The Launch Of “Malay Peninsula – Old Photographs Of Malaya And Singapore”


Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah

Ampun Tuanku

Sembah patik mohon diampun

Patik menzahirkan kalimah junjung kasih kerana telah diberikan perkenan dan penghormatan oleh Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku untuk patik melancarkan buku berjudul “Malay Peninsula – Old Photographs of Malaya and Singapore”.

Patik juga sukacita melafazkan sembah hormat kepada Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Tengku Amir Shah, Raja Muda Selangor.

Ladies and gentlemen

  1. We are gathered here this afternoon to witness the unveiling of yet another brainchild of His Royal Highness Sultan Idris Shah – a man who we all know takes great interest in the nation’s history; a man who I have enormous respect and admiration for – both as a Ruler and as a person. It is therefore my honour and privilege to be present at this ceremony to celebrate the launch of “Malay Peninsula – Old Photographs of Malaya and Singapore”.
  2. The photographs contained in this book, captured through the lens of C.J. Kleingrothe, are nothing short of spectacular. They are vivid, even eccentric impressions of days gone by, covering landscapes, colourful people, marvellous architecture and technological feats.
  3. As I perused through its pages it was easy for me to discover the romantic ideals and beauty of an era of pioneerism and adventure. Through Kleingrothe’s eyes we see the unyielding spirit and struggles of our forefathers who did so much to bring this nation to its current state. These haunting tributes to our elders long gone give us a sense of humility realising that through their back-breaking sacrifices we have come to be what we are today.
  4. One of my favourite photographs is one portraying the tranquil and well-maintained countryside of Batu Gajah – the charming town where my father was born and bred. Famous for rubber-planting and tin-mining back then, it was an ideal settling place for Malays, Chinese, Tamils and Sikhs alongside British residents. In the foreground, one can see a sari-clad lady, umbrella in hand, I imagine on her daily walk to market.
  5. Another image is that of the tin mines of Kampar with labouring Chinese coolies, many of whom eventually died from opium addiction and malnutrition.
  6. Landscapes have since drastically transformed, demographics have significantly altered, towns have declined, some landmarks no longer exist, but these images remain and they have the power to concretise our dramatic history. They provide for us our personal contexts as individuals who make up the people of this land.
  7. This afternoon, we are indebted to a wonderful man for sharing with us this beautiful collection of photographs. Tuanku is a history buff and a collector of precious vestiges of the past. He believes in preserving what this nation holds dear. And Tuanku is fervent in imparting his knowledge, his experiences and his values. This is Tuanku’s fourth book in the span of a decade.

Ladies and gentlemen:

  1. We know full well the appeal of a good book. At times and under the right circumstances, the right book containing the right knowledge can be as tempting as the most beautiful of women. Therefore I shall not keep you away from “Malay Peninsula” any longer and I will let you meet her in person and appreciate her rustic beauty for yourself.
  2. Tuanku, I thank you for honouring me with the opportunity to formally introduce such an alluring debutante to this gathering.
  3. It now gives me great pleasure to present to you the charming lady known as “Malay Peninsula – Old Photographs of Malaya and Singapore”.
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