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Indonesia and the Malay World ISSN: 1363-9811 (Print) 1469-8382 (Online) Journal homepage: <a href=http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cimw20 Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia Rusaslina Idrus To cite this article: Rusaslina Idrus (2016): Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Malay World, DOI: 10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 Published online: 17 Feb 2016. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 35 View related articles View Crossmark data Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=cimw20 Download by: [University of Saskatchewan Library] Date: 20 February 2016, At: 01:26 " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">

Indonesia and the Malay World

Indonesia and the Malay World ISSN: 1363-9811 (Print) 1469-8382 (Online) Journal homepage: <a href=http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cimw20 Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia Rusaslina Idrus To cite this article: Rusaslina Idrus (2016): Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Malay World, DOI: 10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 Published online: 17 Feb 2016. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 35 View related articles View Crossmark data Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=cimw20 Download by: [University of Saskatchewan Library] Date: 20 February 2016, At: 01:26 " id="pdf-obj-0-6" src="pdf-obj-0-6.jpg">

ISSN: 1363-9811 (Print) 1469-8382 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cimw20

Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia

Rusaslina Idrus

To cite this article: Rusaslina Idrus (2016): Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Malay World, DOI:

  • Published online: 17 Feb 2016.

Indonesia and the Malay World ISSN: 1363-9811 (Print) 1469-8382 (Online) Journal homepage: <a href=http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cimw20 Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia Rusaslina Idrus To cite this article: Rusaslina Idrus (2016): Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Malay World, DOI: 10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 Published online: 17 Feb 2016. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 35 View related articles View Crossmark data Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=cimw20 Download by: [University of Saskatchewan Library] Date: 20 February 2016, At: 01:26 " id="pdf-obj-0-32" src="pdf-obj-0-32.jpg">
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INDONESIA AND THE MALAY WORLD, 2016

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135

INDONESIA AND THE MALAY WORLD, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135
INDONESIA AND THE MALAY WORLD, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135

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Multicultural Hang Tuah: Cybermyth and popular history making in Malaysia

Rusaslina Idrus

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

     

ABSTRACT

The legend of Hang Tuah plays a prominent role in the ofcial Malay-centric history of Malaysia. Hang Tuah, a warrior of the 15th-century Malaccan royal court, represents the perfect Malay subject and, to this day, continues to be an icon for Malay nationalism. In the cybersphere, there are heated discussions of an alleged government conspiracy to conceal the trueidentity of this Malay folk hero. According to a myth circulating in the cybersphere, DNA analysis of ancient graves revealed that Hang Tuah was actually Chinese. This article examines the signicance of this cybermyth, situating the phenomenon within the current context and political discourse. I explore how the myth of the Chinese Hang Tuah has created an entry point and space for discussions on issues such as rights, belonging and entitlement that are otherwise not available in the public sphere. I suggest in circulating and debating this myth, the public is reinterpreting a multicultural Hang Tuah and participating in an act of history

 

making.

making.

KEYWORDS

Cybersphere; Hang Tuah; Internet; myth; popular history making

Introduction: the epic hero

Hang Tuah is the legendary hero of Malaysia. Like Beowulf is to the Anglo-Saxons, and Achilles to the Greeks, Hang Tuah is the epic hero of the Malay world. His adventures are regaled in the Malay romance known as Hikayat Hang Tuah and also featured in the Malaccan sultanate court chronicle Sulalatus Salatin or Sejarah Melayu. 1 In these court texts, set in 14th-and 15th-century Malacca, we learned about Hang Tuahs many feats and exploits. He was the Sultans trusted aide and brave warrior. He was good looking, eloquent, multilingual, skilled in martial arts, cunning and resourceful. He served as a naval commander for the Malaccan eet and travelled widely as emissary for the maritime kingdom. A recurring theme in the tales concerning Hang Tuah was his unwavering and unquestioning loyalty to the Sultan. In a Malay feudal society, this makes Hang Tuah the perfect subject.

INDONESIA AND THE MALAY WORLD, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639811.2015.1133135 Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20Rusaslina@um.edu.my There are several versions of Sejarah Melayu as well as Hikayat Hang Tuah . The most popular Sejarah Melayu version in Malaysia, edited by Abdul Samad Ahmad ( 1979 ) was based on a text compiled in 1536, revised in 1612 and edited from a manuscript written in 1808. For further discussion, see V. Braginsky ( 2004 : 92 – 3) for dates and recensions and Braginsky ( 2004 : 186 – 98) for contents as cited in the Malay Concordance Project, < http://mcp.anu.edu.au/N/SM_bib.html > © 2016 Editors, Indonesia and the Malay World " id="pdf-obj-1-67" src="pdf-obj-1-67.jpg">

CONTACT Rusaslina Idrus Rusaslina@um.edu.my 1 There are several versions of Sejarah Melayu as well as Hikayat Hang Tuah. The most popular Sejarah Melayu version in Malaysia, edited by Abdul Samad Ahmad (1979) was based on a text compiled in 1536, revised in 1612 and edited from a manuscript written in 1808. For further discussion, see V. Braginsky (2004: 923) for dates and recensions and Braginsky (2004: 18698) for contents as cited in the Malay Concordance Project, <http://mcp.anu.edu.au/N/SM_bib.html>

© 2016 Editors, Indonesia and the Malay World

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This loyalty was best illustrated through the pivotal story of the standoff between Hang Tuah and his best friend, Hang Jebat. The story starts with Hang Tuah being framed for having an affair with a lady of the palace by factions in the royal court that were jealous of his special standing with the Sultan. The Sultan ordered that Hang Tuah be executed, but unbeknownst to all, the bendahara (chief minister) sent Hang Tuah into hiding. Hang Jebat went on a rampage at the palace to avenge his friends death. The Sultan regretted his decision in ordering Hang Tuahs execution as Hang Tuah was the only one that could defeat Hang Jebat. The bendahara revealed that Hang Tuah was still alive and the warrior was summoned to kill Hang Jebat. In a tragic climax of the story, Hang Tuah killed his best friend, Hang Jebat, in the name of his loyalty to the Sultan. Hang Tuah was an exemplary subject in his steadfast loyalty to the ruler. Aside from being a model of good behaviour, the legend of Hang Tuah and the stories of the glory days of the Malaccan empire are important politically as they afrm the central role of the Malay sultanate and the Malays in the ofcial narrative of Malaysian history. Hang Tuah, the loyal and brave Malay warrior, protector of the Malay sultanate, is an important symbol of Malay cultural survival and identity (Maier 1999; Muhammad Haji Salleh 2011). This folk hero persists to be relevant in contemporary times, often evoked in discussions about Malay rights and nationalism. As articulated by National Lit- erary Laureate Muhammad Haji Salleh (2011: i) in his introduction to a translation of Hikayat Hang Tuah:

[W]hile Hang Tuah has been present in the minds of the Malays for at least the last six cen- turies, he is still very much alive there today, as their symbol of self sacrice, achievement, patriotism and, not least, as the foremost symbol of their survival Renewed passion for him and what he means surges to the surface when Malays feel threatened in one way or another militarily or even economically.

In this article, I examine a new circulating myth of origin about Hang Tuah that is actively debated in the cybersphere. According to this myth, which I will refer to here as the cyber- myth, the Malay hero Hang Tuah was actually Chinese. I will show how in this new interpretation, Hang Tuah has transcended the ethnic divide, not only being a relevant gure for Malay nationalism, but being appropriated by different ethnic groups to chal- lenge the Malay-centric narrative of ofcial Malaysian history. I suggest these contentious and competing stories of origin parallels discourses of rights and belonging in contempor- ary Malaysia. In some ways, Hang Tuahs ambiguous ethnicity is representative of a richly diverse multicultural Malaysia. I will also show how the reinterpreted legend of Hang Tuah, circulated through the internet, and the discussion surrounding this new lore has provided an entry point and an alternative public space to discuss issues of ethnic politics and citizenship. This space is particularly important in a country where there is limited room for such debate. In Malaysia, one risks sedition charges if deemed to be questioning Malay rights and upsetting the delicate ethnic politics balancing act. At the time of the email circulation, in the early millennium, the Internet was a relatively new space of activism and seen as a safe arena for alternative discourses (Postill 2014; Tan and Zawawi 2009). In more recent years, however, the authorities have started to watch the cyberspace more closely and laws have been created to police the cybersphere (Weiss 2012). However, the Internet is still an important and thriving space for alternative discourses in Malaysia.

