Saturday, February 1, 2014

Out of Sundaland: Here Beginneth The Malays' Saga...

It has been an age-old mystery: how long have they been here? Where did they come from? How did they get here? Why are they always ignored by the western historians? Why do they always end up on the beating stick? Why, how, etc are the combination of inquiries. Who am I talking about? Well, the Malays, of course.

It's quite strange to see ancient civilizations are being recognized and preserved in the timelines of world history, but the Malays are always kept out despite having a history as long and jagged, although could be less glamorous compared to European and Middle Eastern ones.

Yes, yes, I understand the boggle in some you...what, a cheap paranoid-ridden conspiracy theorist writing about origins of the Malays, in a theoretical aspect, of course. But bear with me, maybe you can give your view on this too.

Who are the Malays? They can be found from the regions of South China, Taiwan, the Mekong Delta, the Malay Peninsular, Borneo, Philippines, Indonesia, Madagascar, The Pacific Islands (Polynesians, including Maoris) and even the South America (Rapa Nui), although they are refered to by so many names depending on where they are and the clans they are in.Nobody seems to know where they come from, but western historians theorized that Malays came from Yunan, China and spread southwards, and later, everywhere. Did they? Today, the study of DNA gave strength to another theory, the "Out of Sundaland" theory.

Between 110,000 to 12,000 years ago, the Ice Age melted and revealed the actual land masses under them. South East Asia was vastly different then: there was Sundaland, a bio-geographical region of Southeastern Asia, encompassing the Sunda shelf, with the islands of Indonesia and Philippines. This makes Tanah Melayu as part of the central mainland of Asia. It was a huge piece of land which can be a continent by itself.

Theological historians placed the Prophet Noah somewhere between 14,000 - 12,000 years ago, where the Great Flood reshaped the world and its population. Noah had 4 sons, but only 3 of them had off-springs that populated the world, as below:

Shem/Sam (meaning "renown/prosperity"): forefather of the middle peoples, or Semitic, largely the Israelites and the Arabs.

Ham/Hem (meaning "warm"): forefather of the southern (Hamitic) people, such as Africans

Japheth (meaning "open"): forefather of the northern peoples (Japhetic) such as Europeans, Turks, and most of the Eastern European Jews who call themselves as Israelis.

With the population scattered around the Middle Eastern, Africa and European continent completed, more human migration began. A study was carried out by Leeds University on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) concluded that around 12,000 years ago, there were human migrations from the south of Africa to Sundaland via India. This timeline might eliminate more popular theories on Malays either originated from the Prophet Abraham and Keturah, or that Malays are descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel. What is proven is that there is a possibility that Malays are Hamitic.

On the subject of the lost tribes, it's interesting to note that there are no actual facts that 10 of the tribes of Israel disappeared and mtDNA failed to find any of them.

But this also marks the beginning of a few mysteries:

For around 2,000 years the Malays (or Austronesia, as westerners call them) settled on Sundaland without any single hint of civilization? If there is, we wouldn't know as there are no records of any civilizational activity in that area. However, we do know that a sudden catalysmic event happened that sent the Malays scattered accross Asia, Pacific, South America and Africa.

It was 9,000 - 10,000 years ago when the geography of Sundaland suddenly changed, either by tsunamis, earthquake or even volcano eruptions. The huge piece of land was broken up into a peninsular and thousands of islands, as today can be seen in South East Asia. The population dispersed via any possible means: those living inland moved further north, while others made it by their boats or ships. Among the first settlement by the Malays after Sundaland are Taiwan and the Philippines. These people repopulated the South East Asia via Yunan, the Mekong Delta and further south, while other migrated to islands of Indonesia, New Zealand, the Polynesian Islands and Madagascar.

