WIT Press

Rethinking The Rituals In The Malay House


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Page Range

249 - 259




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Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. F. Kholid, S. S. Zubir, R. Ab. Rahman


The fact that the Malay rituals are practiced in daily life, rather than symbolically performed, insinuates the strong correlation of the traditional principle. The everyday life is a point of reference. It indicates the domestic sphere where the common and ordinary are projected, advocating the significance of dwelling as an artifact that spatially frames the rituals; in this case the traditional house where its evolution into modern dwelling acknowledges the multiple layering of the rituals’ perception. This paper intends to analyze the performance of rituals and how these are spatially practiced in the modern context. Eleven traditional houses were investigated based on their interior layout. The ‘Kampung Boy’ series by Lat were used as a pictorial evidence of traditional lifestyle, reflecting the layout of the houses. Suggested embedded rituals, which are still significant in the present day are then represented in three manifestoes where the modern Malay house in Kuala Lumpur acts as the background and a single Malay family becomes the characters. These manifestoes were finally developed as critical tools and tested into three projects of low, medium and high-rise development. The dichotomy between traditionalist, idealist, and realist gave emergence to a new paradigm towards the representation of rituals in the modern Malay house. In fact, the projects were counterproposal of the existing housing scheme (particularly in Malaysia) where the notions of rituals altered the banality of standardization.


rituals, spatial performance, artifacts, housing, development