the Philippine island of Palawan and lies entirely within the
Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone. The Shoal is occupied by the Philippines
through a small contingent of marines based on BRP Sierra Madre, a
commissioned Philippine naval vessel which ran aground in 1999. In March 2014,
the Philippines officially filed a diplomatic protest over the actions by the Chinese
Coast Guard that prevented the delivery of supplies to the Filipino soldiers in
Ayungin Shoal. The Philippines asserts that Ayungin Shoal is part of its
continental shelf and over which it should enjoy sovereign rights and jurisdiction
(Department of Foreign Affairs, 2014).
In August 2014, at the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nay Pyi
Taw, Myanmar, the joint communiqué included a section on regional and
international issues which focused on the South China Sea:
We remained seriously concerned over recent developments which had
increased tensions in the South China Sea and reaffirmed the importance
of maintaining peace, stability, maritime security as well as freedom of
navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea. …
We urged all parties concerned to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions
which would complicate the situation and undermine peace, stability, and
security in the South China Sea and to settle disputes through peaceful
means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, including friendly
dialogue, consultations and negotiations, in accordance with universally
recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Paragraphs 149 and 151,
ASEAN Joint Communique, 2014).
The joint communiqué also noted the Triple Action Plan introduced by the
Philippines (Paragraphs 155, ASEAN Joint Communique, 2014) which advocates a
moratorium on specific activities that escalate tension in the South China Sea and
underscores the imperative to pursue settlement mechanisms that will bring a final
and enduring resolution to the disputes based on international law, such as the
arbitration filed by the Philippines against China over the West Philippine Sea.
Dispute Settlement within the framework of UNCLOS
The dispute resolution mechanism integrated into the UNCLOS is both complex
and innovative (Bautista, 2014, pp. 387-382). The compulsory adjudicative
procedures in UNCLOS are a sharp departure from traditional international
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
dispute settlement where consent of the parties is normally required before the
submission of a dispute to arbitration or adjudication (Klein, 2009, p. 2). It is
considered a central pillar of the convention and part of the delicate compromises
included in the “package deal” of negotiations that led to the adoption of
UNCLOS in 1982 (Adede, 1987, p. 241). In order to preserve this delicate balance,
UNCLOS clearly prohibits States from making any reservations or exceptions
(Article 309, UNCLOS). According to Klein, “No additional form of consent is
required once a State is party to the Convention – consent to be bound by
UNCLOS includes consent to compulsory procedures entailing binding decisions
(subject to Sections 1 and 3 of Part XV). Under Section 2, the States in dispute do
not need (both or all) to consent to the referral of the dispute to court or tribunal,
but the dispute can be submitted at the behest of just one of the disputant States”
(2009, p. 53).
The dispute settlement system under UNCLOS is contained in Part XV of
the Convention. The provisions of Part XV are only applicable when there is a
‘dispute’ and it relates to either the ‘interpretation’ or ‘application’ of the
Convention (Article 286, UNCLOS). In addition to the requirement that there is a
dispute, the dispute must be ‘legal’ or ‘justiciable’ in that it must be capable of
being settled by the application of principles and rules of international law
(Lauterpacht, 2011, p. 64). Furthermore, Article 293 of UNCLOS states that the
court or tribunal having jurisdiction shall apply the Convention and “other rules
of international law not incompatible with this Convention.” The dispute
settlement regime in Part XV of UNCLOS is comprised of 3 sections. Section 1
contains the general provisions concerning dispute settlement; Section 2 outlines
the compulsory procedures entailing binding decisions, and Section 3 provides for
the limitations and exceptions to the applicability of Section 2.
The question of what constitutes a legal dispute is an old and enduring
question but not exactly a perplexing question in international law (Amerasinghe,
2009, pp. 46-47). There have been several international cases in the Permanent
Court of International Justice (PCIJ) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
which squarely addressed this issue such as the 1924 PCIJ case of Mavrommatis
Palestine Concessions between Greece and Great Britain and the ICJ decisions in
the Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua
between Nicaragua and the United States of America and the 2004 ICJ Advisory
Opinion in the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory, and indeed by a number of scholars. The PCIJ definition
enunciated in the Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions case, that a ‘dispute is a
disagreement on a point of law or fact, a conflict of legal views or of interests
between two persons (1924 PCIJ (Ser. A) No. 2, p. 11) and the ICJ’s ruling in the
Interpretation of the Peace Treaties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania,
Advisory Opinion of 30 March 1950, as ‘a situation in which the two sides held
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clearly opposite views concerning the question of the performance or nonperformance of certain treaty obligations,’ (1950 ICJ Rep. 65, p. 74) have been
widely adopted by other international tribunals (Schreuer, 2008, p. 960).
The issue of whether a dispute exists is in fact a crucial one and of
particular relevance to the discourse of disputes in Southeast Asia, especially in the
context of the strong nationalist rhetoric utilized in the disputes over the South
China Sea. China, for instance, has repeatedly claimed that it exercises
“indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea (Dillon, 2011, p. 54; To, 1999,
p. 166). In principle, a dispute which is purely political without any legal
connotations is not justiciable and cannot be taken cognizance of by any
international court or tribunal. In fact, in actual practice, parties to a dispute refute
the existence of a dispute for the purpose of contesting the jurisdiction of an
international court or tribunal (Schreuer, 2008, p. 959). In the case of UNCLOS, if a
dispute arises whether a court or tribunal has jurisdiction, that court or tribunal is
vested with the power to resolve the issue (Article 288, UNCLOS). It is well to
remember that a dispute hardly ever presents itself as a purely legal question, and
often, raises both legal as well as political issues. This is true for most of the
territorial and maritime disputes in Southeast Asia. These disputes not only test
the limits of the dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS but also restrain the
parties from considering international adjudicative processes as a viable
alternative to resolve their longstanding unresolved territorial and maritime
The compulsory and binding nature of the UNCLOS dispute settlement regime
The dispute settlement mechanism provided under the legal framework of
UNCLOS establishes a compulsory and binding framework for the pacific
settlement of all ocean-related disputes (Rayfuse, 2005, pp. 683-711; Sheehan, 2005,
pp. 165-190). UNCLOS in Part XV requires States Parties to settle any dispute
between them concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention by
peaceful means in accordance with Article 2 (3), of the UN Charter “in such a
manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”
States parties are supposed to seek a solution by any of the means indicated in
Article 33 (1), of the UN Charter, that is, through “negotiation, inquiry, mediation,
conciliation, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, other
peaceful means of their choice.”
UNCLOS gives primacy for States to reach an agreement on the basis of
international law in order to achieve an equitable solution in the delimitation of
the EEZ and continental shelf between States (Article 74(1) and 83(1), UNCLOS).
However, when States have been unable to reach agreement within “a reasonable
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
time,” the States concerned are obliged to resort to the procedures in Part XV of
the Convention (Articles 74(2) and 83(2), UNCLOS).
More importantly, submission to the compulsory procedures is not
automatic since States may still reserve the right under Article 298 to have certain
specified categories of disputes exempted from the compulsory fora. In such an
instance, compulsory conciliation becomes the default procedure where Article
298(1)(a) operates to exempt a State or a dispute from compulsory adjudication.
However, this only applies in a limited circumstance and the conciliation itself
does not create a binding result. Thus far, it has never been initiated.
The optional exceptions to the compulsory procedure in Article 298 show
the clear intention to remove maritime boundaries delimitation disputes from
compulsory judicial settlement. These elaborate mechanisms are designed to
preserve the sovereignty of States by giving the State parties the freedom to choose
the manner by which they will settle their differences (See and compare, Annex V,
Article 3; Annex VI, Article 4; Annex VII, Article 3; and Annex VII, Article 3,
UNCLOS; Adede, 1977; Treves, 1999).
The dispute settlement mechanism within the framework of UNCLOS
clearly creates an obligation among the claimant countries to settle their conflicting
claims peacefully by any means of their own choice (Article 280, UNCLOS).
However, McDorman asserts that the dispute settlement procedure of UNCLOS is
not part of customary law and, thus, is only binding upon those states which are
parties to UNCLOS (2000, p. 259). Furthermore, the principle of peaceful
settlement of international disputes operates on the basis of the sovereign equality
of States, a fundamental premise upon which the whole architecture of
international law operates. This implies that as a subject of international law, every
State is equal to every other State, regardless of size, or even economic or political
power. It is also independent and cannot be compelled to participate in any legal
procedure without its consent (Anand, 1966; Armstrong, 1920; Brown, 1915).
The compulsory settlement mechanism within the framework of UNCLOS
is triggered only as an option where the parties are not able to settle their
differences by peaceful means of their choice (Article 286, UNCLOS). But, even
then, the submission of a dispute to such a forum depends on the willingness of
the parties. In this regard, the dispute resolution mechanism may appear to offer
no progress over previous regimes. This is actually not the case. In international
law there is really no judicial forum with compulsory jurisdiction. Any form of
third party dispute resolution is founded upon the assent of the parties involved.
The lack of compulsion to submit to compulsory judicial forums under UNCLOS
is neither a serious drawback nor does it fall short of legitimate expectations. The
UNCLOS dispute settlement regime improves upon the Optional Protocol system
in the sense that in the case of the former, States become automatically bound by
the compulsory procedures upon ratification of UNCLOS; whereas under the
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latter, States become bound only when they become parties to the Protocol.
Nonetheless, ultimately, this means still that the dispute settlement regime of
UNCLOS is only as good as the claimant States are willing to formally invoke it.
The choice of procedure in UNCLOS disputes
UNCLOS provides the general rule that any dispute concerning the interpretation
or application of the Convention, provided no settlement has been reached by the
parties using any peaceful means of their choice, is subject to the system of
compulsory procedures entailing binding decisions in Section 2, Part XV of
UNCLOS (Article 286, UNCLOS). This is, of course, subject to the limitations and
exceptions to the applicability of Section 2 of Part XV as specified in Section 3 of
Part XV (Articles 297 and 298, UNCLOS). The parties to a dispute have the
obligation to exchange views (Article 283, UNCLOS) and to exhaust local remedies
where this is required by international law (Article 295, UNCLOS).
If a settlement has not been reached, UNCLOS stipulates that the dispute
be submitted at the request of any party to the dispute to a court or tribunal
having jurisdiction in this regard (Article 286, UNCLOS). UNCLOS defines those
courts or tribunals as: (a) the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
(established in accordance with Annex VI of the Convention) including the Seabed
Disputes Chamber; (b) the International Court of Justice; (c) an arbitral tribunal
constituted in accordance with Annex VII of the Convention; and (d) a special
arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VIII for one or more of the
categories of disputes specified therein (Article 287, UNCLOS). The availability of
a variety of forums was a compromise to secure consensus during the negotiations
for the compulsory dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS (Charney, 1996, p.
UNCLOS gives the State party the freedom to choose, by means of a
written declaration submitted when signing, ratifying or acceding to the
convention or at any time thereafter, one or more of the above courts or tribunals
(Article 287(1), UNCLOS). If States Parties to a dispute have accepted the same
procedure, the dispute will be referred to that procedure, unless the parties agree
otherwise (Article 287(4), UNCLOS). If a State party to a dispute is not covered by
a declaration in force, it shall be deemed to have accepted arbitration under Annex
VII (Article 287 (3), UNCLOS). If the States Parties to the dispute have not accepted
the same procedure, the dispute may only be submitted to arbitration under
Annex VII, unless the parties agree otherwise (Article 287(5), UNCLOS).
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
Limitations and exceptions to compulsory binding dispute settlement
The prohibition upon States parties to make any reservations or exceptions to the
Convention under Article 309 necessitated that exceptions and limitations had to
be allowed in the compulsory dispute settlement regime of UNCLOS, which is
provided for in Section 3 of Part XV of UNCLOS. These basically cover matters
which are considered of vital national concern to a State to oblige it to submit to
any binding dispute settlement regime (Klein, 2009, p. 122). Specifically, there are
two categories of disputes which are not covered by the compulsory procedures
entailing binding decisions specified in Section 2: first, disputes with respect to
discretionary decisions on permits for marine scientific research by a coastal State;
(Article 297(2), UNCLOS) and secondly, disputes with respect to discretionary
decisions on fisheries in a coastal State’s EEZ (Article 297(3), UNCLOS). The first
category of dispute is subject to conciliation under Annex V except questions
relating to exercise of coastal State to designate specific areas or withhold consent
in accordance with Article 246(6) and Article 246(5), respectively. The second
category includes its discretionary powers for determining the allowable catch, its
harvesting capacity, the allocation of surpluses to other States and the terms and
conditions established in its conservation and management laws and regulations.
Section 3 of Part XV also allows States to declare in writing that it does not
accept any of the procedures in Section 2 for certain categories of disputes. The
State may do this when signing, ratifying or acceding to UNCLOS or at any time
thereafter (Article 298 (1), UNCLOS). States may exclude the following disputes
from the compulsory procedures entailing binding decisions in Section 2: disputes
concerning the interpretation or application of Articles 15, 74 and 83 on maritime
boundary delimitation, or those involving historic bays or titles; (Article 298
(1)(a)(i), UNCLOS) disputes concerning military activities; disputes concerning
law enforcement activities in respect of rights and jurisdiction exercised by the
coastal State over its EEZ resources; and disputes where the UN Security Council
is exercising functions under the UN Charter (Article 298(1)(c), UNCLOS).
Philippine arbitration against China over West Philippine Sea
Institution of arbitral proceedings
On 22 January 2013, the Philippines instituted arbitral proceedings against China
under Article 287 and Annex VII of UNCLOS in order “to clearly establish the
sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines over its maritime entitlements
in the West Philippine Sea” (Republic of the Philippines, 2013. Hereinafter,
Notification and Statement of Claim). On 19 February 2013, China rejected and
returned the Philippine Notification through a Note Verbale in which it described
“the Position of China on the South China Sea issues”. The Permanent Court of
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Arbitration based in the Hague, the Netherlands, serves as the Registry for the
arbitration. The Arbitral Tribunal, composed of five members, is chaired by Judge
Thomas A. Mensah of Ghana, along with Judge Jean-Pierre Cot of France, Judge
Stanislaw Pawlak of Poland, Professor Alfred Soons of the Netherlands, and Judge
Rüdiger Wolfrum of Germany (Permanent Court of Arbitration First Press Release,
On 11 July 2013, the Arbitral Tribunal held its first meeting at the Peace
Palace in the Hague. On 27 August 2013, the Arbitral Tribunal issued its first
Procedural Order, establishing the initial timetable for the arbitration and
adopting its Rules of Procedure. The Tribunal gave the Philippines until 30 March
2014 to submit its Memorial fully addressing “all issues, including matters relating
to the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal, the admissibility of the Philippines’
claim, as well as the merits of the dispute”. The Tribunal provided the Philippines
and China the opportunity to comment on the draft Rules of Procedure before the
Rules of Procedure and timetable were adopted. The Philippines submitted
comments on the draft on 31 July 2013 whilst China addressed a Note Verbale to
the PCA on 1 August 2013 reiterating its position that “it does not accept the
arbitration initiated by the Philippines” and stating that it was not participating in
the proceedings (Permanent Court of Arbitration First Press Release, 2013).
On 30 March 2014, the Philippines submitted its Memorial which
addressed both issues of jurisdiction and the merits of its claim. The Philippine
Memorial consisted of 10 volumes and nearly 4,000 pages in length (Department of
Foreign Affairs, 2014). While the contents of the Memorial remains confidential at
this stage, the Arbitral Tribunal may direct that the written pleading be published.
(Article 16 (1), Rules of Procedure of the Arbitral Tribunal, 2013). The Arbitral
Tribunal in its Procedural Order No. 2 has set 15 December 2014 as the deadline
for China to submit its Counter-Memorial in response to the Philippine Memorial.
On 7 December 2014, China issued a position paper reiterating its previous
arguments that “the Arbitral Tribunal manifestly has no jurisdiction over the
present arbitration” and “China's rejection of and non-participation in the present
arbitration stand on solid ground in international law” (China, Position Paper,
Factual background
The Philippines asserts that China’s claim to "sovereignty" and "sovereign rights"
over the maritime area within its so-called "nine dash line" encompassing virtually
the entire South China Sea has interfered with the rights of the Philippines under
UNCLOS over its own exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, in violation
of UNCLOS (Notification and Statement of Claim, paragraph 2). In addition,
China has seized control and occupied several small, uninhabitable coral
projections, submerged features and protruding rocks barely above water at high
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
tide, as well as claimed maritime zones surrounding these features greater than 12
nautical miles (Notification and Statement of Claim, paragraphs 4 and 14). Among
these features include Mischief Reef, McKennan Reef, Gaven Reef and Subi Reef,
which are at best low tide elevations and part of the Philippine continental shelf or
the international seabed (Notification and Statement of Claim, paragraphs 14 to
19). The Philippines alleges further that China has also seized the following
features in the Spratly Islands: Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef,
which it considers as “submerged reefs with no more than a few rocks protruding
above sea level at high tide” (Notification and Statement of Claim, paragraph 31).
In essence, the Philippines is arguing, first, that these submerged features
in the South China Sea which are not above sea level at high tide, are not islands
under the Convention. Secondly, these submerged features are part of the seabed
and subject to the regime of the continental shelf under Part VI of the Convention
and cannot be acquired by a State or subject to its sovereignty since they are not
located in a coastal state’s territorial sea. Third, since these submerged features are
not above sea level at high tide, nor are they located on China’s continental shelf,
the occupation of China of these submerged features is unlawful under the
Convention. Fourth, the features which remain above water at high tide qualify as
“rocks” under Article 121(3) of the Convention which only generate an entitlement
of a maximum 12-nautical territorial sea and anything beyond this is unlawful
under the Convention, as China has claimed over the features. Lastly, China’s
exploitation and prevention of the Philippines from exploiting the living and nonliving resources in the Philippines’ EEZ and continental shelf, as well as the
interference with the exercise by the Philippines of its navigational rights over
these waters, are all unlawful under the Convention (Notification and Statement of
Claim, paragraph 31).
In relation specifically to Bajo de Masinloc, the Philippines alleges that in
2012, “China seized six small rocks that protrude above sea level within the
Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, unlawfully claimed an exaggerated
maritime zone around these features, and wrongfully prevented the Philippines
from navigating, or enjoying access to the living resources within this zone, even
though it forms part of the Philippines’ EEZ.” (Notification and Statement of
Claim, paragraph 20). As stated above, the Philippines asserts that the insular
features of Bajo de Masinloc are “rocks” under Article 121(3) of UNCLOS; yet,
“China unlawfully claims entitlements to maritime zones greater than 12 M in the
waters and seabed surrounding them, and wrongfully excludes the Philippines
and other States from these areas” (Notification and Statement of Claim,
paragraph 24). Thus, in Bajo de Masinloc, “the maritime zones claimed by China
unlawfully encroach upon the Philippines’ 200 M exclusive economic zone and
continental shelf extending from Luzon and Palawan, and prevent the Philippines
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from enjoying its rights under the Convention within 200 M (Notification and
Statement of Claim, paragraph 24).
Jurisdiction of the Tribunal
UNCLOS, in Part XV, establishes a system of compulsory binding dispute
settlement (CBDS) for any dispute relating to the interpretation or application of
any provision of the Convention. Therefore, in principle, a dispute between two
States parties on the interpretation or application of a provision in UNCLOS,
allows one party to the dispute to unilaterally invoke the CBDS system in Part 2 of
Part XV (UNCLOS, Article 286). UNCLOS includes consent in its text. This is clear
from the provisions of 74, 83, 186-191, 226, 264-265, 279-299, 309, 318. Annexes V,
VI, VII, VIII. Article 309, on reservations and exceptions, provides that “No
reservations or exceptions may be made to this Convention unless expressly
permitted by other articles of this Convention” (For academic literature on the
dispute settlement regime under UNCLOS, see, Adede, 1987; Klein, 2005).
Both the Philippines and China being parties to UNCLOS, subject to
specified exceptions provided in the Convention, are bound by the regime of
dispute settlement system (See, UNCLOS, Articles 287 (1), 298 (1) and 310). The
Philippines asserts that the claims in the arbitration have been the subject of good
faith negotiations and numerous exchange of views thereby satisfying Articles 279
and 283 of UNCLOS, requiring States parties to settle disputes by peaceful means
in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the requirement for parties to
proceed expeditiously to an exchange of views regarding a settlement by
negotiation or other peaceful means, respectively (Notification and Statement of
Claim, paragraphs 8, 25 to 30; Article 279 and 283(1), UNCLOS).
The failure of the Philippines and China to settle their dispute by peaceful
means of their own choice, allows recourse to any of the procedures in Part XV,
including compulsory procedures entailing binding decisions in Section 2 of Part
XV, (Article 281(1), UNCLOS) by submission to a tribunal having jurisdiction by
the request of any party (Article 286, UNCLOS). A State party is allowed the choice
of compulsory procedure, (Article 287(1), UNCLOS) with arbitration under Annex
VII as the default procedure when the parties to a dispute have not accepted the
same procedure (Article 287(5), UNCLOS). Thus, since both the Philippines and
China have not made any declaration, the instant dispute may only be submitted
to arbitration in accordance with Annex VII (Article 287(5), UNCLOS).
UNCLOS allows States parties to declare in respect of certain specified
categories kinds of disputes are excluded from the application of the compulsory
binding procedures for the settlement of disputes under the Convention. (Section 3
of Part XV, UNCLOS). China submitted a Declaration on 25 August 2006 under
Article 298 of UNCLOS, which states that “The Government of the People's
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
Republic of China does not accept any of the procedures provided for in Section 2
of Part XV of the Convention with respect to all the categories of disputes referred
to in paragraph 1 (a) (b) and (c) of Article 298 of the Convention” (China,
Declaration, 2006). The Philippines is aware of the Chinese Declaration and has
avoided raising subjects or claims that China has, by virtue of that Declaration,
excluded from arbitral jurisdiction (Notification and Statement of Claim,
paragraph 8). The Philippines does not seek in the arbitration, “a determination of
which Party enjoys sovereignty over the islands claimed by both of them. Nor
does it request delimitation of any maritime boundaries” (Notification and
Statement of Claim, paragraph 7). Specifically, the Philippine claims are excluded
from the Chinese Declaration, “because they do not: concern the interpretation or
application of Articles 15, 74 and 83 relating to sea boundary delimitations; involve
historic bays or titles within the meaning of the relevant provisions of the
Convention; concern military activities or law enforcement activities; or concern
matters over which the Security Council is exercising functions assigned to it by
the UN Charter” (Notification and Statement of Claim, paragraph 40).
Relief Sought
The Philippine arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea asks the
Tribunal three fundamental questions. First, whether “the Parties’ respective rights
and obligations in regard to the waters, seabed and maritime features of the of the
South China Sea are governed by UNCLOS, and that China’s claims based on its
“nine-dash line” are inconsistent with the Convention and therefore invalid.”
Second, whether “under Article 121 of UNCLOS, certain of the maritime features
claimed by both China and the Philippines are islands, low tide elevations or
submerged banks, and whether they are capable of generating entitlement to
maritime zones greater than 12M.” And lastly, whether the Philippines should be
allowed “to exercise and enjoy the rights within and beyond its exclusive
economic zone and continental shelf that are established in the Convention”
(Notification and Statement of Claim, paragraph 6).
In terms of specific relief sought, the arbitration enumerates the following:
Declares that China’s rights in regard to maritime areas in the South China
Sea, like the rights of the Philippines, are those that are established by
UNCLOS, and consist of its rights to a Territorial Sea and Contiguous
Zone under Part II of the Convention, to an EEZ under Part V, and to a
Continental Shelf under Part VI;
Declares that China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea based on its
so-called “nine dash line” are contrary to UNCLOS and invalid;
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Requires China to bring its domestic legislation into conformity with its
obligations under UNCLOS;
Declares that Mischief Reef and McKennan Reef are submerged features
that form part of the Continental Shelf of the Philippines under Part VI of
the Convention, and that China’s occupation of and construction activities
on them violate the sovereign rights of the Philippines;
Requires that China end its occupation of and activities on Mischief Reef
and McKenna Reef;
Declares that Gave Reef and Subi Reef are submerged features in the
South China Sea that are not above sea level at high tide, are not islands
under the Convention, and are not located on China’s Continental Shelf,
and that China’s occupation of and construction activities on these
features are unlawful;
Requires China to terminate its occupation of and activities on Gaven Reef
and Subi Reef;
Declares that Scarborough Shoal, Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef ad Fiery
Cross Reef are submerged features that are below sea level at high tide,
except that each has small protrusions that remain above water at high
tide, which are “rocks” under Article 121(3) of the Convention and which
therefore generate entitlements only to a Territorial Sea no broader than 12
M; and that China has unlawfully claimed entitlements beyond 12M from
these features;
Requires that China refrain from preventing Philippine vessels from
exploiting in a sustainable manner the living resources in the waters
adjacent to Scarborough Shoal and Johnson Reef, and from undertaking
other activities inconsistent with the Convention at or in the vicinity of
these features;
Declares that the Philippines is entitled under UNCLOS to a 12 M
Territorial Sea, a 200 M EEZ, and a Continental Shelf under Parts II, V, and
VI of UNCLOS, measured from its archipelagic baselines;
Declares that China has unlawfully claimed and has unlawfully exploited
the living and non-living and non-living resources in the Philippines’ EEZ
and Continental Shelf and has unlawfully prevented the Philippines from
exploiting living and non-living resources within its EEZ and CS;
Declares that China has unlawfully interfered with the exercise by the
Philippines of its rights to navigation and other rights under the
Convention in areas within and beyond 200 M of the Philippines’
archipelagic baselines; and
Requires that China desist from these unlawful activities (Notification and
Statement of Claim, paragraph 41).
The Arbitration Case Between Philippines aand China Over their Dispute in the South China Sea
The arbitration case by the Philippines against China over the West Philippine Sea
should be viewed as a positive development in the context of its potential
implications to the management of conflict and resolution of the sovereignty
disputes in the South China Sea. The overlapping territorial and maritime claims
in the South China Sea will remain as possible flash points of intermittent lowlevel conflict and continuing sources of tension in the region. However, the
arbitration case filed by the Philippines is groundbreaking in its attempt to move
the agenda forward by attempting a lawful, peaceful, and rules-based mechanism
through a neutral, independent and impartial platform. Whilst many have
criticized the legal move as foolhardy, it is in fact, a logical and pragmatic option
and a calculated risk. It is understandable to anticipate that the legal move of the
Philippines may imperil its bilateral relations with China. However, in the longterm, this should not be the case. Overall, the broadly positive trend in PhilippineChina diplomatic and economic relations will continue.
The highly complex legal issues related to the case are beyond the scope of
this paper. However, at the outset, the critical threshold legal question is whether
the case filed by the Philippines is properly subject of arbitration. The answer to
this is clearly in the affirmative. The right of the Philippines to institute
compulsory arbitration is incontrovertible (Article 286, UNCLOS). The refusal of
China to participate in the proceedings will not impair the arbitration. The
UNCLOS Annex VII arbitral procedure is so designed that even the failure of a
party to take the requisite action will not frustrate the arbitral proceedings. The
non-participation of China in both the written and oral proceedings of the Arbitral
Tribunal will both have no bearing on the process of the proceedings and the
validity of the arbitral award (Article 9, Annex VII, UNCLOS). The Arbitral
Tribunal only needs to satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction and that the claim of the
Philippines is well founded in fact and law (Article 9, Annex VII, UNCLOS).
There is no duty for China to appear before the Tribunal. However, it does
have the duty to comply with the decision of the Tribunal, (Article 11, Annex VII,
UNCLOS) provided it has jurisdiction. (Section 2, Part XV, UNCLOS). Its nonappearance will not affect the validity of the judgment. It is also final and there is
no provision for appeal, since an appellate procedure has been not been agreed in
advance by the parties. (Article 11, Annex VII, UNCLOS) The decision of China
not to take part in the proceedings means that it will not have the opportunity to
submit evidence to substantiate its claim and to present contrary evidence against
the factual allegations of the Philippines. However, despite its non-appearance,
China remains a party to the arbitration case and may at any time choose to
participate or exercise any of its procedural rights, as long as they are not barred
by time.
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This arbitration is not a mere legal contest between the Philippines and
China. It would be a disservice to the international community to view this case
from this narrow perspective. The case raises profound issues which will have
lasting impact on the other claimant states in the South China Sea and the rest of
the world. In principle, the award of the tribunal is made on behalf of the
community of nations because in a broad sense, a claim made by any nation over a
piece of territory is actually a claim against the rest of the world. In this sense, a
baseless claim or one that violates recognized international norms and rules
undermines the system. Thus, an adjudication by an international tribunal
concerning issues of territorial sovereignty is a declaration that such a claim is
valid and binding against the rest of the world or community of nations. Without
this declaration, the issue remains unsettled and the competing parties are left to
their own devices to assert, defend, and strengthen their claims, sometimes with
disastrous consequences for everyone. If this case brings clarity or resolves some
prejudicial issues even without determining with finality the issue of ownership of
the features, which is not the aim of the arbitration, then, it would have served its
The ruling of the arbitral tribunal will definitely carry enormous
precedential weight. The composition of the panel – two were former presidents of
ITLOS, with three currently sitting as ITLOS judges – will make its ruling hard to
ignore. Despite the lack of a coercive force to enforce judicial awards in the
international law, it is crucial that there is public confidence in the process. A
crucial part of this is participation in international processes as well as respect for
decisions, awards and judgments of international adjudicative and judicial bodies.
It will not serve China’s strategic interests and its proper place in the global
diplomatic stage to ignore or defy the ruling of the Tribunal.
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Sheehan, A. (2005). Dispute settlement under UNCLOS: The exclusion of maritime
delimitation. University of Queensland Law Journal, 24, 165-190.
Thayer, C. (2012). Standoff in the South China Sea: Scarborough Shoal standoff reveals
blunt edge of China’s peaceful rise, YaleGlobal (12 June 2012). Retrieved on 5
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November 2014, from,
To, L. L. (1999). The South China Sea: China and multilateral dialogues. Security
Dialogue, 30, 165 – 178.
Treves, T. (1999). Conflicts between the international tribunal for the Law of the
Sea and the international court of justice. New York University Journal of
International Law and Policy, 31, 809-821.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1833 UNTS 3, opened for signature
10 December 1982, Montego Bay, Jamaica (entered into force 16 November
United States Department of State (2014). Limits in the seas No. 143, China: Maritime
claims in the South China Sea.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp25-34
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)
University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia
([email protected])
Piratical acts have evolved from time to time. The motives and intention of the
pirates varies ranging from petty theft to collecting ransoms. Some piracies are
more dangerous than the others as the equipment used to conduct the act also
differs from one act to another based on the seriousness of the case. Measures have
been taken to eradicate the problem of piracy. One of the measures taken was to
define the problem and criminalize the act. The definition of piracy has gone
through different stages. The legal definition of piracy started from the Harvard
Draft Convention on Piracy which was designed in 1930s. Then it was adopted by
the International Law Commission which drafted the Convention on the High
Seas. The latest work involving the definition by the United Nations was the
UNCLOS where it defined piracy in Article 101. The purpose of this article is to
understand the motives of piracy and to explain the different legal definitions of
piracy that has been adopted by the international community today.
Keywords: piracy, legal definition, international law
The act of piracy has evolved from time to time. The seriousness of the cases is
widely affected by the equipment used to conduct the attacks. Furthermore, the
target of the attack also influences the process of the piratical act. Indeed, piracy
has been a huge concern for a state or group of states both at the regional as well as
international level. States have taken numerous efforts to eradicate the problem.
One of those important measures is defining the act of piracy itself.
The development in the legal definition of piracy started in the 1930s
where the Harvard Research Group drafted the complex definition of piracy
(Article 3 of the Harvard Draft). The definition then was reviewed and renewed by
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
the International Law Commission (ILC) where international law was reviewed by
the General Assembly in relation to law of the sea. Their works were greatly
affected by the works of the Harvard Research Group especially articles related to
piracy. The High Seas Convention, which was one of the primary works regulated
by the ILC, defined piracy in Article 15 that was agreed upon in 1958 in Geneva.
The latest work in the development of a definition that is accepted by most of the
states in the world is contained in Article 101 of the UNCLOS.
Sea based Crimes
Piracy could be understood by analyzing its nature and grouping it separately
from other criminal acts at sea. Dillon suggested to create new categories of sea
based crimes that would ease the policy makers in prosecuting perpetrators. She
categorized it into four categories: corruption, sea robbery, piracy and maritime
terrorism (Dillon, 2005: p. 157).
Dillon believes that there is an element of corruption when government
authorities are involved in the extortion of marine vessels. Crews are asked to pay
an amount of money as they are accused of violating rules related to the
environment and safety. Furthermore, as it takes time to resolve the issue, crews
also have to pay fines for parking their ships at harbors. Another issue that
involves the government is that seaport authorities are not responding to
complaints or are late in processing the villains. For example, a problem occurred
in 2003 at Chittagiong, Bangladesh, to the tanker called Jaladood (Dillon, 2005, p.
158). It was reported that pirates illegally entered the tank and stole several things
on the ship. After the incident, the crew informed the authorized person and there
was no response. At another time, the same incident happened to a tanker called
Bunga Siantan. The only difference was that the police came to arrest the culprits
but unbelievably they let the pirates go after they were caught.
The second category, sea robbery, is usually executed when vessels or
ships are anchored at ports. People who are involved mainly use simple kinds of
equipment such as sledgehammers and crowbars. Robbers aim to steal the ship
stores and the crew’s valuable belongings. In 2003, a sea robbery was committed
on a carrier called Alberto anchored in Panjang, Indonesia (Dillon, 2005, p. 159).
They tried to steal the engine spare parts but fortunately the police caught the
The next category is piracy. Pirates usually board moving ships on their
way to a designated place. This action is conducted on the high seas. Piracy is
usually done by group of people or criminal syndicates that are usually well
organized and equipped. They are usually equipped with weapons such as guns
and knives used in conducting their attacks. In 2003, the cargo ship Trimaggada
was forced to stop by pirates while passing through the Straits of Malacca with
The International Legal Definition of Piracy and its Motives
pirates kidnapping the master, chief officer and chief engineer of the ship (Dillon,
2005, p. 160). The pirates released them after receiving the ransom.
The last category maritime terrorism is a sea based crime that is motivated
by a political motive. Terrorists try to instill fear on relevant authorities, especially
the government, by doing several actions such as terror and murder. They are well
organized and conduct their actions by using advanced weaponries. An example
of maritime terrorism was the bombing of the US warship Cole in 2000 at Aden,
Yemen that killed 17 US citizens (Romero, 2003, p. 597).
What is Piracy?
The term ‘piracy’ originates from the Greek word peirates and was used to refer to
people who attacked ships (Johnson et al., 2005, p. x). According to Vagg, an
English criminologist, acts of piracy are similar to acts of banditry (Vagg, 1995, p.
64) with the only difference being that piracy occurs on water. Other scholars have
proposed that piracy more closely resembles armed robbery - with both offences
involving violence or criminal acts which occur in areas lacking government
control (Johnson et al., 2005, p. x). Indeed, piracy is often perpetrated in
developing countries where governments and law enforcement authorities do not
have the capability or the will to intervene in such acts.
Privateering should be differentiated with piracy, as the latter has been considered
illegal according to international law. In the olden times, privateering was
considered legal as the attack committed was permitted by a government
authority. Privateering was practiced by private companies during war times
where they were asked to attack and capture enemy ships upon the consent of the
ruling government. These actions were legitimate and the government provided
letters of marque to authorize the seizure (Geneva Academy, 2012, p. 11).
Privateers were not pirates and therefore privateering was legal whereas piracy
remained illegal. However, in 1856 the act of privateering was abolished. The Paris
Declaration Respecting Maritime Law became the legal reasoning for this
abolishment (Geneva Academy, 2012, p. 11). It was because of the inappropriate
use of these authorizations by the privateers that made the government decide to
eliminate privateering. Privateers were known to be greedy and used their powers
for their personal enrichment.
Pirates as Hostis Humani Generis
The act of piracy is considered a universal crime which means that every state has
the right to take appropriate measures to prosecute the perpetrators. The main
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
reason behind this idea is due to the nature of the act itself. A piratical act is
categorized as such if it is committed on the high seas, an area where every state
enjoys the freedom of navigation. This notion is also reflected in the S.S. Lotus case
between Turkey and France. In 1927, the Permanent Court of International Justice
justified piracy as an act against ‘the law of nations’ (Campbell, 2010, p. 21).
Turkey challenged the court to give a judgment as to whether they were allowed
to exercise criminal jurisdiction over French officers. A S.S. Lotus officer was
accused of being negligent that resulted in a collision with a Turkish steamer.
Disagreeing on this point, France argued that the jurisdiction of the vessel was
under the state flag as the incident took place on the high seas. In responding to
this argument, the Permanent Court referred to the concept popularized by the
Dutch lawyer Hugo Grotius in 1608 where the ‘freedom of the seas’ meant that
every state enjoys the freedom of navigation (Campbell, 2010, p. 20). However,
there was an exception to this concept. The court continued that in the case of
piracy or in extraordinary cases of self-defense, ‘in its jurisdictional aspect, is sui
generis’ (Campbell, 2010, p. 20).
In Europe, acts of piracy are also considered hostis humani generis or
‘enemies of all mankind’ (Harrelson, 2010, p. 291). Piracy was regarded as a threat
to many people around the world especially for western cultures. Piracy was also
considered as hostis humani generis by the United States. In 1820, the US Supreme
Court declared that the act of piracy was hostis humani generis and therefore any
state has the right to prosecute the act (Harrelson, 2010, p. 291). As a result, pirates
were subjected to universal jurisdiction meaning that every state was given the
right to take appropriate action even though the act of piracy was not committed
within the state’s jurisdiction.
Universal jurisdiction is one of the unique concepts of international law
where states are entitled to exercise jurisdiction in an area outside their jurisdiction
(Campbell, 2010, p. 21). In most of the cases international law only allows states to
enforce their jurisdiction over territories that belong to them or over their own
citizens who commit crimes. Furthermore, the state’s right to implement
jurisdiction over other state’s territory is strictly limited. Interestingly, this
provision of the international law does not apply to piracy. In contrast, states are
allowed to exercise their jurisdiction on the high seas and over any national as
piracy is an illegal act considered hostis humani generis (Campbell, 2010, p. 21).
Hence, it is legitimate under the international law that a state could undergo
appropriate measures toward the culprits.
Piracy as a Threat
Much research has categorized maritime piracy as a non-traditional threat. In the
post-cold war era, piracy is regarded as one of the non-traditional treats which
‘arise from factors or actors which are sub-state or trans-state in character, are
The International Legal Definition of Piracy and its Motives
diffuse, are multi-dimensional and multi-directional, cannot necessarily be
managed by traditional military means, and often threatening to something beside
the state’ (Terriff et al., 1999, p. 135). In contrast, the characteristic of the traditional
threat mainly affects the security of the state.
The transnational nature of piracy requires states to cooperate in order to
combat the illegal act. Unilateral actions of a state and also bilateral ties between
states are often believed inadequate to resolve the issue (Shie, 2006, p. 164). As
piratical acts are complex in characteristics, it is required that states cooperate on
multilateral levels consistently and comprehensively.
In past research as well as discussions, historical backgrounds of piracy are
elaborated broadly. Several researchers, including Young (2005), believed that the
history of piracy itself has a significant role in addressing contemporary piracy
comprehensively (Young, 2005, p.1).
It is complex to define pirates as a term referring to ‘enemy combatants’
and ‘common criminals’. However, there are ways used to understand this
concept. Differentiating piracy from other illegal acts and observing the motive
behind illegal acts of piracy in terms of time and place are some of the measures
used. As mentioned by Young (2005), piracy should not be treated as a ‘thing’ and
‘static in moral judgement (p.3). It should be looked as ‘a concept to change over
time which was also described by Campo as ‘a concept in development’ (Young,
2005, p.3). According to Hugo Grotius, piracy should be regarded as illegal acts
against ‘lawful commerce and state’s sovereignty’ (Young, 2005, p.3).
The International Legal Definition of Piracy
The Harvard Draft
The legal formulation of piracy started in the 1930s when the Harvard Research
Group attempted to define the complexities of piracy (Geneva Academy, 2012, p.
12). The significant part of the discussion was the consideration of ‘special
jurisdiction’ as a tool to prosecute the act of piracy. This group was led by an
American scholar Joseph Bingham from Stanford University (Campbell, 2010, p.
23). Their work successfully produced in 1932, was known as the ‘Harvard Draft’.
This draft contained nineteen articles and associated commentaries on piracy. The
definition, which forms the vital part of this Draft, was the initial source of today’s
modern definition of piracy (Geneva Academy, 2012, p. 12). There are two
significant features of the Harvard Draft. Firstly, this draft went through
numerous analyses and the group consulted with different views from several
national courts and competent jurists (Campbell, 2010, p. 24). At that time, the
draft was relevant and comprehensively accommodated aspects of piracy from
different views. Secondly, the Harvard Draft formed the foundation of the modern
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
concept of piracy embedded in Geneva Convention on High Seas as well as
UNCLOS 1982 (Campbell, 2010, p. 26).
High Seas Convention
Further development of the piracy law took place when the UN General Assembly
asked the International Law Commission to review and draft conventions related
to the law of the sea based on the prevailing international customary law
(Campbell, 2010, p. 27). This process was held in 1950 when the commission also
was also hugely influenced by the Harvard Draft especially in drafting laws
related to piracy. As a result, the commission was able to prepare four draft
conventions on the law of the sea. One of the conventions drafted was the Geneva
Convention on the High Seas where the definition of piracy was included. Later on
in 1958, these conventions were agreed upon at the first meeting of the United
Nation Conference on Law of the Sea that took place in Geneva.
UNCLOS identically restates the definition of piracy drafted by the
commission in articles 14-20 of the High Seas Convention (Barrios, 2005, pp. 149164). Most of the UN member states are either a party to UNCLOS or the High
Seas Convention. Therefore, the perceptions of the legal definition of piracy today
in most of the states are similar (Geneva Academy, 2012, p. 14).
United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea
The Security Council has repeatedly reaffirmed that, “international law, as
reflected in UNCLOS, regulates the legal framework applicable to combating
piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as other ocean activities” (Security
Council resolution 1897, adopted on 30 November 2009). The United Nations in
particular has regulated the problems of piracy in Articles 100 to 107. Article 100 of
UNCLOS has defined piracy as an illegal act “on the high seas or in any other
place outside the jurisdiction of any state” and also obliges “all states to cooperate
to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy” (Article 100 UNCLOS
1982, came into force in 1994).
UNCLOS has defined piracy in article 101 that consists of five elements.
The definition itself is quite narrow and restricts some illegal activities at sea to be
defined as piracy. An act can only be categorised as piracy if it entails: First,
violence, detention or depredation committed; second, the act conducted on the
high seas where states do not have sovereignty nor sovereign rights over the
maritime area; third, there should be two ships involved in the action, therefore
there should be another ship used by the pirates in the attack of the targeted ship.
Illegal acts such as mutiny and privateering are not categorized as piracy; fourth,
piracy should be conducted on behalf of the private sector where the economic
gain from successfully pirated ships will be enjoyed by private ends; fifth, the
The International Legal Definition of Piracy and its Motives
vessels used to conduct piracy should be a private vessels (Johnson et al., 2005, p.
Jurisdiction of the Economic Exclusive Zone
There have been debates as to what qualifies the EEZ as a part of high seas when
dealing with the act of piracy. Interestingly, UNCLOS defined the high seas in two
different ways. Some parts of UNCLOS refer to the area outside the territorial as
high seas. This definition includes the contiguous zone as well as the EEZ. The
other definition is derived from Article 86 which states that the high seas includes
all parts of the sea except the EEZ, territorial sea, internal waters and archipelagic
waters. This debate arises due to the existence of some rights that could be enjoyed
not only at high seas but also in the EEZ. According to Article 58 (1) of UNCLOS,
every state whether it is land locked or coastal state has the right of freedom of
navigation, over flight, laying submarine cables as well as ‘other internationally
lawful uses of the sea’(Article 58 (1) UNCLOS 1982, came into force in 1994) in the
Another issue that forms a part of the debate is related to the jurisdiction
of maritime zones that is in accordance to Article 101 (a) (i) which states that the
act of piracy is conducted against ships or aircrafts on high seas. The question is
whether the EEZ is also regarded as the high seas because of the navigational right
embraced by Article 58. This debate on whether to consider the EEZ as part of high
seas or as a separate maritime zone is clarified by Article 58 (2). This Article
elaborated that the content of Articles 88 to 115, including the acts piracy and other
international maritime law provisions, applies to the EEZ so long as they are not
incompatible with the provision of Part V. In other words, if one of the illegal acts
stipulated in Article 101 is conducted outside the area of territorial sea that is the
contiguous zone and the EEZ, such an act is considered piracy.
International Maritime Organization and International Maritime Bureau
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Maritime
Bureau (IMB) have defined piracy in different ways. IMO as a body under the UN
adopts the definition of piracy from UNCLOS. On the other hand, IMB also
defines the act of piracy. Compared to IMO, IMB’s definition is broader and
almost covers all attacks against ships in all maritime jurisdictions of a state. The
IMB explained piracy in three different elements: first, there should be an act
committed by the crew or the passenger of the ship to board or attempt to board
any ship; second, the motive of this act is to commit theft or any other crime;
finally, there should be an attempt or capability to use force in furtherance of that
It is clear that the IMB defined piracy broader than the IMO. Requirements
such as the act should be committed only on the high seas in order to be
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
categorized as piracy was waived by the IMB. Furthermore, the involvement of
two ships in its conduct is also ignored by the IMB definition that allows the attack
from raft and quays as part of piracy. In addition, there is no limitation that an act
should be committed for private ends. Hence, if the motive of the criminal act is
political or regarded to have environmental motives, it will still be categorized as
piracy. Therefore, the attack against Achille Lauro according to the IMB definition
regarded as an act of piracy (Johnson, 2005, p. xii). Interestingly, actions committed
by naval ships, which most of the time are under a nation-state’s agenda, can also
be categorized as piracy if can be proven that it committed a criminal act under the
definition of the IMB.
Motives of Piracy
Theft, Hijacking and Collecting Ransoms
Historically, the main goal of piracy was raiding for booty and slaves, but as there
were developments in politics, economics and militaries, piratical raiding
decreased. Pirates have become more intelligent over time. Their actions could be
classified as theft and hijacking. As for theft, several decades ago, pirates stole
things that were not of high value (Mukundan, 2005, p. 37). Their targets were
limited to the valuable things owned by the captains and other crew members.
Furthermore, they also tried to take away the ship equipment and other goods
which belonged to the ship and which were easily taken. Today, pirates are more
determined and equipped with armed weapons. They are well planned and know
exactly what their targets are.
Hijacking is the other form of piracy. Pirates aim to attack a vessel and try
to transfer its cargo to another ship. The targeted ship movement is well
monitored by the pirates and therefore they can take control of their target
professionally. This kind of hijacking does occur when the value of both the ship
and its cargos are high. Pirates are not only equipped with guns but also other
weapons such as knives. They have the skills to navigate a ship without the
presence of crew members. Pirates often provide fake ship papers, cargo papers
and even passports in order to ease their piratical action. There is no guarantee to
the treatment of the crew members by the pirates. Some crew members are
intimidated and tortured while others are killed. Prominent examples to illustrate
these facts were the cases of piracy to Cheongson and Tenyu. The 1998 IMB
Annual Piracy Report published that all crew members were killed during the
attacks (Mukundan, 2005, p. 37).
The International Legal Definition of Piracy and its Motives
Types of Arms used during Attacks, January-December 2008-2012
Types of Arms
Not stated
Other weapons
Total at year end
Source: ICC IMB, 2012, p. 10
Before 2001, merchant ships were the main targets of pirate attacks as it
was an easy target to steal valuable belongings of crews as well as cargo. However,
after 2001 there were several cases which were successfully recovered and the
pirates were punished appropriately, especially in India and China. Therefore,
there were groups of pirates who were looking for easier targets such as attacks on
tugs and barges. According to Mukundan (2005), barges usually carry palm oil
and timber products that are also of high value (p. 38).
Collecting ransoms from the related authorities is also another motive of
piracy. There were several cases that involved ransom as the tool of compromise.
For instance the activities conducted by terrorist groups in the southern part of the
Philippines. The culprits captured several crews and asked for ransom for their
release. Another case that was similar took place in Malaysia on August 2003
where the Malaysian tanker Penrider was hijacked by a group of pirates
(Mukundan, 2005, p. 38). The pirates abducted the crew members and asked for
The legal definition of piracy has gone through several stages. It started with the
work of the Harvard Research Group which produced the Harvard Draft. Then the
International Law Commission produced the High Seas Convention, with the
latest work by UN in the UNCLOS. Even though the development of the definition
of piracy occurred in different stages, the Harvard Draft remains the main
foundation of the definition of piracy today as its content hugely influenced the
latter two documents. The IMB has also tried to define piracy. However, its
definition is broader and is primarily used for piracy reporting purposes not for
criminalizing the act.
Theft, collecting ransoms and hijacking are the primary motives of piracy.
The weapons used to conduct the act differ based on its motives. Hence, piracy
with intent to steal valuable belongings of the crews is not more dangerous than
hijacking of a merchant ship. Furthermore, during the act, there is no guarantee to
the life of the crews. They could be intimidated, tortured and in some cases killed.
Ahmad Almaududy Amri
Barrios, E. (2005). Casting a wider net: Addressing the maritime piracy problem in
Southeast Asia. BC Int'l & Comp. L. Rev, 149-164.
Campbell, P. (2010). A Modern history of the international legal definition of
piracy. Piracy and Maritime Crime, 20-32.
Dillon, D. (2005). Maritime piracy: Defining the problem. SAIS Review, 155-164.
Geneva Academy. (2012). Counterpiracy under International Law. Geneva: Villa
Harrelson, J. (2010). Blackbeard meets blackwater: An analysis of international
conventions that address piracy and the use of private security companies
to protect the shipping industry Am. U. Int'l L. Rev., 283-312.
ICC International Maritime Bureau. (2012). Piracy and Armed Robbery Against
Ships. ICC International Maritime Burea,. 1-87.
Johnson, D., Pladdet, E., & Valencia, M. J. (2005). Introduction: Research on
Southeast Asian piracy. In D. Johnson & M. J. Valencia (Eds.), Piracy in
Southeast Asia: Status, issues, and responses. Singapore: Institute of Southeast
Asian Studies.
Mukundan, P. (2005). The Scourage of Piracy in Southeast asia: Can Any
Improvements be Expected in the Near Future?. Piracy in Southeast Asia:
Status, Issues, and Responses, 34-44.
Romero, J. (2003). Prevention of maritime terrorism: The container security
initiative. Chicago Journal of International Law.
Shie, T. (2006). Maritime piracy in Southeast Asia: The evolution and progress of
Intra-ASEAN Cooperation. In G. Gerard and O. Webb (eds.), Piracy,
maritime terrorism and securing the Malacca Straits. ISEAS Publishing.
Terriff, T., Crofty, S., James, L., Morgan, Patrick, M. (1999). Security Studies Today.
Cambridge: Polity Press.
Vagg, J. (1995). Rough seas? Contemporary piracy in South East Asia. British
Journal of Criminology.
Young, A.J. (2005). Roots of contemporary maritime piracy in Southeast Asia. In
D. Johnson and M. Valencia (eds.), Piracy in Southeast Asia: Status, issues,
and responses. ISEAS Publishing.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp35-40
Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli, 2Rahmat Mohamad & 3Roman Dremliuga
Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS),
University of Wollongong, Australia &
Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
2Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi MARA
3School of Law, Far Eastern Federal University,
Vladivostok, Russia
([email protected], [email protected])
Pulau Pisang is a small island situated off the western coast of the Malaysian state
of Johor at the southern end of the Straits of Malacca. The island is about 12
kilometres from Pontian Kechil and 5 kilometres from the town of Benut and is the
site of the Pulau Pisang Light, a lighthouse guiding ships into the western entrance
of the busy Singapore Strait. From colonial times, the Pulau Pisang Light has
always been recognised as within the territory of the independent Sultanate of
Johor. The Sultanate of Johor became a British protectorate in the twentieth
century and upon independence, Johor became one of the states within Malaysia.
Currently, the lighthouse is managed and operated by the Maritime and Port
Authority (MPA) of Singapore and the lighthouse precinct is off limits to
Malaysians. This article examines the status of Pulau Pisang as an island under
Malaysian sovereignty. This article further looks at the possible future implications
should Singapore continue to manage the Pulau Pisang Light that instigates the
question: Will Pulau Pisang become another Pedra Branca?
Keywords: Straits of Malacca and Singapore, Pulau Pisang Light, sovereignty, Pedra
Branca, shipping
The Straits of Malacca and Singapore are two of the busiest shipping ways in the
world (Rusli, 2012a). There have been more than 70, 000 vessel movements in the
Mohd Hazmi bin Mohd Rusli & Rahmat Mohamad
Straits of Malacca and Singapore in 2010 and this figure is expected to increase
twofold by the year 2020 (Rusli, 2012b). The importance of the Straits of Malacca
and Singapore as important maritime conduits has been foreseen by the British
government of the Straits Settlement in Singapore since the turn of the twentieth
In order to ensure smooth navigational movements of vessels, the British
built a lighthouse in 1914 ("Pulau Pisang to be gazetted as part of Johor," 2010). For
almost a century, the Pulau Pisang Light has functioned as an aid for maritime
navigation into the western entrance of the Singapore Strait (Rusli & Mohamad,
2013). Even though Pulau Pisang is under Malaysia’s sovereignty, this is not
entirely the case for the Pulau Pisang Light as it is manned by Singapore.
Pulau Pisang Light
This unique arrangement was created as a result of the agreement, signed between
Sultan Ibrahim of Johor and the Governor of the Straits Settlements, Sir James
Alexander Sweethenham, entered into in 1900 ("Ghani: Malaysia has proof of
Pulau Pisang Ownership," 2008). This landmark agreement did not only manifest
British acknowledgment of Johor’s sovereignty over Pulau Pisang, but it also
marked a momentous occasion whereby the Sultan of Johor granted the rights in
perpetuity to the British to the plot of land on which the lighthouse stands and to
the roadway leading to it (Lathrop, 2008; Singapore has no right to expand area
around Pulau Pisang, says Johor MB, 2008).
Figure 1: Location of Pulau Pisang
(Source: Modified from GoogleMaps)
Pulau Pisang Light: A Non-Malaysian Lighthouse on a Malaysian Island
Upon the separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965,
it inherited the territory that forms the modern day Republic of Singapore under
the international law concept of utti possidetis juris (Ryan, 1967). The responsibility
to manage the lighthouse remains with Singapore and the Malaysian government
has no intention to take over the management of the lighthouse from the MPA in
the near future (Rusli & Mohamad, 2013).
Sovereignty over Pulau Pisang
In 2003, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Professor S. Jayakumar,
mentioned to the Parliament of Singapore that the sovereignty over Pulau Pisang
is with Malaysia (Singapore Parliament (Special Parliament Highlights, 9 May 2005),
2005). He also reiterated that Singapore has never disputed Malaysia’s sovereignty
over Pulau Pisang. However, the management of Pulau Pisang should remain
with Singapore.
In 2002, there were more calls urging the Malaysian government to
develop the island and to review and alter the provisions of the agreement signed
by the Sultan of Johor almost 113 years ago ("Pulau Pisang won't be another Batu
Puteh," 2008). In order to ascertain Malaysia’s sovereignty over the island, the
lighthouse keepers from Singapore needed to get their passports stamped at
Kukup immigration in Johor before heading to Pulau Pisang. Before 2002, there
was no such requirement. Nevertheless, the fact that Pulau Pisang Light is still
exclusively managed by Singapore shows that Malaysia has yet to have full
sovereignty over Pulau Pisang.
Methods of Territorial Acquisition under International Law
International law dictates that a state may acquire territory in a number of ways,
among others, through prescription and cession (Aust, 2005). A state may acquire
sovereignty over a certain territory if the sovereignty is transferred or ceded by the
sovereign to another (Rusli & Mazlan, 2013). The Sultan of Johor has, through the
1900 Agreement, ceded in perpetuity part of its territory (where the lighthouse, the
road leading to the lighthouse and the lighthouse jetty are located) to the British
government of Singapore (Rusli & Mohamad, 2013). This is the reason why the
lighthouse is still being managed by the MPA even though Pulau Pisang is under
Malaysia’s sovereignty.
