Bahasa Malaysia FAITH IN A LANGUAGE
Bahasa Malaysia, the Malaysian language, is a derivative of the massive, yet intimately connected Malay language web. It may be traced to the great Srivijaya civilisation of Palembang, South Sumatra that reigned between the seventh and 13th centuries. When Srivijaya fell to the Majapahit kingdom of Java, Prince Parameswara established his new sultanate in Malacca, where the ancestors of today’s 10 million native Malay speakers lived and used the Malay language as an important means of propagating their new Muslim faith.
Malacca was an important centre of trade, a place where Arab and South Asian traders passed through, infusing the language with new words and expressions, as well as bringing the Arabic-influenced Jawi script that is used alongside the Romanised Malay words of today.
Past and present, the Malay language is an important means of expressing the Islamic faith. Adat, broadly translated as ‘custom’, are beliefs and practices indigenous to the Malays of Malaysia. In the days of Parameswara, adat was exercised as a means through which the people negotiated their animistic beliefs with new religions like Hinduism and Islam. Through the process of Islamisation of Southeast Asia, numerous words acquired different meanings. For example, the term berkat, used commonly today, indicates that when something is acquired, even a small quantity suffices because of its innate goodness and blessings from God.
BACKGROUND The birth of the Malay language can be traced back to 7th-century Sumatra and draws major influence from Sanskrit. The language has evolved over time to the modern Malay of today. It is mostly spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.
Malay is normally written with Roman letters although a modified Arabic script Jawi also exists. The romanised Malaysian spelling is derived mostly from English, as of its loan word pronunciation. For example, ‘Krismas’.
Present wedding gifts featuring red, pink, orange, yellow and gold, as these colours are considered ‘lucky’.
Give odd amounts of pek kim during a funeral, as even numbers are reserved for auspicious occasions.