From Our Archives

Meteorological Report, 1885 (NEW!)

Notes on Names of Places in Singapore and its Vicinity

History of the Translation of the Bible into Malay

The Philippine Claim to Sabah



2nd MBRAS Lecture 2014

"The Raffles Paradox : Liberal, Autocrat, or something else?"
by Tze Shiung Ng

Date: 04 October (Saturday) 2014

Time: 5 p.m.

Venue: The Pod@National Library Board (NLB), 100 Victoria Street, Singapore

Sir Stamford Raffles's administration in the East Indies (1811-24) presents a perennial paradox to historians who have attempted to generalize British policy prior to the commercial success of Singapore.

Raffles is celebrated as the liberator of trade and the native serf, but it has been next to impossible to reconcile this idea with equally valid impressions of him as an exacting monopolist, a suppressor of dissent, zealous proselytiser, and rigorous enforcer of rules and controls.

How can Raffles have been both liberal and autocratic? In my talk, I suggest that the paradox is the result of an ideology present in Raffles's thinking, which cannot be reduced to modern notions of liberalism or authoritarianism, but which originates in eighteenth-century concerns about the ethical conduct of man in society.

Admission is free and the talk is open to all. It will take place after the Council meeting ends at the stipulated venue. As seats are limited, please register for the talk or direct any further queries to MBRAS. (Mr. Woo on +603-2283 5345 or via email: mbrasmsb@gmail.com)

Tze Shiung Ng received his engineering degree from the Imperial College, London and is by vocation an engineer. His continued interest in history, however, led him to pursue an MA at Leeds, and he now researches for a PhD with the Australian National University (ANU).



   UPDATE : Report of 1st MBRAS Lectures 2014

  The reports and pictures from the 1st MBRAS Lecture for 2014 by Dr. Patricia Sloane-White can now be accessesd on our Lectures page.

We launched our Annual Lecture Series in late June this year with a scintillating talk delivered by Dr. Sloane-White of the University of Delaware who is our new representative for North America. Dr. Sloane-White, no stranger to the KL public lecture circuit and whose incisive but charming talks have commanded a loyal local following, spoke this time on office banter in the Malay-Muslim corporate space and its wider significance on gender relations among Malay-Muslims in the country.

The talk, which came on after the Annual General Meeting which saw slight changes to the list of office bearers for the year, was well-received and indeed the presence of a number of enthusiastic youths in the audience notably added some colour to the occasion. A lively exchange was observed during the question-and-answer session that followed, while some pungent comments contributed by the audience ensured that the intimate though entertaining lecture was brought about to a satisfactory conclusion.

Click on the title of this section above and scroll down to the relevant sections on our Lectures page for more details.



   NEW Featured Article : Meteorological Report for 1885    

  An unusual item from our dusty archives constitutes our second featured article for 2014. Its topic is one that continues to engage our daily interest: the weather. The article by Thomas Irvine Rowell which appeared in the JSBRAS of December 1885 had originally been published in the Straits Settlements Annual Report for 1885 but the editors of the Journal at the time must have thought it sufficiently useful to merit its inclusion in the final JSBRAS issue for that year. Readers who are feeling nostalgic for a time when the weather was more predictable might be interested to find out what general conditions were like in parts of Peninsular Malaysia 129 years ago. Though the temperature was arguably cooler at the time, general patterns of the weather do not appear to have altered very much, especially the prevalence of dry conditions in the early months of the year.

Please click on the title above to get to the relevant page.

As usual, comments and corrections are much sought after. Meanwhile we hope readers will enjoy this rather short article and our brief notes accompanying the article.



   NEW From MBRAS : Biographical Dictionary of    Mercantile Personalities of Penang

  The 200 concise biographies of early Penang mercantile personalities included in this volume offer a rare and invaluable glimpse into their lives. The selection is a veritable cultural cross-section of those who pioneered the growth of Penang in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It highlights not only their contribution to the economic, social, political and cultural development of Penang, but also of Malaysia and Southeast Asia as a whole.

Click on the title of the volume above for more details.

Volume edited by Loh Wei Leng, Badriyah Haji Salleh, Mahani Musa, Wong Yee Tuan and Marcus Langdon
RM 50, inclusive of postage, within Malaysia only
RM 40, if purchased in person from the MBRAS office
RM 36, for authors of the volume
For other postage options, please contact us for details.

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