So a few weeks back, you may have seen this short video on FB:
In this snippet, a local associate professor was heard saying some pretty interesting stuff regarding the origin of Malays, with the most controversial one being that the Himalayas was so named because Malays once stayed there – ‘Hi’ means mountain, and ‘Malaya’ refers to the Malays. Hence Malay Mountains. Google, on the other hand, would tell you that Himalaya actually means ‘snowy abode‘ in Sanskrit.
This sudden suspension of reality might feel a bit eerie to some. We hope you like that feeling though, because there’s more where that came from. Today, we’ll be taking you into the surreal world of Malay conspiracy theories, but before we start, some caveats:
- When it comes to conspiracy theories, fact and fiction often blur together, so take everything with a huge grain of salt.
- Some of these theories are really complex and may have multiple versions, so we may leave some details out for coherence.
- When we say ‘Malay’, we might refer to Malays in the Malay Archipelago/Nusantara in general, not just Malaysian Malays
- We didn’t come up with these on our own, so don’t @ us and ask for a debate please.
Alright. Now that the insurance is in place, let’s start with…
Theory #1: Malays might be the lost Atlanteans
In case you’ve never heard of it, Atlantis was depicted in various stories as a really advanced early civilization that pissed off the gods so much, it sank to the bottom of the ocean overnight and was lost forever. Ever since the Greek philosopher Plato spoke of Atlantis, people have been speculating where the island sank, or whether it was even real in the first place.
So what does Atlantis had to do with Malays? Well, if you’ve paid attention in Geography class, you might have heard of something called the Pentas Sunda/Sunda Shelf. The Malay archipelago (including Malaya, Borneo, and Indonesia) have relatively shallow seas, and if the sea levels were a bit lower, the whole area would be one large landmass called Sundaland. This was said to be what happened during the last ice age, and most of the area went underwater after the ice melted.
Sometime in 1998, a scientist named Stephen Oppenheimer published a book called Eden in the East that suggested Sundaland was the cradle of civilization, where cultivated rice and bronze products first made their appearances. After floods ravaged much of the area, the people there fled in all directions and brought their advancements with them. The circumstance of an advanced early civilization sinking into the sea had caused some to think that Sundaland was Atlantis.
Couple that with the controversial theory that Malays were originally Sundaland inhabitants, and it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that Malays might be Atlanteans once. While these theories aren’t without dispute, at the end of the day it all falls down to whether Atlantis even existed in the first place.
Theory #2: The Malays were also Lemurians
This one is kind of a spin off on the Malays were Atlanteans theory, but as neutral as we’re trying to be, it’s like someone took the Atlantean theory and ran off with it in a meth-induced rage. Barring sparse mentions in pop culture, chances are you’re not familiar with the mystical island of Lemuria, but it’s essentially Atlantis after it discovered aromatherapy.
And while people have seriously considered finding Atlantis one day, Lemuria’s existence had less weight. Back in the 1800s, a biologist came up with Lemuria as a hypothetical island/bridge to explain why they can find lemur fossils in India and Madagascar, but not in the Middle East or Africa, which lies in the way. However, people later found out about continental drift and tectonic plates, so like the island, the idea of Lemuria, sank into the ocean.
It was later fished out by occultists and aspiring writers, one of whom wrote a pretty detailed story about how Malays were part of two advanced, multi-racial ancient kingdoms that used crystal technology: Lemuria, the spiritual, eco-friendly one, and Atlantis, the bloodthirsty, technologically advanced one. Because the Atlanteans kept pestering the Lemurians with their constant warmongering, Allah (yes, the story said Allah) sent them a prophet to show them the error of their ways.
The prophet got ignored though, so they were punished with a flood that sank both their islands.
After the flood subsided, a few surviving Lemurians of various races created a country called Aroi Matahari in the Pacific Islands, and the government was put together by a Malay named Tangoba. This dynasty was named the Araiki Dynasty, and 16 kings ruled until the Baralku Dynasty took over. Then the Nan Madol Dynasty took over.
By that point we’re 95% sure that the original writer was just screwing us over, so we moved on to other things.
Theory #3: The Malays were… a lost tribe of Israel?!
If you’re not familiar with the lost tribes of Israel, basically the original® Israel had 12 tribes (some say 13), but ten of them got attacked by some Assyrians and went incognito ever since. Over the years, people have been guessing who these lost people are, and perhaps surprisingly, the Malays had been nominated as a candidate.
