Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

My Ulam Garden

Why is it when people describe ulam in English we usually call them as jungle herbs. Some of the ulam I like are definitely not herbs like ulam raja, petai and four angled beans although daun kesom may qualify although I would consider this more of a fern than a herb. To me these are all Malay salad vegetables since we do not use them to herb our dishes in the western sense, although the ulams do impart some qualities to the dishes they are cooked in, that is if they are not eaten raw with sambal like a salad which is the more common way they are prepared. Well I do not actually want to talk about the classification of ulams but was inspired to mention about some ulam growing in my garden after reading some articles on them.

The first ulam that I have grown in my garden is the king of ulam itself, which is Ulam Raja aka king ulam in English, although the formal name is wild cosmos. Initially growing wild from seeds transferred by the wind from my neighbour's garden, it is now growing well enough in my backyard although the ulam does much better in my wife's village house. I first came across the flower plant when I visited one nursery specialising in such jungle produce, but the impression I got at the time was that it was a finicky plant to grow and propagate. So it was to my surprise that seeds from the flowers was the propagating agent, and if planted in a damp soil area grows easily enough without much care though it is a short lived species. You can see the black seeds in the picture of the ulam raja flowers. But since the plants are easily renewed with new naturally growing seedlings, it is not such a big problem to maintain a healthy community of ulam raja in your garden. With beautiful pink flowers that can qualify itself as an ornamental plants, the shoots are the parts that are usually eaten as the ulam. Nonetheless you need a healthy quantity available to satisfy a meal table requirements, at least a fistful. The taste is quite unique unlike something that is easily describeable, mildly peppery with a little tartness. Deserving its kingly pretensions. Nonetheless this ulam is sometimes substituted by a pretender called daun selom, that has a similar taste although differing in texture and appearance.

The other type of ulam that is growing well in my garden is the creeping four angled beans that has basically colonised my back fence. At one time when I had a maid that came daily to my house, I was wondering why there was only infrequent harvest from the bean bush. After she left was only it was discovered that she had been picking up the beans to eat at her own kitchen. No wonder as this previously lowly ulam has now reached the status of restaurant menu item, with price to boot even at the wet market. In my home the bean is usually eaten raw with sambal or fried with sambal, although some day old beans that has lost their crunchiness can be cut up and rejuvenated in stews or in fried rice. Again something that is quite difficult to describe in taste, it is something that just becomes easily palatable when eaten.








Another ulam that grows in the garden is cekur, a member of the galangal family. Yet this is an ulam that has to my knowledge not been used in my kitchen although it can be used in kerabus, nasi ulam and some other dishes. It was grown by mother in law most probably as a seed bank, as it can die off if not taken care off. The reason for this is probably because of its use in malay culture as more as a home remedy for various ailments, so to ensure easy access it was grown in the garden, some in the pot and some on the ground itself. Nonetheless once it has grown, it does not require much care to thrive, just some watering and fertilisers once in a while as it seems quite pest resistant on its own.








Finally I just want to touch on an ulam that I wish I had a garden big enough to grow. This is the petai or Parkia Speciosa. Stinky beans that are very good health, and for me a good reliever for constipation, they only grow on tall trees. Rarely found in a garden due to their size, I was amazed to find several fruiting specimens growing in the Lukut Fort grounds when I visited previously. Too bad the fruits were hanging from branches that was so high up as they must be century old trees, otherwise I would have got a free feast of this highly priced beans that are now widely accepted by all cultures in Malaysia, even transplanted Mat Sallehs(caucasians). Just be prepared to suffer the embarassment of smelliness when you do your toilet business.







To finish off although my wife dreams of having a western style herb garden, I always tell her that we actually already have a better version, that is a malay salad garden. Anyway to know more on the ulams mentioned above, this webpage should be useful. Cheers!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Goodbye Old Faithful

Today I would be surrendering my old company handphone model Nokia 7210 after a long service of six years, which I guess is an ancient model but good enough for such a long period of use. Well basically I am a very basic handphone user who is not so enamoured to regularly change my phone as compared to some fellows who I know changes their handphone every so often. Another reason was that in my previous assigment some of my client facilities disallow camera phones to be taken in, so I saw no reason to upgrade my phone even though I am entitled to change my set every three years. So models came and went while I stuck with the early colour screen model. Actually I was also not so impressed with phones that although having many functions like camera and such, but to me quite bulky to carry around. So I also waited for Nokia to come up with a model that is as slim as the 7210 but have sufficient functions to satisfy the current needs for some time and quite obsolescent proof as I do not think that I would be changing models that soon, hopefully for at least another three years.
Well to me Nokia finally has come up with a worthy successor model, the model 6120 classic that has the most functions and already with 3.5G and dual camera on board, so I guess the phone should meet my needs for a while. I think Nokia is also hoping for the model to be a classic model since they have labelled with the classic moniker, as I do not remember if there was a preexisting 6120 model before this, and this is no updated model then. I've looked at Sony Ericsonn models and also quite impressed with them but being such a long time user of Nokia I have trouble with the interface. In fact I also have trouble with the Symbian interface of the 6120 model but at least there is some familiarity to help me along. Well here's looking forward to a good long usage of the phone, at the very least now I can more easily take photos for my blog eh? Well goodbye old faithful, I hope you at least get recycled and get a new lease of life.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Tucking into Kingly Pies.

I guess many people now knows of King Pies. The pioneer halal meat pie specialist store has now spread their wings to six locations in Malaysia, proving that you do not need to be a franchise concept from the west to make it big. Offering english-styled pies from bare bones pie bars rather than the original restaurant style outlets in their home country of South Africa, who would have thought locals has readily taken to the concept as another convenient quick meal source, that to me is a far healthier alternative than the greasy burgers from the prevalent fast food joints. I guess the flavours they offer in the spicier versions makes it easier for the Malaysian tastebuds to accept, thus being more welcome than the normal british styled creamy versions. Since their shapes are also easier to eat on the run without the normal spillovers that can be associated with other fast foods, also gives them the advantage to succeed. Their largest sized pies also is suffient for a good meal, enough to satisfy the biggest of appetites.

Well imagine my delight when I found another franchise start-up offering meat pies as their major offering in Gardens Midvalley. Called Tucker Box, as you can guess it originates from Australia and is owned by real Ozzie partners, so you can be sure they stick to the script. And what delights me further is that by taking a leaf from King Pie and making their pies as halal, it has become accessible to people like me who can only drool at their great looking pies when we visit Australia. Being OZ here means more conventionally Brit, and for people like me who love such a taste but usually are only able to obtain this version at more high priced establishments, just love being able to buy such meat pies at more affordable prices. The best thing for people who like variety like is that three of their smaller pies will cost about the same as their large pies, so you can get three flavours for the price of a large pie. That is something you cannot do at King Pie, bummer. You can also get sweet pastries at the shop but we only bought a variety of savoury pies to tapau when when we were there, so can't comment on their taste. But I can tell you their meat pies even meet the taste demand of my fussy eater, the elder daughter. Fair Dinkum to you mate!Whatever it is for pie carnivores like me, here's hoping for more such halal meat pie outlets opening up, as sandwich bars just do not cut it for me. This is not say that there are no local outlets offering good meat pies, the ones from Secret Recipe are great, but since they are not specialists the variety is just not there and furthermore the meat pies are offered more as sit down appetisers rather than meals on the run. Anyway most of these outlets are not halal, thus the moslem consumers are usually left out. So here's looking to more King Pie's and Tucker Boxes opening up.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Return visit to Gardens Midvalley

Well I could not wait to make a return visit to the Gardens so yesterday the whole family again trooped off to Midvalley. Well the best laid plans can certainly go awry and since circumstance once we reached there dictated otherwise, we could not actually explore the Gardens as we had initially hoped. Instead we spend almost equal time between Midvalley Megamall and the Gardens. This is because once parked I had to go to the Megamall to withdraw some cash and since the ATM was just beside the Jusco entrance, we did some windowshopping there before proceeding for lunch at Little Vietnam. This is a restaurant that I have been meaning to bring the family that I remembered of when we were heading towards the Gardens where the kids actually wanted some Japanese food again. Despite the initial sulk they loved the food there but on the way to the Gardens again, only then I noticed that the connecting passageway now encompassed the dining area of Little Penang Cafe as otherwise we would have dined there. However I had discounted the thought as there was a long queue when when we initially passed through.

