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The Role of Sama/Bajaus in Sea Cucumber Trades in the Sulu Sultanate Economy: Towards a Reconstruction of Dynamic Maritime History in Southeast Asia.

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Potential of Sea Cucumbers Studies (Holothrialogy) for Asian Studies Studies on maritime Southeast Asia drew attention in the 1980s. For example, James Warren, a Southeast Asian social historian, explained how the Spanish in the Philippine archipelago depended on the Sulu Sultanate's maritime network for their supply of commercial items for Chinese trade (Warren, 1981). The Spanish found only a few commodities in the Philippine islands so they had to rely on the Sulu Sultanate's network to gather sea cucumbers, tortoise shells, pearls, and bird's nests that Chinese traders wanted. Sea cucumbers were the most important trade item for China in both value and volume. Warren made two prominent contributions to Southeast Asian Studies research. His first contribution was proposing a new perspective on Christian-Muslim relationship in the Philippine islands during Spanish colonialization. Through illustrating interdependent trade relationship between the Spaniards and Sulu Sultanate, he made clear that history was full of malicious descriptions Christian Filipinos held toward Muslim nations in southern Philippines that were one-sided and a superficial interpretation. He suggested scholars should look at the truthfulness of historical reality to reconstruct Philippine history. Second, more important to the present study, Warren revealed that Sulu Sultanate's prosperity was mainly due to sea cucumbers in and around the Sulu Archipelago. The Sulu Sultanate needed manpower to collect sea cucumbers so that the Sultan of Sulu and his aristocrats often organised raids to abduct slaves in coastal societies from Southeast Asia to Melanesia. Some Samas/Bajaus both rendered labour to raiders and were abducted as slaves for harvesting sea cucumbers. Based on linguistic analysis and ethnographic observation on sea cucumber production among Sama/Bajau societies, the present article proposes a more positive interpretation of the role that the Sama/Bajau played in the seventeenth to nineteenth century trade where the Sulu Sultanate enjoyed prosperity. The article illustrates a possible scenario that trepang, a Malay term for sea cucumber in general, had been derived from a Sama/Bajau word lalipan (centipede). First, the article explains the sea cucumber foodways that developed in China, focusing on the two different types of Chinese sea cucumber foodways. Second, it underscores the strong characteristics of Samas/Bajaus' toward sea cucumber fisheries, with reference to Specialty Maritime Products (SMPs) in trades with China. Third, it traces the etymology of trepang in the present Malay language. Finally, it discusses the important roles that Sama/Bajau people played in the SMPs trades in maritime Southeast Asia from the 17 th century to the present.
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PERSEPCTIVES ON BAJAU-SAMADIASPORA
151
THE ROLE OF SAMAS/BAJAUS IN SEA CUCUMBER TRADES IN THE
SULU SULTANATE ECONOMY: TOWARDS A RECONSTRUCTION
OF DYNAMIC MARITIME HISTORY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA1
Akamine Jun
Hitotsubashi University
Potential of Sea Cucumbers Studies (Holothrialogy) for Asian Studies
Studies on maritime Southeast Asia drew attention in the 1980s. For example,
James Warren, a Southeast Asian social historian, explained how the Spanish in
the Philippine archipelago depended on the Sulu Sultanate’s maritime network for
their supply of commercial items for Chinese trade (Warren, 1981). The Spanish
found only a few commodities in the Philippine islands so they had to rely on the
Sulu Sultanate’s network to gather sea cucumbers, tortoise shells, pearls, and bird’s
nests that Chinese traders wanted. Sea cucumbers were the most important trade
item for China in both value and volume. Warren made two prominent
contributions to Southeast Asian Studies research. His first contribution was
proposing a new perspective on Christian-Muslim relationship in the Philippine
islands during Spanish colonialization. Through illustrating inter-dependent trade
relationship between the Spaniards and Sulu Sultanate, he made clear that history
was full of malicious descriptions Christian Filipinos held toward Muslim nations
in southern Philippines that were one-sided and a superficial interpretation. He
suggested scholars should look at the truthfulness of historical reality to reconstruct
Philippine history. Second, more important to the present study, Warren revealed
that Sulu Sultanate’s prosperity was mainly due to sea cucumbers in and around
the Sulu Archipelago. The Sulu Sultanate needed manpower to collect sea
cucumbers so that the Sultan of Sulu and his aristocrats often organised raids to
abduct slaves in coastal societies from Southeast Asia to Melanesia. Some
Samas/Bajaus both rendered labour to raiders and were abducted as slaves for
harvesting sea cucumbers.
