Monday, August 13, 2007

Mak Yong in Wikipedia

In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Mak Yong is described as traditional dance drama of Kelantan, Malaysia. According to UNESCO, Mak Yong appeared well before the Islamization of the country but was banned in the year 1991 after the Islamic Party of Malaysia took control of the state. Kelantan is one of the states in Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ("The Beautiful Abode"). Kelantan is positioned in the north-east of Peninsular Malaysia. It is bordered by Thailand to the north, Terengganu to the south-east, Perak to the west, and Pahang to the south. To the north-east of Kelantan is the South China Sea.
Kelantan is a land of colourful traditions and scenic beauty. Located in the north-eastern corner of the peninsula, Kelantan, which translates as the "Land of Lightning", is an agrarian state with lush paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches. Kelantan is home to some of the most ancient archeological discoveries in Malaysia, including several prehistoric aboriginal settlements. With the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) in power for many years, Kelantan is also Malaysia's most socially conservative and Islamic state. The name Kelantan is said to be a corruption of gelam hutan, i.e. the Malay word for the cajuput, or swamp tea tree (Melaleuca leucadendron). Other theories claim the name comes from the Malay word kilatan, 'shiny/glittery' or kolam tanah, 'clay pool'. The early history of Kelantan traces distinct human settlement dating back to prehistoric times.

Early Kelantan had links to the Funan Kingdom, the Khmer Empire, Srivijaya and Siam. Around 1411, Raja Kumar, the ruler of Kelantan, became independent of Siam, and Kelantan became an important centre of trade by the end of the 15th century. In 1499, Kelantan became a vassal state of the Malacca Sultanate. With the fall of Malacca in 1511, Kelantan was divided up and ruled by petty chieftains, paying tribute to Patani, which in turn was a vassal of Siam ruling from Ayuthaya. In 1603, most of these petty Kelantan chiefs became subject to Patani. Around 1760, a chieftain of Kubang Labu in Kelantan succeeded in unifying the territory of the present Kelantan. Shortly thereafter, in 1764, Long Yunos was appointed as the Penghulu of Kota Bharu while his brother, Nik Muhammadiah, ruled as Sultan Muhammad I of Legeh in Kok Lanas. Nik Muhammadiah or Sultan Muhammad I , officially became the first sultan of Kelantan.

In 1812, Long Senik, the adopted son of Mohammad I, sided with the Thais and was appointed by them as the Sultan of Kelantan, known as Sultan Muhammad II. He broke from Terengganu's influence and became a tributary of the Thais. In the 1820s, Kelantan was one of the most populous and prosperous states in the Malay Peninsula, having avoided the wars and disputes which plagued the southern and western states. Thais continued to play their role in manipulating Kelantan throughout the 19th century. Under the terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, the Thais surrendered its claims over Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis to Great Britain, and Kelantan thus became one of the Unfederated Malay States with a British Adviser. Kelantan was the first place in Malaya to be occupied by the Japanese, who invaded on December 8, 1941. During the Japanese occupation, Kelantan came again under control of Siam, but after the defeat of Japan in August 1945, Kelantan reverted to British rule. Kelantan became part of the Federation of Malaya on February 1, 1948 and together with other states attained independence on August 31, 1957. On September 16, 1963, Kelantan became one of the component states of Malaysia. Historically, Kelantan had a strong relationship with the Pattani Kingdom. Pattani and Kelantan are geopolitically divided but culturally united. Kelantanese and Southern Thais cross the border frequently to visit their relatives and transport goods for small business.

Pattani (Thai ปัตตานี) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from south-east clockwise) Narathiwat, Yala and Songkhla. Pattani is located on the Malay Peninsula, with the coast of the Gulf of Thailand in the north. In the south mountainous landscape with the Sankalakhiri mountain range, including the Budo - Su-ngai Padi National Park, is located at the border to Yala and Narathiwat, protecting hill forests with rare vegetation such as the Bangsoon palm (Johnnesteijsmannia altifon) and Takathong rattan, as well as birds like the hornbill. Namtok Sai Khao on the border with Songkhla and Yala is a forest park, remarkable for the Sai Khao waterfall.