In addition, under international law, prescription refers to acquisition of
sovereignty by way of actual exercise of sovereignty, maintained for a reasonable
period of time, and is effected without objection from any states (Kaczorowska,
2010). Singapore’s management of Pulau Pisang has taken place since 1900 and it
Mohd Hazmi bin Mohd Rusli & Rahmat Mohamad
continues till now without persistent objection by the Malaysian authorities (Rusli
& Mohamad, 2013).
Pulau Sipadan and Ligitan
In deciding the Malaysia-Indonesia dispute over Pulau Sipadan and Ligitan, the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) looked at the case based upon the concept of
‘effective occupation’ (International Court of Justice (ICJ), 2004). As early as 1914,
Great Britain took steps to regulate and control the collection of turtle eggs on
Ligitan and Sipadan without any clear objection from the government of the Dutch
East Indies (International Court of Justice (ICJ), 2008). These activities were
continued by the independent State of the former British North Borneo, Sabah,
when it joined Malaysia in 1963, again, without persistent protest by its successor
State, Indonesia (Hsien-Li, 2010). As a result, the ICJ awarded both these islands to
Malaysia on the basis of effective occupation displayed by the Malaysia’s
predecessor (the British) and the absence of any other superior title (Case
Concerning Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia),
Singapore’s Management of Pulau Pisang Light
By referring to the scenario of Pulau Pisang Light, it is clear that Singapore has
been actively engaged in the management of the lighthouse without consistent
objection by Malaysia ("Pulau Pisang Light," 2012). If this would continuously take
place, it might not be too surprising in the future if Malaysia’s total sovereignty
over Pulau Pisang would be put in dispute, and Singapore might want to put its
claim over the area on the island where the lighthouse is located. Malaysia could
not afford to have its other islands to undergo the Pedra Branca’s experience.
It has been five years since the judgement on Pedra Branca was made, and it still is
haunting Malaysia. It is indisputable that Singapore has clearly made remarks
recognising Malaysia’s sovereignty over Pulau Pisang. However, how could a
country be positively sure of its sovereignty over its own territory if part of it is
manned by a foreign State? Therefore, the agreement entered into by the Sultan of
Johor and Sir Sweetenham back in 1900 should be reviewed and the control over
Pulau Pisang Light should be rightfully handed over to the Marine Department of
At the same time, Malaysia should develop Pulau Pisang into a fishery or
a tourist island to ensure Malaysia’s ownership over Pulau Pisang remains intact.
Pulau Pisang Light: A Non-Malaysian Lighthouse on a Malaysian Island
Indeed, Pulau Pisang belongs to Malaysia, and the Malaysian authorities should
take any means necessary to ensure this entire island remains in totality under
Malaysia’s sovereignty.
Aust, A. (2005). Handbook of international law. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Case concerning sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia).
(2002). Retrieved from
Ghani: Malaysia has proof of Pulau Pisang ownership. (2008). The Star. Retrieved from,
Hsien-Li, T. (2010). Notes case concerning sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu
Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore. Singapore Year
Book of International Law and Contributors, 2008(12).
International Court of Justice (ICJ). (2004). Case concerning sovereignty over Pedra
Branca/ Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/
Singapore): Memorial of Singapore. Retrieved from
International Court of Justice (ICJ). (2008). Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu
Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore).
Retrieved 6
September 2009, from
Kaczorowska, A. (2010). Public international law (4th ed.). Routledge.
Lathrop, C. (2008). Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle
Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore). The American Journal of
International Law, 102.
Pulau Pisang Light. (2012). Retrieved from,
Pulau Pisang to be gazetted as part of Johor. (2010). New straits times. Retrieved from,
Pulau Pisang won't be another Batu Puteh. (2008). New straits times. Retrieved from,
Rusli, M. H. b. M. (2012a). The application of transit passage regime in straits used
for international navigation: A study of the Straits of Malacca and
Singapore. Asian Politics & Policy, 4(4), 549-569.
Mohd Hazmi bin Mohd Rusli & Rahmat Mohamad
Rusli, M. H. b. M. (2012b). Balancing shipping and the protection of the marine
environment of straits used for international navigation: A study of the Straits of
Malacca and Singapore. University of Wollongong, Wollongong.
Rusli, M. H. b. M., & Mazlan, M. A. b. (2013). Sultan of Sulu's Sabah claim: A case of
'long-lost' sovereignty? RSIS Commentary, 043(2013).
Rusli, M. H. M., & Mohamad, R. (2013). Singapore lighthouse on our island. The
Sundaily. Retrieved from,
Ryan, N. J. (1967). The making of modern Malaysia: A history from earliest times to 1966.
Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press 1967.
Singapore has no right to expand area around Pulau Pisang, says Johor MB. (2008). The
star. Retrieved from,
Singapore Parliament (Special Parliament Highlights, 9 May 2005). (2005).
Retrieved from,
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp41-53
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
Department of History, University of Malaya
([email protected])
It is widely assumed that laissez-faire had its origins in the European context and
that through colonization the countries of the East adopted the ideology. This
might not be completely true for a distinctive brand of the same ideology had been
prevalent in the Malay Archipelago long before the advent of western colonisation.
In fact five trading zones, namely the Bay of Bengal, Straits of Malacca, the east
coast of Malaya, the sea of Southern Vietnam, the Sulu Sea and the Java Sea, are
known to have practiced a laissez-faire economy as far back as in the fifteenth
century. This paper will trace the emergence of laissez faire ideas as embodied for
example in free ports and trading zones prior to the arrival of western powers. It
also shows how western powers used the existing free trade network to promote a
colonial economy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Western powers in
the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were able to develop trade
without territorial ambitions was due to the existence of a laissez-faire policy and
the accommodative nature of the local rulers in this part of the world. The
developments of Penang in the eighteenth century and Singapore in the nineteenth
century are case studies to prove this argument.
Keywords: free trade, free port, free trade imperialism, Adam Smith, Malay Archipelago
Laissez-Faire is a French word which means leave things be (Hill, 1980: 87). It was
said to have originated from the request of a group of French traders who wanted
trade activities not to be curtailed by the government. It was reported a group of
traders met Jean-Baptoste Colbert, French Finance Minister (1661-1683). The
minister thanked the traders for their contribution to the French economy and
would like to know what he could do in return. Their answer were “Laissez-nous
faire”. Meaning leave us alone (Heilbroner & Thurow, 1981: 23). Colbert was a
strong proponent of free trade policy. He was against complex rules and
regulation which controls industries in France during the time which was known
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
as the Mercantilism System. One could imagine how he would have reacted to
their wish.
Laissez-Faire (How it was promoted in Europe)
The word Laissez - Faire came to be used widely in the second half of 19 th century
and early 20th century. It was said the phrase “Laissez-Faire” was coined by the
Physiocrat in France. It later became the watchword of the later English
economists. Laissez-Faire/ Free Trade means free from restriction on trade. This
restriction are two types. First the exclusive monopoly on trading companies;
secondly the introduction of protective tariff or absolute prohibition on imports. In
the early 17th century the question of monopoly brought controversy and this led
to the introduction of “Bill of Free Trade” and the term “Free Trader” which refers
to those who went against monopoly. When high tariffs were imposed on foreign
products, traders started to discuss about the need to free traders from such
restrictions. This led to the origin of the term free trade which means free from
protective tariffs and restriction. It could be concluded that the term free trade
which is widely used today originated in the 17 th century (Thomas, 1963: 78).
Laissez-Faire as Understood by Scholars and as was practised in the Straits
Cook defines free trade as “Free exchange of commodities, unrestricted by the
imposition of duties by government, except perhaps for revenue purposes” (Cook
1983: 123). Encyclopedia Britannica define free trade as “.. a policy by which a
government does not discriminate against imports in favour of national products
or interfere with exports in order to favour consumers in the home market. Free
trade does not mean that a government abandons all control and taxation of
import and export but only that this control and taxation are not used to protect
the home producer against the foreign consumer (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1970:
850-851). In the case of the Straits Settlements the government did not allow or
interfere in trade activities except to provide efficient administration facilities and
a stable currency. In such a situation, individuals were free and different groups
and communities specialised in fields in which they were efficient (Tate, 1979: 157).
In the case of the Straits Settlements, when Penang and Singapore were developed
as free ports, local traders still collected tax through the system of ‘present’,
commission, and partnership in trade in their respective port (Tregonning 1959:
59). This matter is also mentioned in the Straits Settlements Record. “… to the
invariable practice to all Malay ports, have been in the habit of receiving antarantaran, or complimentary present from the Nakhoda’s of Junk and native vessels
…” (SSR (IOL) 10: 337-338).
Laissez-Faire in the Malay Archipelago: A Western Concept?
Adam Smith and Imperialism of Free Trade
The idea of free trade was further developed by Adam Smith in England with the
founding of an institution known as School of Political Economy (Briggs & Jordan
1964: 188). His idea influenced two other great economist, David Ricardo and
Thomas Malthus. This three thinkers/economist felt government should not
interfere in the affair of the economy and let the economy function naturally. It
was believed by doing so the economy will function more effectively and bring
maximum welfare to the people (Cook, 1983: 123). In brief it could be said Adam
Smith wish the government to be a mere spectator and leave the economy to the
rule of demand and supply.
The idea promoted by Adam Smith and his colleagues had great impact
on the political economy of England. The scenario in its empire and the changes
which was taking place has great impact on the development of free trade system.
The free trade idea was also influenced by foreign factors like the Continental
System introduced by Napoleon Bonaparte, impact of the British War with
America between 1812-1816. Internal factors include impact of Industrial
Revolution, the role of economist, pressure from radical groups, role of utilitarians
and religious group and pressure from Manchester Merchants who demanded
England to do away with Mercantilism and adopt the policy of free trade.
England was the first country to fight for the abolition of Mercantilism
policy. It was latter followed by the French and other countries. The need for the
local rulers in other parts of the world, to open up their economy to free trade in
the East was obvious with many trading treaties signed to enable foreigners to
trade freely. Such example were the British and Dutch treaty in 1824 (in Malaya);
Bowring Treaty 1855 (in Thailand); Treaty of Nanking 1842 (in China) and many
more. All this treaties created avenues/rooms for foreign power to trade freely and
avoided military ambition especially in South East Asia. The free trade policy
could be accepted by the locals because this was the kind of trade encouraged in
the Malay Archipelago prior to the presence of western powers in the 16th century.
Therefore it was no surprise to see it accommodates well to the free trade policy
promoted by the foreigners.
The assumption that laissez-faire was a policy created by the west was
more obvious when political leaders associate it with religion. According to Sir
John Bowring, the Manchester trader, “Jesus Christ is free trade and free trade is
Jesus Christ (Hyam, 1976: 58). Certain statesman believe that as a Christian state,
trade has to be free as free as air of heaven (Seaman, 1982: 300). It could not be
denied that Christianity was used as a tool by the British to civilize the society.
This was admitted by British Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston (1830-65).
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
According to Palmerston,
Free trade was of quinstessential importance…. Commerce was the best
pioneer of civilization the dispensation of Providence. God meant man to
be dependent on man: the world was made as it was so as to encourage
the exchange of commodities, accompanied by the extension and
diffusion of knowledge- by the interchange of mutual benefits
engendering mutual kind feelings – multiplying and confirming friendly
relations’. Commerce was intended to go forth freely, leading civilization
with one hand, and peace with the other, to render mankind happier,
wiser, better…(Hyam, 1976: 58).
Certain developments which were taking place in the East , particularly in India,
China and Southeast Asia in the 19th century do confirm the boggy that laissezfaire was a policy introduced by the west. This was more evident with the
dismantling of monopolistic trade system in the East. Only in 1813 the monopoly
trade of East India Company with India was abolished and private traders were
free to trade in India (Redford, 1934: 113). In 1833, the monopoly of EIC with China
came to an end (Khoo & Lo, 1977: 680). Many trading treaties which uphold
laissez-faire was signed in the East. Such treaties were the Bowring Treaty (1855)
between the English and the Siamese Government; the Nangking Treaty with
China after the first Opium war in 1842 and many more.
In fact during the Opium War, the British felt the Chinese were uncivilized
and unaware of the importance of free trade. To quote Sir Henry Pottinger,
… in our intercourse with China and her subjects, we are dealing with
an empire and people who have no notion however small, of
international law and rights. As far as the Peking was concerned the
British were still barbarians on the seaboard (Khoo & Lo, 1977: 680).
From the above discussion one could deduce that rapid changes which were
taking place in Europe and the outer world do portray that laissez-faire is an
European phenomena, particularly the British when many free trade treaties were
signed with the local rulers outside Europe. Only when one look back a few
hundred years back one could see that laissez-faire policy was practised in the
East, particularly in South East Asia with a character of its own.
Malay Archipelago Prior to the Presents of Western Powers
G.Winsdor, in his article which was published in the Journal of the Indian
Archipelago in 1850 clearly list out all the ports in the Malay Archipelago which
Laissez-Faire in the Malay Archipelago: A Western Concept?
practiced laissez- faire policy (Winsdor, 1850: 240-245). From the information
provided it is obvious that the Malay Archipelago has practiced laissez- faire
policy very long before the presents of western powers. The eastern laissez- faire
policy was unique and has its own characteristic. If such a policy did not exist in
this part of the world, foreigners would have used gunboat policy to achieve their
ambition. This would have effected their treasury and Asia would have seen great
deaths. The fact that most of the countries in Asia adopted indirect rule was very
much related to the laissez-faire policy adopted prior to that. Intervention was
done through negotiations and not by force. The fact that, free trade and free ports
existed in the Malay Archipelago was brought to the fore by scholars like D.K.
Bassett. According to him,
A highly complex international commerce already existed in which,
with minor exceptions, the English could participate freely. They were
not denied access to the important traditional coastal entrepots, so long
as they remained under indigenous governments” (Bassett, 1968: 86).
… the region from Pegu and Tenasserim-Mergui through certain
Malay ports and Aceh to Ayudhya and Tongking constituted what
might loosely be called the free trade zone of maritime South-East Asia
(Bassett, 1989: 625).
Malay Archipelago already had trade links with the outside world before
the modern age (Hanizah Idris, 1996:64). Local conditions suited the strategy of
free trade and free ports which were used by the foreigners to develop the
settlement in the Malay Archipelago. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Spice
Islands formed a well-structured regional trade network (Villiers, 1990: 83). A
number of important ports emerged in the Malay Archipelago, like Pedir, Pasai,
Sri Vijaya, Demak, Tuban, Makasar and Malacca (Kathirithamby-Wells & Villiers,
1990: 83). The ports functioned as free ports and traded without restrictions (Hall,
1985a: 194-231). Beginning from the fourteenth century, five trade zones emerged
in the Straits Settlements. The first trade zone was the Bay of Bengal which began
at the Coromandel Coast, South India and included Sri Lanka, the Northern
Malaysian Peninsula and the North and West Coasts of Sumatra. The North and
West Coast of Sumatra became important in the years after 1300 due to the world’s
great demand for pepper. The entrepot port of Samudra Pasai on the east coast
became important supplier of pepper for the traders from the East and West (Hall,
1985a: 225).
The second trade zone, the Straits of Malacca, became important in the
fifteenth century due to political protection it received from China. After the 1430’s
the development of Malacca no longer depended on China’s support but more on
its trade and relations with java and the South East Asia regions. Malacca is a port
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
of the fifteenth century which practiced free port policies. The free trade policy is
seen from the shipping facilities provided for foreign and local traders; protection
given to traders in the port, good judiciary system and a uniform monetary and
measurement system. All these facilities enable trade to develop freely and
rapidly. Its position as free port could be seen from the freedom given to foreign
traders visiting its port and a fair tax system imposed on them. Local traders were
taxed 3% whereas foreign traders were taxed 6% (Meilink-Roelofsz, 1969: 40-45).
The Malacca government is also said to have had an advanced maritime code.
Raffles considered the Malacca Code as the best which became the choice of many
other states. The Malacca Law was founded in the era of Sultan Mahmud Shah
(1424-1444) and it is a law enforced on ships, jongkong and boats. The contents of
the law related to officials who handled boats, the collection of tax, punishment
against individuals who were guilty on board the boat and those who disobeyed
captain’s order etc (Raffles Collection, Volume 11).
The third zone comprised the east coast of the Malay Peninsula and the
sea of Southern Vietnam, the area bordering the Gulf of Siam. Ayudhya was a
growing power in this zone. It was formed in the early fourteenth century and
started to export rice to Malacca in the fifteenth century. It played the role as a
trading centre with the Philippines and China (Hall, 1985a: 226).
The Sulu Sea represented the fourth trading zone. The areas which it
comprised included the West Coast of Luzon, Mindoro, Cebu and Mindanao in the
Philippines and the northern coast of Borneo. All these places functioned as trade
links with China and the Spice Islands in South-East Asia. The Spice Islands were
producers to agricultural products such as nutmeg, mace, cloves, and sandalwood
which were sent through the Sulu Sea to China and Thailand in the north; Java and
Malaccca in the West. The channel of Java Sea represented the fifth trade zone. It
consisted of the Island Straits of Sunda, the island of Maluku, Banda, Timor, the
West Coast of Borneo, Java and the west coast of Sumatra (Hall, 1985a: 226).
When the Europeans came to the Malay Archipelago they did not create
new trade routes, in fact they made use of the old ones (Hall, 1985b: 85). All the
ports which were located in these trade zones, such as Malacca, Aceh, Pasai,
Bantam, Macassar, Ayudhya and other ports experienced a rapid progress in
trade. The freedom in trade enabled the ports to attract traders from the East and
West and functioned as a political, economic and social centre.
According to Raffles,
When the Europeans first frequented the Archipelago, the trade had
long collected at certain established emporia, of these Achean, Malacca
and Bantam were the principal. Macassar on Celebes, had also become
an emporium of the more Eastern Commerce. … the smooth seas of the
Archipelago is readily conveyed to the most advantageous markets.
Laissez-Faire in the Malay Archipelago: A Western Concept?
Foreign traders in large vessels found it more to their interest to
proceed to the emporia, where they might at once procure a full cargo.
The foreign commerce was carried out with ease and safely and to
manifest advantage of all parties (SFR Vol. 50: 25).
With the existence of a trading network in the Malay Archipelago and together
with the elements of free trade and free port, it encouraged the British to develop
free ports in the Malay Archipelago in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
century. The emergence of Penang and Singapore as free ports was based on these
factors (Tate, 1979: 150).
Laissez-Faire Ideas to Promote Colonial Economy in the 18 th and 19th Century
To prove how the western powers used the free trade network to promote its
economic ambition, the port of Penang and Singapore in the Malay Peninsula will
be taken as case study. The ability of Francis Light to acquire and develop Penang
as a free port was very much contributed by its laissez- faire status it enjoyed
before that. Penang has traded with many parts of the world and country traders
had good relations with the Malay traders. Francis Light himself was a country
Since England became involved in the Seven Years War (1756-1763) with
certain European countries, English trade activity in the East, especially in the
Straits Settlements, was performed by country traders. This group played an
important role in promoting relationships with the Malay States. The official policy
of the East India Company at that time was to have trade agreements with the
local rulers, to establish trading posts at the main routes and to avoid the
occupation of territories and political responsibility (Francis, 1969/70: 74).
James Scott, Francis Light and Thomas Forrest were among the
individuals who successfully implemented the political objective of British
Government. They had a cordial relationship with the Malay rulers. Only through
such relationships the supply of the Malay Archipelago products, especially tin,
for the Chinese and European markets was assured. This is no surprise because at
the end of eighteenth century, the average yearly trade of a Malay state was
between 150-200 thousand Spanish dollars (Bassett, 1980: 27).
From the middle of 1760’s, the increasing activity of the country traders in
the Straits of Malacca became more obvious. In the first half of the century, not
more than 10 English private traders stopped at Malacca every year. Towards the
year 1769, this number increased to 26. Among the factors which led to the
increased activity of the country traders was the increasing trade of the East India
Company with China. Within ten years, the number rose. Many European ships
were known to have stopped at Riau and other ports in the Straits of Malacca
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
(Lewis, 1970: 117). Many of the company ships which brought cargo to China were
ships brought by country traders to India from the ports of the Malay Archipelago
(Lewis, 1970: 117).
The role of the country traders in the earlier stage is obvious at Riau. Riau
was an important trading port in the Malay Archipelago after Malacca (SSR (IOL)
Vol. 1: 71-72). It became a centre for the Bugis traders to gather trade from all
other parts of the Malay Archilpelago. Many of the products brought to Riau by
the Bugis traders were from Inderagiri and Jambi, whereas Palembang traders
brought tin. In brief Riau traded with Java, Palembang, Bangka, Ujung Salang,
Inderagiri, Jambi, Island of Moluccas, Borneo, Bali, Siam, Cambodia, Annam,
Cochin-China and China. The products traded at Riau were collected by country
traders to be exchanged in China.
Selangor, another state in the Malay Peninsular was also influenced by
country traders. Here they had developed good relationships with the local rulers
to the extent of being invited to become advisers (SSR (IOL) Vol 1: 68). When
Sultan Ibrahim (1778-1826) from Selangor, with the help of Bendahara Abdul
Majid from Pahang, attacked the Dutch fortification at Kuala Selangor, on 27th June
1785, the fortification could not be captured and it was abandoned hurriedly.
Sultan Ibrahim immediately asked for Francis Light’s assistant from Penang to
wave the British flag and requested for an appointment of a Resident in his state to
enable him to trade freely with the Bugis (SSR (IOL) Vol. 3: 9).
Sultan Ibrahim made a special request for the appointment of Francis
Light, James Scott or Thomas Forrest at Kuala Selangor. Francis Light in his letter
to the Acting Governor General, John Macpherson, on February 1786 stressed that
Sultan Ibrahim had valid reason to get British help. This based on the good
treatment received by English traders since the era of Ibrahim’s father.
The trading activity of country traders in Trengganu, another state in the
Malay Peninsular was established before the East India Company occupied
Penang. In April 1764, Sultan Mansur I (1764-1793) sent a letter requesting help
from the Captain of the Panther ship which stopped by in Trengganu on its way to
Manila and China. The Sultan requested for ammunition to deal with his enemies.
The captain of the ship relayed the matter to Joseph Jackson, commander of the
East India Company ship, Pitt which was on its way to Canton with a supply of
tin. Jackson then reported his meetings with the ruler of Trengganu on his visits
here on 14th June, 1764. The Sultan was unhappy with the Dutch policy in
Trengganu. According to Sultan, it is normal for European countries to have a bad
notion of the Malays, but if they knew how bad the attitude of the Dutch was
towards the Malays, they definitely would not behave like this (Francis, 1969/70:
Laissez-Faire in the Malay Archipelago: A Western Concept?
… but if they [European countries] knew but one half of the cruelties
the Dutch had been guilty of to the Malays [sic] they would not be
blamed so much as he believed they generally are (Francis 1969/70: 7577).
The Sultan welcomed the British who were willing to send a ship to begin trade
relations with all nations which has links with the Gulf of Siam, Cochin-China,
Cambodia and Borneo. Jackson also reported after staying in Trengganu for almost
two years that Britain could gather tin amounting to 30 thousand bahar every year
at a low price. He also informed the East India Company that a settlement called
Legore[sic] has three mines and produced at least 30 thousand bahar of tin each
year. Jackson information clearly shows the importance of Trengganu in that
century. This proven from the list of items available at a number of places in the
Siam Gulf enclosed in his report (Khoo, 1974: 17-22).
Based on the relationship cultivated with the Malay rulers, Francis Light
succeeded in influencing the Acting Governor – General of Bengal, John
Macpherson, to occupy Penang and to develop it as a free port. In his letter to
Macpherson, he explained Penang’s potential. According to him, Penang could
attract Bugis, Chinese and Malay traders, developing it further to a famous
entreport port (SSR (IOL) Vol. 2: 436).
It cannot be denied that the country traders played a vital role in the
Malay Archipelago between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through
cordial relations cultivated with local rulers, they secured supplies from the Malay
Archipelago for the benefit of the Chinese trade and made it easier for the
implementation of free trade and free port policies in the Straits Settlements at the
end of eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The emergence of Penang and
Singapore as free ports met the need of country traders who wanted to attract local
traders and to fight the Dutch monopoly (Bassett, 1989: 14).
It was no surprise that with just two years after Penang was opened, trade
flourished, population increased and investors started to invest in the mainland.
Traders started to move in big numbers to the port because they were happy with
laissez-faire policy it adopted compared to the monopoly policy adopted by the
Dutch. The similar effect was evident when Singapore was occupied in 1819 and it
was declared as a free port. Traders from all over Asia and Malay Archipelago
came in thousands to trade in Singapore. According to Raffles,
The occupation of the island of Singapore by the British, and the policy
pursued by them ever since has caused a revolution of opinion
throughout these islands; the state of trade has changed, and nearly the
whole of the natives have thrown their resources into another channel
(SCCR 1832).
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
After Singapore was developed, it succeeded in attracting local traders especially
the Bugis. Although at that time there were many Dutch ports but the duty
imposed was high. According to Bastin, they definately would not have sailed
hundreds of miles away from the main route if not for Singapore’s free trade
(Bastin & Winks, 1966: 155; Hanizah Idris, 1997: 67). The amount of goods brought
from Borneo, Sulawesi and Bali between the years 1828-1829, is estimated to be
1,040,761 sicca rupi (SC: 1830). The liberal policy also succeeded in attracting the
Chinese who were not happy with restriction policies practiced by the Dutch and
Spanish (JIA Vol 9, 1855: 109-110). Many local rulers thanked Raffles for
occupying Singapore. Malay ambassadors and rulers came to Singapore to thank
Raffles personally. According to Raffles Report,
From Tringano I found in the harbour one of Sultans vessel which his
Highness has dispatches with Rui[sic] and other supplies immediately
on having our establishment. This state is one of the most important of
the Eastern side of the Peninsula and has hithertho escaped the
influence of the Dutch; the Sultan and principal chiefs availed
themselves of this occasion to express their anxiety and desire to
cultivate a more intimate and closer connection with our Government.
The same anciety has been expressed on the part of the chief of Kalantan
[sic] a rising and flourishing state lying between Tringano and Siam The people of these countries seem to consider the British alliance and
protection essential to their interest and prosperity (SFR 47: 807).
In short, the policy of free trade and development of free ports in the Malay
Archipelago attracted local traders with the products of the Malay Archipelago to
the port of Penang and Singapore (Shaharil Talib, 1995:7). It also managed to
gather products of the Malay Archipelago, especially tin which was exported from
Cromwell to Canton, almost half originated from British colonies.
British were able to attract investors who were not only keen in trading
but also venturing into commercial crops like pepper, nutmeg, clove, pineapple
and coffee. Investors started to move into mainland Malay Peninsula. Commercial
crops like pepper and nutmeg was introduced in Johore and later in other states.
Slowly commercial economy was promoted in the Malay states in the second half
of 19th century. It was commercial crops which helped in the forming of an
agricultural policy to support rubber plantation in the early 20th century.
Laissez-Faire in the Malay Archipelago: A Western Concept?
From the discussion one could see that the idea of laissez- faire as understood by
Adam Smith has long been practiced in the East prior to the 15 th century. The later
was unique with its own characteristic. When one speaks of laissez-faire, Adam
Smith is the individual comes to our mind. This could be because he was the one
who had made it clear in writing. Anyway when one look closely at the Malacca
Code (Hukum Kanun Melaka) of the 15 th century, the contents do speak of laissezfaire ideas but there is no single promoter. Through this paper it is hoped a
balance picture brought to light that laissez-faire policy is an Eastern phenomena
and it has been practiced in this part of the world very much earlier prior to the
presents of western powers. The fact that European powers did not conquer many
of the countries in South East Asia in the early 19 th century through gun boat
policy is very much due to its laissez-faire policy imbedded in its economy.
Country trader were also known as private traders. At first they were traders of the East
India Company. However, when civil war erupted in England in 1657, a new charter was
given by Oliver Cornwell to the East India Company traders and these traders were ordered
to withdraw from Asian waters. The orders were not adhered to by many of the traders and
this prompted King Charles II to order that those who went against his order were to be
arrested and brought back to England. His order were not effective and the traders were
still trading in Asia. These were the traders who are known as country traders. The trading
activities of this group were between India, the Malay Archipelago and China. Among the
country traders who were famous in the 1770’s and 1780’s are Francis Light, James Scott and
Thomas Forrest (Bassett, 1961; Bassett, 1961).
The advantage of the port of Riau is also mentioned in the Straits Settlements Record. It is
estimated that the value of Riau’s trade for a year was two million Spanish dollars.
Bassett, D.K. (1961). The British country trader and sea captain in Southeast Asia in
the 17th and 18th centuries. Journal of the Historical Society, 1(2), 9-14
Bassett, D.K. (1961). Thomas Forrest, an eighteenth century mariner. Journal of the
Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 34(2), 106-122
Bassett, D.K. (1968). Early English trade and settlements in Asia 1602-1690. University
of Hull: Centre for Southeast Asian Studies.
Bassett, D.K. (1980). British attitudes to indigenous states in Southeast Asia in the
nineteenth century. University of Hull: Centre of South East Asian Studies.
Bassett, D.K. (1989). British “country” trade and local trade network in the Thai
and Malay States circa 1680-1770. Modern Asian Studies, 23(4).
Sivachandralingam Sundara Raja
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Tutorial Press.
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years of world history. New York: The Macmillan Press Ltd.
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Historical Society, 8. University of Malaya.
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Asia. Kuala Lumpur: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd.
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Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Hall, K.R. (1985b). The opening of the Malay world to European trade in the
sixteenth century. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society,
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terpinggir didalam sejarahnya. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (JATI), 3.
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Prentice-Hall Inc.
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rise and demise. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
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archipelago between 1500 and about 1630. Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
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28 Dec. 1791
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Dec. 1819-1 Feb. 1821
Sumatra Factory Records (SFR) Vol. 47:Fort Marlborough Letters to E.I.C
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impact: Economic and social change. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.
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Co., Ltd.
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in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In Kathirithamby – Wells & J.
Villiers, (ed.), The South East Asian port and policy, rise and demise.
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Sons Ltd.
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Indian Archipelago (JIA), 4.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp54-80
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, 2Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim, 3Ridzwan Bin Ahmad &
4Khafidz Hamzah
1Fakulti Tamadun Islam, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
2,3,4Akademi Pengajian Islam, Universiti Malaya,
([email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected])
This article is about the Islamic discourse upon the role of the ulamak and the
intellectual relationship in enriching the Muslim civilization in Malaysia and
Indonesia. At the outset, it will explore the significance of the Malay-Muslim
civilization as well as the major role played by the ulamak in the development of
Muslim civilization in the Malay Archipelago. The main focus of this article will
concentrate on several issues, specifically Terengganu's Batu Bersurat, the
discourse of the Kaum Muda-Tua in the 1930s, the dakwah movement during the
1970s and the Islamization of knowledge. Finally, the intellectual discourses that
enrich Malay-Muslim knowledge as resources in coping with the forced
modernization initiated by western powers in the Malay Archipelago is summed
Keywords: ulamak, Kaum Muda-Tua, Batu Bersurat Terengganu, dakwah, Islamization of
Mengikut para sejarahwan dunia, agama berperanan besar dalam membina
sesuatu dunia. Hal ini tidak terkecuali dengan sejarah Tanah Melayu, bila mana
agama Hindu Budhha pernah membina Tamadun Tanah Melayu. Tamadun
binaan agama Hindu Budhha ini agak eksklusif sifatnya (berasaskan sistem kasta)
(M.Rajantheran, 2001, h. 49-60) yang lebih bertumpu kepada golongan raja dan
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
bangsawan semata-mata tanpa membabitkan masyarakat bawahan. Realiti ini
kemudiannya berubah dengan berlakunya proses Islamisasi Tanah Melayu. Islam
telah berjaya memajukan daya intelektual masyarakat secara keseluruhan dan
mewujudkan masyarakat yang lebih egaliterian. Terpenting sekali Islam telah
mengubah world-view masyarakat Melayu kepada world-view tauhid. Hal ini
berlaku dengan wujudnya mekanisme pendidikan Islam yang dibangunkan oleh
mubaligh yang awal. Hasil didikan sistem pendidikan Islam ini telah melahirkan
serangkaian ulamak yang memainkan peranan besar dalam memajukan Tamadun
di Tanah Melayu. Atas dasar ini, artikel ini akan cuba menganalisa peranan
ulamak dalam pembinaaan tamadun di Tanah Melayu. Untuk tujuan itu, beberapa
fokus dan tema akan dipilih membabitkan isu hubungan intelektual antara
ulamak Malaysia dan Indonesia.
Asas dan Kepentingan Sesuatu Tamadun
Sarjana menegaskan terdapat beberapa kepentingan tamadun; Pertama,
mewujudkan perpaduan untuk mengekalkan hayat sesuatu masyarakat. Pada
pandangan Ibnu Khaldun, umur sesebuah tamadun secara hukum alami akan
melalui tiga tahap yang utama; tahap kelahiran, kemajuan dan kemunduran
(Saleh Faghizadeh, 2004, h.
63-68). Atas dasar itu, kajian dan usaha
penambahbaikian perlu dilakukan melalui kajian ilmu untuk memanjangkan usia
sesebuah tamadun. Untuk itu, Ibn khaldun telah memperkenalkan disiplin
sosiologi-sejarah yang bertujuan untuk meneliti hukum alami fenomena sesebuah
masyarakat, samada menafsirkan sesuatu fenomena sosial masyarakat dalam
bentuk perkaitan sebab musabab (Toto Suharto, 2003, h. 87-103) ataupun
meramalkan jalan penyelesaian terhadap sesuatu permasalahan yang timbul
(Abdullah Mohd. Said, 2003). Bagi Ibn Khaldun penggunaan disiplin sosiologisejarah ini tidak boleh dibuat secara spekulatif (agakan) semata-mata, tetapi perlu
dilakukan secara berhemah. Ianya perlu berasaskan kerangka kajian ilmiah yang
bersifat objektif, mementingkan sumber kajian yang tepat, tafsiran sumber yang
betul dan pengaplikasian metodologi kajian kes (observasi) yang betul
(Mahayudin Haji Yahya, 1999, h. 10-11). Penggunaan disiplin sosiologi-sejarah
yang ketat ini bermatlamatkan untuk memahami realiti sebenar perubahan
masyarakat yang berlaku dan menawarkan ramalan penyelesaian masalah
terhadap apa-apa masalah sosial yang timbul.
Kedua, tamadun atau pembangunan menyediakan manafaat keperluan
asasi kepada ahli masyarakat. Terdapat kayu ukur bagi menilai kejayaan ataupun
kegagalan sesuatu program pembangunan; (i) adakah agihan pendapatan negara
dapat dibahagikan secara seimbang kepada semua lapisan masyarakat (Chamhuri
Siwar, 2002, h. 119-145); (ii) adakah program pembangunan dapat menyediakan
kepada rakyat keperluan asas seperti life-sustenance (makanan, perumahan,
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
kesihatan dan perlindungan), self-esteem (peluang pekerjaan, pendidikan yang
bermutu dan kemajuan sosio-budaya) dan freedom from servitude (kebebasan
individu untuk memilih dan bebas daripada sebarang belenggu dan
pergantungan kepada orang lain) (Abdul Rahman Aziz, 2004, h. 19-22); (iii)
adakah nikmat ataupun manafaat yang diharapkan daripada program
pembangunan diterima ataupun tidak oleh golongan sasaran (Che Su Mustaffa,
1996, h. 69-80); (iv) adakah program pembangunan dapat memupuk semangat jati
diri, perpaduan dan patriotisme di kalangan rakyat (Abdul Rahman Aziz, 2004),
dan (v) adakah program pembangunan dapat menjaga keseimbangan ekologi
(Rumaya Juhari, 2004, h. 10-16).
Ketiga, tamadun bakal mewariskan kepada generasi pelapis sistem nilai
dan agama milik ahli masyarakat. Hal ini termasuk penggunaan akal untuk
menanggani alam sehingga melahirkan kearifan tempatan. Kearifan tempatan
bukanlah membawa maksud local genius (kepandaian tempatan) yang kerap
digunakan oleh sarjana Barat. Perkataan Arif ini membawa maksud mengetahui
secara mendalam ataupun bijaksana kerana didasarkan kepada pemikiran yang
mendalam. Ianya biasa digunakan untuk melambangkan kebijaksanaan seseorang
yang mencapai maqam al-Arifin.
Berbanding dengan neraca Barat, tradisi golongan arif atau intelektual
Melayu-Islam boleh dirujuk kepada golongan ulamak, tua dan pemimpin
masyarakat. Mereka biasanya bertindak dalam beberapa kapasiti yang khusus,
merangkumi; (i) sebagai pemikir, pendidik dan mengatur hubungan masyarakat
agar menjadi lebih harmonis dan mengelakkan huru hara; (ii) manusia Rabbani
yang mengaitkan hubungan dengan alam, masyarakat dan Allah; (iii) pemikir
yang responsif dengan realiti semasa, dan (iv) pemikir yang berinteraksi dengan
alam sehingga melahirkan konsep pengalaman (berguru dan belajar dengan alam)
(Rahimin Affandi Abd Rahim, 2011).
Konsep kearifan tempatan ini bersesuaian dengan teori bahawa setiap
manusia memiliki keupayaan akal untuk membina tamadun sendiri. Ia
memerlukan elemen bantuan pengaruh asing atau sumber daripada luar diri
manusia dan akal untuk maju. Ia membabitkan ilham dan laduni daripada Allah.
Disini letaknya peranan Allah dalam membekalkan akal dan alat (alam dan
makhluk tunduk kepada manusia) untuk membantu manusia membangunkan
tamadun. Seperti mana halnya direkodkan peranan Hims (nabi Allah Idris) dalam
mengajar pelbagai ilmu kepada manusia awal sehingga menjadi asas tamadun
awal Timur Tengah. Apa yang jelasnya, proses berfikir memerlukan imput dan
sumber serta alat bagi membolehkan manusia berfikir dengan baik. Campuran
antara akal dan hubungan dengan Allah (sumber tasawuf) akan melahirkan
kebijaksanaan kepada manusia (Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim, 2013, h. 223-245).
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Hal ini kemudiannya telah melahirkan epistemologi ilmu kepada
masyarakat Melayu. Tidak keterlaluan jika dikatakan bahawa epistemologi
manusia Melayu terdiri daripada beberapa perkara yang utama;
1. Bentuk Bayani (bergantung kepada teks wahyu), Burhani (bergantung kepada
akal) dan Irfani (bergantung pada intuisi dan ilham). Ketiga-tiga bentuk ini
telah diintegrasikan pemakaiannya oleh manusia Melayu (Rahimin Affandi
Abd Rahim, 2009).
2. Rasionalisme dan emperiscisme sekaligus. Hal ini jelas terbukti apabila
manusia Melayu menekankan kepada menumpukan pembelajaran dengan
alam semesta (Ayat Kawniyyah) sehingga terhasil teori/hukum alam (konsep
adat) yang bersifat kekal (seperti perpatah biar mati anak jangan mati adat) dan
bersifat fleksibel yang perlu berubah mengikut keperluan semasa (seperti
perpatah sekali air bah sekali pasir pantai berubah) (Abdullah Alwi haji Hassan,
2001, h. 65-66).
3. Bentuk penggunaan akal melalui metafora, alegorikal dan rasional. Ia terdiri
daripada Aktual (potensi dan fitrah yang dimiliki sejak manusia lahir- bersifat
tidak berkembang) dan Muktasab (diperolihi dengan cara belajar, membaca
dan mengkaji -bersifat sentiasa berkembang) (Hassan Ahmad, 2004, h. 1-12).
4. Bentuk penelitian sesuatu fenomena kehidupan dan alam secara mendalam.
Banyak perpatah Melayu tentang konsep sains lahir hasil interaksi akal
dengan pengalaman hidup dan alam semesta (Ithnin Abdul Jalil, 2001, h. 452460). Ia dikaji oleh pemikir Melayu secara mendalam dan berulang kali, yang
kemudiannya dinukilkan dalam bentuk perpatah untuk dimanafaatkan oleh
anggota masyarakat (Hassan Ahmad, 2004, h. 1-12).
Peranan Ulamak dalam Pembinaan Tamadun Tanah Melayu
Dalam bahagian ini, secara lebih mikro lagi, kita akan mendedahkan peranan
ulamak Islam dalam pembinaan tamadun di Tanah Melayu. Tidak keterlaluan jika
dikatakan bahawa dalam sejarah Alam Melayu, Islam bertindak sebagai kuasa
pemangkin utama yang mewujudkan tamadun material dan intelektual yang
unggul di rantau Alam Melayu. Teori ini menegaskan bagaimana peranan Islam
akan sentiasa dianggap relevan untuk konteks masyarakat Melayu untuk setiap
zaman, termasuklah untuk konteks zaman moden ini. Apa yang lebih penting lagi,
fungsi Islam ini dapat dihidupkan dengan usaha yang gigih yang dimainkan oleh
ulamak Melayu (Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim, 2005, h. 19-51). Jika dirujuk kepada
sejarah perkembangan Islam di Alam Melayu, kita boleh menegaskan secara pasti
bahawa ulamak Melayu telah mampu untuk bertindak sebagai intelektual ummah
dalam beberapa perkara.
Antaranya, pertama, perancang kepada usaha yang berkesan untuk
memperkenalkan agama Islam ke dalam masyarakat Melayu (Abdul Halim el57
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
Muhammady, 1992, h. 173-184). Kedua, pembasmi nilai-nilai feudalism dan adat
pra-Islam yang berakar umbi di dalam kehidupan masyarakat melalui institusi
pendidikan Islam (Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim, 2000, h. 22-25). Ketiga, penanam
benih budaya ilmu ke dalam masyarakat Melayu yang mampu melahirkan
sejumlah manusia Melayu yang celek agama serta mampu bertindak mengikut
perkiraan ilmunya, menyebarkannya ke dalam masyarakat dan berfungsi sebagai
pemimpin masyarakat (Shafie Abu Bakar, 1994, h. 101-103). Ianya juga telah
melahirkan manusia Melayu yang berakhlak tinggi (Abdullah Ishak, 1982, h. 202204) dan mampu berdikari tanpa bergantung kepada orang lain (Abdullah Ishak,
1982, h. 202-204). Keempat, pemangkin kepada usaha penerapan nilai-nilai Islam
ke dalam kebudayaan masyarakat Melayu (Mohd. Taib Osman 1996, h. 278-280)
sehingga Islam kemudiannya telah menjadi jati diri yang utama kepada
kelangsungan diri manusia Melayu (R.O. Winstedt, 1969, h. 288).
Kelima, penasihat kepada pemerintah Melayu (Mohd. Yusof Iskandar,
1982, h. 52-53) di dalam usaha menerapkan nilai-nilai Islam ke dalam sistem
undang-undang masyarakat Melayu (Ismail Mat, 1997 h. 89-90), sehingga
melahirkan sejumlah Malay degist Melayu Islam (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 1982,
h. 59-63). Keenam, perancang dan pencipta sistem kominikasi dakwah (tulisan
jawi) yang berkesan di dalam masyarakat yang kemudiannya telah menjadi
bahasa perantaraan (lingua franca) untuk perkembangan ilmiah Islam (Omar
Awang, 1981, h. 80-85) dan hubungan antarabangsa (Mohammad Redzuan
Othman, 1994, h. 53-55). Ketujuh, perancang kepada usaha memperkayakan
kesenian (Ahmad Kamal Abdullah, 1988, h. 47-48; Shafie Abu Bakar, 1987, h. 95;
Mohd. Anis Md. Nor, 1990, h. 30-38) dan kesusasteraan Melayu Islam. Kelapan,
perancang kepada usaha mempereratkan hubungan antara umat Melayu dengan
serangkaian umat Islam seluruh dunia (internationalism) di bawah konsep ummah
Islam (Nabir Abdullah, 1987, h. 129-142). Kesembilan, sumber inspirasi kepada
usaha menerapkan semangat perang salib di dalam memerangi kuasa penjajah
Barat (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 1994). Kesepuluh, bertindak sebagai benteng
terakhir ummah dan pakar rujuk masyarakat yang dilanda krisis kekeliruan akibat
dari penerapan faham sekularisme yang diusahakan oleh penjajah British
(Mohammad Redzuan Othman, 2001, h. 254-256) Kesebelas, pencetus semangat
nasionalisme Melayu yang awal dilihat dari dua aspek (i) usaha menghapuskan
kemungkaran dan kezaliman yang berlaku di dalam masyarakat Melayu (Abdul
Rahman Haji Ismail, 1995, h. 163-192) dan (ii) usaha membebaskan diri dari
belenggu penjajahan kuasa asing (Mohammad Redzuan Othman, 1988, h. 154)
Kedua belas, perancang utama yang melahirkan golongan literati Melayu pertama
yang menanamkan sikap kritikal terhadap proses pemodenan yang dibawa oleh
penjajah British (Mohd. Sarim Mustajab, 1982, h. 151-152).
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Alam Melayu Sebagai Kawasan Islam yang Ekslusif
Dalam perkembangan semasa, kawasan rantau Alam Melayu telah dianggap
sebagai suatu kawasan penting dan esklusif (Mohamad Raduan MoM. Ariff &
Shaharil Talib, 1995, h. 131-146) di dalam kerangka kajian regional studies untuk
subjek kawasan masyarakat Islam (John Esposito, 1996). Ianya tergolong sebagai
kawasan milik Malaysia dan Indonesia (Shaharil Talib, 1997, h. 123-135). Ianya
dibezakan dengan kawasan Timur tengah, Indonesia-Pakistan, Afrika, Eropah dan
Amerika utara. Penetapan kawasan rantau Alam Melayu (Malay Achipleago) yang
berbeza dengan kawasan lain dibuat berasaskan kepada pelbagai elemen
persamaan yang membabitkan kedua kawasan (Indonesia dan Malaysia) (Peter
Riddell, 2001).
Persamaan ini antara lainya merujuk kepada; pertama, kedua-dua lokasi
mempunyai perkaitan yang erat dilihat dari sudut sejarah hubungan
persaudaraan Melayu yang berasaskan kepada jalinan intelektual keagamaan.
Kedua; kedua-dua lokasi merupakan kawasan dunia Melayu-Islam terbesar yang
mengamalkan dan memperkembangkan pemikiran Islam menggunakan bahasa
pengantar yang sama, bahasa Melayu. Ketiga; persamaan latar belakang sejarah
Islamisasi, pengamalan mazhab yang sama dan institusi pengajian keilmuan Islam
yang saling mempengaruhi dilihat dari sudut perkembangan tren reformasi
pendidikan Islam semasa (Rahimin Affandi, 2010, h. 13-32), dan keempat;
kewujudan jalinan intelektual yang kukuh di antara kedua kawasan. Ianya
merujuk kepada aspek teologi dan syariah yang sama berasaskan kepada Mazhab
Shafi'i. Ulamak dari kedua kawasan sering bertukar pandangan dan bantuan
intelektual sejak dari zaman awal, tahun-tahun 1900an dan semasa era
kebangkitan Islam di tahun-tahun 1970-1980an (Rahimin Affandi Abdul Rahim,
2003, h. 47-74).
Sarjana Barat sering menonjolkan sifat ajaran Islam di Alam Melayu
(Malaysia dan Indonesia) sebagai Islam pinggiran yang bukannya murni kerana
bercampur dengan pelbagai bentuk khurafat dan Bid’ah. Hal ini berbeza dengan
sifat Islam di Timur Tengah yang dikatakan lebih bersifat sejati dan murni yang
perlu dipelajari dan dicontohi secara mutlak (Azyumardi Azra, 1999, h. 5-7). Atas
dasar ini, kita boleh melihat bagaimana kalangan orientalis barat yang menyusun
buku Encylopadia of Islam lebih menumpukan perhatian mereka kepada ulamak
Timur Tengah dan Indonesia-Pakistan dan bukannya kepada ulamak di kawasan
pinggiran seperti rantau Alam Melayu. Dari perkembangan terbaharu, kita dapat
melihat hanya satu sahaja buku Encylopadia, iaitu Encylopadia of Oxford yang
turut memberikan tumpuan kepada sumbangan ulamak di kawasan Alam Melayu
Keabsahan teori ini kemudiannya telah mula dicabar dengan kedatangan
era globalisasi, yang menyaksikan bagaimana peta pusat pengajian ilmu-ilmu
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
Islam dunia telah terbahagi kepada tiga jenis yang utama; (i) dunia Barat yang
berteraskan kaedah ala orientalism (Faisal Ismail, 1997, h. 35-42); (ii) dunia Islam
Timur tengah yang lebih menumpukan kepada kerangka pengajian ala
tradisionalism (Yusri Ihza Mahendra, 1994, h. 12-19) dan (iii) dunia Alam Melayu
(Malaysia dan Indonesia) yang dilihat telah mengadunkan di antara kerangka ala
tradisionalism dan reformism sekaligus (Rahimin Affandi Abdul Rahim, 2005, h.
Walaupun dunia Alam Melayu sering didakwa sebagai pusat pengajian
Islam ala peripheral, ternyata pendekatan Alam Melayu (Malaysia dan Indonesia)
telah mendapat sambutan dan momentum yang cukup baik, sehingga dikatakan
sebagai nisbah utama ajaran Islam ala Nusantara yang bersifat lembut, toleran dan
terbuka dengan perkembangan moden semasa (Rahimin Affandi Abdul Rahim,
2005, h. xv-xvi).
Sayugia dimaklumkan, di zaman 1960an IPTA di Indonesia sering
dijadikan tumpuan oleh pelajar Islam untuk mendapat pendidikan di peringkat
ijazah pertama dan pasca sarjana. Namun begitu, dalam perkembangan semasa,
bentuk hubungan antara IPTA Islam Malaysia dan Indonesia telah mula berubah
yang dapat dinilai beberapa perkara yang utama;
Pertama, pertambahan jumlah pelajar pasca siswazah Indonesia di IPTA
Islam di Malaysia. Jika di zaman selepas Malaysia merdeka, IPTA Malaysia
memerlukan khidmat kalangan sarjana Indonesia bagi membangunkan program
pengajian Islam di pelbagai IPTA, hal yang sebaliknya telah berlaku dewasa ini
apabila serangkaian pelajar pasca siswazah Indonesia yang datang ke Malaysia
bagi mendapatkan khidmat nasihat untuk menamatkan pengajian mereka di
peringkat pasca siswazah (Akh. Minhaji, 2003, h. 62-80).
Kedua, kelebihan Malaysia dalam membangunkan program keIslaman
yang lebih bersifat moderate and praktikal, dirujuk antara lainnya dengan
program pembangunan sistem ekonomi Islam, reformasi pendidikan Islam and
sebagainya. Apa yang lebih penting lagi, sarjana Indonesia sendiri telah mengakui
keunggulan peranan Malaysia ini yang dikaitkan dengan pembangunan idealism
Islam yang berkesan yang ditunjukkan oleh pihak kerajaan sendiri (Akh. Minhaji,
2003, h. 62-80).
Ketiga, kerana beberapa kengkangan sosio-politik, banyak daripada idea
canggih yang disuarakan oleh sarjana Indonesia gagal dilaksanakan secara
berkesan di dalam masyarakat. Atas dasar inilah tidak salah seandainya peranan
ini perlu dimainkan oleh kalangan pemikir dan pembuat dasar di Malaysia (H.
Faisal Ismail, 2005, h. 135-138).
Keempat, bahan penerbitan Islam daripada Malaysia kurang diberi
peluang untuk berkembang di Indonesia secara luas dan terpaksa berhadapan
dengan pelbagai kekangan birokrasi dari pihak berkuasa Indonesia (Hamedi
Mohd Adnan, 2006).
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Sejarah Hubungan Ulamak Malaysia dan Indonesia di Alam Melayu
Sejak daripada awal pengislaman Alam Melayu, kita dapat menyaksikan
bagaimana ulamak Tanah Melayu sangat bergantung kepada bantuan ulamak
Indonesia dalam menanggani isu-isu Islam. Bahkan ia telah sampai satu peringkat
bahawa hubungan ini bersifat berat sebelah. Hal ini kemudiannya telah mula
berubah di zaman moden. Apa yang ingin ditonjolkan adalah hubungan kedua
ulamak dari kedua kawasan ini bersifat complimentary (saling melengkapi) demi
untuk kepentingan dakwah Islam.
Dalam sejarah hubungan rantau Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia, kita dapat
mengesan beberapa perkara utama;
Terengganu Sebagai Jajahan Takluk Empayar Islam di Indonesia (Kalimantan)
Mengikut neraca zaman silam, setiap jajahan takluk sesuatu empayar akan
menjalankan dasar yang sama dengan pusat empayarnya (Bagoes Wiryomartono,
2012, h. 115-130). Atas dasar itu, apa yang dijalankan oleh empayar pusat di
Indonesia akan turut dijalankan oleh jajahan takluknya yang lain (Mohammad
Raduan bin Mohd.Ariff, 1997, h. 138-146), dan dalam konteks ini mendorong
pengislaman Terengganu. Maklumat ini boleh didapati daripada penemuan Batu
Bersurat di Terengganu. Dalam catatan Batu bersurat di Terengganu ini kita dapat
mengesan beberapa perkara utama; pertama, Terengganu adalah jajahan takluk
empayar Islam Indonesia, bila mana gelaran pemerintah iaitu Mandulika telah
turut dipakai. Gelaran Mandulika ini adalah ketua kerajaan di Indonesia yang
kemudiannya bertanggungjawab mengislamkan dan menerapkan hukum Islam di
jajahan takluknya di Indonesia dan Terengganu di Tanah Melayu. Kedua; fakta
bahawa Terengganu sebagai tempat terawal di tanah Melayu yang menerima dan
mengamalkan ajaran Islam secara menyeluruh. Sebelum ini, terdapat teori yang
mendakwa Melaka merupakan tempat terawal menerima ajaran Islam di Tanah
Melayu, yang dikaitkan juga sebagai pusat yang memperkembangkan Islam ke
seluruh jajahan takluk empayar Melaka yang lain. Secara mudahnya, kita dapat
mengatakan bukti tempat awal menerima Islam perlu didasarkan kepada
wujudnya beberapa artifak yang khusus, merangkumi (i) kitab atau manuskrip
agama, (ii) masjib tertua, (iii) institusi pendidikan Islam seperti pondok, (iv) kubur
seseorang ulamak dan (v) terpenting sekali pengaruh pemikiran Islam yang
berkekalan serta dapat dikesan penggunaanya secara meluas di dalam masyarakat
(S. Hossein Nasr, 1990, h. 13). Seandainya bukti-bukti ini mahu diambilkira, kita
akan bersetuju bahawa kawasan pantai Timur Tanah Melayu lebih memenuhi
syarat bukti ini, kerana kesemua artifak dan bukti ini memang terdapat secara
lengkap di kawasan pantai Timur seperti Terengganu dan Kelantan, dan
bukannya di kawasan Pantai Barat Tanah Melayu.
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
Ketiga; proses penciptaan tulisan Jawi terawal di Alam Melayu. Kita
mungkin tidak tahu siapa dan tarikh sebenar tulisan Jawi diperkenalkan untuk
konteks Alam Melayu. Namun begitu, mengikut Omar Awang tulisan Jawi yang
dikesan dalam BBT merupakan tulisan paling awal dan lengkap sekali (Omar
Awang, 1981, h. 80-85). Terpenting sekali, penciptaan dan penggunaan tulisan
Jawi dalam masyarakat Melayu telah memperkayakan bahasa Melayu (Amran
Kasimin, 1987) dalam bentuk tulisan Jawi, yang dijadikan sebagai alat untuk
memperkembangkan keilmuan Islam. Sistem pengajian agama dalam bentuk
pengajian pondok telah menggunakan bahasa wilayah Timur Laut melalui sistem
tulisan Jawi. Fenomena yang mengambilkira elemen tempatan dalam bentuk
memilih bahasa tempatan sebagai medium untuk penyebaran ilmu agama telah
dilakukan oleh sarjana Islam di kebanyakan dunia Islam, seperti penciptaan
tulisan Urdu di India dan tulisan Parsi di Iran berteraskan dari segi bentuknya
kepada bahasa Arab dengan sedikit sebanyak pengubahsuaian (Omar Awang,
1980, h. 55).
Keempat; Unsur Islam dapat dikesan di dalam BBT, di mana Islam telah
memberi nafas sebenar kepada pembinaan world-view (pandangan alam semesta)
Melayu (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 1999). Hasil penelitian yang dibuat oleh Prof.
