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[ Vol. 23, Supp. 1, 2016 ]



The Asian Journal of Humanities

Published by
Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia

Print ISSN: 1394-9330
Online ISSN: 2180-4257
Frequency: Biannually
Current Issue: Volume 23, Supp. 1, 2016
Abstracting/Indexing: SCOPUS, Malaysian Citation Index (MyCite) Google Scholar, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), JURN, Genamics JournalSeek

* The term Kemanusiaan is a Malay word meaning "Humanities". It is derived from the form manu, a Sanskrit term which means "man" or "mankind".


KEMANUSIAAN The Asian Journal of Humanities, formerly known as Jurnal Ilmu Kemanusiaan (Journal of Humanities) publishes theoretical and empirical writings on aspects of the humanities in Asia as well as those that are universally relevant and provide new knowledge to the broad area of the Humanities.

USM has extended content delivery format for its journals’ publication in print and PDF to include ePub, to address the growing need for more mobile accessibility.


Publication Ethics

KEMANUSIAAN The Asian Journal of Humanities adheres to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) standards on publications ethics. For further details please visit:

Current Issue
Volume 23, Supp. 1, 2016

Title: Hybrid Language and Identity among the Samsam, Baba Nyonya and Jawi Peranakan Communities in North Peninsular Malaysia
Author: Noriah Mohamed
Source: Kemanusiaan The Asian Journal of Humanities 23(Supp.1): 1–23, 2016
- Abstract  

The essay discusses the identity and language of three groups which are considered to display hybrid characteristics. These three groups are the Samsams, Baba Nyonya and the Jawi Peranakans. They are predominantly found in the northern part of peninsular Malaysia. As a concept, hybrid refers to the nature of a system which forms a cluster of several subsystems or segments that are different from one another. This hybrid concept is used to explain the identity of the three above groups. Even though the language spoken by the three groups display hybrid characteristics, their linguistic classifications indicate the speech systems of both the Samsams and Jawi Peranakans as dialect, whereas the speech system of the Baba Nyonya as creole. The essay also reviews the linguistic classification of speech systems of these three groups.

Keywords and phrases: identity, language, hybrid, Samsam, Baba Nyonya, Jawi Peranakan

Title: Boria: Penang's Unique Malay-Islamic Cultural Heritage
Author: Shakila Abdul Manan
Source: Kemanusiaan The Asian Journal of Humanities 23(Supp.1): 25–47, 2016
- Abstract  

This essay aims to chart the chronological trajectory of the boria in order to show how it had evolved from a ritualistic theatre to become Penang's unique Malay-Muslim cultural heritage. In achieving this aim, the essay traces boria's etymology, its origin and the socio-historical factors that have moulded it into a ritualistic form of theatre. The essay then discusses the features of the boria that help to provide it a specific Malay-Muslim identity by exploring factors such as the language of the comic sketches and songs, the transmission of cultural, religious and Malay political values via the boria performance. The essay concludes by discussing the factors that have threatened this cultural heritage with extinction and measures that have been taken to revive it.

Keywords and phrases: boria, ritualistic theatre, Penang, Malay-Muslim cultural heritage, Jawi-Pekan

Title: Revelation of Empire: The Maxwells and Their Study of Malay Customs
Author: Mohamad Rashidi Pakri
Source: Kemanusiaan The Asian Journal of Humanities 23(Supp.1): 49–60, 2016
- Abstract  

This essay aims to revisit and evaluate the authoritarian British imperial policy and conduct in Northern Perak and Kedah, especially those involving the official duties and the daily interactions of the first Supreme Court Judge of the Straits Settlements and British Adviser to Kedah, namely Sir Peter Benson Maxwell and Sir George William Maxwell respectively. However, despite desires to establish the supremacy of western culture and civilisation, the Maxwells appreciated and valued the Malays and their customs in Perak and Kedah. Hence they aimed at diminishing prejudice to foster togetherness and bring justice to the northern Malays. Information provided by Sir P. B. Maxwell in Our Malay Conquests (1878) and G. W. Maxwell's In Malay Forests (1907) depicted their "accounts of personal incidents" that help readers understand the Maxwells' political and personal views of the Malays and their fascinating customs reflective of their writings. The Maxwells therefore ridicule the irony of British's "love for justice," orient-occident dichotomy and injustice done to these oriental and their long-established adat (customs) that is loosely translated as culture.

