Today, I was privileged enough to be invited to attend a short talk by a good friend of mine, Fazli Ibrahim. Fazli is a passionate Keris collector and the Museums Volunteers Malaysia offered him a slot to train their members in some basic information about the Melayu weapon.
The Museums Volunteers Malaysia is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-policitical and non-religious group whose aims are to promote public and government awareness of museums, encourage and promote an appreciation and understanding of the cultures of Malaysia. It is hosted by Muzium Negara who supports and promotes the Museums Volunteers Malaysia projects and activities.
Fazli introduced the weapon to a group of volunteers made up of tour guides, professionals, retirees and housewives. He introduced them to the Keris, its origins, the various components and forging techniques.
He also elucidated on the form and functionality of the blade with a little demonstration. The cultural significance of the Keris was conveyed to the audience when Fazli donned a samping and tengkolok to show how the weapon is carried in formal dress.
Five keris from his personal collection were displayed to the audience, among them Melayu keris with the Pekakak and Tajung hulus.
Homage was also paid to Guru Sheikh Shamsuddin SM Salim of the United States Gayong Federation as his picture with Cikgu Joel Champ as chosen to represent the practical combative aspect of silat.
It's been awhile since I've been to the National Museum, but this visit was fun. Added to that is a discovery I made while surfing online today. I found this book on sale at the National Museums Department website, but was lacking information on its availability. It costs RM110 (softcover) and RM150 (hardcover). Definitely next on my list of must gets. Unless someone wants to buy it for me?