Jun 18, 2010

Balinese and Hawaiian Social Systems

For most of the twentieth century, people had assumed that the "caste system" in Bali was a direct result of Indian influence that came with the Hindu religion. However, anthropologists now wonder if the caste system in Bali was always there but with different names. The reason for this is that anthropologists have now began to look at other Austronesians--mainly Samoan and Hawaiian societies--and saw remarkable similarities with Bali. In many ways, Balinese and Hawaiian societies mirrored each other very closely.

We know that in the case of Samoan and Hawaiian societies there was a strong class division that developed without any influence from other foreign civilizations. In the case of Hawai`i in particular, by the time of Captain Cook's voyage in 1778, the Hawaiian class system resembled Balinese caste system. In Bali, while it is called a caste system, the classes do intermingle and there is some upward social mobility under certain circumstances. However, there is still difference to rank and this rank caste comes from a genealogical relationship with a god. This is not the case in India where it is a true "caste" system meaning that there is no upward social mobility. A person of the Dalit or Untouchable caste can be a billionaire but he or she will never be able to marry someone of the Brahman caste or to be anything except a Dalit. In the case of Bali, there is some ways to improve your caste standing, mainly through intermarriage.

This was also the case of Hawai`i. While the ali`i or nobility was the top class, they could intermarry with someone of a lower class. There is the famous story of `Umi-a-Liloa who was the son of an ali`i and commoner but was able to become king due to his personal charisma and due corruption (both politically and spiritually) of the king, his half-brother, at the time. In other words, in Austronesian class systems, there is some flexibility. On the other hand, Dr. Stephen Oppenheimer wonders if perhaps it was Austronesians who influenced early Indian society and brought with them to India their notions of class divisions.

In Bali, there are four main castes or varna: Sudras (peasants); Wesias or Vaishyas (merchants); Satrias or Kshatriyas (warriors and nobility); and Brahman (priests). According to Balinese themselves, the varnas simply modified the existing social order. Each caste has a particular dialect though this is disappearing in public as more people have adopted Bahasa Indonesia as means to speak to people of various classes without offending them. Among the Brahman, the language used is called "High Balinese" which is old Javanese mixed (Kawi) with Sanskrit--somewhat similar to the language used in the "Laguna Copperplate" found in the Philippines. This language is also used as the language of temple ceremonies. There is also a "Middle Balinese" which is a language that can be used between the different classes but this sometimes troublesome as some terms may have a different meaning between people of the same class and therefore may lead to some offense. Thus, Bahasa Indonesia has become a neutral language of communication.
In certain parts of Bali, mainly in the Aga (non-Hindu Balinese, literally meaning "original") villages of Tenganen and Trunyan, there is also another social system. This social system is divided into three main class: peasants, nobility, and priests. The Aga system is very similar to the Hawaiian system. The Hawaiian social system also hadthe same three classes--nobility or ali`i, kahuna or priestly, and the maka`ainana or commoners--though periodically there was another extremely small social sub-class known as the kauwa. The kauwa was akin to the alipin of the Philippines meaning while both terms are translated as "slave", they had rights and were regarded as extensions of a nobleman's household. However, in Hawai`i this class of people was extremely small--small enough that no European explorer noticed them, Hawaiian mythology does not mention them, and they were eventually abolished in 1810. Normally in Hawai`i, a person would become a kauwa if they were in debt or had lost a war which means that the kauwa were actually drawn from the nobility itself since in Hawai`i--like in Bali--only nobles were allowed to carry weapons and to fight in wars. This could explain why there was no explanation in Hawaiian mythology.

In both Bali and in Hawai`i, the class systems have today largely become simply symbols of the past. In the case of Hawai`i, it was due to the Hawaiian religion being abolished under Premier Ka`ahumanu in 1819 and later with the American take-over in 1893. With Bali, the Dutch colonial experience largely enforced the class system as the Dutch found it easier to control thesudra--though many Balinese refused to submit and to collaborate with the Dutch and there were several mass suicides as late as 1908. Later on, with the democratization of Balinese society after Indonesian independence, the rise of Dadias, and Christian missionaries trying to convert the Balinese, the class system became less enforced. Nowadays, the Brahman are only ones who still retain some of their traditional role. Some Balinese, however, worry about the Brahmans becoming too influenced by India and there are movements to try to retain the distinctive Austronesian-ness of the Balinese Hinduism.
Another aspect of the social system is kinship. In Bali, there are two types of kinship: public kinship; and private kinship. The private kinship is sometimes called the "Hawaiian kinship" or the "Generational kinship" by anthropologists. In old Hawai`i, family relations depended on what generation you were born into. For example, uncles, aunts, and parents in old Hawai`i were all called makua (parent) because they were of the same generation. Likewise, your first cousins may refer to you as their brother or sister because you were both born in the same generation of the family line. Your second cousins (even if they are older than you), however, may refer to you as a makua since you are above them genealogy-wise. Of course with the adoption of Western family ties, this was replaced with the European model.

In the public kinship system, all Balinese belong to various Dadia. A dadia is a kinship relation where several families (sometimes consisting of several thousand people) are bound together in a clan or block because of a common ancestor. Traditionally, the dadia was important because of marital relationships. It was preferred that people marry within the same dadia and during times of trouble, an entire dadia was bound to help each family member out including in warfare. Likewise, under this system, there are no orphans as every member of a dadia would be obligated to help that child and adoptions within a dadia used to be common--like with the Hawaiian system of hanai. The dadia members also normally lived close to each other, share the same family shrines (gede), share in planting and harvesting of crops, participate in the same ceremonies and attended the same temples. Today, dadia are important politically because they are voting blocks and some say a source of corruption. A Balinese politician would try to court dadia family heads in order for ensure that the entire dadia would vote for him or her. Likewise, when a Balinese politician is elected, one of his or her first acts would be to ensure spoils to the dadia that voted for him.