Keywords and phrases: P. B. Maxwell, George Maxwell, J. W. Birch, Malay civilisation, Malay custom

Title: Mek Mulong: Kedah's Unique Folk Performance
Author: Mohamad Luthfi Abdul Rahman
Source: Kemanusiaan The Asian Journal of Humanities 23(Supp.1): 61–78, 2016
- Abstract  

The essay considers a type of Malay folklore found in the state of Kedah, the mek mulong, which can be categorised as a folk performance. The authentic mek mulong still thrives in Kampung Baru Wang Tepus in Jitra. The essay examines mek mulong as the Kedah Malays' traditional heritage. It analyses the uniqueness of this performance. The essay is based on both Western and local studies on folk performances notably its healing ritual which is not often shown to the public. So far there has been no substantive study on mek mulong while most of the earlier writings on mek mulong are brief, descriptive documentation type of studies. A more in-depth analysis aims to uncover its special features and the uniqueness of this traditional folk performance. In a way the essay is a contribution towards the preservation of folk traditions as without any form of dynamic activism, such folk performances are threatened with extinction.

Keywords and phrases: mek mulong, folk performance, Malay folklore, Kedah, heritage

Title: Conservation of Pulau Payar Marine Park and Optical Remote Sensing Models
Author: Anisah Lee Abdullah, Anastacia Amanda Anscelly, Juliana Mohamed and Zulfigar Yasin
Source: Kemanusiaan The Asian Journal of Humanities 23(Supp.1): 79–107, 2016
- Abstract  

An integration of strategies in conserving declining coral reefs requires a dynamic approach. In this essay, a combination of three technical approaches was applied to a coral reef area of a marine protected area in the northern Straits of Malacca as a science-based ecosystem approach for natural resource conservation measure. Optically-derived physical water quality models of Total Suspended Solids and chlorophyll-a applied to a series of satellite images to assess the distribution of physical water quality and indirect chemical water quality conditions will provide a historical view of the crucial element that governs the coral reef health. It will also provide insights to coral reef ecosystem response to direct pollution from surrounding waters or land-based pollution inputs from adjacent areas. The hydroacoustic signal classification system which measures different hardness and roughness of bottom sediment substrates stores, categorises and manipulates data received, and produces maps of sea-bed types will aid in determining the percentage of live and dead corals, and in the inventory process of applying Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) for a large scale survey. LAC framework has a broad applicability to complex tourism setting such as marine protected areas where development of measurable objectives defining desired wilderness and the identification of management actions to provide overall quality enjoyment of tourism are possible while preserving the fragile ecosystems of coral reefs. This is considered a science-based ecosystem approach which is viable, cost-effective, time saving and is based mainly on scientific data of a sensitive ecosystem. This integrated approach with its intensity may fulfil the possibility of identifying the actual limits of acceptable change and the designing of implementation actions for our depleting resource.

Keywords and phrases: optical remote sensing models, Limits of Acceptable Change, hydroacoustic signal classification, reef conservation, natural marine resource heritage

Title: Rivers and Lakes as Natural Heritage: Water Quality Status in the Northern States of Peninsular Malaysia
Author: Zullyadini A. Rahaman, Siti Farhana Che Rus, Mohamad Adam Omar and Wan Ruslan Ismail
Source: Kemanusiaan The Asian Journal of Humanities 23(Supp.1): 109–128, 2016
- Abstract  

Rivers and lakes are natural heritage that should be preserved at all cost. The history of human civilisation has proven the importance of rivers and lakes to humans but development activities had changed the water quality status of rivers and lakes. Due to pollution, they are no longer of any use to human beings. This study was conducted to evaluate the changes of water quality in major rivers, lakes and dams in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia. Sampling was carried out in February 2010 and completed in April of the same year. The sampling consisted of 62 sampling stations located in rivers, lakes and dams in Perlis, Kedah and Penang. Readings were taken based on 11 hydrological and physicochemical parameters and the water quality status was classified under the Interim National Water Quality Standards (INWQS) which tabulated six levels of pollution ranging from moderate to extremely polluted in the order of I, IIA, IIB, III, IV and V. Results from the study show that most readings from the rivers which were located in forested areas and areas that have experienced less development in Kedah and Penang show moderate pollution between Class I and IIA. In urban areas, the rivers are categorised under Class IIB and III while in Perlis, upstream rivers are slightly polluted and categorised under Class IIB and III. However, the pollution level decreases in the middle area but increases gradually as it approaches the urban areas. This study would be useful to planners to ensure development will not interfere with rivers and lakes. As natural heritage, it is of the utmost importance to preserve these rivers.

Keywords and phrases: natural heritage, water quality, northern Peninsular Malaysia, INWQS