Robyn Flemming, the author of Skinful: A Memoir of Addiction, is very much alive and well and currently in Malaysia. In this, the third of three guest posts (GPs), Robyn takes us to the city of Kuching in the province of Sarawak to explore the Muslim Cemetery in the grounds of Kuching’s Old State Mosque. She took the photos; she wrote the text. I simply wish I could have been there.
The Muslim Cemetery in the grounds of Kuching’s Old State Mosque looks like something out of a scary children’s book.
Many of the older graves have collapsed, tipping the stone markers into crazy angles. The ground, which is uneven and waterlogged, is squishy to walk on. There wasn’t much in the way of an identifying headstone on most graves to begin with. When I asked a Muslim friend about the simple nature of the headstones in this cemetery, he said this was a Malay cultural practice, not a Muslim religious one.
Malays who lived in Sarawak well before the arrival of Islam followed various religious practices, but culture and religion are now intertwined in Malaysia, where all Malays are Muslim by law.
MM: Curious about the knotted white clothes wrapping the headstones, I wondered if they had anything to do with the hopping spirit? But no. I lost two hours trying to find out what those white cloths mean. If you’ve any ideas, let me know.