Old Stories of Johor (9th Oct. 2018)

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Hidden within the depths of the Yayasan Warisan Johor is a folklore exhibition (pameran cerita rakyat). There are large poster boards telling stories of old, in both Malay and in English. I believe this is a temporary exhibition, but if you want to know more about the folklore of Johor, this would be a good place to start.

There are many stories told here and I will give the provided English translation for just one of them:

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                           Si Bongkok Tanjung Puteri

"In the 19th century the Johor Sultanate was not ruled by a Sultan but was administered by Temenggung Abdul Rahman with the patronage of the British. His son, Tengku Ali attempted to reclaim the throne but was prohibited by his father (this is where there might be a problem with the English translation since Tengku Ali was the son of Sultan Hussein and was fobbed off by the Temenggongs with land in Muar). Due to the struggle for the throne, there came Si Bongkok in Tanjung Puteri (now known as Johor Bahru) who fought the British and wanted to give the throne to the rightful heir, Tengku Ali.

Si Bongkok is a hunchback in which the deformity is on the right side of the body , a stifled left hand and a deformed face. Despite his physical deformities, he grew up to be strong, brave and an expert in weaponry and ocean science. He was believed to be impenetrable and would not have any wound from bullets and sharp things.

Because of his influential position, he was called Panglima Si Bongkok ‘The Hunchback Warrior’ and always fight and attack foreing merchants foreign passing by Johor coast to Tanjung Puteri or Singapore. The British labelled him as a private (pirate?) due to his actions and ordered Temenggong Abdul Rahman to destroy Si Bongkok’s group.

Unfortunately, the effort to destroy Panglima Bongkok failed until the Johor armada led by Admiral Daeng Alek made a round at the Tebrau Straits. The search for Panglima Bongkok ended when his group the rebellion was discovered in Tanjung Belungkur. After a gruesome fight between Panglima Bongkok and Daen Alek troop, Panglima Bongkok was finally defeated.

Si Bongkok was killed died at the shore and was buried in the jungle at the foothills of Tanjung Belungkor. His burial was kept secret from the Johor and British government to prevent them taking his body as Si Bongkok is the local hero for the public."

As you can see, the translation is a little awkward, but you can still get a sense of the story. The stories are titled in Malay only, and I am not sure of the proper English translation:

Batu belah batu bertangkup (The eating stone/cave?).

Si Tanggang Bukit Treh (Heres the last sentence of the English translation to wet your appetite: This is the pay back he received for being ungrateful and unfilial to his mother.)

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Badang (The guard of Temasek, AKA Singapore)

Si Comel Kuching Bertanduk (Sultan Mahmud Shah II’s horned cat)

Sumpahan Sang Kelembai

Puteri Bunian di Kampung Bumbun (The Fairy Princess of Kampung Bumbun)

Puteri Mayang Selida

Puteri Gunung Banang

Puteri Gunung Ledang

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