Kuala Klawang Customs Museum
When I told my son we were going to visit Kuala Klawang Customs Museum he said ‘What’s in it – passports?’
No, I answered, this is ‘customs’ as in traditions and practices not as in import duty.
Kuala Klawang is a quaint small town in the picturesque Jelebu District of Negeri Sembilan state and it is worth visiting for the scenic journey alone.
The museum, which was officially opened in 2008, is in a fairly non-descript modern building in the heart of the town.
Outside the front entrance is a giant model of a traditional Malay headdress.
Inside the exhibits are well presented, with good lighting and ample explanations of the contents in both Bahasa and English.
I learned something new. Did you know that one of the first Malay rulers, Sultan Iskandar Shah, the Raja of Temasik who founded the Malay Sultanate of Malacca in the 1400s, was actually a descendant of Alexander the Great? Perhaps the clue is in his name. Al Iskandar is the Arabic name for Alexander.
The galleries explain the many customs and practices of the various races that make up the population of Malaysia for example:
- When visiting a Malay house – the greetings, kissing the hand of the elder, removal of footwear, how to sit on the floor, not to refuse food, not to visit at evening Maghreb prayer times and so on.
- Chinese New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner customs and Baba Nyonya customs – examples of their bamboo or wood tiffin carriers.
- A look at the customs in the Indian community, including the Tamil festival of ponggal.
- Orang Asli blowpipes and darts made from sharpened bamboo. Also wood carvings.
- You can see a mock-up of the interior of an Iban (Sarawak) longhouse and read about the practices of the Kadazan Dusan tribes of Sabah.
- The matrilineal laws (adat perpatih) of the Minangkabau community are also covered.
Another gallery focuses on the traditional occupations such as padi cultivation, rubber tapping, fishing and mining and displays examples of the types of clothing worn by these people.
I found the traditions revolving around life cycle events such as birth and marriage to be most interesting. For example how the Malay bridegroom is prevented from coming into the bride’s presence and ascending the bridal dais until he pays a tax.
Maternity rituals to pray for a smooth and safe delivery and a healthy baby are described. These involve the use of rice, bathing in lime and water, use of eggs, mirrors, seven pieces of cloth, types of flowers and more.
Other ceremonies concerning the burial of the placenta, circumcision rituals and padi planting ceremonies are described.
I have visited most of the museums in Malaysia and this is definitely one of the better ones.
Opening Hours and Admission Charges
Kuala Klawang Customs Museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm except during the Hari Raya holidays.
Admission is FREE!
How to Get to Kuala Klawang Customs Museum
Kuala Klawang Customs Museum location is marked on the map on the Top Negeri Sembilan Attractions page.
From Seremban take Highway 86. Kuala Klawang is signposted and you cannot miss the museum on your right as you arrive in the town centre.
While you are in the vicinity, you might as well visit these other nearby attractions:
- Kuala Klawang Memorial
- Titi Eco Farm Resort
- Jeram Toi Waterfall
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