Hashim Musa mendapati pembinaan tamadun Melayu ini telah diasaskan dengan
enam pandangan world-view yang bersumberkan wahyu Allah. Keenam-enam
pandangan ini telah menjadi pegangan utama masyarakat Melayu (konsep jati diri
Melayu) sehingga pada masa sekarang. Pemilihan Islam sebagai asas jati diri ini
ternyata telah menguntungkan masyarakat Melayu kerana seperti mana berlaku
kepada masyarakat Arab, Islam juga telah mengangkat martabat tamadun Melayu
ke peringkat antarabangsa (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 1999, h. 50). Proses ini
antara lainnya telah menimbulkan semangat perpaduan (internationalism) di
kalangan umat Melayu bahawa kedudukan mereka di dalam kerangka Tauhid,
Ummah dan ukhuwwah bukan terhad kepada lingkungan kawasan dan sejarah
alam Melayu semata-mata bahkan turut membabitkan kesemua umat Islam
seluruh dunia dari setiap zaman dengan warisan tamadun yang tinggi (Rahimin
Affandi Abdul Rahim, 2000, h.18-19). Dengan konsep jati diri ini umat Melayu
berasa berbangga menganut Islam yang menjadikan mereka sebahagian daripada
serangkaian ummah Islam, seperti mana halnya golongan Arab yang dipandang
mulia oleh masyarakat Melayu (William Roff, 1980, h. 41). Faktor inilah juga yang
menyebabkan di dalam sejarah alam Melayu kerap berlaku penentangan umat
Melayu terhadap kuasa penjajah barat yang dianggap sebagai kuasa kafir (Abdul
Rahman Abdullah, 1994) dan hal ini telah diakui sendiri oleh mubaligh Kristian
yang mengatakan bahawa orang Melayu sebagai golongan yang kuat berpegang
kepada agama Islam (Charles Tisdall, 1916, h. 348-349). Apa yang jelasnya, sifat
keMelayuan yang begitu sebati dengan Islam ini telah mengakibatkan sebarang
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
serangan yang dibuat terhadap Islam akan dianggap seperti serangan yang dibuat
terhadap asas kebudayaan Melayu (Isabella Bird, 1967, h. 20).
Kelima; dalam BBT tercatat pengisytiharan Islam sebagai agama rasmi di
Terengganu yang disertakan dengan pelaksanaan undang-undang Islam oleh
Mandulika (gelaran pemerintah Indonesia) bertarikh 22 Februari 1303M. Bagi
D.G.E. Hall, proses pendidikan dan perundangan Islam telah bertapak lebih
daripada seratus sebelumnya (D.G. E. Hall, 1968 h. 255). Hanya selepas Islam
benar-benar diterima ramai dan menjadi asas kehidupan masyarakat Melayu di
Terenganu, barulah ianya dicatatkan pada BBT sebagai pengisytiharan dan
peringatan tentang kedaulatan Islam di kawasan tersebut. Ada keterangan
tentang Allah dan Rasul, disamping bukti bahawa sistem perundangan Islam
berupa gabungan antara undang-undang adat dan Islam (M.B. Hooker, 1976, h.
127-131). Ia membabitkan 9 atau 10 hukum dalam bidang (a) mu’amalat – tentang
hutang piutang, undang-undang keterangan, hukuman kerana enggan membayar
denda atau melarikan diri daripada hukuman dan (b) hukuman bagi kesalahan
zina (Abdul kadir Muhammad, 1996, h. 4).
Hubungan Politik dan Wacana Ilmu antara Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Fakta sejarah mencatatkan bagaimana kedua kawasan mempunyai hubungan
keilmuan yang amat erat. Dalam tradisi ilmu Islam, telahpun wujud pendekatan
yang mengakui autoriti dan hiraki ilmu. Andainya terjadi apa-apa masalah agama,
rujukan kepada autoriti atasan akan dibuat. Dalam sejarah kerajaan Melaka ada
tercatat kes masalah Usuludin yang gagal dijawab telah dirujuk kepada majlis
ulamak di kerajaan Samudra Pasai. Isunya membabitkan soalan adakah syurga
dan neraka telahpun wujud pada masa sekarang.
Dalam contoh yang lain, terdapat catatan bagaimana Nuruddin Al-Raniri
telah dilantik sebagai penasihat agama tertinggi di kerajaan Samudra Pasai. Beliau
juga turut dilantik atas kapasiti yang sama di kerajaan Pahang, apabila beliau
berkunjung ke negeri tersebut (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 1990, h. 127-130). Ini
antaranya menunjukkan bahawa hubungan intelektual dan politik kerajaan
Melayu di Alam Melayu memang rapat tanpa memperkirakan semangat
kesukuan yang sempit. Hal ini kemudiannya telah berubah dengan datangnya
penjajah British dan Belanda yang membawa semangat asabiyyah sempit
berasaskan kepada konsep Nation State. Jauh sebelum kedatangan kuasa penjajah
barat, masyarakat Alam Melayu telah berhubungan dengan cukup damai dan
saling melengkapkan antara satu sama lain (Rahimin Affandi Abdul Rahim, 2005,
h. 19-51).
Dalam aspek sosial kemasyarakatan pula, kita boleh mengesan beberapa
perkara utama; pertama, Kerajaan Melayu-Islam di Negeri Sembilan, Selangor dan
beberapa daerah lain telah dibangunkan oleh masyarakat Islam daripada
Indonesia. Atas dasar ukhuwah Islam masyarakat Tanah Melayu menerima
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
kedatangan saudara mereka daripada Indonesia dengan hati yang terbuka (Meor
Ahmad Noor Mior Hamzah , 2001, h. 66-96), dan kedua, penduduk asal Acheh
bebas berhijrah ke kawasan utara Tanah Melayu samada sebagai peniaga, ulamak
dan pejuang Islam untuk menentang penjajahan kuasa Barat.
Jalinan Intelektual Kaum Muda dan Kaum Tua
Rekord sejarah Tanah Melayu ada mencatatkan bagaimana ulamak daripada
kedua aliran reformisme dan tradisionalisme di kedua kawasan memang saling
berhubungan untuk memperkukuhkan aliran pemikiran masing-masing. Ulamak
Indonesia sering dijemput datang ke Tanah Melayu untuk berhujah dan
mngeluarkan pandangan dalam isu pertentangan ini. Majalah dan bahan buku
daripada Indonesia juga tersebar meluas di Tanah Melayu (Ibrahim Abu Bakar,
1994, h. 165-166).
Pertentangan Kaum Muda - Tua ini memperlihatkan bagaimana; pertama;
Ulamak proaktif dengan perkembangan di zaman mereka, dan bukannya menjadi
penyaksi peristiwa sejarah semata-mata tetapi turut berusaha menanggani isu ini
dengan proaktif dan kedua, pertentangan kaum muda-tua ini berlaku kerana
faktor perbezaan falsafah, aliran dan paradigma menggunakan Islam untuk
menghadapi keperluan zaman. Hal ini kemudiannya tidak mati begitu sahaja
bahkan masih diteruskan hingga pada zaman moden ini. Banyak idealism
dipegang oleh kedua aliran ini masih lagi kekal hingga zaman moden. Beberapa
contoh boleh diberikan, antaranya;
1. Banyak sekolah dan Madrasah daripada aliran reformisme tumbuh dengan
begitu pesat sekali. Aliran ini telah mendapat momentumnya di Malaysia
apabila aliran reformisme (asalnya daripada aliran kaum Muda) diterima
secara meluas oleh IPT di Malaysia. Manakala fahaman tradisionalism
(asalnya aliran kaum Tua) tetap kekal di Malaysia dan Indonesia yang
bertumpu di pondok-pesantren tradisional (Rahimin Affandi Abdul Rahim,
2000, h. 21 – 43).
2. Agensi agama Islam di Malaysia tetap kuat berpegang kepada aliran
tradisional kerana mereka telah membentuk status quo yang tersendiri
(Rahimin Affandi Abdul Rahim, 2008).
Pada penghujung tahun 1930-an, isu pertentangan kaum muda-kaum tua telah
mula beransur hilang disebabkan oleh beberapa faktor semasa yang timbul di
kalangan masyarakat Melayu seperti dominasi golongan nasionalis Melayu
memperjuangkan kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu (Mohd. Sarim Mustajab, h. 150).
Keadaan ini telah mendorong sesetengah sarjana mengatakan bahawa kaum muda
telah gagal dalam usaha mereka menjalankan usaha tajdid di Tanah Melayu
(Ibrahim Abu Bakar, h. 171-172). Kenyataan ini sebenarnya tidak berasas kerana
usaha tajdid kaum muda dalam kontek sejarah Malaysia telah meninggalkan
banyak kesan jangka panjang dan juga kesan jangka pendek.
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Dilihat dari kesan jangka pendek, kaum muda telah menglahirkan
golongan intelektual Melayu yang dapat menganalisa perkembangan baru yang
timbul di dalam masyarakat Melayu akibat dari dasar pemodenan kuasa British.
Kesedaran ini kemudiannya telah mencetuskan kesederan politik (nasionalisme)
orang Melayu yang melahirkan beberapa pertubuhan politik berteraskan Islam
dan Melayu seperti HAMIM, PAS, dan KMMM. Pertubuhan-pertubuhan ini
kemudiannya menyebarkan beberapa intipati utama gerakan tajdid kaum muda
seperti penekanan kepada kepentingan akal dan logik, tauhid, kepentingan
pendidikan moden, pembangunan ekonomi bangsa Melayu, demokrasi dan
perpaduan umat Islam sejagat (Mohd. Sarim Mustajab, h. 151-152).
Jalinan dakwah dan intelektual di Zaman Kebangkitan Semula Islam (Tahuntahun 1970an-1990an)
Di akhir dekad 70an dan permulaan dekad 80an, sepertimana masyarakat Islam
luar, keadaan di Malaysia juga telah dilanda dengan gelombang kebangkitan
semula Islam. Arus ini adalah ditandai dengan munculnya kesedaran untuk
menyerap dan menegakkan nilai-nilai dan etika Islam dalam seluruh kehidupan
(Husin Mutalib, 1990, h. 127-147) yang diperjuangkan oleh sejumlah besar
pertubuhan Islam seperti ABIM, PAS, Tabligh, Arqam, PERKIM, USIA dan
Hasrat dan keinginan kepada penghayatan Islam ini kemudiannya telah
turut sama diterima oleh pihak kerajaan sendiri. Dua contoh utama boleh
diberikan dalam soal ini. Pertama, asas dan kaedah gerakan reformasi yang
digambarkan oleh Walid Saif sebagai “The reformist moderate model which advocates
the use of peaceful means to produce desirable changes. The stress here is on evolution
rather than revolution. One of the basic common ideas in this context is to build up general
awareness and opinion and to create a wide public base through education, guidance, the
establishment of effective Islamically oriented service and public institutions” (Walid Saif,
1995, h. 59-60) telah diterima pakai oleh pihak kerajaan, memandangkan ianya
secara langsung tidak mencabar kewujudan dan keabsahan pihak kerajaan.
Sebaliknya, mengikut kaca mata pihak kerajaan, dasar dan prinsip golongan
reformasi ini sekiranya dilaksanakan akan menghasilkan suatu dasar yang cukup
baik dan teratur, dan apa yang lebih penting lagi ia dapat memberi peluang
kepada pihak kerajaan untuk mengelola dan mengawasi gerakan golongan
reformasi ini (W. Roof , 1988, h. 221-222).
Contoh yang kedua ialah gagasan anti sekularisme yang diperjuangkan
oleh badan dakwah dan juga sarjana tempatan telah diterima baik oleh pihak
kerajaan yang kemudiannya mencetuskan dasar Islamization. Selain dari faktor
untuk menolak populariti parti pembangkang (W. Roof , 1988, h. 151-156).
Menurut Prof. Muhammad Kamal Hassan, dasar ini pada asasnya dibuat
berdasarkan beberapa prinsip utama iaitu (Muhammad Kamal, 1996, h. 107-110);
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
Pertama, proses meletakkan Islam sebagai al-din (way of life) seperti mana yang
pernah dilakukan pada zaman sebelum kedatangan kuasa British. Ia juga
disifatkan sebagai proses membebaskan diri daripada warisan peninggalan
penjajah dan
Kedua,proses mengubah fahaman sekularisme (desecularization)
yang telah menyerap masuk ke dalam seluruh kegiatan kehidupan dan jentera
pentadbiran di negara Malaysia yang merdeka, dan ketiga, proses
memperbetulkan perancangan dan pelaksanaan kebanyakan dasar pembangunan
negara yang sebelumnya telah dipengaruhi sepenuhnya dengan fahaman
Di zaman ini, seperti mana halnya dengan zaman sebelumnya, perkaitan
dan jalinan dakwah serta intelektualism di antara dua kawasan Malaysia Indonesia masih lagi wujud, berasaskan semangat ukhuwwah seperti mana yang
terjalin di zaman sebelumnya. Antara jalinan yang dimaksudkan ini merangkumi;
Pertama, penyatuan idea dan kerjasama membabitkan gerakan Islam di
Malaysia dan Indonesia. Hal ini boleh dilihat dari pendekatan aspek latihan
dakwah antara gerakan Islam di dua kawasan dan juga penggunaan pendapat
sarjana-sarjana Islam Indonesia oleh gerakan Islam di Malaysia, di dalam
menanggani kebanyakan isu-isu yang timbul di Malaysia. Untuk memperjelaskan
lagi kenyataan ini kita boleh mengemukakan beberapa perkara penting, seperti
ABIM mempunyai hubungan yang rapat dengan Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam
(HMI) (Victor Tanja, 1982), yang dilaporkan telah turut serta menghadiri Seminar
Pengkaderan anjuran HMI ini pada tahun 1970 yang diadakan di Pekalongan,
Indonesia. Sejak itu, kebanyakan formula latihan kepimpinan dan dakwah yang
diamalkan oleh HMI telah turut diterimapakai oleh ABIM. Begitu juga, ABIM
telah menyanjung tinggi pendapat dan pandangan yang diberikan oleh tokohtokoh HMI seperti Dr. Deliar Noer, M. Imaduddin Abdul Rahim dan Azyumardi
Contoh lain, pendekatan perjuangan yang berbentuk reformism yang
disertakan dengan perancangan blueprint yang lengkap mengantikan pendekatan
secara retorik semata-mata yang diamalkan oleh Muhamadiyyah (Nasir Tamara,
2000, h. 367-372) telah ditiru oleh kebanyakan gerakan Islam di Malaysia, dengan
menubuhkan beberapa program dan institusi bentuk ini seperti KOHILAL, KBI,
Sekolah al-Amin, TASKA, TASKI dan sebagainya, sebagai usaha menanggani
persoalan yang timbul di dalam masyarakat (Husin Mutalib, h. 136-138). Begitu
juga, ABIM dengan kerjasama Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka telah menganjurkan
seminar tentang Hamka dan transformasi sosial di Alam Melayu, yang
mengkhususkan sumbangan yang telah diberikan oleh Hamka selaku sasterawan,
sejarahwan, pemikir sosial, ahli tafsir dan novelis, yang amat berpengaruh di
Malaysia. Seminar ini sekali lagi telah menonjolkan sumbangan Hamka selaku
intelektual ummah seperti mana tokoh-tokoh lain yang memang begitu terkenal di
rantau Alam Melayu (Peter Riddel, 2001; Hashim Musa, 2001).
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Kedua, pandangan dan banyak dari karya intelektual sarjana Indonesia
telah mendapat sambutan yang baik dari kalangan sarjana Malaysia. Apa yang
jelasnya, berbanding dengan realiti Malaysia, suasana budaya ilmu di Indonesia
adalah lebih pesat dan begitu prolifik sekali. Hal ini terbukti dengan wujudnya
kesungguhan usaha penterjemahan karya ilmiah Islam dan penghasilan karya
ilmiah yang lebih original oleh kalangan sarjana Indonesia. Rata-ratanya bukubuku ilmiah dari Indonesia ini, samada dalam bentuk terjemahan dan karya
original telah membanjiri kebanyakan kedai buku terkenal di Malaysia, yang
memungkinkan pengaliran pengaruh intelektual ala Indonesia ini memasuki alam
ilmiah Malaysia.
Jalinan Sarjana Kedua Kawasan dalam Wacana Islamisasi Ilmu
Gagasan Islamisasi ilmu ini antara lainnya mempunyai beberapa intipati utama;
Pertama, ilmu yang dipakai dalam kontek dunia semasa yang rata-ratanya
dipegang oleh masyarakat dunia adalah hasil pemakaian world-view dan sistem
epistemologi sekularisme barat memang bertentangan dengan prinsip Islam yang
wajib ditentang oleh umat Islam.
Kedua, ilmu barat dalam semua disiplin penuh dengan keburukan yang
mmberi kesan yang merosakkan sistem ekologi dan merosak jiwa manusia. Ia
akan membawa lebih banyak masalah kepada umat manusia. World-view
Sekularisme barat menolak agama sebagai neraca ilmu dan kebenaran di dalam
kehidupan manusia, sebaliknya agama dikatakan sebagai punca penderitaan umat
manusia (Idris Zakaria, 1999, h. 15-21). Sebagai gantinya, manusia moden yang
inginkan kemajuan perlu bergantung sepenuhnya kepada akal manusia sematamata.
Dalam konteks penguasaan ilmu pengetahuan, pergantungan kepada akal
manusia ini telah ditumpukan kepada dua aspek yang utama, (i) memahami
hakikat, kebenaran dan matlamat hidup manusia dan (ii) mempergunakan akal
tanpa bimbingan wahyu untuk tujuan pengurusan dan pembangunan hidup
manusia. Dalam aspek yang (i), perbincangan tentang elemen epistemologi (isu
sumber, status dan neraca penilaian sesuatu ilmu) ini telah melahirkan dua aliran,
rationalisme; akal sebagai sumber utama ilmu dan aliran empericisme; pengalaman
sebagai sumber ilmu dan kebenaran. Kedua-dua aliran ini pada dasarnya menolak
semua elemen ketuhanan dalam kehidupan manusia. Begitu juga dalam aspek ke
(ii), proses pengurusan dan pembangunan hidup manusia lebih bertumpu kepada
matlamat memberikan kepuasan kebendaan dan nafsu manusia.
Asas world-view sekularisme ini kemudiannya melahirkan falsafah
humanisme (Muhammad Kamal Hassan, 1996)– menumpukan semua urusan
pembangunan kehidupan dunia ini tanpa pertimbangan Akhirat semata-mata
untuk kepuasan diri dan nafsu manusia. Falsafah ini kemudiannya telah
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
melahirkan sejumlah besar paradigma disiplin keilmuan bagi tujuan pengurusan
dan pembangunan tamadun materialistik. Ianya terdiri;
Pertama, paradigma Logikal emperikal positivisme – bagi setiap kajian
keilmuan dan dianggap sebagai satu-satunya cara untuk mendapatkan ilmu yang
paling tepat dan betul, yang kononnya dibuat melalui kaedah yang cukup
sistematik, teliti dan objektif (Mohd Natsir Mahmud, 1997, h. 10-12). Manakala
pengkajian yang berpandukan sumber wahyu akan dianggap sebagai tidak
saintifik dan tidak boleh dibuktikan secara emperikal (semua perkara yang boleh
ditangani secara lahiriah dengan pancaindera) (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 2010, h.
71-72). Pendekatan ini pada dasarnya berpunca dari sikap mereka yang menolak
agama dan perkara-perkara ghaib yang tidak dapat dilihat dan ditangani dengan
pancaindera (Louay Safi, 1998, h. 190-199).
Kedua, pemakaian paradigma Materialistik-Mekanisme perlu dipakai
sepenuhnya dalam proses membangunkan aspek fizikal yang membabitkan alam
sekitar di dalam sesuatu masyarakat. Paradigma ini menganggap alam sebagai
sumber utama yang berupa material- mekanis semata-mata dan tidak mempunyai
nilai spiritual (nyawa) yang perlu bergantung kepada kuasa ketuhanan.
Pandangan ini telah melahirkan sifat sekularis dan individualistik yang lebih
menjurus kepada mementingkan kebajikan manusia berbanding dengan kebajikan
alam. Hasilnya, berasaskan kepada paradigma ini, dua penekanan telah diberikan;
(i) Alam dan segala isinya dianggap sebagai sumber utama yang bakal
menambahkan kekayaan manusia sekularis- yang perlu diperah hasilnya
semaksimum mungkin dan (ii) Alam perlu diteroka dan dikaji mengikut kerangka
pemahaman saintifik -materalism-sekularisme agar segala hukumnya yang
bersifat praktikal boleh dikaji demi untuk kepentingan manusia moden.
Intipati ketiga gagasan Islamisasi ilmu menetapkan bahawa sebelum ilmu
barat dapat diterima ianya perlu ditapis dan disaring menggunakan sistem
epistemologi Islam yang agak ketat. Mengikut Syed Naquibb al-Attas proses
tapisan ini perlu mengambilkira world-view, ontologi, epistemologi dan aksiologi
yang terkandung dalam ilmu barat. Lebih lanjut lagi, mengikut Ismail Faruqi,
proses tapisan ini memerlukan beberapa langkah utama; (Zaini Ujang, 1989, h. 3942)
1. Menguasai disiplin ilmu moden (barat).
2. Kajian mendalam terhadap sesuatu disiplin barat.
3. Menguasai warisan ilmu Islam.
4. Analisis warisan ilmu Islam.
5. Mengemukakan kaitan Islam kepada sesuatu disiplin moden.
6. Penilaian terhadap disiplin ilmu moden.
7. Penilaian terhadap warisan ilmu Islam.
8. Kajian terhadap masalah ummah.
9. Kajian terhadap masalah manusia sejagat.
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
10. Analisis dan sintesis terhadap kedua-dua disiplin moden dan Islam.
11. Penulisan buku teks yang mengandungi disiplin ilmu.
12. Menyebar luaskan ilmu yang telah diislamkan.
Mengikut pengamatan semasa, kita dapat mengesan beberapa yang
membabitkan gagasan Islamisasi ilmu ini di Malaysia dan Indonesia, kesemuanya
secara jelas memperlihatkan bahawa gagasan ini bukan setakat menjadi bahan
wacana semata-mata, bahkan turut dilaksanakan intipatinya dalam kehidupan;
Pertama, persetujuan terhadap keburukan proses sekularisasi yang dibawa
oleh penjajahan kuasa barat. Kesemua sarjana Islam di kedua kawasan bersetuju
bahawa proses penjajahan kuasa barat (British dan Belanda) telah menyebabkan
berlakunya proses sekularisasi dalam semua aspek kehidupan masyarakat Islam,
terpenting lagi fahaman ini telah meresap dalam pemikiran masyarakat Islam.
Ianya terdiri daripada;
Pengosongan alam tabii dan akal insani daripada unsur ketuhanan –
manusia bebas melakukan sesuatu program pembangunan tanpa
mempedulikan kuasa tuhan.
Penafian terhadap kekuasaan politik yang berdasarkan sumber agama.
Pengenalan sistem penilaian nisbi/relatif terhadap agama; manusia bebas
tentukan masa depannya sendiri.
Penurunan taraf ilmu agama, berbanding dengan ilmu bukan agama –
tumpuan lebih diberi kepada ilmu bukan agama yg kononnya boleh
membawa kemajuan (Mohd Hazim Shah Abdul Murad, 2005, h. 91- 92).
Penakrifan konsep kebenaran (truth) yang keliru dan mengikut paradigma
Kedua, penubuhan NGO/LSM khusus yang memperjuangkan gagasan
Islamisasi Ilmu. Dewasa ini, perjuangan menegakkan usaha pelestarian Islam
dalam masyarakat dikatakan boleh dibuat melalui beberapa cara; terlibat dalam
sistem pemerintahan, pendidikan dan NGO. Sarjana Islam di kedua kawasan rataratanya bersepakat bahawa peranan NGO Islam amat diperlukan bagi
memperjuangkan sesuatu gagasan tertentu. Bahkan dalam ketiga aspek yang
dinyatakan sebelumnya ianya bersifat complimentari antara satu sama lain bagi
melestarikan Islam dalam masyarakat Islam.
Peranan NGO ini yang ditubuhkan atas tujuan tertentu dan dianggotai
oleh sejumlah besar pakar ilmu (Intellectual Circle) memang mmpunyai sejarah
yang panjang dalam memperkembangkan keilmuan Islam dalam pelbagai falsafah
yang tersendiri. Di zaman klasik, walaupun ianya bukan bernama NGO tetapi
intipati utama perjuangan intellectual circle ini memang menyamai konsep NGO di
zaman moden ini.
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
Di Malaysia, gagasan Islamisasi ilmu telah melahirkan beberapa NGO
khusus. Selepas Malaysia mencapai kemerdekaan dan tersebarnya gelombang
kebangkitan semula Islam di tahun-tahun 1970-2000an, telah muncul intellectual
circle saintis Melayu-Islam yang bernaung di bawah ASASI. Kebanyakan mereka
terdiri daripada kakitangan akademik Melayu yang mendapat didikan daripada
universiti di Barat, tetapi kuat terpengaruh dengan idealism Islam (Mohamad Abu
Bakar, 2001, h. 407-410).
Kita boleh mengenalpasti beberapa peranan ASASI ini dalam
memperjuangkan konsep sains Islam. Antaranya; pertama, melakukan kritikan
dibuat terhadap konsep sains Barat. Butiran kritikan ini merangkumi penegasan
bahawa masyarakat Melayu seolah-olah tertipu apabila menganggap sains Barat
berfahaman sekular yang berasaskan logico positivisme sebagai paling benar dan
universal pengunaannya. Sedangkan konsep sains Barat ini sebenarnya dikritik
hebat oleh golongan saintis Barat di Eropah sendiri (Mohd Hazim Shah Abdul
Murad, 2005, h. 91-94).
Selain itu juga, konsep sains Barat yang diagung-agungkan sebenarnya
sains yang paling muda usianya berbanding dengan ilmu sains yang berteraskan
ciri tempatan dan ada hubungan dengan tuhan (Abdul Rahman Abdullah, 2010).
Di Alam Melayu sendiri sebelum kedatangan penjajah Barat telahpun ada warisan
sains Melayu yang agak cemerlang (seperti meriam Melayu yang dilaporkan lebih
hebat daripada meriam Portugis, kapal Melayu lebih kukuh daripada kapal
Eropah). Memang ada manuskrip Melayu yang mengandungi semua maklumat
sains Melayu ini (Shaharir Mohamad Zin, 2003, h. 157-203).
Apa yang jelasnya, Intellectual circle Melayu semasa seperti GAPENA dan
ASASI secara kuat memperjuangkan tentang kemampuan bahasa Melayu
digunakan sebagai bahasa ilmu untuk pengembangan ilmu sains. Mereka secara
terang-terangan mencabar dakwaan bahawa bahasa Melayu tidak mampu
digunakan untuk membangunkan pengetahuan bertaraf tinggi seperti konsep
sains Islam. ASASI memperjuangkan gagasan Pemeribumian sains Melayu-Islam.
Mengikut Osman Bakar, status negara Malaysia yang maju hanya akan dapat
dicapai apabila masyarakat Melayu membangunkan kaedah sainsnya sendiri, di
mana sains Barat diterima dan ditapis secara selektif dengan sains Melayu-Islam.
Dengan cara ini, masyarakat Melayu akan mempunyai kekuatan dari segi
peralatan, bahkan juga pemikiran (Osman Bakar, 1989 h. 10). Sebelum kedatangan
kuasa penjajah, masyarakat Melayu telahpun mempunyai pengetahuan dari segi
sains dan teknologi. Antaranya dalam bidang astronomi, astrologi, kosmogeni,
matematik, perubatan, fizik dan sains hayat.
Di Indonesia pula, pelbagai NGO Islam muncul seperti INSIST yang
membawa usaha penentangan terhadap fahaman liberalism barat yang
mempengaruhi ajaran Islam. Ia lebih berbentuk Counter Attack dengan usaha yang
dijalankan oleh golongan Islam liberal. Mengikut pandangan INSIST, konsep
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
kelimuan barat tidak harus diterima begitu sahaja, tetapi perlu dilihat kepada
world-view yang mendasari keilmuan tersebut.
World-view adalah pandangan manusia tentang diri, alam dan kehidupan.
Ianya ditentukan oleh agama, budaya, falsafah dan perkembangan S&T, yang
secara langsung mempengaruhi sikap dan tindakan seseorang. Mengikut Hamid
Zarkashi, world-view Islam adalah : visi tentang realiti dan kebenaran, berupa
kesatuan pemikiran yang arsitektonik, yang berperanan sebagai asas yang tidak nampak
(non-observable) bagi semua perilaku manusia, termasuk aktiviti ilmiah dan teknologi.
Antara elemen asas untuk world-view Islam terdiri dari konsep tuhan, wahyu dan
penciptaannya, psikologi manusia, ilmu, agama, kebebasan, nilai dan kebajikan
dan kebahagiaan. Elemen-elemen inilah yang kemudiannya yang menentukan
bentuk perubahan (change), perkembangan (development) dan kemajuan (progress)
dalam Islam (Hamid Fahmy Zarkasyi, 2004, h. 1-6). Atas dasar ini, ternyata
keilmuan barat moden memang memiliki elemen fahaman sekularisme yang
terkandung di dalamnya yang harus ditentang oleh umat Islam.
Apa yang diperjuangkan oleh INSIST ini ternyata bertepatan dengan
realiti wujudnya penganut aliran liberalism yang berpegang dengan paradigma
taasub melulu dengan semua elemen daripada barat yang dianggap sesuai dengan
konteks zaman moden. Lebih penting lagi, kumpulan Islam liberal ini telah
menimbulkan pelbagai isu liberalism yang merangkumi isu penindasan wanita,
ketertutupan Islam dengan perkembangan moden dan sikap anti terhadap
golongan bukan Islam (Abd Moqsith Ghazali, 2007, h. 412-431). Sebagai
contohnya, Luthfi Assyaukanie, menegaskan bahawa sekularisme tidak
bercanggah dengan Islam, malah ia memberi berkah kepada Islam dan agamaagama lain. Menurutnya lagi sebuah demokrasi yang baik hanya boleh
dilaksanakan jika ia mampu menerapkan prinsip-prinsip sekularisasi yang benar.
Amerika Syarikat, Australia dan negara-negara lain tidak menganggap
sekularisme sebagai musuh agama, bahkan pelindung agama. Penerapan yang
sebeginilah yang disarankan oleh Luthfi Assyaukanie untuk mendapat berkah
sekularisme (Luthfi Assyaukanie, 2007, h. 241-244).
Ketiga, penerapan gagasan Islamisasi ilmu dalam sistem pendidikan tinggi
Islam. Di Malaysia, gagasan Islamisasi ilmu telah dijadikan falsafah dan asas
utama penubuhan UIAM, USIM dan kemudiannya diterap sama oleh beberapa
IPT yang menawarkan disiplin pengajian Islam. Di Indonesia, beberapa UIN juga
dilihat berusaha menerapkan falsafah Islamisasi ini dengan menggunapakai
pelbagai teori pendidikan yang berbeza, walaupun falsafahnya tetap sama;
mengakui kelemahan sistem pendidikan Islam dan keperluan melakukan
Islamisasi ilmu. Ia dikesan membawa Teori Integrasi Ilmu Agama Dan Umum, Teori
Peta Laba-Laba, Teori Jaringan Roda Dan Teori Menara Berkembar. Terpenting sekali,
kita mendapati sarjana Malaysia kurang memberikan penekanan kepada aspek
falsafah yang bersifat abstrak, tetapi lebih suka menerapkan aplikasi Islamisasi
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
ilmu dalam kurikulum di IPTA. Hal ini berbeza dengan realiti di Indonesia,
mereka lebih suka menumpukan perhatian kepada konsep dan falsafah Islamisasi
ilmu, yang sayangnya soal aplikasi kurang diberikan penekanan.
Penerusan Wacana Idealism Islam yang Anti Ekstremism
Ia membabitkan penentangan terhadap pendekatan ekstremism dalam
pemahaman agama Islam. Sarjana dari kedua kawasan bersepakat bahawa
sebarang bentuk perjuangan yang menggunakan kaedah ekstremeism perlu
ditentang kerana ianya bakal merosakkan citra Islam itu sendiri. Walaupun
apapun nama dan tren perjuangan, mereka sepakat menolak elemen kekerasan
yang melampau, yang boleh diperincikan sebagai; (Hashim Musa, 2004, h. 232)
Pertama, extremisme; melampaui batas dan keseimbangan apabila
mentafsir dan melaksanakan sesuatu peraturan ataupun hukum secara ekstrem.
Kedua, chauvisnisme; taksub apabila menganggap fikiran atau kumpulan sendiri
adalah yang terbaik, manakala fikiran atau kumpulan lain tidak benar dan mesti
ditolak. Ketiga, fanaticisme; tindakan membuta tuli (menghampiri psikosis) dalam
mengikuti dan melaksanakan sesuatu cara, pendapat dan pendekatan sendiri
tanpa mempedulikan bahkan menolak sekeras-kerasnya pendapat orang lain.
Memang terdapat serangkaian aktiviti dan pegangan melampau yang
dijalankan oleh penganut Islam semasa, samada di Malaysia (Mohd Mizan Aslam,
2009, h. 145-157) ataupun Indonesia (Amir Santoso, 2007, h. 323-338 ; Haedar
Nashir, 2007,
h. 167-168), antaranya; Pertama, amalan melampau telah
bertanggungjawab menyebabkan perpecahan dan pertumpahan darah sesama
umat Islam yang cukup dashyat sekali. Contohnya boleh dilihat daripada
peritiswa kematian Imam Shafi’I yang dipukul oleh penganut fanatic mazhab
Maliki akibat perbezaan pendapat antara keduanya dalam satu isu furu’iyyah yang
kecil sahaja. Begitu juga halnya, dengan pergaduhan antara pengikut mazhab
Sunni dan Syiah di dalam isu-isu biasa yang sepatutnya boleh diselesaikan melalui
perbincangan ilmiah.
Contohnya boleh dilihat kepada kes Pengeboman Bali. Dalam perbicaraan
kes tersebut yang dibuat di mahmakah Indonesia yang turut dihadiri oleh
keluarga mangsa, tertuduh utama yang bernama Amrozi telah tersenyum sinis
dan mengatakan perkataan “go to hell with you infidel” kepada semua keluarga
mangsa korban yang berada di dalam mahkamah tersebut. Pihak media Barat
yang turut serta membuat liputan di dalam perbicaraan tersebut telah mengambil
kesempatan menjadikannya sebagai isu utama yang menonjolkan bahawa Islam
memang mengajar penganutnya bersikap zalim dan biadap terhadap golongan
bukan Islam. Lebih khusus lag, peristiwa 11 September yang memusnahkan WTC
dan Pentagon telah menyebabkan kuasa Barat yang dipimpin oleh Amerika
Syarikat melakukan pencerobohan terhadap dua Negara umat Islam, Aghanistan
dan Iraq.
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Kita dapat mengesan wujudnya pengaruh global salafi melampau yang
didasarkan kepada mentality perang Salib dan Neo-kolonialisme Barat, khususnya
terhadap kuasa Barat dan Zionisme, yang wajib digunakan kaedah kekerasan
untuk menangganinya. Lebih buruk lagi, hal ini turut diperpanjangkan dengan
faktor perbezaan mazhab dalam Islam, seperti kes perbezaan antara dua mazhab
terbesar dalam Islam, Sunni dan Syiah – Kes Kumpulan al-Qaedah di bawah
pimpinan Abu Mus’ab al-Zarkawi di Iraq. Bagi golongan ini, pembentukan sebuah
pemerintahan Islam bukan sekadar suatu alternatif, tetapi suatu kewajiban Syar’i
berdasarkan perintah dan kehendak Allah. Kerana itu setiap penganut Islam harus
patuh dengan mematuhi kehendak Allah ini, khususnya pemerintahannya yang
dijalankan oleh golongan ini – Kes pemerintahan Taliban di Aghanistan.
Memandangkan legitimasi pemerintah Islam didasarkan kepada syariah
Allah, maka pemerintah yang tidak mematuhi syariah adalah tidak sah. Manamana pemerintah dan individu Islam yang tidak mematuhi syariah Allah akan
dianggap bersalah dan kafir yang diperangi menggunakan konsep Jihad – Kes
pembunuhan Anwar Sadat oleh pengikut kumpulan Takfir wa al-Hijrah.
Bagi golongan ini, program penentangan terhadap pemerintah Islam yang
ingkar perlu diperluaskan untuk memerangi ulamak rasmi berserta dengan semua
pasarananya (seperti masjid dan sekolah) yang dilihat bergabung dengan pihak
pemerintah – Kes Jemaah Islamiyyah dan Front Pembela Islam di Indonesia. Jihad
melawan kekafiran dan golongan yang bersimpati dengannya adalah dianggap
sebagai tugas suci. Oleh sebab itu memerangi golongan ini diwajibkan ke atas
semua Mukmin sejati, yang perlu juga diperluaskan kepada semua golongan
awam dan kepentingan mereka. Seperti mana golongan Khawarij, golongan ini
menuntut komitmen kesetiaan dan ketaatan yang total. Bagi mereka, seseorang itu
dilihat dari segi status keagamaannya, hanya berada dalam dua keadaan sematamata; samada Islam ataupun kafir.
Mereka menegaskan bahawa golongan Kristian dan Yahudi dianggap
sebagai kafir, dan bukannya sebagai Ahli Kitab kerana hubungan mereka dengan
kuasa kolonialisme Barat dan Zionisme. Mereka dipandang sebagai rakan rapat
dalam sebuah konspirasi Yahudi-Kristian melawan Islam dan dunia Islam.
Akhirnya, generasi muda Islam digalakkan untuk terlibat di dalam memerangi
golongan kafir sebagai anti tesi kepada golongan Islam, yang dikatakan bakal
memperoleh status mati syahid seandainya sanggup mengorbankan dirinya
dalam pengeboman berani mati.
Bersamaan dengan pendekatan ini, sarjana Islam dari kedua kawasan
memperjuangkan agar umat Islam mengamalkan sikap selektif dengan keilmuan
Barat (Lili Yulyadi Arnakim & Ibnu Hamad, 2010, h. 3-10). Kita sering
terperangkap dengan sikap melampau yang menolak kesemua perkara yang
datang daripada Barat. Dalam soal keilmuan ini, sarjana dari kedua kawasan
mengakui memang terdapat beberapa elemen positif yang dimiliki oleh
Badlihisyam Mohd Nasir, Rahimin Affandi Abd. Rahim & Khafidz Hamzah
masyarakat Barat, khususnya yang membabitkan dunia ilmu. Bagi elemen yang
positif pula, kita dapat mengesan beberapa perkara yang boleh dijadikan input
berguna untuk proses berfikir bagi umat Islam. Ianya terdiri daripada (Abdul
Rahman Embong, 2003).;
1. Teori dan formula pembangunan barat adalah cukup dinamik dan sentiasa
2. Realiti masyarakat dan kepimpinan politik barat yang lebih telus dan
demokratik. (civil society).
3. Barat sentiasa melakukan proses reviewing terhadap semua konsep dan
paradigma silam yang diikuti dengan usaha penambahbaikian yang
sepatutnya. Hal ini boleh dilihat daripada usaha sarjana dan masyarakat
mengkritik kelemahan paradigma sekularisme silam – terbukti apabila mereka
lebih mengamalkan sikap positif dengan keperluaan agama dalam hidup
manusia. Ianya turut disertakan dengan usaha menitikberatkan dalam soal
penjagaan sistem ekologi dunia.
4. Realiti kepimpinan politik barat yang lebih suka berpegang kepada hasil R&D
yang dijalankan oleh para ilmuan.
5. Tahap kemajuan ekonomi masyarakat barat yang lebih maju, khususnya
membabitkan penguasaan dunia barat terhadap seluruh sistem di dunia,
antara lainnya kerana dunia barat memiliki kecanggihan ilmu pengetahuan
dan seterusnya mampu mendominasi semua elemen kehidupan dunia moden
(Hashim Musa, 2004, h. 191-192). Dalam soal ini, Hashim Musa menegaskan,
Amerika Syarikat sebagai tamadun teras barat kini mendahului negara-negara
lain di dunia dalam pelbagai bidang kira-kira 20 tahun ke hadapan, seperti;
mendahului bidang teknologi; memiliki sifat keusahawanan yang tinggi;
setiap lapisan rakyatnya digalakkan membuat eksperimen dan inovasi yang
bermula daripada kosong. Contohnya, apa yang dijalankan oleh Microsoft dan
Dell Computers; membenarkan tenaga muda dalam organisasi bersuara dan
memimpin jika berupaya; berjaya memupuk dan memanfaatkan akal fikiran
tenaga muda yang aktif dan produktif untuk kemajuan organisasi dan
6. Konsep modal insan barat menitikberatkan beberapa sifat yang amat
diperlukan untuk kerjaya moden, merangkumi; (H. Syahrin Harahap, 1999, h.
11-25) tindakan menunda kesenangan jangka pendek untuk kesenangan
jangka panjang; memanfaatkan waktu dan etos kerja yang cemerlang; yakin
dengan keadilan dapat disebarkan kepada manusia; menekankan pengamalan
budaya ilmu sebagai kaedah untuk melahirkan kreatifiviti akal yang tinggi,
dan akhir sekali, menyanjung tinggi bakat dan kemampuan serta penghargaan
diberikan berdasarkan prestasi dan bukannya berasaskan kepada paradigma
Ulama dan Wacana Islam dalam Hubungan Intelektual di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia
Sebagai rumusan akhir, kita boleh menegaskan bahawa terdapat beberapa intipati
terpenting berkaitan dengan pendekatan dakwah serantau, jika dirujuk kepada
perkembangan sejarah yang pernah berlaku di rantau Alam Melayu. Pertamanya,
walaupun kita sering berbangga dengan perkembangan hidup yang lebih baik di
zaman moden ini dan sering memandang rendah terhadap zaman silam, tetapi
dilihat dari segi kedinamikan perkembangan Islam di zaman silam, ternyata ianya
lebih baik berbanding dengan zaman moden ini. Keduanya, walaupun konsep dan
tema dakwah serantau telah mula diperkenalkan pada zaman moden ini, pada
hakikat sebenarnya dipandang dari sudut teori dan praktikalnya, ianya telah
diamalkan secara menyeluruh sejak dahulu lagi oleh kalangan penganut Islam di
Alam Melayu. Ketiganya, peranan yang cukup proaktif kearah melahirkan
intelektual ummah yang terdiri dari ulamak terbilang yang sanggup berkorban
demi menegakkan kalimah Allah di rantau Alam Melayu telah berjaya dimainkan
oleh institusi pendidikan Islam silam. Akhir sekali, kita boleh melihat aura
kehebatan jalinan dakwah dan intelektual silam masih lagi diteruskan sehingga
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Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp81-101
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Jabatan Fiqh dan Usul, Akademi Pengajian Islam,
Universit of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
([email protected], [email protected])
Generally, the distribution of Muslims’ estate in Singapore is based on the
Administration of Muslim Law Act which is known as AMLA. This act has been
enacted as a result of Muslims’ experience under British occupation and the
joining of Singapore to Malaysia. Although, this Act is part of the Personal Law
for Muslims, there are still some issues in terms of legal application and
Muslims’ understanding of the Islamic law itself that affect the full
implementation of the law in matters related to Muslims’ estates in Singapore.
This article is aimed at discussing these issues and to explore the real situation
of distribution of Muslims’ estates in Singapore.
Keywords: inheritance, Singapore, civil law, Islamic law
Kedatangan agama Islam di rantau Asia Tenggara telah memainkan peranan yang
banyak dalam mengubah kehidupan masyarakat Melayu. Malaysia dan Singapura
berkongsi sejarah yang sama yang mana Islam bermazhabkan Shafii telah dibawa
ke negara-negara ini oleh pedagang dan ulamak dari Arab dan India bermula
pada abad keempat belas dan seterusnya tersebar luas sekitar semenanjung
melalui pengaruh Kesultanan Melaka pada awal abad kelima belas (Hooker, 1983:
1-22; Abshire, 2011: 25, Rahimin Affandi, Ruzman, Nor Hayati & Norafifah, 2013:
223-224, Wan Zailan, Ahmad Zuhdi & Jasamad, 2013: 132-133).
Sewaktu Raffles tiba di Singapura pada tahun 1819 beliau mendapati
penduduk di Singapura ketika itu adalah berbangsa Melayu yang dipercayai telah
lama memeluk agama Islam (Tong, 2007: 49; Evans, 1927: 43; Shaharil Talib, 1995:
1-22, Maria, Rodney & Hanafi, 2009: 41). Mereka merupakan nelayan yang
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
mengamalkan sistem perundangan berpandukan kepada Undang-undang Adat
Melayu di bawah pemerintahan Dato’ Temenggong. Pulau tersebut mempunyai
jumlah penduduk kurang dari 200 orang dengan Dato’ Temenggong selaku
pentadbir mewakili pemerintah Sultan Johor bagi mentadbir Pulau Singapura.
Pemerintah Melayu ketika itu membuka kawasan pelabuhan bagi menarik
perdagangan yang dapat menghasilkan cukai dan hadiah serta menarik
perdagang dan orang asing bagi mempertingkat jumlah penduduk yang mana
dapat menyumbang kepada harta dan kekayaan kerajaan masa itu (Lee, 2008: 1).
Dengan kehadiran pihak British, tarikan perdagangan yang semakin luas memberi
kesan kepada pertambahan penduduk yang beragama Islam dengan kemasukan
perdagang-perdagang dari India, Arab dan sebagainya ke Singapura. Ini terbukti
dengan pembentukan Kuarters bagi masyarakat Islam oleh pihak British sebagai
penempatan bagi perdagang-perdagang Islam dari sememanjung Tanah Melayu,
Jawa, Arab dan Hadramaut yang dikenali dengan perkampungan Kampong Glam
(Perkins, 1984: 8; Hanizah, 1997: 71).
Undang-undang Islam Singapura
Agama Islam yang diterima di Singapura bukan sahaja dalam bentuk amalan
harian semata-mata tetapi juga turut diterapkan dalam bentuk undang-undang
tempatan. Perundangan Islam yang pertama dibentuk ialah Ordinan Perkahwinan
1880 yang dikenali sebagai Mahomedan Marriage Ordinance of 1880 sehingga diganti
dengan Muslim Ordinance 1957. Pada bulan Ogos 1961, kedua-dua Perdana
Menteri dari Persekutuan Tanah Melayu dan Singapura telah bersetuju untuk
mengaplikasi Undang-undang Pentadbiran Hukum Islam yang dilaksanakan di
dua bekas negeri-negeri selat iaitu di Melaka dan Pulau Pinang. Apabila perjanjian
telah dipersetujui pada 16 September 1963, peruntukan ini telah dimasukkan di
dalam Perlembagaan Singapura. Namun, Singapura telah keluar dari Persekutuan
Tanah Melayu pada bulan Ogos 1965 sebelum terbentuknya Majlis Ugama Islam
(Sharon Siddique, 1986: 315-326).
Kesan daripada perpisahan ini, Singapura sebagai salah sebuah negara
sekular memberi penekanan yang tegas bahawa polisi negara tidak boleh
bercampur aduk dengan keagamaan (Kong & Yeoh, 2003: 77), dan ini telah
dijadikan sebagai suatu amalan dan dasar perundangan di Singapura.
Walaubagaimanapun Kerajaan Singapura tetap memberi hak kebebasan
kepada rakyatnya untuk mengakui, mengamalkan serta menyebarkan agama
mereka sepertimana tertakluk dalam seksyen 15 perlembagaan negara. Selain itu
juga, terdapat beberapa seksyen yang khusus bagi masyarakat Islam Singapura
sepertimana termaktub dalam seksyen 152 Perlembagaan Singapura. Di dalam
seksyen ini mengiktiraf masyarakat Melayu sebagai penduduk pribumi Singapura
dan pemerintah harus mempromosikan perkara-perkara yang berhubungkait
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
dengan masyarakat Melayu. Dalam hal ini juga, seksyen 153 menjelaskan bahawa
pemerintah perlu membentuk badan Islam sebagai penasihat kepada presiden
dalam hal yang berhubung kait dengan agama Islam (Bouma et. al., 2008: 99).
Selepas perpisahan dengan Malaysia, ramai masyarakat Islam pada masa
itu, menuntut supaya diwujudkan sebuah badan yang dapat mengendalikan
pentadbiran orang-orang Islam dengan dibentuk suatu perundangan khusus
(Singh & Wheatley, 1990: 629). Hasilnya, pada tanggal 13 Disember 1965, suatu
rang Undang-undang Pentadbiran Hukum Islam telah dikemukakan di Parlimen
Singapura oleh Menteri Kebudayaan dan Hal Ehwal Sosial Othman Wok. Pada 30
Disember pada tahun yang sama dibacakan buat kali kedua di parlimen dan satu
jawatankuasa terpilih parlimen telah dibentuk untuk mengkaji rang undangundang tersebut dari setiap aspek dengan mengambil kira pendapat dan
pandangan dari pemimpin-pemimpin Islam Singapura, wakil-wakil pertubuhan
Islam dan juga pandangan dari individu-individu tertentu (Singapore
Government, 1966: 1).1 Di dalam bacaan kedua ini, Othman Wok telah
menjelaskan bahawa rang undang-undang hasil contoh yang diambil dari
sebahagian perundangan pentadbiran Undang-undang Islam Selangor 1952 yang
berkuatkuasa di beberapa negeri di Malaysia seperti Selangor, Negeri Sembilan,
Pahang dan Perlis. Segala pandangan dan cadangan dari orang ramai telah dikaji
dan dibincangkan oleh jawatankuasa terpilih dengan merumuskannya dan hasil
laporannya telah dibentangkan di parlimen pada 31 Mei 1966 dan dibacakan kali
ketiga pada 17 Ogos 1966.2
Dalam pembentangan Othman Wok kali ini, beliau menekankan bahawa
rang undang-undang yang dikemukakan bukan Undang-undang Islam itu sendiri
tetapi ia lebih melibatkan administrasi hukum Islam, menubuh sebuah Majlis
Ugama Islam, mempertimbangkan untuk memberi kuasa eksekutif kepada majlis
tersebut, menguatkan kuasa Mahkamah Syariah Singapura, had umur untuk
berkahwin dan pembelaan bagi kaum wanita Islam Singapura. Pada akhirnya
rang undang-undang tersebut telah diluluskan oleh Parlimen dan dikenali sebagai
Akta Pentadbiran Hukum Islam atau singkatannya AMLA ‘Administration of
Muslim Law Act’. Akta ini mula berkuatkuasa dan menjadi sebuah undang-undang
pada 25 Ogos 1966 (Sharon Siddique, 1986: 326) dan dua tahun kemudiannya iaitu
tahun 1968 Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura mula tertubuh dan beroperasi (Ahmad
Ibrahim, 1979: 47).
Jika diteliti perkara di dalam akta ini, Akta Pentadbiran Hukum Islam
(AMLA) dapat dibahagikan kepada dua bentuk perundangan iaitu pengurusan
hal ehwal keagamaan Islam serta kekeluargaan Islam yang turut melibatkan
persoalan pembahagian pusaka bagi orang Islam.
Perundangan yang berhubungkait dengan hal ehwal keagamaan adalah
pertama; Bidang kuasa Majlis Ugama Islan Singapura (MUIS), kedua; Pengurusan
Masjid dan Sekolah Agama (Madrasah) di Singapura, ketiga; pengurusan sumber
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
kewangan seperti Pengurusan wang Zakat, harta dan hartanah Waqaf, Nazar dan
Wasiat, keempat; Sijil Halal dan Pengurusan Haji, dan kelima; Urusan Pendaftaran
Kemasukan Agama Islam. Manakala perundangan yang berhubung kait dengan
hal ehwal kekeluargaan Islam, pertama; Bidang kuasa Mahkamah Syariah, kedua;
Perkahwinan dan Penceraian dan ketiga; Kehartaan.
Selain dari itu terdapat beberapa seksyen lain yang turut terkandung dalam
akta ini seperti kedudukan Pendaftar, Kadi dan Naib Kadi sebagai kakitangan
kerajaan, saksi dalam perbicaraan, bukti dalam perbicaraan, peraturan yang
dikemukakan oleh kerajaan Singapura dan hukuman bagi kesalahan-kesalahan di
bawah seksyen 129-140 AMLA.
Pembahagian Harta Pusaka Islam dalam Perundangan Singapura
Secara umumnya, pembahagian harta pusaka melalui kedua-dua perundangan ini
mempunyai tujuan yang sama dalam menyelesaikan pembahagian kepada ahli
keluarga yang terdekat “Immediate family” untuk menjaga kepentingan dan
kebajikan ahli keluarga dalam meneruskan kehidupan mereka melalui kaedah
yang telah ditetapkan dalam kedua-dua perundangan ini. Penetapan kaedah
susunan iaitu senarai yang awal didahulukan merupakan suatu cara
mengenalpasti individu-individu terawal yang layak mewarisi serta ahli keluarga
yang bakal mengambil alih hak mewarisi agar harta-harta yang ditinggalkan
dapat dimanfaatkan oleh kesemua ahli waris yang berhak dan saling bantumembantu sesama ahli keluarga.
Dalam menyelesaikan pusaka si mati adalah penting mengenal pasti sama
ada si mati telah meninggal wasiat yang diiktiraf untuk menentukan status
pusakanya samada pusakanya ditinggalkan wasiat (Testate) atau tanpa wasiat
(Intestate). Dalam keadaan ada wasiat pusakanya akan dibahagikan mengikut
ketetapan wasiat si mati (Sussman et. al, 1970: 16). Bagi kes tanpa wasiat secara
umumnya dalam perundangan sivil, pembahagian pusaka akan dibahagikan
kepada ahli waris berpandukan kepada urutan berikut iaitu didahulukan
pasangan dan anak-anak si mati, diikuti dengan ibu bapa, adik-beradik dan anak
saudara, datuk- dan nenek, dan terakhir, bapa saudara dan ibu saudara (Sussman
et. al, 1970: 17).
Walaubagaimanapun dari segi pelaksanaannya amalan di setiap negara
yang mengamalkan perundangan sivil adalah berbeza dari sudut teknikalitinya.
Sebagai contoh, amalan di Singapura, sekiranya si mati meninggalkan pusaka
tanpa wasiat pasangannya berhak mendapat setengah dari pusakanya dan baki
setengah akan dikongsi oleh anak-anak. Bagi mereka di Malaysia, pasangan yang
masih hidup hanya layak memperolehi sepertiga dari harta dan duapertiga akan
dikongsi oleh anak.3
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
Dalam perundangan Islam, panduan khusus dalam mengenalpasti ahli
waris serta bahagian-bahagian yang berhak diwarisi termaktub dalam sumber
syariah yang utama iaitu al-Qur’an dan hadith dengan ahli waris yang utama
adalah pasangan si mati, anak lelaki dan anak perempuan serta ayah dan ibunya.
Selain dari itu telah ditetapkan ahli waris lain yang akan mewarisi sebahagian
harta bagi menggantikan ahli waris utama yang tiada semasa pemergian si mati.
Dalam penentuan bahagian yang berhak diwarisi, sebahagian ahli waris akan
mewarisi melalui penentuan bahagian yang telah ditetapkan, sebahagian yang lain
pula akan mewarisi setelah menolak bahagian-bahagian ahli waris yang lain.
Sekiranya, bahagian yang dikongsi oleh lelaki dan wanita dalam kedudukan yang
sama seperti anak lelaki dan anak perempuan, cucu lelaki dan cucu perempuan,
lelaki akan memperoleh dua kali ganda dari bahagian wanita (Al-Sabuni, 1388H:
49, 65 & 68), ia dilihat dari sudut peranan dan tanggungjawab kewangan yang
lebih berat ke atas seorang lelaki (Abbas, Fadil Hassan & ‘Abbas, Sana’ Hassan,
1991: 322), berbanding Undang-undang Sivil yang tidak membezakan status
mereka disebabkan jantina.
Dalam peruntukkan Akta Pentadbiran Hukum Islam yang lebih dikenali
sebagai ‘Administration of Muslim Law Act’ atau singkatannya AMLA Mahkamah
Syariah mempunyai bidangkuasa untuk mengeluarkan sijil warisan bagi mereka
yang bermohon sepertimana yang termaktub dalam seksyen 115 AMLA.
