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Malay Fairytales & Folklore Back In The Spotlight Thanks To Hikayat Fandom

Malay Fairytales & Folklore Back In The Spotlight Thanks To Hikayat Fandom

During the launch of four of their illustrated books, Hikayat Fandom featured four cultural performances from Makyung to Wayang Kulit.

Melissa Suraya Ismail

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Did you know that Malaysia has ancient manuscripts that date back to 500 years ago? That’s quite a long time ago, around the 5th century – after the emergence of the Kedah Tua civilization.

READ MORE: Did You Know That The Oldest Civilization In Southeast Asia Is In Sungai Batu, Kedah?

If you don’t already know, Malaysia is massively rich in culture and heritage. Forget western fairytales, we have tons of Malaysian fairytales of our own.

Snow White? Pft- try reading our own ‘Puteri Bidasari’ tale below.

READ MORE: Did You Know Malaysia Has A Lot of Fairytale Princesses And Legends As Well? [Part 2]

Within the ancient manuscripts lies tons of creative works by our ancient societies which include hikayat (story) and legends. Unfortunately, some of these legends didn’t really get the limelight properly before. If continued, these legends can fade away, leaving our new generation oblivious.

An event to showcase the Hikayat & legends

In an effort to nurture a capable new generation with crucial skills and knowledge, the Hikayat Fandom: Art, Books & Cultural Showcase – hosted by bzBee Consult, and supported by Yayasan Hasanah – aims to promote the folklore, legends and stories that have shaped the psyche and intrinsic values of our people.

They also seek to re-visualize Malaysia’s ancient world and immerse the youth in the wonders that are our Malay legends.

(Credit: Hikayat Fandom)

The highlight of the showcase was the debut of Ninot Aziz’s four illustrated novels. Ninot Aziz is an award-winning author and a master of Malay stories and folklore, heritage as well as history. These novels also featured amazing graphic works done by talented artists and illustrators – Ariyana Ahmad, Dani Warguide, and Walid Muhammad.

Launching of Hikayat Fandom Series – (From Left) Zainariah Johari, Arts, Culture, Public Spaces Head at Yayasan Hasanah, Award Winning Author Ninot Aziz, Author of the Hikayat Fandom Series and Prof. Said Bani, Managing Director of bzBee Consult during the launch of the Hikayat Fandom Series at Malaysian Tourism Centre (MaTIC)
(Credit: Hikayat Fandom)

Following the launch event held on 24 September at Malaysian Tourism Centre (MaTiC), four graphic novels (as part of a 10-book series) were published officially by the Hikayat Fandom.

Those include:

  • Bentala Naga Kisah Dari Makyung
  • Lagenda Bidasari: Dari Kisah Agung Puteri Kembayat
  • Puteri Saadong: Srikandi Sekebun Bunga Cerang Tegayung
  • Seri Gumum, Puteri Tasik Chini
Frontpage illustrations of Ninot Aziz’s books.
(Credit: Ninot Aziz / Facebook)

These books were part of the Siri Hikayat Fandom (book series) by Ninot Aziz, which was created as a bridge to reconnect the current generation with Malay folklore and heritage by reviving our folklore with a modern and fresh take.

Cultural performances liven up the showcase

The event brought together prominent cultural practitioners including Malaysian National Laureate Professor Dr Muhammad, Dance Maestro Hj. Tharawat Ismail Bakti, with special performances by Primadona Makyong Fatimah Abdullah, Pakyong Negara Rosnan Rahman, Akar Seni Malaysia Group led by Mohd Hazlami Harun and the Arjuna Sukma Wayang Kulit Group.

Bentala Naga Makyung performance.
(Credit: Hikayat Fandom)

Other performances included Wayang Kulit theatre on Puteri Saadong, Makyong performance (dance-drama) on Bentala Naga, Syair (poem) on Lagenda Bidasari and Taridra performance (also a dance drama) on Seri Gumum.

The book launch of Hikayat Fandom was simultaneously a demonstration of how folklore, legends and stories can serve as a basis to harmoniously unite the arts industry across all its main forms: visual arts, performing arts, music, and literature.

Puteri Saadong Wayang Kulit performance.
(Credit: Hikayat Fandom)

Malaysia is rich with ancient traditional stories and its Hikayat act as timeless vessels of our historic cultural ideologies and values – serving as a potential key to understanding and re-visualising our ancient world.

However now, due to the rarity of Malay folklore being portrayed in current media and the fast emergence of social media and pop culture – the public’s interest in exploring Hikayat, legends, and stories has diminished greatly.

This places the survival of our Hikayat, a core component of our national identity, heritage and culture, in a state of great peril.

Ninot Aziz, Author of the Hikayat Fandom Series
Art Illustrations from the books are being displayed at MaTiC currently.
(Credit: Ninot Aziz / Facebook)

Following the launch, an exhibition of the body of work created by Ninot Aziz and the three major illustrators is open to the public currently. The details are as below:

The Art Of Hikayat Fandom (Exhibition)

Venue: Creative Space, Malaysian Tourism Centre (MaTiC)
Dates: 16 September to 31 October
Time: 10 am – 6 pm
Ticket price: Free Admission

READ MORE: Malaysia’s Traditional Dances Were Once Really Controversial, Some Were Even Banned

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