Batik Malaysia

There is some confusion on what and how Malaysian batik differs with other Asian countries batik originalities. While Asian people migrate and move around easily between Asian countries since 1,000 years ago or earlier (Malaya or Kedah is known to have existed for more than 6,000 years) they brought their own cultures, traditions and arts to the new places and blended with local systems. As a result, batik Malaysia becomes more vibrant and unique plus the current more innovative and creative artists or batik painters who always or constantly searched for more ideas to make batik Malaysia more appealing to the buyers especially international tourists.

Let’s begin with some history and then current developments with some examples.

Batik is a famous handcraft and artworks in Malaysia for the creativity and innovations that translate the lives around human onto pieces of cloths. The discoveries of new batik making methods traditionally have begun since 15th century. In the early period, Malay communities have used potatoes and other indigenous equipments as ‘block’ to design the batik paintings. Nowadays, modern technologies are used everywhere for massive production. In the Malay world, a batik called “Batik Pelangi” had been introduced since 1770s. Nowadays, many batik factories and home-made crafts are found in almost all states in Malaysia such as Langkawi, Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Terengganu. (1)

Malaysian Batik is batik textile art of Malaysia existing in almost all states in Malaysia. The most popular motifs used by batik artists or painters include leaves, flowers and abstracts. Malaysian batik is mostly large floral motifs, light and vibrant in colouring. Malaysian batik depicting humans or animals are rare because Islamic practices forbid animal images and other pictures which are against sharia as decoration. However, the butterfly theme is a common exception. The Malaysian batik is also famous for its geometrical designs such as spirals. The method of Malaysian batik making is also quite different from those of Indonesian batik. (2)

Batik was mentioned in the 17th century Malay Annals. The legend goes when Laksamana Hang Nadim was ordered by Sultan Mahmud to sail to India to get 140 pieces of serasah cloth (batik) with 40 types of flowers depicted on each. Unable to find any that fulfilled the requirements explained to him, he made up his own. On his return unfortunately, his ship sank and he only managed to bring four pieces, earning displeasure from the Sultan. For men, Batik can be worn at dinner functions. Even the ladies wear the fabric as formal dress, combining batik with modern fashion. The Malaysian government encourages civil servants to wear batik during the 1st and 15th day of the month. (2)

Motif is the decorative patterns used in the drawings and paintings of the batik. Motifs designs are developed into two main themes such as Motif Organik (organic) and Motif Geometrik (geometric). Motif Organik is based on the world nature such as awan larat (abstract), plants, flowers and animals. (1)

Batik cap (pronounced ‘chop)
Batik by cap (pronounced "chop") or blok (block) is a rapidly vanishing craft. It is produced entirely by hand in small family-owned "factories" in the state of Terengganu on the east coast of Malaysia.

Both the rapid industrialisation of the 1990s and economic crisis at the end of that decade have contributed to the decline in batik production. Silk-screen printing of batik motifs is faster and cheaper and it is considered more progressive. (3)

Batik is a resist process employing wax and dye. The cap (pronounced "chop") method uses copper or zinc blocks dipped in melted wax and stamped onto two-meter lengths of white cotton. The cloth is repeatedly dyed and stampled with wax until the finishing step when the wax is boiled out of the cloth. It is hung to dry on a clothesline and then folded for sale in the market. (3)

So, for tourists and batik lovers, you can get your dream batiks at any shops in Malaysia or you can visit any factory or home-made batik to order the self-made designs that you choose.




Malay traditional games

When I was growing up in a northern state of Malaysia, life was full of joy. Play, play and play. No pressures and stress. Being kids were full of creative and innovative games albeit incomplete awareness or understanding the full meanings of almost all the things around us. Here, I will introduce you to some of the famous or rather popular games that I used to play or watch other people especially girls play.



Toi / galah panjang

Kaki panjang / kaki galah

Tarik upih pinang

Sepak raga / Takraw

Guli (marbles)

Dam Aji

Terebe / Lastik

Polis sentri

In this game, we need a few people to be divided into two groups i.e. the police and bad people. The police group will catch  all the bad people and put them in jail while the bad people have chances to release their jailed members by entering into a circle where their members were placed and guarded by a few police members.

The game lasted until all members of bad people were catched and jailed or until they became tired when the game did not end. :)   

Dato harimau

This game is where a few people stand and follow behind a person called Dato harimau. Dato harimau will catch the followers after he counted the clock time. The next person catched will then become a new Dato harimau and the game follows on and on.

