A ‘Melayu’ View From Madagascar

By Syed Akbar Ali

I received the following from my friend Mansoor Saat and decided to post it. Its long but do read it.

One of the most difficult and tiring things to do is to listen to people talking without any real knowledge of a subject. It is called talking rubbish. One must of course be tolerant but sometimes people can really stretch and abuse our tolerance.

So here is an informed article, complete with academic references for those who want to study the matter further. Steel yourselves, you can read this in five minutes.

In 2007, Mansoor travelled with me to Pekanbaru in Riau where I (a mamak by DNA !) delivered a talk at the Festival Budaya Melayu Se-Sumatera.

Having a wide interest in anything to do with ships, sailing and maritime traditions, I recall in my talk I spoke of the Nusantara and the seafaring tradition of the Malay peoples (pelaut agong Melayu). This article here bears more testimony to the same.

But at that conference in Riau I learned something that is linguistically correct. The people in Riau used the word 'Melayu' constantly. The word 'Malay' is an anglicised corruption. The Madagascar writer of this article has also understood this point.

Do look at the picture of the Malays of Taiwan.