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In order to understand why issues of ethnicity in Malaysia can be politically conten- tious, one has to understand the countrys political and social history. A former British colony, the multiethnic make-up of the country can be traced to two factors. The rst is the fact that Malaysia is part of an archipelago in which movements of peoples have long been ongoing due to trade and migration. Fifteenth-century Malacca was a cosmo- politan city, with traders from the world over in residence (Reid 1995). The second factor is related to British migration policy which saw a massive movement of Chinese and Indian communities into the Malay peninsula to meet the labour needs of the colony in mid 19th-century. The British ruled Malaya with a divide and conquer policy, afrming ethnic divisions through their economic policies that designated Malays as farmers, the Chinese as miners (and businessmen) and the Indians as plantation workers (Hirschman 1986). This caused sharp ethnic divisions among the different groups relegated to the various labour spheres. The British viewed the Malays as the natives of the land and provided special protection to this group. This colonial legacy lives on in post-colonial Malaysia where the politics and policies are still shaped along ethnic divisions. Major political parties are also divided along ethnic groups, which further afrms the communalistic politics of the country. One argument for this communalistic model was to allow for a balanced representation of the interests of the different communities. However, massive economic inequality and divisive otheringpolitics resulted in ethnic conicts marked tragically with the 1969 ethnic riots. The New Economic Policy (NEP) was insti- tuted in 1971 designed to address this tension and bring about more equal economic pros- perity. Quotas and special privilege were instituted to uplift the Malay and other indigenous groups out of poverty and to narrow the economic and class gap. Originally intended to operate as an afrmative action policy meant to balance economic disparity between ethnic groups, this policy has been misused to argue for innate special privileges for Malays and discriminate against others, causing further ssure among the different ethnic groups (Gomez and Saravanamuttu 2012). Malaysia, currently, has a population of 28 million comprising four major ethnic groups Malay (54.6%), Chinese (24.6%), Indian (7.3%) and non-Malay Indigenous min- orities (12.8%). 2 In some ways, the balancing act has worked in maintaining a peaceful multicultural society, where the diversity is celebrated. However, there remains underlying tension with regards to economic disparity and unequal rights (Maznah Mohamad 2009). In the last decade too, there has been an intensication of politicization of religion, further compounding Islam with Malay rights, thus any challenge to Malay privilege is seen as a challenge to Islam (Maznah Mohamad 2009) In line with this focus on championing Malay rights and privilege, ofcial history books emphasise Malay and Islamic civilisation as the founding story of the nation (Ting 2009b). The contributions and important roles of non-Malays are often sidelined in the national narrative. It is within this context that the myth of the Chinese Hang Tuah emerged. In this article I discuss how the appropriation of Hang Tuah, the Malay warrior, now Chinese in origin, is an attempt to destabilise and challenge the ofcial Malay-centric history of Malaysia. I illustrate how an anthropological study of such a myth, which at

2 Those in the Others/Lain-laincategory (0.7%) make up the rest of the population (Department of Statistics of Malaysia 2011: 15). Of the total Malaysian population, 91.8% are citizens and 8.2% non-citizens (Department of Statistics 2011: 5).

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rst glance may be dismissed as just a passing hoax, allows for a greater understanding of the different ways dominant historical narratives are challenged and how counter narra- tives are produced. The cybermyth provides a platform where different histories and epis- temologies coincide and compete as the public participates in history making.

The multiplicity of Hang Tuah

The heroic legend of Hang Tuah has had an everlasting appeal, told and retold in many forms, from theatre productions to childrens comic books to box ofce movies. It is also the subject of many academic studies. The focus has largely been on Hang Tuahs role as a model of good behaviour and his complex relationship with Hang Jebat, his com- patriot turned nemesis (Khoo 2006; Maier 1999; Muhammad Haji Salleh 2003, 2011; van der Putten and Barnard 2007; Shaharuddin Maaruf 1984). The pivotal story of the conict between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat is a persistent trope often used to discuss the question of justice and loyalty in the Malay community (Ho 2013: 162; Khoo 2006; Muhammad Haji Salleh 2011;). 3 As with any folk story, the legend of Hang Tuah has been reinterpreted in many ways over the years (de Josselin de Jong 1965; van der Putten and Barnard 2007). In the 1920s and 1930s, the tales of Hang Tuah were popularised through the local theatre called bang- sawan which is a term referring to the Malay elite and royalty, a favourite subject for these plays. Also known as Malay opera, bangsawan was the rst form of urban commercial theatre in Malaya. The tales in the bangsawan theatre also drew from the Hikayat Hang Tuah. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Hang Tuah the great native warrior served as a unifying nationalistic gure in the colonised nation on the brink of independence (van der Putten and Barnard 2007). Hang Tuah was the subject of many comic books and the rst lm in colour produced in Malaya in 1956, with the renowned Malaysian actor P. Ramlee in the lead. In early post-independence Malaya, a socialist interpretation of Hang Tuah emerged, questioning Hang Tuahs loyalty to the unjust ruler. In this era, it was Hang Jebat, Hang Tuahs compatriot turned nemesis, who was touted as the hero. Kassim Ahmad is regarded as one of the rst to criticise Hang Tuahs actions and to favour Hang Jebat as the hero (Khoo 2006). Following this, other movies and plays also represented Jebat as the hero and questioned Hang Tuahs blind loyalty, such as in the distinguished musical drama by National Laureate Usman Awang staged in 1961, Matinya seorang pahlwan, Jebat (The death of a warrior, Jebat). 4 At the end of the 20th century, with the resurgence of Malay special rights discourse, Hang Tuah returned in his role as the staunch Malay nationalist. The famous statement attributed to Hang Tuah, Takkan Melayu hilang di dunia (Never shall the Malays cease to be), is the rallying cry for the Malay nationalist party, United Malays National Organ- isation (UMNO). In actuality, this celebrated statement does not appear anywhere in Hikayat Hang Tuah (Milner 1995: 102, 112) and is more likely to have originated in a

3 For example, in the 1980s, Prime Minister Mahathir was labelled Hang Jebat because of his move to curtail the powers of the Malaysian monarchy. In the late 1990s, however, during the conict between Prime Minister Mahathir and his deputy Anwar Ibrahim, it was Anwar Ibrahim who was called Hang Jebat for challenging his superior. 4 See Khoo (2011) for a detailed discussion on popular representations of the Hang Tuah-Hang Jebat conict in lms and plays and pp. 2078 for a summary.

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bangsawan play in the 1920s (van der Putten and Barnard 2007: 246). More recently, Hang Tuah has been written into the narrative of Malay special rights by ultra-Malay national- ists who reinterpret his defence of the Malay sultanate as a defence of the special position of the Malays. In 2013, the Malay supremacy group Perkasa (Persatuan Primbumi Perkasa) in defence of the Internal Security Act (which was under repeal) likened the law that allowed for detention without trial to the Taming Sari, Hang Tuahs legendary dagger, serving as a weaponto protect Malay special rights from being challenged (Yow 2011). In 21st-century Malaysia, Hang Tuah is by no means a forgotten hero as he continues to be in active circulation. The Hang Tuah name is ever present in the landscape of the country: from street signs and stadiums to museums and subway stations. There is an annual state-sponsored award to honour a child for an act of bravery called the Hang Tuah Medal. Hang Tuahs alleged gravesite in Malacca is a tourist attraction that includes a mini exhibition about Hang Tuahs deeds and at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur, a relief of Hang Tuah prominently greets visitors to the museum. In Malacca, the depiction of Hang Tuah as the paragon of Malay chivalryin museum displays and public exhibitions represent the state discourse of the centrality of the Malay sultanate to the region (Worden 2003: 33). While ofcial representation mostly tends to depict Hang Tuah as the exemplary warrior, his nal standoff with Hang Jebat continues to open up a discussion on loyalty and courage who was right and presents a more ambivalent hero (Worden 2003: 334). The legend of Hang Tuah also continues to appear in many popular forms including lms and books. A dashing and romantic Hang Tuah appeared in the 2004 movie (and later, theatre production) of Puteri Gunung Ledang. In 2010, Hang Tuah was portrayed by popular comedian Saiful Apek in the movie Magika. The warrior also made an appear- ance in 2010 in Nasi lemak 2.0, a multilingual comedy made by Namewee, a young Malay- sian director. Namewee is a director with a reputation as a provocateur on issues of ethnic relations in Malaysia; the inclusion of a Chinese Hang Tuah, even if eeting in this lm, can be interpreted as an intervention in questioning Hang Tuahs ethnic identity. The late Yasmin Ahmad, a well respected lmmaker, whose lms brilliantly juggles issues of ethnic and religious identities, was the rst to discuss the issue of Hang Tuahs identity as Chinese in her 2004 movie, Sepet. Aside from the newer lms, the old P. Ramlee movie continues to be popular and is often replayed on national television. Representations of Hang Tuah in these movies, more than in the Sejarah Melayu or Hikayat Hang Tuah, are more likely to be in the minds of young Malaysians. The continued reverence of Hang Tuah and his sacred status as a symbol of Malay iden- tity was highlighted in 2011 when a seemingly innocent television advertisement depicting Hang Tuah won over with a chocolate bar sparked controversy as it was deemed to be dis- respectful to the great Hang Tuah and ultimately the Malays. A letter to the editor of Berita Harian (2011), described the advertisement as mocking the dignity of the Malay race(mempersenda maruah bangsa kita). Following public pressure, the advertisement was later edited to remove any references to Hang Tuah. In January 2012, Hang Tuah again became a subject of heated national debate. A pro- minent historian, Emeritus Professor Khoo Kay Kim, made a statement questioning Hang Tuahs very existence. According to Professor Khoo, the stories of Hang Tuah (and Hang Li Po) were just myths because there were no reliable written records of their existence

