Within islands


Came across this gem of a picture today from Malaysia Design Archive:

Selamat Hari Raya Haji from team Malaysia Design Archive. This 1951 photo from the National Archives of Singapore shows pilgrims on the hajj on board a ship that would’ve gathered passengers from all over the nusantara and departed for the holy land from Singapore. May all your journey’s end bring you renewal, new beginnings, and learnings.

I shared the photo on Facebook and a Canadian friend asked in the comment, “what does nusantara mean?” I vaguely recalled from school days that it means to represent the Malay realm, but I had to be sure so I Googled it (remember when Google was just a name for a product and not a verb?) which lead me to this blog post.

Apparently, Nusantara is Old Javanese for ‘archipelago’ (nusa = islands, antara = within) and in Indonesia is used to represent Indonesian archipelago. However, in Malay, it has taken to represent the Malay world, which means it includes Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Southern Thailand and East Timor.

Fact check fact check.

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