Walaubagaimanapun segala tuntutan serta perbicaraan berkenaan harta pusaka
hanya boleh dituntut dan dikemukakan di Mahkamah Sivil. Dalam satu kes
tuntutan ke atas harta peninggalan iaitu Saniah Ali lwn Abdullah Ali, dimana
Abdullah Ali menuntut haknya secara faraid daripada Saniah Ali selaku yang
merupakan penama bagi wang Tabung Simpanan Pekerja atau lebih dikenali
sebagai ’Central Providents Fund’, Mahkamah Tinggi memutuskan bahawa jumlah
wang di dalam CPF tidak tertakluk di bawah harta pusaka si mati dan tidak
tertakluk di bawah seksyen 112(1) AMLA yang menyatakan,”(1) In the case of any
Muslim person domiciled in Singapore dying intestate, the estate and effects shall be
distributed according to the Muslim law as modified, where applicable, by Malay custom.“
Dengan itu, Plantiff iaitu Saniah Ali berhak ke atas kesemua wang yang dibayar
oleh Badan CPF. Oleh kerana mahkamah yang membicarakan kes ini adalah
mahkamah sivil maka keputusannya adalah berasaskan kepada perundangan sivil
dan undang-undang pusaka Islam tidak diambil kira (Saniah Ali lwn Abdullah Ali
[1990] SLR 584-593).
Mahkamah Syariah Singapura hanya mempunyai bidangkuasa dalam
membicarakan kes-kes penceraian yang melibatkan pasangan yang beragama
Islam dan hanya mengeluarkan sijil warisan bagi ahli waris yang memohon untuk
pembahagian pusaka si mati sepertimana yang dinyatakan dalam seksyen 112
dan 115 AMLA.
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Permasalahan Pembahagian Harta Pusaka Islam di Singapura
Berdasarkan kajian-kajian lepas, permasalahan dalam pembahagian harta pusaka
orang Islam di Singapura adalah isu yang telah wujud sekian lama di dalam
pelbagai aspek terutamanya dalam pertembungan undang-undang antara sivil
dan syariah. Dalam masa yang sama, terdapat beberapa permasalahan dalam
instrumen syariah yang tidak diaplikasikan dengan cara yang sepatutnya
antaranya pertembungan Undang-undang Sivil dan Hukum Islam, pengabaian
fatwa oleh pihak Mahkamah Sivil, perancangan harta yang tidak kemas,
kesedaran hukum pusaka Islam yang rendah.
Pertembungan Undang-undang Sivil dan Hukum Islam
Pertembungan undang-undang Sivil dan syariah bukan sesuatu isu yang baru
dalam sesebuah negara. Ini kerana tidak semua perkara yang bersesuaian dengan
syariat wujud dalam perundangan sivil khususnya melibatkan sesuatu yang
berhubungkait dengan kehartaan. Harta-harta yang tertakluk di bawah
perundangan sivil secara khusus tidak boleh dicabar atau dituntut oleh manamana perundangan atau pandangan hukum agama.
Jenis kehartaan yang dikawal di bawah perundangan khusus adalah
pemilikan bersama (Joint Tenancy) untuk perumahan, Join Asset seperti wang
simpanan bank dan polisi insurans dan penama (Nominee) untuk Wang Simpanan
Pekerja Central Provident Fund (CPF) dan polisi insurans.
Pemilikan Rumah secara ’Joint Tenancy’
Sekiranya berlaku kematian ke atas pemilik harta dalam masalah ’Joint Tenancy’.
Pemilik bersama yang masih hidup akan memiliki keseluruhan harta yang
dikenali sebagai ’Right of Survivorship’. Tiada sebarang tuntutan boleh dibuat oleh
mana-mana pihak untuk mewarisi harta tersebut. Ia merupakan prinsip undangundang dalam perkara yang melibatkan andaian ’Resulting Trust’ dan andaian
’Advancement’ (Halijah Mohamad, 2011: 97).4
Terdapat sebuah kes yang melibatkan ahli waris sekeluarga membuat
tuntutan ke atas pusaka rumah privet yang dimiliki antara Al-Marhum dan
Isterinya. Ke di antara Shafeeq bin Salim Talib & lain-lain lwn Fatimah Bte Abud bin
Talib & lain-lain. Plantif selaku Wasi (Executor) bagi pusaka Obeidillah bin Salim
bin Talib menuntut agar pusaka rumah yang dimiliki bersama oleh defenden
dengan si mati dibahagikan mengikut Undang-undang orang Islam sepertimana
yang termaktub di dalam seksyen 112(1) AMLA. Namun, berdasarkan
perundangan sivil rumah yang dikongsi berdasarkan kontrak ’Joint Tenancy’ tidak
lagi dianggap sebagai salah satu daripada pusaka bagi si mati. Turut
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
dikemukakan semasa perbicaraan, fatwa yang dikemukakan oleh Jawatankuasa
Fatwa bahawa harta sebegini diambilkira sebagai harta sepenceraian antara si mati
dan isterinya ke atas harta yang dimiliki bersama. Dengan itu, setengah dari
pusaka tersebut perlu dibahagikan secara faraid. Berdasarkan kepada keterangan
dan bukti yang dijelaskan di Mahkamah Tinggi, Mahkamah dapati tiada sebarang
ketetapan dalam AMLA atau perundangan lain yang mencadangkan agar
’Common law’ dalam masalah pemilikan ’Joint Tenancy’ tidak boleh diaplikasikan
ke atas orang Islam. Atas dasar itu, mahkamah memutuskan bahawa defenden
berhak secara keseluruhannya ke atas rumah yang dimiliki secara bersama yang
mana defenden merupakan satu-satunya pemilik bersama yang masih hidup.
Dengan ini, plantif telah gagal dalam permohonannya dan dikenakan bayaran kos
mahkamah. Pada tahun berikut, kes ini dirayu kembali dan berakhir dengan
rayuannya ditolak juga kerana keterangan yang dikemukakan tidak kukuh (Shafeeq
bin Salim Talib & Anor lwn Fatimah Bte Abud bin Talib & Anor [2009] 3 SLR 439-451; [2010] 2
SLR 1123-1153)..
Melalui perbahasan kedua-dua kes di atas mendapati kontrak ’Joint Tenancy’
mempunyai kesan kepada jumlah hak yang dimiliki dan perpindahan secara
automatik yang berlaku sekiranya berlaku kematian ke atas salah seorang dari
pemilik. Dengan pemindahan secara automatik apabila berlakunya kematian
mengakibatkan pertembungan kepada fatwa yang menjelaskan bahawa 50% dari
hak milik rumah tersebut perlu dibahagikan mengikut faraid dan bukan
pemilikan mutlak bagi pemilik yang hidup (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, 1991:
Sadali Rasban5 (2010: 21-21) berpandangan bahawa fatwa berkenaan hak
milik rumah secara ‘Joint Tenancy’ tidak seharusnya bertentangan dengan konsep
perundangan ‘Joint Tenancy’ yang memberikan hak mutlak kepada pemilik yang
masih hidup sekiranya berlaku kematian ke atas salah seorang dari pemilik. Fatwa
yang membahagikan hak 50:50 telah meninggalkan kemudaratan kepada ahli
waris terdekat terutamanya Isteri dan anak-anak si mati. Ketatapan setengah dari
bahagian hak milik rumah yang perlu difaraidkan akan menyebabkan ahli
keluarga perlu berpindah dari rumahnya bagi menyelesaikan pembahagian
pusaka ke atas sebahagian dari hak milik rumah tersebut.
Harta Penamaan (Nomination) Wang Simpanan Pekerja
Penamaan atau Nominee merupakan suatu kontrak pemindahan harta semasa
yang tertakluk di bawah perundangan memerlukan kepada penilitian serta
pemahaman yang konkrit terhadap kedudukannya dalam perundangan dan
kesesuainnya dengan hukum syariat.
Fatwa MUIS tahun 19716 dan fatwa tahun 1978 di Malaysia,7 kedua-dua
jawatankuasa fatwa memutuskan bahawa Penama (Nominee) hanya dianggap
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
sebagai Wasi atau pengamanah yang mana apabila menerima wang tersebut perlu
mengembalikan hartanya kepada ahli waris untuk dibahagikan secara faraid dan
bukan sebagai pewaris mutlak sepertimana yang difahami dalam perundangan
Pertembungan undang-undang dan hukum Islam dalam masalah ini dapat
dilihat dalam kes Saniah Ali lwn Abdullah Ali, kes ini melibatkan dua jumlah iaitu
$8.038.76 dan $60,607.71 yang dikeluarkan melalui Wang Simpanan Pekerja (CPF)
si mati Salleh bin Ali. Plantif yang merupakan kakak tiri kepada si mati memohon
kepada mahkamah bagi menjelaskan kedudukan wang yang diperolehi secara
penamaan melalui bayaran langsung oleh Badan CPF kepada beliau. Dalam kes
ini juga, defenden yang merupakan adik beradik lelaki kandung menuntut agar
wang yang dipindahkan secara nominasi agar dibahagikan mengikut seksyen 111,
112 & 115 AMLA yang menjelaskan bahawa segala pusaka orang Islam
dibahagikan mengikut hukum Islam. Defenden juga mengemukakan sijil pusaka
yang dimohon melalui Mahkamah Syariah dalam menentukan ahli waris yang
berhak mewarisi pusaka si mati. Jumlah pertama yang telah dibayar oleh Dana
Wang Simpanan Pekerja telah dipersetajui bahawa ianya merupakan milik
defendan. Perselisihan yang berlaku adalah ke atas jumlah kedua sama ada ianya
tertakluk di bawah Akta CPF atau Akta AMLA. Peguam bagi pihak defendan
turut mengemukakan keterangan fatwa berkenaan pandangan hukum Islam
tentang penamaan ini melalui surat yang dikemukakan oleh pihak peguam
kepada Majlis Ugama Islam. Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi berpandangan bahawa
fatwa hanya merupakan pandangan Majlis dan Mahkamah tidak terikat
kepadanya dan perkara yang berbangkit dalam kes ini adalah pihak manakah
yang berhak ke atas wang yang dibayar disebabkan kematian seorang muslim di
Singapura berpandukan kepada Akta CPF dan AMLA dan bukan undang-undang
Islam. Hakim berpandangan dan memutuskan bahawa wang yang berjumlah
$60,607.71 bukan sebahagian daripada harta pusaka si mati dan tidak tertakluk di
bawah seksyen 112(1) AMLA. Plantif iaitu Saniah Ali berhak ke atas kesemua
wang yang dibayar oleh Badan CPF berdasarkan kepada Akta CPF. Hasil
daripada itu, keputusan ini telah menyebabkan pertembungan antara fatwa yang
diputuskan pada tahun 1971 dengan ketetapan undang-undang itu sendiri (Saniah
Ali lwn Abdullah Ali [1990] SLR 584-593.).
Hasil Wang Insurans
Di Singapura, perkara yang melibatkan insurans termasuk takaful tertakluk di
bawah peruntukan yang tersendiri bagi mengawal segala transaksi urusniaga
yang dikenali Akta Insurans tahun 2002.9 Pemilikan Insurans dan takaful adalah
sebahagian dari harta yang dimiliki hasil dari pembelian dari syarikat-syarikat
insurans yang menawarkan pelbagai jenis insurans bagi membantu kos kehidupan
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
lain seperti kos kesihatan, kos pelayaran luar negeri, kos kenderaan dan beberapa
kos lain yang memerlukan pembelanjaan yang tinggi tanpa insurans.
Pertimbangan yang perlu diambil kira adalah kedudukannya sama ada
diterima sebagai salah satu bentuk pusaka yang halal diwarisi atau tidak. Dalam
hal ini, para fuqaha berbeza pendapat tentang keharusan harta insurans yang
turut memberi kesan kepada pemilikannya sebagai sebuah aset yang diakui
syarak. Majoriti para ulamak mengharamkan kontrak insuran tertamanya
insurans hayat kerana unsur urusniaga yang tidak diketahui (Jahalah), riba,
perjudian (Maysir) dan tidak pasti (Gharar) dalam insurans konvesional (Al-Basyir,
2002: 4). Bagi para ulamak yang mengharuskan kontrak insurans berhujjah atas
dasar keperluan dalam kehidupan, keperluan dapat mengatasi sesuatu unsur
penipuan atau tidak pasti dan mengambil kira kaedah fiqh “Asal sesuatu
diharuskan kecuali ada dalil yang mengharamkannya” (al-Darir, 1990: 653).
Sekiranya diteliti kepada yang dikeluarkan fatwa di Singapura,
Jawatankuasa fatwa MUIS tahun 1988 telah memutuskan masyarakat Islam
diberikan kebebasan untuk memilih pandangan ulamak dengan mengambil kira
tahap keperluan mereka kepada insurans. 10
Dengan itu, selagimana sesuatu insurans yang merupakan kontrak terkini
dalam pasaran tidak memiliki empat unsur yang dinyatakan di atas dan
mendapati keperluan kepadanya, insurans diharuskan dari sudut syarak dan
menjadi sebahagian dari harta (Al-Zarqa’, 1994: 91). Selain itu juga, Takaful turut
ditawarkan di Singapura oleh syarikat HSBC, syarikat ini menawarkan pelbagai
produk seperti pelan takaful perlindungan keluarga, perlindungan rumah,
perlindungan kenderaan, Takaful pakej Umrah dan Takaful pakej Masjid
(Barrister Binta Kabir Isa & Kabiru Isa Dandago, 2010: 9). Namun pasaran takaful
di Singapura masih rendah dan hanya menyumbang kepada satu peratus dalam
pasaran Insurans sedunia.11
Pengabaian Fatwa oleh Pihak Mahkamah Sivil
Dalam Seksyen 32 Akta AMLA menyatakan bahawa mana-mana pihak termasuk
mahkamah boleh membuat permohonan kepada Majlis Ugama bagi mendapatkan
fatwa dalam perkara yang berhubungkait dengan undang-undang Islam. Namun,
melihat kepada kes-kes yang dibincangkan lalu didapati bahawa mahkamah telah
menolak fatwa-fatwa yang dikemukakan sebagai sebahagian daripada bukti-bukti
yang diketengahkan semasa perbicaraan dalam kes yang melibatkan harta pusaka
orang Islam di Singapura. Hal ini berlaku disebabkan fakta yang dikemukakan
tidak sama sekali secara logiknya dapat dipertahankan dan ia tidak selari dengan
undang-undang berpandukan kepada intrepertasi mahkamah serta berlawanan
dengan dasar keadilan dan kesaksamaan (Aidil Zulkifli, 2009: 3-4).
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Ini dapat dilihat dalam kes Mohamed Ismail bin Ibrahim and Another v
Mohammad Taha bin Ibrahim. Dalam kes ini terdapat wasiat yang menetapkan
bahawa pusaka perlu dibahagikan tiga bahagian dengan 1/3 dari bahagian itu
hendaklah dibahagikan mengikut kaedah nuzriah. Konsep Nuzriah merupakan
sebahagian dari bentuk nazar bersyarat ’Nadhar Mu’allaq’ dengan nazarnya itu diberikan
kepada sebahagian ahli keluarga dan menjadi amalan sebahagian penduduk kampung di
Yaman dari kalangan Mazhab Syafii. Perlaksanaan nazar dapat ditetapkan kepada 3 hari
atau sejam sebelum kematian penazar (Al-Syatiri, Muhammad bin Ahmad, 1997: 433-435;
Ba’alwi, ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Husyayn bin ‘Umar al-Mahsyur, t. th.: 305 &
307). Persoalan yang timbul adalah kebenaran seorang muslim melakukan nazar
ke atas hartanya di Singapura. Peguam defendan telah memohon kepada
Jawatankuasa Fatwa berkenaan persoalan nuzriah yang diwasiatkan itu. Salinan
fatwa yang memperakui kesahihah nuzriah telah diberikan kepada peguam
plantif. Fatwa bertarikh 1 Jun 1999 menyatakan bahawa nuzriah bukannya wasiat
sebagai jawapan kepada pertanyaan firman guaman Mallal & Namazie berkenaan
nuzriah. Oleh kerana itu, pemberian atas dasar nuzriah tidak ada had maksimum
dan boleh diberikan kepada orang yang sama serta tidak melanggar undangundang Islam. Begitu juga dalam fatwa sebelumnya yang dikeluarkan pada 3
Ogos 1998 menjelaskan bahawa nuzriah adalah akad yang sah dan masih
berkuatkuasa walaupun pihak-pihak yang diberikan pemberian tersebut
menafikan haknya ke atas bahagian nuzriah tersebut. Pada 5 April 2002, Tuan Haji
Maarof Salleh, Presiden MUIS ketika itu turut mengeluarkan surat pengesahan ke
atas segmen nuzriah dalam kes ini. Namun, plantif menolak keputusan serta
pandangan berkenaan nuzriah dan berpandangan bahagian yang ditetapkan
secara nuzriah perlu dibahagikan mengikut hukum faraid. Setelah mendengar
hujah serta bukti-bukti yang dikemukakan semasa perbicaraan, mahkamah
mendapati bahawa penetapan untuk melaksakan nuzriah itu terbatal, tidak semua
ilmuwan membenarkan nuzriah kepada anak-anak dan tiada sebarang
persetujuan dikalangan ilmuwan tentang keharusan nuzriah ini. Mahkamah
memutuskan bahawa nuzriah adalah sedikit sebanyak sama dengan wasiat untuk
diberikan kepada ahli waris yang tidak dibenarkan dalam hukum Islam. Dengan
itu, bahagian yang telah ditetapkan sebagai nuzriah perlu dibahagikan kepada
ahli waris yang berhak sepertimana yang ditentukan dalam sijil pusaka yang
dikeluarkan oleh Mahkamah Syariah (Mohamed Ismail bin Ibrahim and another v.
Mohammad Taha bin Ibrahim [2004] 4 SLR 756-783).
Dari satu sudut, mahkamah mengambil kira hukum Islam sepertimana
yang ditetapkan dalam seksyen 114 AMLA. Namun, peranan fatwa dalam
masalah ini turut mendapat tamparan disebabkan hujah yang dianggap tidak
kukuh oleh mahkamah.
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
Perancangan Harta yang Tidak Kemas
Para pemikir Islam dan pengkaji masa kini telah mengemukakan pelbagai
perbincangan dan huraian kepada permasalahan yang wujud dengan
mengemukakan beberapa cadangan dalam menyelesaikan permasalahan tersebut.
Di Singapura, jawatankuasa fatwa dan beberapa agensi perancangan harta telah
berusaha untuk menyelesaikan isu-isu yang wujud. Isu dapat diselesaikan dari
satu sudut kemaslahatan ahli keluarga tetapi terdapat beberapa perkara lain juga
turut wujud di dalam membuat perancangan dan kaedah tuntutan harta pusaka.
Hal ini dapat dilihat dalam kes yang berlarutan dalam pembahagian harta
pusaka Gedung Kuning keluarga Al-Marhum Haji Yusoff Haji Mohd Noor, AlMarhum telah melantik dua pengamanah melalui wasiat untuk membahagikan
harta kepada 11 orang ahli waris termasuk 16 orang cucu tersenarai dalam wasiat
tersebut. Pada tahun 2000, perkara ini telah dibawa ke jawatankuasa fatwa dan
diputuskan bahawa wasiat tersebut terbatal dan harta perlu dibahagikan secara
faraid. Menurut cicit kepada Al-Marhum iaitu Hidayah Amin, sebelum perkara
tersebut di bawa ke Jawtankuasa Fatwa, pengamanah bagi wasiat tersebut iaitu
Zhukeflee Ismail telah berjanji akan mematuhi keputusan fatwa. Namun,
pengamanah tidak dapat memenuhi keputusan tersebut kerana sewaktu ahli
waris mengemukakan persoalan kepada Jawatankuasa fatwa, ia tidak dijelaskan
sepenuhnya dalam perkara yang berhubungkait dengannya dan masih lagi
terdapat beberapa persoalan belum terjawab oleh Jawatankuasa Fatwa. Menurut
beliau juga, keputusan yang dikeluarkan adalah keputusan majoriti dan masih
terdapat pandangan yang membantah pandangan yang dikeluarkan oleh
Jawatankuasa Fatwa. Disamping itu, pengamanah berpandangan bahawa wasiat
itu tetap sah dan tetap berpegang amanah wasiat itu kerana ahli waris tidak
membantah wasiat tersebut sewaktu pembahagian sebahagian dari harta pusaka
sebanyak $176,800 yang telah dibahagikan sebelum ini, ini menunjukkan bahawa
ahli waris yang berhak telah merelakan wasiat tersebut. 12 Anggapan pengamanah
terhadap reaksi ahli waris yang tidak membantah ketetapan wasiat merupakan
petanda kerelaan ahli waris tidak seharusnya berlaku. Ini kerana diam ahli waris
itu tidak membawa kepada persetujuan oleh mereka seperti yang dinyatakan
dalam kaedah tidak dinisbahkan bagi diam itu kata-kata "‫( "ال ينسب للساكت قول‬AlSuyuti, Jalal al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman, 1997: 233). Dalam masa yang sama, ketetapan
wasiat sebanyak 1/3 hanya dilihat dari sudut had yang diperundangkan dalam
seksyen 111(1) AMLA dan dilihat tidak menjejaskan segala wasiat yang telah
ditetapkan sebelum penggubalan kepada Akta tersebut yang menyatakan:
“Notwithstanding anything in the provisions of the English law or in any other written
law, no Muslim domiciled in Singapore shall, after 1st July 1968, dispose of his property by
will, or by any nomination under section 49M(2) of the Insurance Act (Cap. 142), except
in accordance with the provisions of and subject to the restrictions imposed by the school of
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Muslim law professed by him.” Ini menyebabkan batasan yang ditetapkan sebanyak
1/3 wasiat dalam syarak tidak diambilkira, ini bertentangan dengan hadis
Rasulullah s.a.w. yang diriwayatkan oleh Ibn Abbas r.a.berkata:
‫ والثلث كثير‬،‫ الثلث‬:‫لو غضّ الناس إلى الربع ألن رسول اهلل صلى اهلل عليه وسلم قال‬
Yang bermaksud: “Kalaulah Manusia mengurangi wasiatnya (dari 1/3) kepada ¼,
kerana Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda: Boleh sepertiga dan sepertiga pun banyak.“ (AlBukhari, 2002, h. 677)
Ketetapan sepertiga ini juga turut dibahaskan dalam kes yang melibatkan
wasiat peninggalan Sultan Johor ke atas hartanya Tyersall yang dijadikan
sebahagian dari harta negara setelah kemangkatan Baginda dan bukan sebagai
pusaka. Perbicaraan ini berlangsung di Mahkamah Tinggi Singapura antara State
of Johor and another v. Tunku Alam Shah Ibni Tunku Abdul Rahman and Others.
Menurut pihak Plantif, wasiat yang ditinggalkan oleh Sultan Abu Bakar tidak
dikuasai di bawah perundangan Johor tetapi termaktub di bawah undang-undang
Inggeris sepertimana yang diaplikasikan di dalam Koloni Singapura pada tahun
1895. Kesan kepada wasiat bagi harta yang tidak alih dikuasai secara khas melalui
lex situs dan bukan lex domicile. Wasiat tersebut tetap sah sama ada berlawanan
dengan hukum Islam ataupun tidak. Ini kerana pembahagian melalui wasiat
bukan sebahagian dari lex situs pada 1895.
Defenden membuat tuntutan bahagian daripada pampasan yang diberikan
ke atas pemgambilalihan Singapura ke atas Hartanah Tyersall. Menurut Defenden
lagi, harta tersebut merupakan sebahagian dari pusaka yang perlu dibahagikan
mengikut hukum Islam dan bukan sebahagian dari harta negara yang diwasiatkan
oleh Sultan Abu Bakar. Wasiat tersebut dianggap terbatal dan berlawanan dengan
hukum Islam.
Di dalam Mahkamah juga turut diperjelaskan kedudukan undang-undang
AMLA bagi wasiat orang Islam di Singapura yang menghadkan
berpandukan hukum Islam hanya berkuatkuasa pada tahun 1968 dan Akta
tersebut tidak memberi kesan kepada orang Islam Singapura yang meninggal
dunia sebelum 1 Julai 1968. Apabila membuat perbandingan antara AMLA dan
Muslim Ordinance 1958, tiada sebarang larangan dikenakan ke atas seorang
muslim yang menetap di Singapura dalam menentukan wasiatnya. Ini dapat
dilihat dengan kesan perundangan Inggeris ke negeri-negeri selat turut
mengesahkan kedudukan wasiat orang Islam kes Sheriffa Fatimah yang didapati
tiada sebarang ketiadakadilan dalam wasiat yang ditetapkan olehnya.
Wasiat tersebut dilihat sah kerana Sultan Abu Bakar telah menetapkan
keinginannya untuk menjadikan Tyersall adalah jelas. Ini kerana, Baginda juga
turut menetapkan beberapa hartanya dibahagikan untuk isterinya dan selainnya
dibahagikan kepada ahli warisnya. Dalam hal ini, niatnya agar Tyersall bukan lagi
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
sebahagian daripada harta peribadinya selepas kemangkatannya dan dijadikan
sebahagian dari harta negara adalah jelas.
Dengan itu, Mahkamah memutuskan bahawa pampasan sebanyak SGD25
juta berhak diberikan kepada pihak Plantif kedua hasil dari pengambilalihan ke
atas Tyersall dan tidak boleh dirayu oleh pihak defenden (State of Johor and another v.
Tunku Alam Shah Ibni Tunku Abdul Rahman and Others.[2005] 4 SLR 380-397).
Kesedaran Hukum Pusaka Islam yang Rendah
Keadaan ini sering kali berlaku ke atas ahli keluarga yang tidak memahami
hukum syarak dengan sebaiknya sehingga lebih mementingkan keutamaan
individu berbanding kebajikan ahli keluarga. Di antara aspek yang ketara dalam
permasalahan ini adalah sewaktu fatwa belum diputuskan penama (Nominee)
sebagai penerima secara mutlak, terdapat sebuah kes antara isteri dan ibu tiri
kepada anak al-Marhum Zainab dan anak al-Marhum Melati Bte Ahmad. AlMarhum yang sememangnya mengambil berat tentang kebajikan anak-anaknya
dan isterinya dengan al-Marhum telah membuat nominasi wang simpanan pekerja
(CPF) untuk dibahagikan secara sama rata kepada ahli keluarganya setelah beliau
meninggal dunia. Dalam kenyataan di atas, fatwa tahun 1971 menjelaskan bahawa
penama (Nominee) hanya merupakan pengamanah sahaja dan wang CPF yang
diperolehi perlu dibahagikan secara faraid dengan diselesaikan dahulu hak-hak
bagi si mati dan membahagikan baki harta secara faraid dan adik beradik alMarhum juga merupakan ahli waris yang berhak menerima harta. Melati telah
cuba berbincang dengan ibu tirinya berkenaan perkara ini akan tetapi ibu tirinya
berpandangan bahawa wang itu telah sah menjadi milik mereka, adik beradik si
mati tidak pernah mengambil berat tentang si mati dan sekaligus tidak perlu
membincangkan soal pusaka dengan mereka.13 Selain dari kegagalan salah
seorang penama membahagikan sebahagian hak kepada ahli waris yang lain,
penama juga gagal dalam memastikan hak-hak si mati telah diselesaikan (Barraj,
1981: 91-93; Al-Bukhari, 2002: 308).
Dalam kes yang lain, adik-beradik al-Marhum Ahmad menuntut harta
yang telah dihibahkan kepada si isteri oleh suaminya (Ahmad) melalui instrumen
Hibah Ruqba. Perkara ini timbul disebabkan adik-beradik si mati tidak berpuashati
ke atas jumlah pusaka yang diperolehi dari sebahagian harta si mati. Adikberadiknya mendakwa mereka memperjuangkan hak ayah mereka yang sakit
memerlukan wang yang banyak untuk menampung kos perubatannya dan almarhum dikatakan jarang memberi sumbangan kepada ayah mereka kecuali
didesak.14 Namun pemakaian instrumen Hibah dalam perancangan pusaka si mati
seharusnya tiada sebarang tuntutan harus dipertikaikan. Ini kerana harta yang
dihibahkan menyebabkan harta tersebut bukan lagi sebahagian dari pusaka si
mati (Abdul Karim Ali, Raihanah Azahari, Ridzwan Ahmad, Muhamad Safiri
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Ismail & Ameer Azeezy, 2006: 531). Tuntutan ke atas hak pusaka tidak dilarang
oleh syarak tetapi sekiranya terdapat unsur paksaan atau sesuatu yang
berlawanan dengan syarak adalah sesuatu yang dilarang. Di dalam masalah ini,
tuntutan yang dibuat adalah cara paksaan ke atas harta yang tidak wujud
sebarang pertikaan kerana telah dipindah milik secara Hibah Ruqba. Dalam masa
yang sama, ahli waris telah diperjelaskan kedudukan harta si mati dari sudut
perundangan sivil dan hukum Islam tetapi kerana perasaan tidak puas hati wujud
mengakibatkan tuntutan yang tidak diingini berlaku.15
Dalam kes yang dikongsi di dalam akhbar pula, penulis menjelaskan kisah
ibu dan bapa angkat yang dipaksa keluar dari rumah anak angkat mereka oleh ibu
bapa kandungnya sendiri setelah mendapat tahu hak mereka dalam mewarisi
pusaka anak mereka Linda yang dijaga oleh ibu bapa angkatnya Safiah dan
Azman yang mana Ibu angkatnya merupakan kakak kepada Ibu kandungnya. Ibu
bapa angkatnya telah ke Mahkamah Syariah untuk membuat permohonan sijil
warisan dan menerangkan kedudukan mereka yang sebenar sebagai keluarga
angkat kepada al-Marhumah. Pihak mahkamah menjelaskan bahawa mereka tidak
mempunyai bahagian dalam pusaka kerana mereka berdua hanya keluarga
angkat kepada si mati. Nora mengarahkan ibu dan bapa angkat untuk keluar dari
rumah tersebut dalam masa sebulan tanpa sebarang ihsan terhadap jasa keduadua mereka membesarkan anak kepada Nora.16
Dalam aduan lain yang turut mengambarkan kelemahan keluarga Islam
dalam masalah pusaka ini seperti yang dikhabarkan dalam berita tuntutan pusaka
si mati antara Alina isteri kepada Al-Marhum dan adik beradik Al-Marhum..
Alina telah melaporkan bahawa tuntutan yang dibuat oleh adik-beradik AlMarhum tidak bersifat ihsan ke atas dirinya yang dijangkiti penyakit HIV hasil
jangkitan daripada al-Marhum. Abang kepada al-Marhum dan juga selaku
pengamanah ke atas harta pusakanya mendakwa bahawa al-Marhum ketika
sakitnya pernah memberitahu kepada abangnya bahawa beliau ingin meletak
nama abangnya itu sebagai pemilik rumah tersebut tetapi tidak berlaku kerana
abangnya mempunyai rumah lain tetapi disangkal oleh Alina kerana hal sebenar
yang berlaku adalah suaminya ingin meletak namanya sebagai pemilik bersama
rumah tersebut. Adik-beradiknya juga mendakwa Alina tidak berlaku adil dengan
tidak memberikan hak mereka yang sepatutnya dan Alina juga telah
mengeluarkan nama adik-beradik al-Marhum daripada sijil warisan atas nasihat
penguamnya. Hasil dari jangkitan tersebut, beliau telah membuat tuntutan ganti
rugi di Mahkamah Tinggi disebakan kegagalan si mati memaklumkan lebih awal
penyakitnya dan kehilangan mata pencarian disebabkan jangkitan tersebut untuk
membesarkan anak-anaknya dari hasil perkahwinan terdahulu.17 Ini sekaligus
merupakan suatu usaha bagi menafikan hak ahli waris dan menghasilkan
permasalahan kepada pembahagian harta pusaka secara faraid, hasilnya dari itu
kemudaratan cuba diatasi dengan kemudaratan lain dengan penafian hak ahli
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
waris disebabkan jangkitan yang dialami olehnya, perkara ini tidak seharusnya
berlaku kerana kemudaratan tidak terhilang dengan kemudaratan ‫"الضرر ال يزال‬
"‫ بالضرر‬seperti yang dinyatakan oleh Ibn al-Subki: Kemudaratan hilang tetapi tidak
dengan kemudaratan (Al-Suyuti, 1997: 143).
Dari kes-kes yang dinyatakan menunjukkan kelemahan ahli waris dalam
memahami hukum pusaka dan kuasa mereka dalam membuat tuntutan. Hak yang
layak diwarisi seharusnya mengambil kira juga panduan umum dan etika
pewarisan. Malahan Islam turut menggalakkan perkongsian sebahagian dari hak
yang dimiliki dengan diberikan kepada mereka yang tidak mewarisi. Budaya
seperti ini yang seharusnya diterapkan dalam menyelesaikan pembahagian harta
pusaka di Singapura.
Peranan Badan-Badan Islam dalam Pembahagian Harta Pusaka Islam di
Dalam melihat kepada permasalahan yang dibincangkan di atas, terdapat usaha
bagi memperbetulkan perlaksanaan hukum Islam di Singapura. Badan-badan
kerajaan seperti MUIS dan Mahkamah Syariah atau badan-badan bukan kerajaan
(NGOs) seperti Persatuan Ulamak dan Guru Agama Islam Singapura (PERGAS)
dan syarikat swasta seperti Barakah Capital dan Syarikat HTHT menawarkan
khidmat nasihat kepada masyarakat Islam Singapura dan berusaha memberi
pendedahan yang jelas dan panduan dalam menyelesaikan permasalahan yang
berhubungkait dengan pembahagian harta pusaka.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura sebagai badan berkanun senantiasa menitik
berat kepada isu yang dihadapi di dalam masyarakat dengan membuat kajian
yang serius kepada isu-isu yang wujud dan menyelesaikannya secara
perbincangan melalui saluran fatwa atau Irsyad (Panduan) yang dikeluarkan oleh
Pejabat Mufti di MUIS. Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura juga turut menyediakan
khidmat konsultasi untuk masyarakat Islam yang ingin mendapatkan nasihat
agama berkenaan pembahagian harta pusaka secara Islam.
Di antara usaha-usaha yang telah dijalankan oleh MUIS dan Mahkamah
Syariah seperti penyediaan risalah ringkas dwibahasa (Bahasa Melayu & Inggeris)
yang mudah difahami bagi memudahkan masyarakat Islam memahami sedikit
sebanyak berkenaan hukum faraid secara asas dengan diselitkan soalan-soalan
lazim berkenaan pusaka dan peranan MUIS sebagai Pentadbir Baitul Mal bagi
harta-harta yang tidak diwarisi. Dalam usaha lain yang memberi kesan dalam
menghuraikan isu pembahagian harta di Singapura adalah fatwa berkenaan
perumahan ‘Joint Tenancy’ pada tahun 2008, fatwa penamaan (Nomination) Wang
Simpanan Pekerja (CPF) pada tahun 2010 dan fatwa penamaan (Nomination)
‘Revocable’ dan ‘Irrevocable’ tahun 2012. Selain itu juga, MUIS telah berusaha
mengadakan sesi pendidikan awam di beberapa masjid di Singapura bagi
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
menjelaskan fatwa yang dikeluarkan sebagai usaha memberikan penjelasan dan
kefahaman kepada masyarakat Islam terhadap fatwa-fatwa yang dikeluarkan itu.
Dalam masa yang sama, fatwa ini turut dikongsi bersama dalam Majlis
Muzakarah Ulama MABIMS tahun 2010 dan mendapat respon yang positif dari
pembentangan fatwa dalam masalah harta pusaka di Singapura, respon positif
turut diterima dari Menteri Bertanggungjawab Bagi Hal Ehwal Masyarakat Islam,
beliau sangat mengalu-alukan fatwa tersebut dalam menyelesaikan isu-isu yang
sekian lama wujud dalam masyarakat Islam di Singapura. 18
Masjid-masjid di Singapura turut memainkan peranan mereka seperti
Masjid Ar-Raudhah di Bukit Batok menawarkan khidmat nasihat faraid kepada
jemaah, Masjid Assyakirin mengadakan kursus khusus berkenaan dengan Faraid
dan Masjid Assyafaah mengadakan forum berkenaan dengan Faraid. Ini dapat
dilihat melalui usaha-usaha pihak masjid serata Singapura sentiasa berusaha
mengadakan program-program sebegini bagi membantu masyarakat Islam
Singapura sedikit sebanyak mempunyai maklumat berkenaan hukum Faraid.
Bagi badan bukan kerajaan seperti PERGAS yang merupakan sebuah
persatuan dan medan guru-guru agama berkumpul, berdiskusi dan mencurahkan
bakti dalam dakwah Islam turut mengambil berat dengan suasana masyarakat
yang mempunyai pelbagai persoalan dalam pembahagian harta pusaka dalam
Islam. Persatuan ini telah membuat keputusan dengan menubuhkan sebuah unit
yang dikenali sebagai Unit Konsultan Kewangan Islam (UKKI) yang memberi
perhatian khusus kepada bidang harta pusaka di Singapura.
Syarikat-syarikat swasta juga turut memainkan peranan yang besar dalam
mendidik masyarakat tentang harta pusaka dengan menyediakan khidmat
konsultasi, kursus perancangan harta dan pusaka, penyediaan surat wasiat dan
lain-lain serta menganjurkan seminar dan syarahan harta pusaka, penulisan di
akhbar serta penghuraian masalah harta pusaka di Singapura melalui penulisan
buku dengan kerjasama pensyarah dari IIUM Dr. Ismail Mohd @ Abu Hassan
yang diterbitkan oleh syarikat HTHT Advisory Service di Singapura. 19
Selain dari syarikat HTHT yang telah menjalankan usaha-usaha kerjasama
dengan mendapatkan kepakaran dari kalangan pengkaji ilmiah, sebuah lagi
syarikat komersial yang dikenali sebagai Barakah Capital yang dimiliki oleh Encik
Suhaimi Salleh telah memberikan banyak sumbangan dari sudut perkongsian
pengalamannya dalam sesi konsultasi yang dikendalikan oleh syarikatnya.
Syarikat ini juga turut menganjurkan beberapa seminar dengan kerjasama
beberapa syarikat lain dan badan-badan tertentu dalam memberikan pendidikan
awam sepertimana penganjuran seminar pada tahun 2011 yang bertajuk Seminar
Wasiat, Faraidh & Rancang Pusaka dalam usaha menjelaskan perkara yang
berkaitan dengan pusaka.20
Dengan perkembangan di atas dapat dilihat bahawa pelbagai usaha telah
dijalankan dari sejumlah organisasi yang terlibat sama ada kerajaan dan swasta
Pembahagian Pusaka Islam dan Permasalahannya di Singapura
bagi menyampaikan maklumat yang diperlukan dalam pembahagian harta
Pada asasnya undang-undang pusaka Islam telah mempunyai kedudukan yang
agak selesa dalam perundangan Singapura. Walaubagaimanapun terdapat
beberapa masalah dari segi pelaksanaannya seperti beberapa halangan
perundangan, kuasa mahkamah sivil serta polisi yang sedikit sebanyak
mengganggu pelaksanaan sepenuhnya undang-undang Islam tersebut.
Permasalahan lain timbul disebabkan kefahaman yang rendah dalam kalangan
masyarakat Islam Singapura sendiri. Dalam hal ini, MUIS dan beberapa badan
bukan kerajaan (NGOs) serta syarikat-syarikat swasta perlu lebih bergiat aktif
dalam usaha mengadakan pelbagai khidmat dan program bagi meningkatkan lagi
kefahaman masyarakat Islam tentang hukum pusaka Islam sesuai dengan konteks
Singapura. Dengan itu, penerimaan Undang-undang Islam untuk diamalkan
dalam pentadbiran hukum Islam secara khusus untuk masyarakat Islam di
Singapura sebagai undang-undang diri dalam persoalan pusaka Islam perlu
dimanfaatkan dan dipelihara dengan sebaiknya.
Lihat, Legislation History: Administration of Muslim Law Act (Cap. 3).
3 Sect. 7, Intestate Succession Act (Cap. 146); Lihat juga, 6(e), Distribution Act 1958 (Act 300).
4 Lihat, Sect. 7(1)(d), Estate Duty Act (Cap. 96); Sect. 53(5), Land Titles Act (Cap. 157); Sect.
66(a)(3)(a), Conveyancing and Law Property Act, (Cap. 61).
5 Pemilik syarikat HTHT Advisory Service yang memberikan khidmat nasihat kewangan
dan pusaka Islam di Singapura.
6 Kumpulan Fatwa MUIS, Wang Simpanan Pekerja, bertarikh 30 Oktober 1971.
7 Keputusan Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam
Malaysia Kali Ke-15, Penamaan Wang KWSP, bertarikh 6 Mac 1978.
8 Sect. 25, Central Provident Fund Act (Cap. 36).
9 Sect. 3 (1), Insurance Act (Cap. 142).
10 Keputusan Fatwa MUIS, ‘Insurans Berkumpulan’, bertarikh 24 Ogos 1988.
11 Dipetik dari kenyataan Akhbar Channel News Asia pada 9 March 2010 yang bertajuk
‘Takaful Market Poised for Growth but Lacks Shariah Compliant Investments, Talent’.
12 Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 10 Januari 2010 yang bertajuk ’Gedung Kuning dalam
Kemelut Undang-undang’; Lihat juga, Affidavit in Originating Summons 60 of 2002/F in the High
Court of Singapore.
Feirul Maliq Intajalle & Luqman Haji Abdullah
Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 16 Ogos 2009 yang bertajuk ’Wang CPF Si Mati Haruskah
Ikut Faraid?’.
14 Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 20 September 2010 yang bertajuk ’Hibah Flat, Wang CPF
Arwah Suami Kepada Isteri Ditikai Adik-beradik’.
15 Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 20 September 2010 yang bertajuk’Tuntut ‘Hak’ Sebab Tidak
Puas Hati’.
16 Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 6 Disember 2009 yang bertajuk ‘Harta Arwah Anak:
Patutkah Ibu Bapa Dapat?’.
17 Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 17 Mac 2010 yang bertajuk ’Flat Arwah Pesakit Aids Jadi
Rebutan Janda dan Adik-beradik’ dan Akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 20 Mac 2010 yang
bertajuk ’Nama Adik-beradik Dipotong dari Sijil Waris’.
18 Pembetangan dalam Majlis Muzakarah Ulama MABIMS 2010 oleh Timbalan Mufti
Singapura, Dr. Mohd Fatris Bakaram pada 12 Oktober 2010.
19 Sebahagian dari karangan Sadali Rasban pemilik syarikat HTHT seperti Hibah al-Ruqba
dan Joint Tenancy di dalam Hukum Syariat, Muslim law in Wealth and Estate Transfer, Dying
Intetstate dan beberapa buah buku lain dengan kerjasama Dr. Ismail Mohd. HTHT Advisory
Services,, Dikemaskini pada 10 Oktober
20 Encik Suhaimi Salleh pemilik Barakah Capital turut merasmikan serta memasarkan buku
kompilasi Makalahnya dalam Berita Harian berkenaan pusaka semasa seminar tersebut.
Dikemaskini pada tahun 2012.
Al-Qur’an al-Karim.
‘Abbas, Fadil Hassan & ‘Abbas, Sana’ Hassan. (1991). I’Jaz al-Qur’an al-Karim,
‘Amman: Dar al-Furqan, h. 322.
Abdul Karim Ali, Raihanah Azahari, Ridzwan Ahmad, Muhamad Safiri Ismail &
Ameer Azeezy. (2006). Produk Hibah dan kesannya kepada pencapaian
Maqasid. Dalam Sistem kekeluargaan Islam di Malaysia dalam Maqasid alShariah and its realization in contemporary societes, 3. Kuala Lumpur: IIUM, h.
Abshire, J. E. (2011). The history of Singapore. California: Greenwood, h. 25.
Ahmad Ibrahim. (1979). Development in the marriage laws in Singapore since
1959. Dalam Bashir Ahmad Mallal (Ed.), The Malayan Law Journal.
Singapore: Malaya Publication House Ltd, h. 47.
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Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp102-116
Linda A. Lumayag & 2Rahim Mohd Sail
1Department of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Malaya
2Universiti Putra Malaysia
([email protected])
Diffusion of new ideas via international migration is an interesting phenomenon if
one wants to study social change. This is a case study that examines the role of
migration in understanding diffusion and transmission of skills and knowledge
into the home country of foreign workers. It looks at a specific group of migrant
workers in the plantation sector in Malaysia and how their position as Indonesian
migrants facilitates and encourages transmission of cultural elements to their
home country. It means examining their experiences in Malaysia to know the
extent to which they can be agents in the diffusion of new skills and knowledge in
the local community. Drawn from a qualitative study in 2010, both interview and
focus group discussion were conducted among Indonesian workers in oil palm
plantation in Johor, in the southern part of Malaysia. The study finds that social
remittance is only realistic and feasible when workers have the financial means to
possibly carry out the new ideas and skills they have observed, acquired and
learned. These ideas and skills may also be very limited to the kind of exposure
they have experienced while living in Malaysia considering the limitations they
encountered. Actual application of ideas and skills they have acquired and
remitted to their home country still largely depends on the availability of finances
and the migrant workers agency when they will eventually return to Indonesia.
Diffusion can only be realized when a ‘friendly’ environment is available for the
diffusion of new ideas.
Keywords: Indonesian workers, Malaysia, social remittance, plantation work
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers in Malaysia?
This paper takes the view that migration does not always necessarily lead to
change. By change we take a very generic understanding of a shift from “what is
traditional” to “what is modern”. It re-interprets the view by Alejandro Portes
(2010) that changes generated by migration only yield marginal modifications of
the social order, and leaving the deep elements of values and social structure
substantially unchanged – and sometimes even buttressing the fundamental
constitutive elements of society (Van Hear, 2010:1532). While Portes qualifies his
position that social change is hardly felt especially in the host country, we argue
that social change, in any form, nature or structure takes place in both sending and
receiving countries. It is thought that the development of new ideas, behavior and
skills would support and promote greater or broader development in migrants
and their families’ relationships as shown in micro studies on migration. There are
also observations that show that effects of migration are mixed. O’neil (2003), for
instance, suggests that migration does not lead to structural changes needed for
long-term development and may actually delay them. This argument states that,
much like a natural resource windfall, migration may raise incomes without
boosting know-how and institutional capacity, while creating perverse incentives
that lead to unsustainable family economies. Nevertheless, while this may be true
to some extent, there are qualitative changes that are taking place at the level of the
migrants such as in the acquisition of technical knowledge and practices while
being transnational. For example, an observation of Kompas, an influential
newspaper in Indonesia, reveals that in one situation a group of female exmigrants from various districts organized themselves to exchange knowledge,
skills and money to support and improve their communities (Kompas, 2008). This
may just be one of the many developments occurring in the community which
needs to be explored and studied.
This present paper clarifies the argument that social remittances in the
form of ideas, skills and practices provide impetus for social change. Following
Levitt (1996) social remittances are what we call the nonmonetary elements that
are transmitted to the home country in whatever means. Traditionally, the
understanding of remittances is solely focused on monetary transactions, with a
plethora of literature on the positive effects of migration is demonstrated in the
way migrants are able to provide financial assistance to the households, local
community and the national economy. Remittances are among the most tangible
links between migration and development. Monetary remittances bring about
social change in the country of origin of migrant workers as shown in the studies
of Levitt (1996). According to the World Bank, migrants sent $338 billion to their
homelands in 2008 (Levitt & Deepak, 2010). A few countries in Asia that heavily
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
rely on the monthly dollar remittances are the Bangladesh, Philippines and
Indonesia (Che Hashim Hassan, 2009).
On the other hand, remittance in the form of ideas, skills and practices is
not well-addressed in the literature. It is an understudied, important piece of the
migration-development nexus (Levitt & Deepak, 2010) but rarely given its fair
space in the corpus of migration studies. Following Levitt (2001), social
remittances are ideas, know-how, practices, and skills that shape migrants from
the developing world. Ideas, resources and discourses influence and transform
social identities, households, and power relationships and these also circulate
within transnational networks (Huan et al., 2003, as cited in Ramirez et al., 2004).
Just as the financial remittances operate, as referenced in how it supports the
economy at the macro level, and how they support personal consumption,
education and lifestyle of migrants and their families at the micro level, social
remittances do have structures that sustain the transfer of ideas, resources and
cultural practices. Social remittances are transferred by migrants and travelers or
they are exchanged by letter or other forms of communication, including by
phone, fax, the internet or video, emails, letters and blogs (Levitt & Deepak, 2010;
Levitt, 1996). That social aspects of remittance are transferred by virtue of a
medium is important. It can mean migrants bring the idea back to the sending
country themselves or through an intermediary like letters and pictures. Social
remittances affect family relations, gender roles, class and race identity, political,
economic and religious participation (Sorensen, 2004) and this is evident in the
way migrants are able to influence the household, at the least, to understand
certain issues differently. According to Levitt (2001), social remittances are locallevel counterpart to macro-level global monetary and cultural flows, although they
are the key to understanding how migration modifies the lives of those who
remain behind. Yeoh (2005) suggests that keeping in regular contact with
transnational kin and the sending of remittances and cultural products are
motivated not so much by economic reasons but by the need to maintain social
and cultural norms. The Global Equity Initiative (GEI) based in Harvard
University suggests that social remittances are catalysts for democratization,
transparency and accountability (GEI, 2003). This is true especially when migrants
have wider access to the news and print media aside from their immersion in the
culture of the host country. Interestingly, how some ideas and practices are
remolded in receiving countries, the mechanisms by which they are sent back to
sending communities, and the role they play in transforming sending-country
social and political life (Levitt, 1998) could be very significant. For example, Peggy
Levitt’s (1996) study of Dominican immigrants in Boston as host community and
Dominican Republic as the sending country, examines the social connections
between these two communities arguing that physical mobility in immigration
does not mean “forgetting” the immigrants village of origin and instead found a
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers in Malaysia?
continuing social and economic relations, practices, ideas and behavior that both
positively and negatively influence the two communities.
How has this
transmission of social behavior and practices been possible and which
transmission varies from culture, community and identity? Could such practices
and behavior bring about tangible and intangible forms of development in the
immigrants’ community and therefore create social change?
The conceptual understanding of social remittance may be seen in the idea
of transnationalism (Basch, Glick Schiller & Szanton Blanc, 1994) where the
existence of significant networks are maintained across borders and these social
ties can be familial, institutional or religious that can provide another dimension if
we look at diffusion of new ideas. It implies the use of networks to enable
transmission of knowledge and skills. But then again, the extent to which ideas
and other cultural elements travel beyond the so-called nation-states may depend
on a lot of things. For instance, there may be technological gadgets to aid in
communication but it remains to be seen what these “stories” they share across the
border. Do they share about ideas related to work with the hope that family
members will adopt these ideas, or do they talk about specific family issues only?
So how is social remittance transferred? Conceptually, a prerequisite to
the transmission of social remittance is financial remittance. It is impossible to see
transmission of social ideas, skills or knowledge on technology transfer without
the aid of financial resource to begin with. Moreover, the process of social
remittance is put to perfect fruition when temporary migrant workers return home
to apply the necessary skills and knowledge on new technology they have learned
while working outside their national borders. While we reckon that social
remittances can be transferred conveniently since transnational ties allow this, one
needs to explore the processes upon which the transmission of social remittance
are restricted or hampered. Identifying the factors that preclude migrants from
transmitting to their home country is critical in our understanding of social
remittance rather than subconsciously believe that the transmission is not without
any constraints. Identifying these constraints too may engender new ways of
analyzing the process of transmission specific to certain cultures and the political
and economic conditions of migrants live and work.
The objective of this paper is to explore the role of temporary migrants as
agents of innovation through the transfer of skills and knowledge as they work in
an oil palm plantation in Malaysia. Temporary migrants refer to circular migrants
who continually go in and out of Malaysia for a certain period of time. It also
examines the challenges or issues they experience in the transmission of skills and
knowledge. This study is focused on Indonesian oil palm workers in Johor in
Peninsular Malaysia who have been working in the plantation for at least two
years. The focus of this research is to understand the processes that affect or
influence the transfer of ideas and knowledge related to agriculture. Significantly
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
this paper could contribute to the whole issue of whether the transmission of social
remittances is a natural course of event in international migration. Levitt (1996)
seems to suggest that social remittance is an offshoot of migration. However, the
experience of Indonesian plantation workers seems to show otherwise.
Research Methodology
This study was conducted on Indonesian migrant workers in an oil palm
plantation in Johor, the southern state of Malaysia in 2010. All informants came
from the provinces of Lombok, West Java and Central Java. Fifteen (15) migrant
workers were individually interviewed and a focus-group discussion was held
with a group of five workers. Interviews were recorded and later transcribed and
categorized into themes. The different themes that came out of the interview and
discussion are presented in this paper. Primary data were substantiated with
secondary information such as newspaper articles and government reports. The
selection of informants was based on purposive sampling in the sense that the
research team wanted to identify specific category of migrant workers and in
specific sector of the Malaysian economy.
The plantation manager and his assistant were also interviewed to
understand their views on engaging in foreign workers from Indonesia. One
limitation in this research study is the difficulty of getting access to documented
plantation workers without the knowledge of the plantation management, hence
only fifteen were willing to share their experiences as oil palm workers. This study
acknowledges the fact that the issue on social remittance takes a different route
especially with regard to other categories of workers such as domestic workers or,
maybe, migrants in the entertainment or construction industry.
Data and Discussion
In this section, I start by providing a brief description of oil palm plantation X and
its workers. Next, I describe the kind of work that migrants do, their
understanding about the expectations of being migrant workers, and also their
living conditions in the plantation that somehow affect their prospects of the
Oil Palm Plantation and Its Workers
The plantation involved in this study is one of the oldest oil palm plantations in
Johor, Malaysia and prides itself as a good employer to about four hundred
plantation workers, of which three hundred workers are Indonesians and 100 are
local workers. The plantation covers about 4000 acres, managed by a plantation
manager and his assistant. The manager opines that his workers are legally hired
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers in Malaysia?
through an employment agency in Kuala Lumpur. During the FGD, however, the
respondents were tight-lipped to share their legal status and everyone informed
the research team that they all have valid documents. Nonetheless, at the time the
interview was conducted, not a single worker was holding his passport and they
further alleged that their passports were kept by the management. According to
the manager, the management prefers unmarried men, though married workers
are also welcomed. However, of the 300 or so Indonesian workers assigned in
various stages and areas of plantation work, only a few are single and young. The
average age of workers is 28 years old, the youngest is 24 and the oldest 46. Most
of the workers have at least a year stay in Malaysia. Most of the ten informants
were married with young children back in Indonesia. Most of the workers have
low level of education, which is in tandem with the observation of Abdul-Rashid
Abdul Aziz (2001) and Sukamdi, Haris and Brownlee (1998) that, Indonesian
workers in Malaysia have usually low level of education. The management
provides free housing and medical facility while payment of water and electricity
is shared equally by plantation management and worker.
Workers come mainly from West Java, Lombok and Central Java and
speak different dialects, although Bahasa Indonesia is the unifying language when
they are at work. The plantation management thinks it is much easier to “manage”
when workers come from the same village or ethnic group, presumably because
when they speak the same language they can better understand one another. The
workers however shared that language is not a problem as they use Bahasa
Indonesia when talking to others outside their ethnic group. The plantation
manager relates that a team of interviewers went to Indonesia and interviewed
young and able-bodied men from the village with the idea that they would remain
here without feeling a “loss” and concentrate on their jobs. Indonesian workers are
driven by their desire to earn money for their families. According to the married
workers, on the average they send RM400 every two months and with annual
remittance of 8 million Indonesian rupiah. Most of the workers have come to
Malaysia by several means both legal and illegal. They paid between RM1200 and
RM2000 to the middlemen from money borrowed from family members or
relatives or both.
Work, Networks and Money
For most of the Indonesian workers in this study, they said that plantation work is
‘common’ work. Five workers had done harvesting and pruning both in Indonesia
and Malaysia plantations prior to their present work. It is because of their prior
experiences that they were hired. Most of the workers value discipline and strict
working habits at the plantation. They opined that “we have to work really hard in
order to reach the daily quota, and without hard work, the daily quota is difficult
to reach.” For instance, the daily quota for a harvester is 2000 kg. Discipline
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
includes waking up early in the morning and ensuring they will have more time to
work. If the worker cannot reach the quota for that day, then his daily rate will be
much lower. The worker therefore needs to meet the quota and even exceed it so
that the take home pay will be more. Harvesting is the most tedious and
labourious type of work in the oil palm plantation and it is paid the highest. There
are workers who want to be harvesters so that they get more pay, however, this
task needs more skill and not anyone can do it. The handling of the very long pole
made of steel and simultaneously timing it with the worker’s footwork demands
dexterity and footwork. Only few workers can somehow perfect this skill. For
some who cannot cope with this particular task, they retreat to a much easier
plantation work such as carrying of oil palm from the farm to the repository area.
