Who is Pawang Ana? The role behind the story of JWW Birch and the Malay saga

Who is Pawang Ana? The role behind the story of JWW Birch and the Malay saga

PASIR SALAK: Most of the stories and Malay literature that exist today have a connection with a man whose name is quite unfamiliar in the folds of history in Malaya.

Although it has been told by several individuals, many people do not know that this man known as Pawang Ana played an important role in retelling the story of the people until it was written as it is today.

Tales such as Pak Pandir, Pak Kaduk, Lebai Malang and Si Luncai are indeed popular among the current generation, and some have even been included in the Malay literature learning syllabus.

Not only that, Pawang Ana’s name is also included in the historical story of JWW Birch in Pasir Salak, and how this individual known as hulubalang managed to find the English man’s body in Sungai Perak.

Datuk Sagor’s heir and great-grandson, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, was there to discuss this topic when he was invited to the JWW Birch Murders Talk Program for the Invited Panel.

According to him, Pawang Ana is a descendant of Rao from Sumatra and migrated to Kampung Pulai, Gopeng at that time.

A painting depicting Pawang Ana. – Photo courtesy of Astro AWANI readers

The proof is that there are many descendants of Rao in the area, which can even be traced to this day.

“Many efforts were made to find Birch’s body but they were not found, so we had to use the expertise of others.

“Perhaps Pawang Ana has the advantage of diving in the water for a long time compared to others.

“That’s what made him manage to find the body of Birch who had been missing for three days after being killed,” he said.

In fact, some studies and theses also mention the qualities of a warrior in him and no less call him a shaman or shaman.

According to Ramli again, Pawang Ana’s role as a comforting figure in this state is related to the English officer, Richard Olof Winstedt (RO Winstedt) who served in Perak.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, Nor Hisham Zulkiflee said, Winstedt was the Assistant District Officer of Tapah at that time.

Through the sources of Zabidin Ismail’s writings and articles from the Dewan Sastera, Hisham said, Winstedt was very interested in the stories of Malay literature.

“So, he (Winstedt) has collected oral stories from Pawang Ana. The advantage of Pawang Ana is that he memorizes the stories inherited from previous generations, which are folk tales.

“Pawang Ana listens to stories from mouth to mouth. Examples of the stories she tells are Hikayat Awang Sulung Merah Muda, Hikayat Malim Deman, Hikayat Anggun Che Tunggal, Hikayat Raja Muda and Hikayat Malim Dewa.

“Most of the stories from Perak he memorized, they were recorded in writing by Winstedt and published in a book.

“The study of these two was introduced by Raja Haji Yahya Muhammad Ali who was the Penghulu Chenderiang at that time.

“It is also said that Winstedt was helped by Raja Haji Yahya to record and rewrite oral stories from Pawang Ana and publish them, so there are Malay legends and stories that we inherit now,” he said.

Hikayat Anggun Cik Tunggal and Hikayat Awang Sulung Merah Muda.

Commenting further on Pawang Ana’s real name, he explained that his name is still unknown.

“In many studies, they still failed to find their real names because people used to have taboos and only used nicknames or titles,” he said.

Hisham added that Raja Haji Yahya’s services were also no less great in spreading legendary stories, and there was even a book about him published by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

He also said that there were several efforts to highlight and publicize the role of Pawang Ana before through certain programs.

“It has been highlighted by the Perak State Public Library and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and employees.

“They have held exhibitions and seminars about Pawang Ana, and Zabidin Ismail even suggested that SMK Chenderiang be named after her to commemorate her services,” he said.

Hisham explained again, based on research, Pawang Ana often tells stories or tales that are characterized by nationalism.

“He once told a story about the struggle against the Portuguese colonialists, there are values ​​and elements of love for the country there.

“If someone says he is pro-British, it doesn’t seem true because he is serious about telling the story of nationalism,” he said.

source – Aida Aziz


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