9 Sept 2017: A quartet of Terengganu stories

Terengganu is a treasure trove of Malay culture, crafts and architecture. With the earliest written reports going back to the beginning of the 6th century, the state is a cornucopia of heritage ― its distinct Malay dialect and array of delectable culinary delights are unique in the country and deserve wider attention.  In an effort to stimulate interest and to preserve the heritage of Terengganu, the Yayasan DiRaja Sultan Mizan (YDSM) foundation was set up in 2005. Although its activities are mainly community based, YDSM has recently ventured into the world of publishing, and has so far produced five scholarly books in Malay and English. All YDSM titles are threaded by a common theme ― stories from the state of Terengganu.

baginda omar-cvrAs the title indicates, The Royal Letters of Baginda Omar (Raimy Ché-Ross) features official and private correspondence from the personal archives of Baginda Omar, Sultan Terengganu IX (1806-1876) and a smaller cache of similar letters from Sultan Zainal Abidin III, Sultan Terengganu XI (1866-1918). This study is the first comprehensive attempt at rationalising the complexity of this challenging collection, by presenting its principal material in a systematic and coherent manner. This publication is divided into two parts. Volume I provides an introduction to the collection and its main subject, with a critical transliteration and annotated translation of the original Malay-Jawi documents. Volume 2 offers a descriptive catalogue to the collection, plus a ‘diplomatic transliteration’ of the Malay-Jawi letters. (Text in English and Malay)

sejarah_kesultanan_treng_cvrIn 2008, the royal house of Terengganu celebrated an unbroken three centenaries of rule, beginning with Sultan Zainal Abidin Shah I (1708–1733). Aside from covering the history of the monarchs, Sejarah Kesultanan Terengganu (1708-2008)  (Mohamed Anwar Omar Din & Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud) also reveals how the Terengganu Sultanate served as the prime mover that powered the state through progressive levels of development, even before the arrival of the British invaders. Various sources have shown that since its founding in the early 18th century, the state had spearheaded in several areas. This included a structured system of administration; the creation and use of currency, weights and measures; entrepreneurship; cultural arts and shipbuilding. Terengganu’s skill in the latter even led Western visitors to describe the state as the ‘Birmingham of the Peninsula’. (Text in Malay)

Terengganu: Selected Handicrafts (Noraini A. Shariff) is a showcase of the state’s speciality in wood carving, block printed batik, brassware and ironware. These crafts possess their own identity and legacy which are unique to Terengganu. These industries were at their peak once upon a time but due to a lack of commercial interest, many have lost skilled craftsmen and promoters. In an effort to revive the craftsmanship of these precious crafts, the Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation has taken the initiative of providing the space, infrastructure, training and technical as well as financial assistance to those involved. These efforts have now borne fruit. This bilingual book documents a landmark achievement for the Foundation in its efforts to rejuvenate the heritage crafts of Terengganu. (Text in English and Malay)

warisan_terengganu_cvrWarisan Seni Bina Melayu Terengganu (Mohd Yusof Abdullah) represents a significant effort to document the traditional Malay architecture of Terengganu, its history, nature, form and function, as well as a description of the religious ceremonies observed and performed by craftsmen at the construction sites of new homes, as a means of ensuring good tidings for the owners. Moving forward, the book also describes the latest developments where traditional architectural forms, such as roof shapes, are adapted by modern buildings such as offices, hotels, airports and so on. This richly illutrated book will be of special interest for scholars and admirers of Malay architectural heritage, and is a valuable documentary on one of the richest examples of Malay civilizational heritage. (Text in Malay)