Well we explored the Marketplace more thoroughly and spent some money on a salmon steak and some sushi. I must say the salmon steak was indeed very fresh when I panfried it for dinner, much fresher than those offered at other supermarkets. I also found some cans of Milkmaid creamer, a brand that I have not sighted for a while which I purchased to see if the taste is still as good. However the axis of the visit was my wife's treat for the family at Gelatissimo, which we had to forgo during the first trip as we were already stuffed then. As a gelato, it is really a good serving as that has been raved in certain blogs and articles, much better than brands like lecka-lecka. However being a genuine gelato, it does quite quickly melt especially if you have it on a cone, so do slurp fast so as not to waste such a luxury. And it is indeed a luxury, as 2 cups of 2 flavours and 2 cones of single flavour gelato sets you back almost fifty ringgit. But the flavours are really yummy and as authentic as you can get, deserving the premium pricing. However a word of caution for Muslim customers, do check for alcoholic content of certain flavours like tiramisu, fruitcake and rum and raisins as being the genuine article they do have the prequisite alcohol in them as pointed out by some Malay counterjocks that day. Thanks guys for the heads up. Otherwise indulge in some out of this world flavours and forget for a while your dollars and sense.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Confrontation with the black-headed rats

Last evening I noticed that the black-headed rats that I talked about previously persisted in bringing back girls to their bachelor pad. No wonder because after checking with their landlord, it seems that the vacate notice has not been served yet thus they were still bold enough to continue. Taking the bull by the horn, I increased my surveillance to the extend the girls tried to hide behind the car to escape being photographed. They then shrieked that I was being a hard-ass in harassing them but I told them off that if they think they can do nilly-willy in the neighbourhood, I can do much worse. It came to a boil to the extend that they effected a bollywood type escape whereby the boy who drove them off reversed the whole way through to escape my paparazzi lens.

About an hour later three boys came to confront me with the presumed intention to threaten me to stop but I stopped them in their tracks when I said that I am just taking evidence on behalf of their landord. I told them the fact that their landlord is aware of their actions and just waiting for the right time to evict them. Then they tried to make peace by defending their action but one dumbo said they only brought back girls to change their clothes. I wryly told him off that it amazes me that girls needs hours to change their clothes, behind closed doors even. They then tried salvage their lease by promising not to repeat their actions but I said this matter no longer rests with me. It is up to their landlord and the neighbourhood watch is also now keeping an eye on them and just waiting for me to say when. Well let's see how things develop in the next few days okay.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

I Love the the Cold Storage Marketplace in Gardens Mid-valley

Well this is not a post on the two new premier shopping malls , Pavillion versus Gardens Midvalley. There are already many blogs comparing the two. But I must say I prefer the Gardens although it is still a works in progress, as the shopping experience is more natural, somewhat like you have in Suria KLCC, great for window shopping as I am sure that will be the main activity for most of the visitors there. As for the Pavillion, like the sister property Starhill, their traffic flow is somewhat awkward and daunting, where you may have a hard time locating a store because it is hidden away in some nook and cranny, and where connections between zones is inherently difficult. You really need a map to get around but in this case the Gardens wins handsdown with its interactive touch screen location guide. Damn great for the I.T. literate.

But enough about comparing the two. The one thing that really scores the Gardens well in my book is because they have the best damn Cold Storage/Giant supermarket in Malaysia. This is because they feature a foods of the world section and their cheese and sushi counter carries the widest selections on offer, many not carried by their other supermarkets. So now you really do not have to ask your overseas travelling acquantance or you yourself have to go overseas to pick up some foreign foodstuff that you may have a craving for, as it is a good bet you can find it here. You can even buy local baby lobster here at a reasonable price. It was only around 50 ringgit for a half kilo critter that day. This seems to be the first Marketplace store concept under their wing that has opened in Malaysia after Singapore. Hopefully the Cold Storage in Suria KLCC will be upgraded to a Marketplace too soon. And if you think that there is not enough Japanese foodstuff from the Marketplace, walk a bit further in this level and you will find a Japanese store that carries more Japanese stuff than Isetan. Here you can buy fresh seafood to be eaten at Sushi-Zen too. Well it was only a short four hour visit with a one hour dinner at Sushi-Zen, so you can bet I will make a return visit there too.

Mickey Mouse is a mouse too right

Well over the weekend I got fed up with the mice problem that we were having outside the house I bought two box type mousetraps to resolve the problem. I did not want to use the regular snapping type trap as it is a messy affair with blood to clean after from past experience, and the box type mouse trap is anyway more humane as I only need to transplant the captured mice far away from the house by releasing it to the wild. Well duly caught one on Saturday and another last night, but on Monday another one that was caught somehow managed to partially wiggle itself out halfway through the tiniest of holes in the side of the trap. Well my wife in a state of panic banged its head twice so naturally it got its neck broken but remain stuck to the grill. There was no way I could wiggle the body out so that was one trap that had to be thrown away after just two nights of service. What a waste but this was good proof to my wife that a mouse can wiggle its way through a hole of any size. At least I had proven to the wife that despite her precautions there was no mice in the house actually, but a mouse from outside that wiggled in at nights and used the floor under the sofa as its toilet. This was because after several nights no mouse was caught in the house.

Well talking about mice, the mice with black hair as the Malay would call the bachelor buggers who are my recent neighbors hopefully got their comeuppance. They were getting very bold in bringing back their girlfriends home especially during the holidays and the straw that broke my patience's back was on Saturday night when I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night after hearing girls cackling outside the bedroom window. Imagine my anger when I peeped out to see they were now boldly lounging beside the road without any respect to their predominantly Malay neighborhood, as if they did not know that the Malay norms do not allow such gallivanting promiscuity especially in public. Well after talking with the surau people who said they cannot take any action because it seems this proximity act, that is being carried out in a large gathering of people in the house, even behind closed doors does not allow the police and surau people to take action under the auspices of human rights. Eh is that right? What a wonderful loophole for you punks who wanna do the same, just don't do it in my neighbourhood okay. Regardless of the wimpiness of the surau exco people who know only to talk and not act, I managed to talk to my uncle who promised to get the actual authorities to look into this as he said there is no such loophole. But the most satisfying action I took that seemed to have put a stop to this nonsense is that when I called up the landlord, she immediately said she will give immediate vacating notice to the fellows as she herself was not in favour in letting the house to the bachelors as she was afraid this problem would occur. But since it has happened, she will not tolerate it happening further. Well the immediate reaction to this seems to have stop the nuisance from re-occurring so let's see if it has really stop this weekend. What seems certain is the fellows now seems cowed a bit and no longer acting as if they are the lords of the neighbourhood. Well if they are gone at the end of the month good riddance to them!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The History of Mandailings

I must say that this is quite a comprehensive history of the Mandailings, something that resonates with the history that I hear from my own family rather than with some revisionist versions that even claim we are part of the Bataks rather than the other way around whereby the Islam embaracing Bataks submitted to the Islamic Mandailing rulers.

(Extracted from Lembaga Adat Mandailing Malaysia souvenir book).

THE ORIGINS

The Mandailing was said to have originated from Munda a district in Middle India. From the 6th century they were wanderers as they were refugees from attacks by the Iraqi Aryan that were expanding their influence.

After crossing the Himalayan Range they settled for a while in Mandalay, the capital of ancient Burma. It is probable that the name Mandalay itself is a corruption of the word Mandailing according to the Burmese dialect.

However yet again they had to wander due to frequently warring Burmese clans. At the time they crossed the Malaccan Straits, that was said at the time was only a narrow strait unlike the present day straits that separated the Malay Peninsular and Sumatera.

The Munda successfully crossed the narrow straits and set up a kingdom in Batang Pane, Portibi, sometime around the end of the 6th century.

The Kingdom Munda Holing at Portibi became famous and expanded its territories to a vast expanse of the Sumatran coast and Malay Peninsular. This elicited the anger of Maharaja Rajenderacola who attacked Munda Holing and the other coastal states in the 9th century.

The Munda Holing armies commanded by Raja Odap-Odap was defeated by Rajenderacola who came to power in the whole of Batang Pane district. His fiancee Borudeakparujar crossed Dolok Maela (in commemoration of their ancestral crossing of the Himalayas ) holding a lump of soil at Portibi to proclaim a new kingdom (Menempah banua).

The second kingdom in Sumatera was set up in Pidoli Dolok known as the kingdom of Mandala Holing meaning the area of the Keling people. At the time they were still of the Hindu faith worshipping Dewa Siva (Lord Siva).

In the 13th century, The Majapahit kingdom attacked Lamuri, Padang Pariaman dan Mandailing. Again the Mandala Holing kingdom was devastated and destroyed.

The inhabitants that were not captured escaped to the jungles and mixed with the indigenous people. Thus it was the (clan) Marga Pulungan was formed that meant picked up from pieces. In the 14 and 15 century, Marga Pulungan set up three Bagas Godang on top of three hills, but this was no longer a big sovereign, only village governments.

