Reputations Live On: An Early Malay Autobiography

Reputations Live On: An Early Malay Autobiography

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Reputations Live On is a translation and study of the Tarikh Datuk Bentara Lunar Johor, an early Malay autobiography written by Mohamed Salleh bin Perang (1841-1915). The book provides a rare glimpse into the life of a Malay man of letters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Carrying the title of Dato Bentara Luar, he was in charge of establishing new towns and settlements in Johor, as well as surveying and mapping its territories. He also accompanied Sultan Abu Bakar on the latter's official visit to Meiji Japan in 1883, recording his impressions in the Tarikh Dato' Bentara Luar, published in 1928. 

Salleh was a bureaucrat whose duty was to manage and develop lands and taking care of gambir and black pepper plantations. As the Head of the Land Management and State Survey, he successfully drew a complete map of Johor with Jawi legends. It was the first complete map that was plotted for a state in the Malay Peninsula.

This information was then used to plan the development of Johor State. The map showed all the roads and cities that were planned for development during his tenure. The map also shows geographical details for most of the district of Johore.

Salleh was involved in the development and planning of the cities of Bandar Maharani (1888) and Batu Pahat (1893).

Salleh was a Malay . But his ability to converse in Chinese and his knowledge of Chinese culture made him close to the Chinese people brought in by the Kangchu system. In the 1880s, he accompanied the Sultan on a visit to China and Japan. He started off as the commissioner of the State Police and ended up as member of State Legislature and Cabinet.

The Tarikh Datuk Bentara Luar Johor is Mohamed Salleh's most important work. It is an autobiographical account of his life and times. The book covers a wide range of topics, including his education, his work as a government official, his travels, and his involvement in the Malay nationalist movement.

Hardback with dustjacket. Good condition. University of California Berkeley

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