The picture above depicts two weapons that belonged to my late maternal grandfather, whose family descended from the Yemeni bloodlines of the Achehnese teukus. We still don't know how they came into his posession or if they had anything to do with his lineage.
These weapons are safely kept in my uncle's home in Singapore. He says the blades were given to my grandfather as a gift. I've never known him to be a martial artist, so it could be true. What bothers me is that, these blades are actually proper weapons, not tourist-made items.
The parang-like weapon, although light and thin, is perfectly balanced. I initially thought it was a cousin of the Parang Ilang of Borneo because of the sheath and the simpai (rattan binding), but it has been hinted to have a Sumateran origin. The hulu allows for a comfortable forward and reverse grip and mimics the shape of a Lading. It is however, very light and the blade is thin and razor sharp.
From the time I first posted this article on this blog, two readers have given me feedback on the origins of both weapons.
Ustazshifu says, "I got one similar to the long 'lading' like parang, I'm sure it is the same type. Yes, it is light and strong. The blade will always stay sharp, razor sharp. My mom called it 'Parang Bangkong'.
"But one of my students, which are very experienced in traditional weapon and silat, said that it is from 'lading' family. He been persuading me to sell or give it to him. :-)"
In my subsequent conversations with him, he reconfirmed that the make is the same. Thus, the type could very well be a Parang Bangkong and related to the Lading.
The other weapon has a straight blade and comes with a wooden sheath that locks into place without any mechanism. When sheathed, the blade is perfectly hidden and the hulu is carved with a simple face, but not deep enough to compromise its utility.
The tang of the blade is snugly buried into the wooden hulu, which makes it sit comfortably in the hand while the ring finger wraps around the neck of the figure. It, too is razor sharp.
Another reader, Poknik, was kind enough to identify this weapon. He said, "I know I've seen it before...somewhere in Kelantan. (I think it's classified under straight short badik (without 'lok' of course) The cool part is that it's a bit tricky in terms of presentation. First impression if seen worn - nobody will think that it's some kind of dagger/weapon due to its design. Reminds me of - kinda like that one 'tongkat' design (with blade almost hidden)"
"Funny that you mention the word "Acheh". FYI, you may or may not know, that many of the Kelantanese silat styles & weapons are said to have come from Acheh, Minang, Java etc. (surprised?) How this influence started on a very far land? (Yes there are some Thai influences as well but not that much) Well, it's a long story -something to do with 'ancient royalty' ... Thus, my guess could be right that I could have seen similar weapon in Kelantan (which I'm not surprised if it is of Acheh origin)".
It looks like a trip to Kelantan is in order.
To all blog readers, if you have any more information on the exact types and history of these blades, please post your email in the comments section and I will contact you. Alternatively, you may email me at silatmelayu[at]gmail.com.
Your information would allow me to further deepen my research into their origins and actually find out how they came into my grandfather's possession.