In the middle of the 14th century, there is a legend that three children of Yang Dipertuan Pagar Ruyung named as Betara Sinomba, Putri Langgoni and the youngest Betara Gorga Pinanyungan had set up two new kingdoms.

Betara Sinomba was banished by the Yang Dipertuan of Pagar Ruyung for the crime that started from his younger sister adiknya Putri Langgoni. Both siblings and their followers then wandered and set up a kingdom in Kota Pinang. This Yang di Pertuan Kota Pinang that bestowed the raja-rajas toKota Raja, Bilah, Kampung Raja and Jambi.

His younger brother Betara Gorga Pinanyungan was found guilty of extra-marital relationship with the cousin from his mother side Putri Rumandang Bulan. As they were no other heirs to the throne thus the putri was bethrothed to Raja Gayo.

When Putri Rumandang Bulan was taken to Gayo she brought along a bunch of ripe betel nuts that from which she proceeded to plant a seed each at the location the entourage stopped at until they reached a river bank.

At the river bank Her Highness delivered a son that was tough and powerful. As the entourage tried to continue their journey to Gayo colossal thunder and lightning struck them that they could not decamped. That was the situation they faced in seven tries. Finally a Datu advised that the child should be left on a large rock under an angsana tree where he was born as the prince will be a great raja there.

Putri Rumandang Bulan refused to leave his prince as she wanted to die with him when Raja Gayo in the future comes to know of that she is no longer a virgin.

In such a state a rainbow appeared upon which seven bunian (fairies) descended followed by Dewa Mangala Bulan dari Kayangan. The Puteri was bathed in the nearby river scattered with the flowering angsana petals. As she came out of the river, signs that she had previously delivered was no longer noticeable. Thus the river was soon to be known as "Aek Batang Gadis" meaning the river that restored a women's viriginity.

The child that was left under the angsana tree was found by the hunting party of Sultan Pulungan that gathered him.

The child that was raised in a barn under a house later managed to escape and established a kingdom that defeated Sultan Pulungan. The child that was knowned as Sibaroar or the barn under the house finally became a great king in Penyabungan.

As the king in Penyabungan that is known to the people as hidden by his mother thus his kingdom was known as the kingdom of "MANDE NAN HILANG", in short Mandailing or Mandehilang. He is also the founder of the clan Marga Nasution., meaning orang sakti or enchanted people.

As the proclamation of the royalness of Sibaroar given the title of Sutan Diaru spread far and wide even to Pagar Ruyung, thus the Yang Dipertuan Pagar Ruyung reminisce of the pregnant Putri Rumandang Bulan that was taken to Gayo. His Highness and entourage then embarked and followed the palm trees that were planted by his ex-lover until they reached the river named "Aek Batang Gadis" and brought to the court of Sutan Diaru at Penyabungan.

After a long council sitting a matron called Sisauwa showed a ripe betel nut yellow silk cloth that enclothed Sutan Diaru when he was found under the angsana tree at together with the necklace that was put on him by his mother Putri Rumandang Bulan. Thus it was made known to the Yang Di Pertuan Pagar Ruyung, that Raja Sutan Penyabungan is his son. Thus the citizens of the state was delighted and Sutan Diaru was offically enthroned as the Raja Penyabungan.

At the same time a messenger from Kota Pinang came to Penyabungan to Yang Dipertuan Pagar Ruyung who was there to invite His Highness to enjoin his elder brother that was for a long time separated. Thus the Yang Dipertuan exlaimed, "We will visit my brother at Kota Pinang." from that day onwards Kota Pinang was known as Tanah Abang or Land of The Elder Brother, and Penyabungan was known as Tanah Adik or Land of The Younger Brother, to commerate the event of Betara Sinomba inviting his younger brother Betara Gorga Pinanyungan at Penyabungan to come to Kota Pinang even though his younger brother had a larger kingdom in Pagar Ruyung.

Kingdom of Sibaroar @ Sutan Diaru at Penyabungan finally expanded to take control of the whole of Mandailing Godang that was had very fertile lands.

THE ISLAMISATION AND EXODUS

In the 19th century around 1816, Tentera Paderi or The Paderi Army under the command of Tuanku Imam Bonjol sent Raja Gadumbang Porang or better known as Tuanku Mandailing to Islamise the Mandailing lands.

The Paderi army entered Mandailing through Muara Sipongi and invaded Penyabungan in early 1816.

Then the Dutch entered Mandailing around 1835, resulting in many of the raja-raja of Mandailing to resist and later retreated across the Straits of Malacca and settled in Tanah Melayu or Malaya.

The Mandailing ex-warlords of the paderi army had played an important role in the history of Tanah Melayu or Tanah Pelarian(land of refuge). Names like Tuanku Tambusai, Raja Asal, Raja Laut and Sutan Naposo made their marks in the history of conflict in the civil wars of Pahang and Selangor.

The shifting of the Mandailing people started for so long, usually because of family conflict, menjae or merajuk (sulk/brood), lost in wars or refugees or fugitives from various wrongdoing of the local customs (adat) or laws (hukum), the fall of Penyabungan to the Paderi Army in 1816 and the subsequent movement to Islamise the Mandailing lands berikutnya. Some where sent to the Peninsular.

However the main exodus started in earnest as slaves and some were escapees who ran away together with their families in search of a more peaceful living area.

The attack by Raja Gadumbang Porang or Tuanku Mandailing with the paderi army was not too strenous but when the brutal Tuanku Lelo repeatedly attacked Penyabungan and hunted Yang Dipertuan Huta Siantar and his followers; the mass killings forced a major part of the Mandailing citizens to escape to Tanah Melayu, around 1816 – 1832.

Yet there are some of the raja-raja Mandailing that joined the Paderi Army like Patuan Maga, Baginda Sidursat and others to resist Tuanku Lelo. Under the leadership of Tuanku Mandailing several of the warlords of the paderi army finally attacked the fortress of Tuanku Lelo at Padang Sidempuan and defeated him.

One of the princes or anak raja Mandailing named Jahurlang given the title Tuanku Bosi who was the son of Patuan Maga joined Tuanku Imam Bonjol before the fall of benteng (fort) Padang Sidempuan. He was given the trust by Tuanku Imam Bonjol to protect Benteng Bonjol in the year 1837 – when he was negotiating with the Dutch.

Jahurlang atau Tuanku Bosi was given the Al-malik sword owned by Tuanku Rao who died at Air Bagis as a sign of taking over command at Bonjol. Sadly again the Benteng Bonjol could not be defended against the Dutch army strength and Tuanku Bosi and his followers was forced to retreat to Benteng Dalu Dalu.

Seeing the Al-Malik sword in the hands of Tuanku Bosi, thus Tuanku Tambusai planned his and his followers withdrawal and Benteng Dalu Dalu was turned over to Tuanku Bosi.

Tuanku Tambusai escorted by Tuanku Raja Asal and Abdullah Zawawi (son of Tuanku Bosi) that was later known as Raja Laut then withdrew with their followers to Tanah Melayu.

Benteng Dalu-Dalu fell to the Dutch in 1838. Tuanku Bosi was also killed after being seriously wounded in the battle.

SETTLEMENT IN MALAYA

Tuanku Tambusai, Raja Asal and Raja Laut landed in Malacca and went to Lukut to find a place to settle in. Later on Raja Laut was commanded to return to Sumatera to locate the remnants of the paderi army to planned a fight back against the Dutch. Raja Asal left Lukut as there was a small conflict there, he went to Kelang to open a tin mine around 1843. Tuanku Tambusai looked for a secluded settlement in Negeri Sembilan and settled down there.

Raja laut criss-crossed between Sumatera and Tanah Melayu while attacking the merchantment of the Dutch, English, Chinese, and the Indians that crossed the Malaccan Straits. Thus he was called Raja Laut or King of the Sea.

Around 1850, Raja Asal left Kelang and migrated to Pahang with his followers. In Pahang Raja Asal involved himself in the tin mining industry and the marketing of tin ore.

Raja Asal managed to ingratiate himself into the court of Bendahara Tun Ali and befriended the families of the Pahang court. He was a good friend of Tun Mutahir the son of Tun Ali. Tun Ali died in1857. Raja Asal also marriedWan Putih or in the Mandailing language called Siputeh.

Civil war in Pahang broke out in the years 1857 – 1863, and Raja Asal was involved in the war as he was married to the family of Tun Mutahir that had become the new Bendahara (Chief Minister) Pahang yang baru.

The civil war was won by Wan Ahmad the younger brother of Tun Mutahir. Seriously wounded Tun Mutahir withdrew with his children Wan Da and Wan Aman together with Raja Asal to the borders of Selangor. Wan Putih was collected by the slave of Raja Asal called ‘Sipuntung’, and taken to Selangor.

