Malang is the second largest city in East Java province, Indonesia. It has an ancient history dating back to the Mataram Kingdom. The city population at the present time is around 780,000. During the period of Dutch colonization, it was a popular destination for European residents. The city is famous for its cool air and the surrounding country regions of Tumpang, Batu, Singosari, and Turen. People in East Java sometimes call it “Paris of East Java.” Malang was spared many of the effects of the Asian financial crisis, and since that time it has been marked by steady economic and population growth.
Etymology and History
The name of Malang is taken from a temple namely Malang Kucecwara. The name of the temple is now applied to the motto of Malang. Malang Kucecwara literally means God has destroyed the false and enforced the right. Location of the temple is supposesedly located near modern Malang. “Malang” is Javanese word for “menghalangi (Indonesian)” or impeded (English). That word come from traditional history that people of Malang fighting its invader from Mataram Sultane bravely.
Hundreds, even thousands of years ago before Malang became the second biggest city in East Java, Malang used to be the centre of government of the Kanjuruhan and Singhasari Kingdom. In the following era, Malang regency became an important place when the government of Mataram Kingdom took hold of the area, making it the largest regency in East Java and since then the development of Malang regency has increased well.
The history of Malang Regency could be revealed through the Dinoyo inscription 760 AD as the primary official document to support the birth of Malang before a new inscription was discovered in 1986, which is so far not yet revealed. According to the inscription, it was concluded that the 8th century was the beginning of the existence of Malang Regency’s government due to the birth of King Gajayana’s ruling of his kingdom in Malang. From the Dinoyo inscriptions, it is noted that the inscription used the “Candra Sengkala” or “Cronogram” Calendar, and stated that the birth date of Malang Regency was on Jum’at Legi (sweet Friday) 28 November 760 AD. (L. Damaes: “Studed’ Epigraphy d’Indonesia IV. 1952”).
The city was incorporated into Mataram in 1614, then transferred to Dutch colonial rule. Malang was transformed under the Dutch; its cool climate which results from its elevation, along with its proximity to the major port of Surabaya, made it a popular destination for Dutch and other Europeans. In 1879, Malang was connected to Java’s railroad network, further increasing development and leading to increased industrialization.
Along with growth came urbanization. The government could not satisfy the population’s needs for affordable housing, which lead to the building of shanty towns along the rivers and rail tracks. Up until today, the shanty towns still exist; although some have been transformed into “better” housing.
Like most of Java, a large majority of Malang residents are Muslim; there are small minorities of Catholics, Hindus, and Buddhists. Many buildings of worship still stand from their construction in the colonial era. For example, Jami Mosque (or Agung Mosque), Sacred Heart Church (Gereja Hati Kudus Yesus) in Kayutangan, Saint Mary from Mount Carmel Cathedral (Gereja Ijen or Katedral Santa Maria dari Gunung Karmel) in Ijen Boulevard Street, seat fo the Roman Catholic Diocese of Malang, Eng An Kiong Buddhist Temple in Laksamana Martadinata Street. Malang is also famous for being the centre of religious education, this is evident with the existence of many Islamic schools (pesantren) and bible seminars.
Javanese and Madurese languages is the day-to-day language used by Malang people. Many of the native Malang youths adopt a dialect that is called ‘boso walikan’, it is simply done by reversing the pronunciation of the words, an example of this is by pronouncing “Malang” as “Ngalam” instead. Like Surabaya, Malang residents adopt an egalitarian form of Javanese. As it becomes the educational city, there are many languages from outside Java spoken in Malang.
Art & Culture
As a centre of tourism, Malang city has various places of interest which can be classified into local, regional, national and international standards, including traditional dance performances such as Tari Topeng (Mask Dance), Jaran Pegon, Tari Beskalan (Beskalan Dance), etc. There are also ‘Topeng’ or Mask handicraft at the villages of Jabung and Kedungmonggo which have become a familiar landmark in Malang Regency.