Keramat Radin Mas



Keramat Radin Mas is the shrine of Radin Mas Ayu, a Javanese princess who shielded her father from being killed, only to be killed herself.1 According to the legend, Radin Mas was a beautiful and filial daughter loved by her father but hated by her stepmother. Radin Mas was brought to Singapore by her father as an infant, and lived in a village at Telok Blangah. Her father, a skilful warrior prince, married into the royal family in Singapore.2 How much of the legend is true is unclear.3 Radin Mas’s tomb lies at the foot of Mount Faber, behind Mount Faber Lodge Condominium, and still receives visitors.4

Description
In the past, the tomb was enclosed by the roots of two banyan trees. The trees were removed in 2010 as they were thought to have been diseased and any falling branches would have been a danger to visitors. There used to be a spring close to the foot of Mount Faber, and its water was believed to have healing properties. When the spring became too popular and visitors seeking healing began disturbing local residents, the police had the water piped underground and covered the area in cement.5


The tomb was once enclosed by a hut with a small sign hanging at its entrance, but the hut’s condition was very poor. The surrounding compound was littered with rubbish and overgrown with bushes, shrubbery and weeds. In late 1999, Zainal Atan, also known as Pak Daeng, decided to spruce up the tomb to give Radin Mas the recognition she deserved. With permission from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), Pak Daeng cleaned up the place and repaired the hut with his own funds. Garnering help from friends, he levelled the ground around the tomb, carrying sand and cement up the hill.6

Dissatisfied with his initial efforts, Pak Daeng collected contributions from the community totalling $15,000 and hired a contractor. Works started in August 2002. The hut was torn down and a new one was built. A low fence was erected along the perimeters of the tomb. The surrounding compound was laid with ceramic tiles and a water tank was installed to store rainwater. A flight of steps was constructed to increase access to the shrine. Both the hut and stairs were painted yellow to symbolise both royalty and holiness. A place to perform prayers was also provided. Pak Daeng went to the shrine every day to clean it and ensure that visitors refrained from practices that were inappropriate or un-Islamic. He hoped that the authorities could verify the history behind the tomb and recognise it as part of Singapore’s heritage and as a tourist destination.7

The legend
Pangeran Adipati Agung was the brother of a sultan in the kingdom of Java. He was an intelligent and courageous warrior, much loved by the people.8 He fell in love with the lead dancer of a dance troupe that had been invited to perform at the palace.9 As he could not marry a commoner, he wedded her in secret.10 Their happy union bore them a beautiful little girl whom they named Radin Mas Ayu, meaning “golden princess”. Before long, the king found out and was extremely furious and plotted to punish the dancer.11 An opportunity arose when his kingdom was threatened by hostile invaders. The king sent Pangeran to quell the threat. The dancer saw it as a chance of reconciliation between her husband and his brother, the king, if he returned victorious. While Pangeran was away, however, the king had his men burn their house down. Pangeran’s wife perished but their daughter was rescued by a loyal servant.12 When Pangeran returned from a victorious battle and found out what had happened, he severed ties with his brother and the palace. He left the kingdom together with Radin Mas and the loyal servant.13

The trio set sail and landed on the island of Singapore and settled down in a village at Telok Blangah. Pangeran was silent about his royal lineage and lived as other villagers did. The island was frequently harassed by sea pirates, and one day, Pangeran led a group of villagers to defeat them. News of Pangeran’s valour reached the Sultan of Singapore, who invited the former to the palace.14 It happened that an envoy from Java was also at the palace to meet the Sultan, and was surprised to see Pangeran. He informed the Sultan of Pangeran’s identity. The Sultan was delighted to know that Pangeran was a prince and arranged for his princess to be wedded to him. Pangeran agreed to the marriage and a son was born to them.15 He was named Tengku Chik16 Meanwhile Radin Mas had grown into a beautiful woman, and her stepmother was jealous both of her beauty and closeness with her father. One day, little Tengku Chik accidentally cut his foot on a piece of broken plate dropped by Radin Mas.17 Her stepmother accused her of deliberately harming Tengku Chik,18 but Pangeran refused to believe it was done on purpose. To get even with Radin Mas, her stepmother together with her stepmother’s nephew, Tengku Bagus, plotted against Pangeran and Radin Mas. Her stepmother knew that Tengku Bagus was in love with Radin Mas and wished to marry her. With Radin Mas married, she would no longer have to compete with her for Pangeran’s attentions.19

Tengku Bagus got Pangeran intoxicated on drugged wine, and held him prisoner in an unused deep well. The next day, Tengku Bagus proposed to Radin Mas, threatening to kill Pangeran if she refused to marry him.20 During the solemnisation ceremony however, Radin Mas was asked if she had her father’s permission to marry. Fearful for her father’s life, she lied, saying that he had died while visiting Java. At this instant, Tengku Chik blurted out that he had seen their father alive in the unused well. The plot was revealed and Pangeran was rescued. Afraid of Pangeran’s revenge, Tengku Bagus drew his kris and lunged at him. Radin Mas sprang forward to shield her beloved father and the kris plunged into her heart, killing her. Her stepmother stole away during the commotion, but just as she was slipping away, lightning struck and killed her.21

Radin Mas’s legacy
Radin Mas was buried at the foot of Mount Faber and today, people still visit her shrine.22 In 1959, a film dramatising her life and death was produced by Cathay-Keris Films. It featured some of the biggest stars at the time, such as Siput Sarawak, Nordin Ahmad and Latifah Omar.23

