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Tony Boey johorkaki@gmail 🇸🇬 Singapore active senior food, travel & lifestyle diary

Sri Wikrama Wira & First Singapura - Majapahit War 📖 Sejarah Melayu Chapter 5

Majapahit warrior
Sang Nila Utama, son of Sang Sapurba, descendent of Raja Suran and Alexander the Great died in 1347. He was succeed by his son Sri Wikrama Wira. The kingdom of Singapura prospered by hosting traders from Indonesia, India, Arabia and China.

Raja Sri Wikrama Wira soon faced his first major crisis in 1350 from the mighty Majapahit empire of Java (in today's Indonesia). 

*I am studying the Malay Annals for insights into the roots of Malay cuisine.

Majapahit Expansion.gif

Rise & fall of Majapahit empire courtesy of Wikipedia: CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Raja Sri Wikrama Wira rebuffed the invitation from the raja of the rapidly expanding Majapahit empire to be one of its vassal states.

Javanese warships
This angered the raja of the Majapahit empire who responded by sending a large naval force to teach Singapura a lesson.

Javanese warrior
The ensuing battle between Majapahit and Singapura forces lasted days with heavy losses on both sides. Unable to subdue Singapura, the Majapahit force returned to Java without accomplishing their mission.

After this successful defence of Singapura, the kingdom was left in peace to prosper. Sri Wikrama Wira died in 1362 and was succeed by his son Sri Rana Wikrama.

Sejarah Melayu compiled in Jawi by regent of Johor, Yang di-Pertuan Di Hilir Raja Abdullah in 1612, translated into English by Dr. John Leyden in 1821. The Malay Annals has 30 chapters.

Chapter 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930 📗

Original translation by Dr John Leyden

Chapter 5 of 30

Of the Bitara of Majapahit.   

THE  bitara, or sovereign of Majapahit, had two sons by the daughter of the raja of the mountain Sagantang. The name of the eldest was Radin Inu Martawangsa, who became  raja of Majapahit. The name of the  younger was Radin Amas Pamari, who likewise became a raja in Majapahit; for it is  a country of great extent. 

The bitara of Majapahit died, and his eldest son succeeded in his place, and in his time the authority of the bitara was widely extended over all the regions of the land of Java, and all the rajas of Nusa Tamara likewise paid allegiance to him for half their lands. The bitara of Majapahit heard of the extensive country of Singhapura, the raja of which did not own his allegiance, being of the  same family and his cousin. 

Then the bitara sent an ambassador to Singhapura, with a letter, enclosing in the envelope, a shaving of wood, seven fathoms in length, formed with the hatchet, fine as paper, and with its texture no where cut or broken. It was rolled up, and its circumference like a ring.    

When the ambassador of Majapahit reached Singhapura, he was invited ashore, and presented himself to Raja Vicrama Vira.  

The letter was read by the khateb, according to what was written, to the following import. "Younger brother, observe the skill of the artificers of Java; have you any such in Singhapura?" 

The raja  opened and examined the wood shaving, rolled up like a ring, and said "I comprehend the import of the bitara of Majapahit's message, he means to deny our manhood by sending us a ring." The ambassador said, "not so, he only wants to know if you have any artificers of equal skill  under your government." Sri Paduca Vicrama Vira replied, "truly there are artificers here more skilful."   

He immediately ordered an artificer to be sent for, named Pawang Bentan, and ordered him to hew off the hair from the head of a boy of forty days old (says one copy) with a hatchet, in the presence of the ambassador of Java. The artificer accordingly executed his commission, without delay, not withstanding the exertions of the boy, and the  constant rolling motion of his head, to the great astonishment of the Javanese ambassador.  

"Now," said the raja, "you may see the dexterity of our artisans; to shave a boy's head with a hatchet, is somewhat more difficult, than to pare off your shaving. Pray where is the difficulty in it. Carry this axe with you however, to Majapahit, and present it with our compliments to our brother." 

The raja then dismissed the Javanese ambassador, at his own request, who went aboard his jong (junk) with the said hatchet, and proceeded to Majapahit, and presented himself to the bitara, and delivered the letter, with the message of the rajah of Singhapura.    

The Sri Bitara was highly enraged at the narrative of the embassador. "I understand the raja's meaning; he threatens to shave our head like the boy's, if we should proceed to Singhapura." The bitara of  Majapahit, without delay, ordered his warriors  to proceed in a hundred junks, to Singhapura, and attack it. Innumerable were the descriptions of vessels besides the junks, such as malangbang, calulos jongcong, charochah tongkang, which accompanied the fleet which the bitara sent under the command of a famous champion, named Damang Viraja.

The fleet arrived at Singhapura,  and the Javan warriors immediately rushed ashore, and commenced the war with the people of Singhapura. Thick waxed the press of war, there was clattering of arms on armour, and the earth shook with the stamping of warriors, and loud rose the hubbub of contending hosts, so that no other noise could be heard. Many were the slain on both sides, and the blood streamed on the ground till evening, when the Javans fell back to their prows. The  events of this war between Java and Singhapura, were too tedious to relate. Singhapura,  however, was not worsted, but on the contrary, the Javan hosts returned to Majapahit. 

After this raja Muda, the son of Sri Paduca Vicrama Vira married the daughter of Tun Parpatih Parmuka Barjaja,  and they lived long very happily. At  last, Paduca Sri Vicrama Vira departed this life, and was succeeded by his son Raja Muda, under the title of Sri Rama Vicrama. The  bandahara Tun Parpatih Parmuka Barjaja,  also died, and was succeeded in his  office of bandahara, by his son Tun Parpatih Tulos.

Written by Tony Boey on 8 Jun 2021


Image of Majapahit warrior courtesy of Wikipedia. Image of Javanese warrior courtesy of Wikipedia. Image of Majapahit warships courtesy of Wikipedia.

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