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The Name Game #4: Swettenham Where?

By my queenstown on Saturday, October 23, 2010 with 0 comments

For those who have clicked onto this page, well, you've managed to look a little deeper than the meadows and butterflies in Swettenham. And of course you didn't jump to conclusion!

Swettenham was a British colonial official in British Malaya and the official who was highly influential in shaping British policy and the structure of British administration. His first involvement in Singapore was a cadet in the civil service of Straits Settlements, where he learned Malay and played a major role in British-Malay intermediary when the British intervene in the ruling of the Unfederated Malay states in 1870.

Sir Frank Swettenham's portrait at the National Museum is worth $10million

Frank Swettenham was the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements from 1901-1904. After World War II, The Great Britain's policy for postwar Malaya differed radically from prewar arrangement in two aspects: the imposition of direct control and the prospect of political advance. Before 1942, British Malaya had consisted of nine Malay states, four of which formed the Federated Malay States, three Straits Settlements and sultanate of Brunei. This fragmentation, ethnic differences, particularly between the Malay and Chinese communities had been reinforced with pro-Malay attitudes.

In April 1946, the Malayan Union was conceived to unify Malaya Peninsula under a single government in order to simplify administration. The Malayan Union gave equal rights to people who wished to apply for citizenship. However, opposition from Swettenham, other British officials and Malay leaders meant that this union is "dissoluted." This Union also led to the Malayan nationalism and the creation of Federation of Malaya, paving way for Malaya's independence. Hence, Frank Swettenham is one of the leading figures for Malaya (or Malaysia's) independence. He died in 11 June 1946 (Aged 96).

So can Swettenham be a meadow too?

Category: Name Game



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