Based on linguistic analysis and ethnographic observation on sea
cucumber production among Sama/Bajau societies, the present article proposes a
more positive interpretation of the role that the Sama/Bajau played in the
seventeenth to nineteenth century trade where the Sulu Sultanate enjoyed
prosperity. The article illustrates a possible scenario that trepang, a Malay term for
sea cucumber in general, had been derived from a Sama/Bajau word lalipan
(centipede). First, the article explains the sea cucumber foodways that developed
in China, focusing on the two different types of Chinese sea cucumber foodways.
Second, it underscores the strong characteristics of Samas/Bajaus’ toward sea
cucumber fisheries, with reference to Specialty Maritime Products (SMPs) in
trades with China. Third, it traces the etymology of trepang in the present Malay
language. Finally, it discusses the important roles that Sama/Bajau people played
in the SMPs trades in maritime Southeast Asia from the 17th century to the present.
AKAMINE JUN
152
Through such discussion, the present article aims at supplementing Warren’s
discussion and proposing more positive interpretation of Sama/Bajau people in
Philippine history as well as Southeast Asian history.
Sea Cucumber Foodways in Chinese History
Of the 1,200 known species of sea cucumbers, 66 are currently used for food
consumption (Purcell, 2010). At least 30 species of sea cucumbers are dried for
consumption in areas ranging from Southeast Asia to the South Pacific Ocean
(Bruckner, 2006). In general, sea cucumber foodways can be classified into two
categories: the fresh sea cucumbers which are popular for consumption in Japan,
South Korea, and some tropical islands in the Pacific, and the re-hydrated dried
forms that are popular for consumption in China. Fresh and re-hydrated sea
cucumbers are different foods, just as fresh and dried shiitake mushrooms are
different in taste and texture. The present discussion concentrates on dried and re-
hydrated forms of sea cucumber products.
Chinese cuisine has 4,000 years of history but dried sea cucumbers only
became popular in China for the first time about 400 years ago after the Qing
dynasty overthrew the Ming dynasty from the late sixteenth to the early
seventeenth century (Shinoda, 1974, p. 290). A Chinese encyclopaedic reference
Wuzazu, compiled by Xie Zhaozhe in 1602, provides the first known description
of sea cucumbers’ medicinal effects in Chinese literature: “Sea cucumbers can be
captured in the seashores of Liaodong…There, the sea cucumber is dubbed as the
sea (hai) male (nan zi) because its shape is similar to that of a penis. The sea
cucumber warms the body and invigorates the flow of blood, and its potency is
comparable to ginseng. So, it was named ‘ginseng of the sea’” (Xie, 1998, p. 90).
Therefore, hai-shen, the Chinese name of sea cucumber, connotes “ginseng of the
sea.” After almost one hundred fifty years, Bencao Gangmu Shiyi (Gleanings of
Compendium of Materia Medica) was published in 1765. It contains known and
sophisticated descriptions of sea cucumbers in Wuzazu. In volume 10 of Bencao
Gangmu Shiyi (BGS), sea cucumbers were mentioned specifically in the second
section of the chapter on marine animals (Zhao, 1971).
Differing from Wuzazu, which just compared the medicinal effects of sea
cucumbers with those of ginseng, BGS describes sea cucumbers in greater detail.
It describes some characteristics of sea cucumbers that one should not ignore when
investigating today’s sea cucumber foodways in China. This includes how the
Chinese (a) Distinguish between thorny and bald sea cucumbers; and (b) Have a
longstanding belief that the thorny types of sea cucumbers captured in the waters
off Liaodong were the most flavourful and healthful. That is to say that Chinese
have always believed that the thorny sea cucumber ci-shen has more medical
benefits than the non-spiky one guang-shen.
