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Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia


The old Melaka in Malaysia was a very important place. It was one of the main trading ports of Malaysia, traders from China would often come and trade their silk. Traders from India and Arabia would also come. Melaka helped to shape Malaysia as it is today.

And so this story is about the man who made it all happen.

His name was Paramesvara…

Paramesvara ruled as a prince in Pelambang, Indonesia, where he was born. Pelambang had a river running near it, called the Melayu river. The people who lived in Pelambang were called Malays after the river Melayu.

Prince Paramesvara was very proud because he got married to the King of Majaphit’s daughter, Permaisuri. That was rather typical of people from the 1300s. Ever wonder if he loved her for who she was, not who she was born as? Or vice-versa?

Anyway, even though Paramesvara was a descendent of a magical prince, his new wife’s father, the king, was his overlord. Paramesvara was not happy with that, since he too was once an overlord of Srivijaya – a great empire that sold tortoise shells and beeswax.

Tortoise shells and beeswax, though? Not so great, in my opinion. All the poor tortoises.

Paramesvara, having tasted power once, naturally wanted to be overlord again. For him, being a vassal was not satisfying enough.

So Paramesvara wrote a letter to the King of Majaphit, telling him that he would not take orders from him because it rather hurt his ego.

The King was furious. If Paramesvara didn’t want to obey him, the other kings might think he was a weakling. And that wouldn’t do well for his ego either. And so, the King attacked Paramesvara.

But Paramesvara, Permaisuri, Paramesvara’s Malay noblemen (what happened to their familys?) and thirty sea gypsies had seen the King’s soldiers coming from the river and fled to Bintan.

Many sea gypsies lived in Bintan. The sea gypsies there attacked and stole from the ships that passed – kind of like pirates.

Paramesvara wanted to become a pirate but his wife, Permaisuri, was aghast that her husband would do such a thing. But, as Paramesvara reasoned, they needed to survive and to eat. Permaisuri, however, was ashamed. She had married a prince, not a pirate after all, she rather snootily told him.

But Paramesvara was determined, and anyway, he said, they would have had to pay him taxes if he still had a kingdom.

Sadly, after a few months, Permaisuri became very ill and died. Paramesvara was very sad. He regretted ever becoming a pirate. Living in Bintan reminded him of his wife’s death andhe had to move again.

Paramesvara and his men sailed away from Bintan Island and soon they came to the island called Temasek. He immediately liked it and declared to his men that this would be his new kingdom. Unfortunately, there were already inhabitants there. Tamagotchi Tamagi, the leader, ruled as a vassal under the King of Ayudhya. Ayudhya is a province in Thailand, which was formerly known as Siam.

But Paramesvara obnoxiously told Tamagi that it was cool. He, Paramesvara, would be king and Tamagi would rule under him.

Oooh, on hearing that, Tamagi got madder than he already was and drew his sword. Paramesvara followed suit.

Paramesvara’s men outnumbered Tamagi’s, and soon dead men covered the ground like the first winter’s snow.

Paramesvara did not think that killing was a good start to building a kingdom, but whaddaya gonna do?

His men got started on building a palace and Paramesvara went hunting for food. Killing takes up energy, you know.

Then one day, he saw a three-coloured lion. He thought that is was awfully weird. But he liked what he saw and thought that it must be a Singa, which means lion in Malay, from the Hindu legends. Seeing as he wasn’t too great with names, he decided to name his new kingdom Singa, after the lion.

And so was Singapore born. In Malay, pura means city. So duh, Singa = lion. Pura = city. Singa + pura = Singapura, known in the English language as Singapore.

But unfortunately for Paramesvara, he didn’t know that Tamagi’s brother was the King of Patani, a kingdom in the far north. When the King of Patani found out that his brother had been killed by Paramesvara, he wasn’t happy. He asked his overlord, also the King of Ayudhya for ships and warriors, and set off for Singapore.

Paramesvara fought back, but there were just too many of them. Once again, Paramesvara fled. This time, to Johor.

Paramesvara ruled Singapore for five years, until the brother of the guy he killed to take over Singapore attacked him and he had to flee yet again.

He and a thousand of his men fled to Johor, just north of Singapore on the Malay peninsula. They stayed there until large monitor lizards attacked them during the night and they fled once more.

A week later, tired of running and wanting to rest, Paramesvara arrived at the Muar river. When he and his men were all rested up, they went into the jungle to hunt. They would be gone for days at a time, but in order that they did not get lost, and hopefully also not run into anymore monitor lizards, they always followed the sea.

Then one day, Paramesvara’s dog, whose name we do not know, saw a mousedeer and instinctively started to chase it. But instead of running away, the mousedeer kicked the dog with no name.

I know what you’re thinking, poor doggy, but Paramesvara didn’t pay attention to that. Realising that even the mousedeers in these parts were full of fight, the man who was also full of fight decided to stay where he was and to establish his kingdom there. Since he was standing under a Melaka tree, he spontaneously declared the land Melaka, their new home and kingdom of which he would rule.

Paramesvara was born in 1344. He founded Melaka around 1402 and died in 1414 at 70 years of age. His kingdom is forever remembered.


June 2017
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