According to the most copypasted authority on the matter, the Prophet Abraham’s third wife was a Mala woman named Keturah. Mala is her race, btw – she’s not spicy and numbing as far as we know. Their children, who contained both the bloodlines of Abraham and the Mala race, later started the race known as Malays. When they fled Israel, the Malays took the Silk Road and ended up on a mountain in northern India, which later got named Himalaya after them. So that’s where the theory from the intro came from.
After staying there for a while, they moved down to Southeast Asia and settled there. Of the ten lost tribes, Malays were said to be the Manasseh, based on the fact that they are the only ones following the route who a) became Muslims, and b) don’t have a clue about who they were originally. We dunno why that qualifies them. Anyways, this theory was said to have some gaping holes, but some blogs had tried to present compelling arguments about this theory:
- A local study found a ‘27% Mediterranean variant in Malay DNA’, said to be proof of Israel origins.
- Similarities between Malay and Israelite culture, like using drums to call for prayers, the songkok, and the tengkolok being a simplified form of Israel’s two-tailed turbans.
- A place in Negeri Sembilan called Juasseh, which was an amalgamation of Jusuf (what the Jews called Joseph) and Manasseh (Joseph’s son).
- The existence of pretty and handsome Malays, as the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), father of the Manasseh, was said to be inhumanly beautiful.
The Manasseh thing kind of leads into the next theory, which is…
Theory #4: The Malays will play a huge part in the apocalypse
Ever wondered why you can’t go into Israel with a Malaysian passport? One of the signs of Jewish doomsday is their messiah appearing and leading all the lost tribes back to the promised land. So if the Malays, one of the lost tribes, enter Israel… nah, we jest. Actually we can’t enter Israel because Malaysia, like several countries, doesn’t recognize it as a state.
The involvement will actually be more towards the Islamic armageddon and the corresponding messiah, commonly known as Imam Mahdi. It is said that along with the Prophet Isa, Imam Mahdi will appear from among the common man to do battle with the Dajjal, or the false messiah. Some claim that Imam Mahdi will come from the Bani Jawi (another name used for the Malay Manasseh), and over the years several Malays have stepped up and claimed to be him. They were promptly shut down, because apparently that theory is deviant as heck.
Others have claimed that Imam Mahdi won’t be fighting alone: a youth from the Bani Tamim will swoop in from the east, carrying black war flags and an army to assist him. And… you guessed it, some theorized that the Bani Tamim refers to the Malays. The Malay archipelago is vaguely in the east side, and others have pointed out characteristics of this Bani Tamim youth that coincidentally matches up with Malays: having both Middle Eastern and Eastern blood, having a skin that’s not too dark or too fair, and having Arabic as a second language, to name a few.
We dunno how much of the evidence is true, though. Some blogs had combined Islamic canon with Nostradamus’ predictions to pinpoint Malaysia as the place of the Bani Tamim, others say the pronunciation of Tamim (Arabic letters ‘T’ and ‘M’) refers to Tanah Melayu, others still back up their claims by questioning the motive behind the Malay archipelago’s long relations with Middle Eastern countries. Despite all this, it seems that more credible sources would say that the Bani Tamim are almost certainly Arab people.
That’s all the theories we can handle for one day, but by now you might be wondering…
Why the heck do these conspiracy theories exist anyway?
The term ‘conspiracy theory‘ implies the involvement of secret groups, and looking at these theories at first glance, it’s hard to imagine what the conspiracy is. However, when researching the professor at the very start of the article, we did find an interesting concept: he had been known to preach a kind of occidentalism, which essentially involves looking at history through original manuscripts instead of second-hand sources tainted by Western orientalist views.
“…history had been reversed by the orientalists who not only erased records of their backwardness but the greatness of the East as well. This is where occidentalism that refers to original sources is important, as it allows for a more fair research compared to research done by referring to secondary sources that will influence us with their system of values,” – Dr Mat Rofa, translated from Berita Harian.
So maybe the conspiracy here is that Malays are a bigger deal than the mainstream world would like to admit, and the false messiah better watch out for the Bani Jawi.
But that’s just our conspiracy theory about these conspiracy theories, so take that with a grain of salt as well.