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Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20 February 2016 6 RUSASLINA IDRUS (Sivanandam 2012http://www.malaysia-today.net/more-records-proving-existence-of-hang-tuah-may- be-hidden-in-new-delhi/ >; New Straits Times Online, ‘ Did Hang Tuah meet Leonardo da Vinci? ’ , 5 December 2015, < http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/12/115660/did-hang-tuah-meet-leonardo-da-vinci > and Utusan Online, ‘ Lagi bukti Hang Tuah wujud, bukan sekadar mitos ’ , 5 December. < http://www.utusan.com.my/berita/nasional/lagi-bukti- hang-tuah-wujud-bukan-sekadar-mitos-1.165788 > An Internet search for such an association loops back to the conspiracy story. " id="pdf-obj-6-4" src="pdf-obj-6-4.jpg">
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(Sivanandam 2012). This created heated public discussions on the Internet and social media networks. Some scholars also weighed in on this debate (see for example Rashvin- jeet 2012). Another historian, Professor Emeritus Mohd Yusoff Hashim, countered Pro- fessor Khoos statement, arguing that [i]f we deny the existence of Hang Tuah, then we are also denying the history of the Malays(Utusan Online 2012). The continuing public discussions 5 illustrate how Hang Tuah continues to be an important symbol of Malay culture and identity, and for some, he has become coterminous with Malay identity and cultural survival. These incidents underscore the entrenched position of Hang Tuah as a symbol of Malay pride, not just as a state discourse, but also one that is embraced by the Malay community at large. This is signicant as it points to why the new myth of the Chinese Hang Tuah is particularly powerful as it appropriates a key symbol of Malay iden- tity in an attempt to retell an alternative history of Malaysia.

The cybermyth

Around 2004, though possibly earlier, an email titled The Truth Revealedbegan circulat- ing in the Malaysian cybersphere. As the title implies, the email tells of a conspiracy a government cover-up concealing the trueidentity of Malaysias most famous folk hero, Hang Tuah. There are several versions circulating, but the story is basically as follows. In 1998, the Malaysian government commissioned an international team of scien- tists to analyse the graves of Hang Tuah and his compatriots. DNA analysis conducted by a team of scientists, archaeologists, historians and other technical staff from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Yemen and Russiarevealed that the much revered 15th-century Malay warrior was actually Chinese. The email claims that the Malaysian government concealed this shocking revelation and has since erased Hang Tuah from history textbooks. The email further explains that Hang Tuah and his compatriots were Muslim Chinese who had been sent by the Emperor of China to Malacca to protect the ungrateful Malay Sultanatefrom the kingdom of Siam. In one version, to further bolster the scienticauthority of the alleged research, a reference is made to The Federal Association of Arc & Research of Michigan, USA. 6 The original author of this email is unknown and there are now several versions of this email in circulation. I rst received an email containing this intriguing revelation in 2005. Since then, I have received it several more times, most recently in 2010 through a MalaysianSingaporean email forum. The active circulation of this email suggests that this cyber myth is alive and well. This story has also been posted on multiple online forums, where it spurred heated debates and long discussions. A Google search in December 2012 using the key words Hang Tuah is Chinesegenerated 778,000 hits. There is denitely much public interest in this story.

5 See, for example, the following websites: Malaysia Today on More records proving existence of Hang Tuah may be hidden in New Delhi, 3 December 2015, <http://www.malaysia-today.net/more-records-proving-existence-of-hang-tuah-may- be-hidden-in-new-delhi/>; New Straits Times Online, Did Hang Tuah meet Leonardo da Vinci?, 5 December 2015, <http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/12/115660/did-hang-tuah-meet-leonardo-da-vinci> and Utusan Online, Lagi bukti Hang Tuah wujud, bukan sekadar mitos, 5 December. <http://www.utusan.com.my/berita/nasional/lagi-bukti-

6 An Internet search for such an association loops back to the conspiracy story.

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This cybermyth is fascinating for many reasons. The rst is how the story of Hang Tuah is reinterpreted and given a new twist: Hang Tuah, the Malay warrior, is now Chinese. The second is the use of the Internet in circulating this myth. What is also interesting is the persistent circulation of this email over many years and the active discussion surrounding the story in cyberspace. The third is the use of science, particularly archaeology and DNA identication technology and the reference to the team of international scientists, as evi- dence to back up the story and provide it some form of authenticity. Here, I will focus on the circulation of this email and the public discourse of ethnic politics that emerged from the debate over the origins of Hang Tuah. Why study a viral email? Many scholars do not consider such information worthy of attention. For example, Muhammad Haji Salleh (2003: 21) noted: There is a hypothesis that Hang Tuah is really Hang Too Ah an ethnic Chinese this is an interesting postu- lation, but unfortunately such claims just reect the tendency in Malaysia to make a claim without having to read the Hikayat Hang Tuah itself or other basic texts on the subject matter.7 Yusoff Hashim, who has written books and articles on Malay history and Hang Tuah, suggests that such claims are problematic as they are based on oral history. He cites Sejarah Melayu as the only true historically valid source dealing with Hang Tuah (Koay 2004) 8 . Such alternative retellings of established stories are therefore seen as irrelevant to the real historical factsto which scholars pay attention. In both these claims there is an assumption that the texts provide absolute facts, but as it has been pointed out by many scholars, the historicity of Sejarah Melayu, Hikayat Hang Tuah and other court texts are also debatable (Braginsky 2004; Chambert-Loir 2005). Indeed, these are political text used to afrm the position of the empire or sultanate (Braginsky 2004). Henri Chambert-Loir (2005: 137) in his textual analysis of Sejarah Melayu describes the stories as political myths. When I tell people my research topic, the inevitable question I am asked is whether Hang Tuah was really Chinese. I should make it clear at this point that my interest is not in uncovering the trueethnicity of Hang Tuah, but rather in exploring the circulation of this myth and the discussions it generates. What prompted the discussion of the myth and what sustained the publics interest in discussing and circulating it? What can we learn in looking closer at this reinterpreted myth? I draw upon interviews, online forums and discussions via emails to answer these questions. I suggest that focusing on this viral email provides an interesting entry point to the study of public discourse on ethnic politics and rights in Malaysia and also to the exam- ination of the role of myths in history making. As Alan Dundes (1984: 1) argues, myth may constitute the highest form of truth, albeit in metaphorical guise. This cybermyth and its circulation should be understood as a form of alternative knowledge production that serves to challenge the existing mainstream narratives. The cybersphere allows for wide transmission and circulation of a counter narrative while affording a safe place for discussion.

7 Original statement in Malay:

Terdapat suatu warkah yang membuat hipotesis bahawa Hang Tuah itu sebenarnya Hang Tu Ah berketur- unan Cina sebuah pandangan yang menarik, tetapi sayang, hanya membayangkan kecenderungan Malaysia, iaitu memberi pendapat tanpa membaca Hikayat Hang Tuah itu sendiri, atau teks dasar lainnya yang perlu. 8 In a more recent essay however, Muhammad Haji Salleh (2013) turns to Internet sources to discuss the origins of Hang Tuah. He described the Internet claims as a form of oral history or partial oral history(Muhammad Haji Salleh 2013: 25).

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Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20 February 2016 8 RUSASLINA IDRUS Circulation andhttp:// www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/archive/index.php/t-5986.html > For more Orang Asli stories about Hang Tuah, see Andaya ( 2008 : 229 – 30). See < https://sejarahhangtuah.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/hang-tuah-bukan-dari-keturunan-cina-tapi-india-khoja/ > " id="pdf-obj-8-4" src="pdf-obj-8-4.jpg">
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Circulation and counter narrative

