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With their intimate knowledge of the seas, proficiency in navigating the waters and expertise in the collection of sea products, the Orang Laut (Sea People) have been indispensable to the success of any Malay kingdom. Yet why has their role been largely forgotten?
Dr Leonard Andaya will examine the historical evidence in an effort to restore the Orang Laut to their rightful place as major players in the history of the Straits from early times to the 19th century.
About the Speaker
Dr Leonard Y. Andaya is a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Hawai’i in Manoa, Honolulu. He held a research fellowship at the Australian National University and has taught at the University of Malaya, Auckland University and the National University of Singapore (NUS). His current research focuses on the complex network of relationships in eastern Indonesia that helped to bind disparate cultural communities into a functioning unity in the early modern period.
This programme is held in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition On Paper: Singapore Before 1867.
On Paper: Singapore Before 1867 brings together, for the first time, maps, documents, paintings and photographs held in collections across the globe, allowing visitors to examine them in the context of Singapore’s historical narrative. These materials include significant documents such as a 17th century map showing the presence of a harbour-master on Singapore island, the 1824 Anglo-Dutch treaty as well as records like wills, watercolours and photographs that provide rare glimpses into the otherwise unknown lives of ordinary people in early Singapore. By exploring an under-documented period of Singapore’s history, On Paper presents a rare treat to all who are interested in the nation’s past.
On Paper: Singapore Before 1867
28 September 2019 – 22 March 2020
Level 10, Gallery
National Library Building