There are many differences between ci-shen and guang-shen besides their
thorniness and baldness, including ecology of habitat, texture, size, cooking
methods, and serving styles. Thorny and non-spiky sea cucumbers can also be
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distinguished by weight. Most thorny sea cucumbers are 30 grams or less in dry
weight, whereas the dry weight of quite a few non-spiky sea cucumbers exceeds
500 grams. Cooking and serving methods vary depending on the size of sea
cucumbers. For example, in Beijing cuisine, dishes featuring sea cucumbers are
served on small plates, whereas in Cantonese cuisine, they are served on large
plates onto the centre of a round table, and individual customers serve themselves
from these large plates. Traditional Beijing cuisine, thus, has made use of dried
Apostichopus japonicus (a Japanese spiky sea cucumber) captured in the temperate
zones of Liaodong waters, one of the most typical ci-shens. In contrast, Cantonese
cuisine has favoured Holothuria fuscogilva (white teatfish) and Holothuria scabra
(sandfish), both hailing from guang-shen in tropical zones. These preferences are
probably because of the distance between production and consumption sites.
Beijing is near ci-shen’s production site while Guangzhou is close to tropical
waters where guang-shen is mainly produced.
Specialty Marine Products (SMPs) and Sama/Bajaus’ Aggressive Attitude for
SMPs Commerce
Sama is the self-appointed name of the people who live in the coral-reef areas
straddling the Sulu Archipelago in the southwestern Philippines, the eastern coast
of Borneo (known as Kalimantan Island in Indonesia), and the eastern islands of
Indonesia. Known to others as Bajau or Bajo, the Sama are often referred to as “sea
nomads” that generally subsist by fishing while moving from coral-reef to coral-
reef in houseboats (Sopher, 1965). They are generally known as Bajau Laut or
Sama Dilaut in Malaysia and the Philippines (Sather, 1997). Not all Samas are
seafarers, although presently quite a few Samas reside along coastal areas. Most of
them build houses on stilts, with pilings sunk into shoals. In terms of linguistics,
Sama languages belong to Austronesian languages and are divided into nine
groups: Abaknon, Balangingi, Central Sama, Pangutaran, Southern Sama, Yakan,
Mapun, West Coast Bajau, and Indonesian Bajau (Akamine, 2005a). The first
seven groups live mainly in the Philippines, the eighth in Malaysia, and the last in
Indonesia, as illustrated in Figure 1. In 2000, the total population of the
Sama/Bajau was estimated to be around one million (Nagatsu, 2008).
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Figure 1. Distribution of Sama/Bajau languages (Akamine, 2013).
The Sama/Bajau are similar to land-based hunters and gatherers, producing few if
any carbohydrate-laden foods (e.g., rice or cassava). They are commercially-
oriented, targeting only aquatic species in demand at nearby markets rather than
merely selling the surplus from what they catch. A striking characteristic of their
fishing strategy is that the Sama/Bajau aggressively harvest what they never
consume by themselves. They specialise in producing dried commercial marine
products common to the Chinese culinary such as dried sea cucumbers and dried
shark fins. Such commodities are what the late Tsurumi Yoshiyuki, a Japanese
Southeast Asian specialist, terms as specialty marine products (SMPs) (Tsurumi,
1987), which are exclusively consumed outside Sama/Bajau communities.
From the second half of the 18th century until the end of the 19th century,
the Sama/Bajau and other peoples in the surrounding areas prospered under the
domain of the Tausug royalty, which constituted a kingdom in the Sulu
Archipelago. In fact, the prosperity of the Tausug’s Sulu Sultanate depended on
SMPs the Sama produced (Warren, 1981; Sather, 1997). In addition, not a few
Indonesian Samas/Bajaus would make frequent visits to the northern coasts of
present-day Australia in as early as the 18th century to harvest sea cucumbers
(Macknight, 1976; Fox, 1977; Ganter, 1994; Mullins, 1994; Sunter, 1997;
Sutherland, 2000]. The Sama/Bajau’s historical cross-boundary movement in
search of SMPs was inherited to the present-day Sama/Bajau people. For example,
in order to collect sea cucumbers and shark fins, the Sama/Bajau residing in
Indonesia (illegally) cross over to Australian waters (Stacey, 2007), and the
Philippine Sama/Bajau sail to the Spratly Islands (Akamine, 2001, 2012, 2013).
