Records And Recollections 1889-1934

Records And Recollections 1889-1934

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In 1934 J.H.M. Robson published in Kuala Lumpur his Records and Recollections, which gives much information on the personalities and issues of the era. The book has long been a collectors' item, and this reissue is accompanied by an introduction and various notes by John Gullick. To this has been added certain additional material which is attributable to Robson, culled from newspapers and other sources of the period.

Robson, being a newspaper man, was particularly sound on details concerning contemporary personalities both foreign and local. For example, he provides short biographical sketches of leading colonial officials of the day such as Sir John Pickersgill (J.P.) Rodger, Pahang's first British Resident who crowned his career as Governor of the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana); the fabulously wealthy Chinese businessman Loke Yew, one of the few among his compatriots to be decorated with a C.M.G. (Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George), who reputedly quipped that he would rather earn a C.M.G. from Tuan Allah when he died than any other temporal honour; Captain H.C. Syers, widely considered to be among the founding fathers of the Malaysian Police who organised the force in Selangor in 1875 and Raja Sir Chulan, the first Malay unofficial member of the Federal Council, who was known to be both fearless and notoriously outspoken.

Robson's recollections also render an illuminating account of the little-known "Tauchang Riots", a communal disturbance among the Chinese in Kuala Lumpur early in 1912 that lasted for several days and was so grave that military reinforcements had to be called in from Taiping to help put it down. The ostensible source of the incident was traced to high-spirited antics during the Chinese New Year in which anti-Manchu elements went on a rampage through Kuala Lumpur streets, seizing individuals and cutting off their queues (tauchang in Chinese).

As a source on the early history of Kuala Lumpur, the development of the town and its neighbourhoods, Robson provides a particularly rich account. However the use of older versions of street names like Batu Road (present-day Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) and Pudoh (presently spelt Pudu) would mean that newcomers to Kuala Lumpur history may find parts of this book to be more than a little challenging. The experience of tracing out the development of Kuala Lumpur from a nondescript, mosquito-infested swampy town to the metropolis it now is would, however, prove particularly rewarding to the intrepid and doughty reader.

First Edition. 1934. 276 pages with a couple of photos, appendices, references, glossary and index. Weight 0.6 kg

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