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The Malay house, like the nipa shack of the Philippines, is flimsily built of palm leaves or cane, usually with a splitbamboo floor and a thatched roof. stands five or six feet above the ground, on poles, leaving protection for pigs or chickens beneath. A tiny veranda in front, one large room, and a sort of kitchen shed attached make the standard type.

Barring a few straw mats and crude kitchen utensils, there is no furniture at all. A square hole is cut in one wall, and a shutter is tied at the top with string or vines as hinges. This is propped up in dry weather to give light and air.

Among the poorer classes, girls work hard, helping with the planting and the rice pounding. Nowadays, thanks to British rule, even the lower classes are often able to attend school and can read and write.

Rice and orange blossoms are thrown at Malay weddings, just as they are in America; Malays say this means good wishes for numerous progeny.

No Malay dancing girl, not even the most bejeweled and fragrant favorite of a sport-loving rajah, could hold a job in even the cheapest American cabaret show. To any Yankee theatergoer, the Malay dancer, with her shuffling feet and idly swaying hands, is a dull and tiresome performer, and the din and rattle of gongs, drums, and dried sticks struck together are sadly without even a suggestion of jazz (see page 262).

But the Malays like it, and the Ballet Russe, the Apache dance, or the frolics of our barefooted interpretative artists would probably fall flat before any native audience in Singapore or Penang.


Malays seldom use chairs as we do; they simply kneel, then drop back and sit on their own heels-the favorite position for rest in all the Malay world, from Manila to Ceylon.

With the Malay, as with the Arab, Christian missionaries have made little progress. Some one has said that, although the Malay is a Moslem by profession and would suffer crucifixion sooner than deny his faith, he is not a bigot; he

is very tolerant and believes that the absence of hypocrisy is the beginning of religion. He has deep faith in God and the immortality of the soul, and his heaven is a happy land of ecstatic earthly delights. His hell is full of punishments, but every individual is so sure he will escape it that its existence causes no worry.

Despite the new railways and the tin and rubber boom, much of the Malay Peninsula is, of course, still unreclaimed.

Away back in Malacca dwells the naked, wooly-haired, primitive Sakai tribe, remote kinsmen, perhaps, of the Philippine Negritos and the South Sea Papuans, who build their rude nests of bark and broken limbs high up in the tree tops, like the orang-utan, and live on fruit and raw game, which they kill with blow-guns. These Sakais are so shy that they avoid all contact with other tribes, and practically nothing seems to be known of their customs or origin, except that they probably belong to the family of black races mysteriously scattered long ago from Africa to Polynesia.


Fanciful as it sounds, early settlers at Singapore were harassed as much by tigers from the jungle as American pioneers were by hostile Indians. For years, hardly a week passed that some one in or around the colony was not killed and eaten by a tiger. Three hundred are said to have perished in one particularly bad year. Even the London papers of the time urged the government to action.

Bounties were paid and pits were dug to trap tigers on the edge of town. Often a live goat or dog, its neck carefully. shaved and rubbed with poison, was tied out near the tiger's haunts to tempt the striped killer.

Tigers, restless from having been hunted in Johore, have often crossed from the mainland to Singapore and have been seen swimming in the channel.

Tourists at the Raffles Hotel have been regaled with one tiger yarn to the effect that on a certain foggy morning coolies. went at early dawn to mop out the bar and billiard room, only to flee in terror from a tiger lurking under one of the tables.

In the uproar that followed, the story

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This remarkable palm has a graceful crown of broad green leaves which spread from the top of the trunk like an immense fan. The leaves resemble those of the banana, number from 20 to 30, and are about 10 feet long. The tree derives its name from the fact that the traveler can obtain a supply of cool, pure water by piercing the base of the leaf stalk. The broad surface of the leaves condenses the moisture from the atmosphere, and the water trickles down into the hollow where the leaf stalk joins the stem.

goes, one of the guests, an Englishman in striped pajamas, carrying his rifle and smoking a cigarette, came in leisurely fashion into the big room, first helped himself to a whisky and soda, lit another cigarette, and then shot the tiger.

But Malaya is famous for tiger and other animal stories. One early chronicler reported ants as big as cats!



Malays believe that the tiger can change his form into that of a man, and that men with supernatural powers can take on the form and appearance of tigers, and thus destroy their enemies. They say, too, that big rats live in the jungle, rats so big they can whip the panthers, and that alligators lure people to death by calling them down to the river banks, imitating the voices of friends or loved ones.

Here piracy was for generations the chief sport and main revenue of many a

Malay clan. Probably these eastern seas have seen more piracy than any other region, the China coast or the Spanish Main not excepted. The countless tiny islands, the bays, straits, mangrove swamps, and many jungle-lined rivers gave perfect hiding for freebooters who preyed on the traffic through this famous trade route.

Scores of official reports on piracy have been written, and hardly a book on any phase of Malay activity but what has its chapter or more on the subject.

Bands of pirates actually lived in or near Singapore itself, where they got their powder and shot and their information as to the movements of trading ships. And to this port they often actually brought their booty for sale!

