06 May 2009

Back for a little bit

It's been awhile since I last contributed something original on this blog, and there's a very good reason for it.

When the idea for this blog started, it spun out of the desire to accurately represent Silat in Malaysia to the world. At the time, there was a lack of information on Malaysian Silat online and whatever websites or blogs there were, were sadly lacking in content, or presentation.

But now, there are many more alternative sources of information, mostly direct from the source or from secondary scribes, detailing their silat style in English and Bahasa Melayu. As mentioned in a previous post several months ago, this has caused SilatMelayu.Com to morph from a content site, to a community site, leaving that task to Silat Melayu: The Blog.

Although some contest my qualifications for such a task, it was never my intention to be Silat Melayu's sole representative. For that reason, I often source articles from other websites, newsites, blogs, forums, etc. More often than not, I have reproduced articles from my teacher and colleague, Ustaz Saiful Muhammad, an eminently capable writer regarding Islam and silat. I recommend his writings highly.

SilatMelayu.Com & SMC Innovations
On another note, the last several months has seen interesting developments at SilatMelayu.Com. We've moved the whole site to Ning.Com (inspired by Silat.TV's move), which afford us amazing features that we wanted to provide our members anyway. We've also established a new company, SMC Innovations that will handle the business aspect of SilatMelayu.Com, and then some.

We've introduced the first of SMC's product line, a T-Shirt with a Keris motif (in reality a reprint we did several years ago which sold very well) which will begin it's sale in a week's time. We're also planning on rereleasing the VCD set of the GELANGGANG documentary series which saw its run at RTM several years ago and there are already several ebooks planned for release.

All of this is happening now, despite the various setbacks that we've encountered ever since SMC was founded.

TekpiWorks & Silat Yahya Said
SMC also organised its first event (hopefully first of many), the TekpiWorks Seminar 2009, taught by guru utama Jaafar Md Isa of Silat Harimau Bentara Garang. Granted, it had its hiccups, but it was a proud day for all of us.

Being the organiser, we also had the opportunity to have private discussions with him. His reappearance on the silat scene after a long while coincides with the recent Silat Cekak leadership crisis. Many will sigh by now, seeing as the words 'Cekak' and 'leadership crisis' seem to go hand in hand, or that the word crisis deserves its plural form.

Coincidental, because Pak Jaafar is the nephew of the late Mahaguru Yahya Said, the man who gave birth to both Silat Cekak and Silat Kalimah (depending on who you talk to, of course).

In my conversations with Pak Jaafar, he reveals that Yahya Said possessed three different arts, supposedly known as Cekak Menanti, Cekak Merantau and Cekak Sabil. Cekak Menanti is what eventually became known as Silat Cekak and Silat Kalimah, while Cekak Merantau contains complex footwork and Cekak Sabil teaches Lading play.

Efforts to discover what original Cekak looks like were disappointing as he claims he never studied Cekak Menanti from Pak Yahya, but only inherited the other two. Research and talks are ongoing, but the old man is mostly tight lipped about such things. His other claims are even more controversial, which jar totally with accepted history in Cekak and Kalimah.

Other updates
During the last National General Elections, when cikgu Mohd Fairus Khairuddin of Silat Seni Pusaka Gayong was appointed Deputy Chief Minister 1 of Pulau Pinang, it was a pleasant surprise, since I knew him when we studied together in university and again in a martial arts setting when I served at SENI BELADIRI magazine.

I always wondered where the fire I felt in him would take him. Politics, I eventually discovered. An unpleasant surprise came several weeks ago when he was forced to vacate his position in the Pulau Pinang government and his Penanti seat on accusations of graft. Although he has since been cleared of those claims, it might take a while for him to get back to his prime political condition. That's just the way it is, I suppose. We wish him the best of health and peace of mind.

On a happier note, cikgu Hasrul Halid of Silat Lincah, who runs the Lincah Taiping blog and his own political blog Surat Dalam Botol, recently appeared on Blog@1 a talk show on RTM1 that interviews local bloggers about their causes. His only regret, he tells me, is that he didn't appear on his silat ticket, which would have made interesting for pesilat everywhere in Malaysia.

As for me, having a young family and an increasingly hectic working life has kept me busy. Whenever I intend to write something new for the blog, I discover that someone has already written about it. In other cases, there just isn't enough material to put in an article, or worse, not enough factual material, just hearsay, which could get me into trouble.

I however, do intend to continue my blognovel series The Azure Keris soon. For those who have pestered me to keep writing, thank you, but I'm still unsure if there will be a following for that kind of documenting. As my teacher keeps telling me ,"Buat je" (which translates to 'Just Do It').

For the rest of my readers, thank you for keeping up with the blog, and thank you Hasrul for saying that it's the only silat blog you follow. It's a big boost to the ego, but clearly not big enough to keep me writing on a daily basis again :) See you all soon.

Original Article by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab

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