In the tradition of Adat Perpatih practised by the majority of the orang Minang in Negri Sembilan, Malaysia, only the female member of the family is entitled to inherit the property and wealth of the family. While the men are encouraged to venture the world and seek a fortune and as such, women are expected to stay at home and be responsible of the family. This matriarchal tradition guarantees that the females, in the event of any misfortune, at the very minimum will have a piece of land and a house to live in.
In this short documentary, we take a closer look at a very rare ceremony called Majlis Berkedim in which females from another suku (clan) is accepted into a family to be rightful heirs. The ceremony is an ancient tradition that involves all members of the clan helping out and welcoming the girls into the clan.
I was invited by Mohd. Shah, the lead vocalist of the very charming Bongai troupe, which I had the pleasure of documenting earlier, to witness this rare ceremony in the quiet and remote Kampung Tengkek. In all my years of travelling across the country, I’ve never felt more welcomed than I have with every visit to Negri Sembilan.