In Selangor Raja Asal returned to the selling and buying of tin ore. The Paderi warchest that was entrusted to him was invested to finance the remnants of the Paderi Army that became his followers. Thus he was in constant contact with Raja Laut that was despatched to gather the balance of the Paderi Army in Sumatera. Tuanku Tambusai that was in poor health no longer played a major role to rejuvenate the strength of the Paderi in Sumatera.

When Tuanku Raja Asal made the decision to support Raja Mahadi in Perang Kelang (Klang War) to oppose Raja Abdullah (in the year 1866) he contacted Raja Laut to obtain ex-soldiers of the Paderi army for the war.

When Kelang fell and later Kuala Lumpur also fell to the Mandailing people, Raja Asal commanded his slave Sipuntung untuk membunuhto kill Dato’ Bandar Yassih of the Bugis tribe as he was brutal and tortured the Mandailing people.

The entry of Tengku Kudin as the representative of Sultan Abdul Samad that ruled Selangor from i 26hb. June, 1868, changed the political scenario in Selangor. Tengku Kudin sought the support and assistance of the English.

Even though in the beginning Raja Asal, Sutan Na Poso and kapitan Yap Ah Loy were good friends but in the year 1871 they were in conflict with Yap Ah Loy due to the business of tin ore.

In May 1872, Raja Asal and Raja Laut took their army to attack Kuala Lumpur. They set their fort at Petaling Batu, where Jalan Cheras is now, together with 2,000 ex soldiers of the Paderi army from Sumatera. A battle broke out between the forces of Raja Asal/Raja Laut and the forces of Kapitan Yap Ah Loy that was assisted by Captain Van Hagen and Captain Cavalier who was soundly defeated where 730 of their soldiers were killed.

The success of Raja Asal and Raja Laut to capture Kuala Lumpur fromi Kapitan Yap Ah Loy and his allies forced Tengku Kudin to request assistance from the army of Pahang and Pulau Pinang.In the middle of 1872 Pahang colluded with Tengku Kudin to defeat Raja Asal that was supported by the Mandailing , Rawa (Rao), Batubara and Minangkabau people previously of the Paderi army. The mentioned Raja Asal was given the title of Tuanku Raja Asal – not meaning that he is the Raja that rules the Mandailing lands, the title Tuanku is the title for the Commander of the Paderi Army. Raja in Tanah Mandailing is called Baginda, not Tuanku.

At the end of 1872, the Pahang army attacked the fort of Raja Asal in Ulu Kelang. the army of Pahang under the leadership of Imam Perang Raja Rosu (Tok Gajah) was defeated by the army of Raja Asal commanded by a Panglima (General) from Mandailing named Jabarumun, that was entrenched in Ulu Kelang.

The wife of Raja Asal named Wan Putih (Siputih), together with the Telu people stoutly defended another of Raja Asal fort that is now called as Siputeh, in honour of her name in admiration of the Mandailing people.

In March, 1873, again Raja Rosu and his army from Pahang attacked Ulu Kelang with better equipment. As assistance from Raja Laut could not land in Kelang whereby they landed in Teluk Mak Intan instead, thus the Raja Asal fort fell to the Pahang people.

Raja Laut together with around 1,000 Batak people had recently converted to Islam landed in an area now called Batak Rabit as their ears and noses were grossly bangled that hung out.

Raja Laut crossed a river that crossed the middle of a field that was called by them as Aik Batang Padang or now knowned as Sungei Batang Padang, even though batang in the Mandailing language is sungei or river.

In their journey to Ulu Selangor, they received the news of the defeat of Raja Asal at Bukit Nenas thus they encamped in Ulu Bernam/Slim to await Raja Asal that was heading to to the state of Perak.

Before meeting with Raja Asal at Slim/Ulu Bernam an agreement was reached so that Jabarumun/Raja Barumun is despatched to get Sutan Na poso (Sutan Puasa) that was fortified in Ulu Langat to arrange a counter attack on Tengku Kudin and Raja Rosu. However Sutan N a Poso was not so confident since Raja Asal did not join the combat force that was only lead by Jabarumun/Raja Barumun.

The combat force returned but midway they still managed to attack the Chinese in Pudu and Ulu Kelang. Their shops were burned and killings occurred in both areas.

Raja Laut and his followers did not join Raja Asal to go to Changkat Piatu, they instead settled in Air Kuning and Banir in the state of Perak. Raja Laut left his eldest son named as Basir Nasution or better known as Syeh Basir a religious teacher in Air Kuning.

Raja Laut returned to his old lifestyle of criss-crossing the Straits of Malacca until he was struck down in a sea battle with the Dutch navy in Labuahan Bilik.

His son Syeh Basir Nasution returned to Sumatera to collect his family members but he did not settle down in Air Kuning. His eldest son Ja Akob or known as Jakub stayed on in Banir and Air Kuning.

Raja Asal was accepted to court of Raja Idris the prince of Mahrum Teja that was is power in the Teja area, and was give a vast mining concession in Changkat Piatu. Raja Asal was also given the authority to collect taxes on tin ore in the confluence of the Pinji river and Kinta river. A tax collection stockade was then built by Raja Asal. juga telah diberikan kuasa mengutip cukai bijih timah di muara pertemuan Sungai Pinji dan Sungai Kinta. As it was a stout stockade (pengkalan yang teguh) finally it was called as Pengkalan Pegoh as per the Perak dialect pronounciation.

Raja Asal also established a Mandailing people settlement in Changkat Piatu, so many of the Mandailing people gathered in Changkat Piatu. The Rawa people was put at Gopeng under the leadership of Panglima Jabarumun or better known as Imam Perang Jabarumun.

The wife of Raja Asal that followed him after their settlement in Bukit Nenas was captured by the Pahang army walked in search of her husband until the reached an area near Pusing, where she settled down with her followers while waiting for the despatch of Raja Asal to call for them menjemput mereka . The settlement is now known as as Siputeh. That is why there are two places called Siputeh, each in Selangor and Perak.

It was stated that in the year 1874, when the Pangkor agreement was signed there were Perak ministers that was dissatisfied. Since Raja Asal was a brave and of vast experience in warfare he was visited by several of asking him to intervened in order to expel the Englishmen from Perak.

Raja Asal however decline their request for the intervention in the Perak conflict as he is too old and tired to war after fighting all his teens and adulthood. menolak permintaan mereka untuk campurtangan dalam pergolakan di Perak kerana beliau telah uzur dan letih untuk berperang sepanjang usia remaja dan dewasanya. The conspiracy to kill J.W.W Birch was not entered but Raja Asal gave his most trustworthy slave Sipuntung as a sign of his involvement to cleanse this land from the intervention of infidels that he had opposed since his conversion to Islam.

Nonetheless Raja Asal never was a Penghulu (headman) of Mukim Belanja, the first Penghulu Belanja was Raja Bilah, nephew to Raja Asal. At the time of the killing of J.W.W Birch in 1875 Mukim Belanja did not exist.

At the time J.W.W . Birch was killed Raja Asal was already taken ill and no longer was able to manage mining matter nor collect taxes on behalf of Raja Idris (Sultan of Perak). As a result he was in debt of $3,000.00 to the authorities.

In the time he was ill it was Raja Bilah that managed all the affairs of Raja Asal. Finally Raja Bilah requested Raja Asal to hand over full authority to him so that he can repay all the debts.

After six months of the authority being hand over to Raja Bilah was the debts fully settled.

Raja Asal in his old age and suffering from the effects of his losses and failures was no longer an active participant in such affairs so the affairs were fully managed by Raja Bilah.

Tuanku Raja Asal passed away in 1878 and was buried in Changkat Piatu in the confluence of the Pinji river and Kinta river. To this day the tomb of his stands proud in Changkat Piatu cemetery.


Literally translated by me, of the Marga Lubis from the Jabarera and Sutan Pinayungan Lineage, the original text below. More details can be obtained from http://www.mandailing.org/Eng/indexeng.html


SEJARAH MANDAILING

(Petikan dari Buku Cenderamata Lembaga Adat Mandailing Malaysia). Orang Mandailing diriwayatkan berasal dari Munda yaitu sebuah daerah di India Tengah. Mereka telah berpindah-pindah pada abad-ke 6, karena terpukul dengan serangan bangsa Arayan dari Irak yang meluaskan pengaruh mereka.

Setelah melintasi Gunung Himalaya mereka menetap sebentar di Mandalay, yaitu ibu negara Burma purba. Besar kemungkinan nama Mandalay itu sendiri datangnya dari perkataan Mandailing yang mengikuti logat Burma.

