BEFORE THE GREAT DELUGE, long before the birth
of humankind, the gods were able to descend to Earth on a spiral stairway
connecting the Underworld to the Heavenly Realms. Who were these gods?
They were the progenitors of our earliest ancestors - of whom no one may
speak without experiencing terrible confusion, for they existed before
language was used to divide rather than unify. But without these gods nothing
would exist, not even the sky nor the earth itself...
In 1972 a geneticist from Oregon State University, Dee Baer, recorded
a Temuan myth fragment which explains why the Malayan peninsula has been
spared serious earthquakes: Malaya, being "the place of origin and dispersal
of the human species," has only seen one major cataclysm when "the land
split up and separated the grandchildren of [Mamak and Inak Bongsu*] into
different land masses of the world."
IT WAS GOD (Tuhan) who created Tanah Tujuh to be His earthly abode.
Tanah Tujuh is our dense physical world, the meeting place of stone and star. Our world has had many lives. It has died and been born again. And again. And again. This is the fourth world since the beginning of Time. (On checking this point with Mak Minah, she said she had heard of only one previous apocalypse, even though I distinctly recall hearing her brother Seri Pagi speak of four great cycles of creation and destruction on Tanah Tujuh. But, then, keeping count isn’t exactly Mak Minah’s forte.)
Utat says: "A long, long time ago, the Orang Halus (elven folk) offered our people the chance to leave with them to a higher world. Our nenek-moyang (ancestors) called it Tanah Sejuk (the Cold Land). They were warned that Tanah Tujuh would soon become Tanah Panas (the Hot Land) and life would be a real struggle. They said it would get harder and harder to cross over. But only half the tribes wanted to leave Tanah Tujuh. We are descendants of the ones who stayed. The ones who loved Tanah Tujuh and felt that we had a special destiny here. Our ancestors said that when the Orang Asli are no longer performing their duties as Guardians of the Sacred Sites, the whole world will be overturned and destroyed. A new world will arise. Already the signs can be seen. But we are not afraid. Tuhan loves his children, and all those who remember their source are Tuhan's children. We shall shed our baju (physical bodies, earthly clothes) and live happy and free on Pulau Buah (the Isle of Fruits). They say on Pulau Buah no one goes hungry, nor feels pain and sorrow. All families will be reunited, from the beginning to the end.”
[*Mamak and Inak Bongsu are the
Temuan equivalent of Adam and Eve]