Penang and Its Region: The Story of an Asian Entrepôt

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Edited by Yeoh Seng Guan, Loh Wei Leng, Khoo Salma Nasution and Neil Khor

From its beginnings in the late eighteenth century, the vibrant colonial port of Penang attracted a diverse range of peoples, enabled pioneering commercial enterprises, and fomented inter-ethnic collaboration and inter-cultural borrowings. The island came to be known as the "Pearl of the Orient", and for many travellers it was their first port of call in Southeast Asia. In the early nineteenth century, Singapore displaced Penang in international trade, but the island remained a major focus of regional trade. For this reason, the story of Penang's relations with the Malay Peninsula and other parts of Southeast Asia reveal a great deal about conditions within the region.

This collection discusses the personal networks that have linked prominent individuals in Penang with neighbouring areas, and then considers the position of the island as a whole within the Southeast Asian region. Specifically, the authors write about local entrepreneurs, mutual help associations, and cross border trading and political networks, and aspects of how the cosmopolitan population of the island negotiated the transition from British colony to Malaysian state.


Yeoh Seng Guan is Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Sunway Campus.

Loh Wei Leng was formerly Professor in the History Department, University of Malaya.

Khoo Salma is a fifth generation Penang Peranakan and a writer, publisher and heritage advocate. She is currently president of Penang Heritage Trust and custodian of the Sun Yat Sen Museum, Penang, at 120 Armenian Street.

Neil Khor was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in History at the University of Malaya before joining Khazanah Nasional Berhad as a KRIS Fellow. He is Honorary Secretary of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and was Reviews Editor of the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.




Publication Year: 2009
260 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-423-4, Paperback

NUS Press