Puteri Saadong Synopsis


At the turn of the 17th Century, Che Siti Wan Kembang was the most powerful ruler west of the Middle Kingdom, who controlled the entire east coast of the Malay peninsula. She was the queen of Negeri Serendah Sekebun Bunga, or the Kingdom of Floral Gardens.

Puteri Saadong or Mariam, the Warrior Queen of Kelantan, was the adopted daughter of Siti Wan Kembang (Che Siti).

Che Siti gave Puteri Saadong’s hand in marriage to her cousin, Raja Abdullah bin al-Marhum Sultan Samiruddin, Raja of Kelantan-Selatan (Jembal) when the princess was only 15.

She was brought up in Bukit Marak by Che Siti. She succeeded her father as Raja of Jembal in 1663, and was later installed as Raja of Kelantan in 1667. Puteri Saadong resisted a strong invasion by the Siamese army of King Narai, who coveted her for her beauty, but allowed herself to be captured in the end to save her own kingdom from destruction and to spare her husband’s life. Raja Abdullah vowed to wait for her return and never to remarry. However, after several years Raja Abdullah broke that vow.

When Puteri Saadong returned to Bukit Marak to find Raja Abdullah remarried, a quarrel ensued and Puteri Saadong, who was well trained in the martial arts by Che Siti, in overwhelming rage, killed Raja Abdullah with her hairpin, or so the story goes.

After the incident, Puteri Saadong, dejected with her role as queen, left Bukit Marak and subsequently disappeared. Raja Abdullah’s tomb can still be seen at Padang Halban, Melor in the district of Bachok, Kelantan.

The original version (circa 1600 CE) is retold by Ninot Aziz in the Malay Archipelago tradition.