Monday, June 16, 2008

Negeri Sembilan is really unique

A few years ago my state Negeri Sembilan held a programme called Visit Negeri Sembilan Year. Its motto was 'Keunikan Budaya, Destinasi Popular' or 'Unique Culture, Popular Destinations'. Thinking of it Negeri Sembilan is really unique. Here are some of its uniqueness:
  1. It is the only state in Malaysia having a name starting with Negeri. It is unique in a way because Negeri simply means State. So if we translate the 'State of Negeri Sembilan' to the Malay language it should be called 'Negeri Negeri Sembilan' just like the 'State of Selangor" becomes 'Negeri Selangor'.
  2. It is the only state in the Malay Peninsula not named after its major river. We have Sungai Johor, Sungai Melaka, Sungai Pahang and so on. But there is no Sungai Negeri Sembilan or Sungai Sembilan.
  3. Seremban the state capital was formerly called Sungai Ujung. But there is no river called Sungai Ujung in the district or in the whole state. There is also no place called Ujung for that matter. I think that's why they changed the name to Seremban. But to the Chinese Seremban is called Fu Yong.
  4. Although the state has its own dialect called 'Loghat Negeri Sembilan' just like other states there are places in the state where the people do not talk the dialect. Most of the people in th Port Dickson district talk in the Melaka dialect. A good example is the former Menteri Besar Dato' Seri Utama Isa Samad. Some people even criticed him for being the chief executive of a State without knowing how to talk its dialect. In Jelebu where it borders with the State of Pahang its people talk in the Pahang dialect. Even for that matter the original Jelebu people talk in a sligt diversion of the Negeri Sembilan dialect. But for the record there are pockets of people in the Alor Gajah and Hulu Langat districts in Melaka and Selangor respectively who speak the Negeri Sembilan dialect.

So if Negeri Sembilan is to be given a name like other states it should be called Linggi because Sungai Linggi is our main river.

Now I have my own theory why Seremban was called Sungai Ujung. The town is placed at the end (Ujung) of Sungai Linggi. So it should be called Ujung Sungai. But to make it to be easily understood by the non-Malays the words were reversed to Sungai Ujung which is in fact bad language. Sungai Ujung also rhymes with the Fu Yong which is what the local Chinese refer to Seremban as I mentioned above.

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