Historically Pattani was the centre of the semi-independent Malay Pattani kingdom, but paying tribute to the Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. After Ayutthaya fell in 1767 Pattani gained full independence, but under King Rama I it again came under Siam's control. In 1909, it was annexed by Siam as part of Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 negotiated with the British Empire. Both Yala and Narathiwat were originally part of Pattani, but were split off and became provinces of their own.

Pattani is one of the four provinces of Thailand where the majority of the population are Malay Muslim, making up 88% of the population. The Pattani Malays are very similar in ethnicity and culture to the Malays of Kelantan, Malaysia. The seal of the province shows the cannon called Phraya Tani, which was cast in the Pattani province. It was brought to Bangkok in 1785, and is now on display in front of the Ministry of Defence in Bangkok. The provincial flower is the Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), and the provincial tree the Ironwood (Hopea odorata). Pattani is subdivided into 12 districts (Amphoe), which are further subdivided into 115 communes (tambon) and 629 villages (muban). The districts of Chana (Chenok in Malay), Thepa (Tiba), and Saba Yoi (Sebayu) were detached from Pattani and transferred to Songkhla in recent times by the Thai government. 1.Mueang Pattani, 2.Khok Pho, 3.Nong Chik, 4.Panare, 5.Mayo, 6.Thung Yang Daeng, 7.Sai Buri, 8.Mai Kaen, 9.Yaring, 10.Yarang, 11.Mae Lan, 12. Kapho.

The people of Kelantan are known for their hospitality. The largely rural state preserves rich Malay traditions such as kite-flying contests, top-spinning contests, and bird singing competitions, and traditional handicrafts such as batik, songket, and silver crafts. As a border state and former vassal state of Thailand, Kelantan has absorbed influences from Thai customs and traditions that help to make the state's culture distinct from those of other states of Malaysia. The Kelantanese people, regardless of ethnic origin, are very proud of their state and its unique local culture and dialect. All the ethnicities generally live together harmoniously in Kelantan. For example, members of the Thai community received a permit to build a very large statue of the Buddha without any objection from the Malay community or the PAS government that granted the permit.

Kelantan Malays consider themselves an unusual breed. Many have some Thai blood, as intermarriages between the Thais and Malays have been and remain common. Kelantan Malays also note differences between themselves and the Malays of other states. The Patani Malays of southern Thailand are closely related to the Malays of Kelantan. Kelantanese Malay dialect, heavily influenced by the Thai language, is distinguished from standard Malay as well as other Malay dialects by its unique grammar, pronunciation and figures of speech. Kelantanese Malay is the only lingua franca of the state, is used in the local mass media, and is so commonly used for daily communication that some Kelantanese cannot speak the standard form of Malay, as promoted by the Federal Government. The dialect is also prevalent beyond the state borders into southern Thailand and in Besut, the northernmost district of Terengganu. Whilst the Arab script called Jawi has less influence in the other parts of Malaysia, it is still widely used in writing and printing the Malay language in Kelantan. Signboards in Kelantan are written in both Jawi and Rumi. To a certain extent, Thai is also used. 95% of Kelantan's population are ethnic Malay, and under the Malaysian Constitution, all Malays are Muslims; therefore, Islam is the most influential religion in the state. To most Malaysians, Kelantan is synonymous with Malay arts and crafts. Kota Bharu, as the state capital, is a popular centre for such pursuits as silat, martial arts, and kertok drumming. Here, too, more than any other place in Malaysia, the traditional pastimes of top-spinning — known as gasing — and the flying of giant, elaborately-decorated kites called wau, are still much in evidence.

The ethnic Thai inhabitants of Kelantan are mostly centered in an area around the coastal town of Tumpat, site of most of the state's two hundred or so Buddhist temples, and noteworthy for its number of relatively well-off Siamese villages. The dialect of the Thai language spoken in Kelantan is called "Tak Bai", after the southernmost coastal town in Narathiwat, just across the Golok River from Malaysia. Tak Bai dialect differs substantially from standard southern Thai and other regional Thai dialects, and it seems certain that the Kelantan Thais are the descendants of an original enclave of Narathiwat settlers established in sparsely-populated Malay territory as long as four centuries ago. Buddhism is also visible, in that hundreds of Thai wats can be found throughout the state.