THE ROLE OF SAMAS/BAJAUS IN SEA CUCUMBER TRADES IN THE SULU SULTANATE
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These examples show that the Sama/Bajau still have a strong aptitude for maritime
commerce.
Linguistic Presupposition of Origins of Trepang in Indonesian Language
Holothuria is the scientific term for the animal commonly known as sea cucumber
in English. However, many English dictionaries such as the authoritative Oxford
English Dictionary (OED) mention the word trepang, which refers to sea
cucumbers and is taken from “the Malay language.” The Malay language is likely
derived from the Melayu language, which spreads from the Malay Peninsula across
significant stretches of water to a part of Sumatra Island in Indonesia. It became
the basis of the contemporary Malaysian and Indonesian languages (Bahasa
Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia respectively).
Before investigating on the etymology of the word trepang, one should
look into the Filipino terms for sea cucumbers. Sea cucumbers in the Philippines
are generally known as balat, balatan, or bat. What is the relationship among these
three words? Taking balat as the root form, collective plural forms are constructed
by adding the suffix -an, yielding balat-an (balatan) (Akamine, 2005a). Then, the
consonant /l/ sandwiched between the two instances of the vowel /a/ (ba-l-at) is
omitted, yielding a long vowel /a:/ as *baat /ba:t/. Followed by the Sama
language’s phonology, then, the long vowel /a:/ would be deleted, resulting in bat
/bat/ (the original meaning of balat, balatan or bat in Philippine languages was
either “skin” or “shell” [Zorc, 1983, p. 35]).
Based on my own fieldwork, the common names for sea cucumbers in
maritime Southeast Asia are shown in Figure 2. It is noteworthy that trepang is
used only in Indonesian islands. Sea cucumbers are called gamat on the Malay
Peninsula (Burkill, 1935, p. 1200; Awang & Yusoff, 1990, p. 268). Intriguingly,
in Malaysia, Indonesia, and even some regions in the Philippines, the term gamat
is commonly used to refer to sea cucumbers Stichopus horrens (warty sea
cucumber) and Stichopus hermanni (curryfish) (Photos 1 and 2). Namely, in the
Malay Peninsula, gamat refers not only to individual sea cucumber species
(Stichopus horrens and Stichopus hermanni) but also to sea cucumbers in general
(Akamine 2015).
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Figure 2. General terms for sea cucumbers in Maritime Southeast Asia.
Photo 1 and 2. Gamat both in the Philippines and Indonesia refers to Stichopus horrens
(warty sea cucumber, left) or S. hermanni (curry fish, right), while it is a common term
for all kinds of sea cucumber in Malaysia.
According to the second edition of the OED, the term trepang entered English
dictionary as a loanword from the Malay language in around 1783. Some of the
earliest usage of trepang includes the 1783 entry which accounted that around the
islands of Celebes (present- day Sulawesi), lives “tripam [sic], a species of
Gamat
Balat*
* Bat and Balatan included
Trepang
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mushroom, which increases in value in proportion to the roundness of its form, and
the blackness of its color.” Another definition appeared in 1793: “tripam [sic] is a
little spungy [sic] plant without root, and like a mushroom...It grows in great
profusion in the island of Celebes.” These two examples were based merely on
hearsay but the recorders did not observe the real animals because they mistakenly
regarded them as either a mushroom or a plant. The OED adds that the first written
record in the English language based on an actual observation of trepang was by a
British naval officer in 1802 who called it “sea swallow (called beach de mar by
the Portuguese, and trepong by the Malays).”
The OED crystallises the diligent work of collecting evidence for the
earliest recorded usage of words and phrases despite the daunting prospect of an
enormous amount of literature. Nevertheless, the investigations on the origins of
loanwords from non-Indo-European languages seem insufficient. At the time when
relevant documents were compiled, there was neither Malaysia nor Indonesia as
we know them today. Even the British Straits Settlements such as George Town,
Malacca, and Singapore had not yet been established in the Malay Peninsula. It
was only natural that the compilers of the OED did not understand the cultural and
linguistic diversity of what was called the East Indies at that time.