One interesting finding in this research is skill mismatch. Though some of
the workers said they already have prior experience in the oil palm estates in
Malaysia, it is inconceivable that their experience and knowledge on new
technology they have acquired while working in Malaysia cannot be put to good
use when they eventually return to their respective communities. What accounts
for this mismatch is that they come from a rice-farming (sawah) community, while
in Malaysia they work in the plantation (ladang) sector. This means that they may
have acquired the work skills in the plantation but in terms of applying or using
these skills later on in life, the possibility is slim or perhaps even remote. The best
option for them would be to work in the oil palm plantations in the Kalimantan
region in Indonesia.
Across countries and cultures in Asia (e.g. Philippines) acquiring
education to improve one’s economic condition is given emphasis both within and
outside the family setting. Filipino overseas domestic workers, for instance,
consider education of children as a major justification for working abroad.
However, at least for the workers in the plantation worker who have little
children, they seem to be skeptical about education saying “even when you get
high education, you will still end up as worker in the plantation which does not
need education at all.” It is also shared that Indonesian women do not need to go
to school because they will also end up as domestic workers in other countries
anyway (see Tharan (1993), for comparative observation). The globalization of
work has resulted in the changing idea about education and this poses a challenge
to the pemikiran simpit (narrow-mindedness) of plantation workers towards
education. How would this attitude influence the future of the workers’ children
and their families is rather unclear.
Networks of migrants begin before they leave their villages through the
circle of friends, relatives and acquaintances who share personal narratives or
accounts of their experiences and observations while abroad. In this study, three of
the workers knew each other before coming to Malaysia. In fact, they came from
the same village and went through the same process which include going to the
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers in Malaysia?
same agent for referral and other related matters. There are tendencies that
members of the family migrate for work in the same country such as, in this case,
Malaysia. In addition, both Malaysia and Indonesia share vast coastline borders
and this has strong push factor from the Indonesia side to find employment in
Malaysia. When there is a weak link between access to formal structures that offer
services related to foreign deployment and access to work, Indonesian workers
readily adopt illegal networks in order to realize their migration plan (Sukamdi,
Haris & Brownlee, 1998).
Within the plantation environment, workers share common needs and
concerns. The strategic plan of plantation management to bring in workers from
three different districts /areas in Indonesia is reflective of subtle labor control i.e. to
eliminate group or ethnic clashes and for easy control compared workers from
different ethnic affiliations. The management also share the view that to recruit
two different ethnic groups may not be strategic for fear of labor problems and
disputes that may arise between two conflicting ethnic groups. The management
cannot afford to disturb the work rhythm in the plantation as it would result in
loss of production, as one staff mentioned that it cannot afford to delay the process
of production because everything is perfectly cadenced right from the recruitment
of workers to the harvesting of the crop. A “re-tribalisation” of workers within
the plantation environment is noted, as workers get to know more about the life of
another worker, his wife and children and everyone. While they were identified
as workers coming from Lombok district, for example, the moment they are placed
in the plantation, they are seldom associated by their own group but identified
themselves as workers from Indonesia. There seems to be a very strong sense of
identity among the workers, and as shared by one worker from Central Java, “that
the life story of one worker becomes almost the life story of another”. Sharing of
the same problems back home, the longing to be with loved ones, and how much
money workers could remit to Indonesia are three common topics of discussion.
In 2006, Indonesian migrant remittances added approximately Rp 61
trillion (US$ 6.7 billion) (USD 1 is equivalent to 9,567.00 Indonesian rupiah) to the
national coffers, second only to oil and gas industry in terms of foreign exchange
contribution to the national economy. With this amount, it can feed about 30
million people in Indonesia, according to the National Board of Indonesian
Migrant Worker Placement and Protection (Depnakertrans, 2007 as cited in
Rusdiana and Saidi, 2008:163). Savings in this study refers to the money workers
have saved for the use of their families in Indonesia. The workers who were
interviewed were diligent financial remitters, sending as high as RM400 a month.
The money goes to the household expenses, education of children, improvement
of the house, start a micro business, and perhaps, a little amount to keep aside as
savings, as Mantra’s (1999) study also suggests. The financial remittance basically
is a survival strategy since this is the only cash resource for the family. If ever there
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
may be some savings, this may only last for a month or so and then go back to
being without cash reserve again. So, migration for work is rather just a household
or family strategy and it is safe to say that with small financial remittances from
abroad, families are able to sustain its financial as well as other needs.
Observations are abundant that one can exactly know which country a
family/household member migrant is working by the quality of house/shelter a
migrant worker provides in the village.
Social Isolation
The oil palm plantation is located about six (6) kilometers from the town center. A
‘ghetto’- like existence reflects a life that is both physically and socially isolated
from the rest of the community. Life in the plantation is life in isolation where
people are not free to come in and out of the plantation area, except when
necessary. They live in a housing provided by the management with access to
water and electricity. Some own motorbikes to go to the mosque for their Friday
prayer but most often they stay in the housing area or work in the ladang (field).
The passports of workers are kept by the management and therefore it is difficult
to make public transactions, for example, sending money through the banks as one
needs it to present his passport. In this case, they would rather use the assistance
of middlemen to remit their salary to Indonesia. One way to learn ideas about
how other things work is through observation and actual experience. It would be
more interesting to know how workers view their relationship with the outside
world and how this influences their perception of the environment. The passport
issue indeed sets limit to workers’ socialization and failure to possess one invites
another form of dispiritedness i.e. the likelihood that they will be harassed by
police authorities or RELA (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat Malaysia) or Volunteers of
Malaysian people. Worker control is through physical isolation to deter workers
from forming networks of connections outside the plantation. This will therefore
stop them from being ‘courted’ or ‘pinched’ by potential employers. Though the
worker’s passport may not be in his possession yet, it will stop the worker from
leaving if better wage arrangement is available. This observation is validated by
the plantation manager when he says, ‘workers having less access to the outside
world, and therefore having less friends, the probability of leaving the plantation
to work in another sector for higher wages is very slim’. In another study
(Samsuddin, 2003), it was revealed that plantation workers are attracted to the lure
of city life and also to get higher wages, the only way to go there is to work in
construction industry. Plantations which are located in the hinterlands of Malaysia
face the problem of supply of workers who cannot withstand isolation. At any
opportunity therefore, plantation workers would rather work in the construction
sector because aside from higher wages, they have space to mingle with others.
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers in Malaysia?
Limitations in Transmission of Skills and Knowledge
Indonesia is the main supplier of huge manpower for Malaysia’s economy.
Malaysia is also known to be a prime mover in promoting new technology
especially on new high-yielding varieties and cultural practices, new ways of
harvesting, management of raw materials, utilization of the product among others.
The exposure of Indonesian workers - most of them unskilled - to new technology
could propel modernization in agriculture (Castles, 2000) in Indonesia as ideas and
practices are shared across the borders. Estate industries in Malaysia rely heavily
on Indonesian workers to work for the following tasks: weeding, pruning,
manuring, pest control, etc. Indonesian workers who have been working in the
plantation industry are potential transmitters of ideas and technical skills to their
relatives and family members back home. Both Indonesia and Malaysia share
similar climate, soil types, rainfall patterns, and even cultural practices. This
similarity could be a good material for adoption of new technology that migrant
workers would eventually apply during or after their employment in Malaysia.
Given the period of time and workers’ exposure to the technical know-how in
“nurturing” plantation, there is ample opportunity to learn certain skills hopefully
to be adopted to their own community/locality when they return. An estate worker
shares that as when he returns he would like to invest his money on a piece of
land. For some migrants, one of the motivations to save money is to buy a piece of
land for agricultural purposes or to build a house, for his family. In this sense,
their exposure in the new ways of agricultural production or land cultivation will
influence their future planning. The thousands of Indonesian workers in oil palm
plantations could be called change agents and could well create a multiplier effect
the moment they begin to apply new forms of technology in Indonesia, which they
have acquired while working in Malaysia. However, this depends on the following
The extent to which technology is transferred to Indonesia lies on whether
these migrant workers have access to the various ways of remitting these skills and
ideas. For instance, do migrant workers have the opportunity to write letters to
their family members, make phone calls, send text messages, or return home
regularly? Successful social remittance is viable when they are workers with valid
documents, meaning they are employed legally by estate owners since
documented workers can take their vacation leave once in every two years, or
make phone calls as they wish, at nearby ‘Wartel’ telecom centers (at the time this
fieldwork was conducted, the use/ownership of mobile phones was not a
prominent feature), or send letters to the family members. That ideas and
knowledge can then be transmitted in as many ways such as those mentioned, as a
natural consequence. In a way, transmission will be a course of event, in its purest
form and shape when workers do not face serious constraints in the way they
want the social transfer to be done.
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
Pertinent issue is the problem of undocumented workers especially from
the Indonesian community. The high turnover of Indonesian workers caused by
documentation problems and when there is a much higher offer in the
construction sector that they find more attractive. Undocumented workers (e.g.
without permit, no passport, or passport has expired) find it more difficult to go
about transmitting social remittance because of their vulnerability to police
harassment or detention. At this point, the position of undocumented workers
limits or restricts their opportunity to transmit ideas and information to their
family members. There may be a modicum of transmission but that is not quite
easy, and risk is always there. Estate owners, though they want Indonesian
workers to work in the plantation, still prefer undocumented workers since they
submit to low wage etc. Bogus and unscrupulous employment agents from both
sides of the border who fleece migrant workers from both sides of the border are
one of those responsible for producing tens of thousands of illegal or
undocumented Indonesia workers in Malaysia (Jones, 2000).
Definitely, the varied experiences of plantation workers in Malaysia have
left traces of influences on their expectations and prospects. Firstly, the diffusion of
ideas and practices are shared not only within the social networks they have
formed in Malaysia but also to their families, by phone and letters. In the sense,
diffusion of ideas to the family members is aided by different social networks
within the migrant’s community and the networks of so-called migrant
beneficiaries. In the Philippines, the dynamic social networks within the country
could well influence the behavior, ideas and practices of those who have no
opportunity to go abroad. As Levitt (1999) contends, networks within the field
connect people with no direct transborder connections to those who have such
connections. Moreover, networks can consist of either strong or weak ties that
connect persons who maintain transnational relationships with those who do not
but who are indirectly influenced by flows of ideas, objects, and social remittances
within their field of social relations. However, it cannot be assumed that those who
are directly connected are more transnationally active (Levitt & Schiller, 2004).
Secondly, the acquisition of new knowledge, skills and ideas is dependent
on the extent temporary migrants are “welcome” by Malaysia. It is argued that
their opportunity to meet with other members of the Malaysian public, other than
the employers and their immediate family members, is when they enjoy the
weekly day-off, because that is the only time they could form social networks
outside the workplace away from the watchful eyes of the employers. For
plantation workers, they are placed in highly isolated places and contact with local
people other than their “bosses” is limited. It is limited in the sense that while they
may meet on Friday prayers, such meeting is too short to allow for a deeper level
of interaction with other workers. Establishing contact with the local people allows
migrants to learn and acquire social ideas that they feel worth adopting, as
Does Social Remittance Take Place among Indonesian Plantation Workers in Malaysia?
Hassinger (1951, cited in Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971) contends that individuals
will seldom expose themselves to messages about an innovation unless they first
feel a need for the innovation messages. There will be little effect of such exposure
unless the individual perceives the innovation as relevant to his needs and greater
portions of savings remain in the host country.
Thirdly, transmission and, eventually, adoption of social remittance is
dependent on financial transfer. Financial remittance is important in order to
initiate new ventures or projects or to apply new technologies. It is in this aspect
that migrant workers or their families’ access to capital in the home country that is
really important so that they can realise their plans. Government agencies
responsible in providing initial capital for business, providing supervision and
technical expertise could be tapped up to promote migrant projects. Mantra
(1999) in fact suggests that remittance carried back home by the return migrants to
their areas of origin are not large, so much so that they keep on returning to
Malaysia to work.
Social remittance in the form of ideas, practices or skills is an impetus for social
change. However, a necessary requirement in the transmission of social remittance
is access to financial resources, just to be able to start a project or to introduce a
new technology. Acquisition of new skills and knowledge would remain dormant
if there is no available financial resource to start up a project. Transmission of
social remittance is only made noble when it plows back financial returns/income
rather than creating a whole new set of lifestyle that is not in tandem with cultural
practices. Since the mode of transmission is quite restricted, social remittance
would peak when migrant workers themselves return home and apply what they
have learned – and practiced – while working in Malaysia. The transfer of
knowledge and skills will be more pronounced when the individual migrant
workers themselves put into practice what they have learned and acquired,
provided that they have the financial means to do so with the support of local
government agencies. Sharing of knowledge through the phone for instance, is
something that is not happening. While the advancement in telecommunication as
well as migrants’ access to new gadgets may promote the transfer, it does not seem
to be happening here. In a way, what these oil palm plantation workers usually
share is the family well-being, health of parents and children, festivities and all.
Rarely the discussions dwell on other things.
It is safe to say that plantation workers have least opportunity to transmit
and practice the skills and knowledge they have acquired in Malaysia as this
would imply spending high capital for investment. This is in contrast to domestic
workers who may acquire new strategies or ideas in cooking or business to start a
Linda A. Lumayag & Rahim Mohd Sail
new phase of their life. Equally important is the legal status of migrant workers.
Undocumented workers face a lot of limitations, not only on employment, but also
on how to transmit social remittance because of their vulnerability to exploitation
and abuse. They may not be able to go home when their contract expires and
therefore decide to live in Malaysia despite their undocumented status. The
possibility of putting new knowledge into practice will just remain a dream.
Transmitting social remittances may be easy and fast for some migrant workers or
it can be slow and difficult to others.
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Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp117-127
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
Department of Social & Development Sciences,
Faculty of Human Ecology,
Universiti Putra Malaysia
([email protected], [email protected], [email protected])
The aim of the paper is to provide a descriptive analysis of the role of NGOs that
provide food distribution to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur. Using personal
interviewing as a method of data collection, the study focuses on the aspect of
social capital amongst the Non-Governmental Organizations, especially in terms
of bonding and bridging social capital. Analysis of the data procured from the
NGOs was done, and trust as one of the components of social capital is seen
evidently in the study. This paper defines a new kind of trust that exists between
the seven NGOs and the homeless people in this particular context, namely
moralistic trust. Informants who have been interviewed all declared a uniform
insight towards their relationships to the homeless, giving us a new understanding
as to how NGOs build trust with those who are considered destitute, weak,
doomed, losers or marginalized in society.
Keywords: NGOs, homeless, trust, moralistic trust, social capital
Homelessness is a word that is commonly associated to Social problem as it is
inevitably faced by all societies over the years. Many social scientists have
embarked their works focusing on the various facets of homelessness as it impacts
the social, economic, political aspect of a particular community.
It is regarded as a widespread illness in social context for its presence
affects both rural and urban areas, debunking the early idea that homelessness is
only prevalent in rural areas where poverty is most rampant. Consequently, the
concept of homelessness has evolved over the years. In general terms, these
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
homeless are typically defined as people who dwell on the streets, alleys,
improvised shelters, under bridges or other public places, abandoned buildings
and even living with friends and relatives which complicates the accurate figure of
the homeless population in particular community (Timmer, Eitzen, & Talley, 1994,
p. 12). The common notion about homeless as beggars, psychotics, lazy people,
substance-abusive, alcoholics, criminals and the like even changed throughout time as
people become more inclined in studying these homeless folks. Even wider and
deeper understandings about why homelessness takes place in many communities
were dug by social scientists, and that having a more advanced context is not an
assurance of the absence of homelessness. It is evident in literatures that not only
the underdeveloped and developing countries do have homeless cases. It is also
evident in the developed countries. UN reported that even countries with high
income experience homelessness because of rapid urbanization and structural
changes in the society (Levinson & Ross, 2007, pp. 374-375). With all the
industrialization happening in the city centres, an inflation rate occurs on the
number of migrant people coming from rural areas in urban region due to better
and wider work opportunities. While all of these people have strong expectations
that they will escape poverty by chasing their good lucks in the city, some of them
end up hopeless to the extent of becoming homeless. Moreover, it is seen that
because of urbanization, cost of living becomes higher and higher that even the
city dwellers find it hard to rent housing and pay other amenities for their survival
(Gerdes, 2005, pp. 21-29).
In the United States, the National Student Campaign against Hunger and
Homelessness (NSCAHH) stated that homelessness and hunger increase in
number nationwide. This shows that even a rich country is not excluded in
experiencing homelessness. Despite of the problem, USA made measures to
combat the issue. It has been said that for the past 25 years, America has came up
of emergency food and shelter providers that responded to the basic needs of the
people. It was the time soup kitchens, pantries and shelters started to set off, which
has resulted to the active participation of charitable agencies in service provision.
Because most people seek their assistance, those agencies grew more in number.
At present, developed countries display various interventions executed both by
the government and the Non-Government sectors.
Furthermore, for developing countries, it is seen that intervention done are
seemingly limited and even unhelpful sometimes. In the study done in South East
Asia, advocacy for homelessness in the case of India, Bangladesh and Peru has
been focused to homeless affected by natural calamities such as flooding and
earthquakes. There are also policy-related interventions but are just partial in
scope. (Tipple & Speak, n.d.; Speak, 2004, p. 477)
Ngos and the HomelessnessiIn Kuala Lumpur: Towards Moralistic Trust
Homelessness in Malaysia
In Malaysia, it has been said that there are around 1,400 homeless people residing
in Kuala Lumpur area based from the 2010 survey done by the Ministry of
Women, Family, and Community Development (MWFCD). These are people
coming from different walks of life – different places of origin, ethnic groups,
gender, ages, religions, aptitudes, family backgrounds and with different life
stories (Ruseko Shimizu, 2014, p. 3). Even the Organizations working for the
homeless’ welfare in Kuala Lumpur have reported a rough estimate of 1200 or
more for the homeless statistics, hence, execution for a survey research is required
to be able to provide a more accurate and updated data not just for the
government or institutions and organizations working for the homeless but for the
public as a whole. Nevertheless, some other organizations are never concerned
about having homeless’ data at all, some organizations have been concerned about
the profile and number of the homeless whom they are providing services, and
thus they maintain a database to monitor their organizational outcomes. With this,
they are aware that some of the homeless originate outside Kuala Lumpur and
Selangor state; they come from different states of Malaysia as far as Johor Bahru in
the South, Kelantan in the North-east and Sarawak in the East of Peninsular
Malaysia. Based from the participant observations done, it was observed that
homeless people come from different age brackets: most are young adults around
25-40 years old and some old-aged people around 50 years old above. It is also
evident that men outnumber women regardless of the race they come from
whether they are Malay, Chinese, Indian or even non-Malaysians such as
Bangladeshi and Indonesians. Each of the homeless has different personal stories
to tell as to why they end up becoming homeless and these include marriage
breakdown for old people, joblessness, family problems, taken advantaged by
other people and even family persecution (J. Cheah, personal communication,
February 18, 2014). While majority of this population do not have work, some of
them work into small-scaled jobs paid with a meagre salary which pushes them to
choose living on the street rather than renting an inn. Some of them even own
gadget such as phone and mp3 players which according to one of the NGO project
directors, “the only treasure they may have”. Thus, homeless definition in
Malaysian context is not contained or limited to the common misconceptions of
people – them as the drug addicts, psychotics, lazy people, dirty ones, jobless,
penniless, savage and the like. And this is what NGOs wanted to be changed
amongst people’s way of thinking, to at least better understand the real condition
of the homeless.
Meanwhile, Alhabshi & Manan (2012, p. 1) argued that homeless people
receive not a large amount of attention because there is no clear policy under the
Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development that has direct bearing
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
to the issue of homelessness. But in early 2000, homeless began to receive an
evident focus when Non-Governmental Organizations in the city which includes
charitable and religious organizations started to make a step in assisting the
homeless specifically on food provision (Rusenko Shimizu, 2014, pp. 2-3). Through
the consistent and active advocacies of these NGOs and with the increasing issues
on homelessness, the Government also took action by building Anjung Singgah, a
transitional home under the initiative of MWFCD and currently managed by the
Yayasan Kebajikan Malaysia (YKN) or the National Welfare Foundation Malaysia.
Designed to cater the primary needs of the homeless people, Anjung Singgah
serves as a temporary shelter for the homeless over a period of two (2) weeks
before they get reintegrated in the society. With the help of the volunteers,
homeless are provided with various services such as counselling, food, clothing,
medical aids, and job supports through referrals aside from dwelling in the shelter.
Currently, Anjung Singgah is the sole centre in Kuala Lumpur chiefly designed for
the homeless populace as a transit or shelter home which is recognized by the
Government. However, there may be other shelter or transit homes managed by
private organizations.
In spite of the idea that the Government has put up this transitional
housing as a step in highlighting and addressing the needs of this particular sector
in the community, Malaysian Non-Governmental Organizations never cease to
play their part in meeting the needs of the growing homeless population. In fact,
these NGOs are in a constant pursuit of developing and expanding possible
services which they could offer to the homeless. Azman & Sulaiman (2011, p. 53)
said that efforts by these many NGOs are offered to complement the programmes
of the government for the urban poor.
NGO that Provide Food Support to the Homeless in KL
In Kuala Lumpur, a number of Non-Governmental Organizations that provide
food support to the homeless have been actively pursuing their advocacy since
early 2000. According to Yayasan Kebajikan Negara (YKN) or the National Welfare
Malaysia, at present, there is no existing official record of the NGOs undertaking
this advocacy, nevertheless for the previous years, the active engagement of
Malaysian NGOs in combating homelessness in the country has been apparent to
the public as they persistently give away food packs to the homeless in Kuala
Lumpur area. And up to the present, their advocacy continues to build up as their
awareness escalates that the issue of homelessness becomes more and more
complex nowadays due to the increasing number of their homeless clients on a
regular food distribution.
Ngos and the HomelessnessiIn Kuala Lumpur: Towards Moralistic Trust
In a research done on the Social Capital amongst NGOs who provide food
support to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur, seven (7) NGOs were explored through
in-depth interviews with project heads and managers of the organizations. The
NGOs were chosen based from their availability and response during the data
collection period. For the background of the NGOs subject under the study, the
table below shows the Project Launching Year, Number of days of Food
Distribution per Week, as well as the number of Food Packs distributed per week.
Table 1. NGOs Profile
Project Launching
Number of days of
Food distribution
per Week
Number of Food
Packs distributed
per Week
1, 230
4, 600
2, 500
2, 550
Based on the information gathered from the informants under the 7 NGOs,
it was observed that each organization’s day and time schedule on food
distribution in Kuala Lumpur does not overlap with other NGOs. From the above
data, it is also apparent that the number of days where NGOs distribute food
varies. Some distribute once a week only while others do it thrice or even daily.
Along with the differences on schedule, they also have different areas of
distribution which make them more fixed and focused. In spite of not having
formal communication amongst these NGOs, each of them is aware about the
schedule and places of distribution of the other organizations. By saying this, they
believe that there is no sense of competition amongst them but they do
complement one another instead. Majority of them believe or have faith on the
advocacy of one another and that each of them has the capability to make a change
to the homeless. Some of the informants even clearly stated that they do not
distribute food on a daily basis because they trust that there are other NGOs who
are doing the same thing as them, and that in times they don’t distribute food, they
are confident that other NGOs will do it for them. This shows an element of trust
amongst these organizations even if there is no close contact amongst them.
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
Moreover, These 7 NGOs, though they have different vision statements,
still share the same meaning on their advocacy. All of them focus on helping the
homeless, needy, underprivileged, poor & distressed people by supporting and
providing them the most basic thing they need: food. Being in the frontline, these
NGOs’ direct contact to the homeless make them understand that while food is the
most immediate need of the homeless, it is not the only thing they need. They are
also human beings who have holistic needs for survival. Thus, apart from food
provision, NGOs also offer extra services covering their physical, mental,
emotional and social needs such as medical assistance, counselling, assistance on
homeless’ ICs registration or replacement, registering old people for monthly
allowance from the Government, referral to other NGOs, Homes, Rehabilitation
Centres and other organizations that could cater the right assistance they need,
free haircut, reunification of families through provision of transportation tickets to
deserving homeless, free laundry and bathing, movie nights, and other more that
has positive impact to the homeless’ welfare. While the organizations are more
individualistic in executing their advocacy for the homeless, a pattern of similarity
on the nature of services they provide is evident amongst them all. In his study
about the homeless movements in Japan, Hasegawa (2006, pp. 11-12) has
concluded three reasons why there’s a similarity of programmes provided by
different groups for the homeless population. First, it is due to the fact that groups
working for the homeless may have better chances to exchange and learn ideas
from one another since Japan has fewer number of homeless as compared to other
countries; Second, because these groups have gained ideas from organizational
media, newspapers and other media-mediated tools for information
dissemination; and third, because groups believe that the programmes they have
are the essential needs that would address the topmost problems existing in the
community. As for the NGOs in Malaysia, it is seen that the conclusion of
Hasegawa is also applicable except that Malaysian NGOs working for the
homeless do not formally and purposely communicate to one another making the
learning or exchange of ideas less emphasized.
Trust between the NGOs and the Homeless
Given that the focus of the research study is on Social Capital, trust is one of the
main considerations in understanding the existing social capital amongst the
organization. While the study is mainly focused on the relationship of the NGOs
giving food support to the homeless people, one of the interesting issues that came
up in the research is the relationship between the NGOs and the homeless,
particularly on the kind of trust that exists between them.
Ngos and the HomelessnessiIn Kuala Lumpur: Towards Moralistic Trust
Works on literatures state that trust is an element of Social Capital and has
been regarded by social scientists as one of the main ingredients of social capital.
Researchers say that the presence of trust is an inevitable component which is
useful in determining the existence of social capital in any given community of
interest (Morrone, Tontoranelli & Ranuzzi, 2009, p. 8). In Community
Development, trust is seen as a public good that is important to individuals,
groups and communities as a whole (Stolle, 2002, p. 397) for it serves as lubricant
or glue that makes society more cohesive one and also civic work united (Arneil,
2006, p. 4) suffice to say that trust doesn’t only serve the private goals of an
individual but also serve the goal of groups or communities towards civic works.
In addition to this, trust provides a sense of security to people as they become
aware that provisions are available for them. Might as well, trust drives people to
take more risk and become more vulnerable to various possibilities (Ward &
Smith, 2003, p. 1). In addition, in their book entitled “In Good Company”, Cohen &
Prusak (2001, pp. 28-29) restated John Locke’s account about the importance of
trust to human society. Trust is a basic need of human that he has compared it to
the air that we breathe. Thus without a certain amount of it, there would be no
relationship that would lead people to connections and cooperation towards a
developed community. Having no trust means “isolated individualism”.
Furthermore, talking about Social Capital, trust is also commonly
associated to thick-trust or the particularized trust and thin-trust or the
generalized trust. It has been said that particularized trust is more evident in
homogenous groups where members are bonded together. People who encompass
this kind of trust easily trust people who are like them or the people in the same
group as them. There is a strong tie amongst them built from their in-group
interaction over time. Writers say that because of particularized trust, people
sometimes become limited to the point of leaving no room of trusting people
outside their group. On the other fence, generalized trust exists on heterogeneous
groups where people easily trust people who are like them as well as people who
are unlikely them or people outside their group. This kind of trust is common to
people who are inclined to civic works (Uslaner, 2008, p. 104).
Generally, trust is considered to be a multidimensional concept that exists
through people belonging to families, groups of different kind, organizations, and
even to institutions (Morrone, Tontoranelli & Ranuzzi, 2009, p. 5). Normally, in a
society, trust is more evident among people who are of equal status or it is easier
for people to trust the “normal” ones like them, those who have educational
attainment, working people, but not with those who are considered and perceived
deviants or vulnerable like the criminals, prisoners, beggars or even the homeless
for they are seen as lesser trustworthy as compared to the other bracket of the
population. Marginalized as they are, one would think twice when to consider
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
giving them trust for it is easier to give trust to people whom we can identify
ourselves with than to people whom we cannot (Stolle, 2002, pp. 401-402).
Going back to the idea that diversity of ethnic groups in Malaysia is
enormous due to the three major ethnicities namely the Malays (62.3%) which
consist majority of the population, the Chinese (22%), Indians (6.7%), other races
(0.9%) and non-citizens (8.1%) which is according to the Department of Statistics
Malaysia, it is then very essential for these NGOs to consider all the homeless’
culture and religion in choosing the kind of food they serve. All of the 7 NGOs
showed their strict observance on the quality of food with the goal that it would be
able to cater everyone regardless of the ethnic groups where they come from. It is
important to highlight that majority of the NGOs are being run by religious
organizations, yet their advocacy is inclusive and impartial, that is to say that
homeless are being reached out regardless of their religious and ethnic
backgrounds, gender and age, physical and mental conditions. Homeless are well
treated because NGOs believe that they are also individuals who have needs like
majority of us, and because they are human beings, they also have moral values.
This is the very reason as to why the Non-Governmental Organizations under the
study put so much strength and passion in executing their advocacies. Informants
even disclosed that as much as possible, food being served should be as delicious
as the food they eat at home. They also ensure that there’s a variety of menu
because even the homeless know how to get bored with the same kind of food
daily. Generally, all of the NGOs declared that chicken is the safest viand for it is
consumed largely by the homeless while some others also include fish. They make
sure that it is pork-free as it is haram or not taken by the Malays and beef-free as it
is not taken by Indians and some Chinese. Vegetarian food is also served most of
the time together with rice, noodles, bottled water, teh tarik (milk tea) or cold
drinks, some fruits plus other treats such as biscuits and bread. With this, NGOs
strongly believe that homeless will take and consume what they serve. All of them
were confident to say that the homeless trust them so much because they are
aware that the food they prepare doesn’t harm them.
The way NGOs serve food differs as well. Most of the NGOs serve in
plates while some others serve in packet. For those who serve in plates also
provide tables and chairs to the homeless because for them, these represent
honour and dignity to them. One of the NGOs doesn’t even ask the homeless
people to queue in a line to get their food. Instead, they ask them to just have seats
and the volunteers will hand them food and drinks on their respective tables.
Informants said that even they are homeless they still deserve the best treat from
them. Also, NGOs are not concerned about the issue of overfeeding. Majority of
them said that they allow the homeless people take extra food for the second time.
Some of them even said that they can take extra food even to the n-times as long as
Ngos and the HomelessnessiIn Kuala Lumpur: Towards Moralistic Trust
they will consume it. They trust the homeless that when they take food, they will
be able to finish it and that giving them extra is also like giving them extra points.
In this scenario, one would say that homeless are being respected by the
NGOs not just on the quality of food they distribute per se but also on the way
they provide their services, suffice to say that Malaysian NGOs trust to the
homeless is not based on religious or ethnic trust. They go beyond the idea of just
providing food but they also take into consideration the type of food that is
reasonable for these homeless. And they do not just stop in there, because they
even go beyond the quality of food. They make sure that their ways of feeding the
homeless should always highlight the homeless’ moral value, and that is to say
that even if they are perceived homeless, they have the right to have the best.
Dignity and morality are the greatest things they can give to the homeless, thus,
they offer the best that they can do to them ranging from quantity to quality of
services up to the way they relate to these so called “clients”. Different from the
trust that exists within homogenous groups or the particularized trust like family
trust, religious trust or organizational trust, the kind of trust that works between
the NGOs and the homeless is moralistic trust as coined by Uslaner. For two
different groups coming from different milieus, the “powerful” or the NGOs in
this case as they are the dominant and the “vulnerable” or the homeless, to have
trust to each other, an understanding about the goodwill of each other should be
present. This is what Uslaner meant when he said that people treat each other as if
they are trustworthy. A kind of trust that neither strategic/knowledge-based nor
specific but with a general thinking that people should treat others the way they
want to be treated back (Uslaner, 2008, p. 103). He is right in saying that moralistic
trust is needed when engaging to civic works. It’s a trust in humanity.
Highlighting the homeless on the other hand, in response to the trust that
NGOs offer to them, they become more confident that these organizations would
always provide them food which gives them a sense of security. Project heads said
that most of the homeless became regular clients to their organizations. Also, trust
of the homeless towards the NGOs are not seen or reflected only on their everyday
or regular attendance on food distributions but also on their relationship to
volunteers of the organizations as they open up their personal issues to them. In
the participant observations done, it was noticed that some of the homeless have
been closed to the regular volunteers that they even update them about their
recent experiences, needs and other personal issues.
The role of NGOs is not only limited on giving food and providing extra services
to the homeless population but extends to a kind of relationship that impacts to the
homeless. One can say that when homeless people, who are seen as destitute,
Prescious Ann Santos Oria, Nobaya Ahmad & Hanina Halimatusaadiah Hamsan
doomed or losers are trusted by the Non-Governmental Organizations who
provide food, a trust from the homeless is also given in return to the organizations.
Homeless are given hope and sense of security that make them not worry about
the food they will eat knowing that NGOs are fully aware about the homeless – the
type of food they eat, the other services they need, the way they should be served
and the like. Therefore, this trust existing between these two groups is neither a
family trust nor religious trust nor organizational kind of trust but a moralistic
trust because they believe on the same moral principle. Moreover, the existence of
a moralistic kind of trust between theses NGOs and the homeless in Kuala
Lumpur builds a more positive outlook on how groups and organizations should
cater services to the needy people by considering their backgrounds as human and
not just for the sake of meeting organizational goals for the public to see. After all,
the most important thing at the end of the day is the trust given out to people
specially to those marginalized and weak.
Alhabshi, S. M., & Abdul Manan, A. K. (2012). Homelessness in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia: A case of agenda denial. International Journal of Social Science
Tomorrow, 1(2), 1-9.
Arneil, B. (2006). Diverse communities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Azman, A., & Sulaiman, J. (2011). Urban poverty: The invisible poor population in
Malaysia. Asian Social Work Journal, 1(1), 43-62.
Cohen, D., & Prusak, L. (2001). In good company. USA: Harvard Business School
Hasegawa, M. (2006). “We are not garbage!” The homeless movement in Tokyo, 19942002. New York, USA: Routledge.
Levinson, D., & Ross, M. (2007). Homelessness handbook. USA: Berkshire Publishing
Morrone, A., Tontoranelli, N., & Ranuzzi, G. (2009). How good is trust: Measuring
trust and its role for the progress of societies. Organization for Economic CoOperation and Development (OECD) Statistics Working Paper. STD/DOC
(2009), 3.
National Student Campaign against Hunger & Homelessness. (2005).
“Homelessness as a widespread problem”, in L. Gerdes (Ed), The Homeless.
USA: Greenhaven Press, 21-29.
Ruseko Shimizu, R., (2014). "The Anjung Singgah Strategy: Simultaneous Inclusion
and Exclusion of Homelessness in Malaysia’s Policy Agenda". Paper
presented at the Annual meeting of the American Sociological Association
Annual Meeting, Hilton New York and Sheraton New York, New York,
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NYOnline. Retrieved from,
Speak, S. (2004). Degrees of destitution: A typology of homelessness in developing
countries. Housing Studies, 19(3), 465-482.
Stolle, D. (2002). Trusting strangers - The concept of generalized trust in
perspective. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 31, 397-412.
Timmer, D. A., Eitzen, D. S., & Talley, K. D. (1994). Paths to homelessness extreme
poverty and the urban housing crisis. USA: Westview Press.
Tipple, G., & Speak, S. (n.d.). The relationship between economic development and
homelessness in South East Asia.
Uslaner, E. (2006). Trust and economic growth in the knowledge society. Lecture at the
Osaka University, March 7-9, Japan.
________ (2008). “Trust as a moral value”, in D. Castiglione, J. Van Deth, & G.
Wolleb (Eds), The handbook of social capital. UK: Oxford University Press,
Visit Malaysia 2014. (2014). Fast facts. Retrieved from,
Ward, A., & Smith, J. (2003). Trust and mistrust: Radical risk strategies in business
relationships. UK: Wiley.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp128-150
Jem R. Javier
Department of Linguistics
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines Diliman
([email protected])
For this paper, the researcher attempts to describe the clause structure of Tagalog
using Cognitive Grammar (CG). Abiding by the said framework, sentences are
regarded as grammatical constructions that represent different event schemas,
which are then categorised into situations in: (1) the material world, or how the
structured world exists, changes, or undergoes processes; and (2) the psychological
world, or the internal world of human sensation, emotion, perception and thought.
Analysing the semantic grammar of Tagalog, that is, looking at linguistic
utterances as motivated by the meaning that the speaker wants to express, this
study aims to provide new insights with regards to the characteristics of the
components of grammar as a reflection of cognition.
Tagalog, Cognitive Grammar, event schema, semantic grammar, cognitive
The concept of “grammar” that is not limited to morphosyntax, but incorporates
the system of meaning assignment, or semantics, is fostered by a relatively new
theoretical framework in the scientific study of language, Cognitive Linguistics,
which arose during the ‘70s based on studies on Gestalt, and system of
categorisation among humans. According to the cognitive framework, grammar is
regarded as a meaningful system in itself; therefore it integrates and cannot be
separated from semantics. One of the main ideas being advanced by Cognitive
Linguistics is Cognitive Grammar, whose main principle states that a
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
grammatically well-formed sentence should not be semantically anomalous; a
grammatically sound construction is not separated from it being perceived as
acceptable or sensible to the speaker.
Furthermore, one of the main doctrines of Cognitive Grammar (CG) is its
high regard on semantics, or meaning assignment. CG perceives semantics as
incorporated into syntax; therefore; an utterance is seen as motivated by what
needs to be expressed, more than deconstructing the meaning based on the
syntactic structure of grammatical constructions; constructions that express what
we will now call event schemas.
In this paper, different event schemas in Tagalog, one of the more well
known Austronesian languages in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region
(Jubilado, 2008), shall be discussed, with emphasis on the form of sentence that
occurs in the expression of a particular event schema. Data that were gathered are
all basic sentences, and the predicates used are what can be considered as
prototypes of the respective predicates of the event schemas. The resercher
gathered and analysed Tagalog constructions that are used in everyday and
common discourse. And, since the researcher is also a native Tagalog speaker,
introspection1 is also used in order to determine the grammaticality and/or
acceptability of the constructions that were gathered and analysed.
Studies on the structure of Tagalog are neither scarce nor relatively new;
however, analysing its grammatical structure based upon the theoretical
framework stated by CG is preliminary 2. This paper therefore aims to look into the
characteristics of Tagalog clause structure through the lens of Cognitve Grammar.
In this study the researcher shall not look at the difference of CG to other existing
theories3, even though the beginnings of the Cognitive Linguistics enterprise to
which the said framework belongs resulted from an explicit reaction against the
generative tradition of the scientific study of language. Hence, there will be a
number of points in this research that carry this implication.
Clause structure as expression of event schema
An expression is a grammatical construction that is dependent of the conceptual
core of a situation (Radden & Dirven, 2007: 269). Within the conceptual core, the
participants are given functions; the semantic role that the participants play in a
certain situation is called participant role. The most salient participant roles are
AGENT, THEME, and EXPERIENCE. The participant that does an action is called the
AGENT. The THEME is the role that is played by the participant that is affected by an
action, or that whose participation in a situation is considered passive. This role is
also assigned to the subject of a non-verbal sentence. The participant that
undergoes emotional, perceptual, or mental experiences is called EXPERIENCER. The
roles that are involved in a conceptual core give meaning to the role
Jem R. Javier
configuration, which are the building blocks of the event schema, or the types of
situations that describe a unique configuration of participant roles (Radden &
Dirven, 2007: 339). These event schemas are then expressed through a number of
sentence patterns, which may be intransitive, transitive, or ditransitive 4 (Radden &
Dirven, 2007). The relationship between the event schema and sentence pattern
will be shown below.
Event schemas are expressed by grammatical constructions. These
grammatical constructions, which are expressed by clauses and sentences, are also
called sentence patterns. Each sentence pattern has its own syntactic function and
is based on which constituent/s is/are obligatorily expressed. The obligatory5
constituents are predicate (P), subject (S), direct or prepositional object (O), and
other complements which build up the semantics of the predicate (C P). A number
of basic sentence patterns in Tagalog based on this paradigm are shown below:
(1) Non-verbal
ang dalaga.
the maiden
The maiden is beautiful.
(2) Intransitive
ang binata.
to sleep.PRF
the bachelor
The bachelor had slept.
(3) Intransitive predicate-complement
sa Malabon
ang guro.
to go.PRF
to Malabon
the teacher.FOC
The teacher had gone to Malabon.
(4) Transitive
ng saging
to eat.PRF
a banana
The monkey had eaten a banana.
ang unggoy.
the monkey.FOC
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
(5) Transitive predicate-complement
ng aklat
sa Main Lib
ang estudyante.
to borrow.PRF a book
at the Main Lib the student.FOC
The student had borrowed a book at the Main Lib.
to chop.PRF
ng kahoy
(a piece of) wood
sa gubat
at the forest
para sa dalaga
for the maiden
ang binata.
the bachelor.FOC
The bachelor had chopped (a piece of) wood at the forest for the
(6) Avalent verbal
Earthquake is happening.
It can be noticed that the sentence patterns depend on the predicate, which in
Tagalog naturally occurs at the beginning of the sentence. As a Philippine-type
language, Tagalog has a compex verbal morphology, in which the affixation of the
verbal affixes to the stem would determine the kind of complements the verb can
take (Jubilado, 2004: 44). The predicates are characterised through the notion of
valency, or the number of slots available for the arguments. The argument refers
to the participant or complement that obligatorily occurs in a sentence.
Sentence (1) represents the type of Tagalog sentence that is called nonverbal, i.e., the predicate is not a member of the lexical category verb. The
predicate natulog in (2) requires only the subject argument (ang binata); it is also
called a ‘one-place’ predicate. Returning to (1), it can be seen that the predicate
maganda also requires one complement, the subject (ang dalaga), in order for the
sense of the sentence to be complete. Sentence (3) requires a subject (ang guro) and
predicate-complement (sa Malabon) in order to complete the semantics of the verb
pumunta, which also the predicate.
Sentences (4) and (5) are transitive constructions, which comprise the most
prolific of the sentence patterns. One can notice that in Tagalog, the verb which is
the verb of the sentence may require two or more predicate-complements.
Jem R. Javier
In Tagalog, the predicate-complement represents the complements that
can be focused by the verb, according to the semantics of the predicate (Malicsi,
2012). Hence, any focusable complement in Tagalog may be assigned the
grammatical subject of the sentence, which is done by assigning the nominal
marker ang. Phrases, such as some prepositional phrases, which cannot be focused
by the verbal predicate, function as adjuncts of the sentence (Malicsi, 2012: 52). In
other languages such as English, the prepositional phrase is naturally spatial,
which is why instead of the term prepositional phrase, the researcher shall use the
term noun phrase complement in order to determine the predicate-complements
of the sentence. Since the predicate-complements may be assigned as the
grammatical subject, the sentences that have these types of complements are
considered as belonging to the class of transitive sentences (Radden & Driven,
Participant roles and event schema
The event schemas that will be discussed in this paper may be summarised in
three “worlds of experience”: material world, psychological world, and forcedynamic world. Material world refers to how the structured world exists, changes,
or undergoes processes (Radden & Dirven, 2007: 272). The psychological world is
the internal world of human sensation, emotion, perception, and thought. The
force-dynamic world is the external world of action, force, and cause-and-effect
relations. Events within the material world differ from those within the forcedynamic world, in that within the latter world, the human is the primary instigator
of the events. Through the three worlds of experiences mentioned, we can
construct an inventory of the event schemas in Tagalog; however, in this study,
only the events in the material world and the psychological world shall be
discussed, analysis of Tagalog sentences that illustrate events in the force-dynamic
world is reserved for further research.
Situations in the material world
Events that are included in the material world are comprised of events that
describe state and process, location and motion, and possession (Radden & Dirven,
2007: 272). These situations may be classified into three event schemas: occurrence
schema, spatial schema, and pertinence/possession schema. These three event
schemas are similar in that they harbour the role THEME.
a. Occurrence scheme
The occurrence schema describes a state or process that an entity undergoes.
According to Radden and Dirven (2007: 272), the notion ‘occurrence’ pertains to
the sense of condition or event involving objects in the material world. For this
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
reason, the situations included in the occurrence schema are characterised as
having a subject that has the role THEME. Under the occurrence schema are two
subcategories: state, that expresses a simple atemporal relation, and process, that
expresses a complex temporal relation.
The state is the relationship between the THEME and another entity that
describes the former: “THEME is of non-verbal predicate property”. Its simple
atemporal relation is expressed through a non-verbal sentence construction that
consists a subject and non-verbal predicate. The state has the following schema:
Figure 1. Schema for state.
Figure 1 illustrates that the TRAJECTOR is the THEME, because it is where the focus is
in the sentence, and the predicate of the state schema is the LANDMARK, which is
‘where the condition of the TRAJECTOR is happening’. Different types of non-verbal
predicate give different meanings to the state. Notice the following set of
ang baon=ko.
My lunch is sweet.
Prutas ang baon=ko.
fruits lunch=my
My lunch is fruits.
Ang mangga ang baon=ko.
the mango
My lunch is the mango.
Jem R. Javier
The THEME ang baon ko in (7) is assigned the property matamis (property
assignment). In (8), the THEME ang baon ko is included in the category ‘fruits’
(category inclusion). Meanwhile, the predicate in (9) is given a new and additional
identity that is represented by the NP ang mangga (identification). Nominal
sentences in Tagalog, i.e., sentences with NP for predicate such as in (8) and (9),
are usually given two interpretations: NP-predicates that do not have a determiner
have a classificatory sense (8), while those that have a determiner (ang) have an
identificational sense (9).
The process pertains to state that either changes or remains unaltered. A
change of signals a transition from a former towards a new condition, whereas a
steady process describes events that do not change. The process schema includes
change of state, that expresses a complex temporal relation, and steady process,
that expresses a simple temporal relation.
Be it sudden or gradual, the change of state focuses on the new state. The
beginning of a situation is called inchoation, and the verbs that express a
beginning of an event are called inchoative verbs. Usually, the change-of-state
verbs have an inchoative meaning, illustrated by the sentence (10) below:
to become.PRF better
His life had become better.
ang buhay=niya.
The change of state can be said to be related to the essential concept of state.
However, instead of describing it as “ THEME is of non-verbal predicate property”,
the change of state may include a relation that demonstrates change: “ THEME
becomes of non-verbal predicate property”. In this case the change of state schema
describes a complex temporal relation, as shown in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2. Schema for change of state.
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
The THEME that undergoes change is the TRAJECTOR, which is given focus in the
sentence. The change of state in Tagalog has an inchoative verb naging for
predicate. Meanwhile, an equivalent meaning may also be expressed through the
use of a verbalised adjective as a predicate:
to become prickish.PRF
The teacher had become prickish.
ang titser.
the teacher
ang smokey mountain.
to become beautiful.PRF
the smokey mountain
The smokey mountain had become beautiful.
The above sentences can be seen as derived from naging masungit ang titser (for
(11)) and naging maganda ang smokey mountain (for (12)). For that reason, this type
of sentence is also included in the change-of-state type.
A steady process describes an action that involves a non-human or nonvolitional THEME. Notice the following examples:
ang araw.
to rise.PRF=already
the sun
The sun is already rising.
ang buwan.
to shine.PRF
the moon
The moon had shone.
Steady processes are situations that remain unchanged; they may be represented
by an intransitive sentence that requires only one participant, the THEME, as in (13)
and (14). However, steady processes in Tagalog may also be represented by a
transitive sentence, provided that the verb focuses its locative complement, as
shown in the following sentence:
ng araw
ang kapatagan
to shine down.PRF
the sun
the plain.FOC
The plain was where the sun had shone down on.
Jem R. Javier
Although in a sense a steady process remains unchanged, the predicates may be
inflected in any aspect ((13), (14), and (15)). Generally, the process schema as the
following abstraction: “THEME[-HUMAN/-VOLITIONAL] undergoes process (on LOCATION)”.
For this research only the non-human THEME will be focused, i.e., those that are
related to nature. However, there are modal affixes in Tagalog that when
connected to the verb, the latter would be interpreted as being done by a “not
intentionally acting” human. Because of the semantics of the predicate of a steady
process, the said schema describes a simple temporal relation, wherein the THEME
is the TRAJECTOR or focal point of the sentence (cf. Figure 1).
Also included in this category is the phenomenological sentence, a
sentence that describes natural conditions, such as climate, weather or season, and
geological processes. In Tagalog, phenomenological sentences are represented by
avalent verbal sentences, those that do not have an overt subject, like (16) at (17):
to rain.IMPRF
It is raining.
It is cold.
It is said that the referent of the non-overt subject in this type of sentence is the
overall natural condition; the THEME that describes the setting of the
phenomenological condition of the situation is also called subject setting (Radden
& Dirven, 2007: 276).
A typical phenomenological sentence may undergo semantic change to
become a change-of-state when the adverbial na is added to it ((18) and (19)):
dry season=already
It is dry season already.
Christmas season=already
It is Christmas season already.
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
b. Spatial schema
A spatial schema describes relations between the THEME and LOCATION or
TRAJECTORY (Radden & Dirven, 2007: 276). It can be classified into static or
dynamic such as the occurrence schema. The static spatial schema is related to
LOCATION: this type of relation is called location schema. As for the dynamic
spatial schema, the moving theme is related to its TRAJECTORY: this type of relation
is called motion schema.
A location schema expresses a simple atemporal relation: in Tagalog, the
unconjugable verbal predicate (na- and may) gives information about the relation
between the LOCATIVE complement and the TRAJECTOR of the sentence (cf. Figure
The location in Tagalog is expressed using sentences predicated by “nasa +
NP”. At this point, the morpheme na will be regarded as an unconjugable verb (cf.
Malicsi (2012)) that profiles spatial/pertinent relation between the THEME
(TRAJECTOR) and LANDMARK, which in turn indicates the location of the former:
“THEME exists in LOCATION”:
(20a) mesa
ang ulam.
exist.on the table
the food
The food is (existing) on the table.
To regard na (and later on to its negative counterpart wala) in (20a) as a verb
instead of preposition is based upon the paradigm that is set in this paper, that is,
the prepositional phrase (that is headed, as the name suggests, by a preposition, or
generally a nominal marker) may be focused by the predicate of the sentence
(Malicsi, 2012). However, despite itself being a verb, na is perceived as of the
unconjugable type. The verb na is unconjugable because it does not conform to the
inflection paradigm of Tagalog verbs that determines the aspect and/or mode of
the action. However, this unconjugable verb na has the durative sense: there is no
certain beginning or end. This will also be the lens through which may will be
discussed below, also according to Malicsi (2012).
The morpheme nasa is usually given the gloss ‘in the’ and is regarded as a
preposition. However, looking at the different derivative sentences below, one can
paradigmatically see that only the morpheme sa is substituted by other
Na.kay Damulag
ang ulam.
exist.with Damulag
the food
The food is (existing) with Damulag.
Jem R. Javier
Na.kina Damulag at Dabiana
ang ulam.
exist.with Damulag and Dabiana
the food
The food is (existing) with Damulag and Dabiana.
ang ulam.
the food
The food is (existing) here.
ang ulam.
the food
The food is (existing) there.
ang ulam.
the food
The food is (existing) there.
It can be noticed that the forms that take the place of sa are the nominal markers
kay (21a) and kina (22a), and the demonstrative pronoun rito (23a), riyan (24a), and
roon (25a)6
Analysing the negative counterparts of Sentences (20a) to (25a), one can
see that only the morpheme na is changed, as in the following sentences below:
(20b) mesa
ang ulam.
negexist.on the table
the food
The food is not (existing) on the table.
Wala.kay Damulag
ang ulam.
negexist.with Damulag the food
The food is not (existing) with Damulag.
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
Wala.kina Damulag at Dabiana
ang ulam.
negexist.with Damulag and Dabiana
the food
The food is not (existing) with Damulag and Dabiana.
ang ulam. the food
The food is not (existing) here.
ang ulam.
negexist.there the food
The food is not (existing) there.
ang ulam.
negexist.there the food
The food is not (existing) there.
For that reason, the form nasa can be said to actually consist no less than two
morphemes: na, as well as wala, which are regarded as unconjugable verbs that
indicate LOCATION, and sa, which is a nominal markder that serves as the specifier
of the LOCATIVE complement.
Consider the following sentences:
(26) entablado
ang dalaga.
exist.on the stage
the maiden
The maiden is (existing) on the stage.
sa entablado
ang dalaga.
to sing.IMPRF on the stage
the maiden.FOC
The maiden is singing on the stage.
The difference between the two instances of sa entablado in the sentences above is
clear in Tagalog. In (26), the phrase sa entablado is a complement of the
unconjugable verb na, which plays the role of a participant that completes the
Jem R. Javier
semantics of the predicate. Meanwhile, the same phrase that occurs in (27) serves
as the spatial setting of the situatioon: it is an adverb of place – an adjunct – that if
removed, will not cause the ungammaticality (ill-formedness) of the construction.
This is not the case with (26) that if sa entablado is removed, the preposition loses its
sense for it is supposed to express the relationship between the two NPs.
In (26) above, the THEME ang dalaga is a definite referent. In Tagalog, the
definiteness of a noun phrase is encoded in the focus marker ang, which is why
sentences with no definite grammatical subject in Tagalog do not exist (Reid &
Liao, 2004). As shown in (28) below, only the complement pera(-ng nahulog sa lupa)
that serves as the subject of the unconjugable verb may is considered indefinite
grammatical subject7:
pera=ng nahulog
sa lupa.
money=that fell
on the ground
There was money that fell on the ground.
This means that in the unverse of discourse, the identity of the entity being
referred to is already known to both the speaker and the hearer of the utterance. A
referrent is therefore considered definite when the mental space for the said
referent is revealed; this is the subject of the sentence.
Each of sentences (20) to (29) discussed within the location schema has its
own unconjugable verb, respectively, which requires one participant and one
complement that determines the location of the participant. Hence, this type of
sentence is considered of the intransitive-predicate-complement type.
However, there exists a sentence in Tagalog that is considered as a type of
location schema but has no LOCATION participant. Consider the following sentence:
sa banyo.
person in the bathroom
There’s a person in the bathroom.
Constructions like (29) above are commonly called existential sentences: “a THEME
exists”. This type consists an unconjugable verb predicate may and is proceeded by
a noun that is not assigned with a nominal marker. The loss of the nominal marker
indicates that that noun is indefiniteness; in fact, this type of sentence is commonly
used in introducing a new entity within a discourse. In the terminology of CG, the
so-called existential sentence is a space-builder that reveals a mental space where
the THEME, which is also the grammatical subject of the construction, exists
(Radden & Dirven, 2007: 277). If the location is not specified (that is usually
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
expressed through NP-LOCATION as illustrated in (30) below), the THEME is
understood to exist in universality, as illustrated in (31):
mga demonyo sa mundo.
in the world
There are demons in the world.
There is a God.
The motion schema illustrates the change undergone by the THEME,
particularly the trajectory, or path, that it travels – from one place and instant to
another place instant (Radden & Dirven, 2007: 278). The motion event is
represented by (in) transitive-predicate-complement: it is directional and specifies
the SOURCE, PATH, and/or GOAL. The motion schema describes a complex temporal
relation that is represented by the following illustration:
Figure 3. Representation of enter
(Adapted from Langacker (2008: 117)).
Normally the tendency of a motion is for it to finish (verb telicity); that is, from a
SOURCE, it travels through a PATH, and ultimately reaches its GOAL. Motion, whose
abstraction is “THEME moves along TRAJECTORY” is the basis of the three basic
event schemas: object motion and self-motion, and caused motion, which are
represented by the following sentences:
ang bola
to enter.PRF
the ball.FOC
The ball had entered the room.
sa loob ng silid.
inside the room
Jem R. Javier
ang pusa
to enter.PRF
the cat.FOC
The cat had entered the room.
sa loob ng silid.
inside the room
to bring.PRF
sa loob ng silid
inside the room
ng laruan
a toy
ang bata.
The child had brung a toy inside the room.
Sentence (32) demonstrates a non-agentive object motion, while self-motion (33)
and caused motion (34) sentences are typically agentive. Self-motion and caused
motion schemas will be discussed later on.
c. Pertinence/possession schema
The pertinence/possession schema, that is represented by a non-verbal sentence,
consists a THEME, which is usually a physical object, and its relationship with
another entity, usually a human. This schema describes a simple atemporal
relation (Figure 1); but, the TRAJECTOR-LANDMARK alignment depends on which is
the focal point of the sentence.
In Tagalog, a pertinence is usually interpreted as possession (Malicsi, 2012:
50), which has the following abstraction: “ THEME exists in POSSESSOR”, which is
why pertinence and possession fall under a single category. The relationship
between the abstraction of location schema and possession schema can be seen in
the following sentences:
ulam ang kapitbahay.
the neighbour.FOC
The neighbour has some food.
ang ulam ng kapitbahay.
the food of the neighbour
The food of the neighbour is fish.
