Proud of their Bugis heritage

Sat, Jan 02, 2010
New Straits Time
JOHOR BARU, MALAYSIA - For centuries, the Bugis community is known to be skilful shipbuilders, mariners and traders, and having a penchant for being revered warriors.
Perhaps that could explain the qualities of many leaders who can trace their ancestry to Bugis roots, who originate from the Sulawesi Islands in Indonesia.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, former cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman are among those in the illustrious group with Bugis heritage.
Today, the community is found in many parts of the country, including Sabah, Johor, Perak and Selangor, with some still practising the Bugis language and culture.
To celebrate the Bugis' rich culture and forge closer ties among its community, a group known as Persatuan Kebajikan Ekonomi Bugis Malaysia recently invited its fellow brethren from all over for a first-of-its-kind gathering.
This effort led to the Bugis Big Family Day 2009 (Hari Keluarga Besar Bugis) that was held at Pekan Francais in Jalan Pontian, Skudai, on Thursday.
Persatuan Kebajikan Ekonomi Bugis Malaysia chairman Lokman Junit said the day-long gathering of about 1,000 Bugis descendents was aimed to create a platform for cultural and economic exchange.
"There are more than 10 clans of Bugis represented in the event, including those from Daeng Parani, Daeng Marewar, Kemasi, Bone and Wajok," said Lokman, who builds traditional Bugis houses without nails under his company, Ugik Tecknologies.
Participants of the family day were entertained by "Maduppah Busarak", which is the closing dance for royal Bugis functions. Traditional fare lepat loi and burasak were served with rendang and fried grated coconut.
Meanwhile, a seventh generation Bugis descendent, Abdullah Mohd Yusof, 63, from Ipoh said the Bugis were known for their explorations of the seven seas.
"Due to our bold nature, our forefathers were either brave seamen or revered religious leaders," said Abdullah, whose mother was a descendent of Bugis religious leader Daeng Selili.