Sustainable Traditional Cultural Values: The Malay Spa

By Azizi Bahauddin and Aldrin Abdullah.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores the sustainable traditional Malay cultural values found in the Malay spa in Malaysia. Malay spa practice is glorified for the values of mysticism, spiritual enhancement, physical well-being and emotional uplift. It is linked to specific heritage and cultural values. This paper ventures further into the traditional practices which now only exist in small villages in the northern and east-coast regions of Peninsular Malaysia. Nevertheless, information on such practices is very limited due to its sacredness and secrecy. This research applies the interview, survey, observation, visual data collection and the documentation of the spa design for its methodology. The findings reveal that the Malay spa practice upholds the traditional Malay philosophy, rituals and customs sustaining the authenticity of the cultural values. It is also governed by the setting as it requires the herbal and spice gardens to provide the ingredients for the spa treatment thus prolonging the existence of the traditional cultural practices. This acts as a pre-requisite for the sequences of the rituals in the practice. The spa practice encourages the proper use of ingredients thus avoiding waste. Although, the Malay spa has long been viewed as the forgotten indulgence, it has to be revived for its sustainable cultural values. These values have the strength and the ability to educate Malaysians about sustainable and healthy life style.

Keywords: Malay Spa, Spiritual, Philosophy, Design, Setting

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.179-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.952MB).

Dr. Azizi Bahauddin

Associate Professor, Interior Design Programme, School of Housing, Building & Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Azizi Bahauddin is currently a lecturer in Interior Design at the School of Housing, Building & Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His main research areas are focussing on Exhibition Design/Interior Design; Art and Design especially researching on Cultural Issues and Ethnography; and in Architectural and Cultural Heritage in Tourism.

Aldrin Abdullah

Lecturer in Planning and Landscape Architecture, Planning Programme, School of Housing, Building & Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Minden, Penang, Malaysia

Aldrin Abdullah is currently a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the School of Housing, Building & Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His main research areas are focusing on the social aspects of design (architecture and landscape), crime and housing.

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