Characterisation in Hikayat Hang Tuah
[Personal note: I have maintained the same style, spelling, and punctuation as in the original thesis published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka in 1965. However, because of the change in pagination, I convert the footnotes to endnotes (with the consequent changes in numbering) placed at the end of each installment. In another minor editorial change, I put the table of contents at the beginning instead of after the Foreword and Preface as in the original. Each posting will about one to two thousand words, a portion that is readily readable at one sitting. The original thesis was 60 pages long and I hope to have the entire manuscript posted in about a month.
M. Bakri Musa]
CHARACTERISATION IN HIKAYAT HANG TUAH
(A General Survey of Methods of Character Portrayal and Analysis and Interpretation of the Characters of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat)
An Academic Exercise in Fulfillment of the Requirements For the B.A. (Honours) Degree In Malay Studies.
University of Malaya, Singapore, 1959
KASSIM BIN AHMAD
DEWAN PUSTAKA DAN PUSTAKA
KEMENTERIAN PELAJARAN MALAYSIA
* * * * * *
I Introduction 1
II General Characterisation 9
III Hang Jebat 25
IV Hang Jebat 34
V Conclusion 47
I An Abstract of Exercise (in Malay) 51
II A Synopsis of Hikayat Hang Tuah 53
List of References and Abbreviations 59
* * * * *
THIS book, “Characterisation In Hikayat Hang Tuah” is one of the academic exercises done by our graduates in fulfillment of the requirements for the B.A. (Honours) degree in Malay Studies which has been chosen by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka to be published.
The Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka does not consider itself bound to agree or disagree with the opinion expressed by the author in respect of problems discussed in this book.
The publication of this book has increased the number of academic works in the field of Malay language and literature, and it is hoped that it will be of great benefit to students in secondary schools, undergraduates, and to those who are interested in the study of language and literature.
The Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka will continue to publish works of this kind from time to time.
Syed Nasir bin Ismail
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka
* * * * *
THE IDEA to turn some aspects of Hikayat Hang Tuah into the subject for my Academic Exercise came into my mind while I was temporarily working in Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka during the last long vacation. I was then comparing the newly-found MS of Hikayat Hang Tuah from Kelantan with the two printed editions of Shellabear and Balai Pustaka. While reading it again after some eight years of preoccupation with English primers, English history books and English novels, it struck me that this Malaysian story is an extremely interesting composition. Of course, when I first read it during my days at the Malay school, I was very much excited by it too, but that was a schoolboy’s excitement and no more.
I then broached the idea to Mr. J.C. Bottoms, who was subsequently to be my supervisor. He showed great interest, approved of it and immediately set me to work on the “Characterisation in Hikayat Hang Tuah”.
It was thus that I came to write this Exercise. For me, to read again this remarkable story has been an exhilarating experience. And the attempt to write something about it has – let me say so – given me no less pleasure.
I have based my studies solely on the Balai Pustaka edition (1956). This edition was first brought out in 1924. There is another printed edition (in both jawi and rumi scripts) of this hikayat that is, the one made by W. G. Shellabear in 1903. Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka has also discovered a new MS recently from Kelantan. The Shellabear edition and the Dewan Bahasa MS are also available for my purpose, but I have not actually used them. Not only is it impossible for me to do so owing to the limitations of time and scope, but also it would not be worthwhile. As I mentioned earlier, I have had occasion to read and compare these three manuscripts and I have found that they do not substantially differ from one another.[i] For this reason I have confined myself to the Balai Pustaka edition as I think it is the best edition so far.
A minor technical problem arises here: that is, the problem of rendering place-names. To avoid confusion, I have refrained from using the modern spelling. I have adhered, as far as possible, to the original indigenous spelling, as found in the edition. I have, of course, adapted the Indonesian spelling to our own system.
I wish to record here my gratitude and appreciation to Mr. J. C. Bottoms, Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Malay Studies, who painstakingly supervised my work and who gave me a good deal of encouragement while I was writing it. I would also like to thank Mr. C. Skinner, Lecturer in the Department of Malay Studies who was also now acting as Head of that Department, for some valuable suggestions and criticisms.
My thanks are also due to the Director of Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka, Tuan Syed Nasir bin Ismail, who as kindly lent me the Kelantan MS and the complete four-volume edition of Shellabear, although I have not actively used them.
Januari, 31, 1959.
[i] Cf. article in Dewan Bahasa (Oct. 1958): “Chatatan Tentang Beberapa Naskhah Hikayat Hang Tuah”.