However, I contend that the origin of the term trepang is not to be found
in the Malay language as the OED presupposes. Rather, it has to do with lalipan,
the Sama/Bajau term for centipede. Although its beautiful yellow-brown colour
cannot be reproduced in black and white colour print, Photo 3 shows a live
Thelenota ananas (prickly redfish, one of the most commonly fished sea
cucumbers among the Sama/Bajau) in an underwater setting. It prefers reef slopes
and passes, hard bottoms with large coral rubble and coral patches in waters
between one and 25 meters (Purcell et al., 2012, p. 116]. Southern Sama speakers
in Tawi-Tawi Province of the Philippines refer to Thelenota ananas as bat lalipan,
which means a “centipede sea cucumber.” More interestingly, although the word
for centipede in the Sama/Bajau word is lalipan and never talipan, the vernacular
term for Thelenota ananas is inter-changeably called bat lalipan and bat talipan
in Tawi-Tawi Province.
Photo 3. LiveThelenota ananas, taken in Miyakojima Island, Okinawa in 2007.
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After conducting fieldwork in more than 100 Sama/Bajau communities in the
Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, I firmly believe that the term trepang in
contemporary Bahasa Indonesia would have been derived from the term bat
lalipan in the Sama/Bajau language (for the sake of convenience, I do not explore
which sub-language of the Sama/Bajau this derivation involves). Below, I will
explain the possible relationship between the term bat lalipan in Sama/Bajau and
the term trepang in Bahasa Indonesia. Thelenota ananas is widely dubbed as balat
tinikan in the Philippines; the latter term tinikan is derived from the root tinik,
which means “thorn.” The name balat tinikan is employed by one of the leading
SMP-exporting companies in the Philippines (Akamine, 2005c). This is probably
the main reason the term has spread nationwide across the Philippine islands. In
addition, aside from the well-distributed name tinikan, Thelenota ananas in the
Philippines has vernacular names that sound similar to one another: talipan,
taripan, and dalipan.2
Even if one is not familiar with marine biology but knows Tagalog or other
Philippine languages, one can easily imagine that balat tinikan is a sea cucumber
(balat) with a lot of thorns (tinik). Similarly, one can assume that the suffix -an of
talip-an, tarip-an, and dalip-an is a suffix indicating a collective noun (Akamine,
2005b). Then, what kind of distinctive meaning *talip, *tarip, or *dalip as a root
word should have? No native speakers of those Philippine languages that call
Thelenota ananas as talipan, taripan, and dalipan can answer the meaning of the
term *talip, *tarip, or *dalip. They simply reply along the line, “it’s the name of a
kind of sea cucumber.”
Many Philippine languages have their own individual terms for centipede:
for example, ulahipan (Tagalog), alahipan (Hiligaynon), uhipan (Cebuano),
ulalahipan (Waray), and lahipan (Tausug). Nevertheless, when referring to
Thelenota ananas, speakers of these languages generally do not use the terms
*balat ulahipan or *balat alahipan; Instead, they prefer the terms balat tinikan or
balat talipan (or balat taripan and balat dalipan). It is sure that those speakers feel
no direct connection between sea cucumber and centipede. To my knowledge, only
Southern Sama/Bajau speakers in Tawi-Tawi Province provide a clear explanation
of the origins of the term bat lalipan in the Philippines. Thus, there is a strong
probability that the vernacular terms talipan, taripan, and dalipan, which refer to
Thelenota ananas throughout various Philippine islands, would have been derived
from the Sama/Bajau language term bat lalipan. Thus, it can be inferred the
Sama/Bajau language’s term for centipede (lalipan) took root from the north of the
Philippine islands to refer to Thelenota ananas.
If my inference above is the case, there arises another question. How did
the phrase bat lalipan become commonly used in the Philippine islands in
reference to Thelenota ananas? Was the term lalipan transmitted southward from
the Sulu Archipelago into the present-day Indonesian islands? State formation in
Southeast Asia has rested on colonialism. Therefore, the present-day nation-state
framework is inadequate for analysing these matters. There is no reason to
conclude that the term bat lalipan (i.e., the term literally meaning “centipede sea
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cucumber”) was established only in the Philippine islands prior to the formation of
the modern states of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Today, Thelenota ananas is commonly called trepang nanas in Indonesia.