With Hawaiians, there was a concept similar to the dadia called `alaea which for the most part was a clan composed of the commoner class. However, there has not been too much research on this aspect of Hawaiian society since anthropological research tends to be centered around the ali`i since there's more resources. In addition, one can argue that organizations (particularly the so-called "ali`i societies") like Ka Mamakaua or the Daughters and Sons of Hawaiian Warriors (photo below of a Ka Mamakaua ceremony from the 1930s) and the Order of Kamehameha are forms of dadia.

In regards to the Balinese dadia--though in Mindanao, you will find something similar among T'boli, the Tausugs, and especially the Maranao (which they sometimes call agakhan). One can also wonder if the barangay (town or canoe) system with the Tagalogs also had originally operated like the dadia. In addition, the dadia seems to also have striking similarities with the iwi (normally translated as tribe) of the Maori of Aotearoa-New Zealand and the way certain Samoan fale (houses) operate. This seems to suggest that the dadia is something indigenous to various Austronesian societies.

Vietnam-Champa Relations and the Malay-Islam Regional Network in the 17th–19th Centuries

Article Repost

Vietnam-Champa Relations and the Malay-Islam Regional Network in the 17th–19th Centuries

Danny Wong Tze Ken

Historical relations between Vietnam and the kingdom of Champa was a very long- standing affair characterized by the gradual rise of the Vietnamese and the decline of the Chams. The relationship began as early as the second century CE, when the Chams started a kingdom called Lin-yi, covering the area between the land of the Viet people in the north and Nanchao in the south. The historical consciousness of both peoples includes wars and conflicts between the two over a period of fifteen centuries before the kingdom of Champa was incorporated under Vietnamese rule in 1693. Thereafter, the lands of the Chams were settled by Vietnamese through a series of land settlement programs introduced by the Vietnamese ruling houses.

Subjugation of the former land of Champa was incomplete, however, as Cham resistance – often armed – became the central theme of the relationship after 1693. Resistance was based on the desire to be free of Vietnamese rule and to reinstate the kingdom of Champa. Contributing to this desire was the friction that existed between Vietnamese and Chams, often at the expense of Cham rights and well being. It was not until 1835 that Cham resistance was finally broken.

This essay traces the history of Vietnam-Champa relations between 1693 and 1835, with emphasis on the Vietnamization process and the existence of a Malay-Islam regional network in Southeast Asia, based mainly in the Malay Peninsula, that contributed to Cham resistance. The last part of the essay discusses the correlation between historical and present-day Cham-Malay relations.

The Vietnamese Victory over Champa in 1693

Before 1692, Champa was trying to strengthen its position against the Vietnamese through dealings with other regional powers. The Vietnamese were represented by the Nguyen family, which had ruled southern Vietnam since 1558. Although Champa was then still an independent state, Nguyen sources such as the Tien Bien had used the term “rebellion” for all Champa military action against them since 1629 – revealing that the Nguyen perceived Champa as a tributary vassal.

In 1682, the French priest at the court of Ayudhya reported that the king of Champa had submitted voluntarily to the king of Siam.[1] While no other information is available, the event suggests an attempt by the Chams to forge an alliance with Siam with the ultimate aim of resisting the Nguyen. During a stop at Pulo Ubi near the Gulf of Siam on 13 May 1687, William Dampier, the English traveller, met a vessel of Champa origin anchored on the eastern side of the island. The vessel carried rice and lacquer and was on its way to Malacca. All forty crew members were Chams. They carried broad swords, lances, and some guns. Dampier wrote that the Chams were actively involved in trade with the Dutch at Malacca.[2]

In 1692, the Chams were feeling confident enough to challenge the Vietnamese. In September, Po Saut, the king of Champa[3] at Panduranga (Pho Hai-Phan Rang-Phan Ri region), began building fortifications and had his men attack the region of Dien Khanh (Dien Ninh prefecture and Binh Khang garrison).[4] The campaign ended with the defeat of the Chams in the first month of 1693. Po Saut and his followers were captured seven months later; meanwhile, the Cham court was renamed Thuan Thanh Tran and occupied by Nguyen garrisons whose mission was to prevent attacks from the remnants of Cham forces.[5]

The conquest of Champa should be understood in the context of Nam Tien (southward movement). Chinese scholar Yang Baoyun considers Champa a victim of the Nguyen’s deliberate policy of subjugation, which stemmed from the principle of “maintaining good relations with countries of distance, and attacking the neighboring countries.”[6] Title-inscriptions found on a cannon cast in 1670 by Joao da Cruz (Jean de la Croix), the Portuguese gun founder in the service of the Nguyen, sheds light on the matter. The title-inscription on the cannon reads, “for the King and grand Lord of Cochinchina, Champa and of Cambodia.”[7]

A series of battles between the Chams and the Vietnamese in 1693-94 left the area in severe famine and led to the outbreak of plague.[8] Apart from the difficulties caused by military clashes, the new Vietnamese administration was ill-prepared to govern the Chams. The main problem was its inability to establish an effective military presence. This was partly resolved when the Nguyen ruler Nguyen Phuc Chu (r. 1691-1725) appointed Po Saut’s lieutenant, Po Saktiraydaputih (or Ke-ba-tu),[9] as the ta do doc (governor) to administer the region on behalf of the Nguyen.

Po Saktiraydaputih was given the rank of a kham-ly (civil official) in the Nguyen bureaucracy. His three sons were given the military appointments of de-doc, de-lanh, and cai-phu. The Chams were also ordered to change their costumes to those of the Han tradition, which meant the costumes of the Vietnamese.[10] Thus began a process of Vietnamization in the Cham territories that was to continue through the eighteenth century.

