Golok – an utility as well as a hunting tool June 24, 2007Posted by asianpixmen in Craft, Culture, Malaysia.
Golok goes by numerous names in Southeast Asia. It is a cutting tool that spans centuries. Some call it parang, others call it a short sword, bolo or even machete.
A few may confuse it with kukri which is of a different design. The purpose is basically the same – cutting. Golok apparently found fame in the jungles of Burma during the Second World War when the British army led a campaign against the Japanese, and this long native knife called the parang or golok came in pretty handy.
The British Special Forces has a similar cutting implement called the Martindale No. 2 Golok.
In Malaysia and elsewhere in the region where communities that are agro-based, the golok is an all-terrain utility tool. It cuts branches of trees, slice meat, vegetables, dissect fish and as a hunting weapon.
It has served its purpose for centuries and continues to do so well into the 21st century. It may not be pretty but it’s quite handy when the owner is somewhere out in the boondocks or swampland where strange creatures lurk.
Today among some people, it has an Eastern flavour that romanticises its history and the traditions and cultures that the golok serves. At the end of the day, it is just an implement that is very useful if you are out there in the field.
The blade material is usually carbon steel, not of high grade order like S30V or ZDP 189, or even VG-10 but when you need something to cut, it is there in your hands. There lies its purpose, as it was back in the days when sea pirates held sway over the South China and the Sulu seas.