In the Hikayat Hang Tuah, Hang Tuah was born in Sungai Duyung and later, with his parents moved to Bentan, before being taken into service by the Sultan of Malacca. The exact location of Sungai Duyung is not stated in the Hikayat. There are many different claims to the possible location of Sungai Duyung, ranging from in Malacca, Riau, Tereng- ganu and Palembang (Muhammad Haji Salleh 2013. The most popular story of origin in Malaysia is that Hang Tuah was born in a Malay village called Sungai Duyong located in what is now the Central Malacca District. There is an ancient well in the village said to be dug by Hang Tuah, and more recently a heritage complex named the Hang Tuah Centre was built to further afrm Malaccas claim to Hang Tuahs birthplace. Another popular origin story, derived from one of the many versions of Sejarah Melayu, presents Hang Tuah as Bugis originating from Makassar (Sulawesi, now part of Indonesia). In this version, the Raja of Gowa from Makassar presented Hang Tuah to the Sultan of Malacca as a gesture of goodwill. In Indonesia, Hang Tuah is also comme- morated with universities, schools and streets named after him. In a promotion poster for a book on Hang Tuah published in Indonesia, one author lamented the fact that the Malay warrior from Makassaris better remembered in Malaysia than in Indonesia. 9 The rumour that Hang Tuah was really Chinese is not new. I heard this as a child growing up in Malaysia, and it has also been referred to in popular culture, for example, in Yasmin Ahmads 2004 movie, Sepet. It is uncertain when these claims started. According to this group, the name Hang Too Ah sounds uncannily Chinese and suggests that he might have been related to Hang Li Po, the famous Chinese princess who was sent to Malacca by a Chinese emperor in the 15th century to marry the sultan. Too Ah means big brotherin a Chinese dialect. Aside from the emails mentioned, there is also an essay circulated online (by an author under the name Shahabudeen Jalil) 10 that hypothesises Hang Tuah was a descendant of Hang Li Po, a Chinese princess. According to that essay, Hang Too Ahs compatriots had Chinese sounding names Hang Zhee Fatt, Hang Lee Kiew and Hang Li Ker thus making them all plausibly from China. There are also other competing origin stories for Hang Tuah. Working with the Orang Asli (an indigenous minority), I was made aware of a different Hang Tuah origin story in which he came from the Orang Laut clan, who were instrumental in helping Parameswara build the Malaccan empire. In his book, Leaves of the same tree, Leonard Andaya discusses how Hang Tuah appears in many Orang Asli legends. For example, in Semai lore, Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat are Orang Asli brothers (Andaya 2008: 229). 11 In Hikayat Hang Tuah, the story ends with Hang Tuah disappearing into the forests of Perak and becoming the leader of the forest people(Muhammad Haji Salleh 2011). There are also claims that he was not Chinese but Indian Muslim. 12 In one blog site called Sejarah Hang Tuah, the author claimed that Hang Tuah was Indian as it was common at the time for people from the royal court to be of Indian Muslim descent (referred to as Khoja). Another claim to Hang Tuahs origin is that he was from Kelantan

9 Based on picture of the poster (taken by a colleague travelling in Indonesia in 2011). 10 This essay has been circulated in different forums. The original website no longer exists (allegedly closed down due to its seditious contents) but the essay can be found on the United Subang Jaya Web Forum: Is Hang Tuah Chinese? <http://

11 For more Orang Asli stories about Hang Tuah, see Andaya (2008: 22930). 12 See <https://sejarahhangtuah.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/hang-tuah-bukan-dari-keturunan-cina-tapi-india-khoja/>

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and related to the legendary Kelantanese leader Cik Siti Wan Kembang. 13 Not only has he been said to have many different ethnicities and nationalities, but in an article in the Malaysian magazine Mastika (2006: 103), Hang Tuah is even claimed to have been a woman! Hang Tuah, the quintessential Malay warrior, has the elusive ability to transform himself into many different personas. From the 15th to the 21st centuries, he has been appropriated by different groups. Herein lies Hang Tuahs everlasting appeal and sus- tained popularity; different communities are able to identify with and want to lay claim to him. He represents different things to different people. But what does it mean to be a Malayicon? Volumes have been written to unpack the category of Melayu/Malayand the meaning of Malayness (see Andaya 2008; Barnard 2004a; Maznah Mohamad and Aljunied 2011). These ethnic categories are not static. Being Malay during the Malaccan sultanate meant something different from being Malay during the post-independence era. According to Anthony Reid (2004), the Sejarah Melayu uses the term Melayu/Malay mostly to refer to the kings and customs or to indicate royal lineage. Once Malacca was established as a Muslim kingdom, the term Melayu/Malay was used interchangeably to refer to the people from Malacca or des- cendants and clients of the Malaccan sultanate. The idea of Malay as a dened racial or ethnic category was a much later development that occurred during the 19th century (Reid 2004). Maznah Mohamad and Aljunied (2011: xiv), see Melayu as a signier that brings to mind a whole array of associations places, languages, families, communities, nation- states, cultural symbols, events, texts, collectives, political parties and religious beliefs. One of the books contributors, Henk Maier (2011: 321), points out the irony that while Malay nationalists hang on to Hang Tuah as a symbol of iconic homogeneity, Hikayat Hang Tuah actually reveals a more ambivalent and heterogeneous Malay. This heterogeneity is conrmed by Hang Tuah in the Hikayat in response to a remark about the purity of the Malaccan Malays, he claries that We are Malays, but also kacukan(Barnard 2004b: 108). In this context, kacukan means mixed or hybrid. Here, I argue that in this cybermyth and the discussions surrounding it, Hang Tuah reveals his multicultural Malaysian identity: he is not just a heterogeneous Malaybut in fact seemingly at ease to belong to different ethnic groups Hang Tuah is ethnically ambiguous and diverse. While ethnicity is an important marker in contemporary Malaysia, many Malaysians are similarly heterogeneous as Hang Tuah as they can trace their ancestry to different ethnic origins. It is not uncommon for a Malaysian to be able to lay claim to Chinese, Indian, and Malay ancestry all at the same time. The expressions rojak (mixed salad) or campur (mixed up)similar to the concept of kacukan used by Hang Tuah are often used to describe ones hybrid ancestry in Malaysia. Many Malaysians are proud of their rojak-ness, but for others there are political reasons for keeping their hybridity quiet or for only highlighting an afliation with a certain eth- nicity or culture. Former Prime Minister Mahathir, for example, has been accused of dis- tancing himself from his Indian ancestry (Willford 2007: 262). With political parties and certain privileges linked to ones ethnicity, the state continues to foster more static notions

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of ethnicity. Hybridity complicates this picture and is therefore undesirable. The debate surrounding Hang Tuahs ambiguous ethnicity reects an ongoing local discourse that challenges the seemingly xed and potentially divisive and static ethnicity championed by the state.

Myths, history, and cyberspace

Myth and history are usually thought of as contradictory. If a story is true, it is history, and if it is false, it is a myth. However, this distinction obfuscates the interdependency of myth and history and that one cannot exist without the other (Heech 1994; Hill 1998; Munz 1956: 1). Myths, like tradition, play an important role in nation building, providing a shared sense of identity and community (Hobsbawn 1983: 13). In The Sulalat al- Salatin as a political myth,Chambert-Loir (2005: 139) states:

Myth, as history, is a story of the past, but a past imaginary, idealized, constructed as a means of providing the ruling dynasty with the sacral basis of its power. Therefore it is a story whose constituents or symbolic meaning can be forgotten or distorted as soon as the logic of the myth is no longer understood.

The reinterpretation of the Hang Tuah myth is simultaneously a subversive and nationa- listic act. Hang Tuah remains an important gure in nation building but has been reinter- preted to reect a different vision of a nation. Whether or not Hang Tuah really existed is irrelevant (at least for the purposes of this article), but what is more interesting is in understanding what he meant to different groups of people at different periods in time. Studying myths within the context of specic time and space, allows us to say something about the people we are studying their sense of identity and how they make sense of the world around them. As pointed out by Jonathan Friedman (1992: 194), The discourse of history as well of myth is simultaneously a discourse of identity; it consists of attributing a meaningful past to a structured present.As mentioned earlier, a feature of this new version of the Hang Tuah myth is the use of DNA analysis as evidence. The popularity of television programmes such as CSI and Bones has made DNA analysis and forensic science familiar in Malaysia. Malaysians are also acquainted with DNA testing because of high prole court cases, such as the former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahims sodomy trials. The reference to DNA testing in the Hang Tuah claim is meant to bolster it by presenting scientic evidence involving an international team of scientists. This cybermyth speaks to a generation that honours science as truth. As highlighted by Smith and Wagner (2007: 35), primetime shows like CSI thrive on the publics fascination with the seemingly magical crime-solving powers of forensic science, and they help construct the assumption that DNA testing will deliver unequivocal truths in a messy world. With the mainstream media in Malaysia being highly controlled by the government, an important alternative news source and for sharing it is provided by cyberspace. It is power- ful terrain for resistance, since it is outside hegemonic control. The post-1999 period also coincided with the Reformasi era that saw the rise of the civil rights movement in Malaysia, the proliferation of online news portals and bloggers providing alternative news and view- points (Tan and Zawawi 2009).

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Cyberspace is an exciting, relatively, new site of inquiry for anthropologists. The last decade witnessed some ground-breaking ethnographies of the digital world (e.g. Boell- storff 2008; Miller and Slater 2001; Nardi 2010; Postill 2011). This included studies that analyse the power relations and subalternsuse of the Internet (e.g. Bernal 2005; Fluri 2006; Ginsburg 1994). An important contribution made by some of the earlier anthropo- logical studies on the Internet was to dismantle the boundary and hierarchy between online and ofine worlds (Wilson and Peterson 2002: 454). Agre (1999: 4) argues, [s]o long as we persist in opposing so-called virtual communities to face-to face communities of the mythical opposite extreme, we miss the ways in which real communities of practice employ a whole ecology of media as they think together about the matters that concern them(cited in Wilson and Peterson 2002: 456). Tom Boellstorff (2008: 238) makes the case that virtual worlds are distinct domains of human beingsthat deserved to be studied on their own terms. However, here he is refer- ring specically to the kinds of virtual worldswith self-contained worldnesssuch as Second Life (Boellstorff et al. 2012: 7). He makes clear this is differs from networked environments, such as social networking sites and community chat rooms, where it remains critical to understand the ofine context as these sites derive signicance from a direct relationship to the actual world(Boellstorff 2008: 238 cited in Postill 2010; Boell- storff et al. 2012: 7). In this article, I will be looking at networked environments such as community online forums, and situating these virtual conversations within their ofine socio-political and historical context.