The Vietnamization Process

In 1694, Nguyen Phuc Chu made Po Saktiraydaputih the native king (phien vuong) of Thuan Thanh Tran, and the latter was obliged to pay tribute to the Nguyen. Thus the tributary relationship was resumed. Nguyen Phuc Chu also returned the royal seal of Champa together with captured weapons, horses, and population. Thirty Vietnamese soldiers or Kinh Binh (soldiers of the Imperial City) were sent to protect the new Cham ruler.[11] At this point the kingdom of Champa no longer existed as an independent entity, but had been integrated into the Nguyen domains. The Cham people continued to live in small pockets from the region of Quang Nam down to the Pho Hai-Phan Rang-Phan Ri region, where the seat of the Cham court under Po Saktiraydaputih was situated. The ruler’s palace was situated at Bal Chanar, not far from Phan Ri.[12]

Even though the Chams continued to refer to their kingdom in the Pho Hai-Phan Rang-Phan Ri region as Panduranga, it was actually occupied territory. Vietnamese-Cham relations after 1697 under Nguyen Phuc Chu were based on central-regional relations; the role of the Cham ruler was more of a cultural and economic leader than a political one. But it was probably due to such a relationship that the Cham people were able to co-exist with the Vietnamese during the southward expansion of the Nguyen up to the early nineteenth century.

The Nguyen-Champa tributary relationship provides an insight into the attitude of the Nguyen with regard to its new status as a suzerain. On the one hand, the tribute had great economic and practical value to the Nguyen. More significantly, this self-created tributary relationship was a manifestation of the Nguyen’s achievement of an independent state ruling over its newly acquired tributary state, Champa. The Nguyen court was now the center of a system of tributary states made up of weaker states and uplanders.

However, the relationship between Po Saktiraydaputih and Nguyen Phuc Chu did not prevent friction from taking place in day-to-day affairs between the Cham people and Vietnamese settlers. Chams were also dissatisfied with the Vietnamese administration of the newly created Binh Khanh prefecture, whose jurisdiction covered the Cham territories in the Pho Hai-Phan Rang-Phan Ri (Panduranga) region. Such friction involved the jurisdiction of law enforcement, trade, trade taxes, slaves and labor contracts, and administrative boundaries.[13] The Chams were at a disadvantage when dealing with the Vietnamese in these matters.

An agreement made in 1712 between Nguyen Phuc Chu and Po Saktiraydaputih included five provisions to regulate or govern Vietnamese-Cham relations in Binh Khang. Nguyen records mentioned that the agreement was made at the request of Po Saktiraydaputih and that Nguyen Phuc Chu “granted” a list of rules (not an agreement).[14] It is difficult to ascertain if Po Saktiraydaputih really requested such an agreement, but clearly it was important in safeguarding the interests of the Chams, even though some of the articles were biased against them:

  1. Anyone who petitioned at the Royal palace (of Po Saktiraydaputih) has to pay 20 string of cash (quan) to each of the Left-Right Tra (court official), and 10 string of cash to each of the Left-Right Phan Dung; Whereas those who petitioned at Dinh Binh Khanh have to pay 10 string of cash to the Left-Right Tra, and 2 string of cash to each of the Left-Right Phan Dung.

  1. All disputes among Han people (Vietnamese) or between Vietnamese and a resident of Thuan Thanh shall be judged by the Phien Vuong (Cham King) together with a Cai ba (treasurer) and a Ky Luc (judicial official) (both Vietnamese officials); Disputes among the people of Thuan Thanh shall be judged by the Cham King.

  1. The two stations of Kien-kien and O-cam shall be defended more carefully against spies. The authorities shall have no power to arrest residents of the two stations.

  1. All traders who wish to enter the land of the registered barbarians (Man de) must obtain a pass from the various relevant stations.

  1. All Chams from Thuan Thanh who drifted to Phien Tran (borders with Cambodia) must be well treated.

From the agreement it is apparent that the Cham territories were well penetrated by Vietnamese settlers and that there was no distinctive demarcation between a Cham and a Vietnamese area in the Binh Khang Garrison (Thuan Thanh area). The terms of the agreement also suggest that the Nguyen had conceded a great deal of administrative authority to their sponsored Cham king. However, the great influx of foreign culture and people inevitably forced the Chams to accept the presence of the Viet people and adopt some of their ways, including wearing Vietnamese costumes and using the Vietnamese language.

Nguyen-Champa relations between 1697 and 1728 were described by Vietnamese sources as amicable. In the seventh month of 1714, for instance, after the completion of the renovation of the Thien Mu Temple in Phu Xuan, Po Saktiraydaputih brought his three sons to attend a religious celebration hosted by Nguyen Phuc Chu. Chu, a devout Buddhist, was “very pleased” with their presence. He appointed each of Po Saktiraydaputih’s sons as hau (noble in charge of a village).[15]

Three months later, Po Saktiraydaputih requested assistance from the Nguyen for the establishment of an official court. The Tien Bien recorded how Nguyen Phuc Chu ordered a plan drawn up for the Cham ruler in which the respective positions of military and civil officials in the court were specified.[16] Given the nature of the Nguyen chronicles, it is difficult to be sure if Po Saktiraydaputih had actually made such a request, or whether the whole system was imposed upon the Chams. Nevertheless, it represented another step towards the Vietnamization of the Chams.

Under Po Saktiraydaputih, the Cham people remained subordinate to Nguyen authority between 1700 and 1728, a period when the Nguyen were expanding into Cambodian territories. Even when the Nguyen were preoccupied with the situation in Cambodia, the Chams did not take the opportunity to free themselves. After the death of Po Saktiraydaputih in 1728, Nguyen-Champa relations underwent a shift. In that year, the Chams rose against the Vietnamese, but were swiftly defeated.[17] This led to further Vietnamization as Vietnam-Champa relations were downgraded to those of a prefecture and subsequent Cham rulers adopted the Vietnamese family name of Nguyen.[18]

No Cham ruler after Po Saktiraydaputih developed a close relationship with an individual Nguyen ruler such as that between Po Saktiraydaputih and Nguyen Phuc Chu. The Cham rulers continued to come from the line of Po Saktiraydaputih (of the Po Rome line), but they conducted their affairs with the prefects of Binh Khanh and Binh Thuan prefectures and rarely had direct contact with the Nguyen capital at Phu Xuan. A survey of the Cham Archives of Panduranga provides the information that post-1728 Nguyen-Champa relations were still governed by the regulations set by Nguyen Phuc Chu and Po Saktiraydaputih. This represented continuity with the pre-1728 period, but the process of Vietnamization also continued. The autonomous Champa ruler as envisaged by Nguyen Phuc Chu became little more than a local chieftain under the jurisdiction of prefecture administrators, and the position of the Chams became more and more vulnerable.

Beyond state-level relations, Champa’s own cultural identity was threatened by the large number of Vietnamese in its territories. Po Dharma describes the remnant areas of Champa as spots on a leopard skin.[19] Not only did the Vietnamese swamp Champa, but they also began to break into the traditional economic positions of the Chams, taking over their role in the collection of jungle produce from the highlands. This included the direct collection of calambac (gaharu) and eaglewood and dealing directly with the uplanders for jungle produce.[20] According to Po Dharma, many Chams became indebted to the Vietnamese by borrowing money at the exorbitant interest rate of 150%. This resulted in Chams losing land, rice fields, slaves, even their children and parents.[21]

In this state of losing their homeland and inevitable Vietnamization, the Chams began to turn towards the Malays of the peninsula for assistance.

The Chams and the Malays

Like the Malays, the Chams are categorized as Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian).[22] They came under Indian cultural and religious influence around the middle of the fourth century CE. The fusion between local dynamics and this foreign influence is evident even today in Cham architecture and relics found in the region between Hue and Quang Nam. The cities of Tra-kieu, Dong Duong, and My-son are fine examples.

Contrary to the findings of earlier scholars, the people of Champa were not ethnically homogenous.[23] In fact, over the centuries, interaction took place between the Cham and uplanders from the Truong Son (Annamite mountain chain) range. Former Cham centers in the highlands such as My-son lend support to such an argument. There are new findings that suggest an incorporation of other Austronesian tribes such as the Jarai, the Chru, the Ronglais, and the Rhade into Champa. Po Rome (1627–1651), one of the most popular kings in the history of Champa, was actually of Chru descent. Po Rome’s son, Po Saut, was of Chru and Rhade parentage.[24] There is also evidence suggesting the incorporation of non-Austronesian groups – the Stieng and the Hmong – into the Champa kingdom.[25]

The Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) mentions the presence of Chams in Malacca during the reigns of the Malay sultans. They were known to be political refugees who had arrived in Malacca after 1471. They were well received by the rulers of Malacca, who appointed some Cham noblemen to official positions in the court. In highlighting the Cham presence in Malacca, Marrison draws attention to the fact that the Chams probably contributed to the racial admixture of the Malays of the Peninsula and hence some Cham influences may have survived in Malay cultural tradition.[26]

It is more important for our purposes to note that Malacca was a destination in the post-1471 Cham diaspora. The year 1471 marked the sack of Vijaya by the Vietnamese, the year Henri Maspero suggested as the end of Champa. Was the Cham decision to go to Malacca prompted by ethno-cultural considerations or by religion?

It was probably based more on ethno-cultural factors – as evidenced by the record of Champa-Malay relations – than on religion While the rulers of Malacca had converted to Islam in 1414, Islam had not yet made major inroads into Champa. Islam would later become important, however, in the strong connection between the Chams and the Malays. By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it would be the main factor in rallying Malay help for the Chams in resisting Vietnamese domination.

French scholar Pierre Yves Manguin suggests that the Chams only converted to Islam in the seventeenth century, almost three centuries after the Malays. But Islam was introduced into Champa at an earlier, undetermined date. Maspero stated that some Chams may have converted to Islam as early as the era of Sung dynasty China. Two Kufic inscriptions found in what was southern Champa are dated around 1030 CE and there is some indication of a Muslim community in Champa in the tenth century.[27]

Existing literature and the present situation in Indochina have probably given rise to the impression that the Chams were Muslims during the life of Po Rome, who stayed in Kelantan for several years in the seventeenth century. And many Chams who had fled the Champa heartlands (central Vietnam) since 1471 and lived in Cambodia and on the Vietnam-Cambodian border had converted to Islam. The existence of this group, commonly known as Cham Baruw, also reinforced the Islamic image of the Cham people.

Po Rome’s stay in Kelantan, however, should be seen from another angle. While Kelantan has been known as the serambi Mekah (gateway to Mecca) since the fall of Malacca in 1511, this title does not necessarily mean that religious practice was like that of the present day, when religion is paramount in the lives of the Kelantanese. Po Rome’s presence in Kelantan a few years prior to his ascension to the throne of Champa was likely an attempt to learn broadly about Malay culture, including the powerful Malay magic and the new Islamic religion. Instead of being the main concern of Po Rome, Islam was part of the wider Malay culture that he and other Chams were hoping to learn about in order to rekindle their ethnic and cultural links with the Malay world.

People-to-people relations between the Chams and the Malays were not confined to religious activities. It is likely that the Chams had been frequenting Kelantan for many centuries. Several place names there, such as Pengkalan Chepa and Kampung Chepa, suggest close ties between the two peoples and wide acceptance on the part of the Malays. There were costume and textile names associated with Champa, for example, tanjak Chepa (headdress), sutra Chepa (silk), and kain Chepa (cloth). Chepa is used to describe one type of keris (dagger). There was padi Chepa (Champa paddy) and sanggul Chepa (a hair decoration). It is believed that a mosque in Kampung Laut was built by Cham sailors who frequented Kelantan.[28] And according to the Hikayat Kelantan (Kelantan Annals), the ancestors of Long Yunus, the founder of the present-day Kelantan sultanate, originated in a state known as Kebayat Negara or Kembayat Negara, which is believed to be Champa.[29]

Cham movement to the Malay Peninsula seemed to be frequent and even lasting. As early as the late fifteenth century, a Cham colony was established at Malacca.[30] While most of the colony’s inhabitants were merchants, it began as a sanctuary for Cham refugees. In 1594, the king of Champa sent a military force to assist the Sultan of Johore to fight against the Portuguese in Malacca.[31] While no explanation was given for the Cham king’s action, it is likely that it was influenced by the common Malay identity and possibly common Islamic faith of the rulers of Champa and their Malay counterparts.

According to the Babad Kelantan (Kelantan Annals), a Cham prince arrived in Kelantan in the mid-seventeenth century who was known as Nik Mustafa. After residing in Kelantan for many years, he returned to Champa and was made king, reigning with the title of Sultan Abdul Hamid.[32] Another Cham ruler who is believed to have been Muslim was Po Rome’s son, Po Saut (1660–1692), the last ruler of independent Champa. He used the Malay title “Paduka Seri Sultan” in a letter he sent to the Dutch governor at Batavia in 1680. In 1685, he requested a copy of the Quran from Father Ferret, a French missionary serving in Champa.[33]

The Cham classic entitled Nai Mai Mang Makah (The Princess from Kelantan) tells the story of a princess from Kelantan who was trying to convert the Cham king to Islam. The event was not dated. Po Dharma and Gerard Moussay are of the opinion that the event took place between the 1693 fall of Champa and the 1771 Tayson rebellion.[34] Manguin suggests that Malay migration into Champa played its part in influencing the people to convert to Islam. Accordingly, the Chams were also influenced by the Malays to adhere to the Sunni Shafie sect and, like the Malays, they also kept traces of Shi’ite devotion.[35] However, Manguin also believed that Malay migration to Champa was much more restricted, especially after Champa was absorbed by Vietnam.

Cham Resistance and the Malay-Islamic Regional Network

French missionary sources mention that during the thirty years prior to the fall of Champa to the Nguyen in 1693, there were many Malay scribes and missionaries in the court of Champa. Their main task was to propagate the Islam faith to the Chams. It is likely that these Malays became involved in the Cham struggle against Vietnamese encroachment into Cham territories, resulting in several anti-Vietnamese movements.[36] In this regard, the Chams clearly invoked their Malay-Islamic identity in trying to enlist help against the Vietnamese.

Between the establishment of Nguyen rule over Champa in 1693 and the final annihilation of the Cham political entity in 1835, the Chams made many attempts to break away from Vietnamese rule. These normally took the form of armed revolts. Among the major Cham revolts were those of 1693, 1728, 1796, and 1832-34.

In the case of the 1728 revolt, Po Dharma suggests that the main cause was Cham dissatisfaction with their socio-economic situation.[37] It was through these revolts that the Chams began to rekindle their ties with the Malays and seek their help in resisting the Vietnamese.

The Cham resistance of 1796 control was led by a Malay nobleman named Tuan Phaow. He is believed to have been from Kelantan, as he told his Cham followers that he was from Mecca (Kelantan). His followers consisted mainly of Chams from Binh Thuan and from Cambodia (giving rise to the suggestion that he was from Cambodia), as well as Malays.[38] Tuan Phaow’s resistance had a religious dimension. In order to legitimize his actions, Tuan Phaow claimed to have been sent by God to help the Chams resist the Vietnamese. Tuan Phaow’s forces were up against Nguyen Anh (Gia Long, founder of the Nguyen Dynasty). Despite putting up strong resistance for almost two years, Tuan Phaow’s forces were cornered and defeated by the Nguyen army working in league with a pro-Nguyen Cham ruler. Tuan Phaow reportedly escaped to Mecca. This resistance movement was the first clear indication that Cham resistance had a strong Malay connection. It also shows the Islamic religious dimension becoming a common rallying call.

The 1832 Cham revolt took place as a reaction against Emperor Ming Mang’s harsh oppression of the Chams in reprisal for their support of Ming Mang’s viceroys in Gia Dinh in the south. Viceroy Le Van Duyet had refused to accept orders from Hue since 1728. After Duyet passed away in 1832, he was succeeded by his adopted son, Le Van Khoi, who continued to resist the Nguyen court. Ming Mang’s army carried out a series of oppressive activities against the Cham population in Binh Thuan to punish them for supporting Le Van Duyet and Le Van Khoi. In this conflict, the Malay-Cham connection is again evident in the form of Malay leadership. The Chams were led by a Islamic clergyman from Cambodia named Katip (Khatib) Sumat, who had spent many years studying Islam in Kelantan. Apparently, upon hearing that Champa was under attack by the Nguyen army, Katip Sumat immediately returned. Arriving in Binh Thuan in 1833, he was accompanied by a large force of Malays and Chams from Kelantan. Katip Sumat led the Chams in a series of guerrilla attacks against the Nguyen army. Apart from fighting for the survival of Champa, Katip Sumat invoked the Islamic bond in rallying Malay and Cham support for the cause. In some ways this turned the Cham struggle against the Vietnamese into a form of religious war.[39] The Katip Sumat-led resistance, however, was defeated by the Nguyen army.

Katip Sumat’s Malay contingent did not consist only of volunteers. It is believed that they were sent by Sultan Muhamad I of Kelantan (1800-1837), who raised an army to accompany Katip Sumat to Champa. According to Po Dharma, the underlying factors were the Sultan’s acknowledgement that he and the ruler of Champa shared the same lineage (descendants of Po Rome) and of the need to preserve Islamic unity.[40]

The defeat of Katip Sumat and other Malay-Cham resistance against the Vietnamese in 1835 marked the end of Champa as an independent or autonomous political entity. However, resistance up to that time demonstrates that the Malay-Cham relationship was very old and based first on their common Malay identity and, increasingly since the sixteenth century, on their common adherence to the Islamic faith. Malay-Cham relations continued after 1835 as well, mainly culturally and religiously.

The Twentieth-Century Legacy of Cham-Malay Linkages

The final annihilation of Champa by the Vietnamese Emperor’s troops in 1835 effectively marked the end of almost two millennia of continuous Champa existence. Since then, the last strips of Champa territories, known as Panduranga to the Chams, were fully incorporated into the Vietnamese realm. The end of the Cham royal house also effectively ended the little protection afforded the Cham population between 1693 and 1835. Unlike the previous arrangement, wherein the Chams were subjects of the Cham rulers and governed by Cham regulations and laws, the post-1835 Cham population came under direct Vietnamese rule. The provincial administrators were the highest authority, and Cham notables served as middlemen between the population and the Vietnamese rulers.

With the end of 1835 revolt, Cham links with the external world were also considerably reduced. This situation persisted until the second half of the nineteenth century, when Binh Thuan and five other provinces in the south were ceded to the French by the Nguyen at the end of the Franco-Vietnamese War of 1858-1861. The advent of French colonization of Vietnam actually ended Nguyen attempts to wipe out the Chams. The breakdown of the Nguyen administrative apparatus in the face of greater French control over the provinces saw the rekindling of ancient Cham aspirations to exert Cham identity. Efforts to re-establish traditional external linkages, including those with the Malay states, played an important role. This is evident from reports of religious teachers (ulama) from the Malay Peninsula who frequented the former land of Champa during the final years of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth. Like their predecessors, many of these visitors stayed for long durations in the former Champa as well as among the Chams in Cambodia. They married local Cham women and had children. Several of these families remained in the former Champa and in Cambodia, cementing relationships established in earlier centuries.

During the twentieth century, exchanges of visits between the Chams and the Malays became more frequent and were often family visits, though the religious factor remained strong. Until recently, Malay missionaries visited southern Vietnam to spread the Islamic faith among the Chams.[41] In the annual international Quranic recital competition in Kuala Lumpur, representatives from Vietnam (Binh Thuan) continued to take part until the escalated Vietnam War made it impossible for them to attend.

From the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 until 1993, the Malaysian government took in no fewer than 7,000 Muslim Cham refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia, making them the only group out of the tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who passed through Malaysia to be accepted and settled.[42] Though the official explanation was based on humanitarian considerations, the truth lies with Malay-Cham connections based on common Malay and Islamic identity.

Danny Wong Tze Ken is associate professor in the Department of History, University of Malaya. This project was funded by a SEASREP-Toyota Foundation Regional Collaboration Grant.

[1] “Father Duchesue to Directors of the Seminary in Paris,” 13 November 1682, AMEP: Siam, Vol. 878, f. 202.

[2] William Dampier, A New Voyage Round the World (London: 1697. This edition, The Argonaut Press, 1927), p. 272.

[3] Po Sau (1660–1692) or Ba-tranh as mentioned in the Vietnamese (Nguyen) sources. See Po Dharma, Le Panduranga (Campa) 1802-1835, p. 67.

[4] Dai Nam Thuc Luc Tien Bien (hereafter Tien Bien), Vol. 7, p. 4.

[5] Tien Bien, Vol. 7, p. 5b.

[6] Yang Baoyun, Contribution a l’histoire de la principaute des Nguyen au Vietnam meridional (1600–1775) (Geneva: Editions Olizane, 1992), p. 151.

[7] Pierre Yves Manguin, Les Portugais sur les Cotes du Vietnam et du Champa (Paris: EFEO, 1972), pp. 206-207.

[8] Tien Bien, Vol. 7, p. 9a.

[9] Like the name of Po Saut, Po Saktiraydaputih was used in the Cham Chronicles of Panduranga, whereas Vietnamese sources used the name Ke-Ba-tu. See Po Dharma, Le Panduranga (Campa), 1802-1835, p. 68.

[10] Tien Bien, Vol. 7, p. 5b-6a.

[11] Dai Nam Chinh Bien Liet Truyen, So Tap (Biographical Records of the Eminent People of Dai Nam), Vol. I (hereafter DNCBLT), Chapter 33, p. 22b. See Inventaire des Archives du Panduranga: du fonds de la Societe Asiatique de Paris (Paris: Centre d’Histoire et Civilizations de la Peninsule Indochine, 1984), p. 75. See “Governor of Binh Thuan to the King of Champa,” 1738, Collections Cam, Societe Asiatique de Paris, piece No. 6.

[12] It was from here that he gave audience to officers of the French East India Company ship, La Galatee in 1720. See Le Thanh Khoi, Viet-Nam Un Histoire (Paris: Sudestasie, 1981), pp. 264-265.

[13] Both the Tien Bien and PBTL are silent on the problems faced by the two peoples residing at Dinh Binh Khanh. However, later correspondence (1702-1810) from the Cham Archives of Panduranga (Societe Asiatique Collections) gives an idea of the nature of the friction. See also Inventaire des Archives du Panduranga: du font de la Societe Asiatique de Paris (Paris: Centre d’Histoire et Civilizations de la Peninsule Indochinoise, 1984). See also Yoshiaki Ishizawa, Les Archives Cam Redigees en Caracteres Chinois au Finds de la Societe Asiatique avec Annotation Analyse (Kagoshima: Historical Science Reports, Vol. 29, Kagoshima University, 1980).

[14] Tien Bien, Vol. 8, p. 14a.

[15] Tien Bien, Vol. 8, p. 18b.

[16] Tien Bien, Vol. 8, p. 20b.

[17] This revolt is not found in other sources; see “De Flory to another Priest,” 1728, AMEP: Cochinchine, Vol. 739, f. 600.

[18] It is not known when the first Champa ruler adopted or was given the family name of Nguyen. When Emperor Gia Long established his dynasty, he appointed Nguyen Van Hau, a chieftain from Thuan Thanh as phien vuong (native king), and the successors of Nguyen Van Hau used the name of Nguyen until 1835. See Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi, Vol. 10: Binh Thuan, p. 19.