(37) kapitbahay
ang ulam.
exist.with the neighbour
the food
The food is (existing) with the neighbour.
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
ang kanyang=ulam.
His food is fish.
(39) [Poetic]
ang sa kapitbahay na ulam.
the neighbour’s food
The neighbour’s food is fish.
Sentence (35) above has a number of differences with an existential construction
discussed under location schema. The definite subject ang kapitbahay has the role
POSSESSOR of the NP that is indicated by the may-phrase (may ulam). It differs from
the existential construction in which the subject – which is indefinite – is
incorporated to the may-phrase, and may have a prepositional phrase (functioning
as an adjunct that describes a specific location of action) or may not (describes a
universal existence), like the sentence May ulam sa kapitbahay. Meanwhile, (36) is a
nominal sentence that possesses a subject that contains a pertinence phrase, the
construction is interpreted as an instance of possession, i.e., an NP that has a ngphrase (ng kapitbahay) that functions as POSSESSOR of the head of the NP-subject,
ang ulam. The relation between the possession and location in Tagalog can be seen
if (35), (37), and (38) are analysed. If the complement of may in (35), ulam, becomes
the subject, the NP-POSSESSOR becomes of the sa-form, sa kapitbahay, which is the
complement of the unconjugable verb na (37). As for (36), if the ng-phrase ng
kapitbahay, which is the POSSESSOR of the head of the subject NP ang ulam, is
preposed, or put at the beginning of the head, the marker becomes sa, although the
resultant form of the sentence is considered poetic or has literary licence (39). This
type of construction is more commonly heard with personal pronouns that
function as POSSESSOR and of the sa-form type, as shown in (38).
Situations in the psychological world
Situations in the psychological world describe human experiences, such as
emotion, perception, and thought. Schemas – like emotion schema and cognition
schema – both express complex temporal relations (Figure 2), in which the
EXPERIENCER is the TRAJECTOR, and the LANDMARK is the state that the EXPERIENCER
underwent, or the STIMULUS or OBJECT of EXPERIENCER (for the emotion schema) or
the PERCEPT (for the cognition schema).
Jem R. Javier
a. Emotion schema
The emotion schema illustrates the condition or the emotional process consciously
experienced by a human. Among the three psychological schemas mentioned, only
the emotion schema may have only the EXPERIENCER as the sole argument, as in the
following intransitive sentence:
ang kuya.
to become sad.PRF
the brother
The brother had become sad.
ang bunso.
to be pleased.IMPRF
the youngest child
The youngest child is pleased.
However, there is undeniably an implicit reason for experiencing an emotional
state. In Tagalog, if the emotional schema contains a ma-form verb (as in nalungkot
in (40) and natutuwa in (41)), the resultant sentence is intransitive, in which the
grammatical subjects ang kuya (in (40)) and ang bunso (in (41)) play the role
The emotional schema in Tagalog is not only expressed by an intransitive
sentence like in (40) and (41). There are verbs that function as predicate of
transitive sentence, illustrated by the following:
ng mama
ang bata.
to scare.PRF
the man
the child.FOC
The child had been scared off by the man.
ng bata
to anger.IMPRF
the child
The mother had been angered by the child.
ng bata
ang mama.
to scare.PRF
the child
the man.FOC
The man had given a scare to a child.
ang nanay.
the mother.FOC
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
ng nanay
ang bata.
to anger.IMPRF
the mother
the child.FOC
The child had been making his mother angry.
Sentences (42) through (45) show that there are Tagalog verbs that may require
more than one complement. In (42) and (43), the focus is on the EXPERIENCER, the
one that experiences the emotion verb takot (ang bata) and galit (ang nanay). On the
other hand, the grammatical subject of (44), ang mama, and (45), ang bata, is the
AGENT, or instigator of the predicates takot and galit. The maN- affix is used to focus
the AGENT; the construction would be ungrammatical had the typical AGENTfocusing affix -um- or mag- (*tumakot; *gumalit). The interpretation of the
EXPERIENCER becomes classificatory or indefinite in this sentence configuration.
Consider the following sentences:
sa paputok
to be frightened.PRF
the firecrackers
The dog had been frightened by the firecrackers.
ang aso.
the dog.FOC
sa presidente ang samahan.
to feel anger.PRF
the president the group.FOC
The group had felt anger towards the president.
Instransitive predicate-complement sentences like the ones mentioned above have
a STIMULUS as one of the complements. The STIMULUS is assigned the nominal
marker sa if it does not function as the grammatical subject. In (46a) and (47a), the
EXPERIENCERs ang aso and ang samahan, are the ones being focused by their
respective predicates. The role assigned to paputok and presidente is STIMULUS and
not AGENT because of the different verbal affix if they are focused, as in (46b) and
(47b) below:
ng aso
ang paputok.
to frighten.PRF
the dog
the firecrackers.FOC
The firecrackers had given the dog a fright.
Jem R. Javier
ng samahan
to feel anger.PRF
the group
The president had angered the group.
ang presidente.
the president.FOC
The schema can therefore be summarised using the following formula:
“EXPERIENCER experiences emotion (towards STIMULUS)”.
b. Perception/cognition schema
Perception/cognition schema describes the perceptual or mental consciousness of
the EXPERIENCER towards an object. It has the following abstraction “ EXPERIENCER
perceives PERCEPT”. One can see the closeness of perception and cognition through
the verbs such as nakita/naliwanagan and narinig/naunawaan, as shown in the
following transitive-predicate-complement sentences:
ng pari
ang langit.
to look.PRF
the priest
the sky.FOC
The sky was looked up to by the priest.
ng pulis
ang batas.
to respect.IMPRF
the policeman the law.FOC
The law is respected by the policeman.
ng bayan
ang halalan.
to monitor.CONT
the nation
the elections.FOC
The elections will be monitored by the nation.
Like in the emotion schema, the PERCEPT of perception/cognition schema projects a
different syntactic behaviour: the nominal marker sa is assigned to it if it is not
sa langit
to look.PRF
the sky
The priest looked up to the sky.
ang pari.
the priest.FOC
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
sa batas
to respect.IMPRF
the law
The policeman respects the law.
ang pulis.
the policeman.FOC
sa halalan
to monitor.CONT
the elections
The nation will monitor the elections.
ang bayan.
the nation.FOC
Based on the sentences above, the verbs follow the -um- paradigm: the focused
complement is the EXPERIENCER (ang pari in (48b), ang pulis in (49b), and ang bayan
in (50b)). Hence, the complements having the participant role PERCEPT are assigned
the nominal marker sa as in sa langit (48b), sa batas (49b), and sa halalan (50b).
In Tagalog, there are verbs that are limited in the number of
complement(s) that can be focused, particularly those having the participant role
PERCEPT. Consider the following sentences:
ang sagot
sa katabi=ko.
to see.PRF=I
the answer.FOC
the seatmate=my
The answer had been seen (by me) in my seatmate.
ang sagot
sa hilatsa ng mukha mo.
to see.PRF=I
the answer.FOC
in your face
The anwer had been seen (by me) in your face.
In (51) and (52), the NP ko with the participant role EXPERIENCER cannot be focused
by a typical AGENT-focus verb (that which contains the infix -um- or the prefix mag); the construction would become ungrammatical (*kumita or *magkita).
Conclusion: Entrenchment of event schemas as images
The categories of the simple sentences in Tagalog based on the CG echoes the
principle that grammar and semantics cannot be separated; rather, the lexicon and
grammar create a continuum of symbolic elements (Langacker, 2006: 41).
Jem R. Javier
Language is imagic: both the creation and symbolisation of conceptual
contents are supplied by the lexicon and grammar. Hence, in the utterance of a
linguistic unit from a morpheme thru a sentence, the speaker chooses a particular
image schema in order to convey the observed situation to another speaker
(Langacker, 2006: 41). The image schema is patterns of perceptual interaction,
bodily action, and manipulation of object (Johnson, 1987; 1993; Lakoff, 1987, 1990;
Talmy, 1988) that serve as dynamic analog representations of spatial relation and
movement in space derived from perceptual and motor processes (Gibbs &
Colston, 2006: 239). Furthermore, based on the discussions above, the creation of a
sentence is the use of entrenched schematic constructions resulting from the
exposure to expressions of a particular language. This means that in an expression,
the speaker forms the concept they want to convey first and afterwards finds the
equivalent form from the entrenched constructions that will function as the
sentence pattern. Hence, there is the necessity for the theoretical framework
proposed by CG to demonstrate the mechanism in the entrenchment and retrieval
of schematic assemblies, and not only in the assignment of meaning of different
expressions of clause structures. Implicatively, CG responds to the need of having
explicit descriptions of grammatical constructions of a language, and promoting
how they are seen as imagic.
Because of the different perspective offered by CG, this paper aims to
provide new insights as regards the characteristics of the components of grammar
as a reflection of cognition, particularly of the Tagalog speaker. It seeks to
contribute to the ever-growing knowledge not only of Tagalog, but of the general
linguistic theory, by opening new avenues for future studies on Tagalog, and other
Philippine languages, using CG, by creating an alternative methodology in the
discipline of linguistics.
Enriquez, M. A. T. (2004). Isang analisis sa mga pangungusap na ELPP [An
analysis of ELPP sentences]. Daluyan: Journal ng Wikang Filipino, 12(1), 616.
Evans, V. (2007). A glossary of Cognitive Linguistics. Salt Lake City: The University
of Utah Press.
Evans, V., & Green, M. (2006). Cognitive Linguistics: An introduction. Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press Ltd.
Gibbs, R.W., Jr., & Colston, H.L. (2006). The cognitive psychological reality of
image schemas and their transformations. In D. Geeraerts, (Ed.), Cognitive
Linguistics: Basic readings. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Harris, R.A. (1993). The Linguistics Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, M. (1987). The body in the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
The Material and the Psychological: An Analysis of the Clause Structure of Tagalog Using Cognitive Grammar
Johnson, M. (1993). Moral imagination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jubilado, R.C. (2004). Philippine linguistics, Filipino language, and the Filipino
nation. JATI, 9, 43-54.
Jubilado, R.C. (2008). The Filipino language in the Malaysian linguistic space. JATI,
13, 147-158.
Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the
mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lakoff, G. (1990). The invariance hypothesis: Is abstract reason based on imageschemas? Cognitive Linguistics, 1(1), 39-74.
Langacker, R.W. (1987). Foundations of CG volume 1: Theoretical prerequisites.
Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R.W. (1991). Foundations of CG volume 2: Descriptive application.
Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R.W. (1994). Structural syntax: The view from CG. Semiotiques, 6-7, 6984.
Langacker, R. W. (2000). A dynamic usage-based model. In M. Barlow at S.
Kemmer, (Eds.), Usage-based models of language. Stanford: CSLI
Langacker, R. W. (2002). Concept, image, symbol: The cognitive basis of grammar, 2nd
ed. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Langacker, R.W. (2006). CG: Introduction to concept, image, and symbol. In D.
Geeraerts, (Ed.), Cognitive Linguistics: Basic readings. Berlin: Mouton de
Langacker, R. W. (2008). CG: A basic introduction. New York: Oxford University
Malicsi, J.C. (2012). Pang-ukol sa Filipino [Prepositions in Filipino]. Daluyan:
Journal ng Wikang Filipino, 18(1-2), 39-82.
Malicsi, J.C. (2014). Gramar ng Filipino. Quezon City: UP Diliman Sentro ng Wikang
Quetua, F.L., et al. (1999). Sangguniang gramatika ng Wikang Filipino. Quezon City:
UP Sentro ng Wikang Filipino Diliman.
Radden, G., & Dirven, R. (2007). Cognitive English grammar. Amsterdam: John
Benjamins Publishing Company.
Reid, L.A., & Liao, H. (2004). A brief syntactic typology of Philippine languages.
Language and linguistics, 5(2), 433-490.
Talmy, L. (1988). Force dynamics in language and cognition. Cognitive Science, 12,
Talmy, L. (2005). [Foreword]. In M. Gonzalez-Marquez, I. Mittelberg, S. Coulson,
and M. Spivey (Eds.), Methods in Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam: John
Jem R. Javier
Much literature has been written regarding introspection as a linguistic methodology. L.
Talmy, one of the leading scholars of CG, defines it as “…[a] conscious attention directed
by a language user to particular aspects of language as manifest in her own cognition”
The author wishes to reiterate that studying language or aspects of it through the lens of
Cognitive Grammar is relatively new; for the reader who wishes to gain more
understanding as regards the key concepts and terminology used in the framework will
please refer to Evans’s 2007 Glossary of Cognitive Linguistics, which provides useful
operative definitions of those key concepts used in Cognitive Grammar. Meanwhile, terms
in boldface type are given definitions to guide the reader of this paper.
For a more in-depth discussion on the difference of CG to the other existing linguistic
theories, see Harris (1993) and Evans and Green (2006: §22-23).
In the case of the ditransitive sentence pattern, this paper shall not subscribe to that in
relation to Tagalog; this study shall look into the multivalence of Tagalog – whichever
complement that occurs in the sentence may be focused depending on the semantics of the
Different from the obligatoriness of occurrence of a complement within a sentence, the
term ‘obligatory’ has the sense of the possibility of becoming an argument and/or the
grammatical subject of the sentence.
The na- + demonstrative pronoun constructions have the allomorph nan- that is attached
to the variant form of the demonstrative pronoun with [d] for the initial sound: narito ~
nandito; nariyan ~ nandiyan; and naroon ~ nandoon.
This is what is known as the topicless sentence as per Enriquez (2004) and Quetua, et al.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp151-168
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Department of Malay Language, Academy of Malay Studies,
Universiti of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
([email protected], [email protected])
The purpose of this research is to classify and structuralize the pattern of
politeness in the novel Melunas Rindu, the literature text used by the form four
students in Zone 4 (Johor, Sabah, Sarawak and Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan). The
pattern of politeness is depicted through various occurrences and dialogues
between the characters in the novel. When practising the pattern of politeness, a
suitable structure is used according to a specific occurrence. Thus, the research
data reflects the analysis done on this pattern of politeness. The dialogues of the
main and supporting characters of the novel from Chapter 12 were analysed. The
two models of Leech Politeness Principle (1983) and Grice Model of
Communication (1975) were used to analyse the dialogues. This research used
library research, text analysis and quantitative methods. The findings showed that
only four Leech maxims and only two Grice maxims were fulfilled. The findings
also showed that the Leech maxims were not able to stand alone in portraying the
politeness pattern as a combination of maxims to form specific patterns is needed.
In certain cases, the Leech maxims were completed with the presence of the Grice
maxims. In addition, the application of structure in the politeness pattern for each
occurrence was diversified. It can be concluded that the politeness pattern and its
structure of politeness exist because of specified events.
Keywords: dialogues, Politeness Principles,
combination pattern, maxim combination pattern
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Kesopanan semasa berwacana atau berbahasa akan menjadi penentu untuk
mencitrakan diri dan keperibadian seseorang. Oleh itu, kesopanan berbahasa tidak
boleh dipandang remeh kerana penggunaan bahasa yang sopan berhubung erat
dengan sosiobudaya dan konteks pengguna dan penggunaannya. Kesopanan
berbahasa turut dipengaruhi budaya yang melatari kehidupan sesebuah
masyarakat. Seseorang yang berbahasa dengan sopan seperti lemah lembut, tertib,
jelas, tidak berlebih-lebihan dan tidak menyinggung perasaan orang lain dianggap
sebagai orang yang “tahu bahasa” dan beradab dalam budaya masyarakatnya.
Kesopanan berbahasa bukan sahaja mencitrakan keperibadian malahan
memanifestasikan citra dan identiti bangsanya. Hal ini demikian kerana
kesopanan dapat menggambarkan jati diri dan menjadi asas kejatidirian Melayu
yang terpuji (Tenas Effendi, 2011) sementara Mior Ahmad Noor Mior Hamzah
(2003 : 155) berpendapat bahawa ketamadunan akan berkembang kembali dengan
suburnya jika bangsa Melayu itu punya jati diri. Kedua-dua pandangan ini
mencerminkan bahawa kekuatan jati diri amat signifikan untuk menjadi sebuah
bangsa yang bertamadun dan mempunyai peradaban yang tinggi.
Aspek kesopanan berbahasa bukan sahaja signifikan dalam penggunaan
bahasa yang bersifat lisan semata-mata malahan memainkan peranan yang
penting dalam penggunaan bahasa yang bersifat tulisan. Sesebuah teks harus
memaparkan penggunaan bahasa yang sopan agar menjadi wadah yang berkesan
untuk mentarbiah generasi muda khasnya para murid. Sesebuah karya sastera
yang bermutu tidak akan meminggirkan aspek kesopanan berbahasa sebagai
cerminan keintelektualan pengarangnya. Justeru, langkah Kementerian
Pendidikan Malaysia mengintegrasikan bahan sastera dalam mata pelajaran
Bahasa Melayu merupakan tindakan yang wajar dan bijak untuk memenuhi hasrat
Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan (FPK) iaitu menekankan pengembangan potensi
anak didik secara seimbang daripada segi jasmani, rohani, intelektual dan
emosional (Naffi Mat, 2006).
Pengintegrasian teks sastera secara sistematik dalam mata pelajaran
Bahasa Melayu mulai tahun 2000 sehinggalah sekarang bukan sahaja
memudahkan para guru malahan memberikan manfaat kepada para murid dalam
mengenali karya dan pengarangnya. Perkara yang lebih mustahak ialah
kandungan teks sastera yang sarat dengan falsafah dan pemikiran yang
dijelmakan oleh pengarang. Menurut Azman Ismail (2010: 15), sesebuah karya
kreatif tanpa mengira genre mempunyai hubungan yang erat dengan persoalan
moral, intelektual, keagamaan, etika, suara kemanusiaan, keluhuran dan
kedamaian. Beliau turut berpendapat bahawa melalui kehalusan dan estetika,
sesebuah karya sastera mampu membangkitkan nilai yang bersesuaian dengan
fitrah manusia yang dahagakan keindahan, kedamaian, keharmonian dan
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
mengungkapkan cara sesebuah masyarakat berfikir. Pandangan ini bertepatan
dengan hasrat murni dalam FPK yang hendak melahirkan generasi yang
mempunyai daya intelektual dan daya fikir yang tinggi tanpa mengesampingkan
keseimbangan emosi, rohani dan jasmani (Kementerian Pendidikan, 2001).
Langkah mengintegrasikan teks sastera dalam subjek Bahasa Melayu amat
bertepatan dengan usaha untuk menerapkan nilai murni kerana implementasi ini
merupakan suatu mekanisme dalam pengajaran dan pembelajaran yang akhirnya
akan menampakkan hasil yang efektif dan faedah yang tidak ternilai kepada
generasi muda khasnya remaja. Hakikatnya, golongan remaja mempunyai
tanggungjawab dan peranan yang amat penting dalam penerusan dan pengekalan
institusi kemasyarakatan di negara kita (Haris Abd Wahab, 2004).
Ojektif utama kajian ini adalah untuk menganalisis dan menstruktur kesopanan
berbahasa dalam novel Melunas Rindu berdasarkan Prinsip Kesopanan Leech
(1983) dan Prinsip Kerjasama Grice (1975).
Metodologi Kajian
Kajian ini menggunakan tiga kaedah, iaitu kaedah penyelidikan kepustakaan,
kaedah analisis teks dan analisis kualitatif dan kuantitatif. Kajian kepustakaan
melibatkan pembacaan dan pengumpulan bahan-bahan yang berkaitan dengan
tajuk kajian. Sumber utama yang bakal digunakan banyak terdapat dalam bentuk
bertulis seperti buku, majalah, jurnal, akhbar, kertas-kertas kerja seminar dan
latihan ilmiah.
Analisis teks melibatkan pemilihan watak yang terlibat bagi dijadikan
fokus kajian. Pengkategorian dibuat dengan memilih dialog yang diujarkan oleh
watak utama dan watak sampingan. Dialog-dialog tersebut dikeluarkan dan akan
melalui proses pelabelan atau pengekodan.
Data dikod berdasarkan tajuk buku, bab (jumlah halaman dalam satu-satu
bab), nama watak yang melafazkan dialog, halaman dan nombor dialog mengikut
urutan dalam sesebuah bab. Misalnya, MR-B1(9)-Fu-H6-D1/5. MR bermaksud
Melunas Rindu, B1(9) bermakna Bab Satu dan angka sembilan dalam kurungan
merujuk kepada jumlah halaman dalam Bab Satu, singkatan Fu bagi nama watak
yang melafazkan dialog iaitu Fuad, H6 ialah halaman enam dan D1/5 pula ialah
dialog satu daripada lima dialog yang dilafazkan oleh watak Fuad dalam Bab
Satu. Tujuan pengekodan adalah untuk memudahkan proses pengenalpastian
data analisis. Seterusnya, dialog dikelompokkan berdasarkan peristiwa tertentu
sebelum dianalisis. Kajian ini hanya menggunakan dialog yang dilafazkan oleh
dua watak, iaitu Fuad watak utama dan watak sampingan, iaitu Farhana hanya
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
menggunakan 23 dialog (dari halaman 126-128). Jumlah 23 dialog ini bukanlah
jumlah mutlak bilangan dialog, sebaliknya dirujuk sebagai bentuk lafaz seseorang
watak yang boleh menyamai jumlah satu ayat atau bentuk lafaz seseorang watak
yang melebihi jumlah satu ayat dalam sesuatu peristiwa
Analisis dilakukan dengan mengenal pasti kata kunci yang digunakan
dalam dialog antara watak berdasarkan peristiwa tertentu dengan memberi fokus
terhadap penggunaan kata, ungkapan dan ayat yang bersesuaian dengan padanan
maksim-maksim dalam PS Leech dan PK Grice. Analisis kuantitatif pula akan
memperlihatkan jumlah dan peratusan kesopanan berbahasa yang dipaparkan
dalam bentuk jadual untuk memperjelaskan lagi dapatan kajian. Kaedah kualitatif
diaplikasikan apabila dapatan analisis dihuraikan dengan menggunakan
pendekatan pragmatik kerana pragmatik ialah kajian penggunaan bahasa
berdasarkan konteks.
Komponen Sastera (Komsas) dalam Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Melayu
Komsas dalam mata pelajaran Bahasa Melayu merupakan integrasi bahan sastera
seperti novel, antologi cerpen, antologi sajak dan puisi tradisional, antologi prosa
klasik dan antologi drama. Melunas Rindu karya Hartini Hamzah merupakan salah
sebuah novel yang diintegrasikan dalam Komsas. Novel ini merupakan novel
yang telah dipilih oleh panel penilai untuk dijadikan bahan Komsas di peringkat
sekolah menengah dan digunakan oleh para pelajar Tingkatan Empat di Zon 4
(Johor, Sarawak, Sabah dan Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan). Novel ini
mengandungi 19 bab dengan ketebalan 209 halaman. Novel ini diterbitkan oleh
Utusan Publications & Distributor Sdn. Bhd. pada tahun 2009 untuk edisi murid.
Novel ini pernah memenangi tempat pertama kategori Novel Remaja Hadiah
Sastera Utusan Melayu & Public Bank 1998. Kedudukan penggunaan novel
tingkatan empat mengikut zon terdapat dalam Jadual 1 yang berikut:
Genre Novel
Azfa Hanani karya Halis Azhan
Mohd. Hanafiah
Papa … (Akhirnya Kau Tewas Jua)
Karya Deana Yusof
Zon 1: Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang
dan Perak
Zon 2: Selangor, Negeri Sembilan,
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
dan Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya
Zon 3: Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu
dan Kelantan
Zon 4: Johor, Sarawak, Sabah dan
Wilayah persekutuan Labuan
Renyah karya Gunawan Mahmood
Melunas Rindu karya Hartini
Sesebuah karya sastera yang dipilih untuk bacaan dan kajian serta
penghayatan para pelajar sudah tentu memenuhi kriteria yang ditetapkan oleh
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum sejak bermulanya penyerapan teks Komsas
secara terancang pada tahun 2000. Langkah ini diambil setelah mengkaji
kandungan dalam sesebuah karya sastera yang sudah tentu mengandungi nilainilai murni sebagai wadah untuk mentarbiah dan menyemai unsur-unsur yang
membina sama ada dari segi jasmani, rohani, emosi dan intelek seperti yang
tercakup dalam Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan. Menurut Haris Abd Wahab
(2004: 72) sekiranya individu dalam masyarakat dididik dengan baik dan
sempurna maka lahirlah kelompok masyarakat yang berilmu pengetahuan dan
berkeupayaan mencapai kesejahteraan diri selain memberi sumbangan terhadap
keharmonian dan kemakmuran negara. Kesinambungannya, guru yang mengajar
dari pelbagai mata pelajaran haruslah berperanan memberi kesedaran tentang
nilai dan moral dalam proses pengajaran dan pembelajaran agar memberi kesan
yang positif dalam pembangunan diri murid (Mohamad Khairi Othman &
Asmawati Suhid, 2010).
Sesebuah karya sastera turut mementingkan pertuturan secara bersopan
atau santun ketika watak berdialog dengan orang lain di samping mendedahkan
penggunaan bahasa yang berlapik. Justeru, integrasi teks sastera dalam mata
pelajaran Bahasa Melayu dapat membantu para murid mempertajam minda dan
meningkatkan kepekaan mereka dalam berkomunikasi.
Model Kesopanan Leech (1983) & Model Kerjasama Grice (1975)
Leech (1983) telah memperkenalkan satu prinsip yang dikenali dengan Prinsip
Kesopanan (PS). PS Leech lebih menekankan faktor budaya masyarakat, psikologi
penutur-pendengar dalam menyampaikan maksud dengan berkesan. PS ini lebih
menekankan tingkah laku dan persoalan beradab yang menghubungkan dua
pihak dalam sesuatu proses komunikasi, iaitu antara diri sendiri yakni penutur
dan orang lain yakni pendengar. Leech (1983) memberi penekanan pada prinsip
yang memaksimumkan keuntungan, kesepakatan, rasa hormat dan sikap belas
kasihan kepada orang lain dengan meminimumkan atau mengabaikan perkaraperkara tersebut terhadap diri sendiri. Maksim-maksim Leech adalah seperti
Maksim Kebijaksanaan (Tact) ialah maksim yang meminimumkan kos
bagi orang lain dan memaksimumkan manfaat kepada orang lain.
Maksim Kedermawanan (Generosity) ialah maksim yang meminimumkan
manfaat bagi diri sendiri dan memaksimumkan kos bagi diri sendiri atau
dengan kata lain menguntungkan orang lain.
Maksim Sokongan (Approbation) ialah maksim yang meminimumkan
cacian terhadap orang lain dan memaksimumkan pujian terhadap orang
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Maksim Kerendahan Hati (Modesity) ialah maksim yang meminimumkan
pujian terhadap diri sendiri dan memaksimumkan cacian terhadap diri
Maksim Persetujuan (Agreement) ialah maksim yang meminimumkan
perbalahan antara diri sendiri dengan orang lain dan memaksimumkan
persetujuan antara diri sendiri dengan orang lain bagi mencapai
Maksim Simpati (Sympathy) ialah maksim yang meminimumkan antipati
antara diri sendiri dengan orang lain dan memaksimumkan simpati antara
diri sendiri dengan orang lain.
Grice (1975) telah mengemukakan PK, iaitu prinsip atau tatacara yang
perlu dipatuhi oleh penutur-penutur dalam perbualan mereka untuk
menghasilkan satu komunikasi yang berkesan dengan kewujudan kerjasama
kedua-dua belah pihak yang mengambil bahagian dalam perbualan tersebut.
Maksim-maksim Grice dapat memberi makna yang mendalam dalam perbualan.
Khan Qaisar & Ali Bughio Faraz (2012) turut memperkatakan hal ini, iaitu:
“… the maxim is generally flouted on the surface level but at the
deeper level, such flouting gives rise to implicatures. Such
implicatures in turn render the conversation lively and more
Empat maksim yang dikemukakan oleh Grice dan menjadi peraturan bagi
mengawal perbualan ialah pertama, Maksim Kuantiti yang memerlukan
pemberian maklumat yang sempurna, iaitu (i) memberi maklumat yang informatif
dan mencukupi dan (ii) jangan memberi maklumat yang berlebihan daripada
yang diperlukan. Kedua, Maksim Kualiti yang memerlukan pemberian maklumat
yang betul, iaitu (i) tidak menyebut sesuatu yang anda tidak tahu atau benar dan
(ii) tidak menyebut sesuatu yang anda tidak tahu dalil atau kesahihan buktinya.
Ketiga, Maksim Pertalian yang memerlukan maklumat yang relevan, iaitu (i)
maklumat yang disampaikan haruslah berkaitan dan mempunyai pertalian dan
keempat Maksim Cara yang menyatakan sesuatu dengan cara yang betul dan
mudah difahami, iaitu (i) tidak taksa (ii)tidak kabur (iii) jelas (iv) tertib. Justeru,
kajian ini akan menggabungkan kedua-dua model untuk menganalisis data
berdasarkan peristiwa dalam Bab 12 novel ini bagi memperlihatkan kesopanan
berbahasa yang digunakan.
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
Penganalisisan Data
Penganalisisan terhadap data-data kajian dengan menggunakan kedua-dua model
ini memperlihatkan pembentukan tiga pola kombinasi maksim, iaitu (i) pola
kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan + Kuantiti, (ii)
pola kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan dan (iii)
pola kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan + Sokongan + Kerendahan Hati + Relevan
seperti yang terdapat dalam Jadual 2 yang berikut:
Pola Kombinasi Maksim
Peristiwa 1
+ Persetujuan+Kuantiti
endahan Hati+Relevan
Peristiwa 2
Peristiwa 3
Jadual 2 menunjukkan tiga pola kombinasi maksim yang terbentuk berdasarkan 3
peristiwa dalam Bab 12 ini. Penganalisisan tersebut menunjukkan pola kombinasi
Maksim Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan + Kuantiti dalam
peristiwa 1 diwakili 14 dialog, iaitu sebanyak 60.87 peratus dan pola kombinasi
maksim Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan dalam peristiwa 2 pula
diwakili 4 dialog, iaitu 17.39 peratus manakala pola kombinasi maksim
Kebijaksanaan + Sokongan + Kerendahan Hati + Relevan dalam peristiwa 3
diwakili 5 dialog, iaitu 21.74 peratus.
Sementara itu, analisis turut
memperlihatkan struktur pola kesopanan berbahasa yang bervariasi kerana setiap
peristiwa komunikasi mempunyai objektif komunikasi yang berbeza-beza.
Pola dan Struktur Kesopanan Berbahasa Leech (1983) & Leech (1975)
Terdapat tiga pola kombinasi maksim yang terbentuk berdasarkan analisis
terhadap tiga peristiwa dalam data-data kajian. Huraian analisis pola-pola
kombinasi maksim dan struktur peristiwa kesopanan adalah seperti berikut:
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Pola Kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati +
Persetujuan + Kuantiti-Peristiwa 1: Fuad Memberi Kad Harijadi kepada
Pola kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati+Persetujuan+Kuantiti
ditandai kata kunci yang tertentu. Maksim Kebijaksanaan ditandai pemilihan kata
yang tepat untuk memanggil rakan sekerja manakala Maksim Kerendahan Hati
ditandai sikap merendah diri dan mencaci diri sendiri. Sementara Maksim
Persetujuan ditandai dengan kewujudan kesepakatan yang tinggi dalam
perbualan dan Maksim Kuantiti pula ditandai sumbangan maklumat yang
mencukupi dalam memenuhi permintaan atau pertanyaan. Kesemua dialog ini
dianalisis berdasarkan peristiwa dalam novel ini. Pola kombinasi Maksim
Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati+Persetujuan+Kuantiti ini dapat dilihat dalam
peristiwa Fuad memberi kad harijadi kepada Farhana seperti dalam Jadual 3
Pola Kombinasi Maksim
Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati+Persetujuan+Kuantiti
Ana ... Hari ni kau ada dapat kad tak?
Warna apa?
Merah jambu.
Cantik tak?
Kau tahu siapa yang bagi?
Ya ... Betul. Murah saja, empat ringgit setengah.
Ya? Siapa tanya?
Eh, kau tak tanya ya? Aku ingat kau tanya tadi. Kau suka tak?
Tentulah aku suka. Kau tahu sebab apa aku suka? Sebab, kau
yang bagi!
Perbualan dalam peristiwa ini mematuhi Maksim Kebijaksanaan +
Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan + Kuantiti. Maksim Kebijaksanaan dikenal pasti
melalui penggunaan kata ganti nama yang sesuai untuk memanggil rakan sekerja
yang sudah akrab seperti aku dan kau yang digunakan oleh Fuad dan Farhana.
Penggunaan kata ganti nama aku dan kau dalam konteks hubungan keduaduanya mencerminkan kesopanan berbahasa. Penggunaan kata ganti nama
peribadi seperti Ana dalam peristiwa ini turut menggambarkan pemilihan kata
yang sesuai untuk menyapa rakan. Pemilihan kata ganti nama yang sesuai dan
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
tepat dalam berkomunikasi dapat memaksimumkan manfaat kepada pendengar
yang sekali gus memanifestasikan kesopanan berbahasa.
Maksim Kerendahan Hati dipatuhi dalam peristiwa ini berdasarkan
dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H126-D6/38 Murah saja, empat ringgit setengah oleh Fuad.
Ungkapan murah saja dalam dialog ini mencerminkan kerendahan hati Fuad
kerana sanggup mencaci diri sendiri dengan mengaku bahawa dia membeli kad
yang murah dengan harga empat ringgit setengah. Fuad sanggup
memaksimumkan cacian terhadap diri sendiri dengan mengakui kelemahan diri
walaupun pada hakikatnya mampu membeli kad yang lebih mahal.
Maksim Persetujuan dalam peristiwa ini ditandai persetujuan secara
langsung dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fa-H126-D3/32 Cantik, yang dilafazkan oleh
Farhana. Kata cantik dalam dialog tersebut merupakan persetujuan secara
langsung Farhana terhadap pertanyaan Fuad dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H126D3/37 Cantik tak? yang merujuk kepada kad yang diberikan oleh Fuad kepada
Farhana. Persetujuan secara langsung juga terdapat dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-FaH127-D7/32 Tentulah aku suka yang dituturkan oleh Farhana bagi menjawab
pertanyaan Fuad dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H127-D8/37 Kau suka tak? dan
dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H126-D6/37 Ya ... Betul, Fuad pula bersetuju secara
langsung dengan Farhana apabila melafazkan kata ya dan disusuli kata betul
apabila Farhana mengatakan Fuad yang memberikan kad tersebut. Persetujuan
secara langsung dalam peristiwa ini bukan sahaja dapat melancarkan komunikasi
malah dapat memaksimumkan persetujuan antara diri sendiri dengan orang lain
yang sekali gus memanifestasikan kemesraan antara satu sama lain.
Peristiwa ini juga memperlihatkan kehadiran Maksim Kuantiti dalam
komunikasi antara Fuad dan Farhana. Dialog MR-B12(13)-Fa-H126-D2/32 Merah
jambu yang dituturkan oleh Farhana bagi menjawap pertanyaan Fuad dalam
dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H126-D2/38 Warna apa? mencerminkan maklumat yang
mencukupi apabila ditanya tentang warna kad yang diterima. Dialog MR-B12(13)Fu-H126-D4/37 Kau tahu siapa yang bagi? yang dituturkan oleh Fuad dan dijawab
Farhana dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fa-H126-D4/32 Tahu juga memenuhi
permintaan penutur dan dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H126-D5/37 Siapa? yang
dituturkan oleh Fuad dan jawapan Farhana dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fa-H126D5/32 Engkaulah, mencerminkan sumbangan maklumat yang cukup dan
memenuhi kehendak melalui pertanyaan atau permintaan sekali gus mewujudkan
kerjasama dalam berkomunikasi. Penutur memperlihatkan sikap berhati-hati agar
maklumat yang diberikan tidak berlebihan kerana maklumat yang berlebihan
akan mengundang kebosanan kepada pendengar. Pemberian maklumat yang
mencukupi dalam berkomunikasi mematuhi maksim Kuantiti dalam PK Grice
dalam memanifestasikan kerjasama dan kesopanan berbahasa.
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Berdasarkan perbincangan di atas, didapati peristiwa ini memperlihatkan
struktur tertentu dalam memaparkan kesopanan berbahasa seperti dalam Jadual 4
yang berikut:
harijadi kepada Farhana
Unsur sapaan
Unsur pertanyaan
Unsur pernyataan
Unsur pernyataan
Unsur pernyataan
Unsur pernyataan
Kerendahan Hati
Unsur pertanyaan
Unsur lawak
Unsur pernyataan
Berdasarkan Jadual 3, mukadimah perbualan dimulakan oleh Fuad dengan
menggunakan unsur sapaan bagi menyapa Farhana melalui penggunaan kata nama
peribadi iaitu, Ana sebelum meneruskan perbualan bagi memperlihatkan
kebijaksanaan berbahasa selain mengundang kemesraan dalam perbualan.
Seterusnya, barulah Fuad bertanya dengan menggunakan unsur pertanyaan bagi
mendapatkan kuantiti maklumat yang mencukupi. Farhana pula menggunakan
unsur pernyataan bagi memberikan maklumat yang ditanya Fuad tentang kad
yang diberi oleh Fuad. Unsur yang sama juga digunakan oleh Fuad untuk
mendapatkan maklumat, iaitu respons daripada Farhana sama ada kad itu cantik
dan sama ada Farhana menyukainya atau tidak. Farhana menggunakan unsur
pernyataan bagi memberikan maklumat yang diminta. Bagi memperlihatkan
persetujuan dalam komunikasi, unsur pernyataan digunakan oleh Fuad dan
Farhana apabila Fuad mengiakan dia yang memberikan kad tersebut. Seterusnya,
Fuad menggunakan unsur pernyataan melalui ungkapan negatif murah saja empat
ringgit setengah untuk mengakui kerendahan hatinya bahawa kad yang diberinya
murah. Akhirnya, bagi mendapatkan persetujuan sekali lagi tentang reaksi
Farhana sama ada menyukai kad tersebut atau tidak, Fuad menggunakan unsur
pertanyaan dan unsur lawak. Tujuan Fuad berbuat demikian adalah untuk
memancing perhatian Farhana dan mewujudkan kemesraan di samping
menghiburkan hati. Farhana menggunakan unsur pernyataan dengan mengakui
bahwa dia menyukai kad tersebut lebih-lebih lagi Fuad yang memberinya. Unsur
sapaan, pertanyaan, pernyataan, pertanyaan dan lawak digunakan dalam
peristiwa ini untuk mencerminkan kesopanan berbahasa selain mencapai objektif
komunikasi, iaitu Fuad hendak mengetahui reaksi Farhana terhadap kad yang
diberinya sempena harijadi Farhana.
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
Pola Kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati+PersetujuanPeristiwa 2: Fuad Mengajak Farhana Keluar Berjalan
Pola kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati+Persetujuan ditandai
kata kunci yang tertentu. Maksim Kebijaksanaan ditandai pemilihan kata yang
tepat untuk mendekati dan berurusan dengan seseorang dan menggunakan kata
yang sesuai dan sopan untuk memanggil rakan sekerja. Maksim Kerendahan Hati
ditandai sikap merendah diri, iaitu mencaci diri sendiri sementara Maksim
Persetujuan ditandai dengan kewujudan kesepakatan yang tinggi. Kesemua dialog
ini dianalisis berdasarkan peristiwa dalam novel ini. Pola kombinasi Maksim
Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati+Persetujuan ini dapat dilihat dalam peristiwa
Fuad mengajak Farhana keluar berjalan seperti dalam Jadual 5 yang berikut:
Pola Kombinasi Maksim
Kebijaksanaan+Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan
Ana, duduk kejap. Tak mahu ucap terima kasihkah?
Aku tahulah kad aku tu murah.
Okey, terima kasih.
Ana, err ...Aku ingat nak ajak kau jalan-jalan petang
ni. Itu pun kalau kau nak.
Petang ni ... bolehlah. Setakat jalan-jalan apa salahnya.
Perbualan dalam peristiwa ini mematuhi Maksim Kebijaksanaan +
Persetujuan + Sokongan + Kerendahan Hati. Maksim Kebijaksanaan dikenal pasti
melalui sikap sopan meminta rakan duduk untuk berbicara. Fuad dalam dialog
MR-B12(13)-Fu-H127-D9/37 Ana, duduk kejap, meminta Farhana duduk sekejap
supaya dia dapat bericara dengan Farhana. Ungkapan duduk kejap merupakan
permintaan yang beradab dan memudahkan perbualan dan pendengar juga
berasa selesa. Pemilihan kata yang tepat untuk berurusan dengan orang lain juga
terserlah melalui tindakan yang bijaksana untuk mencadang. Fuad dalam dialog
MR-B12(13)-Fu-H127-D10/37 Ana, err ...Aku ingat nak ajak kau jalan-jalan petang ni.
Itu pun kalau kau nak, bercadang untuk mengajak Farhana keluar. Kata kalau dan
ingat dalam dialog ini merupakan penanda untuk mencadangkan sesuatu dan
penggunaan kata melalui cara yang berhemah ini tidak akan memberi tekanan
kepada pendengarnya, iaitu Farhana kerana lebih lembut dan sopan. Pemilihan
dan penggunaan kata yang tepat dan sesuai untuk meminta dan mencadangkan
sesuatu bukan sahaja mencerminkan kesopanan berbahasa malah dapat
meminimumkan kos pendengar dalam berkomunikasi.
Peristiwa ini juga memaparkan penggunaan kata ganti nama yang sesuai
seperti kata ganti nama peribadi, iaitu Ana yang lebih lembut dan sopan di
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
samping penggunaan kata ganti nama aku dan kau. Penggunaan kata ganti nama
aku dan kau antara Farhana dan Fuad masih sopan kerana faktor keakraban
hubungan mereka.
Maksim Kerendahan Hati pula terdapat dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-FuH127-D9/37 Aku tahulah kad aku tu murah yang dilafazkan oleh Fuad. Kata sifat
murah yang dilafazkan oleh Fuad mengimplikasikan cacian terhadap dirinya
sendiri kerana sanggup mengakui bahawa kad yang dibelinya murah.
Berdasarkan maksim ini, sikap menyelar, menghina, mengkritik dan mengakui
kelemahan diri merupakan tindakan yang sopan kerana cacian terhadap diri
sendiri dapat diterima sebagai sopan walaupun berlebihan (Leech, 1993: 164).
Maksim Persetujuan dalam peristiwa ini dipatuhi apabila Farhana
menyetujui cadangan Fuad yang hendak mengajaknya keluar dalam dialog MRB12(13)-Fa-H127-D9/32 Petang ni ... bolehlah. Setakat jalan-jalan apa salahnya. Kata
bolehlah dalam dialog ini memanifestasikan persetujuan secara langsung Farhana
terhadap cadangan Fuad. Persetujuan juga terdapat dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-FaH127-D8/32 Okey, terima kasih, yang dituturkan oleh Farhana bagi menyetujui
permintaan Fuad dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H127-D9/37 Tak mahu ucap terima
kasihkah? Penutur yang sopan sentiasa berusaha untuk mewujudkan kesepakatan
dalam berkomunikasi agar dapat memaksimumkan persetujuan antara diri sendiri
dengan orang lain di samping menjaga air muka lawan tuturnya.
Berdasarkan perbincangan di atas, didapati peristiwa ini memperlihatkan
struktur tertentu dalam memaparkan kesopanan bahasa seperti dalam Jadual 6
yang berikut:
Unsur sapaan
Unsur permintaan
Unsur pernyataan
Kerendahan Hati
Unsur pertanyaan
Unsur pernyataan
Unsur sapaan
Unsur cadangan
Unsur pernyataan
Berdasarkan Jadual 4, mukadimah perbualan dimulakan oleh Fuad dengan
menggunakan unsur sapaan, iaitu dengan menggunakan kata nama peribadi untuk
menyapa rakan bagi menggambarkan kebijaksanaan berbahasa. Kemudian
barulah Fuad menggunakan unsur permintaan dengan meminta Farhana duduk.
Seterusnya, Fuad menggunakan unsur pernyataan untuk memberitahu bahawa
kad yang diberinya murah bagi menggambarkan kerendahan hati. Selepas itu
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
barulah Fuad menggunakan unsur pertanyaan untuk mendapatkan persetujuan
Farhana agar mengucapkan terima kasih kepadanya. Farhana menyatakan
persetujuannya dengan mengucapkan teima kasih atas pemberian kad tersebut.
Akhirnya, barulah Fuad menyatakan cadangannya untuk membawa Farhana
keluar bersiar-siar. Farhana memberikan persetujuan dengan menyatakan
kesudiannya untuk keluar berjalan-jalan. Unsur sapaan, permintaan, penyataan,
pertanyaan dan cadangan digunakan dalam peristiwa ini bagi menggambarkan
kesopanan berbahasa selain mencapai objektif komunikasi, iaitu Fuad berjaya
menyampaikan hajatnya hendak membawa Farhana bersiar-siar.
Pola Kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan+Sokongan+Kerendahan
Hati+Relevan- Peristiwa 3: Perbualan Semasa Memesan Makanan
Pola kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan+Sokongan+Kerendahan Hati+Relevan
ditandai kata kunci yang tertentu. Maksim Kebijaksanaan ditandai pemilihan kata
yang tepat untuk memanggil rakan sekerja dan cara yang berhemah untuk
berurusan dengan seseorang manakala Maksim Sokongan ditandai oleh kata
pujian dalam perbualan. Maksim Kerendahan Hati ditandai sikap merendah diri
dengan memohon maaf dan menolak pujian sementara Maksim Relevan pula
ditandai sumbangan maklumat yang mempunyai pertalian dengan permintaan
atau pertanyaan. Kesemua dialog ini dianalisis berdasarkan peristiwa dalam novel
ini. Pola kombinasi Maksim Kebijaksanaan+Sokongan+Kerendahan Hati+Relevan
ini dapat dilihat dalam peristiwa semasa memesan makanan seperti dalam Jadual
7 yang berikut:
Pola Maksim/Peristiwa
Kerendahan Hati+Relevan
Kau nak makan apa Ana?
Ikut kaulah. Aku ikut saja, orang nak belanjalah katakan.
Apa fasal kau pandang aku macam tu? Aku lupa pakai
Taklah. Sebab kau cantik.
La ... Tak percaya? Kalau tak percaya, balik rumah nanti
jangan lupa tengok cermin.
Perbualan dalam peristiwa ini mematuhi Maksim Kebijaksanaan +
Sokongan + Kerendahan Hati + Relevan. Maksim Kebijaksanaan diperlihatkan
melalui pemilihan kata yang sesuai dan lembut dalam memberi cadangan, iaitu
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
penggunaan kata kalau. Fuad memberi cadangan kepada Farhana agar melihat
cermin apabila balik dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fu-H128-D13/37 La ... Tak percaya?
Kalau tak percaya, balik rumah nanti jangan lupa tengok cermin. Cadangan yang
ditandai kata kalau dapat meminimumkan kos pendengar dalam komunikasi.
Pemilihan kata yang tepat dan sesuai untuk memanggil rakan dalam peristiwa ini
ditandai kata ganti nama aku, kau dan kata ganti nama peribadi, iaitu Ana.
Penggunaan kata ganti nama tersebut mencerminkan kesopanan berbahasa kerana
digunakan oleh dua orang rakan yang akrab. Penggunaan kata ganti nama yang
sesuai dapat memaksimumkan manfaat kepada pendengar.
Maksim Sokongan dalam peristiwa ini ditandai kata pujian dalam dialog
MR-B12(13)-Fu-H128-D12/37 Sebab kau cantik. Kata sifat cantik yang dituturkan
oleh Fuad dalam dialog ini mencerminkan pujian dan menunjukkan Farhana
seorang gadis yang cantik. Penutur, iaitu Fuad berusaha memaksimumkan pujian
terhadap orang lain dalam berkomunikasi bagi mengekspresi kesopanan
berbahasa dan tindakan ini dapat menyenangkan hati pendengar dalam
berkomunikasi kerana tiada sesiapa yang suka dikeji.
Penolakan terhadap pujian merupakan penanda bagi Maksim Kerendahan
Hati dalam peristiwa ini. Farhana dalam dialog MR-B12(13)-Fa-H128-D11/32
Bohonglah, menolak pujian Fuad yang mengatakannya cantik. Kata bohonglah
dalam dialog ini bermakna tidak benar dan Farhana tidak menerima pujian
dengan mudah. Penolakan terhadap pujian mencerminkan sikap rendah diri dan
sikap tidak bermegah-megah dengan pujian. Penolakan ini bukan sahaja
melambangkan kesopanan berbahasa malahan meminimumkan pujian terhadap
diri sendiri.
Maksim Relevan dalam peristiwa ini terdapat dalam dialog MR-B12(13)Fa-H128-D10/32 Ikut kaulah. Aku ikut saja, orang nak belanjalah katakan. Ayat yang
dituturkan oleh Farhana dalam dialog ini memberikan sumbangan maklumat
yang mempunyai pertalian dengan pertanyaan Fuad dalam dialog MR-B12(13)Fu-H128-D11/37 Kau nak makan apa Ana? Jawapan yang diberikan oleh Farhana,
Ikut kaulah. Aku ikut saja, orang nak belanjalah katakan, secara tersiratnya
berkaitan dengan pertanyaan Fuad tentang apa yang hendak dimakan oleh
Farhana walaupun jawapannya langsung tidak berkaitan dengan makanan. Walau
bagaimanapun, jawapannya difahami dan Fuad bebas untuk memesan makanan.
Sumbangan maklumat yang mempunyai pertalian dengan perkara yang disoal
amat bermakna untuk mewujudkan kerjasama dalam berkomunikasi dan sekali
gus memanifestasikan kesopanan berbahasa.
Berdasarkan perbincangan di atas, didapati peristiwa ini memperlihatkan
struktur tertentu dalam memaparkan kesopanan berbahasa seperti dalam Jadual 8
yang berikut:
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
memesan makanan
Unsur pertanyaan
Unsur pernyataan
Unsur pujian
Unsur penafian
Kerendahan Hati
Unsur cadangan
Unsur lawak
Berdasarkan Jadual 5, mukadimah perbualan dimulakan oleh Fuad dengan
menggunakan unsur pertanyaan bagi mendapatkan maklumat yang relevan
daripada Farhana, iaitu tentang makanan yang hendak dipesan. Farhana
memberikan maklumat yang relevan dengan menggunakan unsur pernyataan.
Seterusnya, Fuad menggunakan unsur pujian bagi memuji Farhana apabila
Farhana bertanyakan sebab Fuad memandangnya. Sementara Farhana
menggunakan unsur penafian apabila dipuji Fuad bagi mencerminkan
kerendahan hatinya. Akhirnya, Fuad menggunakan unsur cadangan dan unsur
lawak dengan memberi cadangan kepada Farhana agar melihat dirinya di cermin
jika tidak percaya akan pujian Fuad. Unsur pertanyaan, pernyataan, pujian,
penafian, cadangan dan lawak digunakan dalam peristiwa ini untuk
menggambarkan kesopanan berbahasa selain mencapai objektif komunikasi, iaitu
untuk mewujudkan suasana yang mesra ketika memesan makanan.
Berdasarkan analisis, didapati tiga pola kombinasi maksim yang terbentuk dan
pola kombinasi maksim yang tertinggi ialah pola kombinasi Maksim
Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan + Kuantiti, iaitu sebanyak 60.87
peratus sementara pola kombinasi maksim yang terendah ialah pola kombinasi
Maksim Kebijaksanaan + Kerendahan Hati + Persetujuan, iaitu sebanyak 17.39
peratus. Hasil analisis ini memperlihatkan kedua-dua model ini sesuai untuk
menganalisis data kajian.
Selain itu, penelitian juga memperlihatkan bahawa struktur pola
kesopanan berbahasa disampaikan dalam struktur yang bervariasi. Walaupun
hasil dapatan memperlihatkan penggunaan pola-pola tertentu tetapi struktur
dalam peristiwa-peristiwa tersebut berbeza antara satu sama lain. Perkara ini
berlaku disebabkan setiap peristiwa komunikasi mempunyai objektif yang
tersendiri. Impaknya, penyusunan struktur bagi setiap peristiwa adalah berbezabeza bagi mencapai objektif komunikasi.
Maksim Kebijaksanaan disampaikan dengan penggunaan unsur sapaan,
unsur permintaan dan unsur cadangan. Penggunaan unsur sapaan untuk memulakan
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
perbualan dapat mempamerkan kebijaksanaan dalam berbahasa dan
memperlihatkan kecenderungan yang dominan. Unsur sapaan berperanan sebagai
penghubung antara penutur dengan pendengar dan menjadi unsur wacana yang
dominan dalam peristiwa komunikasi. Penutur dan pendengar menggunakan
kata panggilan dan sapaan yang sesuai dalam berkomunikasi yang mencakupi
kata ganti nama diri pertama seperti saya, kata ganti nama diri kedua seperti awak
dan kata nama peribadi. Asmah Hj Omar (1993: 81) menyatakan kata ganti nama
saya, kami dan kita merupakan kata ganti nama pertama yang paling biasa dan
diterima oleh semua golongan. Ganti nama tersebut adalah santun.
Maksim Sokongan pula disampaikan dengan menggunakan unsur pujian
bagi mencerminkan sokongan dan penghargaan apabila penutur memuji dan
berasa kagum dengan seseorang. Ketiadaan unsur ini akan mengimplikasikan
cacian walaupun harus dilakukan secara berpada-pada. Maksim Kerendahan Hati
memperlihatkan penggunaan unsur penafian dan unsur pernyataan. Unsur penafian
digunakan untuk menolak pujian bagi memberi gambaran kerendahan hati
seseorang. Tindakan menafikan pujian mencitrakan kehalusan budi bahasa kerana
dalam sesebuah masyarakat, penolakan atau penafian terhadap pujian adalah
cerminan masyarakat yang sopan. Unsur pernyataan pula digunakan untuk
memaklum atau mengekspresikan sikap rendah diri.
Maksim Persetujuan dipatuhi dengan menggunakan unsur pertanyaan bagi
memperolehi persetujuan. Penggunaan unsur ini merupakan pendekatan yang
sesuai untuk mendapatkan persetujuan agar tidak mengimplikasikan paksaan.
Maksim Kuantiti dalam kajian ini memperlihatkan penggunaan unsur lawak, unsur
pertanyaan dan unsur pernyataan. Unsur lawak diselitkan dalam perbualan agar
peristiwa komunikasi menjadi lebih mesra dan tidak tegang serta dapat
membangkitkan perasaan terhibur dan komunikasi berjalan dengan tenang.
Penggunaan unsur pertanyaan berkesan untuk mendapatkan maklumat yang
mencukupi dalam komunikasi. Secara fitrahnya, setiap pertanyaan pasti diikuti
jawapan sekiranya wujud kerjasama dan kesopanan dalam berbahasa. Menurut
Mohamad Fadzeli Jaafar (2013: 240) penggunaan ujaran pertanyaan lebih memberi
kesan khususnya dalam memulakan sesuatu perbualan. Maksim Relevan pula
memperlihatkan penggunaan unsur pertanyaan dan pernyataan. Unsur pernyataan
dalam hal ini berperanan untuk mencerminkan sumbangan maklumat yang
mempunyai pertalian agar dapat meningkatkan kerjasama dan sekali gus
memanifestasikan kesopanan.
Novel Melunas Rindu memperlihatkan paparan kesopanan berbahasa dan
struktur peristiwa kesopanan berbahasa yang signifikan sekali gus
memperlihatkan kesesuaian novel ini sebagai teks Komsas. Para murid mendapat
pendedahan tentang aspek kesopanan bertitik tolak daripada penggunaan bahasa
yang sopan dan tepat selain penggunaan struktur pola kesopanan berbahasa yang
bervariasi untuk mencapai objektif komunikasi. Lanjutan daripada itu, kita dapat
Analisis Kesopanan Bahasa Leech & Grice: Manifestasi Struktur Pola Kesopanan Bahasa dalam Peristiwa
Melunas Rindu
melahirkan generasi yang peka dalam membudayakan bahasa yang sopan dan
sesuai dengan situasi atau peristiwa komunikasi.
Nota Hujung
Pengkaji menggunakan istilah murid dalam kajian ini untuk merujuk kepada pelajar
sekolah menengah berdasarkan istilah yang digunakan dalam Sukatan Pelajaran Bahasa
Melayu walaupun penggunaan murid biasanya dirujuk kepada mereka yang belajar di
sekolah rendah.
2 Komsas ialah singkatan bagi Komponen Sastera dalam mata pelajaran Bahasa Melayu
yang mulai diperkenalkan di seluruh sekolah menengah di Malaysia mulai tahun 2000. Fasa
pertama (2000-2009) dan sekarang fasa kedua yang bermula pada tahun 2010 dengan
menggunakan teks dan antologi yang baharu.