Chinese temples in Kelantan frequently combine elements of Thai Buddhism. Chinese assimilation in Kelantan is manifested as: "Malay behaviour as frontstage and Chinese behaviour as backstage". "Frontstage" or public behaviour includes speaking Kelantanese Malay even when among themselves, adopting Malay-style clothing, and observing certain Malay customs and holidays. "Backstage" or private behaviour includes maintaining certain traditional Chinese beliefs and customs confined only within the home. Many Kelantanese Chinese feel a sense of separateness from other Chinese Malaysians due to their illiteracy and lack of fluency in Chinese.

In Kelantan, the Chinese see themselves as either Cina Kampung (village Chinese) or Cina Bandar (town Chinese). Famous Chinese villages in Kelantan are Kampung Tok'kong, Kampung Jelatok, Kampung Temangan, and Kampung Mata Ayer, Tawang, Kampung Balai and many more. In other parts of Malaysia, the Chinese see themselves as either Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, identifying themselves by the Han subgroup their ancestors were part of in China. However, this is not so in Kelantan. Descendants of the earlier waves of small-scale migration are known as Orang Cina kita (our very own Chinese) and the elders are seen as Orang Kelantan betul (true Kelantanese). Speaking the Kelantanese Malay dialect with fluency unites both Cina Kampung and Cina Bandar.

The Chinese in Kelantan have native speaker competence in the Kelantanese dialect. It is impossible to tell a Malay from a Chinese by just listening to his speech in the Kelantanese dialect, without looking at the person. The accommodations of the Chinese population have made communication between Chinese and Malays in Kelantan both easy and common. As a consequence, Kelantanese and Chinese view each other as individuals, rather than simply as representatives of cultural categories. The ability of the Chinese in Kelantan to accommodate Malay culture has facilitated significant entrepreneurial activities.

In addition, there are Orang Asli, mostly Temiar, a people who have lived in the forests of Kelantan and Perak for thousands of years. Some of the Temiar maintain traditional beliefs in their natural surroundings and other forms of animist elements, while some of them have embraced Islam, instead.

Primadona-Primadona Mak Yong

Oleh Dr.Zulkifli Mohamad (Artikel ini telah disiarkan di KOSMO pada tahun Ogos 2006)

Kuala Lumpur semarak lagi dengan adanya Festival Seni 2006. Malah Festival Seni Kuala Lumpur pernah dimarakkan obornya dua puluh tahun yang lalu, di tahun 1986. Syabas Kekkwa (Kementerian Kesenian, Kebudayaan dan Warisan) kerana menghidupkan kembali festival ini. Semuga dengan adanya festival seni, warga Kuala Lumpur menjadi lebih berbudi bahasa dan bertamaddun. Seterusnya menaikkan taraf kita di mata dunia. Biarlah seni menjadi hak milik dan kebanggaan kaum marhaen juga dan bukan hanya dikategorikan sebagai aktiviti kegirangan kaum elitis. Biarlah seni menjadi tatapan para penghuni setinggan, rumah pangsa dan kampung-kampung warisan di kota, Kampung Baru, Kampung Datuk Keramat dan Kampung Pandan.

Sesekali terimbas juga di fikiran kepada Pesta Keputeraan Sultan Kelantan di awal tahun 1970an, apabila pelbagai bentuk seni dipersembahkan kepada hamba rakyat, dari ensembel Kertok dan Rebana, Silat dan Bergendang, Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong dan Manora. Kemudian dimeriahkan dengan pertunjukan bunga api. Tapi zaman itu sudah lama berlalu, Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong dan Manora sudah tidak boleh dipertontonkan di negeri Cik Siti itu. Pun begitu kita harus berbangga kerana kesenian-kesenian klasik ini sudah menjadi hak milik Negara dan kebanggaan bangsa. Malah lebih dari itu, Mak Yong sudah menjadi hak milik dunia, World Heritage Arts, apabila ia diiktiraf oleh UNESCO pada tahun 2005. Tapi apakah dunia sudah melihatnya atau mengerti akan sejarah perjuangannya serta cerita cerita yang dibawanya.

