As young girls, we grew up with many Disney Princesses who were always waiting for their Prince Charming to come along with their ‘happy ever after’. Which was great, because princesses are kinda awesome am I right? There was only one problem; they never told us stories about Malaysian princesses! Mind you, we have some pretty badass princesses and queens who didn’t have to wait around for no Prince Charming to get their happy ever after! So, here are four more Puteri of Malaysian folklore in part two of our series!
1. Puteri Ulek Mayang
Her story gives birth to the origins of the traditional Ulek Mayang dance. Legend has it that a sea-princess fell in love with a fisherman who was out at sea. She dragged his soul back to the ocean with her, leaving the fisherman unconscious. His friends called a shaman to help bring his soul back, but the sea-princess was determined to keep the fisherman’s soul for her own and called her sisters as ‘back up’.
A fight ensued between the shaman and the sea-princesses until the eldest of the sisters, Ulek Mayang, rose up and scolded her sisters. She then declared ‘I know your origins. Let those who are from the land return to the land, and those from the sea return to the sea’. The sea-princesses then retreated and the fisherman immediately woke up.
The entire village was grateful to the eldest sea-princess and never forgot how she helped them. To commemorate this, the villagers perform a dance on the shores of the beach as a sign of thanks to the eldest sea-princess. To this day, the Ulek Mayang is performed on the beaches of Terengganu, usually during festivals and official ceremonies.
2. Che Siti Wan Kembang
Che Siti Wan Kembang wasn’t just a badass princess, she was a Queen who ruled the regions of Kelantan way back in the 16th century. The daughter of Raja Ahmad in line for the throne, Siti Wan Kembang was only four years old when her father died leaving her to take over his rule. Because she was still a child, the court elders appointed Raja Hussein of Johor as king regent of Kelantan.
Growing up, Siti Wan Kembang took on many responsibilities and became very skilled in horse-riding and sword-fighting. When it came time for her to take over the throne after Raja Hussein’s passing, Siti Wan Kembang was only 25 but she was ready. She ruled Kelantan for over 30 years! Although she never married, she adopted Puteri Sa’adong as her daughter after her parents’ passing. Puteri Sa’adong would later take over Siti Wan Kembang’s rule as Queen of Kelantan.
Over the years, she received many visitors, many whom brought gifts for her. Her favourite was an antelope or kijang that was given to her by Arab merchants. To this day, the Kelantan emblem has a pair of kijang in her memory.
Siti Wan Kembang was well known throughout the lands for her wisdom, beauty and of course, for being a fearsome warrior princess. Imagine this; a warrior princess riding with a group of warrior women on horseback. Power doh!
3. Puteri Sa’adong
As the adopted daughter of Cik Siti Wan Kembang, it’s no surprise that Puteri Sa’adong had all the prowess and beauty of a great ruler. She was also very much skilled in horse-riding, sword-fighting and was knowledgable in affairs of the state. The King of Siam had caught wind of the beautiful princess of Kelantan and her skills. A proposal was made for her hand in marriage but was rebuffed by the princess and her adoptive mother. Instead, Cik Siti Wan Kembang married Puteri Sa’adong off to Raja Abdullah.
Soon after Cik Siti Wan Kembang’s passing, Puteri Sa’adong took over her rule and Kelantan thrived in peace and prosperity. This wasn’t the case for long as the
salty slighted King of Siam prepared to invade Kelantan to abduct Puteri Sa’adong. The Puteri, now queen, was prepared for the invasion but Kelantan’s defenses were no match to the army of Siam. Eventually, Puteri Sa’adong gave herself up and went to Siam in order to save her people and country. Her husband, Raja Abdullah, promised to wait for her return.
In Siam however, Puteri Sa’adong took her revenge in her own way. While dancing with the King, she scratched him with her fingernails she had dipped in poison thus poisoning him. Upon advice from his royal advisors, the King apologised to Puteri Sa’adong for kidnapping her and after being healed by her, he let her go.
Now you may be thinking that finally, she gets to go home to her country and her husband who had promised to wait for her right? NOPE! Upon her return, Puteri Sa’adong found out that Raja Abdullah had given up on waiting for her and remarried another. In anger, she stabbed him in the chest with her hairpin. Puteri Sa’adong left and was never seen again after that. You know what they say, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
4. Puteri Walinong Sari
This Puteri is very well-known to the people of Pahang and has even been immortalised in a song! Way before Pahang was what it is today, there was a princess named Walinong Sari who hailed from Inderapura. Not only was she known for her beauty, but also for her swordsmanship and expertise in Silat. News of her beauty and skills reached far and wide, and many suitors came to ask for her hand in marriage only to be rejected by the princess.
The news of Puteri Walinong Sari had reached the ears of the celestial king of Gunung Tahan, Raja Mambang Segara. Intrigued, he ventured down to earth disguised as an ugly man and was granted an audience with the princess. Raja Mambang Segara was quite taken with the princess even though her face was veiled, only showing her eyes. He decided to test the princess and challenged her to a fight. The princess could not resist and agreed, as she had never lost a fight before.
The challenge began and went on for three days and three nights with Raja Mambang Segara and Puteri Walinong Sari equally matched in skill. During the end of the fight, however, the princess’ veil dropped to reveal her face. Stunned by her beauty and exhausted from the fight, Raja Mambang Segara fainted. As they were tending to him, his disguise washed away to reveal his true identity and the princess fell in love. While all this was happening, Raja Mambang Segara’s father was watching from the peak of Gunung Tahan. Angered by what had happened as no celestial being had ever lost a fight to a mortal, he sent bolts of thunder and lighting down to Inderapura. When the storm cleared, Raja Mambang Segara had disappeared.
Later that night, Puteri Walinong Sari dreamt of a wise men who told her the origins of Raja Mambang Segara as the celestial king of Gunung Tahan. When she awoke the next day, she disappeared and was never seen again. Legend has it she journeyed to Gunung Tahan to look for her lost love Raja Mambang Segara.
So the next time someone tells you being a princess is for girls, you can tell them that that’s because guys can’t handle the job.
Now, go out there and look for your Prince Charming ladies. The fool probably took a wrong turn and is now stuck in the jam somewhere.
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