A Pehin in Brunei (Part II)

Yesterday's post on the duties of Pehinships elicited a few responses from my friends and colleagues especially on the 'midwife' duties. Some told me the Malay reads Pengawal Keselamatan Badan which roughly translates to Security Officer for Agencies. I argued that the jawi was ba, dal, alif, nun and if that is to spell badan, the jawi should be ba, alif, dal, nun. With ba, dal, alif, nun it reads bedan or something close to bidan. But then I am not entirely correct. Bidan should spell ba, ya, dal, nun. But I did say, it was at 4.30 in the morning when I wrote that.

Today is again 4.35 in the morning. So again, I am not vouching for the accuracy this morning. I am looking at the higher 16 Pehins:

Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wangsa - Overseeing Trade Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Wangsa - Overseeing Foreign Owned Territories Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Dewa - Overseeing Investigation Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Udana Indera - Overseeing Investigation Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Udana Sura - Overseeing Volunteer Army Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Nara Indera - Oversseing Tax Collection Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Sudana Indera - Overseeing Public Peace Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Lela - Overseeing Public Peace in Foreign Owned Territorites
Pehin Orang Kaya Udana Setia - Overseeing Prisoners of War Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela - Overseeing Affairs of Armory and Weapons of War
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna - Overseeing Public Complaints Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa - Overseeing Warriors (or Fighting Skills) Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Ratna Dewa - Overseeing General Education Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Sugara - Overseeing Ports Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Ratna Setia - Overseeing Royal Transport Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Kesuma - Overseeing Public Welfare Affairs

This higher group if you notice is the equivalent of the modern cabinet. The emphasis on War or Fighting is there but no less important are again public welfare. 500 years ago, our government was already designed along the lines of today's modern government even with the emphasis on public welfare, education and trade.

Comments

Ross said…
Dear Author, I am a foreigner but as an instructor of Jawi calligraphy I argue that if arabic words are to be used in Jawi writings, the original spelling must be observed. this may not be the case with persian, urdu or hindi loan words, but with arabic, because the words are based on trigliphic roots, and any vowel alteration can change the words entirely, the correct spelling must be observed strictly. this also includes the use of original letters. for example in Farsi it is permissible to write "Tehran" (which does not come from the arabic root trigliph THR) with either Tain or taa, but "Tahir" which is arabic iswritten strictly with Tain.

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