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18 Mei 2009

Tunjuk Ajar Melayu

Tunjuk Ajar Melayu

Tunjuk Ajar Melayu
Tenas Effendy
BKPBM dan Adicita, Yogyakarta
1st edition, Oktober 2006
xi + 688 pages
14,5 x 20,5 cm

Literary tradition forms generally more fundamental component of certain culture, especially Malay culture. Oral literature takes bigger proportion in the Malay literature tradition following written literature. Being famous with its subtle structure and word diction, Malay oral literature is commonly expressed through pantun, syair (poetry), gurindam, peribahasa (proverb), seloka, etc which are used intermittently in colloquial conversation. As having conveyed many moral messages, valuable advises, ethical guidance, and exemplary behaviors, those expressions serve as means for education purposes and teaching process. Popular term amidst Malay people for those artistic expressions is “tunjuk ajar” (teaching guidance).  

As stated by Tenas Effendy, old Malay people put the tunjuk ajar in the function similar to that of human guidance toward right path blessed by Allah, so that human can safe in this world and hereafter. This common belief provides solid understanding about reasons for the importance of tunjuk ajar position in the Malay literature and culture as well. The book written by Tenas Effendy under title Tunjuk Ajar Melayu covers some of the expressions. Tenas Effedy is very thorough in collecting, and structuring the tunjuk ajar which start loosing their reputation among the Malay people. Making it simple to digest, the Tunjuk Ajar are classified into separate chapters on the ground of different themes and contents 

Almost entire aspect of human life is included within the tunjuk ajar such as religious issues, social life, family concept, codes of ethic, moral and even political matters.

For example, the pantun which concerns responsibility:  

Apalah tanda batang dedap
pohonnya rindang daunnya lebat
apalah tanda orang beradap
bertanggung jawab samapi ke lahat

Another example is the pantun talks about musyawarah (discussion) and mufakat (deliberation):

pucuk putat warnanya merah /
bila dikirai terbang melayang
duduk mufakat mengandung tuah
sengketa usai dendam pun hilang
. (p.262)

As stated above, the similarity of theme for each expression underlies the categorization of the tunjuk ajar. However, one expression can be interpreted differently according to reader’s aesthetic sensibilities, perception, and understanding. For example, the expression

bila tidak hidup mufakat
disanalah tempat tumbuhnya laknat

Tenas includes the above expression in theme of kesatuan (unity), gotong royong (cooperation), and tenggang rasa (empathy). One can be different in seeing the expression by categorizing the aforementioned expression as included in musyawarah and mufakat theme.

As the reader, one can be different from Tenas in opinion about the tunjuk ajar categorization. This difference is understandable considering that the interpretation should be in line with society context, so that the expression which contains priceless values can be implemented in dynamic context. In short, the flexibility of interpretation toward those expressions enriches the embedded values and still points to the one major point: guide for Malay people.

To make easier for the readers, Tenas provides in each theme and category brief introduction about adat istiadat especially when the expressions are poem. Tenas stated that the tunjuk ajar doesn’t cover all aspect of Malay culture especially which related to the tunjuk ajar of rural society. However, this book has contributed in preserving the Malay culture particularly the literature among the neglect of youth generation toward their cultural heritages. In this context, as stated by Tenas, the presence of this book becomes pivotal to preserve the very Malay identity and the incalculable values. In addition, this book constitutes the first step and simple guide to comprehend the Malay literature.   

Having filled with powerful Malay expressions, this 688 pages book will stimulate the readers to the human senses, generate strong emotional feeling, and bring them to the subtle nuance. As stated by Mahyuddin Al Mudra, the aesthetic feature of the book doesn’t lay merely in the word diction, but also in the values embedded within those expressions. Therefore, this book is appropriate book for those people who are passionate to understand the Malay culture.  


By Abd. Rahman Mawazi

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