Friday, October 13, 2017

Boyanese of Bawaen Island (Asal Orang Boyan)

It was learnt that the Javanese, along with other communities in Indonesia such as Banjarese, Minangs and Javanese migrated to Tanah Melayu (now known as Malaysia), seeking for a better livelihood and better future for their family. This was back in late 1880 till early 1900 when the Indonesia was being colonized by the Dutch. The Javanese especially traveled and settled in Selangor, where majority makes these few district their home till now, namely Tanjung Karang, Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Kelang, Banting and Sepang.

The establishment and name of the village started around 1920, by Indonesian immigrants from Java, Badang and Madura. Kampung Sungai Buah was originally located near KLIA Seremban, this was when the first settler from Madura stroll by a small river, they saw many ‘buah kepompong’ floating along the river side. The fruit is said to be round, green and sized as a marble, it is also toxic in nature and the hands will be itchy if held.

Boyanese traditional attire - far right.

Now, the population of Kampung Sungai Buah is approximately 1000 people with a majority of 90 percent being Javanese. Those that pioneered the land in Sepang or Dengkil area are namely from Aceh (Acehnese) hence there are a story about how the town was name; an old place called Nibong Dengkil. Another community in Kampung Sg. Bua hos the Boyan communities of Bawaen Island and the other, Javanese and Minang.

What I am fascinated was the Boyanese as I was never told of their origin nor did I ever check them up, until the recent event. My curiosity got the best of me. So I start to dig deeper and deeper, and this is what I’ve learnt.

The island of Baweans is located in the Java Sea, due to the migration of the local men to other parts of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia in search for a source of income for their family members, the island constitutes approximately 70% of females thus it is also referred to as the Island of Women or Pulau Putri. The locals are known as Boyan or Boyanese.

One of the reason for Baweanese migration to Malaysia via Singapore is through pilgrimage hub activities, reason being during the steamship age, Singapore was one of the regional hub for the Hajj journey to Mecca. The formulation is that the Baweans will find work in Malaysia and for them to save up and fulfil their Hajj via Singapore. Obviously some stayed in both these countries permanently.
Nowadays, the Boyanese have assimilated and intermarried into the local Malay population and are regarded themselves as Malays.

Eat. Travel. Write Media Fam Trip is in collaboration with UPENS (Unit Perancangan Negeri Selangor) and all its sponsors with #GayaTravel as media coordinator.

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