by Anne Lemetter (Batch 16)
This week, our schedule was a bit changed and we started by listening to Professor Dato’ Dr Nik Hassan Shuhaimi bin Nik Abdul Rahman, discussing the early kingdoms in Malaysia before the rise of Islam; covering topics in Gallery B of Muzium Negara.
Professor Dato’ Dr Nik Hassan is the President of the Association of Malaysian Archaeologists and the author of a number of books on archaeology. He has been (in his own words) a “contractor” to the museum for the past 17 years and is an authority in the field of archaeology and pre-Islamic Malay Culture and Civilisation.
He started his talk with a short overview of the tools available for reconstructing the history of this period from various sources and highlighted the difficulty of combining archaeological evidence with evidence from literature into a coherent story that is reliably dated.
He then introduced the different Malay kingdoms, their rise as well as insights into the evidence of the existence of these kingdoms (inscriptions, statues, candi, graves …). He went through a series of pictures of artefacts and maps of this period, giving us a nice visual impression of this extensive overview. He ended his talk with a quick overview on the current debate on the foundation of Melaka in 1262 vs 1400s.
After Dr Nik’s presentation, our team did a series of 3-minutes presentations, from the coconut tree, to the Gupta Stone, the tin animal money, the Ming export ceramics to the arrival of Islam to Melaka.
We ended our session by a Tour of Gallery B with Lee Choo Sim, an engaging story-teller.