Tuesday, February 2, 2016


By Mansor bin Puteh.

He walks about in the streets of Singapore (formerly Singapura and earlier, Temasik) like any other Singaporean amongst the predominantly Chinese majority.

And being a Melayu (Malay, in English), his presence may stand out from the crowd of Chinese who may not necessarily be local-born but those who had just come from China, who may not be fully aware of the country that they had come to live and work in.

They and the other Chinese would not care to ponder that the land they are now trampling upon used to be ‘owned’ by Prince or Tengku Shawal’s descendants.

Prince Shawal bin Tengku Aziz continues to walk about doing his daily chore, but today, he is taking me to visit few places in the city-state, cramped as it is for some fresh air and to also see the sights that reminds me so much about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I am from, and feeling undeterred to the ignorance that many in the Republic of Singapore who may not care about him and with his history, in June where the stage and stands are being erected for the fiftieth National Day the country would celebrate in August.

At an earlier time his ancestor, the first Sultan of Singapura, Sultan Hussain Shah would be paraded in a convoy of horse-carts and palanquins to be welcome by his people where he went.

Prince Shawal is the seventh generation of the direct descendant of the Sultan in the royal lineage which stretches hundreds of years and many generations earlier before Prince Hussain Shah became Sultan of Singapura as he was already heir to the throne of the state of Johor in South Peninsula Malaya.

And because he was far away when his father, Sultan Abdul Rahman died that he was passed with his younger brother ascending the throne of the state.

I am back in Singapore not too long after Singapore celebrated its fiftieth National Day on 8 August, in September just a day after the general election was held on 11 September, which is the fourteenth anniversary of 9/11, and is greeted not by a day which is glorious as the morning sun that had crept slowly through the mist or haze that had come from the many hotspots in Sumatera and Kalimantan, Indonesia since the last week that has not shown any sign that it would go away.

So now Singapore can also celebrate the ninety-first birthday anniversary of its ‘founder of modern Singapore’, Lee Kuan Yew who died last March, for the first time after his death and cremation, by giving him a seventy percent votes that his People’s Action Party (PAP) had managed to get a while ago.

Singapore as it is now called by the non-Melayu, is basically a Chinese republic with the country feverishly ensuring that the population size of the Melayu to be stuck at fourteen percent and if the size increases more Chinese would be brought in from other countries especially Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Indonesia and elsewhere to balance the population to be at seventy-four percent, which was what it was when the country became independent in 1965.

If this drastic and comical measure had not been taken, the Melayu would be more than forty percent by now.

Or, if Singapore had not been expelled from the Federation of Malaysia in August, 1965, the whole population of Malaysia would now have a Chinese majority.

Fortunately, Prince or Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first prime minister of Malaysia and the Father of Independence of Malaysia, knew better than to want to retain Singapore in the Federation, so he unceremoniously expelled Singapore to be on their own, with no natural resources and who was dependent on the supply of natural water from the rivers in Malaysia for its daily sustenance, paying for the raw water at six Malaysian sen or about 1.2 American cents at today’s worth when it was worth quite a bit in the 1920s when the British colonial government offered Singapore water from Malaysia that Singapore had not bothered to consider buying it at today’s rate considering that the British Malayan dollar that was used then had become extinct.  

But at an earlier time it was a Melayu and Islamic Sultanate; which was first established on 31 January, 1819, by none other than British or English explorer and businessman, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles better known as Stamford Raffles, who has been officially declared by Singapore as its founder with the late Lee Kuan Yew as the founder of ‘modern Singapore’ who became the country’s first prime minister in August, 1965, after the state was evicted out of the Federation of Malaysia that was formed two years ago with the including of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo or Kalimantan whose people had opted to join the Federation, following a petition organized by the United Nations, which caused the two neighboring states of Indonesia and the Philippines to be aghast, as they too thought had the right to claim those two states with the Philippines wanting Sabah and Indonesia, Sarawak.

The reason why Raffles had decided to appoint Prince Hussain Shah as the first Sultan of Singapura was to allow the East India Company (EIC) which had its headquarters in Calcutta in British India, as a mere trading post.

Prince Hussain had gone into hiding and an exile in Riau because his ascension to the throne failed as he was away when his father, Sultan Abdul Rahman died.

And Raffles considered him to be vulnerable and could be persuaded to become Sultan of Singapura instead an offer the Prince accepted; or he would have to be contented spending time fishing in the rivers in Riau, as a pastime and also vocation.

And so the Prince was taken to Singapore and within days installed as the first Sultan of Singapura, with Raffles himself reading the proclaimation.

Unfortunately, once the EIC and the British had managed to establish the new Sultanate, they not only established a trading post but went further to actually govern the whole island, by slowly displacing the local Melayu majority with Chinese coolies and later Indians to in order to ensure that the value of the Sultan would be diminished over time.

The British then had no need to bring in more Melayu men and women from the neighboring Melayu states to Singapore, because this would ensure that their plans to wrest control of Singapore fail, which also could cause the Sultan to be more empowered as a result of the island-state now having more Melayu to count amongst his supporters and loyalists.

The Chinese coolies and Indian laborers were aloof to the needs of the Sultan and thought they were there on a temporary basis, with many returning to their respective countries after a while, to leave those who felt less eager to do likewise, because they had failed to get their ‘pot of gold’ to show to their relatives and immediate family members in their villages there.  

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