Impossible? Asian civilizations tell a fable about a lost continent called Mu, although of a slightly different location (in the Pacific), it tells a story about highly advanced people who became to proud, arrogant and warlike and ultimately the continent sunk beneath the waves. Several researchers claim its similarities to Sundaland. Mu was supposedly the "cradle of civilization" and its society was very advanced. The survivors of the sunken continent of Mu resettled elsewhere, bringing along the remains of their knowledge and technology to their newly resettled places. Supporters of this story claim that the Mus were responsible for bringing the knowledge to build pyramids and similar structures that still stand today.

Here's another story which will make you feel that I am stretching this even further. Before 347BC, a Greek philosopher by the name of Plato spoke of an advanced civilization by the name of Atlantis, which he estimated sank beneath the waves in 9,000 years ago. In this version, Atlantis was described as Hellenistic, which is not surprising as he is Greek. However, his story was not original, Plato wrote that he heard the story from Egyptian priests, which source today cannot be traced. According to his story, Atlantis was populated by an advanced race who became arrogant and warlike, despite their abilities to create and build great monuments. It was also claimed that, after Atlantis sank, its survivors re-established themselves in various parts of the world with their knowledge and technology. Again, it was claimed that pyramids and ziggurats were built by Atlanteans.

Were the civilizations of Mu and Atlantis actually be the Malays of Sundaland? We do know that these are the people who built the astounding Candi Borobodur in Indonesia, but that can be considered as more recent. A mysterious monument was found underwater off Japan Sea, near Yonaguni Island, less than 100km of Taiwan was found about 3 decades ago, and received more global attention with the popularity of the internet. The monument is estimated to be at least 10,000 years old. It has been claimed that the monument includes structures like ruins of a castle, a triumphal arch, 5 temples, and one large stadium connected by roads and water channels, with a part of a retaining wall still intact. The area covered spans about 984 feet by 492 feet. Also found there are triangular bath-pool structures, platforms, gates, ditches and even stairwells. Who built this monument? It seems that the fabled Mu civilization might just have a basis after all.

By now, I guess many are saying this monument is in no way related to the Malays of Sundaland despite a concurrent timeline, but bear in mind that Sundaland was broken into pieces by cataclysmic effect and the movement of tectonic plates. If the monument was already built by the side of the sea, how far would the tectonic movement cause it to move in 9,000 - 10,000 years? In fact, the area where the monument is found is very active in earthquake and tectonic shifts. Was Plato's Atlantis referring to the Egyptian priests version of the civilization who built the monument from Sundaland? Or was it built as a colony of Sundaland?

The story of a town or city destroyed with survivors feeing by sea is not a strange possibility. The Holy Quran relates a story of an unknown town which dwellers were punished for their transgression, especially for rejecting 3 Prophets/Messengers who came to guide them, and for killing a man who tried to help the Prophets/Messengers. Their town was destroyed by a blast, but some of them were saved in arks. This Quranic history can be found in the Surah Yaseen, but the name of the town and the people remain unknown. Some historians suggested that the town is somewhere in Antioch, but there are those who profiled the town to be the lost city of Atlantis.

If these are the Malays, wouldn't it be astounding to find out how modern the ancient Malays were? For now, we know that when Merong Mahawangsa arrived in Kedah in the 5th Century BC, the Malays have already been there for a much longer period, planting rice and raising livestock, and possibly iron smelting. Were the skills for the industry taught, or inherited? It seems that the Malays are not as primitive and backwards as history made them to be. How do we prove all of these? One thing for sure, the Malays didn't just appear out of nowhere. They were here for a very long time, but what they did back then, nobody can give a definite answer. If they did have a glorious civilization, it might be at the bottom of the sea surrounding Tanah Melayu and the Indonesian Islands. Perhaps the Yonaguni monument can shed some light on this matter, or perhaps a chance discovery of certain monuments underwater or on the ground that will prove their past civilization.
Destruction of Sundaland?

By now I am sure that you might have at least a certain angle of the idea on the origin of the Malays. There is more about the Malays than meets the eye, but that will be another article, of course, as we have beginneth the saga of the Malays in this world.

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