Friday, October 07, 2005

Interview with Raja Muhammad Ariff (Tengku Cik)

Raja Haji, also known as Raja Haji fisabilillah, the son of a Bugis father and a Malay mother, became the fourth Yam tuan Muda in 1777. During his reign the country prospered, which led to increased competition with the Dutch. Tensions exploded in 1782 when the Dutch refused to share the booty taken from the British vessel Betsy, which was seized in Riau harbour. This led to a Dutch attack on Riau in 1783, and then to a blockade for almost a year. On 6 January 1784 a Dutchship, Welvaren ran aground while trying to enter the harbour. a Bugis battery opened fire and hit the powder stored on the ship causing it to explode, killing hundreds of crewmen including the Vice-Governor of Melaka, A.F. Lemker. After the Dutch forces fled to Melaka, Raja Haji followed and began a siege of that Dutch stronghold which lasted six months, but ended when Raja Haji was killed in a Dutch counter-attack. His heroism is remembered and his grave on Penyengat Island is considered a keramat or holy site. By attempting to regain control over the Strait of Malacca, Raja Haji is portrayed as a hero who tried to wrest the vital trade links of the region from foreign domination. In May 1988, a Seminar was held inTanjung Pinang and the papers presented were published as an official biography nominating Raja Haji Fisabilillah for Pahlawan Nasional status.

  1. Raja Ja'afar was Yamtuan Muda from 1805 to 1831.
  2. Raja Ahmad, son of the famed Bugis hero raja Haji, and brother of Raja Ja'afar, was born 1773. He was the first prince from Riau to perform the hajj. Matheson & Andaya, the annotators cum translators of The Precious Gift, write that credit for the evolution of the Tuhfat-al-nafis should be shared between two men, father and son, the senior author being Raja Ahmad. He was a keen student of history and one of his poems, the Sha'ir Perang Johor, describes the wars between Johor and Acheh in the 17th century, Johor's golden age. "It seems probable that he drew up the first draft of the Tuhfat al-Nafis ...", however, his son, Raja Ali Haji "... brought this work to fruition .. and ... is generally accredited with authorship."
  3. Yamtuan Muda Raja Haji Abdullah was murshid (spritual guide) of the Naqshabandiya Tariqa (Sufi order). He died 1858.
  4. Raja Ali ibni Raja Ja'afar became Yamtuan Muda in 1845; he died 1857.
  5. Raja Ali Haji ibni Raja Ahmad c. 1809 - 1870, was co-author of Tuhfat al-Nafis. The Tuhfat describes ".. events covered nearly two centuries and encompassing the entire Malay world, it was conceived on a scale unprecedented in most traditional literature". Raja Ali Haji was born 1809 in Selangor, Malaya of a union between Raja Ahmad and a secondary wife. As his father's eldest surviving son, he accompanied him on expeditions and on the hajj, itself. "At the age of 32, he was even acting as joint regent and ruling Lingga for the youg Sultan Mahmud (deposed 1857). .. His political influence spanned four decades, but it is as a scholar that he is most remembered."
  6. Raja Muhammad Yusuf was the 10th Yamtuan Muda from 1857 until his death in 1899.
  7. Raja Hasan, son of Raja ali Haji, is thought to be the author of Sha'ir Unggas or Sha'ir Burong (Rhymed of Poem Birds), 1859, of which there are several lithographed editions. (Overbeck, H.O., "Malay animal and Flower Shaers", JMBRAS, XII, 2 (August 1934) 113.
  8. Raja Ali Kelana is the half borhter of deposed Sultan of Riau, Sultan Abdul Rahman Mu'azzam Shah (r. 1884 -1911)
  9. The efforts of Raja Khalid (Hitam) was instrumental in seeking to achieve Japan's intervention against the colonial Dutch regime in Riau.
  10. At the time of the interview [pre-1961], Raja Muhammad 'Arif was 66 years old. He was living at Jalan Engku Kadir, Kampung Melayu off Jalan Eunos, Singapore.
  11. Raja Ali Raja Muhammad (Tengku Selat) was the CEO and amongst the founding fathers of Ahmadi & Co., Midai and al-Ahmadiah Press, Singapore. He had major stakes in both enterprises. al-Ahmadiah was liquidated in the late 90's but Ahmadi & Co., Midai is still pulsating in the Pulau Tujuh enclave.