Socio-political and historical context

In deciphering the signicance of the Hang Tuah was Chinesecybermyth, it is important to know what was happening in Malaysia during the time of the email circulation. Looking back at the last decade and a half, there have been worrying trends in the rise of ultra- Malay nationalism and the politicisation of ethnicity and religion. These issues were a dominant part of the public discourse at the time. One event at the time of the cyber mail circulation that illustrated this was the govern- ments response to the 1999 Suqui electoral memorandum from the Malalysian Chinese Associations Election Appeal Committee. This memorandum signed by 2,000 Chinese associations, called for, among other things, the abolition of the bumiputera/non-bumipu- tera (indigenous vs non-indigenous) distinction and for the 1971 NEP (National Econ- omic Policy) to be replaced by a needs-based afrmative action policy. This occurred just before a crucial national election when the opposition parties were gaining traction. UMNO Youth, 14 the most powerful Malay nationalist organisation, protested, calling the appeal seditious and pressured the Suqui committee to withdraw some of the requests (Lee 2002: 1845; Ting 2009a). Prime Minister Mahathir angrily called the appeal black- mail(Lee 2002: 184). Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) became a rallying call for the ultra-Malay nationalists in UMNO, warning non-Malays not to disturb the hornetsnest. 15 This thinly veiled directive to non-Malays not to question Malay rights was a

14 Youth wing of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). 15 Deputy chairperson Badruddin Amiruldin made this statement at the UMNO General Assembly in 2004 while waving a book about May 13, warning that if it were disturbed, these hornets will strike and destroy the country(Gatsiounis 2004). Many UMNO leaders repeated this sentiment during UMNO assemblies and also in public forums.

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recurring theme in UMNO meetings. At the 2005 UMNO General Assembly, Hisham- muddin Hussein, chairman of the UMNO youth wing, brandished a kris (the weapon of choice for Hang Tuah) in a display of the defence of Malay supremacy. Another issue hotly debated since the early 2000s is the new history textbooks for sec- ondary schools in Malaysia published between 2002 and 2004. The history of Malaysia taught in schools is very Malay-centric and begins with the glory days of the Malaccan empire (of which Hang Tuah was a part). This has become the ofcial national history, silencing the role of the diverse communities in making Malaysia what it is today. Chinese and Indian pioneers and nationalists no longer play a prominent role in the of- cial Malaysian history. The Orang Asli indigenous groups are virtually non-existent. A review conducted by various experts showed that the textbooks were heavily biased and focused mostly on Malay culture and Islam. A report conducted by the Centre of Malay- sian Chinese Studies and the Nanyang University Alumni Association found that 80% of the textbooks focused on the Malays, 16% on Chinese and 8% on Indians. In the Form Four secondary school 16 textbooks, ve out of ten chapters were about Islam, with only three pages mentioning other religions (CPI 2011). The creep of Malay supremacist ideology into textbooks has alarmed the public and politicians alike. The ketuanan Melayu concept made its rst appearance in school text- books in the Form Three and Form Five history texts (Ting 2009b). These history texts marginalise the important contributions of non-Malays in nation building. There are repeated references to Indians and Chinese as pendatang (migrants), orang dagang (traders) or orang asing (foreigners) whom the Malays allowed to stay. They are depicted as eager to partake in the wealth of the nation and that the local inhabitants should be wary of this development. Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi (CPI 2011) referred to this paragraph from the Form Four history textbook as an example:

In short, the development and prosperity of Tanah Melayu succeeded in drawing the interest of the immigrants to come here and this situation is extended up to the present day. We should be proud that our country is the focus of pendatang asing [foreigner/migrants] due to our wealth and prosperity. Looking at it from another point of view, the local inhabitants should strive to be more industrious, display more initiative and be prepared to administer the wealth of this country, especially those who do not have huge capital. If not, the orang asing who are always on the lookout for opportunities will capitalize on opening and taking over our role, as has happened today. (Nik Hassan et al. 2010: 255, translation in CPI 2011)

As argued by Helen Ting (2009b: 51), The fact that these textbooks were authorised to be used signals the mainstreaming of such perspectives of the more exclusivist current of Malay nationalism among the education ministry bureaucrats and academics in positions of inuence.The rise of unabashed Malay chauvinism through the ketuanan Melayu dis- course and the marginalisation of non-Malays in the history of the nation is a perturbing trend for non-Malays in Malaysia who know no other country but Malaysia as their home- land. An often-heard description by non-Malays in Malaysia is that their experience is one of being in love with someone (in this case, the country) who does not love them back.

16 Secondary schooling in Malaysia comprises ve years of which the rst three forms (tingkatan) are considered lower sec- ondary while forms 4 and 5 are upper secondary.

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Harold Crouch describes in his observations in the 1970s and 1980s the Malaysian governments disregard for non-Malay culture and the treatment of Malay culture as synonymous with Malaysian culture as a constant source of irritation that contributed to a massive sense of frustration and alienation among non-Malays(cited in Willford 2007: 262). Andrew Willford (2007) discusses how the local Indian community per- ceives an intentional state agenda of erasure of all things Hinduand Indianfrom Malaysian history. In response to this, there is movement to reassert Hindu religion, culture and history as part of the national narrative, even at times with exaggerated efforts. He writes:

While the purging or erasing of the Hindu Buddhist past may have a political and/or religious motivation, it is also clear that some Hindus in Malaysia are using this phenomenon to ll their own imaginary of a greatly exaggerated Indian past in Malaysia. Given the paucity and somewhat poor quality of archaeological ndings, it is hard to imagine great Indian colo- nies and temples to have existed. What is most relevant, however is how many Indians per- ceive or suspect a Malay government plot to lay claims to cultural achievements that they believe were produced by their ancestors.

(Willford 2007: 262)

There are parallels to the claims being made by the Indian community here and that by netizens that Hang Tuah was Chinese. These reimagined cultural past are strategies to demand inclusion and belonging by marginalised communities. In the Malaysian cybersphere, the appropriation of Hang Tuah, the Malay hero turned Chinese, can be read as a way to assert an alternative history that opposes the mainstream Malay-centric history of Malaysia. The cybermyth provides an entry point to discuss issues of rights and the marginalisation of non-Malays in the country. It has allowed for different expressions of belonging, manifested through the shifting nature of Hang Tuahs ethnicity. In the cybersphere, different stories of origins may co-exist, may be challenged and may be debated. Thus, the tables are turned: the much revered warrior, the champion and protec- tor of Malay rights, is now Chinese. By appropriating an important icon of Malay identity, and unsettling the historical narrative carefully crafted by the state, the marginalised otherare reasserting themselves back into the story of the nation and forcing a reassess- ment of the Malay-centric history of Malaysia.

The online discussions

The cybermyth of the Chinese Hang Tuah is being circulated via emails and online forums including chat rooms and blogs. In some forums, the discussion generally starts with one question usually someone asking to conrm whether the rumour of Hang Tuah being Chinese is true. This gets the ball rolling on the plausibility of the claim. The email described earlier has been posted on online forums and blogs, has gen- erated heated debates facilitated by the anonymity of email monikers and the safespace of the Internet. In one forum, 609 comments have been made since 2007, and the thread remained active up to December 2012. The question of whether Hang Tuah was Chinese was also posed on Yahoo Ask. Some of the other forums include student networks, neighbourhood forums and area studies forums. In one student forum, the discussion moved away from Hang Tuah to a more scientic discussion about whether technology was available to trace race using DNA analysis.

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Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20 February 2016 14 RUSASLINA IDRUS A heatedhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AHang_Tuah > See United Subang Jaya Web Forum, ‘ Is Hang Tuah Chinese? ’ www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/showthread.php?t=5986 . " id="pdf-obj-14-4" src="pdf-obj-14-4.jpg">
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A heated debate on the origins of Hang Tuah can also be found on the Hang Tuah Wikipedia talkpage. 17 The table of content includes, Hang Tuah is a Chinese, Hang Tuah, a Malay hero or a Chinese?. Disputes about Hang Tuahs origin, Disputing the dispute about Hang Tuahs origin, and Just mention the Malay/Chinese controversy in the article?. Clearly, the Chinese Hang Tuah cybermyth is much in circulation and has become part of the popular and controversial narrative of the legend of Hang Tuah. On this site, there is also an allegation that the wiki pages were monitored by cyber watch dogswhose job is to lter and censor all the Wikipedia articles containing Malay sensitive issues. The comments on the online forums range from explosively racist remarks to ones that try to inject reason into the conversation. Others try to make light of the situation, perhaps to diffuse the tension, and some just express amusement with the story and do not take it seriously. The claims also elicit ethnocentric sentiments. For example, there are those who view it as a conspiracy by the Chinese, designed to challenge Malay rights just as there are also those who view the cover upas a conspiracy against Chinese Malaysians. Here, I would like to focus on another set of conversations that moves on from Hang Tuahs identity to discussing issues of ethnicity, power and belonging in meaningful ways. I will provide an example of this with the following thread extracted from one community forum. 18 The discussion on this particular forum is in English (or Manglish Malaysian English, which is a hybrid of the local vernacular and English). In the following, some spel- ling errors have been corrected but grammatical errors and abbreviations remain to retain the original avour of the postings.

