This Friday, Feb 25, at 6pm, on TV3, there will be broadcast a documentary on Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa.
Half serious documentary, half the making of the upcoming movie (to be released March 10), it is a good basic overview of the myth.
I was also interviewed, as the scriptwriter, where I talk about the possibility of the legend being real. Of course, the historians are all more knowledgable in this matter, and they weigh in as well.
I personally believe the subject to be very interesting, academically. With all the richness of the saga, and the material at hand, I believe even a series of serious documentaries is possible.
For example, did you know that according to the hikayat, as collected by RJ Wilkinson, Merong Mahawangsa was Roman?
In my research, I found many theories, including Merong is Indian on the account of his name being Sanskrit, that he was Thai, because his name is Thai Sanskrit. That he was Chinese (real name Ma Her Wing Sher). That he was Pattani. That he was Goan. Greek. Srivijayan. From a lost kingdom left by Alexander the Great near India.
The saga itself stretches a thousand years. From the opening of Langkasuka in the second century (according to some Chinese records) to the time of the alleged first Muslim Sultan of Kedah (Sultan Muzaffar Shah/Sultan Mulzalfal Shah) in the 1100s.
This is at odds with the discovery of Batu Bersurat Terengganu that puts the coming of Islam in 1313.
The characters number in the hundreds. This includes Raja Bersiong, the blood drinker, as well as Phra Ong Mahawangsa who later embraced Islam.
The documentary/making of to be broadcast this Friday will give some basic information on the matter as well as reveal some more footages of the movie.
Catch the show, and watch the movie. It will be released on March 10 in Malaysia, and is available in 72 countries worldwide.