Oleh Syifarida Muhamad Zaki
Photo by Noor Azreen Awang
Serdang, Feb 12 (UPM) - For the first time, students from Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication (FBMK), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) organized a workshop on Malay kris, a type of asymmetrical dagger used as a weapon, to better understand its origin.
The workshop was also aimed to provide exposure to the public, in particular to the young generation pertaining to its arts and knowledge and therefore it would be able to change people’s general perceptions on its so-called superstitious myths that have often been associated with the traditional Malay weapon.
UPM Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dato' Dr. Mohd Fauzi Hj. Ramlan, said the FBMK students efforts in uplifting the Malay culture by organizing such a workshop has also helped in promoting the country to local and international tourists, in line with Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
"This workshop will introduce UPM to the public through Malay Heritage Museum, UPM, as a public higher education institution that preserves and maintains the country’s heritage.
"It is hoped that exposure given by kris experts today, will be able to affirm the facts with regards to the arts of kris-making as well as to rejuvenate the identity among the young Malay generation whose identity is getting lost in modernization," he said in his opening speech at the workshop which was held at Malay Heritage Museum, FMBK. UPM.
Malay Heritage Museum is a place that is also home to three traditional Malay houses, Tok Tonso, Kutai and Dato' Raja Diwangsa houses.
Those traditional houses, which have been re-erected at UPM, are expected to attract tourists to the museum and at the same time upholding culture-rich traditions in Malay custom.
The museum also carries its own identity by showcasing four sections of textiles, weapons, manuscripts and ceramics.
FBMK Dean, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Mua'ti @ Zamri Ahmad, said the workshop would also be the medium to highlight the uniqueness of kris that have many mystic stories behind them, as well as their aesthetic values.
As a kris collector and an expert, Dr. Mua’ti, apart from sharing knowledge with respect to arts of forging and carving, elements that are found in kris, preservation methods, taboos, he also explained about the prevalent misunderstandings in people’s perceptions when it comes to preserve the kris.
Driven by his great passion in Malay heritage, has eventually inspired him to create a kris gallery in the museum to be viewed by today and future generations.
Most of the kris in his collection have been obtained from Malaysia and Indonesia.
The following slot in the workshop was about Taming Sari: Keris Hang Tuah, which was presented by the Director of Perak Museum, Nor Jannati Ibrahim.
According to Jannati, many controversies have emerged disputing the authenticity of the kris, which currently belongs to Perak Museum, are due to today's generation is exposed to inaccurate information about the kris.
"Although the authenticity of Taming Sari is still being studied by various parties, Perak Museum is affirming that the kris is genuine," she said.
It is learned that the name Taming Sari is referred to a Javanese warrior who was defeated by Hang Tuah in a duel, after which the name Keris Taming Sari has been synonymous with the Malay society until today.
Keris Taming Sari is also one of the Perak regalia used in the coronation of a sultan. It is referred to as keris kuasa or bawar, a ceremonial kris that symbolizes power.
A total of 70 participants, mostly kris enthusiasts attended the workshop and at the end of the session, the participants had been shown with a demonstration of washing and preserving kris by Abdul Majid Bujang, also known as Pak Majid, the president of Selangor Seni Purba Nusantara Association (PURBA). - UPM
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan