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Does my nation have no identity in writing? January 11, 2012

Posted by Yakuza in Thinking.

As I watching a historical Korean drama on TV, I felt so proud of Korean King, Sejong The Great for his effort in creating easier alphabet for his people. He wanted all of Joseon’s people are able to read and write.

As we know, Korean dynasty is influenced by Chinese culture – one of them is writing system. Since the Chinese characters have thousand of alphabet and quite difficult, most of Korean are illiterate. Furthermore, writing and reading skills are mostly being mastered by the aristocrat.

Eventually, King Sejong created a simple 28 words called Hangeul for the sake of his people, although it has been opposed by most aristocrat.

Then I was thinking about my own nation identity. Many people said that our original writing is Jawi. But it has been abolished in 1960’s and substituted by Romanization writing.  All of country matters, including education system are writing in Roman ever since. Even if it was Jawi, I don’t think that is our identity (I am Malaysian). Because Jawi script is based on Arabic words, which is imported from Middle East – during the spreading of Islam in our land by the Middle-Eastern merchant.

After seeking the information on net, I found that our earlier writing was Rencong Alphabet. But still, it was not originally from our land. It’s origin was from India. Now, does my nation really have no writing identity? Should I proud of it, after widely known that our language had loaned many words from foreign language? Plus, we have Arabic influence on our names, words, particular dressing and so on. Yes, majority of Malay are Muslim, but it doesn’t mean we have to be Arab. Let Malay be Malay, let Arab be Arab. Arab is race, Islam is religion – and this religion is not belongs to Arab – but Islam is for all.

Back to the writing, nowadays most of us are using Roman words in daily writing. Jawi script has been forgotten by this generation. Only minority of Malay know how to read and write in Jawi. Including me. Luckily I mastered it when in Primary school (equivalent with Elementary school).



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