Glimpses of Penang's Past

Reprint 33
Glimpses of Penang's Past
Edited by Loh Wei Leng and Badriyah Haji Salleh
325pp. Size: 150x230mm. Softcover

Following George Town's inclusion, along with Melaka, on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2008, there has been a steadily growing interest in research and scholarship on the history of the Indian Ocean port-city, part of a trio of cities along the Straits of Malacca known as the Straits Settlements. The Penang and the Indian Ocean Conference (PIO), organised by Think City in 2011, displayed a heightened awareness of Penang's increased stature in both the historical, economic and strategic contexts. The latest MBRAS reprint 'Glimpses of Penang's Past', is expected to fulfill the growing public appetite for quality historical material on Penang, a need that was repeatedly highlighted during the 2011 PIO Conference.

Fourteen articles have been carefully selected by scholars Loh Wei Leng and Badriyah Haji Salleh - both specialists to some extent on the island's history - from back issues of the JSBRAS and the JMBRAS, long unobtainable and mostly inaccessible to the general public. Grouped under three main themes, namely early settlement, administrative and economic development, and people and culture, this engaging collection of mostly rare articles - many inexcusably overlooked and forgotten - have been made available to the public yet again in an attempt to provoke a fresh reinterpretation of Penang history and to supplement, wherever possible, existing gaps in current Penang historiography.

Of particular value are the group of articles pertaining to the early period of European settlement in Penang containing first-hand accounts of socio-economic life and rich topographical descriptions of the island. K.G. Tregonning's article on the early land administration and agricultural development on the island gives a matchless description of how the impenetrable jungle that Penang once was had been systematically cleared and its lands utilised for commodity production. In the final section on people and culture, Benny Liow's groundbreaking article gives a thorough account of Buddhist temples and associations which could well represent a hundred-year old history of Buddhism in Penang itself. These and many more articles will highlight aspects of Penang history overlooked by many.

Reprint No. 33 - Glimpses of Penang's Past has been made possible through the generous support of Think City, an urban regeneration vehicle which has spearheaded efforts to put Penang back on the global map of knowledge production and industry.



Early Settlement

  1. Memoir of Captain Francis Light, Who Founded Penang by A.M.S.
  2. Early Days in Penang by the Rev. Keppel Garnier
  3. The Settlement of Penang by James Scott, edited by K.J. Fielding
  4. Francis Light and Penang by R. Bonney

Administrative and Economic Development

  1. Plan for a Volunteer Police in the Muda Districts, Province Wellesley by J.R. Logan
  2. A Note on Early Legislation in Penang by Tan Soo Chye
  3. The Early Land Administration and Agricultural Development of Penang by K.G. Tregonning
  4. Governor Bannerman and the Penang Tin Scheme 1818-1819 by C.D. Cowan
  5. Chinese-Malay Socio-Economic Networks in the Penang-Kedah-North Sumatra Triangle, 1880-1909: A Case Study of Lim Leng Cheak by Wu Xiao An
  6. Ordering of Housing and the Urbanisation Process: Shophouses in Colonial Penang by Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz

People and Culture

  1. Memorandum on the Various Tribes Inhabiting Penang and Province Wellesley by J.R. Logan
  2. Buddhist Temples and Associations in Penang 1845-1948 by Benny Liow Woon Khin
  3. Malay Words in Baba Hokkien of Penang by Teoh Boon Seong and Lim Beng Soon
  4. Malays and the Red and White Flag Societies in Penang, 1830s-1920s by Mahani Musa

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