“蒲罗中”是新加坡的古名吗?

黎上增

我们所熟悉的新加坡古名大致上有“淡马锡“、”龙牙门“、”石叻“、”息辣“、”石叻坡“等,也有人说新加坡还有一个古名叫”蒲罗中“,而“蒲罗中”是所有新加坡古名中最早出现的。

“蒲罗中”是新加坡古名是许云樵首先提出来的。他在1961年出版的《马来亚史》中说:“蒲罗中国是一千七百年前的新加坡古名“;”蒲罗中国的记载,见於《太平御览》卷七八七引康泰表上的《扶南土俗》一书云:拘利正东行,极崎头海边有居人,人皆有尾五六寸,名蒲罗中国,其俗食人。“;”所谓”蒲罗“,该是巫语Pulau(岛)的对音,”中“,等於《岛夷志略》中“戎国”的“戎”字,巫语Ujong(极端)的讹略,合起来,Pulau Ujong便如古所谓“极崎头洲”,换句话说,便是半岛极端的岛国。“

《马来亚史》出版后,新加坡文史界都把”蒲罗中“认定为新加坡古名而列入历史论著或新加坡史参考书中,直接地推广。官方的《新加坡年鉴》1999至2005年也把”蒲罗中“当新加坡古名作为新加坡历史的引言。

1970年,时新加坡大学中文系主任饶宗颐在南洋商报元旦特刊上发表”新加坡古代名称的检讨-蒲罗中问题商榷“一文,质疑”蒲罗中“为新加坡古名,立即引发一场笔战,这场笔战在许云樵、饶宗颐、陈育崧之间打了九个月以无结论收场,但饶宗颐与陈育崧认为”蒲罗中“为新加坡古名的论据不足,最好存疑,唯有许云樵独排众议,始终坚决认为“蒲罗中”就是新加坡古名。

2009年,台湾淡江大学国际研究所教授陈鸿瑜 在早报网上以《太平御览》引三国时期吴国康泰的《扶南土俗》为文“对新加坡早期历史的商榷”反驳“蒲罗中”即新加坡古名这一说,为许云樵增加另一个反对派,同时也把这个争议再次提上台面。

先把各学者在1970年的笔战放一边,且看许云樵认为“蒲罗中”是新加坡古名的主要论据只有两点。

首先,许云樵认为“蒲罗中”实乃马来语Pulau Ujong的对音,从字义来看,“蒲罗中”便是一个半岛极端的岛国,与新加坡的地望相符。其次,康泰《扶南土俗》中所形容的“极崎头”就是半岛极端的意思,这与亚洲大陆块最南边的新加坡岛的地理位置相吻合。

《扶南土俗》也被称为《扶南传》、《吴时外国传》、《扶南异物志》,是三国时期吴国宣化从事朱应、中郎康泰出使南海诸国后回国所写的见闻录,该书已散佚,但其所收集的资料散见于后来的古书籍中,如《水经注》、《太平御览》、《通典》、《古海国遗书钞》、《通志》、《文献通考》、《太平寰宇记》、《史记正义》等。

学者们考证,吴国朱应、康泰出使南海诸国应该是三国孙权在位时期,即公元229-252年间,也就是三世纪,而初具雏形的古马来语迟至七世纪(682-1500年)才出现,两者相差约四百年左右。这也就说明了康泰出使南海诸国时,这地区的普遍用语应该是澳亚先民原型语(Proto Malayo Polynesian Language or Austroasiatic),而不是马来语。所以,许云樵认为“蒲罗中”就是马来语Pulau Ujong的对音,而以马来字义作为“蒲罗中”的解释,我认为应该有逻辑上的错误。

再者,《扶南土俗》中说得很清楚:”拘利正东行,极崎头海边有居人,人皆有尾五六寸,名蒲罗中国“。“蒲罗中”在“拘利”正东。许云樵在《马来亚史》、《南洋史》、《北大年史》各书的考证都说明“拘利”在马来亚半岛东岸,既今天的登嘉楼一带,他不往东去寻找,却向南去把新加坡当成“蒲罗中”,实在很难令人信服,这也难怪邱新民在《海上丝绸之路的新加坡》一书说他“自批其颊”。

