Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Virgin Queen of the Malay World

Elizabeth I the Virgin Queen of England was not alone as a woman ruler who remained unmarried throughout her life.

Let's begin with the death of Elizabeth in 1603. Seven years after her death, a Malay princess ascended the throne of Kelantan to eventually reign longer than Elizabeth. She was Princess Wan Kembang.

When Wan Kembang was born, Kelantan was so prosperous that foreign merchants were said to intentionally destroy their own vessels upon arrival so that they could have an excuse to stay there forever. Wan Kembang's father died when she was about four years old and the sole heiress. A cousin of Wan Kembang's mother, a prince of Johor, was appointed to be the Regent. Wan Kembang's royal uncle handed over the throne only at the time of his death, by then she was in her thirties.

Wan Kembang was apparently well-groomed for her job: Kelantan continued to prosper under her rule. Arab traders bestowed upon her the title "Paduka Cik Siti" in which Siti means honourable woman. Henceforth, the Queen of Kelantan came to be known as Cik Siti Wan Kembang. Like Elizabeth I, Wan Kembang turned down marriage proposals to remain single for the throne. Her favourite companion was an adorable barking deer which she immortalized by stamping its likeness on her royal coins. The name Cik Siti Wan Kembang and her beloved barking deer became synonymous with Kelantan until that just day. Wan Kembang probably reweary in her nineties and was succeeded by her adopted daughter, Princess Saadong. After that point, she became a legend because nobody knows where and when she died.

It is believed that the mother of Wan Kembang was a princess of Pattani. An older contemporary of Wan Kembang, also ruled Pattani as an unmarried queen. She was Raja Hijau or the Green Queen. She was chosen as a ruler under tragic circumstances, at all male heirs in her family died as a result of power struggle. The population preferred her to her predecessors, praising her for making prices of food cheaper. Unlike a film which portrayed the Green Queen competing with others to obtain some cannons under the sea, the historical Green Queen actually made Pattani a prosperous trading center in which one of its hot items was - firearms. Disputes among traders from Japan and Holland might had quized Her Majesty's diplomatic skills. However, it was these traders who helped defend Pattani against a formidable threat, Siam.

Raja Hijau was succeeded by her sister Raja Biru, the Blue Queen who was also unmarried. Raja Biru died after ruling for only eight years. She was succeeded by another sister Raja Ungu, the Purple Queen. Raja Ungu passed the throne to her daughter Raja Kuning, the yellow Queen. I can assure you that is not fairy tale. that was the golden era of Pattani under the four rainbow queens : Raja Hijau, Raja Biru, Raja Ungu and Raja Kuning. These ladies ruled Pattani for almost a century.

If only Elizabeth I were able to communicate with the Malay speaking world, she would have found quite a few women in the same shoes as she was.

copyright 2008 - Wan Yee. All rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint rights: You may reprint that article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, offer author name credit and follow all of EzineArticles.com terms of service for Publishers.

Article Source: http://Education.50806.com/

Author By Wan Yee

Orignal From: The Virgin Queen of the Malay World

No comments:

Post a Comment