The Pahang Flag and Coat of Arms (or State Emblem) have unique and interesting features that can only be understood when we know their history and background.
For instance, the Pahang flag is white and black. Just that. The top half is white and the bottom half black. White over black. Simple and unique design with great contrast. Nothing colorful.
But it contains profound meanings that relate to the interesting and colorful historical past and its birth as a sovereign state.
So is the Pahang Coat of Arms or State Emblem. It too is rather unique, enchanting and special, with interesting historical reasons on the usage of the symbolic items.
The color white actually signifies the Sultan or Sovereign. And purity of heart.
The use of the white color is a symbol that Pahang is a sovereign state with the Sultan or monarchy as the Head of State.
It also means that the state has its own governing rules and laws, customs, traditions and codes of conduct, as well as administrative and governing powers, consonant with its status as a respectable and sovereign state.
The color black is the standard bearer color of a Bendahara (*Note below).
In the years before the modern Pahang Sultanate came into being, Pahang was under the administration or power of the Bendahara appointed by the Johore Sultanate that ruled over Riau, Johore and Pahang.
Bendahara Wan Ali was the Bendahara of Pahang who governed the state following the death of his father Bendahara Tun Koris in 1806.
His son, Sultan Ahmad al-Mu’azzam Shah ibni Bendahara Wan Ali was Bendahara of Pahang from 1863 upon his victory over his elder brother, Tun Mutahir, and was proclaimed Sultan by his Chiefs on 5th December 1884, becoming the first modern era Sultan of Pahang. The British recognized him as Sultan of Pahang in 1887.
And so the white color over the black in the Pahang Flag signifies the change from a state ruled by a Bendahara to one ruled by a sovereign monarch or Sultan.
* Note :
The position of Bendahara, in the old days of Malay Sultanate rule, is akin or equivalent to a Prime Minister in modern times.
He is a powerful official who advises the Sultan, and administers and governs the state with powers as delegated by the Sultan.
The coat of arms with the words "Negeri Pahang" (Pahang State) is golden in color. The reason for the choice of gold for the Coat of Arms is that in the year 1862 gold was the number one produce in the state of Pahang.
Also in the old days too, weapons or weapon-heads made of gold is all-powerful and is said to be able to kill adversaries who were invincible.
In the middle of the emblem, looking like the head of a spear, is the coffee leaf.
The story goes that Wan Ahmad, who later became the first Sultan of modern Pahang as mentioned above, was in war with his brother Wan Mutahir for absolute rulership of the state after the death of his father, Bendahara Wan Ali.
One day while drinking coffee, he got an idea and conceived a plan of war and campaign that was to result in him becoming the absolute ruler of Pahang. In commemoration of his victory over his enemies, he took the coffee leaf as the personal emblem of his family.
In fact the coffee leaf is also depicted in the tengkolok or tanjak style of the Sultans of Pahang, with the official tanjak style known as "tengkolok ikatan cogan daun kopi".
The pair of elephant tusks criss-crossing and uplifting the spear / coffee leaf signifies the abundant existence of elephants in the state and the important role elephants played in the economy of the state, in the distant past.
The elephant tusks also imply the existence and wealth of extensive areas of tropical jungle and rain-forests in the state.
The Arabic words "Ya Latif" in the emblem, is a reference to one of the names of God or Allah, that is, "Al-Latif", meaning "The Subtle One". Allah knows the delicate meanings of everything and He gives blessings to people in most subtle ways.
The inclusion of "Ya Latif" implies that the state will be ruled and governed in soft and subtle ways that will be a blessing to all its citizens.
White and Black - the Pahang flag - a rather simple concept and design, yet the unique combination is filled with important connotations and meanings relating to the state.
Ahh ... white and black... reminds me of the popular song by Michael Jackson.
And the coffee-leaf .... reminds me of Starbucks. But that will be a different story.
Well, hopefully when you visit Pahang and see the Pahang flag flying high on poles and buildings, and the Pahang Coat of Arms outside and in government buildings in Kuantan and the various towns, you’ve understood their deep meanings.
As always, from me...
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