QUOTE (chua @ Jun 23 2005, 02:22 AM)
Here's how I'd define Malay.
Person of Austronesian descent.
Regardless of whether he/she has Chinese, Indian, European mixed-blood.
Regardless of whether he/she is Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or Hindu.
Malay, thus, would include:
Natives of Madagascar, Thais, Laotians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, natives of Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Taiwan, Japan, the Koreas, the Americas and the Pacific (sans the Black Melanesians).
But for Malaysian purposes, I'd define Malay as the native peoples of Peninsular Malaysia.
I think there is some ongoing mistakes about the definition of so called "Malay race".
The name "Malay" or "Melayu" is indeed originated from Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia.
It was first mentioned in Chinese annals, that Buddhist monk from China on his way to India, has visited the kingdom of Sri Vijaya, and then transit to Malayupura in Sumatra. So it's just the name of place in Sumatra originated from 7th century Malayupura kingdom in Jambi, Sumatra. When he on the way returning to China he discovered that Malayupura had been raided and become a vassal kingdom of Sri Vijaya, centered in Palembang, South Sumatra.
In Indonesia the name Malay or Melayu only valid to the ethnic of coastal Malay in eastern coast of Sumatra and Malay of coastal Kalimantan. Here in Indonesia we tend to think that Malay of Peninsular Malaysia is indeed the part of greater Malay ethnicity, including Malay of eastern coast Sumatra and Malay of coastal Kalimantan (Borneo). British and Dutch colonialism had separated these Malay brothers into several countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.
Most of other Indonesian ethnic groups are not comfortable to be called Malay.
Maybe in Malaysia the word Malay also means races that included our vast Indonesian ethnic groups .
But I tend to think the correct and neutral name of this race is Austronesians (the people of southern islands), not Malay.
The name Malay Archipelago or Malay race just come to picture because many of anthropological writings or thesis in 19th century are written by British scientist. And certainly because these Britons had colonize Malay peninsula, they just simply took all the people that have the same racial traits as their subjects, as Malays.
So..., we had to separate the definition of Malay ethnicity and Austronesian race.
Most Indonesians point of view about the Malay identity is:
1. Malay is ethnic group that live on eastern coast of Sumatra and surrounding Islands (The provinces of Jambi, Palembang, Riau, including Singapore), Malay peninsula (including southern Thailand), and Coastal Borneo (including Brunei). Most of them practice and heavily influenced by Islamic civilization.
2. Austronesian (people of southern islands) is a race of seafaring people that since prehistoric times has spread and inhabited most of Asian and and Oceanian archipelago. They scatered from Madagascar island in extreme West to Hawaii in extreme East. From Ryukyu islands in southern Japan and Taiwan in extreme north to New Zealand in extreme South.
Their way of life and religions is far more diverse. From tribal animism to Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Those who practice Animism like Dayaks, Torajans, Nias, Samoans, and Maoris.
Hinduism is the way of life for Balinese and ancient Chams of Vietnam. (in some degree Javanese and Sundanese still maintain their Hindu legacy, although most of them now practice Islam).
Islam is major religion for Javanese as the largest group of Austronesian race. Islam also heavily influenced the culture and the way of life of Malay, Minangkabau, Aceh, Sundanese, Betawi, Madurese, Bugis, Makassar and Sasak.
The later wave is Christianity, that influenced the ethnics of the Phillipines, Minahasans, Ambonese, Bataks, and the people of Flores and Timor.
3. Malay is an ethnic group, as a part of greater Austronesian race. So not all member of Austronesian race can easily defined as "Malay".
(Most Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, and even Minangkabau people in Sumatra will refused to be called "Malay", because they felt that their civilization and culture is far more ancient, older, refined, complex, and far more advanced than those of coastal Malay).
So the point is, most of Indonesians ethnic groups (except Malay) are not comfortable to be called "Malay". We never identify ourselves as Malay. But we all share our Austronesian race heritage, including Austronesian words that still present in our current languages (Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu, Tagalog, Malagasy, Jawa, Sunda, Bali, Formosan, Samoan, etc.).