The MBRAS book of 1,600 Malay Proverbs with Explanations in English

Monograph 22
The MBRAS book of 1,600 Malay Proverbs with Explanations in English
Compiled by E.S. Hose
195pp. Size: 140x220mm. Softcover

Until a century ago, Malay was largely a spoken language used by people who lived in rural areas, along river banks, beside rice fields and along the stretch of coast which bordered both sides of the peninsula. The long hours from sunset to daybreak provided villagers both male and female with a vacuum which could only be filled with conversation, and here the Malay proverb or proverbial saying played a vital part. The Malay proverbs which have been assembled in this book contains many reference to the forests, the plants, the birds, animals and fishes - some friendly, many natural enemies, a vivid array of the villager's company. These proverbs were in many cases written down for the first time by pioneer British civil servants, such as Sir Hugh Clifford, Sir William Maxwell and in the Dictionary of R.J. Wilkinson, and to them we owe a deep debt of gratitude: without their industry and foresight, much of the wealth of the Malay language might have been lost.

This collection of Malay proverbs and proverbial sayings was previously assembled and published by E.S. Hose of the Malayan Civil Service in 1933, after he retired as Colonial Secretary. They were compiled by Hose from old issues of the JSBRAS where they first appeared between 1878 and 1914. Sixteen hundred is a handsome total and makes for a veritable feast, and the reader can browse through the pages of this book at leisure and discover riches previously unknown, but now permanently preserved, with literal translation and explanatory notes following each proverb.

About the Author:

Edward Shaw Hose, C.M.G. (1871-1946) was the son of the Right Rev. George Frederick Hose, former Bishop of Singapore and founder president of the MBRAS. Hose was born on 25 November 1871 and entered the Civil Service of the Federated Malay States (F.M.S) in 1891 as a Junior Officer in Perak. He served with distinction in several capacities in the F.M.S., mostly in Perak, before being appointed Colonial Secretary in 1924 after having received a C.M.G. in 1923. This particular appointment was due mostly to the exceptional ability he displayed when he acted as Chief Secretary of the F.M.S. during a particularly difficult period in 1923. Hose retired in the early 1930s. Like his father, he was a religious man and was deeply connected throughout his life with church affairs.

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