In the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles

By Nigel Barley

Sir Stamford Raffles used to be a British colonial dealer who, in 1819, based the island city-state of Singapore. this day, Singapore is an international alpha urban ranked along London, ny, and Tokyo. during this interesting booklet - half historical past, half travelogue - the writer revisits the locations that have been vital within the lifetime of Raffles and evaluates his legacy, either reliable and undesirable, in present-day Singapore. formerly released by way of Penguin, this can be a absolutely up-to-date version.

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Even if Raffles had Malagasy troops at Bengkulu, this was once one ancient reconstruction that used to be to elude even him. there's an airport at Gunungsitoli with a number of dispirited vacationer knick-knacks less than dusty glass, for these days Nias is develop into a spot of visitors. a few 3,000 a 12 months make it to the island. The Australians are instantly recognizable through their twelve-foot-long surfboards, sheathed in florid surfboard cosies, in all probability sewn through loving moms. the japanese cluster in teams. they arrive looking for surf and sunlight and stone-age tradition – a type of Bali with rocks. Raffles was once attracted for far an identical purposes. The chiefs had petitioned the corporate for defense opposed to slavers in 1811 and been refused. when you consider that Nias was once the resource of lots of the imported slaves in Bengkulu, Raffles, along with his abolitionist rules, was once extra sympathetic. additionally, Nias was once a resource of rice and Bengkulu was once incapable of feeding itself. however it was once the tradition of Nias that drew him. ‘I have a protracted account … of my discoveries in Pulo Nias. i think I previously instructed you that i used to be engaged in a few preparations for bringing that Island below British authority. i'm now chuffed to claim that i've got succeeded; the folk have unreservedly turn into the themes of serious Britain. As this is often an Island nearly unknown, and that i might a minimum of declare the benefit of first traveling and exploring its inside, a few details will be no longer dull … The Island is in sight of Sumatra, and noticeable through such a lot ships passing. i locate the inhabitants to exceed 230,000 souls, on a floor of approximately 1,500 sq. miles, which supplies a inhabitants of approximately 153 to the sq. mile; the rustic so much hugely cultivated, the soil wealthy, and the folks the best humans, with no exception, that i've got met with within the East. they're reasonable, and a powerful, athletic, lively race; industrious, creative, and clever, and forming a outstanding distinction to their neighbours at the contrary coast of Sumatra. What has such a lot astonished me is, the excessive measure (comparatively) of civilization to which they've got attained, with out verbal exchange from with out. we don't have any hint, no inspiration whence or how the island turned peopled; the folks themselves say, a guy and girl have been first despatched from heaven, from whom they're all descended. Their language, their conduct, their personality, and associations, are strikingly diverse from all others with which we're familiar. ’ – T. S. Raffles * * * ‘We should not interesting,’ they let you know matter-of-factly at Gunungsitoli. ‘If you run you could simply seize the bus to the south, to Lagundi. All travelers visit Lagundi. ’ they're correct. Gunungsitoli is the least beautiful of cities. wooden and thatch are instantly picturesque, concrete and corrugated iron – similar to the following – are eyesores. Being insufficiently diverse from the West, they fail of their accountability to be unique, distant in time. they're slums simply because they're of the current. the folks be aware of simply what it's they're promoting in Nias, a view of a savage but noble prior. To trip to Nias, the pamphlets urge us, is to commute in time.

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