Sekali lagi mereka terpaksa bepindah karena pergolakan suku kaum di Burma yang sering berperang. Pada waktu itu mereka melintasi Selat Malaka , yang pada masa itu bukan merupakan suatu lautan yang besar, sangat dimaklumi bahwa pada masa itu dibagian tertentu Semenanjung Tanah Melayu dan Sumatera hanya di pisahkan oleh selat kecil saja.

Kaum Munda telah berjaya menyeberangi laut kecil tersebut dan mendirikan sebuah kerajaan di Batang Pane, Portibi, diduga peristiwa ini terjadi di akhir abad ke – 6.

Kerajaan Munda Holing di Portibi ini telah menjadi mashur dan meluaskan wilayah taklukannya hingga kesebahagian besar pantai Sumatera dan Tanah Melayu. Keadaan ini menimbulkan kemarahan kepada Maharaja Rajenderacola lalu beliau menyerang kerajaan Munda Holing dan negara pantai lainnyadi abad ke-9.

Tentera kerajaan Munda Holing yang di pimpin oleh Raja Odap-Odap telah ditewaskan oleh Rajenderacola dan berkuasa di seluruh daerah Batang Pane. Tunangannya Borudeakparujar telah melintasi Dolok Maela (sempena Himalaya yang didaki oleh nenek moyangnya) dengan menggenggam segumpal tanah di Portibi untuk menempah satu kerajaan baru (Menempah banua).

Kerajaan kedua di Sumatera di didirikan di Pidoli Dolok di kenali sebagai kerajaan Mandala Holing artinya kawasan orang-orang Keling. Pada masa itu mereka masih beragama Hindu memuja Dewa Siva.

Di abad ke 13, Kerajaan Majapahit telah menyerang ke Lamuri, Padang Pariaman dan Mandailing. Sekali lagi kerajaan Mandala Holing ini telah di bumi hangus dan hancur.

Penduduk yang tidak dapat di tawan telah lari kehutan dan bercampur-gaul dengan penduduk asli. Lalu terbentuklah Marga Pulungan artinya yang di kutip-kutip. Di abad ke-14 dan ke 15, Marga Pulungan telah mendirikan tiga buah Bagas Godang di atas tiga puncak Bukit namun kerajaan tersebut bukan lagi sebuah kerajaan yang besar, hanya merupakan kerajaan kampung.

Di pertengah abad ke-14, terdapat legenda tiga anak Yang Dipertuan Pagar Ruyung yang bernama Betara Sinomba, Putri Langgoni dan yang bungsunya Betara Gorga Pinanyungan yang mendirikan dua buah kerajaan baru.

Betara Sinomba telah di usir oleh Yang Dipertuan dari Pagar Ruyung karena kesalahan bermula dengan adiknya Putri Langgoni. Kedua beradik tersebut berserta pengikutnya telah merantau dan mendirikan kerajaan di Kota Pinang. Yang di Pertuan Kota Pinang inilah yang menurunkan raja-raja ke Kota Raja, Bilah, Kampung Raja dan Jambi.

Adiknya Betara Gorga Pinanyungan di dapati bersalah belaku adil dengan sepupu sebelah ibunya yaitu Putri Rumandang Bulan. Oleh kerana tidak ada lagi pewaris takhta makanya putri tersebut ditunangkan dengan Raja Gayo.

Sewaktu Putri Rumandang Bulan di bawa pergi ke Gayo beliau telah membawa satu tandan pinang masak lalu ditanamnya sebiji pinang tersebut pada setiap kali rombongan tersebut behenti hinggalah sampai di tebing sebatang sungai.

Di tebing sungei itu baginda telah melahirkan seorang anak laki-laki yang gagah dan perkasa. Ketika rombongan tersebut ingin meneruskan perjalanannya ke Gayo maka datanglah petir dan guntur yang amat dasyat hingga kemah mereka tidak dapat di buka. Begitulah keadaannya sehingga tujuh kali percobaan. Akhirnya seorang Datu telah memberitahu bahawa anak tersebut hendaklah ditinggalkan di atas batu di bawah pohon sena tempat ia dilahirkan kerana putera tersebut akan menjadi seorang raja yang besar di situ.

Putri Rumandang Bulan enggan puteranya ditinggalkan karena dia ingin mati bersama anaknya, apabila Raja Gayo kelak mendapati bahwa dia bukan lagi perawan.

Di dalam keadaan tersebut tepancarlah pelangi maka menitilah tujuh orang bunian di ikuti oleh Dewa Mangala Bulan dari Kayangan. Puteri tersebut di simpan kedalam sungai berdekatan lalu bermandikan dengan bunga-bunga sena yang sedang berkembang. Apabila keluar dari sungai tersebut di dapati perut-perut yang menandakan baginda telah melahirkan tidak lagi kelihatan. Maka nama sungai tersebut di kenali sebagai "Aek Batang Gadis" artinya, air sungai yang memulihkan gadis/perawan.

Anak yang ditinggalkan di bawah pohon sena tersebut telah di temui oleh rombongan Sultan Pulungan yang sedang memburu, lalu dipunggutnya.

Anak yang dibesarkan di dalam kandang di bawah rumah tersebut akhirnya telah berhasil melarikan diri dan mendirikan sebuah kerajaan dan kemudiannya mengalahkan Sultan Pulungan. Anak tersebut yang di kenali sebagai Sibaroar yaitu kandang di bawah rumah akhirnya menjadi raja besar di Penyabungan.

Oleh karena raja di Penyabungan yang tersembunyi diketahui orang akan ibunya maka dipanggilah kerajaannya sebagai kerajaan "MANDE NAN HILANG", pendeknya Mandailing atau pun Mandehilang. Beliau juga adalah pengasas/penegak Marga Nasution., artinya orang sakti.

Ketika cerita kebesaran Sibaroar yang di gelar Sutan Diaru tersebar jauh ke Pagar Ruyung maka Yang Dipertuan Pagar Ruyung pun terkenang akan Putri Rumandang Bulan yang hamil di bawa ke Gayo. Baginda dan pengiringnya pun berangkatlah mengikuti pohon-pohon pinang yang telah di tanam oleh bekas kekasihnya itu hingga sampailah di tepi sungei yang di namakan "Aek Batang Gadis" lalu di bawa mengadap kepada Sutan Diaru di penyabungan.

Setelah panjang lebar bercerita lalu pengasuh yang bernama Sisauwa telah menunjukkan kain sutera kuning pinang masak yang membalut Sutan Diaru sewaktu baginda dijumpai di bawah pohon sena di Aik Batang Gadis berserta aguk yang dikalungkan oleh ibunya Putri Rumandang Bulan. Maka ketahuanlah akan Yang Di Pertuan Pagar Ruyung, bahwa Raja Sutan Penyabungan tersebut adalah anaknya. Seluruh isi negeri bersukaria dan Sutan Diaru pun di tabalkan secara rasmi sebagai Raja Penyabungan.

Pada masa yang sama juga utusan dari Kota Pinang telah datang ke Penyabungan untuk mengundang Yang Dipertuan Pagar Ruyung kesana untuk bertemu kekandanya yang telah lama tidak berjumpa. Lalu kata Yang Dipertuan, "Beta tetap akan mengunjungi kekanda beta di Kota Pinang." Maka itu pada hari ini Kota Pinang di kenali sebagai Tanah Abang, dan Penyabungan di kenali sebagai Tanah Adik, sempena peristiwa Betara Sinomba mengundang adiknya Betara Gorga Pinanyungan di Penyabungan supaya baginda datang ke Kota Pinang walaupun adiknya mempunyai kerajaan yang lebih besar di Pagar Ruyung.

Kerajaan Sibaroar @ Sutan Diaru di Penuyabungan akhirnya bekembang luas menguasai seluruh Mandailing Godang yang sangat subur tanahnya.

Diabad ke-19 yaitu sekitar 1916, Tentera Paderi di bawah pimpinan Tuanku Imam Bonjol telah mengutuskan Raja Gadumbang Porang atau lebih di kenali sebagai Tuanku Mandailing untuk mengislamkan Tanah Mandailing.

Tentera Paderi telah masuk ke Mandailing melalui Muara Sipongi dan menakluki Penyambungan pada awal 1816.

Kemudiannya Belanda pula memasuki Mandailing sekitar 1835, ini telah mengakibatkan banyak dari raja-raja Mandailing yang menentang dan terpaksa mundur dan menyeberangi Selat Melaka dan terus menetap di Tanah Melayu.