Baling tin

This is when a bunch of kids arrange a few tins in triangle one on top of the other. They are divided into two teams. One team takes the role as keepers of the tins and the other is the destroyer. The game starts with the destroyer member throws a ball from a reasonable distance determined by both teams. When the throws hit all the tins, the keepers will catch the small ball and try to hit all the destroyer team members until finished. If the destroyer team managed to arrange all the tins into a triangle again, the destroyer team wins and they have the chance to throw the ball or destroy the tins again and again. If the keeper team managed to hit all the destroyer team members before the tins were rearranged, then the keeper team wins the game and take turn as a destroyer team. The game continues and finish once all members were tired or the sun begins to set.

Baling kasut

This game is similar to baling tin except that instead of tins, the players use a few shoes and arranged them into a cone position. 

Culik kayu
Sorok-sorok (Hide and seek)

Lari dalam guni (sack race)

Kasut tempurung kelapa

Biji getah


Batu tujuh / Batu seremban
Lompat getah
 Baling rumah

Those are only some of the traditional games that I remember now. I will update more later when I can recall more games. Have fun and don't worry about anything. Play, play and play.



Malay restaurants overseas

I like travelling and enjoy nice, delicious and tasty cuisines and drinks too. Hehe. In my previous visits to overseas in the last five years, I found not many malay restaurants available in Europe, Middle east, US, China and India. Why???

Despite Malay's richness in cuisine traditions and cultures, these specialties are not promoted to foreigners who seem not knowing the existence, originalities and differences between malay food prepared and served in each states in Malaysia and those of neighbouring countries.

There is no doubt that with the evolution of history and migration of people to/from Malaysia bring/add/mix/rojak the malay cuisines.

These are some of the restaurants I managed to gather. NB: Some of them offer malay cuisines together with other Asian cuisines.

United Kingdom
  •       Restoran Melati: No. 21, Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7LB.
  •      Restoran Wau: No. 27, Old Dumbarton Road, Glasgow.
  •      Tuk Din Restaurant, Flavours of Malaysia: 41 Craven Road, London W2 3BX

Saudi Arabia
  •      Restoran Sri Mutiara: Riyadh.

United States

Will add later ... 

  •      Restoran D'Wau: 0275, National Road 6, Banteay. Chas Village, Slakam Commune, Siem Reap, Cambodia

You can let me know other malay restaurants so that I can add to this page.



I was thinking that as an introduction or background regarding malays, it is normal practice in both academic and practitioner's world that we begin with historical elucidation. While there are many internet sources on malay history are available in malay and english languages, finding all-in-one textbook like sequential topics are quite hard for non-malaysians. The best way, of course, is to borrow or buy a malay historical book. A credential one, I mean.

This link can also provide you with the background history of ancient Kedah or kataha back a few thousand years ago. I read somewhere that malay history in Malaysia/Malaya began 6,000 years ago... And that (I read somewhere also) Prophet Adam 'alaihissolatu wassalam was already 9,000 plus years. That means men have spread quickly from Adam and Eve in Mount Arafat (in Saudi Arabia) to the east, west, south and north of the world including Malaya/Malaysia.

Allah swt has created the universe a thousand million years ago. After that, Allah has mentioned in the Al-Quran that Allah wants to create a man in this world as a khalifah (vicegerent). The angels nodded agreement to Allah's question to them. However, the satans, boastly, did not agree as they believe that they are the chosen creation by Allah swt since they were created from fire while Adam was from earth. This should mean that satan is higher degree from Adam from satan's point of views. Allah has cursed wrath on satan and created Adam and then Eve later until they were expelled from heaven to the earth...

Till next time ....



Selamat Datang (Welcome)

Selamat Datang, (Welcome أهلاً وسهلاً / أهلاً بك)

Greetings to all the visitors of this blog from the land of Malaysia. In malay tradition, visitors are greeted with Selamat Datang (welcome) to show the warmth of their receptions. Malays in Malaysia are synonimous with muslims identities and therefore, they often greet each other with Salam i.e. السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته - (pronounced: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh which meansPeace and Mercy and Blessing of Allah be upon you).

In this blog, I will write any information relating to Malays including the cultures, traditions, foods, jokes, games, arts, architectures, writings, poems, history, tourist attractions and many others so that tourists are well informed about Malays better.

In malay saying, Tak kenal maka tak cinta, meaning You don't like/love someone until you know him in person.

Terima kasih (thank you) for visiting this blog.