Parameswara didn’t convert, Hang Tuah not Chinese

 
Donplaypuks | May 7, 08 4:11pm

 

I refer to the letter Don’t butcher history to create your own ‘truths’.

‘Truth Seeker’ perpetuates a number of common errors regarding Parameswara and other matters. Historical records referring to Parameswara are attributable to 3 sources:

1. The Portuguese Gordinho D’Eredia, son of a Portuguese mariner and a Melakan lady from Macassar, referred (circa 1600) in his writings to a Melakan ruler called ‘Permicuri.’ Not much more information emerged from this source. The Sejarah Melayu for example, makes no mention of a Parameswara at all.

2. The Portuguese mariner Tom Pires who lived in Melaka, referred to a ‘Xaquem Darxa’ and a ‘Modafarxa’ in his 1513 Suma Oriental.

3. The Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) archives have records of the visit to Nanking of the envoys and rulers of Melaka. These were:

(a) Pai-li-mi-su-la in 1405

(b) his son Mu-kan-sa-yu-ti-er-sha in 1414 and

(c) his grandson Hsi-li-ma-ha-la-che in 1424

These visits to China and the court of Emperor Yung-Lo were to pay tributes to China and seek protection for Melaka against Thai and Indonesian invaders. The three above have been interpreted respectively as:

(a) Parameswara

(b) Megat Iskandar Shah

(c) Sri Maharaja

The two visits to China in 1414 and 1424 were also to report the deaths of Parameswara and Megat Iskandar Shah respectively, and to re-affirm the close relationship between China and Melaka. All three Rulers of Melaka and their envoys made their respective journeys to China in one of Admiral Zheng He’s (Cheng Ho) several fleet-ships.

It is clear from these records that Parameswara never converted to Islam. He was an Indian Hindu or an Indian/Malay/Aboriginal Malay mixed Hindu who fled Palembang in Sumatra to eventually found Melaka circa 1400 AD.

It was Sri Maharaja who converted himself and the court of Melaka to Islam, and as a result took on the name of Sultan Muhammad Shah (possibly the ‘Modarfaxa’ of Tom Pires) sometime after 1435.

Megat Iskandar Shah was thought to have changed his name after marriage to a Pasai princess, the name ‘Megat’ signifying a marriage between a commoner and one of royal stature. But his conversion to Islam is in doubt, given that his son was named Sri Maharaja and therefore, the possibility of another non-Malay wife emerges.

These details of Parameswara and the succession to the Melakan throne were resolved definitively by our own Professor Wang Gungwu in his paper ‘The First Three Rulers of Melaka’ published in 1968. This is the basis on which current school history text-books are constructed vis-B-vis the Melaka Sultanate.

With regard to Raja Chula, we can take a more definitive stance, ie, that without a shadow of a doubt, this is a reference to Raja Chulan/Cholan of the Chola Dynasty (7-13 century AD) of South India. The most famous of these Indian Hindu Kings were Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola who invaded Southern Thailand, Kedah, Perak, Johor and Sumatra about 1000 AD.

With regard to the legend of Hang Tuah and questions about his origin/ancestry, I believe that many have been misled that Tuah and his musketeers were of Chinese descent. That it was verified by DNA tests. Such a claim can be found on the Internet and refer to a source, viz., The Federal Association of Archaeology and Research of Michigan, USA.

This is a spurious claim and the association referred to, in fact, does not exist.

There is also a hypothesis that ‘Hang’ is associated with the Chinese Princess Hang Li Po from China who married Sultan Mansur Shah of Melaka in 1459. But there is nothing offered by way of tangible proof/evidence by those who espouse this line of thinking. What is true though, is that, Hang Tuah is dismissed in a single line in school history text-books. The Education Ministry will have to answer this mystery.

But what is really sad is that our children are taught as though Malaysian history suddenly began in 1400 with an Islamic Melaka. The cultural influences of India in particular, and China, in South East Asia span over 2,000 years, starting perhaps with the arrival from India of the Brahmanical prince/scholar Aji Saka in Java in AD78, through to Vietnam, Cambodia (Indo China), Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Bali, Borneo, Brunei and beyond.

We are led to believe that the Indians and Chinese first arrived on the shores of Malaysia in about 1850 as desperate indentured labourers, farmers and miners. Nothing could be further from the truth. The findings at Bujang Valley speak of an ancient Indian/Hindu presence in Kedah. There were Chinese settlements in Pahang and Kelantan around the 13th -14th century and in 12th century in Singapore. The early Brunei Sultanate had a Chinese Queen. One need not ponder at length the implications of Angkor Wat and Borobudur or that 40%-50% of Bahasa Malaysia comprises Sanskrit/Tamil words.

The time has arrived for us to record our history as the facts tell us and not as we would like to wish it for. The truth will never hurt anyone. Lies, always will.

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