3 Novel Melunas Rindu mula digunakan oleh para murid Tingkatan Empat di Zon 4 (Johor,
Sarawak, Sabah dan Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan mulai tahun 2010 bagi menggantikan
novel Terminal Tiga (2000-2009) karya Othman Puteh.
4 Dalam Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan dinyatakan dengan jelas bahawa matlamat
pendidikan negara adalah untuk melahirkan insan yang seimbang dan harmoni dari segi
intelek, rohani, emosi dan jasmani berdasarkan kepercayaan dan kepatuhan kepada Tuhan
(Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, 2001).
Asmah Hj Omar. (1993). Nahu Melayu mutakhir edisi keempat. Kuala Lumpur:
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Azman Ismail. (2010). Mencari kekuatan bahasa dan sastera kebangsaa. Dewan
Bahasa. Oktober, hlm. 15-18.
Grice, H.P. (1975). Logic and conversations. Dlm. Cole, P., & Morgan (ed.) Syntax
and Semantic: Speech Act. New York: Academic Press, 41-58.
Haris Abd. Wahab. (2004). Masalah sosial di bandar Semenanjung Malaysia:
Tinjauan daripada Perspektif Masyarakat Malaysia. JATI, UM, 9.
Disember, hal. 55-74.
Hartini Hamzah. (2009). Melunas rindu edisi murid. Utusan Publication &
Distributors Sdn. Bhd: Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia.
Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia. (2001). Falsafah pendidikan kebangsaan: Matlamat
dan misi. Kuala Lumpur: Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum Kementerian
Pendidikan Malaysia.
Khan, Qaisar & Ali Bughio, Faraz. (2012). Nunnery scene: A pragmatic analysis of
Hamlet-Ophelia encounter. 3L: Language, Linguistics and Literature, The
Southeast Asean Journal of English Language Studies, 18(2). pp.25-34. ISNN
Sara Binti Beden & Indirawati Zahid
Leech, Geoffrey. (1983). Principles of pragmatics. New York: Longman.
Leech, Geoffrey. (1993). Prinsip pragmatik. Terj. Azhar M. Simin. Kuala Lumpur:
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Mior Ahmad Noor Mior Hamzah. (2003). Bangsa Melayu: Melihat sebuah
tamadun sebagaimana yang digambarkan oleh karya sejarah Melayu.
JATI, UM, 8. Disember, hal 155-182.
Mohamad Fadzeli Jaafar. (2013). Teori sistemik-fungsional dalam stilistik. Kuala
Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Mohamad Khairi Othman & Asmawati Suhid. (2010). Peranan sekolah dan guru
dalam pembangunan nilai pelajar menerusi penerapan nilai murni: Satu
sorotan. MALIM, SEA Journal of General Studies, 11, 117-130.
Naffi Mat. (2006). Keperluan teks sastera dalam pengajaran Bahasa Melayu. Dewan
Bahasa. September: 44-47.
Tenas Effendy. (2011). Kesantunan dan semangat Melayu. Pemerintah Kota
Pekanbaru & Tenas Effendy Foundation: Pekanbaru.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp169-188
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, E., De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W.,
Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P., San Jose, K., Sugay, J., & Violanta, M.
Faculty of School of Saint Anthony, Lagro, Quezon City, Philippines
([email protected])
The Elementary Christian Living and Good Manners and Right Conduct teachers
conducted a survey regarding the dreams of Elementary school students at their
respective grade levels. Responses were then gathered in determining the
important themes that emerged during the analysis stage. During this process, it
was found that the dreams and intentions of the pupils revolve around four
themes in the perspectives of “I”, “Family”, “Others” and “Faith.” In the “I”
perspective, the following factors are revealed: jobs in the future,
materials/gadgets, high academic performance, imaginative/supernatural dreams,
positive moods, being rich, having pets, possessing good attitudes, acquiring
desired talents/skills, travelling, possessing certain physical attributes, food,
health, receiving recognitions, finishing studies, enrolling in prestigious College
institutions, receiving blessings, and becoming successful in life. It was found out
that the concept of “I” becomes broader as students mature. In the “Family”
perspective, some students hope for better family relationships, safety, love, good
health, and happiness for their families by supporting their parents and making
them proud. The notion of making parents proud and supporting the family is
evident in most of the grade 4 to 6 students. The “Others” perspective involves
concern for other people like friends, teachers, neighbors and care for the
environment, country, and world peace. The last theme discerned was the “Faith”
perspective wherein appreciation for God’s blessings, becoming closer to God,
asking for God’s guidance, protection and forgiveness are cited by a few students.
The “I” and the “Family” perspectives are given importance by majority of the
elementary population. It can be derived from these study’s findings that students
in the elementary highly prioritize concerns about oneself and the immediate
people involved in their lives who are their family members. At this stage, they try
to win recognition by showing efforts. These were represented by the results of
how the students hoped to have good jobs, attain high grades and please their
families because these are the things they view as right or good. It can be assumed
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
that the positive dreams that the children have for themselves and their families
are influenced by their belief in the concept of goodness which is a significant
teaching of Christ. Further, the findings of this study serve as a challenge to the
significant adults in the lives of children such as parents, teachers and guardians to
enlighten every child to manifest concern towards other people and to always
place God in the center of their dreams and aspirations in life.
Keywords: dreams, Elementary school, intentions, faith, themes
Questions about children’s hopes, dreams, wishes or aspirations in life are
commonly asked by the elementary teachers to their students. This is usually
evident during teacher and student interactions or written activities. Parents ask
their children the same questions as well. Although asking a child’s dream serves
as a common question during formal/informal interactions, not much relevant
local studies related to it were found in literatures and in the web sites. Thus, it is
pioneering to probe the dreams of children and come up with a research on this
Bukatko and Daehler (2012) explains that when children reach about 7
years of age, there is an element that enters their self-description whereas children
describe themselves in terms of typical physical characteristics and activities.
Older children, on the other hand, begin to make relational statements that may
include one’s family members and other people.
Dreams usually denote what a person hopes for or envisions in the future
or it could be what every individual fervently prays for. Children in the grade
school may dream about themselves or their relation with other people. During
spiritual activities, there would be specific moments when people offer their
personal intentions through prayers. The essence of long prayers is developed
when a person reaches adolescence. Then, it becomes more evident during the
adult stage and becomes deeper in the old age. Through this basic observation, the
CL/GMRC teachers of the School of Saint Anthony find interest in discovering the
dreams that their students would often pray for through an essay activity.
It would be interesting to know the dreams of Elementary students for
teachers to be able to capture their attention during interactions and reflective
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
Statement of the Problem
This study examined the dreams of the Elementary students across grade levels.
This study addressed the following questions:
How do dreams of students vary in each grade level?
What are the common dreams shared by the students in each grade level?
What are the themes that emerged in the dreams shared by the Elementary
What are the differences discovered in the dreams of Elementary students
as they mature?
Literature Review
There are theoretical perspectives that explain the development of children in the
elementary years. There are also few studies found about the hopes and dreams of
children in their school-age years. These theories and studies would be helpful in
understanding this study.
Theoretical Perspectives
Children in the Grade School may also be termed as school age children, or
children in elementary years and ages range from 6 to 12 years old. Erikson (cited
by Berns, 2010) discussed children at this age are becoming more aware of
themselves as individuals. They work hard at “being responsible, being good and
doing it right.” Erikson viewed the elementary years as critical for the
development of self-confidence. Ideally, elementary school provides many
opportunities for children to achieve the recognition of teachers, parents and peers
by producing things-drawing pictures, solving addition problems, writing
sentences, and so on. If children are encouraged to make and do things and are
then praised for their accomplishments, they begin to demonstrate industry by
being diligent, persevering at tasks until completed, and putting work before
pleasure. If children are instead ridiculed or punished for their efforts or they find
they are incapable of meeting their teachers’ and parents’ expectations, they
develop feelings of inferiority about their capabilities.
Erikson explains that children in the school-age are in the Industry versus
Inferiority stage. In this stage, the child in the school age learns to accept
instruction and win recognition by showing effort and by producing “things.” The
child is developing the capacity to enjoy work. The outcome of this stage for
children who receive recognition for their efforts will be motivated to achieve,
whereas the children who are ignored or rebuked may give up and exhibit
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
helplessness. Some feelings of inferiority are healthy; however, they can prevent
children from feeling invincible and taking dangerous risks.
Kohlberg’s theory (cited by Berns, 2010), on the other hand, stressed that
children in the Elementary years fall in the Conventional stage of the Moral
Development theory. This stage emphasizes the mutual interpersonal
expectations, relationships and interpersonal conformity of children. What is right
among the children in this stage is to live up to what is expected by people close to
them or what people generally expect of their role as son, brother, friend, etc.
“Being good” is important and it means having good motives and showing
concern about others. It also means keeping mutual relationships by showing
trust, loyalty, respect and gratitude. The reasons for doing the right things are to
know how to be a good person in your own eyes and those of others; caring for
others; belief in the golden rule; and desire to maintain rules and authority, which
support stereotypical good behavior.
Bukatko and Daehler (2012) stressed that psychologists have long
recognized that children live in vastly different circumstances and that these
differences can have a dramatic influence on development. He further discussed
that Ecological theories in general stress the need to understand development in
terms of the everyday environment in which children are reared, a concern that is
seldom the focus of many other theories. Bronfenbrenner (cited by Bukatko &
Daehler, 2012) in his ecological systems theory explain five systems that influence
the development of the child and these are the following: microsystem (include the
home, members of the household, social and educational circumstances, and
neighbors); mesosystem (includes the many interrelationships among the various
settings within the microsystem); exosystem (social, economic, political, religious
and other settings can affect the development either directly or indirectly through
their impact on those who care for the child); macrosystem (the broadest context
that includes the spiritual, religious values, legal and political practices, and
ceremonies and customs shared by a cultural group; and chronosystem (the
constantly changing temporal component of the environment that can influence
development). In this connection, Lev Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory blends
with Bronfenbrenner’s theory emphasizing the importance of cultural tools,
symbols and ways of thinking that the child acquires from more knowledgeable
members of the community.
Moreover, the Dynamic systems theory explains that development is an
emerging organization arising from the interaction of many different processes
(Lewis, 2000, cited by Bukatko & Daehler, 2012). One of the more important
implications of dynamics systems theory is that development is not controlled or
regulated by one particular factor, for example by the brain, the genes, child
rearing practices, or any other specific influence. Instead, these various
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
components are parts of the cascading process that induces more organized and
advanced behaviors or ways of thinking.
Fowler (1982), developed a stage theory of Faith Development which is the
most complete organization of concepts of faith within the framework of human
development. Schoolchildren belong to stage 2 referred as the “Mythic-Literal”
faith. This is when a person begins to internalize the faith attitudes and views of
person, primarily adults, other than family members. She/he has an increasing
awareness of different faith attitudes in society but still tends to hold on to those of
family and religious traditions.
Emotional Development and Family
Siegler (2006) discussed that children’s emotional development is influenced by
parents’ socialization of their children-that is, their direct and indirect influence on
their children’s standards, values and ways of thinking and feeling. The author
went on discussing that parents socialize their children’s emotional development
through (1) their expression of emotion with their children and other people, (2)
their reactions to their children’s expression of emotion, and (3) the discussions
they have with their children about emotion and emotional regulation. Each of
these avenues of socialization can affect not only children’s emotional
development but also their social competence.
In addition, Bukatko and Daehler (2012) explained that families are central
to the process of socialization, the process by which children acquire the social
knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes valued by the larger society. Parents, siblings
and others within the family unit are the people with whom the child usually
spends the most time and forms the strongest emotional bonds, and they thus
exert an undeniable influence on the child’s life.
Eisenberg (1986, cited by Siegler, 2006) explained the different levels of
pro-social behavior. He cited that recognition of others’ needs increases in the
elementary school years. In this connection, children increasingly express concern
about social approval and acting in a manner that is considered “good” by other
people and society.
Moreover, the following levels of pro-social behavior are found
predominant among Elementary children:
Level 1: Self-Focused Orientation. The individual is concerned with his/her own
interests rather than with moral considerations (predominant mode for younger
elementary school children).
Level 2: Needs-Based Orientation. The individual expresses concern for the physical,
material and psychological needs of others even when those needs conflict with
his/her own (predominant mode for many elementary school children).
Level 3: Approved and/ or stereotyped orientation. The individual justifies engaging or
not engaging in prosocial behavior on the basis of others’ approval or acceptance
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
and/or on stereotyped images of good and bad persons and behavior
(predominant mode for some elementary children).
Level 4: Self-reflective empathic orientation- The individual’s judgments include
evidence of self-reflective sympathetic responding or role taking, concern with
others’ humaneness, and/or guilt or positive emotion related to the consequences
of one’s actions (predominant for few older elementary school children).
Children Dreams/ Hopes for the Future
In a study conducted in Paris last 2010 about children’s hopes, the children under
study have positive and hopeful understandings of the future. While the children
discuss about global issues such as war and poverty, many have hope in, and
believe that we will find solutions to these problems in the future. Such belief in
positive futures transpiring is fundamental to a sense of well-being. From a total of
1170 participants, it was found that 70 children explicitly referenced celebrity in
some way. Some 76 children- both boys and girls-implicitly identified themselves
with the wealthy stars that they admire, and hope to enjoy similar futures.
Moreover, the children ambitiously hope to develop varied skills and abilities and
to combine multiple and social roles and identities (Enfance et Culture, 2010).
Moreover, in the study of Jarden (2005), the researcher emphasized that
the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?, is a question that is
asked of children yet little is known about how children and their parents think
about their future in terms of employment. In this qualitative longitudinal study of
14 families, the findings highlight the hopes expressed by parents and the nature
of parental influence in shaping their children’s futures. While children’s futures
were not developed as précised plans, there were many ways in which they were
being “planned.” Choices were expanded or narrowed and trajectories mapped
out through parents’ and children’s hopes, dreams and assumptions for what the
future would hold. This planning was framed by the family’s individualized
biographies and their socio-economic status (Sociological Research Online).
Furthermore, Auger, Blackhurst and Wahl (2005) researched on the
development of elementary-aged children’s career aspirations and expectations.
Interviews were conducted with 123 first, third and fifth grade children were
observed to examine the types of careers the children wished to have and expected
to have. The older children desired careers that were more socially prestigious and
less sex-typed compared to those of the younger children. The career thinking of
older elementary-aged children was no more specific or realistic than that of
younger children, with older children being more likely to aspire for fantasy
occupations, (Auger, Blackhurst & Wahl, 2005)
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
Conceptual Framework
The CL/GMRC teachers had a meeting on coming up with a research to learn
about the prayer intentions of the Grade school students. The term prayer
intention was unlocked in the lower grade levels as dreams, wishes or hopes. The
teachers agreed to collate the data through an essay activity. During the CL/GMRC
subject, the teachers had an essay activity and this was their first reflection activity
for the school year. The reflection activities written by the students were gathered
per grade level and tallied/grouped to determine the themes that emerged during
the analysis process.
Conceptual Diagram
Essay: Dreams / Intentions
of Grade School Students
Grade 6
Grade 1
Research Design
The researchers used the descriptive design in the form of survey in gathering the
data. The study is exploratory in nature. The research design is largely an
investigative process whereby the researcher gradually makes sense of a social
phenomenon by contrasting, comparing, replicating, cataloguing and classifying
the object of the study. In this regard, the researchers valued every detail shared
by the participants and considered significant for the study. In this connection,
based on the meanings discovered from the essay activities of the students, there
were themes that emerged that can be relevant to present situations and theories.
Participants of the Study
The participants of the study were all of the grade school students of the School of
Saint Anthony, Lagro, Metro Manila Philippines from levels 1 to 6. There were 134
students who submitted their reflection activities from grade 1, 132 students in
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
grade 2, 150 students in grade 3, 183 students in grade 4, 174 students in grade 5
and 208 students in grade 6. Table 1 presents the frequency distribution of the
participants per grade level.
Table 1: Distribution of Participants per grade level
Grade Level
Number of Participants
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
981 students
Research Instruments
The instruments used in this study were the intermediate papers and pens used by
the grade school students in writing their intentions and dreams in life. The papers
were used for the pupils to enumerate their dreams in the future. An instruction
was posted on the black board letting the pupils write their dreams on a piece of
paper. Likewise, the researchers had tally sheets to note the responses of the
students. A computer and calculator were also used to add the frequency of
responses and in formulating the graphs to be used for the research analysis.
Data Gathering Procedure
The Grade School Christian Living and Good Manners and Right Conduct
Department conducted a meeting to brainstorm about the implementation of a
research in determining the dreams or intentions of the students. The intention
was defined by the teachers especially in the lower grades as dreams, wishes,
hopes or aspirations in life. The grades 1 and 2 pupils were guided by their
teachers in writing the essay. The pupils who had difficulty in spelling out words
were supervised by the teachers. Grades 3 to 6 students wrote their essays
independently and the students were given 30- 40 minutes to finish their activity
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
and were encouraged to write all their intentions or dreams in life. The pupils
wrote their answers in English. Afterwards, the CL/GMRC teachers checked the
essays, encoded in the computer excel and the responses were tallied.
Data Analysis
Frequency/ Percentage as the statistical tool used in this research whereas the
responses of the students were grouped and tallied based on the discovered
themes, and corresponding percentages in the grade level population were
computed. Moreover, tables and charts were likewise used in the tallying of
students’ responses and data were also compared and analyzed through these
means. To further compare and analyze the data gathered, the researchers made
use of graphs to view the similarities and differences of responses across grade
Results and Discussion
This section comprises the presentation, analysis and interpretations of the
gathered data based on the instruments used in the study. Graphs are presented to
compare the data gathered and to analyze the meanings derived and presented
from the formulated graphs.
In the grade one level, it was found that the students were generally
particular of dreams about oneself or which is termed in this research as the “I”
perspective. Figure 1 shows that most of the grade 1 students mentioned about the
future jobs as well as the toys and gadgets they want to have. These findings
indicate that children in grade 1 level mentioned in their dreams the jobs they
hope to have someday, and the things they want to have like toys and gadgets.
Sample responses from a grade one pupils were: “I dream of Barbie dolls,
fairies, princess meca, hello kitty, flowers, T.V., necklace, books, and shoe,” and “I
want to be a doctor when I grow up.”
Figure 1: “I” Perspective Graph of the Grade One Population
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
As the researchers collated the grade two data, it was found that dreams of the
students on this level were categorized into three themes, namely the dreams that
revolve on the “I”, “Family”, and “Others” perspectives.
Figure two presented the graphical representation of the dreams among
the grade two students. It was found that most of the grade two population shared
dreams about oneself (71%). Then, 9% mentioned dreams in relation to family
members like safety and happy relationship among family members. Eight
percent, on the other hand, mentioned dreams with other people like gaining more
friends and having good relationships with them.
Figure 2: Dreams of Grade 2 Students
In addition, elaborating on the “I” perspective of the grade 2 population,
most of the grade 2 students valued the toys and gadgets they want to own in the
future (70%). This is followed by the jobs they hope in the future(60%), super
natural dreams like being a super hero (33%), possessing good behavior (31%),
becoming rich (27%) and getting high grades (27%), travelling (12 %), becoming
happy (9%), enhancing one’s talents (6%), obtaining better physical attributes (4%)
and acquiring specific food (3%). These data are presented in figure 3. The
previous graphs emphasize that children in grades one and two dreamt of their
ideal jobs in the future, as well as, the materials they want to own like toys and
The sample responses of the grade two pupils were “I wish to get high
grades so my mom and dad will be happy, “ and “I want a bike that is purple.”
Figure 3:“I” Perspective Graph of the Grade Two Population
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
As for the grade 3 students, it was found that majority of the participants
in the level prioritized their future jobs in one of their dreams. Sixty five percent
(65%) of the participants mentioned this. This was followed by the “Family
Perspective” which was considered by 29% of the grade three students and this
encompasses the wish for safety, good health and happiness among family
members. Thirteen percent (13%), on the other hand, shared their dreams in
relation to others like good relationships with their classmates and friends. The
new theme that emerged in this level is the “Faith” perspective which was cited by
around three percent of the said level, indicating a closer relationship with God in
the future. Figure 4 presents the graph of the grade 3 responses.
Figure 4: Dreams of Grade 3 Students
When the “I” perspective of the grade three population is further studied,
it was discovered that children in this level placed higher weight in obtaining
higher grades in class (65%). This was also followed by the ambitions they aspire
in the future (60%), then, the materials or gadgets they wish to have (45%), and the
last one was the pets they hoped to possess someday (15%). This depicted that as
children reach grade three, they start to become grade conscious than when they
were in their younger years.
Sample responses from the grade three pupils were “I wish to get high
grades and receive a medal.” and “ “I want to have a new PSP.”
Figure 5:“I” Perspective Graph of the Grade Three Population
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
Moreover, the data gathered among the grade four students revealed that
grade four students had several dreams for themselves in general (66%). As for the
“I” perspective, there were variety of dreams shared which will be further
discussed in the next graph. As for the “Family” perspective, students shared
about having happy, safe, healthy, and good relationships among family members.
In this connection, to help and please their families and making them proud were
also cited by the grade four students. These were written by forty three (43%)
percent of the grade four population. Sixteen percent (16%), on the other hand,
mentioned details under the “Others” perspective that talked about classmates,
friends, environment, Earth, world peace, and helping the poor. Around 13%
valued Faith in their dreams disclosing protection, forgiveness, guidance and
appreciation from God. Figure 6 shows the percentages of the grade four students’
responses as grouped according to perspectives.
Figure 6: Dreams of Grade 4 Students
When the maximum percentage of the “I” perspective is further explored,
it was found that most of the grade four students dreamt of getting high grades
(80%), and along with these dreams are the aspiration of attaining a specific job
(74%), followed by graduating someday (40%), obtaining recognitions (35%),
travelling abroad (32%) , manifesting positive behaviors (30%), possessing
appealing physical features (20%), receiving blessings (15%), and owning
particular pets, food and shelter (10%). Similar with the grade three population,
majority of the grade four students placed higher consideration on obtaining high
grades in class. Figure 7 presents the graph of the data explored in the “I”
perspective of the grade four students.
Two grade four pupils shared “I will study had to gain high grades, earn
more and be a dancer, “and “I will study hard to be the first honor and make my
parents happy.”
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
Figure 7:“I” Perspective Graph of the Grade Four Population
Figure 8 displays the graph presentation of the dreams of the grade five
students. It can be derived from the graph that similar with the previous levels, the
grade five students likewise noted dreams that dealt more on oneself (88%) or the
“I” perspective. Although about half of the grade five population already
developed concern towards their families (41%) and other people (45%). In this
connection, in the “family” perspective, the students mentioned more on helping
their family members especially their parents. As for the “Others” perspective, on
the other hand, the students cited peace, friendship and serving others. Further,
with regard to the “Faith” perspective, 12% of the grade 5 population shared their
closer relationship with God in the future.
Figure 8: Dreams of Grade 5 Students
Figure 9 reveals the variety of intentions written by the grade five
students, yet, the high percentage for dreaming about one’s job in the future is
very evident (86%). This was followed by becoming rich (8%), possessing
gadgets/materials (4%) obtaining high grades (23%), travelling (21%), graduating
in the future (18%) receiving recognitions (16%), enjoying a good life (11%), loving
and forming a family (9%), experiencing happiness (7%), and small percentages on
having talents, pets, good health, good physical attributes, more blessings, pets
and imaginative dreams like being a cartoon or computer game character.
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
Figure 9:“I” Perspective Graph of the Grade Five Population
A grade five student disclosed “I dream to become rich, to be a doctor,
make a school for the poor children, and donate a big amount of money for the
poor children.”
Figure 10 shows that the intentions of the grade 6 students dealt more on
oneself as evidence by the 90% percentage tallied in their responses. This is in
connection with the other Elementary Levels stressing the “I” perspective as
highly prioritized when the dreams of the grade school students were asked. In
addition, 26% of the grade six population emphasized the special roles of their
families in the dreams they shared like to help and support one’s family in the
future and making their parents proud someday. As for the “Others” perspective
which generated 24% of the grade six population, the students cited their friends
and serving and helping people in need. Lastly, only around 6% among the grade
6 students mentioned about being closer to God in the future.
Figure 10: Dreams of Grade 6 Students
As the “I” Perspective of the grade six students was further explored, it
was very evident that majority of the grade six students were extremely focused
on their job and career in the future considering that students in this level are
graduating students. There was a big difference observed when compared to other
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
factors. Obtaining the job dreamt was shared by 85% of the grade six population,
and this was followed by travelling (28%), becoming rich (25%), receiving
recognition (2%), graduating in college and getting desired course (20%),
purchasing wanted gadgets or materials (14%), having a family (9%), enrolling on
a prestigious school in college (9%) and small percentages on possessing good
behavior, being healthy and getting into sports, receiving high grades, talents and
skills, becoming happy and attaining imaginative dreams.
A grade 6 pupil wrote “I want to become a doctor in the future because if
my parents are sick, I will cure them and I want to help people.”
It can also be discerned that as children reach grades five and six, few
students would already mention about having a family in the future.
Serving/helping the family and other people in need was also apparent in grades 4
and five.
Figure 11:“I” Perspective Graph of the Grade Six Population
It can be derived from these findings that students in the elementary
highly prioritize concerns about oneself and the immediate people involved in
their lives who are their family members. Erikson (cited by Bukatko & Daehler,
2012) explains that children in the Elementary School years are becoming more
aware of themselves as individuals and they are working hard at being
responsible. At this stage, they try to win recognition by showing efforts. These
were represented by the results on how the students hoped to have good jobs,
attain high grades, and please their families because these are the things they view
as right or good. This is in support of Fowler’s Faith Development (cited by Stokes,
1982) emphasizing school-aged children adapt the “Mythic –Literal” faith which is
a strong belief in justice, a concept of moral righteousness based on ethics.
Although, few students mentioned the hopes to have deeper faith in God, it can be
assumed that the positive dreams that the children have for themselves and their
families are influenced by their belief in the concept of goodness which is a
significant teaching of Christ.
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
Further, the findings of this study serves as a challenge to the significant
adults in the lives of the children like the parents, teachers, and guardians to
enlighten every child to manifest concern towards other people and to always
place God in the center of their dreams and aspirations in life.
Table 2 presents the summary of findings of the percentages generated
from the grade school students’ responses when grouped according to the four
themes discovered.
Table 2: Summary of Percentages
Grade Level
Grade 1
97 %
“ Others”
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 6
It can be realized from the table that majority of the grade school
population placed higher priorities on dreams that concern oneself. This is also in
relation to the study conducted by Erbina, Flores, Pinuela, Palaganas, San Jose,
Semorlan and Violanta (2013) wherein the results in their new study showed that
Elementary pupils tend to be more concerned with individualized activities,
considering that few percentage spend time with other people. Grade one students
stressed valuing their personal dreams, and this is followed by the grades 6 and 5
levels respectively. It was also discovered that there are increasing percentages in
the Family, Others and faith perspectives from grades three to six levels indicating
that students place higher concerns over their families and other people as they
mature, and a few intend to be more faithful to God as they mature. Yet, a slight
drop of percentage could be noticed as children reach their sixth grade which
could indicate how students became more serious and focused in attaining their
personal dreams as graduating students.
Theoretically, Erikson (cited by Berns, 2010) discussed children during
their school age work hard at “being responsible, being good and doing things
right. Likewise, elementary school children hope to achieve the recognition of
teachers, parents and peers. This theory supported some of the responses of the
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
grade school students revealing their aspirations to obtain high grades, receive
recognitions and to make their parents proud. This is also in line with Kohlberg’s
theory (cited by Berns, 2010), emphasizing that what is right among the children in
this stage is to live up to what is expected by people close to them, “being good,”
and doing the right things. Siegler (2006) also explained that Elementary children
increasingly express concern about social approval and acting in a manner that is
considered “good” by other people and society. It could be observed that most of
the responses written by the grade school children were all positive in nature, and
being “good” to oneself and others could be established in their varied sharing.
The children’s positivity in their insight is also related to a study conducted in
Paris (2010) about hopes of children wherein the Elementary students under study
have positive and hopeful understandings of the future.
Although, several theorists explained several factors that may influence a
child’s psychological or behavioral perspectives and shaping values of children
come in different perspectives (Bukatko & Daehler, 2012). And one of the most
influential factors in every child’s development, emotionally speaking, is one’s
family. It was emphasized by Bukatko and Daehler that parents, siblings and
others in the family unit are the people with whom the child usually spends the
most time and forms the strongest emotional bonds. With regard to development,
Parungao (2011) explained that the development of an individual or a community
is exhibited in external behavior that provides the empirical evidence for
measuring significant change. The development of the changes of pupils’
aspirations is apparent in every grade level and these aspirations are influenced by
different factors. In this connection, Atendido, De Vera, Mambil and Semorlan
(2014) explained in their recent study that family serves as the top consistent factor
that makes the Elementary pupils happy. They enjoyed the different activities and
experiences they had with their family members. In relation to this, Erbina,
Mambil, Pecson, Pinuela, Semorlan and Sugay (2014) concluded in their research
how family serves as a motivating factor among Grade School pupils in dealing
with their school activities.
The Revised Framework
Based on the findings and analyses generated, a new framework could be
formulated which depict the connections of the themes discovered in relation to
the dreams of the grade school students as they mature.
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
Dreams of
Grade school
Conclusion and Recommendation
Determining the intentions or dreams of children is inspiring for teachers and
parents. This encouraged the Elementary CL/GMRC teachers to conduct a study in
discovering the dreams of students from grades 1 to 6. This research is descriptive
in nature, and the needed data are gathered through an essay writing activity. All
the grade school students were requested to write an essay about their intentions
in life and this was recorded as one of their reflection activities. During the data
gathering and analysis procedures, the responses of the students were noted and
studied and it was further ascertained that the answers shared by the pupils fall
into four perspectives namely, the "I", "Family", "Others" and "Faith" Perspectives.
There were varied factors revealed in every perspective or theme. The “I”
perspective gained the highest percentage in all levels and the top responses found
for this theme included the desired job in the future, materials/gadgets dreamt to
possess someday and high grades wished to obtain. In addition, the “Family”
perspective was the secondary theme found in the study. This was the next factor
prioritized by most of the grade school students next to their personal intentions.
Concern for others came as the third priority among the grade school students.
The percentages of these perspectives increase as students mature.
Very few of the grade school population mentioned God in their essays. It
can be assumed that deepening one’s faith in God in the future is not that
significant among the Grade school students. Yet, the concept of “goodness”
valued by the students may also prove relevant to the children’s value of faith
because doing good is Christ like or God- oriented.
Based on the data gathered, and in relation to this study’s statement of the
problem, the following conclusions are revealed: first; the dreams that transpired
in each grade level vary. In the grade one level, the students in general shared
their dream jobs and materials in the future. While in the grade two level, most of
Future AspirationsoOftThe Elementary PupilsiIn School of Saint Anthony, Lagro Philippines
the students shared dreams about to oneself, and few mentioned dreams in
relation to their families and other people. For the grade three level, on the other
hand, more than half of the students dreamt of obtaining high grades followed by
their dream jobs and materials. Very few students cited the significance of faith in
the future. Likewise, in grades four, five and six, high percentages of the student
population cited dreams about oneself, followed by dreams in relation to their
family members. Then, some displayed concern for other people’s welfare, and
few of the students shared intentions of being closer to God. Second; the common
dreams shared by the students in each grade level dealt on dreams about oneself.
Majority of the students in the lower grades envision their dream jobs and the
wish to possess certain materials and gadgets. Students in grades three and four
prioritized obtaining high grades to make their parents proud. Grades five and six
students valued the jobs they hope someday, and considering helping and serving
their parents in the future. Third; there were four themes that emerged in the
study. The first theme is the “I” perspective, which is defined as dreams that dealt
more one’s personal hopes. The next theme was the “Family Perspective” which is
described as the students’ dreams relating to their family members. The “Others”
perspective, on the other hand, served as the third theme, and this dealt on
students’ concern to other people like their friends, classmates and neighbors. The
last theme realized was the “Faith” perspective which is characterized by the
closer relationship of the children to God in the future. Fourth; the changes or
dream transitions found in the dreams of the students across levels are the variety
of dreams discovered as each child matures. In the grade one level, dreams were
only encapsulated in the “I” perspective. Few percentages among the grade two
students, on the other hand, already cited dreams about one’s family, friends,
classmates and relationship with God. The dreams of the students especially in the
“I” perspective became broader in the next level as several dreams were already
shared. Dreams in relation to “Family” and “Others” perspectives increase in
percentages as the students mature. Yet, the “Faith” perspective remains to
comprise a few percentage in the whole grade school population.
First; the findings of this study carry implications for the enlightenment of the
significant adults in the lives of the children like the teachers, parents, guardians,
administrators, counselors and others. In this regard, these significant adults in the
lives of the children should deepen their relationship with God so as to imbibe in
the children the significance of putting God at the center of every person’s life.
Second; since this study contributes to the awareness of the general body of
knowledge, a summary of this study could be submitted to some publications to
update the people of their special roles on shaping the values of the children.
Semorlan, A., Atendido, P., Erbina, De Vera, E., Flores M., Mambil, W., Palaganas, G., Pecson, S., Pinuela, P.,
San Jose, K., Sugay, J., Violanta M
Taking into consideration that as each generation passes, developing the values of
the children remains to be challenging. Thus, it is still a powerful notion to
emphasize that the children/youth are the hopes of the future. Third; future
researchers could also explore on other factors or enrich this study. A comparative
study could be investigated like comparing the dream transition of the each
student every grading period/quarter to observe the changes noted. In this
connection, a longitudinal study could also be applied to determine the changes of
dreams that developed in every participant under study. Likewise, follow up
interviews could also be conducted to the participants in the study to further
understand the reasons behind every person’s dream, and what influence their
aspirations in life. Lastly, the dreams in the higher grade levels could be explored
as well to enrich the comparisons of data.
Atendido P., De Vera, E., Mambil W.J., & Semorlan, A. A. (2014). Factors that make
elementary pupils happy. Philippines: School of Saint Anthony.
Auger, R.W., Blackhurst, A. E., Wahl, K. H. (2005). The development of
elementary-aged children’s career aspirations and expectations.
Professional School Counseling, Apr2005, 8(4), p322.
Berns, R. (2010). Child, family and school community 8th Edition. USA: Wadsworth
Cengage Learning
Bukatko, D., & Daehler, M. W (2012). Child development: A thematic approach. USA:
Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Enfance et Cultures. (2010). The children’s high hopes. Retrieved July 17, 2012 from,
Erbina, E.Y., Flores, M., Palaganas G., Pinuela, G.P., San Jose, K.E, Semorlan, A.A.
& Violanta, M. (2013). Activities that elementary pupils value at home.
Philippines: School of Saint Anthony.
Erbina, E.Y., Mambil, W.J., Pecson, A.S., Pinuela, G.P., Semorlan, A.A., & Sugay,
J.O. (2014). Factors that motivate grade school pupils to go to church and school.
Philippines: School of Saint Anthony
Harden, J. (2010). Hopes for the future: Parents’ and children’s narratives of children’s
future employment orientations. Retrieved July 17, 2012 from,
Parungao, J. (2011). Values and the communication of change: The value filters of
the nlp communication model applied to Aetas in Loob Bunga Zambales.
University of Malaya: JATI: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 16, pp 177-193.
Siegler, R. (2006). How children develop. USA: Worth Publishers.
Stokes, K. (1982). Faith development. New York: William H. Sadlier, Inc.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp189-202
Rie Nakamura
College of Law, Government and International Studies
Universiti Utara Malaysia
([email protected])
n. He was born and
has been living in Kon Tum, a city of the central highlands of Vietnam. The Kon
Tum province has two borders with the neighboring countries of Cambodia and
Laos. The northern part of the province has higher mountains and Kon Tum city is
525 meters from sea level. The city of Kon Tum was established by the French
missionaries, Missions Etrangeres de Paris in the mid-19th century (Hickey, 1982a,
pp. 190-197). An old wooden church and a mission built between 1913 and 1918
are still in use. The main followers of the Catholic Church in Kon Tum
n is a member of the Art Association of
Vietnam (
t Vi t Nam) and an owner of a well-known garden café called
Eva Café in Kon Tum, where he installs his art works. He also organizes special
trips for tourists to get to know the society of the Bana ethnic minority. This paper
is an endeavor to understand
“ m
reflected in his art works.
Keywords: art in Vietnam, central highlands of Vietnam, regional identity, Vietnam War,
ethnic minority people
The Central Highlands
dynasty, the Nguy n court did not have full control over the areas. Traditionally
the majority Kinh (Viet majority) people considered non-Kinh mountain
m“ v
a distinct boundary between Kinh and highland ethnic minority groups by issuing
Rie Nakamura
various regulations to keep the two populations separate (Woodside, 1971, pp.
During the French Colonial period, highland people received different
treatment by the colonial administration. The Catholic missionaries were the first
to enter the minority communities in the central highlands around the mid-19th
century. The French became interested in the central highlands primarily for
reasons of border-security. In 1895, the highlands came under the authority of the
French colonial administration. Under French control, the ethnic minority people
in the highlands were taxed while males aged between 16 and 60 were subjected to
corvee labor for road construction and other public works, or occasionally for the
privately-owned French plantations (Hickey, 1892a, pp. 199-224).
In 1913, Leopold Sabatier became the head of the autonomous district of
Darlac, and during his term (1913-1926) the political and strategic colonial
administration was established. Sabatier was fascinated with Rhade (Ede) culture,
and gained profound knowledge of highland traditions. He established the FrancRhade school, an indigenous law court and medical facilities. Under his
administration the rights to the land among the ethnic minority people who
practiced shifting cultivation were protected. In order to protect the highland
ethnic groups, Sabatier kept out the Kinh and Chinese traders as well as French
missionaries and businessmen from entering the highlands. He organized the
highland military called the Garde Indigene Moi (Hickey, 1982a, pp. 297-308).
During the first Indochina War (1945-1954), the highlands became a
strategic asset for the French. In 1950, the highlands became Emperor
domain, Crown domain of the Southern Highlander Country (Domaine de la
Couronnedu Pays), which is generally referred to as Pays Montagnard du Sud. This
put the central highlands directly under the authority of
, but actually
continued to be administered by the French (Hickey, 1982a, p. 406; Salemink, 1991,
p. 264). Although the ethnic minority people were exploited by the French under
direct colonial administration, they were always kept separate from the rest of the
Vietnamese population. Consequently, those conditions allowed a certain degree
of autonomy in the highlands (Volk, 1979; Hickey, 1982a).
After the Geneva Agreements in 1954, the Republic of Vietnam (South
Vietnam) was established in 1955. The central highland population was put under
the direct administration of the Southern Vietnamese regime. President
Di m adopted an assimilation policy and the highland ethnic minority people
were forced to take Vietnamese names and forbidden to wear their traditional
clothes. Their highland law courts were abolished and only the Vietnamese
language was allowed in the schools (Jackson, 1969;
ng, 1969; Volk, 1979;
Hickey,1982a, pp. 47-60). Massive numbers of Vietnamese were also brought into
the highlands to modernize the highlands and also to solve the problem of the vast
influx of refugees from the north after the Geneva Agreements (Volk, 1979; Hickey,
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
1982a). By 1960, over 60,000 mostly Kinh settlers had resettled in the highlands and
by 1963, nearly 40% of the total population of the highland provinces were
estimated to be Kinh people. The large migration of Kinh people into the
highlands caused land-grabbing and land-loss among the highland minority
peoples (Hickey, 1982a, p. 62).
In 1959, in order to prevent Communist penetration into the highland
ethnic minority population, the South Vietnam government promoted a policy of
settling them in fortified villages. At least 65% of highland villages had been
relocated since 1945 (Hickey, 1982b, p. 228). The projects were generally illprepared and badly carried out. The highland minority people suffered from
inadequate housing, lack of sufficient water resources and delayed food rations in
their new settlements. Considerable numbers of ethnic minority people in the
highlands died in their new settlements from malaria, dysentery and salmonella
(Osnos, 1971; Volk ,1979, p. 80; Hickey, 1982b, p. 166).
The strong assimilation policies and drastic changes of their livelihood
provoked various ethnic movements to resist government control and to
politically separate the highlands from South Vietnam: the Bajaraka movement
called the Front
de Lutte des Races
(FULRO: the United Front of
the Oppreced Races) (Hickey, 1982b, pp. 47-62).
After the reunification of the North and the South, the central highlands
were recognized as an integral part of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. However,
after reunification the Vietnamese government did not pay as much attention to
the ethnic minority people and their regions as before when they were important
for mobilizing during the war effort. Ethnic minority people living in the
mountainous areas were considered to be obstacles for socio-economic
development and were left behind. Meanwhile the central highlands became the
or renovation a large number of migration of Kinh and other ethnic
minority people from the North and other parts of Vietnam flooded into the
central highlands to seek new economic opportunities.
I visited Buon Ma Thuot, the city of the central highland for the first time
in 1993. I stayed in one of a few government run hotels in the city center. In the
room I stayed, there were thin curtains too small for the size of windows that
could not block the strong afternoon sun. From the window, I could see a big
armoured tank installed as a victory monument at the city center. The city did not
have many large and tall buildings and the streets were quiet. Most of the streets
other than the city center were not paved. I revisited Buon Ma Thuot in 2011 and
was astonished by its transformation to an urban city. I could not find anything
which reminded me of the dusty small town that I visited in 1993. The city is now
filled with people and large buildings including many modern shopping
Rie Nakamura
complexes. Paved wide streets are occupied by many motocycles, cars, trucks and
In 1976, the population of Dak Lak province, where Buon Ma Thuot is
located, was approximately 360,000 but by 2007, the population had increased to
nearly 2 million (Asano, 2007, p. 42). In 2001 the Vietnamese government was
stunned by the ethnic minority people uprisings in the central highlands. There
have been small conflicts and confrontations between highland ethnic minority
people and Kinh migrants since 1998. In 2001 large scale demonstrations across
major cities of the highlands such as Plaiku, Ban Ma Thuot and Kon Tum were
organized. The uprisings were said to be due to the failure of substituting shifting
cultivation, loss of land and the crash of coffee prices (Shin-ne, 2007, p. 100). There
was another uprising in 2004. It resulted from the G v m
m m
of the central highland economic development and negligence of understanding
-economic problems (Ito, 2009, p. 33-41).
The central highlands continues to be a sensitive region for the Vietnamese
the south-central coast of Vietnam. His maternal uncle followed the French
missionaries and became a Catholic priest in Kon Tum. He had invited his
younger sister to help him take care of his daily life. She met
Tum and married there. n was born in 1959 as the first son of a Catholic family.
The Catholic religion can be thought of as m
in Kon Tum. The majority of the older migrant families who had been living in the
central highlands prior to 1975 are Catholic while many of the recent migrant
families are Buddhists.
n maternal uncle, a Catholic priest who was fluent in a
few highland ethnic minority languages had the intention of bringing up n to be
a priest. At the age of 13, after completing form 6 of his elementary education, he
was sent to the seminary. However as a young boy, n could not bear the
regimented seminary lifestyle and went back to a formal education. He remembers
his childhood as spending lots of time in rivers and fields with his friends who
were mostly ethnic Bana children. Because he had close interaction with Bana
people since he was young, he grew up speaking the Bana language fluently and
had profound knowledge of their society and culture.
In 1975, n was 15 years old when he saw his father for the last time. He
still remembers the final words of his father speaking to his mother: “Take care of
m the battlefield and his family
never received any information about him after the war. During a conversation
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
over dinner his friend mentioned that his father may have been killed in the war,
but n insisted on using the words “m
efforts to find his father at least twice by consulting with psychics. The story of his
missing father is a repetitively mentioned topic that seems to indicate that for n
the Vietnam War (the 2nd Indochinese War) has not ended.
Since n father was a soldier of South Vietnam, and he is from a Catholic
v “
new Communist government of Vietnam. Usually people who had such a family
background were not allowed to attend higher educational institutions. However,
n managed to enter
(later named Hue University). His
community services made him an exceptional case and enabled him to further his
studies. After the war in order to help with
s, he opened a
small drawing studio with two friends. Their studio received various orders for
designing advertisements, drawing portraits and making decorations for the
people in the community. Sometimes the local government ordered some
propanganda posters from
Since his shop provided services for the
community, n was allowed to take an entrance examination for the
beaux art de Hue where he matriculated for the following five years.
Upon completion of studies in Hue, n went back to Kon Tum. He wished
to continue his study of art at a higher institution, but he was employed at the
Department of Culture and Information in Plaiku. He does not seem to have
pleasant memories of working as a bureaucrat. While working at the department,
he started to practice Buddhist meditation. After working for the department for
two years, n finally decided to give up the government job. He spent lots of his
time simply meditating, especially after he left his job. He also started a business of
buying and selling iron scrap. Though his relatives and friends were very skeptical
about his new business, n collected and sold iron scrap for 10 times its original
At the age of 27, n married his wife who has a similar background to
him. She is from a Catholic family in Kon Tum who lost her father who was a
soldier in the South Vietnamese army during
understanding and support, he took and passed the entrance examination of Ho
Chi Minh City Art University. He pursued his dream for five years of studying art
in Ho Chi Minh City. While he was in Ho Chi Minh City, his wife could not
continue the scrap iron business by herself. She started to sell coffee instead and
this coffee shop was the origin of the garden cafe, Eva Café. Before creating Eva
Café, n designed a park along the river for a private company in Kon Tum. After
the garden was completed, the Kon Tum province intervened by saying that the
park was located on the land owned by the province. The company could not
argue against the local government so the park became provincial property. This
Rie Nakamura
incident motivated n to create his own garden where he could then install his art
pieces and express his own artistic ideas.
Eva Café and the tour of Nous Avons Mange la Foret
Eva Café is situated in a quiet neighborhood of Kon Tum city. As you enter the
gate, you are in the world of
“D A”
of the highlands in his garden in response to the loss of highland traditional
culture. The garden is filled with trees, plants and flowers. One can see small fish
in ponds and enjoy birds singing. A few bowers in the garden are in harmony with
their green background which is decorated with gongs and other materials used
by the ethnic minority people of the highlands. The wooden sculptures that are
installed in different corners of the garden are reminiscent of those erected at the
mourning house of the highland ethnic minorities and stand together with
own works of scrap iron sculptures. n seems to create this entire garden as a
work of art. The best way to understand the concept of his garden is to participate
in a tour called, Nous Avons Mange la Foret (We Eat the Forest) which he organizes
for visitors who are interested in learning about life in the highlands. The name of
tour is taken from the famous 1957 ethnography on the Mnong Gar people by
French anthropologist George Condominas. n had been visiting mountains and
Bana villages for sketching and had an idea to share his experiences in the
mountains with other people. He has been conducting the tour since 2009.
Depending on their interests and physical strength, n organizes and accompanies
various trips to the mountains where visitors can experience the life of Bana
people. Most people who take the Nous Avons Mange la Foret tour are foreigners
and expatriates. Their letters expressing their gratitude to n for organizing such
wonderfully memorable trips are posted at Eva Café. Deeply impressed by the
tour, some come back to make another trip with n not only to the central
highlands but also to other parts of Vietnam.
I participated in the Nous Avons Mange la Foret tour in the summer of 2012.
I spent four days at the Bana villages in the mountains. We departed from Eva
Café and traveled by motor bike on the national road No. 24 to the north for about
two hours and reached the Bana village called Kon ă
left our motor
elongings and headed
toward the mountains on foot. Mr. Bong, a Bana man in his early 60s, helped us
carry our heavier items. Mr. Bong, who was barefoot and carrying more than 20 kg
on his shoulders, hiked up the mountain quickly and I could barely keep up with
his speed. After the three-hour hike, we came up to a Bana dwelling of a few
families, and stayed in one of their four houses made out of wood and bamboo for
the night. The next day at around 10 am, we started to walk to another Bana
dwelling place and reached our destination around 2 pm. We stayed in the house
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
of a young couple, Mr. Trau and Ms. Nong with their three children. The following
day, we went to the mountains with Mr. Trau to set up traps. He never wasted a
minute, constantly on the move and in search of food while setting up the traps. I
was amazed how quickly he could identify and gather various foods. After we
entered the mountains, within 10 minutes, he identified edible plants and collected
them. In this trip he could identify and gather five different kinds of food of which
some were used to prepare our lunch. Mr. Trau also used trees and vines to build
temporal pathways for us when he saw we could not climb up steep hills. All the
work was carried out effortlessly. We had trapped game for our breakfast the next
day and after breakfast we left the mountains to return to Kon Tum city.
There was no electricity nor running water at the Bana residences we
stayed. A flushable toilet, a bath tub or hot shower were out of the question. I
found very basic essential daily activities difficult to carry out in the mountains:
eating, sleeping, going to toilet, bathing and washing. We ate what they grew in
the fields and what they found or caught in the mountains. We bathed in streams
and slept on the floor where pigs and chickens slept underneath. Although they do
not seem to have a clock at home, our life in the mountains was surprisingly well
regulated. Our hosts got up in the morning, prepared breakfast, attended animals,
and around 10 am after finishing breakfast they all went to the fields to work. By 1
or 2 pm they returned from the fields to prepare lunch and rest after lunch.
Around 4 or 5 pm, they started to prepare dinner and in the evening, they
k by candlelight.
n wished before the trip that I would understand how Bana people live
”. Through this trip I could see how Bana people live in the
mountains by taking advantage of rich mountain resources. n emphasized that in
that “
not have any communication problems while we were in the mountains. The
younger generation of the Bana people spoke Vietnamese so I could also
communicate with them to a certain degree. n commented on the lack of
language ability of Vietnamese ethnologists who came to work in the highlands.
He criticized them as being obnoxious and authoritative since they spouted to the
Bana people in Vietnamese and never showed an attitude of learning from them
about their life.
It was obvious that the mountains could not support a large number of
ed, their
traditional ways of life in the mountains has changed. The lowland lifestyle has
been coming up into the mountains. I heard sounds of motorbikes on hills and saw
lowland materials from the cities found in the mountains look out of place. Even a
small plastic candy wrapping on the ground looked alien in the place and I could
Rie Nakamura
not help feeling that they are contaminating the mountain environment. n told
me of his conversation with Mr. Trau in which he suggested he go to the
mountains and live along the road like other ethnic minority people so that they
could get electricity and easily travel to cities and the market. Mr. Trau answered
that he preferred to live in the mountains. Although living in the lowlands is
convenient, at the same time there would be lots of complicated problems. It was a
new realization for me to find out that the young Bana couple chose to live in the
I was a little disoriented when I came back from the Nous Avons Mange la
Foret tour. We came back to the Eva Café in Kon Tum. Eva Café was crowded with
customers when we arrived. As soon as we took off our backpacks from the
started to help attending to the customers in the café. I waited for
him to take me to a hotel. I did not want to talk to any lowlanders and tried to hide
myself inside the Eva Café garden since the garden was closest to the highlands. I
found the small replica of a kitchen with an open fire as the most suitable corner in
remembrance of my mountain trip. The garden was made in a way that provokes
the sentiment and feelings I had in the mountains. I felt that my understanding
and appreciation of the garden deepened after I came back from the Nous Avons
Mange la Foret tour.
While watching the fire, sitting next to a friendly little dog and smelling
smoky air, I remember the mountains and then thought about my life at the
university which is controlled by suffocating regulations consisting of lengthy
faculty meetings, tedious administrative work, lecturing in front of sleepy students
and grading their hard-to-make-sense-of papers. Thinking about my sincere effort
to pass a day in the mountains, I felt my university life as something superficial
and shallow. My life seemed to lack something fundamental and quintessential. It
was a surprise for me to see
using a register and giving change to customers. I
could not understand how he managed to switch back into the lowland life so
easily and quickly.
Hearing my sentimental contemplation as an aftershock of the Nous Avons
Mange la Foret trip,
balance in our lives: between a life in the mountains and a life in the lowlands, a
life as a cafe owner and a life as an artist, a life as a husband and father and a life
as a man. We have various lives in our lives
maintain the balance in his life. He has practiced meditation since the time that he
worked for the Department of Culture and Information in Plaiku. During our
mountain tour, I woke up every morning to find him already up and meditating.
The meditation probably enabled him to engage in various aspects of his life in a
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
balanced manner and helps him travel between the lowlands and the highlands
without any emotional troubles.
The works of
Human Loss
n: Memories of the Mountains and The War and
g titled Memories of Mountains (
) which
he painted in 2009. The same painting was included under a different title, The
Place of Life (
), a book introducing artists from Kon Tum and their works
published by the Association of Art and Literature of Kon Tum province. It was
merely one of the pretty paintings I saw before I did the Nous Avons Mange la Foret
trip. However after the trip, I appreciated the painting differently.
In this painting, one can identify a few ethnic minority people who are
engaging typical activities such as milling rice and drinking liquor out of a jar by
bamboo straws with a dark blue background and star-like things that radiate
warm gentle lights. The ethnic minority people do not have any individuality.
Actually they are painted like ornamental shadows decorating a circular body,
creating a certain rhythm. It reminded me of the time I spent in the mountains: the
regulated cycle of a day, which was in tune with the natural environment, the
close relationship of the family and the neighbors, concentrating on carrying out
quintessential activities of life. The painting brought me back to the peaceful
inward feeling I had while I was in the mountains.
Figure 1: Artist,
“m m
Eva café.
Rie Nakamura
It also made me think that the ethnic minority people, like the shadows in
the painting, represent not just ethnic minorities but humans in general who are
living in the cycle of the universe and are a part of a cosmic rhythm. We all are a
part of a large cosmic cycle. By painting ethnic minority people as abstract
ms them out of the specially marked category of
practice unfamiliar customs or wear colorful exotic costumes. Instead they are
representative of us and are a part of the cycle of the universe. In this sense, the old
title of the painting The Place of Life (
) seems to be a more suitable title than
Memories of Mountains (
tle before
sending this painting to the exhibition in Plaiku.
sed to produce souvenir-type of paintings of ethnic minority women
carrying out daily activities in a village. However, he no longer produces such
paintings though they were quite popular in the market. According to n, such
souvenir paintings do not provoke any feelings and do not bear any meanings or
messages. They are just pretty decorations for walls. He also argued that as life is a
journey and a constant transformation, his art should not hang onto one style, but
should constantly change. The medium and style of his art are changing, but his
art bears an unchanging persistent message/identity: a man of the central
Figure 2: War and Human loss at the central and central highland regional exhibition of arts
in 2012 Q
n identity as a man of the central highlands is expressed by his
relationship with the Bana ethnic group and his work is inspired by his
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
relationship with them and a very strong sentiment against war.
iron sculpture to the Central Coast and Central Highland Regional Exhibition of
Arts in 2012. The sculpture titled War and Human Loss captures the moment when a
person is blown away by a land mine. He put sand in a shallow square box and
erected the sculpture. A real mine used during the Vietnam War was covered with
a twisted cloth bag and placed at the botom of the sculpture. Two helmets (Figure
2) are l
A v m
is depicted by
v m
In the highlands, both the majority Kinh and the ethnic minority people
suffered from being caught between two forces, the South Vietnam Government
and the Communist North Vietnam. The accounts by US Army infantry Lieutenant
Colonel Thomas McKenna during the war in Kon Tum in 1972, known as the
Easter Offensive among the Americans, explains the frightening magnitude of the
war in the highlands. It was not the attacks by the Vietnamese Communist
guerillas but those by the North Vietnamese Army with heavy artillery where for
the first time armoured tanks were brought into the Central Highlands. Kon Tum
was surrounded by the North Vietnamese army and became an isolated island in
the Highlands. The population of Kon Tum suddenly increased through an influx
of refugees from the surrounding areas (McKenna, 2011)1.
ing and misery during the
war and experienced it himself as a victim of the war. He remembers the wars in
Kon Tum in 1972 and 1975 with horrifying images that he would never be able to
forget. When there was an attack, his teacher ordered the class to hide under their
desk immediately. The thin desk could not be any protection in reality but he and
his fellow pupils jumped under their desks. When the Communist army surged
into the highlands in 1975, there was a rumor that the Saigon government would
leave the highlands in the hands of the Communists. People fled from the
highlands in panic.
, fleeing from the
highlands. They walked along National Road No. 19 toward a place called Phu
Bon near the Ba River. Dead bodies and
In this book, McKenna (2011) argues that if Kon Tum and the highlands fell into the hands
of the North Vietnamese Army in 1972, South Vietnam would have been divided and lost
the war against the Communists. The battle of Kon Tum or the Easter Offensive in 1972
saved South Vietnam (p. 3, p. 72).
