the masadeke, uniquely bagan

During weddings, we have something special. The zapin party would perform masadekae, or hamdolouk, a zapin party in procession, complete with the king clown, the few jesters and kiting the jambu  dressed up as a young maiden. The masadeke was uniquely Bagan, my kampong. According to the elders,  it was inherited from the Yemeni arabs, one of those selling carpets on bicycles. The masadeke was the one accompanying the precession of the newly weds.

The party would dressed like Ali Baba and the 40 pirates. The tarboush must have been self made and these art lovers must have painstakingly sew and cut and modify the attire. There were no sponsors. These were proud people, they would never ask for things the way present day football teams or the takraw teams ask for jerseys from UMNO.

Tok Rahmat, playing the gambus was the band leader. He was also the lead singer and lyricist. We always thought he was singing in Arabic. Only when I grew older, the elders would share the lyric with me.

Masa deke hoya, hoya….

Hamdolok hewah, hewah

satau batang, dua buah

For the uninitiated, it was actually refering to the male genital. In arabic twangs, the ladies were not even aware of the vulgarity.

It was vibrant and good fun. You know that with masadekae, it was an expression of happiness. It was celebration time. The only thing missing was the gun shot otherwise it was quite arabic.

My favourite was the shout with the fore finger moving around in the mouth. I have seen that amongst the bedouin arabs, done by the ladies. My abah would do the same, when we have something to celebrate and he was extremely happy.

The jesters would be dancing to the rythm of the zapin. Each would be holding a stick like the shepherd. You could sense that masadeke owed its origin to  celebration amongst the shepherd communities.

In the procession the masadeke would lead, followed by the newly weds. Behind the pengantin would be the groom”s party, and finally the kompang. Nowadays, it is just kompang.

It is something that I miss. Now there are too many inhibitions, too many dos and donts. The Malays were no longer carefree. There were were no outlets for the expression of happiness. The only party for the malays now are the tahlil and the subdued weddings or worse still meetings during funerals.

The last time I saw Masadeke  was in the 80s at Pasar Budaya in Kuala Lumpur.  It was masadekae from my kampong and it was Tok Siman the badut taking centre stage. They were there on the invitation of the University of Malaya. Someone must have recorded a video of Tok Rahmat and tok siman doing the masadeke.

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