27 January 2012 | last updated at 02:48am
'Existence debate is irrelevant, focus should be on values'
MALACCA: Malacca Museums Department director Datuk Khamis Abas said the world can debate whether or not Hang Tuah existed "until the cows come home", but it would not benefit anyone even if the contention was proven either way.
Datuk Khamis Abas says whether Hang Tuah is fictitious or not is irrelevant. Pic by Mohd Jamah Nasri
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"I believe that Hang Tuah exists, and my beliefs are based on historical facts. This is true for Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu; but it really does not matter," he said when contacted by the New Straits Times yesterday.
Khamis said what the people know of Hang Tuah today was that he was a great commander, warrior and friend who stood for loyalty to duty above all else.
"Hikayat Hang Tuah (metaphorically or historically) spelled an archaic Malaccan landscape, which was prosperous but also under threat from rival nation states at the same time.
"The values held by Hang Tuah illustrate how having certain values could ensure order and peace, and how after his departure Malacca's condition worsened."
Khamis said it was irrelevant whether Hang Tuah was fictitious or not.
"We can juxtapose the highly regarded values held by Hang Tuah then, with the challenges faced by modern Malaysians today.
"If we look into what Hang Tuah can teach us, we can find valuable guidance which can improve us as individuals and then collectively as a nation."
Khamis said the public should adopt a more "progressive" approach in thinking, and should not limit their scope of study.
"We should explore the various qualities Hang Tuah is said to possess, for example understanding Hang Tuah not only as a warrior, but as a manager, politician or strategist.
"Debating on whether Hang Tuah was real or fictitious, handsome or ugly, or whether he preferred one colour over another, will not benefit Malaysians much."