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International Day of Mathematics 2020

SERDANG, 6 March, 2020 - Institute for Mathematical Research (INSPEM) celebrates International Day of Mathematics (IDM) symbolically. In line with the declaration of March 14 each year as IDM by UNESCO. INSPEM welcomed it by organizing a Special Ethnomathematics Seminar at the al-Farabi Seminar Room, INSPEM. This organization has also been registered on the website The International Day of Mathematics. This seminar was organized by inviting YBhg. Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain from the Civilization Dialogue Center, University of Malaya. He was the first Malay graduated with a PhD in Mathematics competition. He was awarded a PhD in 1974 entitled The Formulation of Quantum Action Principle via Gateaux Variation by La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Picture 1 Logo International Day of Mathematics


Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain had presented a seminar entitled Nyayasastera, Hetuwidya and logic of the Malay language in English precede Logic particularly up century-18M. During the presentation, he tried to prove that the branch logic (logic) has long existed in the Malay language and logic lead used in English. At the beginning, Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain explained the source of knowledge that can be studied through the characters of ancient Malay language. He said the Malay language has three ancient character set used by the community Malayonesia.

The set of characters are the letters rencong (since the 3rd century AD), the letters Palawa (beginning in the 4th century AD) and later the Jawi script (beginning the end of the 13th century). Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain prove that there is the word / term basis long inscription found in the Malay language which has the logic and quantifier. For example, terms such as nyanyasastera (nyanya = fair; literature = writing, science) and hetuwidya (hetu = then, because, therefore; widya = science) found from inscriptions Malay 7th century to century-10M, while works of logic in Arabic-Malay oldest found as early as the century-16M. These findings indicate that this term or work in logic in Malayonesia has preceded the field of logic introduced by the west, which is more popularly known as Aristotle logic.

Picture 2: Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain is delivering a seminar


According to Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain, the main basic term nyanyasastera / hetuwidya / takka which is now better known as logic or logic applies conjunctions such as DAN, OR or IF. While the term assumption / premise / cause / cause at present uses the term MAKA. To highlight the concept of quantity, the word quantifier used at present is like EVERY, ALL, HALF, GOODS / ANYTHING. To discuss the existence of an element of the word creator such as ADA / WUJUD / UJUD is used.

Next, to deny an argument, the word denial currently used is NO / NO / NO. Table 1 shows some basic terms logical discoveries that are found on inscriptions in Malay;


Table 1: Glossary logic of modern Malay, ancient Malay and English


Istilah Moden

Istilah mantik lama

Prasasti (Masihi)

Istilah Inggeris (Masihi)



dangan / dngan

Pra. Campa-Vietnam (400M)

and, ond (901M)




Pra. Phu Qui (889M)





Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)




ya va

Pra. Cakravantin (1088M)

or (1200M)




Pra. Kota Kapur (686M)

if, gif, gef (900M)




Pra. Bo Mong (889M)




maka / makapun

Pra. Kota Kapur (686M)





Pra. Mi Son XXI (1088M)





Pra. Po Nagar (1050M)



oleh sebab itu


Pra. Tiang Mi Son (1056M)





Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)

then, þanne, þænne, þonne, (900M)


semua / setiap


Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)

every, alnaz



sarwwa, parawi

Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)




dom, sarvva

Pra. Ban Lanh(898M)





Pra. Bien-Hoa (1441M)




yambhu, muah

Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)

exist, existere (1600M)




Pra. Ban Lanh (898M)




ya, ya siy

Pra. Dong Yuan (400M)

may, mæg (900M)




Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)




ya siy

Pra. Hoa Que (909M)



tiada / tak /

tada, vukan

Pra. Talang Tuwo (684M)

no, not, neither,


tidak / bukan



nor (1300M)







Please refer to the last line in Table 1. Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain explained that the Malay word that uses the prefix a- / an- is the denial of the original word. Among the examples contained in the Malay language is modern; persecution (unfair, torturing) against nyaya (fair), apeduli (no attention) against caring (attention), ajara (not old) against jara (old), religion (irregular) against gama (irregular), aduka (happy) opponents of grief (sad), and so on. Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain also enrich modern Malay language by introducing the word aberkala. This term carries the meaning of irregular; a term often used in the study of modern mathematics whose translation in English is aperiodical.

Picture 3 : Kedukan Bukit Inscription, 638M


Etymology of the language presented, it shows the logic term that appeared in the ancient Malay language was used earlier than logic term used in English. The findings presented by Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shaharir Mohd Zain has opened the space for researchers to continue their studies on ethnomathematics and language as well as to further increase the corpus in mathematics. The study of science that existed in the ancient Malay language can still be developed by researchers now.

Picture 4 : Souvenir presentation ceremony to the speaker

Picture 5 : Photo session with participants of the Special Ethnomathematics Seminar


The celebration of International Day of Mathematics on March 14 every year will be one of the attractions and sources of promotion in encouraging the community to love mathematics. In 2020, the organization of IDM by INSPEM has introduced the field of ethnomathematics which is one of the branches of mathematics pioneered by INSPEM. The field of ethnomathematics can be the cause of increasing the motivation of society to deepen the knowledge of mathematics. INSPEM will continue to use the IDM platform to promote and cultivate mathematical knowledge among community members so that INSPEM's objective to become a mover of a holistic analytical culture will be achieved.

Date of Input: 18/04/2020 | Updated: 02/03/2021 | noorizzati


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