D:

Whoa, this is pretty sensitive issue if you ask me, man. Had a pretty rough argument which would have ended in a st ght a few years back.

E:

Interesting. However I do not see any reason why this should be sensitive, what does it matter whether they were Chinese or not? He was Malaysian and that should be that. I am Chineseand I did not see the Hangs any differently because they were Malay. In fact I did not classify them as races when I rst read about them in our history, just liked the fact these characters once existed (I hope), like our very own knights!

F:

But E, not everyone is so open minded as you and I believe most of xxxxx.my forummers [referring to forum members], to see Hang Tuah for his act of bravery and not his colour! The powers that be in our country would very much like to preserve the fact that Hang Tuah was of a certain race to show a certain edgein this race

G:

Thats the main problem in Malaysia now, we still dene who is Malay, Chinese, Indian or some other races. Can we start to put all these aside and call ourselves Malaysian? Whether it is Hang Tuan or Hang Too Ah, its Malaysian history and no matter how you write it, the history will stay. As for us, you can say what you are, we are all born in Malaysia.

H: I will not be surprise in the very near future, our future generations will be more ke-melayuan or more ke-cinaanor more ke-indianan[referring to segregation according to race]; and not towards to more ke-Malaysiaan[a Malaysian identity]. we are the root cause of this unhealthy social culture. We have indirectly grooming this culture into our children Were letting them only within their own races for the whole day, whether at home and school

The discussion starts in reference to the circulated Hang Tuah was Chineseemail but quickly expands into a discussion of ethnic or racial politics in Malaysia. Based on the con- versation, the contributors are likely to be Malays and non-Malays. They voice concern about the politicisation of ethnicity, which they see championed by the ruling state. One contributor offered that it should not matter whether Hang Tuah was Malay or Chinese, but the important fact is that he was a Malaysian hero. Here the contributors

17 Wikipedia Talk: Hang Tuah <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AHang_Tuah> 18 See United Subang Jaya Web Forum, Is Hang Tuah Chinese?www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/showthread.php?t=5986.

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are appealing for a Malaysia that is less divided by ethnic markers, as one person lamented, Can we start to put all these aside and call ourselves Malaysian?The following comment from another site echoed a similar opinion. 19

Why all this woo ha about the race/nationality of long death persons? It is part of history and should remain there. What we should do is really take a good look at it and look at the lesson it is trying to teach us. If Hang Tuah and co are ethnic Chinese well and good. If they are Malay, well and good too. I think that is not important and irrelevant. What is relevant is the lesson it has taught us i.e. no matter what race we are or where we came from, we can live together harmoniously and help each other in time of crisis What separate us or ident- ify us, are our beliefs, the language we speak & way of living. What we should be doing is to nd common ground to create a better quality of life instead of going to war over our more primitiveforebears decision or action. As far as I am concern, Hang Tuah & Co, were, during their time Malaccans and now, Malaysians.

Similar sentiments have been observed on other community forums. Many are calling for the need to put aside ethnic markers and nd common ground as Malaysians. The con- versations include thoughtful and reective insights on the debate and provide alternative points of view on ethnic relations and what it means to be Malaysian. In fact, the corre- spondents question the very essence of Malaysian-ness. They envision a much more uid and inclusive nation, a Malaysia that is not dened by ethnic categories. They also voice concern and protest at the increasing politicisation of ethnicity and the marginalisation and discrimination experienced by non-Malays. The following are two comments 20 that illustrate this:

What readers must take from this blog is that the present living conditions and discrimi- nation in Malaysia has gotten very bad, so much so I am ashamed of being called a Malaysian. I have in fact abandoned my citizenship to the country of which I am the fth generation and still recognised to be a Malaysian and was in fact second class citizens with no full citizenship rights The readers of this thread on this site should take away from it the fact that there are indeed real issues and displeasure within the country and its citizens who still remain in the country. Find out more about what the issues raised and then make your mind up about the truth. It is important what has happened in the past, what we all must do is, learn from past mistakes and make the future better not worse.

Im a Malaysian Chinese studying in the UK. I frankly dont see myself working in Malaysia in the future. The prospects are just too bleak for a person from a race considered as asingto some (note that I say some) of those in power. I can understand why so many students from Malaysia left the country for places like Singapore, Australia, the US and the UK Having said all that, I still love Malaysia and the Malaysians of course. I will never forget my roots. Im just saying that those are racists are those with power. And thats too bad for them because theyre gonna have one less brain to help.

In the examples above and others surveyed online, the forums are spaces not otherwise available for discussing ethnic politics and bumiputera privileges. The story of Hang Tuah provides an entry point for citizens to discuss issues of rights, belonging and entitle- ment on these online forums. Such discussions may not occur in public or face-to-face as they are deemed too sensitive. Here netizens express their frustration and concerns, as well as their aspirations for Malaysia. These discussions reveal the Internet as much more than

19 Able2Know Forum, Hang Tuah (Malaysia History), < http://able2know.org/topic/87656-1> 20 Able2Know Forum. Hang Tuah (Malaysia History), < http://able2know.org/topic/87656-2>

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a means of gaining access to or circulating information’” (Bernal 2005: 672). In her work analysing the use of cyberspace by Eritrian community observers, Victoria Bernal (2005:

672) states that:

[w]hat is powerful about the access opened up by cyberspace and by public spheres is the ways they allow diverse actors to call into question the terms of knowledge production, relations of authority, and the politics of representation and the ways they give rise to alterna- tive knowledge and counter publics.

This is clearly illustrated in the Malaysian case. The Hang Tuah debate served as a starting point in these discussions in the safespace of the cybersphere. The contributors in the multiple forums questioned and created new knowledge, voicing their concerns and putting forth their vision of a more inclusive Malaysia. In 2013, a new amendment was made to Malaysias Evidence Act (Section 114a), which allows law enforcement to clamp down on those allegedly putting harmful or seditious content on the Internet. Rights activists argue that this severely restricts Internet freedom in Malaysia and will foster self-censorship. However, it remains to be seen how much this restriction will change the use of the Internet for the public. The use of social media networking sites which were not widely popular at the start of the circulation of the Hang Tuah cybermyth, has further expanded the public sphere in cyberspace.

Conclusion

In Malaysia as elsewhere, the Internet has completely changed both the political terrain and civil society. It has provided a place for alternative information and resistance. Since the mainstream media in Malaysia is very much controlled by the government, the Internet is an important source of counter-hegemonic information. However, the Internet serves as more than just a place to disseminate information (Bernal 2005; Wilson and Peterson 2002). It provides a safe arena for the public to engage in issues that matter to them, a space where citizenship, identity and political expression can be contested and performed(Bernal 2005: 664). The Hang Tuah cybermyth has provided an important space to discuss issues such as belonging and entitlement that is not otherwise available. In circulating and commenting on this myth, the public is participating in history making. The appropriation of Hang Tuah as a Chinese warrior can be read as an attempt to provide a counter narrative to Malay-dominant history in Malaysia. The original email and the discussions that surround the cybermyth are reective of the sense of frustration among Malaysian citizens about the divisive rhetoric of Malay supremacy and communalistic politics. In the cybersphere, different forms of historical narratives coincide, reecting the meaning making that is hap- pening in the realworld. The new myth that Hang Tuah was Chinese plucks this Malay folk hero out from within the Malay community and thrusts him into the larger multicultural community that is Malaysia. The multicultural Hang Tuah that roams in the cybersphere challenges the boundaries of ethnic categories that are made static in state-sponsored discourse. Hang Tuah, the traditional Malay icon and loyal subject, ironically becomes a vehicle to challenge the hegemonic narrative of the state. He becomes a vessel for the assertion of belonging and citizensrights. In this story, Hang Tuah, the unquestioning hero, talks back.

