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Wayang kulit

Watching “wayang kulit” or shadow play is a favourite past time in the countryside. “Wayang kulit” plays are influenced by Ramayana epic and said to be the leftover of Hindu empires which rule many parts of South East Asia as early as 2nd century.

In 14th century, the Javanese kingdom of Majapahit gained foothold but was quickly ousted by 15th century Moslem sultanate based in Malacca, founded by Sumatran prince Parameswara.

Drawn by Malacca’s rich trade, the Portuguese raided Malacca in 1511 and marked European’s foray into South East Asia. The Dutch elbowed Portuguese from Malacca in 1641 but by 1795, the British Empire had the Peninsular under its wings. During British control, the Colony of the Straits Settlement was formed and in 1895, states were combined as the Federated Malay States (FMS). Japanese invaded and occupied the FMS from 1942 to 1945 during World War 2.

After the war, sentiments for independence erupted and under the leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who became the first prime minister, independence was gained from United Kingdom in 1957. Other British colonies of Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore joined in the Federation of Malaysia to form Malaysia. Singapore later withdrew in 1965 and became an independent republic. Malaysia’s experiences with terrorism came to an end when small bands of communist militants gave up in 1989 and signed a peace accord

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