Orang-orang Mandailing bekas panglima tentera paderi telah memainkan peranan penting di dalam perjalanan sejarah di Tanah Melayu iaitu Tanah Pelarian. Nama seperti Tuanku Tambusai, Raja Asal, Raja Laut dan Sutan Naposo tercatat di dalam sejarah pergolakan perang saudara di Pahang dan Selangor.

Perpindahan orang Mandailing bermula sejak lama, diantaranya adalah disebabkan perselisihan faham keluarga, menjae atau merajuk, kalah perang atau pelarian atau buruan kerana berbagai kesalahan adat atau hukum. Kejatuhan Penyabungan ketangan Tentera Paderi 1816 dan gerakan mengislamkan Tanah Mandailing berikutnya. Ada diantaranya di hantar ke Semenanjung.

Namun perpindahan yang paling ketara bermula sejak beramai-ramai sebagai budak/abdi dan ada di antaranya melarikan diri bersama keluarga mereka untuk mencari tempat tinggal yang lebih aman.

Serangan Raja Gadumbang Porang atau Tuanku Mandailing dengan tentera paderi tidaklah begitu menekan tetapi apabila Tuanku Lelo bertubi-tubi menyerang Penyabungan dan memburu yang Dipertuan Huta Siantar bersama pengikutnya; pembunuhan beramai-ramai telah memaksa sebahagian besar penduduk Mandailing melarikan diri ke Tanah Melayu, sekitar tahun 1816 – 1832.

Ada pula di antara raja-raja Mandailing yang mengikut tentera Paderi seperti Patuan Maga, Baginda Sidursat dan lain-lainnya telah menentang Tuanku Lelo. Di bawah pimpinan Tuanku Mandailing beberapa orang panglima perang paderi akhirnya menyerang Kubu Tuanku Lelo di Padang Sidempuan dan menewaskannya.

Salah seorang anak raja Mandailing bernama Jahurlang yang bergelar Tuanku Bosi yaitu anak kepada Patuan Maga telah menyertai Tuanku Imam Bonjol sebelum jatuhnya benteng Padang Sidempuan. Beliau diamanahkan oleh Tuanku Imam Bonjol untuk menjaga Bentang Bonjol pada tahun 1837 – sewaktu beliau berunding dengan Belanda.

Jahurlang atau Tuanku Bosi diberikan pedang Al-malik kepunyaan Tuanku Rao yang terkurban di Air Bagis sebagai tanda mengambil alih pimpinan di Bonjol. Malang sekali Bentang Bonjol tidak dapat dipertahankan kerana kekuatan tentera Belanda, akhirnya Tuanku Bosi dengan pengikutnya tepaksa mundur ke Benteng Dalu Dalu.

Melihat pedang Al-Malik di tangan Tuanku Bosi, maka Tuanku Tambusai telah merencanakan pengunduran beliau bersama pengikutnya dan Benteng Dalu Dalu diserahkan kepada Tuanku Bosi.

Tuanku Tambusai dengan diiringi oleh Tuanku Raja Asal, Abdullah Zawawi (anak kepada Tuanku Bosi) yang kemudiannya di kenali sebagai Raja Laut berundur bersama pengikut mereka ke Tanah Melayu.

Benteng Dalu-Dalu jatuh ketangan Belanda pada 1838. Tuanku Bosi turut terkurban setelah mendapat luka-luka parah di dalam pertempuran tersebut.

Tuanku Tambusai, Raja Asal dan Raja Laut mendarat di Melaka dan pergi ke Lukut mencari tempat tinggal. Tidak lama kemudian Raja Laut diperintahkan kembali ke Sumatera untuk mencari saki baki tentera paderi bagi mengatur serangan balas terhadap Belanda. Raja Asal meninggalkan Lukut kerana terdapat sedikit kekecuhan di sana, beliau pergi ke Kelang membuka Lombong Bijih Timah sekitar tahun 1843. Tuanku Tambusai mencari tempat tinggal yang terpencil di Negeri Sembilan dan menetap di sana.

Raja laut berulang alik antara Sumatera dan Tanah Melayu sambil menyerang kapal-kapal dagang Belanda, Inggeris, Cina dan India yang melintasi Selat melaka. Maka itu beliau di sebut Raja Laut.

Sekitar tahun 1850, Raja Asal telah meninggalkan Kelang dan berjijrah ke Pahang bersama-sama pengikutnya. Di Pahang Raja Asal telah melibatkan diri di dalam perusahaan melombong bijih timah dan berjual beli bijih timah.

Raja Asal telah dapat menembusi istana Bendahara Tun Ali dan bersahabat baik dengan keluarga pembesar di Pahang. Beliau bersahabat baik dengan Tun Mutahir anak Tun Ali. Tun Ali mangkat pada tahun 1857. Raja Asal telah berkahwin dengan Wan Putih atau dalam bahasa Mandailing di panggil Siputeh.

Perang saudara di Pahang belaku pada tahun 1857 – 1863, Raja Asal terlibat di dalam perang tersebut kerana berkahwin dengan keluarga Tun Mutahir yang menjadi Bendahara Pahang yang baru.

Perang saudara tersebut di menangi oleh Wan Ahmad iaitu adik kepada Tun Mutahir. Sewaktu luka parah Tun Mutahir telah berundur bersama anak-anaknya Wa Da dan Wan Aman serta Raja Asal kesempadan Negeri Selangor. Wan Putih telah di jemput oleh hamba Raja Asal bernama ‘Sipuntung’, lalu di bawa ke Selangor.

Di Selangor Raja Asal kembali menjalankan usaha membeli dan menjual bijih timah. Dana Paderi yang diamanahkan kepadanya dilaburkan sekali lagi untuk membiayai saki-baki tentera Paderi yang menjadi pengikutnya. Oleh itu beliau sentiasa berhubung dengan Raja Laut yang diutuskan untuk mengumpulkan saki-baki tentera Paderi di Sumatera. Tuanku Tambusai yang sudah uzur tidak lagi memainkan peranan penting untuk memulihkan semula kekuatan Paderi di Sumatera.

Apabila Tuanku Raja Asal mengambil keputusan untuk menyokong Raja Mahadi di dalam Perang Kelang untuk menentang Raja Abdullah (dalam tahun 1866) maka beliau telah menghubungi Raja Laut untuk mendapat bantuan bekas tentera Paderi di dalam peperangan tersebut.

Sewaktu Kelang jatuh dan kemudiannya Kuala Lumpur turut jatuh kerangan orang-orang Mandailing, Raja Asal telah memerintahkan hambanya Sipuntung untuk membunuh Dato’ Bandar Yassih yang berketurunan Bugis kerana banyak menindas dan menyeksa orang-orang Mandailing.

Campurtangan Tengku Kudin sebagai wakil Sultan Abdul Samad yang memerintah Selangor mulai 26hb. June, 1868, telah mengubahkan suasana politik di Selangor. Tengku Kudin mendapat bantuan dan sokongan dari nggeris.

Walaupun pada mulanya Raja Asal, Sutan Na Poso dan kapitan Yap Ah Loy bersahabat baik tetapi pada tahun 1871 mereka berselisih faham dengan Yap Ah Loy atas urusan perniagaan bijih timah.

Pada bulan Mei 1872, Raja Asal bersama Raja Laut telah membawa angkatan perang mereka untuk menyerang Kuala Lumpur. Mereka telah berkubu di Petaling Batu, iaitu di Jalan Cheras sekarang, bersama lebih kurang 2,000 orang bekas tentera Paderi dari Sumatera. Satu pertempuran telah berlaku diantara pasukan Raja Asal/Raja Laut dengan pasukan Kapitan Yap ah Loy yang di bantu oleh Kapten Van Hagen dan Kapten Cavalier yang akhirnya mengalami kekalahan teruk di mana seramai 730 tentera mereka telah terkurban.

Kejayaan Raja Asal dan Raja Laut merebut Kuala Lumpur dari Kapitan Yap Ah Loy dan sekutunya telah mendesak Tengku Kudin meminta bantuan tentera dari Pahang dan Pulau Pinang. Pada pertengahan tahun 1872 Pahang telah bersubahat dengan Tengku Kudin untuk mengalahkan Raja Asal yang di sokong oleh orang-orang Mandailing, Rawa (Rao), Batubara dan orang Minangkabau yang merupakan saki-baki tentera Paderi, Raja Asal tersebut bergelar Tuanku Raja Asal – bukanlah bererti beliau itu Raja yang memerintah tanah Mandailing, gelaran Tuanku itu adalah gelaran Panglima Tentera Paderi. Raja di Tanah Mandailing dipanggil Baginda, bukannya Tuanku.