Mungkin itulah yang ingin dipaparkan kepada dunia di Festival Seni Kuala Lumpur serta ISME (International Seminar of Music Education) 2006, dengan menampilkan persembahan Wayang Kulit, Mak Yong dan Manora. Tak kala Mak Yong dan Wayang Kulit dipersembahkan di Istana Budaya, Mak Yong dan Manora pula dipertontonkan di Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Mungkin ISME hanya mempamerkan sekilas Mak Yong dan Manora, tapi kesannya mungkin merebak ke seluruh dunia. Istana Budaya pula menawarkan repertoire penuh cerita Mak Yong, Dewa Indera-Indera Dewa. Kebetulan pula semua persembahan berlangsung pada hujung minggu yang sama, 14-16 Julai.

Pada minggu yang sama juga, Mak Yong dipertontonkan di Festival Magdalena, festival yang mengumpulkan karyawan-karyawan wanita unggul dunia. Festival ini mempersembahkan karya-karya mereka di Esplanade, Art House, Substation dan Muzium Nasional. Magdalena sendiri mempunyai sejarah tradisi yang unik, mengumpulkan penggiat wanita dari Odin Teater yang diasaskan oleh Eugenio Barba dan Jerzy Grotowski di Eropah. Inilah julung kalinya Magdalena berada di Asia. Yang lebih membanggakan lagi apabila wanita-wanita unggul ini turut serta di dalam bengkel dan demonstrasi Mak Yong. Mereka begitu terpukau dengan gesekan rebab Che Amat Che Awang, paluan gendang Che Deraman serta liuk lentuk gemalai tari Primadonna Wan Mah dari Tumpat Kelantan membawakan cerita Dewa Muda.

Yang menariknya ketiga-tiga persembahan Mak Yong yang berlangsung di Kuala Lumpur dan Singapura menampilkan wajah-wajah baru dipersada seni klasik ini, Rosnan Abdul Rahman dan Siti Norhabsah di Istana Budaya, Siti Fazlin Ibrahim Wong dan Raja Norbaizura di KLCC serta Wan Mah di Magdalena Singapura. Walaupun Wan Mah bukanlah semuda Siti Fazlin yang masih menuntut di tahun dua, Pengurusan Seni, Fakulti Teknologi Seni dan Artistik, UITM, inilah pertama kali beliau menjejakkan kaki ke Singapura dan keluar dari Kelantan untuk mempersembahkan seni klasik itu. Apabila Mak Yong diharamkan di Kelantan, beliau hanya mampu bermain di dalam teater ritual Main Peteri. Yang lebih membanggakan lagi Svarnabhumi Studio telah diundang ke Bangkok dan India serta mempersembahkan repertoire penuh Mak Yong di Esplanade, Singapura. Begitulah semaraknya Mak Yong di abad ke 21, semuga seni klasik ini terus kekal dan dicintai generasi muda kita. Syabas Istana Budaya, TEKA-UITM dan Fesival Magdalena!

Tak sia-sialah Tengku Long Ghaffar menubuhkan Kampung Seni Temenggung di Kota Bharu di awal 1900an, Primadona Cik Gemala mengajar Khadijah Awang dan Kumpulan Seri Temenggung di akhir 1960an, Khadijah Awang di Akademi Seni Kebangsaan dan PETRONAS atau Mek Nab di TEKA-UITM.

Dan di saat dan ketika sebeginilah, terkenang pula pada arwah Seniman Negara Khadijah Awang dan perjuangan seni Mak Yongnya serta kata-kata beliau pada saya “Jangan bimbang, Mak Yong takkan pupus, ia akan terus hidup”. Khadijah sendiri hanya mula bergiat belajar Mak Yong di akhir tahun 1960an, setelah hidupnya sudah dikurniakan beberapa orang zuriat, merasa tercabar apabila menonton persembahan-persembahan teater tari klasik dari negara-negara ASEAN dan kedaifan Mak Yong kita ketika itu. Persoalannya “Apakah kita sudah berjaya lari dari kedaifan itu?”