It is recorded that the first steamer built in India, the old Diana, with a tonnage of 160 and a speed of three knots, led the chase after pirates "by reason of her superior speed!" On one cruise she

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Nearly all of the trades and the retail commerce of Singapore are in the hands of the Chinese, who occupy high as well as humble positions. Malaya is indebted to Chinese immigrants for working modern miracles in reclaiming reeking, fever-cursed jungles. They were the first to brave savage darts, wild animals, and disease, in order to dig the tin that put Malaya on the map of the trading world (see text, page 241).

fell in with several large pirate prahus which were attacking a junk. The pirates, never having seen a steamer with smoking funnels, took her to be a sailing ship on fire; and, thinking her an easy prey, shifted their attentions from the junk to the Diana. To their horror, the ship came right up against the wind, firing murderously as she ran them down.


All through these waters the Malays still use the same type of craft built by the old pirates, and one sees the same sort of prahu in use now in the southern Philippines. It is a long, low boat, 40 or 50 feet over all, with a big, dirty mat sail and a sort of rattan breastwork built up on each side to protect the 25 or 30 men on board.

In old days eight or nine sweeps were worked on each side, manned sometimes. by captured slaves; so their speed was considerable.

These pirates wore their hair long, like

women, and let it down loose around their shoulders when fighting, to increase their ferocious appearance. Many carried bamboo shields in addition to their spears and krises, and such firearms as they could get. They preyed chiefly on those ships which were becalmed or which by accident were stranded or otherwise disabled.

One British ship defended herself successfully by a novel expedient. As the naked pirates were scrambling on board the officers turned a hose of scalding water on them! In another famous encounter, H. M. S. Albatross routed a fleet of more than 100 pirate prahus manned by 3.500 men!

All suspected criminals are now registered here, and Singapore's fingerprint system is said to be the best in the world. The official who perfected it later went to New York on the same work.

If you go to Singapore by way of Suez and Colombo, the first land you "raise" is Penang Island, at the north end of the Malacca Strait. Fringed with white sand

beaches lined with palms, it lifts its wooded hills 2,500 feet above the sea, dotted with whitewashed cottages and villas, like the south coast of Portugal.

As your ship veers in from the north, the town of Penang fairly runs out to meet you. Built, as it is, on a flat sand spit reaching out toward the Malay mainland on the east, it seems, as you approach, that your ship must run right up into main street-a thoroughfare flanked by red-tiled houses, relics of the days of the Portuguese.



Penang, like Singapore, is the home of many rich, powerful Chinese. Once I was ashore there, on a holiday, when the British bank was closed. To make small purchases I wished to change an American note for some native silver. The bill I had happened to be one of a series showing the picture of a buffalo. "It may be good," the Chinese banker told me when I sought to change it, "but all the American paper money I ever saw had a bird on it. I can't accept any bill that shows the picture of a cow!"

Although lying not far from the paths of waterspouts, Indian Ocean tornadoes and China Sea typhoons, Singapore itself suffers only an occasional "Sumatra," as the sharp squalls in the strait are called. Yet it well remembers the great volcanic disaster at Krakatao, in the Strait of Sunda, when thousands perished and when a tidal wave 80 feet high swept the seas, washing pumice stone from the volcanic shower up to the city's beach.

The annals of Singapore, though covering little more than a scant hundred years, are filled with events that loom big in the

modern story of the East. During our Civil War the famous Alabama roamed the Malacca Strait, capturing and burning Union trading ships. In these historic waters the German cruiser Emden sank a dozen Allied craft before the Australians destroyed her on the Cocos reef.


Once a British frigate hit a rock in this vicinity and sank within sight of a French gunboat. The British admiral, game to the last, fired a salute to the French as his craft settled beneath the waves! Henry M. Stanley spent some time here, the guest of an Arab sage; and in the cemetery are many historic epitaphs, some in memory of men who died in the Indian Mutiny.

The white man's conquest of the East shows that wherever the Englishman settles he plants only as much of his own law and customs as is practicable, without arousing too much native opposition.

Here in Singapore, for example, polygamy among Malays and Chinese is recognized and the children of such unions are treated as legitimate. Instead of kissing the Bible, a Malay witness may kiss the Koran. But it is not always easy to cut off a rooster's head, a rite insisted on by some Chinese when being sworn!

So, here in the strait, Raffles early declared that the principles of British law should be applied with patriarchal mildness and indulgent consideration for the prejudices of each tribe. All native in-. stitutions, such as religious ceremonies, marriage and inheritance, were respected. when not inconsistent with justice and humanity. In this policy lies the secret of British colonizing success.

Notice of change of address of your GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE should be received in the office of the National Geographic Society by the first of the month to affect the following month's issue. For instance, if you desire the address changed for your April number, the Society should be notified of your new address not later than March first.

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The pyramids at Giza have stood for more than 4,000 years as a monument to the engineering skill of the early Egyptians. This pyramid, built
by King Cheops, towers some 480 feet above the desert and measures about 750 feet at its base. A hundred thousand men labored at its construction for
30 years. Note that the shadows of four airplanes appear near the base of the pyramid; three are cast by the planes shown and the fourth by the one
from which the photograph was taken.

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