By Jeanne Thanh Dang
I would like to share my experience of being a refugee in Malaysia. This story is dedicated to all our Malay friends, in particular to Hamid, our mentor, to my parents - my father, master mariner who brought us safely to harbour, and my mother, who organized our escape with such courage and determination that only women can show in tragic circumstances.
France and Malaysia share the little known common heritage of over 120 schools founded in Malaysia by French Missionaries between the end of the 18th century and the second half of the 20th century.
A French Ethnologist in Kelantan is an exhibition about Jeanne Cuisinier, a young ethnologist trained in Malay language who arrived in Kelantan in 1933. She spent 20 months there studying local traditions and customs. Full exhibition available online.
The song “Terang Bulan” (Full Moon), popular throughout the Malay-speaking regions at the beginning of the 20th century, served as the basis for the beautiful melody of Malaysia’s National Anthem “Negaraku”. This melody had also been the anthem of Perak before 1957, and even earlier, according to some accounts, it may have had its origins in a French song of the 19th century – but this story remains to this point a bit of an unsolved mystery!