by Amir Hafizi

Forget Hang Tuah. Malaysia is rich with traditional folklore and stories that can and should be adapted to more modern mediums.
A lot of these ‘fairy tales’ (which contain very little in terms of fairies) are almost forgotten - some don’t even know the difference between Pak Kadok, Pak Pandir and Lebai Malang. Go on, admit it.

Pix Credit: Akarakingdoms
And if he meditates long enough, he’ll have Plutonium Scales. That, or just mould.
1. Naga Tasik Chini
The Lore:
There are two dragons in Tasik Chini, not just one. And they fight other dragons from other places such as Thailand. This is all captured in Aripin Said’s book Juara Yang Tewas which retells the oral tradition of the story.

The two Malaysian dragons are Seri Pahang (with silver scales) and Seri Gumum (with iron scales). Seri Pahang died fighting Seri Kemboja - the Thai dragon with bronze scales - due to Seri Kemboja cheating with an ancient Thai king, shooting Seri Pahang with 100 silver cannons.

Seri Gumum is now levelling up to gain the ultimate form - a dragon with golden scales - in order to avenge Seri Pahang’s death.

Recent Appearances in Modern Media
Naga Tasik Chini - sans any reference to scales - appeared in KRU’s Magika.

Possible Future Adaptations
The story of these dragons can be adapted as comic books, TV series or films. I mean, it’s dragons. As long as the special effects don’t make them look like giant salamanders, the concept is an easy sell, either as hero, villain or supporting characters.

2. Sang Kelembai
The Lore:
Sang Kelembai has powers equivalent to the Gorgon Medusa in the sense that he can turn people into stone. He’s not as ugly (or sexy) as Medusa, and turns people into stone whenever he mentions them in any way - making him very dangerous on Twitter.

Pix Credit: Simon Howden
One time, Sang Kelembai went to Rome... hilarious hi-jinks ensue

Recent Appearances in Modern Media

Possible Future Adaptations
There are lots of potential with Sang Kelembai, either as a villain, a superhero like Thor or even a study into the monster within all of us like Ang Lee’s Hulk. Imagine that - a brooding loner cursed with cursing people into stone. That sounds like a psychological tour-de-force into today’s world of social media and urban alienation. Like Social Network meets Too Tired to Die.

Then again, it really could be like Ang Lee’s Hulk. So, maybe this is not a good idea.

3. Pak Pandir, Pak Kadok, Lebai Malang
The Lore:
These are three old men who embody the anti-thesis of the ‘wise old man’ archetype. In other words, these are fools. Though Pak Pandir is sometimes the Trickster, the rest fail in their tricks. There is also Si Luncai and Mat Jenin , completing a Power Rangers set of five idiots.

Recent Appearances in Modern Media
A suspicious  amalgamation of the three was played by Aznil Hj Nawawi in KRU’s Magika.

Possible Future Adaptations
Imagine if Quentin Tarantino is given these three characters. They would be sitting down at the local watering hole, drinking tuak, recounting their adventures in a weird combination of Rashomon and Reservoir Dogs. Damn cool, right?

Sorry, my Photoshop skills as well as this joke, is a bit lame

Or perhaps a re-imagined Pak Pandir where he is actually a bumbling genius. Lots of potential, lots of possibilities.

4. Kuda Hijau
The Lore:
Literally the ‘Green Horse’, the legend of Kuda Hijau is almost as complex as the Mahabharata. Or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It involves two princes, an ailing king and an evil stepmother who cursed the eldest into a horse.

Pix Credit: Evgeni Dinev
Umm... dude... is it contagious?

Due to the inherent magical properties of the prince, instead of a normal horse, he gets turned into a green one. With wings. And he can talk.

Thus begins a magical quest with the younger brother riding the green horse to a far away kingdom, getting hitched with a princess, and going back to slay the evil stepmother with a new army.

Recent Appearances in Modern Media

Possible Future Adaptations
Imagine a trilogy on the scale of Lord of the Rings, or maybe a 3D movie like Avatar, only this time instead of blue cat-people, we have a talking, flying green horse.