To this day, theories on the true identity of Hang Tuah continue to circulate in spammy mum emails. Was he a kung fu Kato who was sent to accompany the (also probably mythical) Hang Li Po? A mythical warrior who symbolised the thrills of feudal servitude? M. Nasir’s style guru?
Alas, we still won’t know, because archaeologists from the National Heritage Department have not discovered any physical evidence of his existence.
Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz said that the department only found artefacts possibly linked to the historical Kota Melaka, said to be the seat of the Melaka Sultanate.
Due to the lack of more pressing issues affecting the country, the question of the existence of a mythical superhero was actually raised in Parliament.
In his reply to the MP from present-day Kota Melaka, Nazri said that the only evidence of Tuah’s existence is textual—mostly from the local epics Hikayat Hang Tuah, Sulalatus Salatin and Tuhfat al-Nafis.
He added that according to the National Library’s research, Tuah was mentioned in a number of foreign annals from the period, including the Japanese Rekidai Hōan, the Vijayanagaran annals from India, the Chinese Ming Shi-lu, as well as the letters of the impressively-bearded Portuguese general Afonso de Albuquerque.
We say with a God of War style makeover, historical accuracy be damned.