Starchild: Why Malaysian kids think Sang Kancil is a smart animal


S. Chandrani, 12

The Sang Kancil, or mousedeer, is revered in Malaysian folklore for its cunningness and bravery. There are several stories that depict these qualities of the Sang Kancil.

One famous tale tells of Sang Kancil’s encounter with a group of hungry crocodiles. The mousedeer wanted to get to the other side of the river to devour some fruits it had spotted but it noticed the river filled with crocodiles. Smart as ever, Sang Kancil “struck a deal” with the crocs.

He told them that the king was having a feast and wanted to know the number of crocodiles so that they could partake in the feast. Sang Kancil was tasked with counting the number of crocodiles.

He proposed that the crocs line themselves up in a row to make his task easier. What this did was create a “bridge” for the crafty mousedeer who jumped on the backs of the crocs to get accross.

Erica Sophia, 12Erica Sophia, 12

Once on the other side, Sang Kancil dashed off, leaving the disappointed (and possibly angry) crocodiles behind.

Another story tells of Sang Kancil’s encounter with Prince Parameswara, who was searching for a place to settle down in. As the story goes, while he was resting under a tree, Parameswara saw a mousedeer trying to cross the river by walking on a fallen tree.

Midway through, one of Parameswara’s dogs started to give chase. Instead of back tracking, Sang Kancil knelt down and, using its powerful hind legs, kicked the dog causing it to lose balance and fall into the river. Impressed by Sang Kancil’s cunning, Parameswara named the city “Melaka”, after the aforementioned tree.

So, you see, even small creatures can achieve remarkable feats.

Recently Starchild asked readers to send in letters on the topic, Sang Kancil. Here’s what they had to say.

“There are creatures on this planet that are smart in their own ways. There are many other animals that show signs of intelligence, like dolphins, elephants, and parrots. They can solve puzzles, use tools, and communicate with each other in complex ways. Learning about these animals makes me appreciate the diversity of life on Earth and reminds me that intelligence comes in many forms,” says S. Chandrani, 12.

“I think being clever and brave is important because it helps us do things that seem hard. I want to be like the mousedeer and always try my best, even when things are tough,” Erica Sophia, 12.

S. Adithya, 10S. Adithya, 10

“The story of the Sang Kancil teaches us that being smart and brave can help us in real life, too. I want to remember this lesson whenever I face a challenge,” writes S. Adithya, 10.

ITEM: Friends share their joys and sorrows with you and sometimes, food too. But what really matters is their friendship. They lend you a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand in times of need. Who are your friends? Are you glad they are your friends? What about your cyber friends? Is there any difference between the friends you meet and greet (mostly in school) and the friends you may not have met but chat regularly with in cyber space?

Do you have friends you have lost touch with and wish to reunite with?

Tell us about the friends who add colour to your life. Share your happy memories and don’t forget to include a drawing, in conjunction with International Day of Friendship on July 30.

E-mail your contributions to lifestyle@thestar.com.my by June 21. Please put “STARCHILD: Friends” in the subject line of your e-mail.

Scanned drawings should be in jpeg format, with a resolution of 200dpi. Your contributions must carry your full name, age (open to children aged 12 and below only), gender, phone contact, and address. Instead of handwritten letters, please type out your letters.


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