06 Jun, 2009

Hang Nadim

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In Sejarah Melayu, Hang Nadim was a Malay boy of great wisdom who saved Temasek, now called Singapore, from attack by shoals of swordfish, attacks which cost many indigenous Malays their lives. It is mentioned in the traditional accounts that the attack was a curse because the reigning Sri Maharaja had ordered the death of a pious man called Tun Jana Khatib. The name Khatib Camp off Sembawang Road,Singapore is derived from this name. It is said that Khatib Camp is where the execution of Tun Jana Khatib took place.To fend off the attacks, Hang Nadim advised the ruler of Temasek, the Sri Maharaja to build a wall of banana stems along the shores of Temasek. The effort was successful as the swordfishes' snouts were trapped by the barricade of banana stems.

According to legend, the place Tanjong Pagar in modern day Singapore takes its name from the barricade. In the Malay language, tanjong pagar or tanjung pagar means "cape of stakes".

The boy's contribution earned him great respect as well as envy in the royal court. This made several individuals in the royal court fear the possibility that Hang Nadim might threaten their influence. In the end, they convinced the local ruler to execute the boy, and he was thrown into the sea. He was only seven years old at the time of death.

Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Indonesia is named after the boy.

Also well known is Laksamana Hang Nadim, the son of Hang Tuah and a Malay warrior who on several occasions tried to recapture Melaka (Malacca) from the Portuguese. The Royal Malaysian Navy's Laksamana-class corvette KD Hang Nadim is named after Laksamana Hang Nadim.

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