The Hikayat Abdullah

The Hikayat Abdullah

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Hikayat Abdullah is a major literary work by Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, a Malacca-born Munshi of Singapore. It was completed in 1845 and first published in 1849, making it one of the first Malay literary texts to be published commercially. Abdullah's authorship was prominently displayed in this text and the contents were conveyed in simple, contemporary Malay. Unlike typical classical Malay literary works that contain mythical and legendary stories, Abdullah's work dealt with social realism.

The work has been described as Abdullah's autobiography, and contains his personal but perceptive view of Singapore and Malaccan society at the beginning of the 19th century.It provides a glimpse of his early childhood in Malacca, including an operation performed upon him by an English surgeon, his visit to an encampment of the Tiandihui, a Chinese secret society in the interior of Singapore, and events such as the founding of Singapore Institution, the demolition of the old A Famosa fort in Malacca, and the visit of Lord Minto, a Governor-General of India, to Malacca. The work also contains his personal observations of the personalities of his time, the officials of the British East India Company, like Sir Stamford Raffles, Colonel Farquhar and John Crawfurd, Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor Sultanate, European and American missionaries and traders, and the Chinese merchants of the early Singapore.

Very good. Paperback. Oxford University Press. 1970

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