Welcome to the first issue of BiblioAsia for 2019. This year we mark a major turning point in Singapore’s history, the 200th anniversary of the founding of a British trading post on the island – a date generally accepted as the beginnings of modern Singapore. It is common knowledge that Stamford Raffles and his deputy William Farquhar landed on Singapore on 28 January 1819 and later negotiated with the Temenggong to set up a settlement on the island. Most history books highlight Raffles’ role in the subsequent development of Singapore into a flourishing port and gloss over Farquhar’s contributions. Nadia Wright attempts to set the record straight in this issue’s cover story. Even so, Singapore’s history did not begin with Raffles’ arrival in 1819: it goes back some 500 years earlier. Tan Tai Yong provides a brief history of Singapore since the 14th century when Temasek – as the island…
Zoe Yeo presents a selection of publications on farming in Singapore from the National Library’s Legal Deposit Collection.
To mark its centenary, a Chinese clan association recently donated its archives of heritage documents to the National Library. Jessie Yak shares highlights from the collection.
Nadia Ramli traces the history of the Malay art scene in early Singapore through a collection of art-related ephemera, catalogues and publications at the National Library.
The city was a major pit stop for visiting entertainers and sportsmen in the early 20th century, according to the writer Paul French.
Lim Tin Seng traces the history of nine iconic bridges spanning the Singapore River that have ties to the colonial period.
Thrift, hard work and resilience are qualities that can be nurtured through food. Chantal Sajan recalls the legacy of her grandaunt.
Ronnie Tan and Goh Yu Mei recount the story of a ruthless Malayan Communist Party cadre whose cold-blooded murders caused a sensation in Singapore in the 1950s. Wong Fook Kwang, who went by several aliases, including Tit Fung (literally “Iron Spearhead” in Cantonese) was the dreaded Commander of ‘E’ Branch, the assassination wing of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). The MCP was most active during the Japanese Occupation years when it formed the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) to fight the enemy, and again in the aftermath of World War II, in the thick of the Malayan Emergency (1948–60), when it waged a guerilla war against the British in a bid to topple the colonial government and set up a communist regime. Sometime in April 1951, Wong received a terse message from the MCP’s South Malayan Bureau’s jungle headquarters in Johor, Malaya. The order was clear: Lim Teck Kin, a…
Along with the introduction of running water and electricity at the turn of the 20th century were advertisements featuring modern home appliances. Georgina Wong has the story.
The intrepid Mrs G.M. Dare – true to her name – was Singapore’s first woman driver. In April 1907, she embarked on a 686-mile road trip across the Malay Peninsula.