拘利和现新加坡的相对位置

拘利和现新加坡的相对位置

这观点与淡江陈鸿瑜的论据也是一致的,虽然他所认知的“拘利”地理位置不一样,但是它也是在新加坡之北。陈鸿瑜说:“布理格斯教授(Lawrence Palmer Briggs)认为拘利位在马来半岛西海岸的塔可拉(Takkola)或称高吧(Takua Pa)。如果拘利是位在马来半岛北部(泰国南部)的西岸,则其向正东方航行,到达一个崎岖海湾处,该处地名称为“蒲罗中国”。从地理方位来看,该处应在婆罗洲砂劳越或汶莱一带。而新加坡岛是位在拘利的南方,不是东方。”

饶宗颐在当时笔战中就认为许云樵独以对音来论断新加坡古名未免沦于冒险,他也认为“蒲罗中”的“中”字可能是讹误,实乃“歌营”附近的“蒲罗”或“蒲类洲”;陈育崧后来也加入笔战,认为许云樵的论据不够科学化。邱新民也在《海上丝绸之路的新加坡》一书中表示他不同意许云樵的观点。

纵观上述各论点,我觉得我们很难断定“蒲罗中”就是新加坡在一千七百年前的古名。以历史微观角度来看,我们也没有片言只语来证明新加坡早在一千七百年前已经“立国”。既然证据不足,就该存疑,要不然,我们会给他人一个如斯的印象:因为新加坡历史简短而使我们“饥不择食”。

附录:

马来语的发展阶段

Old Malay ( 682 -1500 C.E.) begins with records of poems and thoughts on writing materials made from plants described as the sharp cursive Rencong, an ancient script believed to be native to South-east Asia. Unfortunately no evidence from that early period survived. When the Indians set their feet on the Malay Archipelago, they brought along Vatteluttu or Pallava, an ancient Tamilscript from South India. Pallava was accepted as the Malay writing system and gradually evolved into an ancient royal Javanese script called Kawi.

Even though Islam most probably introduced Arabic script to the Malay world as early as the seventh century, Old Malay was very much under Indian influence with its extensive use of Sanskrit vocabulary. The Malays tried to use Pallava and Kawi to express their new Islamic faith but found both to be unsuitable to pronounce the verses of the Quran and Hadis. They thus experimented and created Jawi script based on Arabic. The Jawi script has been in used for more than 600 years by now and is synonymous with the Malay language itself.

Early Modern Malay ( 1500-c1850 ) This was a time of turmoil and radical change. The Malacca Sultanate as a patron of the Malay language played an important role in using the language to spread Islam thus changing Malay’s pro-India nature to pro-Arabic. Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511 and subsequent persecution of Moslems caused them to disperse throughout the Malay Archipelago, establishing new regional centers.

This was also a time of flourishing classical literature. Adapting Arabic into Jawi script enabled the Malays to record their experiences, religious laws and oral literature into a collection of Malay classical literature. An example is the Malay Annals preserved by British Historian Sir Richard O. Winstedt.

Late Modern Malay ( c1850 – 1957 ) By this time Malay has absorbed numerous loan words from the colonists namely: Portuguese, Dutch and English. Standardized dictionaries and grammars appeared together with a study of regional Malay dialects and codification of literature. A prominent figure in this field was Zainal Abidin bin Ahmad, better known as Za’ba, exerted great influence on pre- independent Malay by codifying Malay grammar and modifying the Jawi spelling system. Malay was elevated to the status of the National language of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore when all of these nations gained independence, a process hastened by the Japanese Occupation.

Contemporary Malay ( after 1957 ) Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei set up their respective national language planning agencies, in an effort to unify their different versions of Malay. There were trials and errors and for a while, obstacle due to Indonesia’s confrontation against the formation of Malaysia. As relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia normalized by 1966, their

linguistic collaboration continued, resulting in a common spelling system in 1972. Thanks to this project, instead of several spelling systems, today there is only one spelling system for Malay in Malaysia.

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