Monday, September 15, 2008

A Pehin in Brunei

Someone from the diplomatic circle came to see me asking about Brunei honours system. Apparently he read an article in BT when I wrote about the Order and Decorations one can get. But this is mostly the Datukships etc. He was more interested in the cheteria and pehn manteri.

Explaining is not an issue. What was difficult was that I cannot remember what each of those Pengiran Cheteria and Pehin Manteri's jobs that goes with the title is something beyond my camera. Just in case you don't know it too, in the old days when there were no cabinet ministers, those who are appointed as Pehins are actually appointments to being ministers, commanders or senior officials responsible for something. So being Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan means that you are the officer in command of Brunei's 1st Army.

I found a very old book (written in jawi) entitled the Adat Istiadat Diraja Brunei (Darussalam). The Darussalam was in parenthesis or in brackets, I don't know why. Anyway, the book contained pretty much anything you ever wanted to know about the way the adat istiadat works in Brunei as well as the descriptions of the various pehinships.

Here is my attempt to describe the last 32 of all the Pehinships. Remember, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translations and my jawi, admittedly is very slow and besides this is written at 4.30 in the morning. If you can compare the current holder and their title and what they are supposed to be doing when they hold that title.

Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan - Commander of 1st Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan - Commander of 2nd Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan - Commander of 3rd Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan - Commander of 4th Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan - Commander of 5th Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Dewa Pahlawan - Commander of 6th Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan - Commander of 7th Army
Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Pahlawan - Commander of 8th Army
Pehin Orang Maharaja Seri Rama - Security Officer of the Royal Midwife
Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Kerna - Head of Public Complaints
Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Salia - Security Officer of the Royal Midwife
Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok - Security Officer of the Royal Midwife
Pehin Orang Kaya Pendikar Alam - Security Officer of the Royal Midwife
Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Raja - Commander of Ports Security
Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Wangsa - Overseeing City Security
Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia - Overseeing Commerce Affairs
Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Jaya - Head of Revenue Collections
Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Raja - Commander of the 1st Volunteer Forces
Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Sura - Commander of the 2nd Volunteer Forces
Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Perkasa - Commander of the 3rd Volunteer Forces
Pehin Orang Kaya Lela Utama - Head of Tax Collections
Pehin Orang Kaya Putera Maharaja - 1st Head of Internal Affairs Investigation
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa - 2nd Head of Internal Affairs Investigation
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Indera - 1st Head of Enemy Affairs Investigation (Intelligence)
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Jaya - 2nd Head of Enemy Affairs Investigation (Intelligence)
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Lela - 1st Head of Public Peace (Police)
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja - 2nd Head of Public Peace (Police)
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Setia - 1st Head of Prisons
Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Sura - 2nd Head of Prisons
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama - Head of Tax Collections
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Sura Pahlawan - Commander of Enemy Prisoners of War
Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia - Head of Foreigners Affairs

You notice that some of the jobs are pretty much advanced for instance Public Complaints. Some I am not sure why it is important such as the need to protect the Royal Midwife. But overall it is an interesting insight into the Brunei culture.

4 comments:

Mohammad said...

Very interesting and fascinating insights, indeed, BRo.

During my very first visit to the Royal Regalia Museum in the heart of the capital a couple of years back, I saw an old big historical book featuring the history of the "Perlembagaan" (Constitution). The book mentioned names and photos of 'Statesmen' or "Pembasar2 Negara" involved in the process. I noticed some of the Pehins' titles were of great prominence until now, probably, but what were their roles and responsibilities?

I came across a couple of names of particular interest to me in that particular book i.e. Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Haji Mohd Noor and Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Haji Mohd Daud respectively. The former was the late eldest brother of Pehin Dato Haji Hapidz (Abd Razak Holdings Chairman) and the latter was my late great-grandfather (I am but just a poor and uneducated great-grandson, though:)

Of course, it's no big deal. I mean their contributions were nothing compared to the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington et al of the US! Hehehhe:) Still, they gave inputs.

rina said...

Mr BR,
If the title has the word 'Sanggamara' in it, from what I was told by grandad was that it means literally 'defend forward'. Sangga = defend/block. Mara = forward.
That is the only info I was told by nini laki.

Rina.

Firdaus said...

i remember back in 2004, i remember reading a series of articles in Pelita Brunei wriiten by Pehin Jamil regarding the same topic. His take on the role of each Pehin was different to what you have stated in your article.

Anonymous said...

"Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan - Commander of 3rd Army"

...the current title holder is the Minister of Health. (I found this article while researching his title to make sure I have it spelled correctly in my database :) I suppose being a Health Minister is sort of like leading an army against disease, in a poetic way?

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