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Acknowledgements

INDONESIA AND THE MALAY WORLD

Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20 February 2016 Acknowledgements INDONESIA AND THE MALAYRusaslina@um.edu.my References Abdul Samad Ahmad. 1979 . Sejarah Melayu . Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Andaya, L. 2001 . The search for the ‘ Origins ’ of Melayu. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 32: 315 – 30. Andaya, L. 2008 . Leaves of the same tree: trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka . Honolulu: University of Hawai ‘ i Press. Barnard, T. 2004a . Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across boundaries . Singapore: NUS Press. Barnard, T. 2004b . Texts, Raja Ismail and violence: Siak and the tranformation of Malay identity in the eighteenth century. In T. Barnard (ed.), Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across bound- aries . Singapore: NUS Press: 107 – 20. Berita Harian Online . 2011 . Sedih iklan persenda kehebatan pahlawan Hang Tuah [Saddened over ad that pokes fun at the great warrior Hang Tuah] 14 July. < http://www2.bharian.com.my/ bharian/articles/SedihiklanpersendakehebatanpahlawanHangTuah/Article > Accessed 1 December 2011. Bernal, V. 2005 . Eritrea on-line: diaspora, cyberspace, and the public sphere. American Ethnologist 32 (4): 660 – 75. Boellstorff, T. 2008 . Coming of age in Second Life: an anthropologist explores the virtually human . Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Boellstorff, T., Nardi, B., Pearce, C. and Taylor, T.L. 2012 . Ethnography and virtual worlds: a hand- book of method . Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Braginsky, V. 2004 . The heritage of traditional Malay literature: a historical survey of genres, writ- ings and literary views . Leiden: KITLV Press. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI). 2011 . Reclaiming our truly Malaysian History. History curricu- lum creating katak di bawah tempurung . < http://www.cpiasia.net/v3/index.php/141-cpi- writings/lim-teck-ghees-contribution/2179-reclaiming-our-truly-malaysian-history > Accessed 1 December 2011. Chambert-Loir, H. 2005 . The Sulalat al-Salatin as a political myth. Indonesia 79 (April): 131 – 60. Department of Statistics. 2011 . Population and housing census of Malaysia. Population distribution and basic demographic characteristics 2010 . Putrajaya: Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Dundes, A. 1984 . Sacred narrative: readings in the theory of myth . Berkeley CA: University of California Press. Fluri, J. 2006 . Our website was revolutionary: virtual spaces of representation and resistance. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 5 (1): 89 – 111. Friedman, J. 1992 . Myth, history, and political identity. Cultural Anthropology 7 (2): 194 – 210. Gatsiounis, I. 2004 . Abdullah stirs a hornets ’ nest. Asia Times, 2 October. < http://atimes.com/ atimes/Southeast_Asia/FJ02Ae05.html > Accessed 1 December 2011. Ginsburg, F. 1994 . Embedded aesthetics: creating a discursive space for indigenous media. Cultural Anthropology 9: 365 – 82. " id="pdf-obj-17-8" src="pdf-obj-17-8.jpg">

17

I would like to acknowledge support from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore (ISEAS), where research for this project started, and from the University of Malaya, where the project continued. I would like to thank Irving Johnson, Miriam Shakow, Philip Taylor, Johan Lind- quist, Erik Harms, Pauline Khng and Indonesia and the Malay Worlds anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly helped to improve earlier versions of this article.

Author biography

Rusaslina Idrus is Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, Malaysia. Email: Rusaslina@um.edu.my

References

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30.

Andaya, L. 2008. Leaves of the same tree: trade and ethnicity in the Straits of Melaka. Honolulu:

University of Hawaii Press. Barnard, T. 2004a. Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across boundaries. Singapore: NUS Press. Barnard, T. 2004b. Texts, Raja Ismail and violence: Siak and the tranformation of Malay identity in the eighteenth century. In T. Barnard (ed.), Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across bound- aries. Singapore: NUS Press: 10720. Berita Harian Online. 2011. Sedih iklan persenda kehebatan pahlawan Hang Tuah [Saddened over ad that pokes fun at the great warrior Hang Tuah] 14 July. <http://www2.bharian.com.my/ bharian/articles/SedihiklanpersendakehebatanpahlawanHangTuah/Article> Accessed 1 December 2011. Bernal, V. 2005. Eritrea on-line: diaspora, cyberspace, and the public sphere. American Ethnologist 32 (4): 66075. Boellstorff, T. 2008. Coming of age in Second Life: an anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Boellstorff, T., Nardi, B., Pearce, C. and Taylor, T.L. 2012. Ethnography and virtual worlds: a hand- book of method. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. Braginsky, V. 2004. The heritage of traditional Malay literature: a historical survey of genres, writ- ings and literary views. Leiden: KITLV Press. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI). 2011. Reclaiming our truly Malaysian History. History curricu- lum creating katak di bawah tempurung. <http://www.cpiasia.net/v3/index.php/141-cpi- writings/lim-teck-ghees-contribution/2179-reclaiming-our-truly-malaysian-history> Accessed 1 December 2011. Chambert-Loir, H. 2005. The Sulalat al-Salatin as a political myth. Indonesia 79 (April): 13160. Department of Statistics. 2011. Population and housing census of Malaysia. Population distribution and basic demographic characteristics 2010. Putrajaya: Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Dundes, A. 1984. Sacred narrative: readings in the theory of myth. Berkeley CA: University of California Press. Fluri, J. 2006. Our website was revolutionary: virtual spaces of representation and resistance. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 5 (1): 89111. Friedman, J. 1992. Myth, history, and political identity. Cultural Anthropology 7 (2): 194210. Gatsiounis, I. 2004. Abdullah stirs a hornetsnest. Asia Times, 2 October. <http://atimes.com/ atimes/Southeast_Asia/FJ02Ae05.html> Accessed 1 December 2011. Ginsburg, F. 1994. Embedded aesthetics: creating a discursive space for indigenous media. Cultural Anthropology 9: 36582.

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Gomez, T. and Saravanamuttu, J. 2012. The New Economic Policy in Malaysia: afrmative action, ethnic inequalities and social justice. Singapore: NUS Press. Heech, P. 1994. Myth, history, and theory. History and Theory 33 (1): 19. Hill, H. (ed.) 1988. Rethinking history and myth: indigenous South American perspectives on the past. Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Hirschman, C. 1986. The making of race in colonial Malaya: political economy and racial ideology. Sociological Forum 1(2): 33061. Ho, E. 2013. Foreigners and mediators in the constitution of Malay sovereignty. Indonesia and the Malay World 41 (120): 14667. Hobsbawn, E. 1983. Introduction: inventing traditions. In E. Hobsbawn and T. Ranger (eds), The invention of tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Josselin de Jong, P.E. de. 1965. The rise and decline of a national hero. Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 38 (2): 14055. Khoo, G.C. 2006. Reclaiming adat: contemporary Malaysian lm and literature. Vancouver:

University of British Columbia Press. Koay, A. 2004. Hang Tuah man or myth?, Star, 13 September. <http://www.tourism-melaka.com/ melaka/hangtuah.pdf> Accessed 1 December 2012. Lee, H.G. 2002. Malay dominance and opposition politics in Malaysia. Southeast Asian Affairs 2002, pp. 17795. Maier, H. 1999. Tales of Hang Tuah: in search of wisdom and good behaviour. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 155 (3): 34261. Maier, H. 2011. Melayu and Malay a story of appropriate behaviour. In Maznah Mohamad and S. M.K. Aljunied (eds), Melayu: the politics, poetics and paradoxes of Malayness. Singapore: NUS Press, pp. 6800. Mastika. 2006. Hang Tuah sebenarnya perempuan! [Hang Tuah was actually a woman!]. November, pp 1026. Milner, A. 1995. The invention of politics in colonial Malaya: contesting nationalism and the expan- sion of the public sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Miller D. and Slater, D. 2001. The Internet: an ethnographic approach. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Maznah Mohamad. 2009. Politics of NEP and ethnic relations in Malaysia. In Lim Teck Ghee, Alberto Gomes and Azly Rahman (eds), Multiethnic Malaysia: past, present and future. Petaling Jaya: SIRD, pp. 11339. Maznah Mohamad and Aljunied, S.M.K. 2011. Melayu: the politics, poetics and paradoxes of Malayness, Singapore: NUS Press. Muhammad Haji Salleh. 2003. Hang Tuah bercakap orang puteh: terjemahan dan penjelmaan Hang Tuah dalam bahasa Eropah [Hang Tuah speaks in western languages: translations and emergence of Hang Tuah in European languages]. Paper delivered at a seminar on Kebangsaan Hikayat Hang Tuah, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2627 September. Muhammad Haji Salleh. 2011. Introduction. In R. Robson (ed.), The epic of Hang Tuah, translated by M. Haji Salleh. Kuala Lumpur: Institute Terjemahan Negara Malaysia. Muhammad Haji Salleh. 2013. Hang Tuah dalam hayat lisan di air dan daratan [Hang Tuah in oral history on sea and land]. In Halimah Mohamaed Ali and Mohamad LuthAbdul Rahman (eds), Sastera dalam budaya dan media. Penang: USM Press, pp. 2243. Munz, P. 1956. History and myth. Philosophical Quarterly 6 (22): 116. Nardi, B. 2010. My life as a night elf priest: an anthropological account of world of warcraft. Michigan MI: University of Michigan Press. Nik Hassan Shuhaimi bin Nik Abdul Rahman, Muhd. Yusof bin Ibrahim, Muhammad Bukhari bin Ahmad and Rosnanaini binti Sulaiman. 2010. Sejarah tingkatan empat buku teks [Form four history textbook]. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Postill, J. 2010. Researching the Internet. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16: 64650. Postill, J. 2011. Localizing the Internet: an anthropological account. Oxford: Berghahn Books Postill, J. 2014. A critical history of internet activism and social protest in Malaysia, 19982011. Asiascape: Digital Asia 1 (12): 78103.

