Malin Kundang

Malin Kundang, also called Si Tanggang and Nakhoda Manis, is a mythical person who originates from a West Sumatran folktale about retribution to an ungrateful son. A sailor from a poor family, the protagonist sneaks onto a trading ship, eventually becoming rich, marrying a princess, and acquiring his own galleon. On his return to his home village, he is ashamed of his humble origins and refuses to recognize his elderly mother. In retaliation, she curses him, and when he sets sail, he and his ship are turned to stone.[1]

Malin Kundang
The legend of Malin Kundang, as depicted on a 1998 Indonesian stamp
Folk tale
NameMalin Kundang
RegionWestern Sumatra

In Indonesia

The Malin Kundang Stone on Air Manis beach.

In Indonesia, the story is called Malin Kundang, and the legend is based in West Sumatra. Air Manis (Sweet Water), a beach near Padang, has a rock formation called Batu Malin Kundang that is said to be the remains of his ship.[2]

The existence of Batu Malin Kundang has popularized Air Manis Beach, the legendary setting as one of the tourist attractions in Padang. The relief on the Malin Kundang stone itself was done in the 1980s, the work of Dasril Bayras with Ibenzani Usman. [3]

Another Indonesian folk story which is alike but take the different location is the legend of Sampuraga. The legend is based in Central Borneo. Belantikan Hulu, a remote area along the river Lamandau, Indonesia, has a rock formation called Bukit Sampuraga which is believed to be the ruins of his ship.

Outside Indonesia


In Brunei, the local variant of the story is called Nakhoda Manis and is associated with a prow-like rock, Jong Batu, in the Brunei River.[4]

Malaysia and Singapore

In Malaysia and Singapore, the story is known as Si Tenggang or Si Tanggang’’[5] One particularly unique Malaysian variant is Cerita Megat Sajobang in which the main character, Tenggang or Tanggang, refuses to receive his loincloth-wearing parents who then curse his ship which turns into a stone hill, the site is now known as Batu Caves.[6][7]

As a parable on family responsibility, the story is popular in Southeast Asia as a theme for animations, film, drama and literature even until today.

  • Si Tanggang, a 1961 black and white Malay film.[8]
  • Malin Kundang (film), a 1971 Indonesian film.
  • The Travel Journals of Si Tenggang II, a 1979 autobiographic, produced by Malaysian laureate Muhammad Haji Salleh, uses the story as a metaphor for the general experience of moving away from one's cultural roots.[9]
  • Si Tanggang (Astro), 2009 Malaysian documentary chronicling the origins of the legend produced by Astro.[10]

See also


  1. Many Flowers: Primary Student Materials, Warren Brewer, Curriculum Corporation (Australia), 1995
  2. Vaisutis, Justine (2007). Indonesia. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781741044355.
  3. "legenda Malin Kundang, Si Anak Durhaka". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  4. The tale of the unfilial son, Rozan Yunos, Brunei Times, Mar 30, 2007 mirror Archived 2007-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Stories of a people: asserting place and presence via Orang Asli oral tradition Archived 2011-05-21 at the Wayback Machine, Colin Nicholas, One-day Seminar and Exhibition on Orang Asli Oral Tradition, PPBKKM, FSSK, UKM, Bangi, 8 September 2004
  6. Kit Leee (2007). Tanah Tujuh: Close Encounters with the Temuan Mythos. Kuala Lumpur: Siverfish Books. ISBN 978-983-3221-13-4.
  7. Walter William Skeat (1900). Malay Magic: Being an introduction to the folklore and popular religion of the Malay Peninsula. Siverfish Books. ISBN 983-3221-13-0.
  8. Si Tanggang Archived 2010-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Md. Salleh Yaapar (2003). "Interview with Malaysian Laureate, Muhammad Haji Salleh". International Institute for Asian Studies. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  10. "Kisah klasik Si Tanggang anak derhaka di Astro Prima". mStar (in Malay). Star Media Group Berhad. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  • Nakoda Manis ASEAN Stories Project (story and photos of Jong Batu)
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