Monday, 13 August 2012

Logo DBP

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka ( The Institute of Language and Literature ) is a statutory government body established under the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Act 1959, responsible for coordinating the use of the Malay language.

DBP’s logo depict a brownish lontar leaf with pen-shaped stalk in the middle.  The lontar leaf is enveloped by 2 green resam leaves. 

a young Borassus flabellifer stand
Lontar leaf is of Borassus flabellifer L., also known as the Asian Palmyra palm, Toddy palm, sugar palm, or Cambodian palm, which is native to South and Southeast Asia.

Lontar is of Javanese origin, ron tal, which means daun tal in Malay.  The dried lontar leaves have been used as paper in parts of Asia as far back as the 15th century.  In Sulawesi, it is known as lontara.

The process of making lontar leaves for writing starts with harvesting mature leaves.  The leaves are then sun-dried.  During drying, the leaves colour changed from green to yellowish.  Then the leaves are soaked in running water for few days,  after which are clean by rubbing with coconut husk. 
Then the leaves are dried once again.  During which the veins are removed.  After that, the leaves are boiled with some unknown ingredients for about 8 hours.
The next day, while the leaves are still damp, they are pressed with a wooden device, for about 6 months.
Finally, the leaves are cut can punched holes on both ends and middle.
lontar from Nepal
Before writing on the leaves, vertical lines are drew by plucking a stretched tiny string.   Writing is done by a special knife, sometime made of sharpened stalks of resam leaves ( Dicranopteris linearis ).  After the writing, it is highlighted by rubbing heated kemiri ( Aleurites moluccana ).   Finally wiped with minyak sereh ( citronella oil ) to remove the lines, also to act as insect repellent.

Apart from Borassus flabellifer, Nypa fruticans leaves too were known to be used in palm leaves manuscripts, known as Nipah or naskah.

B. flabellifer’s to the society is not limited to lantar alone. 
Its succulent, translucent, sweet jelly seed is very much sought after in many parts of Asia – Ice-apple, Lontar.
The ripened fibrous outer layer of the fruit can be eaten raw, boiled or roasted.
A juice is collected from cut shoot, drink fresh or fermented.
Another juice, collected from cut young inflorescence is made into liquor – Toddy, or sweetener – Gula Jawa.
The leaves are used for thatching, mats, baskets, fans, hats, umbrellas etc.
Skin of the stem can be made into rope.
Trunk can be made into canoe or used in construction.

Dicranopteris linearis leaves
Resam is Dicranopteris linearis (Burm.) Underw.,  a common fern widely distributed around wet Old World tropics.  Resam grows easily on poorly drained, nutrient-poor soils, and steep slopes, yet it does not tolerate shade. 

Previously known as Gleichenia linearis (Burn.) C.B.Clarke., resam is known by different common names : Old World forked fan, ulehe in Hawaii, andam and sapilpil in Sumatera.

Its feather-like leaves are often used in floral arrangement.
The plant is use in traditional medicine in treating intestine worm, skin ulcer, wound, and fever.
The branch is quite hard, even if when dried, thus suitable to used as pen when sharpened. 
In Sumatera, a hat made of resam stem, known as kopiah, is a signature traditional headgear.