[19] Po Dharma, “Les Frontieres du Campa (derbier etat des recherches),” in Les Frontieres du Vietnam, ed. P. B. Lafont (Paris: L’Hamattan, 1989), p. 134.

[20] Gerald Hickey, Sons of the Mountains: Ethnohistory of the Vietnamese Central Highland to 1954 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), p. 160.

[21] Po Dharma, Le Panduranga (Campa) 1802-1835, p. 71.

[22] Eric Christal, “Champa and the Study of Southeast Asia,” in Le Campa et Le Monde Malais: Acts de la Conference Internationale sur le Campa et le Monde Malais (Paris: Centre d’Histoire et Civilizations de la Peninsule Indochinoise, 1991), p. 66; see also Frank M. Lebra, Gerard C. Hickey and John K. Musgrave, Ethnic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia (New Haven: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1964), p. 245.

[23] For many years, scholars were influenced by Maspero’s view that the Chams were homogenous. See Georges Maspero, Le Royaume de Campa (Paris: editions G. Vanoest, 1928).

[24] Gerald Hickey, Sons of the Mountains, p. 56.

[25] For some recent studies that took up this line of argument, see Benard Gay, “Une Nouvelle sur le Composition Ethnique du Campa” in Actes du Seminaire sur le Campa organise a l’Universitaire de Copenhagen (Paris: Centre d’Histoire et Civilizations de la Peninsule Indochinoise, 1988), pp. 49-56; Po Dharma, Le Panduranga (Campa) 1802–1835, Ses Rapports avec Vietnam, Vol. I (Paris: Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient, 1987); and Pierre-Bernard Lafont, “Les Grandes Dates de l’Histoire du Campa,” in Le Campa et la Monde Malais (Paris: Centre d’Histoire et Civilizations de la Peninsule Indochinoise, 1991), pp. 6-25.

[26] G. E. Marrison, “The Chams of Malacca,” JMBRAS Vol. XXIV, Part 1, 1951, pp. 90-98.

[27] Pierre Yves Manguin, “The Introduction of Islam into Champa,” JMBRAS, Vol. LVIII, Part 1, 1985, p. 1; see also G. E. Marrison, “The Chams and their Literature,” JMBRAS, Vol. LVIII, Part 2, 1985, p. 55.

[28] Abdul Rahman Al-Ahmadi, Sejarah Mesjid Kampong Laut (Kuala Lumpur: Kementerian Kebudayaan, Belia dan Sukan, 1978), pp. 112-113; see also J. Dumarcy, “La Mosquee de Kampung Laut (Kelantan): Etude Architectural,” Archipel, No. 44, 1992, pp. 115-122.

[29] “Negara Melayu Campa” by Abdullah Mohamed (Nakula), in Utusan Zaman, 31 October 1963.

[30] See G. E. Marrison, “The Chams of Malacca,” JMBRAS, Vol. XXIV, Part 1, 1951, pp. 90-98.

[31] Manguin, “The Introduction of Islam into Campa,” p. 12.

[32] Ibid., Abdullah Mohamad (Nakula) suggests that the prince was Po Rome.

[33] Adrien Launay, Histoire de la Mission de Cochinchine, Vol. I: 1658-1728 (Paris: Ancient Maisons Charles Douniol et Retaux, 1923), p. 352.

[34] Po Dharma, G. Moussay and Abdul Karim, eds., Nai Mai Mang Makah (Tuan Puteri dari Kelantan) (Kuala Lumpur: Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient and Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism Malaysia, 2000), pp. 29-30.

[35] Manguin, “The Introduction of Islam into Campa,” p. 13.

[36] Several French missionaries wrote accounts regarding the presence of the Malay missionaries and their role in spreading Islam. See the letters of De Courtaulin, Mahot found in Archives des Missions Etrangeres de Paris (AMEP), Vol. 734, and letters by the Bishop of Heliopolis, AMEP, Vol. 735, pp. 198-200.

[37] Po Dharma, Le Panduranga (Campa), p. 71.

[38] There are five Cham texts regarding the exploits of Tuan Phaow, I am indebted to Nicolas Weber for translating for me the Manuscript Cam 58 (3).

[39] For details of the Katip Sumat struggle against the Vietnamese, see Po Dharma, Le Panduranga (Campa) 1802-1835, Vol. I, pp. 141-147.

[40] Po Dharma, “Peranan Kelantan dalam Pergerakan Islam di Campa 1833–1834,” Warisan Kelantan, Vol. VIII, 1989, pp. 85-86.

[41] Abdullah Mohamed (Nakula) listed 25 male and seven female missionaries from Kelantan who went to Champa and Cambodia from the end of 16th century to recent times.

[42] Cerut Robinson, “Southeast Asian Refugees: Critical Mess?,” Indochina Issues, No. 77, December 1987, p. 5.

New Research Reconstructs Ancient History of Island SE Asia

Article Repost:

New research reconstructs ancient history of Island Southeast Asia

April 9, 2010

( -- An article in this month's Current Anthropology challenges the controversial idea that Island Southeast Asia was settled 5,000 years ago by a migration of farmers from Taiwan.

The article, by Mark Donohue of the Australian National University and Tim Denham of Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), also questions the broader idea that farming technology and spread together in many parts of the world as a “cultural package.”

Scholars have debated for years about the history of Island Southeast Asia—the present-day countries of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The most prominent theory about the region’s history is the “out of Taiwan” model. According to the model, people from Taiwan migrated south into the region about 5,000 years ago. Advanced farming technology enabled the migrants to displace indigenous hunter-gatherers, and establish their culture and language as the dominant one in the region. Linguistic evidence seems to support that version of events. All of the languages spoken in the region—called the Austronesian languages—can be traced back to a Taiwanese origin.

