A Trilogy of Talks

The Old Courthouse

6 July
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Presented by experts and researchers on Malay culture, this is a series of talks focusing on the history, culture and intriguing rediscoveries of stories relating to the Malay communities of Sarawak.

In Search of the Lost Kingdoms of Sarawak
by Datu Dr Hj Sanib Said

Presenting his life-long search for the lost kingdoms of Sarawak which pre-dated the Brooke Dynasty, Datu Dr Sanib started his exceptional journey in 1976 and slightly a decade after, he wrote and published a paper titled “The History of Sarawak; Where Do We Begin”, a preliminary idea on the deconstruction of the history of the state. By 2010, after more than three decades of continuous research, he finally has discovered and learned about six kingdoms in Sarawak - Negeri Santubong, Negeri Samarahan, Negeri Kalaka, Negeri Malano, Negeri Saribas and Banting.


Datu Dr Sanib majored in History from the University of Malaya, in particular history of Sarawak for his BA, MA and PhD. He has written several books, among them are Malay Politics in Sarawak (Oxford 1985); Malay Sarawak: Lost History (UNIMAS, 2013; 2ND ed. Saramedia, 2016).

Datu Patinggi Abang Hj. Ghafor: The Untold Story
by Dr Zainal Abd Latiff

The talk will try to uncover the untold story of a Malay hero of Sarawak, who had been sent to Malacca in 1860, accused of his involvement in the Malay Plot, to reject  the rule of James Brooke. Many unanswered questions will  be probed, such as “ Why was he sent to Mecca and later to Malacca?  How did he spend his life in Malacca and  where was he buried? Did he have any descendents in Malacca?”


A familiar figure in Malaysia’s theatre and drama scene, Dr Zainal Latiff is a pioneer in the methodology of incorporating Randai and Silat martial arts into modern acting training, and a scholar, scriptwriter, director and translator.

Hikayat Panglima Nikosa (1876)
by Dr Azhar Ibrahim

The 19th century Southeast Asia was an era of tribulation, subjugation and exploration, inasmuch as it opened the path for experimentation and embracement of modernity. Local texts emerging from this period was characterised by both appraisals of the rule of law brought about by the colonialists as well as critiques against colonial encroachment and abuses. However, one text written in Sarawak, Hikayat Panglima Nikosa (1876) demonstrates a unique feature rarely found in indigenous writing corpus. Ahmad Syawal’s hikayat narrates the importance of the Malay rakyat to realise their current state of affairs, and the need to improve their social, political and economic conditions.


Azhar Ibrahim, PhD is a Lecturer and Deputy Head at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS). His research interest includes sociology of religion, sociology of literature and critical literacy, and the Malay-Indonesian intellectual development. He has published several books.

This program is sponsored by Old Kuching Smart Heritage

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