Hidden Tales of the Bujang Valley

Maznah Wan Omar, Syakirah Mohammed, Razanawati Nordin, Alauyah Johari, Syazliyati Ibrahim

Abstract


Legends thrive, but there is little tangible evidence about dozens of Malay kingdoms, which are said to have flourished long before the emergence of Melaka in the late 14th century. The Bujang Valley in South Kedah, for one, is Malaysia’s richest archaeological site. The valley is the guardian of countless hidden tales which are waiting to be unveiled. Here, the beliefs of the Malay ancestors were centred upon nature and the spirits which permeate every aspect of their lives. These beliefs have been passed down to the next generation by the elderly. They have valuable information to share about their families and ethnicity of which written evidence is often scarce. Such tales may perish if they are not well documented. Oral history, adopted as its testimony, permits us to gather data not available in written records. Oral history techniques are able to elicit facts, feelings, and descriptions, contributing to social history. Moreover, this technique is able to reveal how individual values and actions shaped the past, and how the past shapes present-day values and actions. Findings include offerings made to appease the spirits of the rivers and lands. Other findings include the revelation of the Bujang Valley as the centre of knowledge. The establishment of madrasah – “sekolah pondok” brought about a better understanding of Islam resulting in the inherent beliefs in the supernatural to slowly diminish. All these recollections form a body of knowledge that is priceless and worth recording. Knowledge published in tangible forms is a key factor to worldwide recognition. Therefore, these efforts to safeguard oral history and family stories should be a top priority for new knowledge development and commercial enhancement for generations to come.

Full Text: PDF

Asian Culture and History   ISSN 1916-9655(Print)   ISSN 1916-9663 (Online)

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