Pada akhir 1872, tentera Pahang telah menyerang kubu Raja Asal di Ulu Kelang. Tentera Pahang yang di pimpin oleh Imam Perang Raja Rosu (Tok Gajah) telah ditewaskan oleh tentera Raja Asal yang di pimpin oleh Panglima dari Mandailing bernama Jabarumun, yang berkubu di Ulu Kelang.

Isteri Raja Asal yang benama Wan Putih (Siputih), bersama orang-orang Telu gigih pula mempertahankan satu lagi kubu Raja Asal yang kini tempatnya dikenali sebagai Siputeh, sempena nama beliau yang dikagumi oleh orang-orang Mandailing.

Pada bulan Mac, 1873, sekali lagi Raja Rosu bersama tentera dari Pahang menyerang Ulu Kelang dengan kelengkapan yang lebih hebat, oleh kerana bantuan yang dinantikan dari Raja Laut tidak dapat mendarat di Kelang maka mereka telah mendarat di Teluk Mak Intan, maka kubu Raja Asal pun jatuhlah ketangan orang Pahang.

Raja Laut bersama lebih kurang 1,000 orang Batak yang baru di Islamkan telah mendarat di satu kawasan yang kini di kenali sebagai Batak Rabit kerana telinga dan hidung mereka menggunakan subang yang besar hingga terjuntai lubang telinga dan hidung mereka.

Raja Laut telah melintasi sebatang sungai yang mengalir di tengah-tengah lalu di panggil mereka Aik Batang Padang ataupun di kenali sebagai Sungei Batang Padang, sedangkan batang dalam bahasa Mandailing itu adalah sungei.

Didalam perjalanan mereka ke Ulu Selangor, mereka telah menerima berita kekalahan Raja Asal di Bukit Nenas lalu mereka bekemah di Ulu Bernam/Slim menanti Raja Asal yang sedang menuju ke Negeri Perak.

Sebelum bertemu dengan Raja Asal di Slim/Ulu Bernam maka satu persetujuan telah diadakan supaya Jabarumun/Raja Barumun di hantar mendapatkan Sutan Na poso (Sutan Puasa) yang bekubu di Ulu Langat bagi mengatur satu serangan balas ke atas Tengku Kudin dan Raja Bosu. Berikutnya Sutan N Poso tidak begitu yakin keraja Raja Asal tidak menyertai pasukan perang yang hanya di pimpin oleh Jabarumun/Raja Barumun.

Pasukan perang tersebut telah pulang tetapi di tengah jalan mereka sempat juga menyerang orang-orang Cina di Pudu dan juga Ulu Kelang. Kedai mereka di bakar dan pembunuhan pun berlaku di kedua-dua kawasan tersebut.

Raja Laut dan pengikutnya tidak mengikut Raja Asal ke Changkat Piatu, mereka telah berkampung di Air Kuning dan Banir di negeri Perak. Raja Laut meninggalkan anaknya yang sulung benama Basir Nasution atau pun lebih di kenali sebagai Syeh Basir guru agama di Air Kuning.

Raja Laut telah kembali kepada cara hidup lamanya berulang alik di Selat Melaka sehinggalah beliau terkorban di dalam salah satu perempuran laut dengan angkatan perang Belanda di Labuahan Bilik.

Anaknya Syeh Basir Nasution telah kembali ke Sumatera untuk mengumpulkan semula kaum keluarganya tetapi beliau tidak lagi kembali menetap di Air Kuning. Anaknya yang tua benama Ja Akob atau di kenali sebagai Jakub tinggal di Banir dan Air Kuning.

Raja Asal telah di terima mengadap Raja Idris iaitu putera Mahrum Teja yang berkuasa di kawasan Teja, lalu diberikan satu kawasan melombong yang luas di Changkat Piatu. Raja Asal juga telah diberikan kuasa mengutip cukai bijih timah di muara pertemuan Sungai Pinji dan Sungai Kinta. Sebuah Pengkalan mengutip cukai yang teguh telah di bina oleh Raja Asal. Oleh kerana ia sebuah pengkalan yang teguh akhirnya mengikut "telor" orang Perak lalu disebut Pengkalan Pegoh.

Raja Asal juga telah membina sebuah perkampungan orang-orang Mandailing di Changkat Piatu, lalu berkumpullah sebahagian besar orang Mandailing di Changkat Piatu. Orang-orang Rawa pula di tempatkan di Gopeng di bawah pimpinan Panglima Jabarumun atau lebih di kenali sebagai Imam Perang Jabarumun.

Isteri Raja Asal yang mengikutinya setelah tinggal di Bukit Nenas di tawan oleh tentera Pahang telah berjalan kaki mencari suaminya hingga sampai kesuatu tempat berhampiran Pusing, di sana beliau bersama pengikutnya telah berkampung sementara menanti utusan Raja Asal menjemput mereka . Kampung tersebut sehingga hari ini di kenali sebagai Siputeh. Itulah sebabnya terdapat dua tempat yang dinamakan Siputeh, masing-masing di Selangor dan di Perak.

Adalah diberitakan bahawa dalam tahun 1874, apabila perjanjian Pangkor termeteri maka banyaklah pembesa-pembesar Negeri Perak yang tidak puashati. Memandangkan Raja Asal ini seorang yang gagah berani dan banyak pengalamannya di dalam peperangan maka datanglah beberapa orang di antara mereka meminta campurtangan beliau (Raja Asal) untuk mengusir Inggeris dari negeri Perak.

Raja Asal menolak permintaan mereka untuk campurtangan dalam pergolakan di Perak kerana beliau telah uzur dan letih untuk berperang sepanjang usia remaja dan dewasanya. Paktan untuk membunuh J.W.W Birch tidaklah disertainya tetapi Raja Asal telah meminjamkan hambanya Sipuntung yang sangat dipercayai sebagai tanda penyertaannya untuk membersihkan bumi ini dari campurtangan orang-orang kafir yang ditentangnya sejak beliau memeluk agama Islam.

Raja Asal tidak pernah menjadi Penghulu di Mukim Belanja, Penghulu Belanja yang pertama adalah Raja Bilah, iaitu anak saudara kepada Raja Asal.

Sewaktu J.W.W Birch di bunuh pada tahun 1875 Mukim Belanja belum lagi diujudkan. Sila lihat perlantikan Raja Bilah sebagai penghulu Belanja yang pertama.

Semasa J.W.W . Birch di bunuh Raja Asal sudah mula gering dan tidak mampu lagi mengendalikan urusan melombong ataupun mengutip cukai bagi pihak Raja Idris (Sultan Perak). Akibatnya beliau terhutang $3,000.00 kepada pihak yang berkuasa.

Sepanjang keadaannya gering itu Raja Bilahlah yang menguruskan semua urusan Raja Asal. Akhirnya Raja Bilah telah meminta Raja Asal menyerahkan kuasa sepenuhnya kepadanya supaya dapat beliau membayar semua hutang tersebut.

Setelah enam bulan kuasa diserahkan kepada Raja Bilah barulah segala hutang piutang tersebut dapat diselesaikan.

Raja Asal dalam usia yang agak lanjut dan kesan dari kekalahan serta kegagalannya tidak lagi merupakan seorang yang aktif di dalam urusan maka itu semua urusan dikendalikan oleh Raja Bilah.

Tuanku Raja Asal telah meninggal dunia pada 1878 dan di semadikan di Changkat Piatu di antara pertemuan Sungai Pinji dengan Sungei Kinta. Sehingga hari ini makam beliau masih tertegak megah di atas tanah perkuburan Changkat Piatu.

What an irony!

My home PC crashed last night so some blog articles that I was preparing is now inaccessible until I have time to send my CPU to check if the hard drive is recoverable. So today to spend some time I re-googled my favourite dish besamah or pesamah to see if this elusive dish has recently been mentioned by any local bloggers in their food blogs, and if I am lucky it was reviewed in a locality nearby. Imagine my surprise when I saw such a dish being offered by a Malay restaurant in of all places, Vietnam. My! My! My! Besamah has gone international without making an appearance in any of the local restaurants. Well to you all in Hanoi, enjoy the dish and I hope you like it. And for those in disbelieve, check out this menu of the Nisa Restaurant in Hanoi at this web-page. http://nisa-restaurant.com/Menu/36-Menu/67-Main%20Course%20-%20Meat

Monday, 7 January 2008

Malay Cuisine is Healthy! Really!