The word nanas means “pineapple” in Bahasa Indonesia; thus, trepang nanas
means “pineapple sea cucumber.” When did the term trepang nanas gain currency
across the Indonesian archipelago? From which vernacular language did the
adjective nanas corresponding to the English word ‘pineapple’ (Ananas comosus)
originate? Pineapple originated from South America and the etymology of the
genus Ananas comes from Tupian languages spoken in South America. Therefore,
the term nanas is probably borrowed into Indonesian languages about the same
time Europeans brought pineapple into colonised Indonesian islands.
Although the research necessary to yield rigorous answers to introduce
pineapple into Indonesian islands is beyond the scope of the present study, I would
like to highlight that the term trepang nanas is commonly used in Bahasa Indonesia,
whereas vernacular languages in Indonesia have different terms for Thelenota
ananas. For example, Bugis and Makassar of south Sulawesi call Thelenota
ananas trepang pandang and taripang pandang respectively (pandang refers to
plants of Pandanus spp. in both languages). For the Sama/Bajau people of central
Sulawesi (Indonesian Bajo speakers), Thelenota ananas is balaq talipang (the
sound /q/ referring to a glottal stop). The word balaq means “sea cucumber,” while
talipang means “centipede” in the Indonesian Bajo language (Bugis call centipede
balipeng and Makassar lipang). In addition to having similar sounds, the Southern
Sama phrase bat lalipan and the Indonesian Bajo phrase balaq talipang share the
same word order and morphology, i.e. the term for sea cucumber and centipede
both take the second position in the phrase.
The Southern Sama of the Sulu Archipelago may not have directly
influenced the present-day Bahasa Indonesia language, but the term talipang
(/talipaŋ/), which means “centipede” in the Indonesian Bajo language, may have
been borrowed for use in Bahasa Indonesia. Research in the field has yet to present
solid explanations on the relationship between the Southern Sama term lalipan and
the Indonesian Bajo term talipang. As far as my limited research on the subject
reveals, either lalipang or talipang serves as the term for centipedes in Indonesian
Bajo dialects. (One should note that Southern Sama speakers think that lalipan and
talipan are interchangeable only when the word is used to refer to sea cucumber as
in bat lalipan and bat talipan). Thus, I suspect that the /l/ and /t/ sounds in the
initial syllable of lalipan in Indonesian Bajo may be interchangeable. The sounds
/l/ and /t/ are linguistically similar in that they are both alveolar sounds but their
differences are only the stop sound /t/ and the lateral /l/. Because of the similarity,
it is natural that they are interchangeable (see Table 1 for Sinama consonants).
Given this interchangeability, the relationship between Indonesian Bajo’s talipang
and Bahasa Indonesia’s trepang can be interpreted through a sound shift explained
as follows: talipaŋ > *taripaŋ > *tarepaŋ > *tərep > trepaŋ.
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Bilabial
Alveolar
Velar
Glottal
vl.
p
t
k
ʔ
vd.
b
d
g
vd.
m
n
ŋ
vl.
s
h
vd.
l
vd.
r
Table 1. Sinama Consonants
Why did people in Indonesian islands adopt the particular term for Thelenota
ananas to refer to all sea cucumbers in general? While only a tautological
explanation is possible, it is likely that Indonesians of those days who engaged in
sea cucumber trade considered the spiky pineapple sea cucumbers (known
technically as Thelenota ananas) to be “typical” sea cucumbers. The notion of a
typical “sea cucumber” was established not by the Sama, but by the Chinese who
consumed sea cucumbers as early as 1783 as the OED noted. Thelenota ananas is
a rare species characterized as a thorny sea cucumber in tropical waters. Thus, it is
not hard to imagine that such a sea cucumber, which seems to possess the essence
of a sea cucumber for Chinese, was highly valued in the eastern seas of Southeast
Asia in the 18th century.