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Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20 February 2016 INDONESIA AND THE MALAY WORLDhttp://thestar.com.my/ news/story.asp? le=/2012/1/22/nation/10312270&sec=nation > Accessed 22 January 2012. Reid, A. 1995 . Southeast Asia in the age of commerce, 1450 – 1680 . New Haven CT: Yale University Press. Reid, A. 2004 . Understanding Melayu (Malay) as a source of diverse modern identities. In T. Barnard (ed.), Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across boundaries . Singapore: NUS Press, pp. 1 – 24. Shaharuddin Maaruf. 1984 . Concept of a hero in Malay society . Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Sivanandam, H. 2012 . Khoo: show me proof that Hang Tuah existed. Sun Daily, 18 January. < http:// www.thesundaily.my/news/270333 > Accessed 19 January 2012. Smith, L.A. and Wagner, S. 2007 . DNA identi fi cation: checking expectations of truth and justice. Anthropology News 48 (5): 35. Tan, Jun-E and Zawawi Ibrahim. 2008 . Blogging and democratization in Malaysia: a new civil society in the making . Petaling Jaya: SIRD. Ting, H. 2009a . The politics of national identity in West Malaysia: continued mutation or critical transition. Southeast Asian Studies 47 (1): 31 – 51. Ting, H. 2009b . Malaysian history textbooks and the discourse of Ketuanan Melayu. In D. Goh, P. Holden, M. Gabrielpillai and G.C. Khoo (eds), Race and multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore . London: Routledge, pp. 36 – 52. Weiss, M.L. 2012 . Politics in cyberspace: new media in Malaysia . Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. < http://library.fes.de/pdf- les/iez/09068.pdf > Willford, A. 2007 . Cage of freedom: Tamil identity and the ethnic fetish in Malaysia . Singapore: NUS Press. Wilson, S. and Peterson, L. 2002 . The anthropology of online communities. Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 449 – 67. Worden, N. 2003 . National identity and heritage tourism in Melaka. Indonesia and the Malay World 31 (89): 31 – 43. Yow Hong Chieh. 2011 . ISA a weapon for Malays, like Taming Sari, said Ibrahim Ali. Malaysian Insider, 10 December. < http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/isa-a-weapon- for-malays-like-taming-sari-says-ibrahim-ali/ > Accessed 16 February 2014. Websites Able2Know Forum. Hang Tuah (Malaysia History). < http://able2know.org/topic/87656-1 > Accessed 24 November 2011. < http://able2know.org/topic/87656-2 > Accessed 15 June 2015. Malay Concordance Project, < http://mcp.anu.edu.au/N/SM_bib.html > Accessed 10 June 2015. Malaysia Today. 2015 . More records proving existence of Hang Tuah may be hidden in New Delhi. 3 December. < http://www.malaysia-today.net/more-records-proving-existence-of-hang-tuah- may-be-hidden-in-new-delhi/ > Accessed 6 December 2015. New Straits Times Online. 2015 . Did Hang Tuah meet Leonardo da Vinci? 5 December. < http:// www.nst.com.my/news/2015/12/115660/did-hang-tuah-meet-leonardo-da-vinci > Accessed 6 December 2015. Sejarah Hang Tuah. < https://sejarahhangtuah.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/hang-tuah-bukan-dari- keturunan-cina-tapi-india-khoja/ > Accessed 15 June 2015. Syeikhthanauddin Blogspot < http://syeikhthanauddin.blogspot.com/2011/09/hang-tuah-orang- kelantan.html > 15 September. Accessed 15 June 2015. United Subang Jaya Web Forum (USJ) < http://www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/archive/index. php/t-5986.html > Accessed 15 June 2015. " id="pdf-obj-19-6" src="pdf-obj-19-6.jpg">

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Putten, J. van der and Barnard, T. 2007. Old Malay heroes never die: the story of Hang Tuah in lms and comics. In I. Gordon, M. Jancovitch and M.P. McAllister (eds), Film and comic books. Jackson MS: University Press of Mississippi, pp. 24667. Rashvinjeet, S.B. 2012. Is Hang Tuah fact or ction?, Star, 22 January 2012. <http://thestar.com.my/ news/story.asp?le=/2012/1/22/nation/10312270&sec=nation> Accessed 22 January 2012. Reid, A. 1995. Southeast Asia in the age of commerce, 14501680. New Haven CT: Yale University Press. Reid, A. 2004. Understanding Melayu (Malay) as a source of diverse modern identities. In T. Barnard (ed.), Contesting Malayness: Malay identity across boundaries. Singapore: NUS Press, pp. 124. Shaharuddin Maaruf. 1984. Concept of a hero in Malay society. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Sivanandam, H. 2012. Khoo: show me proof that Hang Tuah existed. Sun Daily, 18 January. <http:// www.thesundaily.my/news/270333> Accessed 19 January 2012. Smith, L.A. and Wagner, S. 2007. DNA identication: checking expectations of truth and justice. Anthropology News 48 (5): 35. Tan, Jun-E and Zawawi Ibrahim. 2008. Blogging and democratization in Malaysia: a new civil society in the making. Petaling Jaya: SIRD. Ting, H. 2009a. The politics of national identity in West Malaysia: continued mutation or critical transition. Southeast Asian Studies 47 (1): 3151. Ting, H. 2009b. Malaysian history textbooks and the discourse of Ketuanan Melayu. In D. Goh, P. Holden, M. Gabrielpillai and G.C. Khoo (eds), Race and multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore. London: Routledge, pp. 3652. Weiss, M.L. 2012. Politics in cyberspace: new media in Malaysia. Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. <

Willford, A. 2007. Cage of freedom: Tamil identity and the ethnic fetish in Malaysia. Singapore: NUS Press. Wilson, S. and Peterson, L. 2002. The anthropology of online communities. Annual Review of Anthropology 31: 44967. Worden, N. 2003. National identity and heritage tourism in Melaka. Indonesia and the Malay World 31 (89): 3143. Yow Hong Chieh. 2011. ISA a weapon for Malays, like Taming Sari, said Ibrahim Ali. Malaysian Insider, 10 December. <http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/isa-a-weapon- for-malays-like-taming-sari-says-ibrahim-ali/> Accessed 16 February 2014.

Websites

Able2Know Forum. Hang Tuah (Malaysia History). <http://able2know.org/topic/87656-1> Accessed 24 November 2011. <http://able2know.org/topic/87656-2> Accessed 15 June 2015. Malay Concordance Project, <http://mcp.anu.edu.au/N/SM_bib.html> Accessed 10 June 2015. Malaysia Today. 2015. More records proving existence of Hang Tuah may be hidden in New Delhi. 3 December. <http://www.malaysia-today.net/more-records-proving-existence-of-hang-tuah- may-be-hidden-in-new-delhi/> Accessed 6 December 2015. New Straits Times Online. 2015. Did Hang Tuah meet Leonardo da Vinci? 5 December. <http:// www.nst.com.my/news/2015/12/115660/did-hang-tuah-meet-leonardo-da-vinci> Accessed 6 December 2015. Sejarah Hang Tuah. <https://sejarahhangtuah.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/hang-tuah-bukan-dari- keturunan-cina-tapi-india-khoja/> Accessed 15 June 2015. Syeikhthanauddin Blogspot <http://syeikhthanauddin.blogspot.com/2011/09/hang-tuah-orang- kelantan.html> 15 September. Accessed 15 June 2015. United Subang Jaya Web Forum (USJ) <http://www.usj.com.my/bulletin/upload/archive/index. php/t-5986.html> Accessed 15 June 2015.

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Downloaded by [University of Saskatchewan Library] at 01:26 20 February 2016 20 RUSASLINA IDRUS Utusan Online.http://ww1.utusan.com.my/utusan/special.asp?pr=theMessenger&y=2012&dt=0211&pub= theMessenger&sec=Home_News&pg=hn_01.htm > Accessed 20 July 2013. Utusan Online. 2015 . Lagi bukti Hang Tuah wujud, bukan sekadar mitos [More evidence of Hang Tuah ’ s existence, not just a myth ], 5 December. < http://www.utusan.com.my/berita/nasional/ lagi-bukti-hang-tuah-wujud-bukan-sekadar-mitos-1.165788 > Accessed 6 December 2015. Wikipedia Talk. Hang Tuah. < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AHang_Tuah > Accessed 15 June 2015. " id="pdf-obj-20-4" src="pdf-obj-20-4.jpg">
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Utusan Online. 2012. Dont use one source as reference on Hang Tuah - KUIM VC. 11 February.

theMessenger&sec=Home_News&pg=hn_01.htm > Accessed 20 July 2013. Utusan Online. 2015. Lagi bukti Hang Tuah wujud, bukan sekadar mitos [More evidence of Hang Tuahs existence, not just a myth ], 5 December. <http://www.utusan.com.my/berita/nasional/ lagi-bukti-hang-tuah-wujud-bukan-sekadar-mitos-1.165788> Accessed 6 December 2015. Wikipedia Talk. Hang Tuah. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AHang_Tuah> Accessed 15 June 2015.