200-Year-Old Bugis-Makassar Manuscript

By Nur Diyana


NUS Libraries and Universitas Muslim Indonesia (UMI) are collaborating on preserving, digitising, and translating the Daeng Paduppa manuscript that sheds light on the historical and trade interactions between Bugis-Makassar and Singapore. While additional research will provide a clearer date for the manuscript, it is currently believed to be from the 19th century and represents the first known Bugis manuscript held by NUS Libraries.

Prof. Dr. Ir. Muhammad Hattah Fattah (UMI Vice Rector) and A/P Natalie Pang (University Librarian) signing the agreements

Daeng Paduppa was a Bugis prince who, in addition to being a trader, was said to have close relations with Hajjah Fatimah, a tradeswoman and philanthropist. If you find her name familiar, that’s because she donated land to build the first local mosque named after a woman in Singapore! She was one of the pioneers of our nation and the eponymous mosque has been gazetted as a national monument.

The collaboration aims to translate the Bugis-Makassar script into Indonesian and English, which will be made available to NUS academics, researchers, and overseas scholars interested in the study of early Bugis settlers who arrived as maritime traders and played a pivotal role in Singapore’s development as a regional trading hub.

The translation project will be led by Dr Mohamed Effendy B Abdul Hamid from NUS Southeast Asian Studies, together with researchers from UMI. This initiative will offer valuable insights into the economic and cultural exchanges that took place between the Bugis community and Singapore during that period.

“Through this partnership, we aim to contribute not only to scholarly pursuits but also to the broader understanding and appreciation of the shared history and cultural heritage of Southeast Asia. It’s a collective endeavour to bring to light the narratives of our ancestors, celebrating the diversity and inter-connectedness that define the uniqueness of our regional identity”, said Dr Mohamed Effendy.

The manuscript, both in its original and translated versions, will soon be accessible to scholars and the general public via our Digital Gems microsite. Stay tuned for updates!

NUS staff gathered to admire the 200-year-old relic

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