Influential scholars, including Guns, Germs and Steel author Jared Diamond, believe that the “out of Taiwan” model is a prime example of how prehistoric farming cultures tended to expand their territories, bringing their language and other cultural traditions with them. Advocates of the model believe similar scenarios explain language patterns in areas of Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

But Donohue and Denham present a very different history of Island Southeast Asia.

“Genes, languages and material culture—including agriculture—did not all spread together through migration,” Donohue said. Instead, the region was “home to a mosaic of maritime networks of prior to the spread of the Austronesian languages.”

The latest genetic studies show no evidence of a large-scale Taiwanese migration, the Donohue and Denham contend. “Although some of the genetic variation among human populations in [the region] can be attributed to Taiwanese influence, the proportion does not by any means represent the wholesale replacement or absorption of preexisting populations,” they write.

In terms of agriculture, Donohue and Denham show that many of the domesticated plants and animals common in the region appear to have arrived before any Taiwanese influence—and from multiple sources. Chickens and pigs most likely came from mainland Southeast Asia, and bananas and sugarcane from New Guinea. Such evidence challenges the notion that the region owes its agricultural history solely to Taiwanese migrants.

A detailed look at the linguistics of the region also casts doubt on the explanatory power of the “out of Taiwan” model, according to Donohue and Denham. Languages change over time and as populations move around. If the Austronesian languages came to the region through a southward Taiwanese migration of peoples, one would expect that the languages spoken in the northern part of the region would be more similar to the original source language than the ones spoken in the southern part, which matches the dispersal of some archaeological markers. But that is not the linguistic pattern in Island Southeast Asia. According to Donohue and Denham, there is no linguistic evidence for an orderly north-to-south dispersal.

Irregular patterns in the vocabulary and grammar and other linguistic anomalies throughout the region call into question the idea that the language came to the through mass migration. Rather, Donohue and Denham suggest that the profile of the Austronesian languages in Island Southeast Asia is “consistent with the mechanisms of language shift and abnormal transmission.”

Taken as a whole, the evidence from genetics, archaeology and linguistics calls into the question the idea that agriculture and language spread together, Donohue and Denham conclude.

“The demonstration that farming and language did not reach Island Southeast Asia together has implications for other places where that idea has been applied, including Europe and sub-Saharan Africa,” Denham said.

More information: Mark Donohue and Tim Denham, “Farming and Language in Island Southeast Asia: Reframing Austronesian History.” Current Anthropology 51:2 (April 2010).

The Gold of Our Ancestors

One of the major assumptions even Filipinos make is that the Philippines has had no major artistic traditions before the Spanish colonial period and its a favorite subject of Filipino students (particularly Filipino-Americans students) to ask "What is Filipino culture?" It is true the Philippines does not have a Borobudur or Angkor Watt. It has no Great Pyramid of Giza or Great Wall. But then again, these monuments were often built by toiling masses of people who were told to build them for the pleasure and vanity of their rulers. Perhaps that is something that Filipinos can be proud of--having been a free people with no oppressive central government up until colonial rule. But the other thing that Filipinos can be proud of is that yes the Philippines has had a very long artistic tradition, particularly in pottery and gold going back to at least 6,000 years.

As far as gold is concerned (I will touch upon pottery in another article), the Philippines was and is a gold producing country. The early Spanish such as Fr. Pedro Chirino recounted how "even slaves wore gold" and Filipinos generally only admired gold for decoration. They placed more value on other things such as pottery, silks and jade. In the 1900s, a gold statue of the Bodhisattva, Tara, was unearthed in Butuan, northern Mindanao in the southern region of the Philippines (see red insert from the picture above). This statue was dated to the 10th century AD and due to the decorative elements, it seems to have been locally produced meaning made by Filipino artisans. This confirmed that Filipinos were influenced by the Hindu-Buddhist empires in what is now Indonesia and that that religions were making in-roads with Filipinos. In 1981, another major discovery was made in Surigao, not that far from Butuan, and was nearly melted but was saved by archeologists and today is part of the "Gold of Our Ancestors" Collection at the Ayala Museum--a bit ironic considering that Ayalas are Philippine-born Spaniards and that the ticket price is cost prohibitive for ordinary Filipinos to actually see the gold of their ancestors but its probably safer there than at a government owned museum but that's another story--in Metropolitan Manila. It consisted of several golden objects including the wardrobe of a high ranking noble, possibly a king, and dated in the 10 to 11th century AD. The decorative elements included the naga (snake), the garuda (a half man half bird that the Hindu God Vishnu rides upon, see picture below), and geometric designs that can still be seen in textiles in Mindanao. Again, this points to the strong Hindu-Buddhist influence in the southern part of the Philippines and again points to the artistry of Filipino goldsmiths. Experts today say that even with our modern technology, it would be difficult to duplicate these pieces because of the intricate details.

One of the more unusual objects found were golden sashes. Sashes made of gold so far are only found in the Philippines and these particular sashes are the same type worn by Hindu deities in artistic depictions. This is quite unusual because no where else so far in South East Asia have these types of pieces of sacred wardrobe were actually physically created.

Normally, one simply sees them in drawings or in temple reliefs. So to have these pieces created from these images shows not a great deal of creative skill but also a great admiration to the power and semiotics of the ideas being presented in these philosophies. Due to the sheer weight of these objects, it probably that they were only worn during important state and religious ceremonies and/or were placed on a religious statue as part of veneration.

What is important about these objects outside of their form and their historical function is their function today. They are a testament to the creativity, industry, and pride of the ancestors. These objects refute what many Filipinos were brought up with--that Filipinos have no history prior to Magellan and that the Filipino has no achievements prior to the Spanish. It signifies the influence of Hindu-Buddhism in the Philippines and the deep connection to those ideas that Filipinos of that era felt--so much so they took the time to give form to these religious beliefs. It answers the questions "What is Filipino culture" by saying--in gold no less--"Look at us, remember us, you are from us".