Sunday, April 15, 2007

Was it ours? (Article by Katana)

For Malaysian, we have a lot of tall tales and legends such as Mahsuri, Puteri Sa'adong, Puteri Santubong and many more. Even some of the legends already became movies and the most famous was the Legend of Si Tanggang and Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup in late 50's by outstanding local movie director. Do we know that some of the legends were adapted from other countries? Perhaps some of the readers will say no or other say yes. Based on my readings and research on this tall tales, what i found was, some of the legends actualy originate from neighboring country such as Si Tanggang and Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup.

Jong Batu in Brunei

In Brunei legends, the stories of Nakhoda Manis was very famous among old folks. The story goes like this:-

A long time ago, there was a rich merchant named Nakhoda Manis. His father passed away when he was young and he inherited a large pool of wealth. Nakhoda Manis lived with his mother, Dang Ambon in a water village in Brunei Darussalam. They lived happily as the properties they had was enough to sustain them.

One day, Nakhoda Manis decided to travel and to trade in Sulok, a commercial city. On the day he left the water village, his mother cried and urged him to take good care of himself and to come back as soon as his business was completed. Years passed but Dang Ambon did not hear any news of her son. She became very sad. Constantly she prayed to Allah for the health and safety of her son and she even donated money to orphans and did charity. Eventually her remaining wealth was gone and she became a very poor lady in the water village.

Many years later, there was news that her son's ship was going to anchor in the River of Brunei. Dang Ambon was elated; she could not wait to see her son again! She used a small old boat to reach the ship as it anchored and called out to her son, “My dear son! How I missed you when you were gone!”

Nakhoda Manis had built a great career and had won the hand of a beautiful lady in his years in Sulok. When he heard the voice of his mother, he was very happy and he wanted to introduce his mother to his wife. Before he could do so, his wife shouted angrily, "Who is this dirty, old woman in that boat? Tell her to go away, quick!" Nakhoda Manis felt embarrassed. “Tell the old woman that I’m not her son. My mother is young and rich,” said Nakhoda Manis. Dang Ambon was chased away by the crew from the ship.

She did not give up and continued shouting, "I am your mother, Nakhoda Manis. I am your lovely mother.... I missed you so much, son, come back to me...," Nakhoda Manis was even more embarrassed. He commanded all his crew members to push the old boat away. Dang Ambon was heart-broken.

The sky suddenly turned dark and the wind became strong. Thunder struck Nakhoda Manis's ship and everyone in the ship went into a state of panic. A storm came and the waves became very aggressive. His ship began to sink and the shouts of Nakhoda Manis and his crew was soon covered by the raging storm. The ship finally sank.

When everything was calm again, the people saw a huge rock in the middle of the sea. The ship and its entire crew had turned into a huge rock because of Nakhoda Manis’ lack of filial piety. That is how the stone, "Jong Batu" came into existence in Brunei Darussalam.

However, in Malaysia, people believed that the story was happened in our land and the remaining 'stoned ship' can be seen in Batu Caves according to the author of 'Si Tanggang' story book A Samad Ahmad. According to him in the final chapter, after Si Tanggang was cursed, his ship, and all the item turned to stone and still can be seen inside some portion of Batu Caves. How far was the fact, we still don't know since Batu Caves was a holy place for Hindu and infact, no identical photo of our 'Si Tanggang' version of his stone ship or actual site recorded. Perhaps the stories from Brunei is more convincing eventhough if we look from other aspect of science, this rock formations possibly caused by natural element.

What about the legend of Batu Belah Batu bertangkup? The stry goes back to Rokan, Sumatera Indonesia. The actuakl location was at Bentayan village and there's a big rock which splitted in the middle. The mysterious rock according to Rokan History was actually a giant living clam/sea shells. When the Portugues came to Rokan, they poured a lot of limestone acid which finally kills the giant. According to local tales, before the giant killed by the Portugues, it actually devour and swallow any living creature such as animals which accidentaly step into it's opening. Legend says that a long time ago it happen when a local Rokan broken hearted mother who commited suicide by jumping into the clam/shell mouth and allowing herself swallowed alive by the giants because of her naughty children.

If readers out there can show me some photo of actual Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup in Malaysia please info me at

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