My wife recently made me my favourite Malay salad, tauhu goreng after I mentioned that I had a craving for this dish that is actually simple to make but no longer makes regular appearances at even my mom’s kitchen table. And looking at how my father in law loved it especially the special flour fritters that he said he never tasted before got me thinking. If an eighty three year old man could have forgotten a dish that symbolises his Javanese descent, then how much more would an ordinary Malay nowadays would have not only forgotten his culinary roots but may not even know his culinary roots in this age of fast and convenient cooking, especially in this age of fast and convenient cooking. Luckily the recipe appears in one of Chef Wan’s cookbooks, or otherwise my wife would have had a hard time digging out the recipe from my sisters as my mom actually may not remember all the ingredients and measurements, as she is a cook of the old school where recipes of a dish is a bit of this and that.

Despite the bad press that Malay cuisine usually gets as a gravy choked coconut milk laden calorific dishes, represented best by the ubiquitous modern nasi lemak that now comes with a multitude of fattening side dishes, the healthiness of traditional Malay cuisine are actually quite similar to other cultural diets even the so called balanced diet. It is just that the current way Malay dishes are prepared especially in the nasi campur or mixed rice configuration may have inadvertently left out the balanced part of the meal, usually for the sake of convenience. A prime example is the Malay salads that consist of the aforementioned tauhu goreng, gado-gado, urap, kerabu, pecal and even the simple salada. See how simple it was for me to roll off six types of Malay salads and that does not even include the regional specialties like jelatah and achar. Tell me how easy is it for you to partake in any of this salad when you have a Malay meal nowadays. Actually difficult right.

It is the same thing with the soup course. Why do we only have soup when we eat at Siamese stalls? I have wondered why oxtail soup being promoted internationally as being Siamese as it is with their various tom yam variations until it dawns on you that the oxtail soup may actually be Siamese Patani style and who are these Patanis actually but of Malay stock too. So what happened to the spicy Malay soups of chicken, fish that even includes fish heads, beef, ribs, mutton and even the sourish soups like pindang? For one they do take time to prepare but more importantly do not really lend themselves to the normal style of mix rice presentation as they are difficult to keep warm. Soups are also difficult to match to the repertoire of the mostly sambal or gravy based dishes that are offered as lauk for a typical Malay meal seating. Thus is that Malay soups are fated to be relegated only to be eaten as sotos and lontongs or paired only with noodles.

Now remember that flour fritters for the tauhu goreng that I mentioned before? It needs a special method to fry so that you get a chewy centre with crispy edges that when you cracked it over the tauhu goreng, you get a variety of textures. But truthfully who really bothers to take the trouble when they cook nowadays. So is it any wonder that you may find components within a dish being left out, what more from a meal itself. Fess up! Discounting a Malay meal at an upscale restaurant or hotel buffet, who can actually say they had an easy time to pair their meal with a soup or salad. That is even if you can find these dishes being served at all, and not cold as is usually the case. Furthermore, when was the last time you can find an ulam tray of at least kacang botol, petai or pegaga, and fresh bouncy ones at that? Is it any wonder that we overload our plates with the more popular fat laden dishes instead? We have forgotten that our forefathers obtained longevity not only with cardio vascular work but also with their herbs and spice mix to balance out their gravy intake as their elixir of life. No need to look for any fountain of youth for them.

The sad thing is that it is not only the Malays that seem to be discarding their eating heritage. It has become similarly as rare to find the flour fritters in rojak buah even in Penang cuisine restaurants, as it is rasam and raita from Indian restaurants, especially the mamak establishments. Have we discarded the healthy part of the Malay cuisine in our rush for quickie and easy to make meals. I suspect that the Chinese are at least trying to defend their heritage but for us who patronise the Malay and Mamak stalls for our daily lunch and maybe even dinner as a major part of our diet, we may have already forsaken the real balanced diet of our ancestors for a healthy living. No wonder we are putting on the pounds!

The Richness That Is Seri Kaya

I remember that at a time a long long time ago when the mood struck our family we would be making our own home made seri kaya. Yes we used to make our seri kaya, what some people would translate as coconut jam but to me that is a misnomer as a real seri kaya is made of a lot of eggs and a lot of coconut milk, and definitely you do not have any jelly to make it into a sort of jam. What it is is more like a fruit preserve, as you use a lot of sugar to make a sweet concoction. Like dodol however, you need a lot of stirring over a fire to make seri kaya, and the end product is more like an egg and coconut sweet gravy rather than a jam, what I believe the chefs would call an emulsion. Thus I rather stick with the name seri kaya for this melange of coconut and eggs as there are things that an English word will not suffice to describe it with. As befits its name Seri Kaya that means the essence of richness, seri kaya is basically the distillation of eggs, coconut milk, sugar and pandan. Its origins are generally attributed to the Hailam or Hainanese Chinese in old Malaya although the Malays do have their own family recipes. Unfortunately the cost of eggs and coconut milk nowadays makes real seri kaya an expensive food item to even make at home, and to get the genuine item in the open market would cost you a pretty penny, if you can get it that is. Fortunately there are some kopitiams that do sell seri kaya by the pack, but this can set you back about twice the price of the factory made stuff. Yet you pay for quality as the taste, texture and smell brings back memories of the seri kaya made at home that time a long age ago.
The photo of these toasts made with real seri kaya from two different kopitiams that I have had the pleasure to patronise should convince you of this fact. The one on the left came from Yik Mun Restaurant in Tanjung Malim that is most famous for their paus and those in the know their coffee. Unfortunately for me most times when I arrive there on the way north is usually after breakfast so I usually skip their roti kaya toast and go for the other kopitiam meals. But no worries for me as they have the seri kaya in a cup and I usually buy a few packs home for me. In fact their toast is not the reason I buy Yik Mun’s seri kaya but more because the pau with the seri kaya filling that is a family favourite. The seri kaya here is to me the traditional one made with lots of eggs as they keep it deeply refrigerated so it would not spoil. They definitely do not use any preservatives and based on the ingredient list, they even put in some unusual seri kaya ingredients of ginger and margarine. They have two flavours, the original and the pandan and you could easily differentiate them by their colours. You can taste the coconut cream and eggs in the custardly kaya that tells you that this was not made by a machine, and even if it was they were not stingy with the ingredients. Even my mom did not make it like this but then I have to tell you that if you have it too regularly, you may find it a bit jelak or the nearest allegory I can make is ‘so overwhelming in taste” due to its richness that I suggest you have it sparingly. This is one real case of too much of a good thing is bad for you. More than this I leave it to you to sample if you can to really appreciate the richness of the seri kaya taste.

Well moving on to Hai Peng Kopitiam in Kemaman’s version of seri kaya, the first thing that strikes me was that theirs was sold without needing any refrigeration. To me this means that they may not have too many eggs in their version but instead they have compensated it with generous amounts of sugar, I suspect of the palm sugar variety since Terengganu is famous for their enau sugar, that gives the seri kaya a rich brown caramel colour. Look at that caramel oozing out from the open cup in the picture if you do not believe me. Taste wise their version is definitely more sugar sweet tasting than egg or coconut milk rich, but this is a hit with my sweet toothed kids. It reminds one of caramel custard actually in a weird sort of way. My wife commented that this version has to be eaten with really hot toast and melting butter as otherwise it will taste like a sweet. As for me this version is more like the seri kaya that is served in kopitiams nowadays, except the normal version is not as generous with the sugar. Well as long it is homemade and not factory produced style right.

In conclusion however, you can actually get good seri kaya in a cup from sundry stores. These are the cups that may have amateurish looking labels or no labels actually, and I dare say the non-labelled would be the tastier tasting as this is definitely a sign that it is home made. So next time when you are in the sundry store, take another look at the bread rack and you may find these seri kaya cups stacked together with their factory made cousins. Anyway I cannot say factory made seri kaya are not flavoursome by themselves. The one from Yeo’s are still good after all these years which should not be a wonder as for me their seri kaya actually made the brand rather than their drinks. In addition, FAMA has introduced honey mixed seri kaya that gives a different angle to this old time favourite. I know that it is has gained acceptance as the seri kaya on occasions goes out of stock even at hypermarkets and has spawned imitators from other brands. In any versions seri kaya you may find however, be thankful that it exists as this is a bread spread that is a unique creation to our region and would always be a taste of home.

Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year Thoughts

Well today is the start of my workday for the year 2008. As expected it is a slow morning as my head officce should be gearing up for their New Year Party. No such luck for my office though as most of the expatriates are still in their home country and would only come in on Monday. Anyway already have a meeting this afternoon so it should be a real working day for us.

Well for me this new year has always been the same, preparing for my kids schooling. Yesterday was a day spent at my younger daughter's kindergarten and luckily for me she took to it like duck to water. So today I am confident enough to leave her alone there. Also took the time to clean out the facial fuzz I have been keeping for the holidays so much so that the kindergarden headmaster was non-plussed this morning when I dropped off my daughter. Anyway looking forward to a good new year and best wishes to all of you.