We have remarked in the past that one of the best parts of living in Southeast Asia is the vast proliferation of holidays that you get to celebrate. From Islam we get Idul Fitri, Idul Adha, and the Muslim New Year; from Christianity we have Christmas and Easter; from Buddhism we have Wesak; from Hinduism we have Thaipusam and Deepavali; and from China we get Chinese New Year. Then there are the secular national holidays in Indonesia and Malaysia. Well, Malaysia does Indonesia one better in that there is ALSO a special holiday for the monarchy. So yesterday was the King’s birthday, which was a holiday. (We blogged a couple days ago about the monarchical system here.)
The king, or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, is currently Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong XII Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail. That’s his full name. We can translate. Seri Paduka Baginda is like a honorific title that corresponds to something like “The High and Great Conqueror.” Yang di-Pertuan Agong is his title as king, which literally means “he who is raised the highest,” but is usually glossed as “Supreme Ruler.” XII signifies that he’s the twelfth, of course. Tuanku is a title that refers to princes. Syed (pronounced “shed”) means that he is a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad. Sirajuddin is his name. Ibni means “son of,” and most people use “bin” instead. Al-Marhum means “deceased,” because his father has already passed away. Then we get Tuanku and Syed again, then Putra, which means “prince” or “son,” and then Jamalullail was his father’s name. Put it together, his name is “The High and Great Conquerer the Supreme Ruler Prince and Descendent of Muhammad Sirajuddin, Son of the Late Prince and Descendent of Muhammad Prince Jamalullail.” His wife’s name is
Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Fauziah binti Al-Marhum Tengku Abdul Rashid, or, basically, Fauziah, Rashid’s daughter.
The current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the Raja of Perlis, a state in the far northern part of Peninsular Malaysia on the Thai border. You can find a picture of him here. Of course, since the birthday was on a Saturday, that’s totally unfair, so many places will be closed tomorrow (Monday).