Thursday, November 23, 2006


While serving on a Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka committee to translate English nautical and shipping terms into Bahasa Malaysia some years ago, I was delighted to discover that the word "Linggi", the name of my old kampung in Negeri Sembilan, was actually derived from an old Bugis word which means the 'stem' or the bow of a ship. This confirmed the nature and calling of my Bugis ancestors, a fierce and warlike seafaring people who ruled the seas of the Malay Archipelago several centuries ago.

An old Malay hikayat or chronicle had provided an example of the usage of the word or istilah in a sentence:

"... seperti ombak memecah di linggi" or
"... like waves breaking over the bow (of a ship)".

Linggi is also a small town on the banks of Sungei Linggi, which flows into the busy shipping lanes of the Straits of Melaka and also forms the southern boundary separating the states of Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. There are mainly old people left in the adjacent kampung since the young have all migrated to the big cities. It is noteworthy that the Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM) or the Malaysian Maritime Academy is also located nearby.

My seafaring forefathers, from a lesser lineage originating from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and later the Rhio islands must have sailed in upriver aboard their proud Bugis perahu and pinisi a few centuries ago to plant their roots and settle down in what eventually became the only Bugis enclave in the mainly Minangkabau state of Negeri Sembilan. Other elite clans, the famous and princely Daeng brothers of Makassar in particular, went on to found what is now the royal houses of the states of Selangor and Johor.

A Bugis pinisi

My ancestors fought a long protracted war with the Dutch in 1756 over tax collection rights on the lucrative tin trade in the area then and a treaty was signed on 1st January 1758 in a jointly built fort in Kuala Linggi, at the mouth of the river. The remnants of this old abandoned fort, a.k.a. Fort Filipina (named after the daughter of Jacob Mossel, the Dutch Governor-General in Batavia) can still be seen today.

Fort of Kuala Linggi

Linggi has remained a sleepy little hollow today despite the fact that it had produced several distinguished Malaysians who include two Mentris Besar of the state, a cabinet minister, the first Datuk Bandar or mayor of Kuala Lumpur, a few ambassadors, and of course ...ahem ... yours truly.

I was probably amongst the first in recent years to go back to sea to answer the call of my sea-going ancestors.


  1. assalamualaikum,

    my name is nazeri & i grew up in Linggi. would like to know if you are related to my late father, Badarudin bin Abdul Samad.

  2. Naxer:


    Oh yes, you and I are 2nd cousins! Sorry I couldnt make it to your late father's funeral. You can find out more about me from yr elder brothers or from Ucu Mariah or Pak Yim...

  3. alhamdulillah. nice to know there are 'sedara mara' out there who are active online! your site will be a pleasure to read in days to come.

  4. Assalamualaikum Capt,

    Out of curiousity, are you by any chance a son of Pak Cik Mat Jalal? My father used to take me to his house when I was young. He lived right in front of the school.
    My name is Khairiyah Mohd Ghazalli. My father is from Linngi. Everyone there knows him as Pak Tam. My late mother, was also related to Pak Cik Mat Jalal. I used to follow my parents whenever they visited him.
    There's a saying that says, 'Everyone who comes from Linggi are related in some way or another'. Are we...?

  5. Curioskat:


    Yes I am so I suppose we must be related. I must have met yr father and mother but I cannot recall what they look like. But its good to know a lot of my waris Linggi are now online..

  6. good day capt..

    i am also from linggi..i work somewhere in port klang also..boarding officer to be exact sir :p

    i think u know also my late grandfather bujang husin..
    both of my parent are from linggi too..and i proud to say i am from linggi too eventho many year not going back home..
    imam tapa is still there..
    pengkalan or mengkalan still serve memories to me..

    'Everyone who comes from Linggi are related in some way or another'. Are we...?
    yes,the proverbs is rite..

  7. Assalamu'alaikum...

    I'm father from Linggi (Mohd Ashaari Abd Samad).

    I do my own research about Linggi since 1994 until now. I have coasted our great-grandfather journey starting from Riau up to Linggi.

    I try to collect anything related manuscript about Linggi and try to confirm story resides within manuscript. And there are lots of new information about Linggi.......but my problem is many elderly person has passed away.

    May be anyone who can help..plss contact me @ my email :

  8. Assalamualaikum,
    Saya dari Spore.Saya ingin tahu bagaimana saya ingin ke Linggi?Saya akan berangkat pada 31 May kerana anak sedara saya akan berkahwin di sana.Boleh tak sapa2 bilang saya bagaimana hendak ke sana.Saya akan drive ke sana.Ada hotel utk menginap sekali di sana?Terima kasih banyak2.E-mail saya,


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