Kampong Radin Mas, named after Radin Mas Ayu, is located on the slopes of Mount Faber. From the late 1960s, Kampong Radin Mas was cleared to make way for a modern housing estate, and its villagers were relocated to flats or otherwise compensated.24 Radin Mas Primary School used to occupy an Istana (palace) building in the area before it moved to another location in 1984.25 As of the 2015 General Election, there is an electoral division in Singapore called the Radin Mas Single Member Constituency.26 There used to be a Radin Mas Mosque, also known as the Masjid Radin Mas, at the foot of Mount Faber, but it closed in 2001 and was replaced by a new mosque, Masjid Al-Amin, which is located nearby.27



Author

Marsita Omar



References
1. Where a noble princess gave her life to save prince. (1987, February 27). The Straits Times, p. 16; Yaakub Rashid. (1984, May 31). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 89, 92, 96. (Call no.: JRSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Tan, A., & Au-Yong, R. (2013, September 6). Radin Mas: Legacy of a princess. The Straits Times, p. 17; Sekelumit sejarah. (2003, January 19). Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Tay, S. (1989, March 24). Courageous girl plays a Golden Princess. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Mardiana Abu Bakar. (1990, August 16). Golden princess and her tomb. The Straits Times, pp. 1–2; Nazri Hadi Saparin. (2003, January 19). Pak Daeng penjaga Makam Radin Mas [Pak Daeng guards the tomb of Radin Mas]. Berita Harian, p. 11; Tan, A., & Au-Yong, R. (2013, September 6). Radin Mas: Legacy of a princess. The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Sam, J. (1984, November 25). Telok Blangah. Singapore Monitor, p. 5; Wan Hussin Zoohri. (2011, September 7). Radin Mas – Kampung Mantan empat AP. Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ibrahim Tahir. (Ed.). (2013). A village remembered: Kampong Radin Mas, 1800s–1973. Singapore: OPUS Editorial Pte. Ltd., p. 54. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 VIL-[HIS])
6. Nazri Hadi Saparin. (2003, January 19). Pak Daeng penjaga Makam Radin Mas [Pak Daeng guards the tomb of Radin Mas]. Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Nazri Hadi Saparin. (2003, January 19). Pak Daeng penjaga Makam Radin Mas [Pak Daeng guards the tomb of Radin Mas]. Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ibrahim Tahir. (Ed.). (2013). A village remembered: Kampong Radin Mas, 1800s–1973. Singapore: OPUS Editorial Pte. Ltd., p. 55. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 VIL-[HIS])
8. Lee, O. (1980). Radin Mas: Folktale from Singapore. Singapore: Spectrum Pub in association with Toppan, p. 2. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 LEE-[LC]); Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, p. 89. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Sekelumit sejarah. (2003, January 19). Berita Harian, p. 11; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, March 10). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Lee, O. (1980). Radin Mas: Folktale from Singapore. Singapore: Spectrum Pub in association with Toppan, p. 3. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 LEE-[LC]); Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, p. 89. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, March 17). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, March 24). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 89–90. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, March 24). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, March 31). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, p. 90. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, April 21). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, April 7). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, April 14). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 90–91. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, May 5). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, May 12). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 91–92. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, June 2). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 92–94. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, June 2). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, June 9). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, June 23). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 94–97. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, July 28). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Lim, C. (2001). Legendary tales of Singapore. Singapore: Asiapac Books, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 LEG)
17. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 96–97. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Haron A. R. (1983, August 18). Raja Lekuk. The Straits Times, p. 4; Yaakub Rashid. (1983, September 29). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Lim, C. (2001). Legendary tales of Singapore. Singapore: Asiapac Books, p. 109. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 LEG)
19. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1983, October 20). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, p. 98. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL])
21. Pugalenthi, S. (2002). Myths and legends: Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times, pp. 99–100. (Call no.: RSING 398.2095957 PUG-[FOL]); Yaakub Rashid. (1984, May 31). Radin Mas. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Nazri Hadi Saparin. (2003, January 19). Pak Daeng penjaga Makam Radin Mas [Pak Daeng guards the tomb of Radin Mas]. Berita Harian, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, A., & Au-Yong, R. (2013, September 6). Radin Mas: Legacy of a princess. The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Kg. folk see ‘Raden Mas’. (1959, August 23). The Straits Times, p. 11; Ong, S. F. (2003, September 11). Return to the golden era. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Lim, K. T. (1991). Cathay: 55 years of cinema. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 209. (Call no.: RSING 791.43095957 LIM)
24. Ibrahim Tahir. (Ed.). (2013). A village remembered: Kampong Radin Mas, 1800s–1973. Singapore: OPUS Editorial Pte. Ltd., pp. 29, 46–47. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 VIL-[HIS])
25. Radin Mas Primary School. (2011). School history. Retrieved 2016, December 15 from Radin Mas Primary School website: http://radinmaspri.moe.edu.sg/our-school/school-history
26. Electoral Boundaries Review Committee 2015. (2015, July 24). White paper on the report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee. Retrieved 2016, December 15 from Singapore Elections Department website: http://www.eld.gov.sg/pdf/White%20Paper%20on%20the%20Report%20of%20the%20Electoral%20Boundaries%20Review%20Committee%202015.pdf#zoom=100
27. Nadzri Eunos. (2001, July 3). Bakti Masjid Radin Mas terus dihidupkan [Bakti Radin Mas Mosque kept alive]. Berita Harian, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2006 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Religious Buildings
Tombs--Singapore
Islamic shrines--Singapore
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Historic Buildings
Arts>>Architecture>>Religious buildings
Historic buildings
Religious buildings