Toward Reconstructing Dynamic Maritime History of Sama/Bajau
The fragmentary historical materials gathered and discussed above can be used as
data for proving the assumption: the term trepang, which is widely believed to be
of Malay origin, comes from the Sama/Bajau term bat lalipan (centipede sea
cucumber). What tentative conclusions may be drawn from this assumption? In
contrast to the primitive image typically given to the boat dwellings and unique
ways of life of ‘insignificant’ fishing people, the Sama/Bajau people occupied a
central position in the sea cucumber industry that targeted Chinese markets.
In order to reconstruct the history of maritime Southeast Asia, one should
pay attention not only to sea cucumbers, but also to tortoise shells, pearls, and other
maritime commodities that have circulated since times past, because all of them
have been very important trade items from Southeast Asia to China or elsewhere.
Furthermore, researchers have not yet satisfactorily traced the real route trepang
took beyond a historical linguistic point of view. A background in paralinguistic
fieldwork can help researchers examine the voyage records of naval officers and
merchants written in Spanish or Dutch to identify the contexts upon which foreign
traders and local residents used the term trepang.
Sea cucumbers have been an important commodity among the Sama/Bajau
for their livelihoods, identity and fishery culture. Some species tend to be
overexploited and conservation of sea cucumbers globally is becoming a concern.
It is high time to pay our attention to sea cucumbers by inviting scholars of natural
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science, history, ethnography, and linguistics to work together towards developing
“holothurialogy” to advance understanding of maritime Asia.
Endnotes
1 Earlier versions of this article were presented on two different occasions: Akamine (2010)
and Akamine (2013). This article is a revised version of old interpretations using new
available data. The research was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research
from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (#25283008).
2 In linguistics, consonants are described as the sound produced when the air from the lungs
is blocked. Consonants can be described in relation to this blockage (i.e., the point of
articulation) and to manner of articulation (see Sinama Consonants in Table 1). For
example, [d] and [t] are manifestations of a dental stop produced when airflow is blocked
at the alveolar ridge; and [d] is the voiced sound produced through the vibration of the
vocal cord, whereas [t] is the unvoiced sound (i.e., a sound without vocal cord vibration).
In this study, the [ta] in taripan and the [da] in daripan are quite similar to each other
linguistically. Both [l] and [r] are dental sounds: [l] is lateral, whereas [r] is trill. Although
both [n] and [ŋ] are nasal sounds, [n] is an alveolar, whereas [ŋ] is a velar sound. It seems
that the ending [n] is pronounced [ŋ] in the Philippine language which is also commonly
used in Sulawesi Island.
References
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Book
Full-text available
Sea cucumbers are exploited and traded in more than 70 countries worldwide. This book provides identification information on 58 species of sea cucumbers that are commonly exploited in artisanal and industrial fisheries around the world. Not all exploited species are included. It is intended for fishery managers, scientists, trade officers and industry workers. This book gives key information to enable species to be distinguished from each other, both in the live and processed (dried) forms. Where available for each species, the following information has been included: nomenclature together with FAO names and known common names used in different countries and regions; scientific illustrations of the body and ossicles; descriptions of ossicles present in different body parts; a colour photograph of live and dried specimens; basic information on size, habitat, biology, fisheries, human consumption, market value and trade; geographic distribution maps. The volume is fully indexed and contains an introduction, a glossary, and a dedicated bibliography.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper I will discuss variation in holothurian resource exploitation in the Philippines generally and trepang fishing especially on Mangsee Island, in the southern part of Palawan Province, where people fish in the Spratly Islands. Holothruian has been a major exporting product from maritime Southeast Asia to China for, at least, three hundred years. Many scholars working in Southeast Asian maritime societies have noted the dynamic human networks involved in pursuing dried sea products like trepang or shark fins. However, few scholars have dealt with the actual materials of the trade. This paper will establish that 22 species of holothurian are traded in the Philippines at present, and that the price of the most expensive is some 80 times greater than that of the cheapest. Moreover, in recent years, lower quality trepang has been acquiring more commercial value. Holothurian is not just an exclusive expensive foodstuff as mentioned in historical records. It is also an ordinary material used in the present. The cheaper trepang species are consumed more than ever before in the Philippines and elsewhere. One of the most important aspects of the Philippine trade is that the country exports a huge volume of trepang of lower commercial value. There is a vast difference in the industry in the past and the present and we have to pay careful attention to the continuity and discontinuity in the industry.