Rie Nakamura
were dead the next morning. At the end, his family did not succeed in escaping
killed in the crossfire. He remembered that many of those victims were young
children. During interviews, n repeatedly indicated his fear that Vietnamese
society might lose those m m
suffering during the war and the prolonged pain from which people like himself
m m
my duty to continue to teach younger generations about the horror and misery of
When one enters Eva Café, one notices a tall statue of scrap iron standing
at the side. It is about 2.5 metres tall and made out of a bombshell used during the
e is always missing half of himself: The half he left
with his family and loved ones back in their country. Three iron rings around the
s to follow. The
hape of heart. In front of the hole an antiwar mark is dangling like pendant (Figure 3).
Figure 3:
A Man of the Central Highlands: The Works o
The heart-
-war mark expresses the
ince the bombshell used for this sculpture was
American-made, the sculptural figure seems to be a US soldier. When war is the
theme of n art work, he does not blame anybody or any side. He tries to express
the sorrow and suffering of the people who experience war regardless of their
In his art,
treates ethnic minorities and soldiers as fellow humans. Through this
generalization, he expresses the universal themes of life and death. The
undercurrent of his artwork is his strong identity as a man of the central
highlands. His art is rooted in his empathy and proximity to the highland ethnic
minority people and the war victims such as the soldiers and himself. Such
empathy and proximity have been developed through his life in the highlands as
he has identified himself with this special region. His identity as a man of the
central highlands is also reflected in the distance that he has kept from the
Department of Culture and Information, the Communist party, and the Central
Government as the central highlands is registered outside of its control.
phenomenon that I have noticed in the past several years. When I visit Vietnam, I
often go out with my friends working at the Southern Institute of Sustainable
Development, formally known as the Southern Institute of Social Sciences. At one
of our dinner gatherings, my friends and fellow reseachers discussed a book
written by an Australian scholar Philip Taylor who has done extensive field
research in the Mekong Delta and southern Vietnam. They praised his book by
saying that Taylor really understood the South. In his book, Taylor argues that
southern Vietnam is different from the north because of its different historical
development and its culture. They further mentioned that the reunification of
Vietnam has been weathering a unique southern culture. This type of discourse
was not heard when I was living in Ho Chi Minh City in the mid-1990s. The
phrase I often heard
to my surprise to hear their assertion of a southern identity based on cultural
difference and made me realize a widening space of asserting various identities
rather than a unified Vietnamese one.
y as a man of the central highla
art work is fortelling a heterogeneity of views, perspectives and identities in
Vietnam under one party domination.
Rie Nakamura
Asano, E. (2007). Growth process of coffee production in Vietnam: Use of surplus
ăm and Ikemoto
Yukio. (Eds.), C ee
e r l
l d:
r l,
anthropological and economic perspectives. (pp. 8-51). Ho Chi Minh City:
Vietnam National University Ho chi Minh City Press.
ng, Ma. (1978). Research: The neo-colonialism of the United States and the
ethnic minorities in Southern Vietnam. Hanoi Tap Chi Cong San, No.2,
Feb., pp. 89-96.
Hickey, G. C. (1982a). Sons of the mountains: Ethnohistory of the Vietnamese central
highlands to 1954. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
Hickey, G. C. (1982b). Free in the forest: Ethnohistory of the vietnamese central
highlands, 1954-1976. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
Jackson, L. R. (1969). The Vietnamese revolution and the Montagnards. Asian
Survey, 9(5), pp. 313-330.
Masako, I (
9) “『先住民』を認めることができないベトナム(Vietnam cannot
accept the concept
” 人権と部落問題 (Human
rights and Buraku problem), 61(1), pp. 33-41.
McKenna, T.P. (2011). Kontum: The battle to save South Vietnam. Kentucky: The
University Press of Kentucky.
Nancy, N. (1979). A temporary community in a temporary world, Ph.D.
Dissertation at Department of Anthropology, University of Washington.
Osnos, P ( 97 ) ‘
disaster for Montagnards. Washington Post,
April 25: A1, A3.
Salemink, O. (1991). Mois and Maquis: The invention and appropriation of
m Montagnards from Sabatier to the CIA. In, George W. Stocking.
(Ed.). History of anthropology. USA: The University of Wisconsin Press. pp.
Shin-e, T. (2007). ベトナムの少数民族定住政策史( History of sedentary policies of
ethnic minority people in Vietnam)Tokyo: Fukyosha.
Woodside, A. (1971). Vietnam and Chinese model: A comparative study of Nguyen and
Ching civil government in the first half of the nineteenth century. Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp203-217
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
School of the Art, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang
([email protected], [email protected])
In the 1960s, when Malaysian artists seemed to be influenced by the Abstract
Expressionist art movement of the West, a group of Malaysian artists known as the
New Scene were interested in the “cerebral and impersonal”, analytical and
constructivists aspects of art making. They were mostly interested in space, colour
and materials that were exhibited in art exhibitions such as The New Scene,
experiment ‘70, and Dokumentasi 72. Only the partnership of Redza and Sulaiman
Esa, in their effort to provide an alternative aesthetic to the Abstract
Expressionists, lasted. Both artists’ propositions on objects of real time and space
were presented in the exhibition Towards a Mystical Reality in 1974 in which they
took over the role of the critic by framing their own propositions, ideas, and
concepts written in the manifesto published in conjunction with the exhibition.
This essay attempts to discuss random objects without any aesthetic value selected
by these artists as works of art by employing Dickie’s Institutional Theory.
Furthermore, it will examine a few aspects from the theory that justify the
exhibition and its content as art and thus argue that it has its own aesthetics that
demand our own contextual analysis and understanding.
Keywords: Mystical Reality, Redza Piyadasa, Sulaiman Esa, George Dickie, Institutional
Malaysian art today have shifted in terms of its artistic approaches as more and
more artists are working beyond the traditional compartmentalization of fine arts
(Abdullah, 2011). These new works, are of a different type. Leaving the less clearer
direction of artists in the early years of Malaysia’s post-Independence (Abdullah,
2010b), leaving the well-espoused Abstract Expressionists of the 1960s and
Malay/Islamic-centered art of the 1970s and 1980s. Malaysia art in the last two and
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
a half decade embraces a more universal subject, inter-discipline in terms of its
artistic approach. The eclecticism and the complexity of art making today can be
traced as early as during the 1970s, when a group of Malaysian artists known as
the New Scene were interested in the “cerebral and impersonal”, analytical and
constructivists aspects of art making – akin to Minimalist art espoused by artists
like Carl André, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt and others. These interests
were presented in art exhibitions such as The New Scene, experiment ‘70, and
Dokumentasi 72 and Towards a Mystical Reality: A Documentation of Experiences
Initiated jointly by Redza Piyadasa and Suleiman (sic) Esa (1974).
Only the latter Towards a Mystical Reality: A Documentation of Experiences
Initiated jointly by Redza Piyadasa and Suleiman (sic) Esa (or in this essay will be
referred to as the Mystical Reality) held in 1974 has been examined and discussed
recently as an important exhibition in the Malaysian art scene. Mystical Reality was
an exhibition held at Sudut Penulis (Writer’s Corner) of Dewan Bahasa dan
Pustaka and it was the first and the only Malaysian exhibition that was
accompanied by a 31-page manifesto akin to the manifestos produced by
European artists in the early 20th century. Although the exhibition did not bring
direct impact on the development of modern art in Malaysia, in the study of art
history, the exhibition is important as one of the initial catalyst that brought about
changes to the acceptance of conceptual ideas into the practice of Malaysian art
(Abdullah, 2008; 2010a; Mashadi, 2007; Soon, 2013).
The main contribution of the exhibition was based on the fact that it was
initiated and produced based on its conceptual premises. While the appreciation
and importance of this exhibition have been discussed, especially in terms of its
conceptual premise, this paper will focus on the legitimacy or authenticity of the
works of this exhibition based on the perspective of Institutional Theory as
espoused by George Dickie. Before we proceed with the argument, it is best for us
to first discuss the exhibition itself.
Mystical Reality, a Jointly Initiated Experience
In the late 1960s, a few Malaysian artists had begun to advance the idea of an
‘alternative aesthetic’ based on the premise that art should be cerebral-centred
rather than emotion-centred and this has accumulated in the works of artists that
have been influenced by the Hard Edge or Conceptual Art such as Redza
Piyadasa, Sulaiman Esa, Tan Teong Eng, Tan Teong Kooi, Tang Tuck Kan and
Choong Kam Kow. Artists promoting these perspectives in Malaysia at that time
included those who had arrived in Britain in the mid-1960s and witnessed a
change in the principles of art education in the United Kingdom where several
leading English art colleges that had introduced ‘Basic Design’ subject founded
based on the Bauhaus pedagogy.1 While these new approaches were not uniformly
Re-Examining the objects of Mystical Reality
or simultaneously implemented across all art colleges in England, much of the
agitation for change in art education was initiated by Hornsey College of Art in
London, in which two Malaysian artists, Sulaiman Esa and Redza Piyadasa were
enrolled. The cerebral-centred versus emotion-centred art discourse can be traced
in how these artists attempted to challenge and displace the Abstract
Expressionist2 aesthetic as exhibited in the GRUP exhibition and The Expressionists
of the 1960s. In the 1960s and even until today, Abstract Expressionism has been
one of the Western art movements that has influenced many Malaysian artists
despite the fact that most of the content or subject matter were local (Abdullah,
2013: 455-465).
Redza Piyadasa, Sulaiman Esa and a few other Malaysian artists as listed
above have consistently initiated the so-called ‘alternative aesthetics’ in which is
characterized by its ‘cerebral and impersonal’ approach in exhibition such as The
New Scene’69 (1969), experiment ’70 (1970), dokumentasi 72 (1972) and Mystical
Reality (1974). Eventually, Mystical Reality became the pinnacle of both Sulaiman
Esa and Redza Piyadasa’s attempt in shifting the perspectives of Malaysian artists
at that time. Even though it may be argued that such conceptual attempts had
already begun with The New Scene ‘69, the Mystical Reality manifesto claims to
reject all previous developments in Malaysian art (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 6).
However, despite this claim, various aspects of the exhibition and manifesto reveal
that the exhibition was, nonetheless, still an extension of dokumentasi ’72, and to an
extent, of experiment ’70. This is particularly evident when considering the premise
the artists promoted -- a context of art concerned with actual space, time and light
and its reference to Zen and the premise of the Conceptual art approach, which
had been flagged by these two previous exhibitions before. In the exhibition, the
artists put up everyday objects or artifacts to highlight the concept of ephemerality
based on Zen/Taoism ideology.
Besides that, the artists managed to make the ideational premise of the
work known through their manifesto, in contrast to other artworks of that time
which attended almost exclusively to its appearance. The manifesto extensively
outlines its structure, in which the artists frame their own propositions, ideas and
concepts to the public. In the manifesto of the exhibition, Piyadasa and Sulaiman
Esa (1974) outlined the underlying thoughts of Malaysian artists in the 1960s and
early 1970s. They wrote about the dilemma faced by the artists in Malaysia in their
search for a national identity. They also criticized the local artists whom they
consider as imitating Western art. Their stance is anti-formalist and anti-aesthetic,
against various other artists whom at that time were mostly producing Abstract
Expressionist artworks. In the premises of their conceptual work, they stated, ‘We
had abandoned illusionistic devices altogether by 1971 and had become involved
with actual space, actual time and actual light.’ (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 8).
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
The alternative models as espoused by Sulaiman Esa and Piyadasa
followed the Eastern philosophy, or so they claimed. T.K. Sabapathy in the
“Introduction” explained that Redza Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa have put
themselves in a position of confrontation that deals between Eastern artistic
practices and Western artistic practices, but highlighting new artistic approach that
is derived from the mystical and philosophical traditions rooted in Asia, Taoism
and Zen, in particular. This alternative approach that they assert consciously, seeks
to replace the Western artistic model, which is based on humanism and scientific
empiricism spirit. Sabapathy said that their attempt to reflect on the expectations
of Asian artists reached the level that art is based on something that is real or ‘art =
reality’ (Sabapathy, 1978: 33). This perhaps could restore the Asian values as the
main subject, especially for Asian artists and it could also lay the foundation for
artists in examining local realities in which could also be investigated in the
context of arts (Sabapathy, 1994: 68).
The exhibition, however, was not well received and became somewhat
become polemical. The polemics were primarily based on the way the manifesto
was written and the premise suggested by the artists. During the opening of the
exhibition, Salleh ben Joned unzipped his trousers and urinated in another corner
of the exhibition space as part of his protest of the ‘premise’ of the exhibition. One
year later, polemics on the event was published in Dewan Sastra magazine by
authors such as Siti Zainon Ismail, Redza Piyadasa, Ponirin Amin and Salleh ben
Joned, who voiced their opinions about the event (Amin, 1975, Ismail, 1975, Joned,
1975, Piyadasa, 1975). It must be noted here that the ‘premise’ of the exhibition
was criticized by Salleh, Siti Zainon Ismail and Ponirin Amin while Redza
Piyadasa defended the objective of the exhibition.
The objects or artifacts exhibited, however, due the fact that the objects
chosen did not fit the idea of what an artwork should be (or not), have been left
unexamined. Therefore, this paper is an attempt to examine how the objects or
items listed in the previous section are works of art. On the other hand, this paper,
will not further discuss the cerebral, conceptual premise, the Zen aspect or even
the manifesto of the exhibition. The question that will be discussed in this paper is
why found objects or termed as ‘artifacts’ as listed above are works of art? The
answer to this question is vital, especially for those who are not familiar with the
historical development of modern art. It must be noted that the exhibition itself
has not been well received from certain quarters.
Examining Mystical Reality
In this essay, we will discuss Mystical Reality and the acceptance of the objects that
were exhibited as artwork by using Dickie’s Institutional theory. Reading the list
of objects that was exhibited in the exhibition, one would wonder how randomly
Re-Examining the objects of Mystical Reality
collected objects or artifacts could be regarded as artworks. It must be noted,
however, that this is not the first case that random objects have been conferred as
art objects though this was the first attempt in Malaysia. The attempt to use
everyday objects or what was termed as ‘readymades’ by Marcel Duchamp as
works of art has superseded Mystical Reality about fifty years ago. The Western art
world in the mid-1960s consists of what Arthur Danto called the ‘mere things’.
This development in the Modern art context resulted in the difficulty of picking
out artworks from non-artworks, since the art that was produced resembled or
consisted of non-artworks.
George Dickie is a professor of philosophy who proposed the Institutional
theory in order to explain the forms of contemporary art in the post-modern era in
Euramerica. In his works, Dickie argues that art actually exists in a larger social
institution as works of 'art' when it has been conferred. Only then the object is
considered valid and worthy to be treated like a piece of art. He has rejected the
earlier theories of art such as imitation theory as espoused by Plato and expression
theory as proposed by Clive Bell. He argues that these theories cannot explain the
works of art that accepts the elements of inadvertence or chance as the nature of
the artworks and even the non-objective artworks such as those produced by
artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko, Victor Vaserely,
Frank Stella, Dan Flavin and others (Dickie, 2007: 220).
It must be noted that, Imitation theory refers to the works of art that can be
identified by its function as a representation of the subject, whether through media
such as painting, sculpture, literature or music. The existence of works of art such
as paintings that does not denote or represent objects (or non-objective) shows that
imitation is not a mandatory element in a work of art. The failure of the Imitation
theory in understanding the nature of non-objective artworks has spawned debate.
In the context of various proposed theories of art, Institutional theory as suggested
by Dickie on the other hand has enlightened our understanding of art that cannot
be explained by imitation and expression theories.
Dickie extended the theory of the ‘artworld’ that has been proposed by
Arthur C. Danto. Arthur C. Danto, in his book Transfiguration of the Commonplace,
sheds some light on the dilemma in the current art world where aesthetics or
beauty is no longer the main characteristic of arts anymore. In the 1960s, more art
works that consisted of what Danto called ‘mere things,’ were produced. This
development resulted in the difficulty of picking out artworks from non-artworks,
since such art works resembled or consisted of non-artworks. Danto’s contribution
to the discourse is by finding a definition which is not only consistent with radical
disjunctiveness of the class of artworks, but explains how the disjunctiveness is
possible as well (Danto, 1996: 284).
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
In the process of searching for a definition of sound art, Danto examined the
exhibition of works such as "Brillo Box" (1964) by Andy Warhol and "Bed" (1955)
by Robert Rauschenberg and writes,
‘To see something as art requires something the eye cannot descry an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of history of art: the
artworld.’ (Danto, 2007: 214)
According to Danto, what distinguishes an object as an artwork is subjected to two
cases: first, theories of art and the second, the artworld. Arising from that
viewpoint, Dickie expands his view and argues that that the artword is actually in
a social institution that cannot be seen by the outward eye. Dickie compares
Danto’s term ‘the artworld’ with the wider arts institution with an example of the
art of theater that existed since the Greeks to the present. He gives the example of a
system such as performance or theater that must be represented by the writers,
management crew, the casts and the audiences. Even the script of the plays must
be written and produced within the theater-world framework. Dickie uses the
simple definition of ‘institution’ taken from the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary - ‘3. That which is instituted as: a. An established practice, law, custom, etc., b. An
established society or corporation.’ Therefore, according to Dickie, similarly in the
example of the theater-world framework -- that there must be a common
convention in the production of the artwork, in which the works will be displayed
(Dickie, 2007: 221).
Dickie argues that the existence of a framework in the the artworld allows
an object that may not be considered as a work of art to be accepted as a work of
art. So when Marcel Duchamp submitted a urinal to an art competition on display
as ‘works of art’ in 1917, several things happened at the same time - first, the
status of ‘art’ has been conferred to the object which initially did not have any
special value and is not any different from the urinal sold in stores.
It must be noted that the nature of the work (or its properties) and the
beauty of an artwork is usually the main focus in a normal exhibition context. In
such ‘normal’ context, only the values of the representations or expressions
generated by the work are being appreciated by the audience. Whereas the
intangible nature of the work that cannot be exhibited or what is termed as the
‘non-exhibited properties’ are usually neglected. In the context of Duchamp’s
work, Dickie argued that Duchamp has acted indirectly as an agent of the artworld
and has conferred the status of ‘works of art’ to the urinal. So in that circumstance,
the audience is forced to accept the urinal as an art work. Dickie, however, viewed
that the process of conferring an object as an art work within the framework or
artworld as something that is actually more flexible as it covers a wider art system
that was put forth by Danto (Dickie, 2007: 222). He argues that the act of
Re-Examining the objects of Mystical Reality
conferring of an artwork can occur based on the definition of ‘artwork.’ Dickie
puts forth his definition of this term in the form of classificatory. A work of art
according to him is, first, an artifact and second, sets of aspects of the work
conferred with the status of art on behalf of a particular institution in the art
The second condition has four interconnected notions (1) [someone] acting
as the representative of the art world (2) [the act of] conferring status of the
artwork (3) [artifacts] as a candidate and (4) appreciation [by the audience]. The
first and the second notion can be exemplified with the act of a king conferring a
knighthood, the power of a judge in passing a ruling, or the conferring of Ph.D. to
a candidate by the university. However, according to Dickie, in any artworld or
institutional contexts, the conferring of a work to an art status does not necessarily
exist via certain formal legislation, but it can also take place in an informal way.
The conferring of the status of ‘art’, for example, can be made by those who are
involved or play a role in the artworld. It can be artists, writers, composers, film
directors and museums, critics, art historians, art lovers and others (Dickie, 2007:
223). What is important here for Dickie, is the context in which the artifacts are on
display or being a candidate. The act that a plumbing equipment salesman
displays his urinal over the counter in stores is different than Duchamp exhibiting
the same urinal in the gallery. Duchamp's work is recognized as a work of art
because it was a candidate in which it was conferred by the artists and the act of
conferring happens within the artworld support system. The selected objects on
display have been consciously presented and the way the artwork was created (by
the factory) is not a question. The next criterion is appreciation that demands the
audience to accept, understand and appreciate the work (Dickie, 2007: 223-224). As
Marcel Duchamp said:
‘All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the
spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by
deciphering and interpreting its inner qualification and thus adds his
contribution to the creative act. …’ (Lebel, 1959: 78)
Therefore, the audience also plays an important role in the relationship as
described above.
Duchamp, who was also the protagonist of the Dada movement, has
brought about the ideas that bring forth the issue of anti-art and rebellion against
the art in terms of aesthetics, meaning and purpose. In the context of the Mystical
Reality as posited in this essay, Piyadasa himself refers to Duchamp. He writes in
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
‘Duchamp will perhaps emerge as the greatest artist in the twentieth
century on the strength of what he single-handedly achieved as early as
1913-1915 - debunking the myth of the art-establishment.’ (Sabapathy, 1978:
If ‘Fountain’ (1917) by Duchamp can be accepted on the basis that its art
status was conferred, works by Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa in the Mystical Reality
exhibition have features that work in tandem with ‘Fountain’ -- although they are
different in terms of reasons and directions.
In the exhibition, the artists put up everyday objects taken from their
original settings in the exhibition space as a means to promote the concept of
ephemerality based on Zen/Taoism ideology (Figure 1). They advocated a new
way of confronting reality based on how the audience should ‘conceive’ reality
through concepts rather than ‘seeing’ things through the visual or retinal sphere.
All of these can be understood in how they posited the title or the lists of artifacts
or objects of their works:
A list of artifacts or objects that were exhibited in the exhibition:
1. Empty bird cage after release of bird at 2.46 pm on Monday 10 th June 1974
(Figure 2).
2. Potted plant watered and looked after by the two artists over a period of
seven months.
3. Empty chair on which many persons have sat on.
4. Two half drank Coca Cola bottles.
5. An outlined area occupied by the shadow of the poet Usman Awang made
at 4.05 pm on Saturday 8th December 1973. 36”X36”
6. Empty canvas on which many shadows have already fallen. 1974. 36” X
7. Discarded silk-screen which was used to make many beautiful prints.
8. Burnt out mosquito coils used to keep away mosquitoes on the night of
25th March 1974.
9. Discarded raincoat found at a Klang rubbish dump at 4.23 pm on Sunday
13th January 1974 that must have belonged to someone (Figure 3)
10. Randomly collected sample of human hair collected from a barber shop in
Petaling Jaya.
Re-Examining the objects of Mystical Reality
Figure 1: Redza Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa, “Mystical Reality” (1974). View of Mystical
Reality exhibition held at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur.
(Source: Vision and Idea: Relooking Modern Malaysian Art. 1994. Kuala Lumpur: National Art
Figure 2: Redza Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa, “Empty Bird-Cage After Release of Bird”
(1974). View of Mystical Reality exhibition held at Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala
(Source: Vision and Idea: Relooking Modern Malaysian Art. 1994. Kuala Lumpur: National Art
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
Figure 3: Redza Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa, “Mystical Reality” (1974). Discarded raincoat
found at a Klang rubbish dump at 4.23pm on Sunday 13th January 1974 that must have
belonged to someone (discarded after the exhibition).
(Source: Towards a Mystical Reality: A Documentation of Jointly Initiated
Experiences by Redza Piyadasa and Suleiman Esa. 1974. Kuala Lumpur)
Based on the theory of imitation and expression, all of these objects
exhibited by Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa, do not have the quality that an artwork
should have based on their physical look. They explained,
‘The realization that the “object” is really an event draws the spectator’s
attention to the fact that it exists within a continuum just as he does. The
realization that he and the ‘object’ are both processes existing in time results
in a breaking down of the essential differences between the “thing” and “the
person”. In a sense, both are essentially energies in an infinite situation.’
(Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 22).
Such listings of objects to be presented in an exhibition setting without being
artistically manipulated are odd and are not all in tandem in the general
understanding of what forms an artwork during that time. The duo, however, had
chosen the objects as the candidate of works of art and the objects were displayed
in a place related to the institutional context of art. Thus, the conferring process
occurred either formally or informally by various institutional agents -- the Dewan
Bahasa dan Pustaka (that function as a gallery space), artists, dignitaries,
administrators, writers, as well as the audience or visitors as agents of the art
Re-Examining the objects of Mystical Reality
world. These people have either directly or indirectly conferred the status of art to
the objects by attending the exhibition and being a part of the exhibition itself.
Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa first, should be seen as the agents and
spokesmen who have played roles as a representative of the artworld and that had
conferred the status of 'art' to the objects on display during the Mystical Reality
exhibition. This was further supported by their preexisting roles and positions in
the Malaysian art world at that time – both were very competent artist and vocal
critic of the art scene in Malaysia. Their roles were further consolidated by writing
a provoking manifesto that is being distributed during the exhibition.
The interference or intervention by Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa by
selecting the objects and positioning or exhibiting them in the context of a gallery
had also initiated the objects or at least acted as catalyst for the audiences’ mind in
appreciating objects as an artistic idea. This is further supported by the attendance
of people in the art scene at that time -- their discussion on the displayed works
and even the premise of the exhibition through the manifesto could also be argued
as overlapping with the functions of the art institution that had conferred the
status 'works of art' to the works on display. Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa acted as a
trigger or 'initiators' of a mental process that occurs among the audience or visitors
due to the fact that they are in a situation that has already being planned in
advance. The goal is to get meditative empathy from the audience to be aware of
the power of reality in which the audience has become a part of. The end product
of the process, however, depends on the thinking experience that takes place in the
mind of the audience (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 21).
The brave exhibition in the context of the development of modern art in
Malaysia however, has a totally different purpose from Dada. The selections of
objects that complete the Mystical Reality artifactuality element are, however,
different from Duchamp's ‘readymade.’ Duchamp exhibited ‘readymades’ such as
urinal, clothes hanger, shovel and a bicycle wheel. Mystical Reality, on the other
hand, delved into the deeper beliefs of the eastern traditions and suggests new
interpretations of the role of the artist. Taking the example of the dalang, the
shadow puppet player, Piyadasa associates the role of the artist as a mediator or
liaison between the audiences and his work (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 16).
The continuum, however, in this case, in which the object and the viewer
coexist were placed in two different constructs are -- firstly, the Western
perspective (spatio/temporal/sensorial) and second, the Eastern perspective
(mental/meditative/mystical). Mystical Reality demanded the audience within the
construct of Dickie’s theoretical framework to not only have the intellectual
capacity that enables a formal appreciation, but also mystical awareness in order to
be able to understand the form of sensorial perception itself.
Their main argument in the manifesto is that scientific and empirical point
of view that comes from the West is only one reality from many other different
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
perspectives (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 16). Largely attributed to this view, the
manifesto is trying to lay the foundation of art activities on the basis of the
mystical and philosophical Taoist/Zen exists in the East despite it is being far from
the concept of national culture and the core beliefs of Malaysians at that time. They
‘Taoist thinking concerns itself with the understanding of life and reality
directly instead of in the abstract, linear terms of representational thinking.’
(Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 18)
Piyadasa and Sulaiman Esa included elements of time or time in the context of
selected artifacts. They wrote, ‘The Taoist/Zen tendency to view object as an
“event” rather than as ‘form’ presupposes that objects existence within an
interrelated field or continuum. Time, in this case is a ‘mental’ time that cannot be
measured for all measurements, can only remain relative.’ (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974:
19). They felt that the concept of time or space, as practiced in the West are indeed
in contrast with the intrinsic concept of the Eastern time and this has not been
explored or understood by Eastern artists.
‘The western artist’s attempt to create works which exist ‘within the viewers
own space’ then must be quite redundant to the oriental artist. Similarly, the
commonly held notion amongst so many “Kinetic” artist that their works
are only active when ‘switched on’ would seem very naïve to the Taoist.
Whereas, the western artist has tended to envisage time through “physical”
action, the oriental artist feels it mentally. It is essentially a very
metaphysical concept of time that the oriental artist deals with!’ (Piyadasa &
Esa, 1974: 20)
Thus, the works on display do not only display the aesthetic arrangement in line
with the concept of beauty, harmony, structure, style, symbolism or techniques.
What is required from the audience is awareness of the mental time but not in the
shape or form. They cited the views of Mario Bussagli in his book Chinese Art that
explains, for Chinese artists, plants and animals do not only exist as a form of
physical existence, but it has a relationship with something that is uncertain and
cannot be defined. This is consistent with the nature that Chinese artists believe to
have mystical elements. Believing in the union in nature, Eastern artists reject the
static and limited happening at one time (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 19).
Evidently, their writing through the manifesto has rejected the concept of
Western physical time that can be activated or de-activated (switched on/switched
off) with respect to kinetic works by artists such as Naum Gabo, László MoholyNagy, Alexander Calder, Jean Tinguely, Julio Le Parc, Nicolas Schöffer, Takis and
Re-Examining the objects of Mystical Reality
many others. The duo do not only highlight the physicality elements of the
artifacts or objects that are potential to be conferred as an art object as done by
Duchamp but also incorporate elements of Eastern time mental and metaphysical
nature that should be felt mentally (Piyadasa & Esa, 1974: 20).
In tracing the early artistic inclination of Redza Piyadasa, the artist
explained that his early works examined the involvement of actual space in art and
denied any attempt to create symbols. His interest in ‘reality’ could be traced in his
works earlier in even during the dokumentasi 72 exhibition which he pointed out
that the fact that there should be no demarcation lines between illusion and reality
or the painting and the space occupied by the painting (Piyadasa, 1972:
unpaginated). In the catalogue, he explains,
‘There is something very religious about my obsession with actual space. It
is almost metaphysical. The emptiness and the detachment are reminiscent
of the spirit of Zen. The Zen garden, sand arranged in furrows and a few
rocks, is the image of stillness. The more still our position and the less
disturbed the immediate environment, the greater the possibility of the
deepest penetration of reality. This is exactly what meditation is really
about. …’ (Piyadasa, 1972: unpaginated).
The exhibition was forgotten over time as it was just a hara-kiri and it has not made
a deep impact on Malaysian arts in general and Malaysian artists in particular -the exhibition is important in the context of art history as an initial attempt by
Malaysian artists in trying to change Malaysian artistic practice at that time.
Salleh ben Joned later accused the Mystical Reality manifesto as containing
elements of juvenile bullying. When he acted by ‘opening up his zipper and
zipped his mouth shut,’ and water the exhibition catalog with his urine – Salleh
can be seen as representing the art world institution itself and the incident can
actually be examined as indirectly conferring the status of the objects on display as
artworks. His urine had symbolically conferred these objects or artifacts as
artworks in the art world, formally and legally at one corner of the Writer’s Corner
in DBP. Salleh who was also a credential agent of the art world institutions
claimed his act was also inspired by the Zen spirit. Salleh himself was apt as a
poet/writer who comes from literature background. Therefore, this incident can
also be argued as a very brave cross-disciplinary interaction: a protest against
what he saw as hypocrisy, conflict and as a challenge towards the ideas that was
brought forward by the manifesto. The explicit and implicit credential of Salleh as
a poet/writer was then further revealed in response to the open letter that was later
Sarena Abdullah & Chung Ah Kow
published in Dewan Sastera. He analyzed the Zen concept deeper than what had
been articulated by the manifesto. Salleh explained that he was practically
illustrating a Zen master’s anecdote who licked the buttock of a monk as an
Enlightenment metaphor (Joned, 1975: 59). The challenges and symbolic act made
by Salled as he peed on the catalogue can be argued as another form of conferring
(anointing/consecrating) the exhibition that had increased the value of the event.
Bauhaus teachings emphasise the analytical and investigative aspects of visual perception
and the structural properties of visual design, rather than the emotive-intuitive approach of
previous academic traditions.
2 The term Abstract Expressionist in Malaysia is employed loosely to describe the kind of
work, which moves towards abstraction, or non-representational art that seems to
communicate exclusively through formal means of line, shape, colour, space, and texture
and physical aspects such as brush strokes. These abstracted forms and colours are
produced to communicate their emotional and spiritual states. The association of the artists
labelled as Abstract Expressionists culminated in a group exhibition called GRUP in 1967 at
the former AIA Insurance Building on Ampang Road. This was followed by another
exhibition entitled The Expressionists of the 1960s in 1974.
3 The work was “The Fountain” (1917) by Marcel Duchamp.
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Art, essence, history, and beauty: A reply to carrier, a
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during the 1960s to 1980s (2007). Singapore: Singapore Art Mudeum.
Piyadasa, R. (1972). Statements by Redza Piyadasa about his work. In Dokumentasi
72: Recent works by Sulaiman Esa and Redza Piyadasa. Kuala Lumpur: Samat
Art Gallery.
Piyadasa, R. & Suleiman E. (1974). Towards a mystical reality: A documentation of
jointly initiated experiences by Redza Piyadasa and Suleiman Esa. Kuala
Piyadasa, Redza (1975). Satu lagi jawaban untuk Siti Zainon. In Dewan Sastra 5, no.
Sabapathy, T.K. Piyadasa. (1978) Kuala Lumpur: Archipelago Publishers.
Sabapathy, T.K. (Ed.) (1994). Vision and idea: Relooking modern Malaysian art. Kuala
Lumpur: National Art Gallery.
Soon, S. (2013). An empty canvas on which many shadows have already fallen. In
N.H. Khairuddin, B. Yong & Sabapathy, T.K. (Eds.), Reaction -- New critical
strategies: Narratives in Malaysian art. Kuala Lumpur: RogueArt.
Jati, Volume 19, December 2014, pp218-230
Hanafi Hussin
Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences
Department of Southeast Asian Studies
Centre for Malaysian Indigenous Studies
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
([email protected])
This paper discusses the ritual role of specific types of food and drink amongst the
Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca in Malaysia. Food, in this context, is
not merely for consumption but functions also as ritual apparatuses. These rituals,
performed by the caretaker of a Peranakan Chinese family, invoke the unseen
spiritual realm during a ritual event. The Peranakan Chinese community
acknowledges the significance of specific food and drink as essential to these
ceremonial proceedings. Food and drink function as a bridge between the realms
of the seen and the unseen, and signify a metaphysical link between ritual
practitioners and the supernatural world. The Peranakan Chinese, or commonly
known as the Baba-Nyonyas of the Straits of Malacca, are descendants of 15 th -17th
century Chinese immigrants from the Indonesian archipelago and British Malaya
who adopted Nusantara customs and assimilated into local communities. Food
and drinks offered to the ancestors and spirits form a major community-wide
series of offerings performed a few times a year by family members who continue
to maintain the tradition. Typically, the rituals coincide with events of the Chinese
calendar such as Chinese New Year and the Hungry Ghost Festival. These series of
rituals involve every household of the Peranakan Chinese community.
Keywords: traditional food, invoke, bridge, unseen spiritual, Peranakan Chinese, BabaNyonya, Straits of Malacca
paper is an output of research funded by RP017D-13SBS (Ethnographic Study of Shared
Traditional Food Heritage of Coastal Communities of South China Sea and RU006F-2014 (Ocean
Governance and Coastal Community Geopolitics & Culture East Coast of Malaysia: Intangible Heritage
Policy and Implementation.
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
The Peranakan Chinese, or commonly known as the Baba-Nyonyas of the Straits of
Malacca have a unique and fascinating history and culture. The people of this
community are descendants of 15th -17th century Chinese immigrants from the
Indonesian archipelago and British Malaya who adopted Nusantara customs, and
assimilate into local communities of Malay and Chinese cultures. Three terms are
commonly used to describe this community: the Peranakans, the Straits Chinese,
and the Babas and Nyonyas. The word Peranakan is derived from the Malay word
‘anak’ which means ‘child’. The term refers to the local born, as well offsprings of
foreigner-native unions. Frank Swettenham explained that the term Baba was used
for Straits-born males, whether children of English, Chinese Eurasian parents or of
Hindustani origin (Tan Chee Beng, 1988: 89-103). Baba is the term for males and
Nyonya, females. The word Baba may have been derived from the word bapa,
which means father in Malay. Some historians think that it was an honorific title
equivalent for a tuan or a towkay. The word Nyonya is said to have originated from
Java (Lee, 2008: 162). This hybridity resulted from interactions and intermarriages
with the local community such as the Chinese immigrants who arrived in the
Malay Peninsula. Some of the commonly attributed examples of hybridity include
language, food, and clothing. While their culture stimulates curiosity and has
undergone a resurgence of interest in recent decades, defining their heritage and
what it means to be Baba Nyonya evades simple definition. Further development
among the Peranakan Chinese, especially Babas in the 1800s and early 1900s,
established businesses and traded profitably with the British. Some scholars posit
that they could have been the ancestors of current Peranakan Chinese in Malacca
(Suhaila Abdullah, 2013: 143-149). They gained wealth through businesses and spent
in on great collections of art, enjoying extravagant celebrations and food while
Nyonyas within were keepers of the home. Nyonyas are very well known for
excellent skills of home cooking and craft. They combined Chinese and Malay food
preparation techniques and ingredients to create unique fusion food.
Worldview and Custom of Peranakan Chinese of Malacca
Peranakan people speak Malay, consume Malay food, dress in Malay-style attire,
and adopt terms of Malay kinship in life (Clammer, J. 1980). However, most of the
customs practiced is based on Chinese customs. As discussed by Tan, the Baba in
Melaka (Peranakan Chinese), with the exception of a very small number of them,
practice Chinese folk religion (Tan Chee Beng, 1988, 161-163). Since most Peranakans
are of Hoklo (Hokkien) ancestry, although a sizeable number are of Teochew or
Cantonese descent, they generally subscribe to Chinese belief systems such as
Hanafi Hussin
Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Respect to the parents (filial piety) is a very
important and worship of ancestors is the core of their culture. Thus, in many
homes of Peranakan families there are altars for worship and memorials to the
ancestors. The Peranakans also celebrate Lunar New Year, Lantern Festival and
other Chinese festivals, while adopting the customs of the land they settled in, as
well as those of their colonial rulers. The Chinese New Year celebration is a
celebration that has become a major festival among the Baba and Nyonya.
However, some traditional festivals like Cheng Beng2, Tang Chek3, Wangkang4 etc
have begun to disappear as a result of social changes experienced by this
community, especially in modern lives and many of young Peranakans who have
embraced Christianity.
Chinese folk religion, which Tan calls the Chinese religion, is a rather
syncretic system which comprises Taoist, Buddhist and confusion elements;
ancestor worship forms a crucial part of the system. It is polytheistic and most of
the deities worshipped reflect the Baba way of life. Like all Chinese worshippers,
the Baba not only worship at home but also worship at Chinese temples now and
then or when there is a need to do so. The most popular domestic deities among
the Baba are Hood Chor (called as Datuk Uco) and Kuah Teh Yah, the former being
Guanyin in Mandarin and is popularly known as the Goddess of Mercy in English.
On Jalan Hang Jebat, where Straits Chinese houses can still be located, the main
domestic deity popularly worshipped is the Goddess of Mercy. Those who do not
keep any deities at home do, in fact, pray to other deities and ancestors at their
ancestral homes or at the home of an elder sibling during festivals ( Tan Chee Beng,
1988: 144-154). Not all Peranakan Chinese know the names of the deities that they
worship and some even designate wrong names for them. This happened to an
informant of this study as well. She always referred the unknown name of the
Cheng Beng better known in Hokkien means bright and sunny, also called Qing Ming in
Mandarin is an important day in the Chinese culture and tradition to honor the ancestors
and relatives who died each year. Prayer and the celebration is done to those who died even
though not his own family. Cheng Beng Day falls normally in the month of April and the
prayer can be done 10 days earlier or 10 days later than the date.
3 The Tang Chek Festival known as Dōngzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival is one of the
most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians on or around
December 22. Its origin related to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in
the cosmos. There will be days with longer daylight hours after this celebration therefore an
increase in positive energy flowing in. One activity related to these happening is get
together and eating of tangyuan or balls of glutinuous rice, which symbolize reunion.
4 The Wang Kang Festival is of Hokkien origin which celebrated in two large districts of the
Hokkien Province, Chiang Chew Hoo and Chuan Chew Hoo. Outside of China, Malacca is
the only place that this big event take place which also held in Manila and Sarawak in the
early days.
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
deity as “God (Datuk), although she can recall few Datuks i.e Tikong, Datuk Quan
Yin, Datuk Buddha and Datuk Dapor (Deity of the Kitchen) (Madam Grace, Bandar
Hilir Melaka, February, 2014).
Peranakan Chinese or Baba discussed by Tan Chee Beng has two systems
of ancestral worship, “invite the ancestor” (chia abu) system and “keep the
ancestor” (piarah abu) system (Knapp, 2010). For Chinese Peranakan ccia (chia) abu
and piarra (piarah) abu distinguishes between those who have ancestral altars at
home and those who do not but still pray to ancestors on festivals (Tan Chee Beng,
1988: 150-154). Both systems include placing the altar facing the graveyards, and this
comprises one or two tables placed with two candle sticks and a joss-stick holder
that can be a glass filled with uncooked rice.
During prayers, normally done by the wife, burning joss sticks invite the
ancestors back to the house for the occasion. By placing the joss sticks in the holder
and lighting the candles, it marks that the wife has invited the ancestors to return
to the house, to be worshipped and celebrated. It is believed that the invited
ancestors and deities will occupy and stay in the house to celebrate the festival by
consuming food and drinks offered to them during particular rituals. They will
leave the house when they are requested to in a separate ritual by burning incense
and ritual papers called Kerte Perak (silver paper)
Traditional Food of Chinese Peranakan
Peranakan food, sometimes called Nyonya Food, is a wonderful combination of
Malay and Chinese cuisine with influences from Indonesia and food cultures.
Nyonya food, according to Tan (1993), is clearly unique and Malaysian/
Singaporean in identity. Using ingredients such as lengkuas (galangal), serai
(lemongrass), lada (chillis), kunyit (turmeric), halia (ginger), tau cheow (cheo), asam
jawa (tamarind), air limau (lime juice), shrimp paste (belachan), buah keras (candlenut),
gula melaka (palm sugar), spices (rempah) such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom,
cloves, nutmeg, leaves such as daun kesum (laksa leaf), daun kaduk (wild betelnut leaf),
daun cekok (galangal leaf), daun limau purut (lime leaf), pandan leaves, the Nyonyas
concoct unique cuisines, predominantly spicy and piquant in flavour. A Nyonya’s
cooking ability could be assessed in the old days from the rhythm of how one
pounded spices (rempah) to make sambal belachan.
Some of the basic and well-known Peranakan traditional food of Melaka
are Otak Otak, Ayam Pongteh, Assam Laksa, Roti Babi, Itik Tim, Buah Keluak (babi bush
keluak), Perut Ikan. Achar (pickled chillies), Sek Bak (stew pork), Hong Bak (roasted pork),
Cheng Chuan Hoo (fish cooked in fermented soybean paste), Cincalok Omelette (preserved
shrimp), Pork Liver Balls (hati babi bungkus). To some Peranakan Chinese who still
practice feeding food and drinks to the ancestors, basic traditional food needs to be
Hanafi Hussin
prepared and serves during specific occasions. These includes Pongteh, Buah
Keluak, Babi Sayur Asin (Itik Tim) and Chap Chai. Preparation of food must
incorporate the correct ingredients, and follow the right methods of preparing it as
listed below.
Pongteh – ingredients include shallots, garlic (just a little), tau cheo, paste
(fermented bean paste), potatoes, chicken, sam chan (pork belly), soy sauce/thick
soy sauce. Pongteh is prepared by following this sequence: first, sauté chopped
shallots and garlic until crispy and fragrant; second, add in black soy or thick soy
sauce; third, add in chicken and sam chan; fourth, add in water (up to preference)
and potatoes, and leave to boil.
Buah Keluak-the main ingredient for Buah Keluak is pork ribs, although it
can be replaced by chicken for non-pork eaters, making the dish halal. Main
ingredients for Asam pedas paste are lengkuas (galangal), serai (lemongrass), garlic,
shallots, belacan – dried shrimp paste, dried chili, red fresh chili, buah keras (kemiri),
kunyit isi (turmeric) and asam jawa (tamarind). Buah Keluak is prepared by
following this sequence:, first, blend the ingredients for the asam pedas paste;
second, sauté (tumis) the paste until oily, then add in buah keluak, pork ribs and/or
chicken into the cooking and finally add in asam jawa juice, salt and ajinomoto
(MSG) to taste. Bring to boil.
Babi Sayur Asin (or Itik Tim) originally pork is its main ingredient, but it is
sometimes replaced by duck and called as Itim Tim. The ingredients of the sauce
are buah kana, asam keeping (dhania), belimbing kering (dried star fruit) and
tomatoes. Brandy (wine) is optional, adding flavor to this recipe. Babi Sayur Asin
(or Itik Tim) is prepared by boiling water, adding in buah kana, asam keeping,
belimbing and tomatoes. Boil until the smell of asam is fragrant. Add pork/duck
and leave it to boil. Wine is added a minute or two before it is completed.
Chap chai is the simplest food prepared for ancestral worship and it is also
a regular food consumed by the community in the daily life. The main ingredients
are cabbage, kimchan bokji, tofu skin, sengkuang (turnip root-optional), tau cheo paste
(fermented bean paste), garlic, soy sauce and suhoon (glass noodles). It is prepared
by sautéing tau cheo, garlic with water and soy sauce till it boils. It is followed by
adding kimchan and the rest of the ingredients until it boils. Soh-un is added later.
Traditional Food and Drink as Bridge of Chinese Peranakan
Traditional food as discuss above is not merely for consumption but functions also
as ritual apparatuses. These rituals, performed by the caretakers of a Peranakan
Chinese family, invoke the unseen spiritual realm during a ritual event. The
Peranakan Chinese community engaged for this research was the family of
Madam Grace (an informant), who acknowledged the significance of specific food
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
and drink (as discussed above) as essential to these ceremonial proceedings. Food
and drink function as a bridge between the realms of the seen and the unseen, and
signify a metaphysical link between ritual practitioners and the supernatural
Food and drink offered to deities and ancestors form a major communitywide series of offerings performed few times a year by family members who
continue to maintain the tradition. Typically, the rituals coincides with events of
the Chinese calendar such Chinese New Year, Hungry Ghost Festival etc. These
series of rituals involve every household of the Peranakan Chinese community.
The ritual observed and performed by Madam Grace is likewise practiced by other
Peranakan Chinese in Malacca. The deities that are worshipped include Datuk
Tikong, Datuk Uco (Quan Yin), Datuk Dapur, Datuk Tanah, Datuk Buddha and Datuk
Monyet. Madam Grace explained that one has to kneel to worship Datuk Tanah, as
“Datuk Tanah” is the groundkeeper. Kuih Baluh (In Malay and Baba Nyonya also
called as kuih bahulu) is served as an offering during worship as a “mouth
For ancestral worship, Madam Grace explained that food is prepared as an
offering to the spirits of the deceased ancestors. The specific dishes that must be
authentic are Buah Keluak cooked with chicken or pork-ribs, Asam Pedas cooked
with ikan Tenggiri (Mackerel), Chap Chai (mixed vegetables with glass noodles and
tofu skin), Pongteh (cooked with chicken or pork), Itik Tim or pork cooked with
sayur asin (fermented cabbage). Sometimes there will be additional vegetable and
fish dishes are prepared as offerings in worship. Alongside the main dishes, other
cakes such as kuih bahulu, Bangkit etc. Each type of cake has to be presented in five
(5) pieces. These array of dishes are usually presented for ancestral worship during
the Chinese New Year period, specifically one or two days before the first day of
Chinese New Year.
Dishes presented during ancestral worship include eight (8) bowls of rice,
eight (8) cups of arak putih (white wine) or Brandy, 8 sets of sirih (betel leaves) with
2 pieces for each set or 5 pieces that are combined with kapur, tobacco and pinang.
All these are laid on the altar table for worship.5
The Process
On the eve of the prayers, usually in the evening, the act of inviting the deceased
ancestors and family members (sisters, nieces and nephews) are done through
prayers. “Esok hari baik, datang jemput minum teh” (tomorrow is a good day, please
be invited for tea) are uttered to Datuk Luar (Quan Yin) and Datuk Dapur, informing
Some of the family serve 9 sets, because they trace back out ancestors to the 1st or 2nd (plus
their wives), generation to the grandfather’s generation which is the fifth.
Hanafi Hussin
them to “Jemput malaikat masuk rumah” (inviting deceased ancestors spirit to the
home). Prayers are made to Datuk Jaga Pintu (door keeper/guardian) on the right
and left of the house to allow the “malaikat” (deceased ancestor spirits) to enter the
home for tea. The act of inviting ancestor spirits for tea and dishes for ancestral
worship right is detailed in Table 1.
Table 1: Inviting and offering food and drink to the deities and ancestors before
Chinese New Year, 2014
29 January 2014, 2 days before
Chinese New Year
Acts Performed
Jemput (Invitation) in the evening, the
offering for worship is served with tea and
fruits only.
30 January 2014, Chinese New Year Serve dishes for prayers.
At 10am or 11am, ancestral worship is done
and the dishes (mentioned above) are
served as an offering for worship. This act
of worship is done before the reunion
dinner in the evening.
31 January 2014, First day of Chinese All living family members enjoy the festival
New Year
Source: Fieldwork, January 2014
The sequence of prayers comprises prayers to Tikong, Datuk Quan Yin,
Datuk Buddha and Datuk Dapor. Preparations are made in order to invite the spirits
of the deceased ancestors into the house. Chinese tea is prepared. Candles are lit
on the kaki lilin (candle stand). After tea is brewed, it is poured into three small
cups before Quan Yin. The joss sticks are lit, and brought to the main door of the
house, to be placed at the joss stick holder following the recitation of prayers. Back
at the Quan Yin altar, three (3) joss stick are lit. A teapot and joss stick is then taken
to the back of the kitchen, to the altar of Datuk Dapur. Two candles are lit at the
kitchen altar and one tea cup is placed on it. The tea and joss sticks are then
brought upstairs, candles lit. Altogether, eight tea cups and a handful of joss sticks
are used.
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
Photo 1: Prayer (Madame Grace) in front of the altar – informing the deities and inviting for
(Photo: Hanafi Hussin)
Photo 2: Offering tea by Madame Grace to the spirit of the kitchen, Datuk Dapor
(Photo: Hanafi Hussin)
Hanafi Hussin
Photo 3: Tea is serve for to the ancestors, spirits of dead family members
(Photo: Hanafi Hussin)
The bunga rampai (pronounced as bunga rampe), fragrant flower, and is
usually presented on the ancestral altar during Chinese New Year. Huat Kue (or
steam cake), presented in white, as one of the offerings offered for prosperity.
Keledek (sweet potato) is also used as an offering for worship. As part of the
presentation, of daun bawang (onion leaves) in a bowl, rice in bowls, tea and wine
are used. In the olden days, ancestral worship incorporated sugar cane, pisang raja
(banana) and noodles with dried squid (mee basah dengan sotong kering).
There is no ritual in the preparation of dishes for offering, as long as it is
cooked with sincerity and filial piety. As the dish is being served on the ancestors’
altar table, invitations are then recited to the spirits of the deceased family
members and ancestors. The joss sticks are used to pray three times in the time
span of two hours. The first time is to invite the spirits of the deceased family
members for the feast; second time is to ask whether all deceased family members
are present, and lastly is to ask if the spirits are satisfied with the food that had
been prepared. It is a belief of the Baba Nyonya community that such practice is go
on for two hours so that the spirits of the deceased family members and ancestors
are able to enjoy the food for a longer period of time during the Chinese New Year
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
Photo 4: Food and drinks served for the ancestors and spirits of deceased family members
(Photo: Hanafi Hussin)
After two hours, a pair of 20cent coins or (chopouey) a wooden block is
used to ask and seek a response from the deceased spirits of the invited ancestors.
This is called “pak pooi, so poi”. The pair of coins or wooden blocks is clasped in
both hands, raised to the chest in a gesture of prayer. While asking the deceased
spirit of the ancestors and family members, the hands are shaken back and forth
and the coins or wooden block is left to fall to the floor as the hands open. A few
possible results are then interpreted. If coins are used and both coins’ heads are
facing upwards, it is interpreted that the spirits are angry. The same interpretation
is given if both wooden blocks are closed with the protruding side up. If both coins
are opened in tails, it means that the deceased ancestor spirits are laughing. This is
similar for the wooden blocks with the flat surface facing upwards. If the coins are
opened to a head and a tail, it means that the deceased spirit of the ancestors and
family members are appeased. A similar interpretation is given if the wooden
blocks open to one protruding side and another with the flat surface facing
If the spirits are appeased, the prayer session ends with the burning of
kerte perak (paper money offering). Tan interprets this as a sending offerings to the
ancestors and spirits from the house. The daun bawang in the bowl, tea and white
wine from the altar table is then splashed unto the fire. This act is symbolizes the
cleansing of the house. This ceremony highlights the importance of food and drink
Hanafi Hussin
as a bridge that connects living family members to their ancestors and deceased
members of the family.
Photo 5: Kerte Perak
Photo 5 & 6: Sending back the ancestors and cleansing
(Photo: Hanafi Hussin)
Continuity and change of traditional food and Drink among Peranakan Chinese
Babas have gradually became more scattered throughout Malaysia and the
Southeast Asian region, and with interactions with other groups taking place,
much of their distinctiveness and exclusiveness might soon be lost (Lee, 2008, 166).
Intermarriage between Straits Chinese and non-Straits Chinese has led to a
dilution of Peranakan Chinese and Baba Nyonya culture. Many customs and
rituals are less frequently practiced, and language is transmitted even less from
one generation to the other because of more dominant languages such as English
and Malay. Food today has also shifted to restaurant businesses. This commercial
move has changed the socio-economic status of the Peranakan. While capitalizing
the unique flavours and cultural heritage of the Baba Nyonya, as some scholars
Bridging the Past and Present through Food Heritage among Peranakan Chinese of the Straits of Malacca
view this as a form of commercialization or commodification.
commodification of Peranakan Chinese food appeals to locals and to tourists in
Melaka (Malacca). It has also spread to the other parts of Malaysia and Singapore
where Baba and Nyonya can be found. This commercialism can be traced 1970s,
just before the Malaysian government’s promotion of tourism in the 1980s, which
has made tourism “the most vibrant sector of Melaka’s economy” (Worden, 2003).
The resulting increase in Malaccan tourism has greatly benefited the Nyonya
restaurants, perceived as exotic and therefore a prime destination for cultural
Food and drinks are very important in human life. May other cultures also use
food and drink as tools for engaging the spiritual world, deities, ancestors and
deceased spirits of family members. Its function as a bridge between the realms of
the seen and the unseen, and signify a metaphysical link between ritual
practitioners and the supernatural world like other sacred performances which
deals with ancestral world (J. Pugh-Kitingan, Hanafi Hussin & JJ Baptist. 2009).
Favourite food and drink of the ancestors and spirits serve as a bridge among
living family members and ancestors and spirits of the deceased family. These
sacred practices are a sign of continuity between the ancestors and living
generations, which can be observed in the practices of Peranakan Chinese during
festival such as Chinese New Year. These ritual practices require an understanding
of beliefs that are used fulfil the sacred functions. These practices can also be seen
as a symbol of unification among living family members, securing family ties.
Maintaining the authenticity of food served to the ancestors is a challenge
for the younger generation as such sacred rituals need to be performed correctly.
Sustaining these cultural practices among the younger generations will not easy as
food culture among the Peranakan Chinese community has changed. In the near
future, if food for rituals are prepared by restaurant operators, less concern for
authenticity will be taken because food for commercial uses will be more focused
on profit making. Main ingredients and its high cost could be replaced by
ingredients that are cheaper but similar in taste. This will make food culture
among the Peranakan Chinese less authentic, and will not be recognised as
Nyonya food in the future.
Clammer, J. (1980). Straits Chinese society. Singapore: Singapore University Press
Hanafi Hussin
J. Pugh-Kitingan, Hanafi Hussin & JJ Baptist. 2009. Symbolic Interactions between
the Seen and the Unseen through Gong Music and Dance in the Lotud Mamahui
Pogun. Borneo Research Journal. 2009.
Knapp, R.G. (2010). Chinese houses of Southeast Asia: The eclectic houses of soujourners
and settlers. Singapore: Turtle Publishing.
Lee, S. K. (2008). The Peranakan Baba Nyonya culture: Resurgence or
disappearance? Sari 26. Malaysia: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Suhaila Abdullah. (2013). Effect of Malay-China trade relations during the Malacca
Sultanate on the emergence of Chinese Peranakan community. World Journal of
Islamic History and Civilization, 3(4): 143-149.
Tan, C. B. (1988). The Baba of Melaka: Culture and identity of a Chinese Peranakan
community in Malaysia. Petaling Jaya, Selangor: Pelanduk Publications.
Worden, N. (2003). Nation identity and heritage tourism in Melaka. Indonesia and
Malay World, 31(89).
Madam Grace, Bandar Hilir Melaka, February, 2014.