“We Published in Prison” – Unique Material on Newspapers Published by Male Civilian Internees in Wartime Singapore

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By Gautam Hazarika, Singapore

Background – a largely untold story

When Britain surrendered Singapore to Japan on February 15, 1942, besides the 90,000 POWs, 1,3791 civilians were also interned. They were mainly colonial bureaucrats, businessmen, doctors etc, and included 182 women and children. Their numbers rose to 2,822 as recorded on June 3, 19422 and over 3,000 later during the war. Their experience was very different from that of the POWs – the POWs were young and healthy, the civilians were not. The POWs knew they could become prisoners, the civilians did not expect this. The POWs continued to live as before, split into officers and other ranks, while the civilians were thrown together – senior colonial officials and civilians, junior civilians and young merchant seaman closely packed into an overcrowded prison. Many also endured the agony of having wives and children just around the corner, but were segregated and therefore could not meet.

Many of the more numerous POWs published memoirs in the mainstream press, but only a handful of civilians did, many through non-mainstream press and most are out of print (Annexure 1).  Also, historians focussed more on the POWs, perhaps as the focus on the military was more appealing3. Hence very little is known about the civilians.

NEWS! Cartoon from KL 1949 edition, perhaps portraying an editor at work

An amazing archive in Cambridge about this untold story

The male civilians published an almost daily newspaper (310 issues over 18 months) from Feb 1942 to Oct 1943. The newspapers were called Karikal Chronicles, from Karikal Mahal where some were first interned, and Changi Guardian once they all moved there. They also published the Changi Chimes on Sundays for a few months. It is difficult to find a complete run of anything even recent, but The Royal Commonwealth Society has a complete run of these newspapers, as incredible wartime survival. They are available online at Cambridge. The papers are an astonishing record of their daily life and can also be used to imagine the life of the POWs for the many aspects that they shared – lack of food and news, how they entertained themselves etc. They also contain unique historical accounts (Personal Recollections) of the war so far, written by people who did not survive, or did not publish when liberated. There are 26 such recollections, covering the War in Pahang, Kelantan, etc. and various aspects of the War in Singapore. The authors include former residents and other civil servants. There appears to be no book / article on the men’s newspapers and even the Cambridge archive seems little known outside academic circles.

Unique original material in the author’s possession adding more to this untold story

The editors of these papers were mainly Harry Miller and Gus Harold Wade of the Straits Times4. There are references to three volume collections of the newspapers with Mr Miller and the IWM5. The impression is that these were collections of the actual newspapers. However, the collection I acquired in 2022 show that besides publishing the papers, the editors retyped the content (perhaps to ensure their survival) while in Changi prison, in 1942, adding title pages with a summary history, that are not in the original newspapers. This retyped collection by the editors is called “We Published in Prison”. The Changi 1942 editions in my collection only has the Karikal Chronicles and First 100 Changi Guardians, interspersed with the Sunday Changi Chimes as they were issued. This covers the newspapers till August 2, 1942. Whether more newspapers were retyped into such volumes in Changi is not known. As the war progressed, paper became even more scarce and the frequency of publishing reduced. Certainly, after Double Tenth, no such collections could have been made, as even the newspapers were stopped (see below). Also, while they could, how many such editions were made is unknown – at best there would have been a handful, and in fact the one I have acquired may be the only one.

Title page of “We Published in Prison”, 1942

A second edition of “We Published in Prison” was “Retyped Kuala Lumpur March 1949”. This was a 3-volume set covering the entire run of newspapers and included original cartoons and sketches. The 3-volume sets referred to above are probably this 3-volume edition. How many of these were made is not clear. The auction listing says my set probably belonged to one of the publishers. However, the seller of the collection said he had bought it over 40 years ago6, so perhaps in the early 1980s. Since Mr Miller had his set with him when he came to Singapore in 1993, my collection could not have been his. Perhaps Mr Miller’s set was donated to the IWM after his death, or the two sets could be different. Therefore, this 2nd edition had a run of at least 2 copies – Miller’s and mine.

“HUDSON’S BAY” Changi Prison, D.J. Kibby, Aug 42

The collection consists of four books titled “We Published in Prison” (see image below).

  • Book 1 produced in Changi 1942 has the Karikal Chronicles, stating it was the 1st volume of newspapers published. This uses thick official paper with the British crest embossed on top. It is slightly smaller than A4 size and the pages were stapled together, as seen by the three staple holes at the top of each page.  It is bound in burgundy coloured buckram, that must have been added later as both stapling and binding would not have been done together.
  • Book 2 was also produced in Changi 1942. It contains Volume 2 of the newspapers (in continuation with Volume 1 above) and contains the first 50 Changi Guardians. It also has Volume 3, with Nos 51-100. They also contain the Sunday Changi Chimes interspersed date-wise. This book uses thin paper like the old cyclostyles, of varying width and length. It is slightly taller than A4 size, bound in beige board with a dark brown leather strip on the left. There are no staples here and as it encloses two volumes, it was probably bound later.
  • Books 3 and 4 are Volumes 2 and 3 of what is stated as a 3-volume KL edition. As the missing first KL volume exactly coincides with the two books produced in Changi 1942, taken together the collection is a complete set of all the newspapers (barring one issue on which there is an interesting story, see note 7) plus the title pages/ sketch/ map/ cartoons not held in Cambridge. These are uniformly bound in grey buckram and on the inner front covers have the label “Bound by CAXTON PRESS LTD, Printers, Stationers and Book-Binders, Kuala Lumpur”
Four bound volumes of “We Published in Prison” in reasonably good condition

Here is a photograph featuring Mr Miller, Mr Wade, Mr Wilson (co-publisher for just 2 issues), Mr Peet (author of one of 20 books by internees) and Dorothy Miller (Mrs Harry Miller).

Bottom row: Dorothy Miller, George Peet, Middle W.A.Wilson, Top Row Harry Miller and Guy Wade

Double Tenth and the last Changi Guardian

Changi Guardian No 262 came out on Tuesday October 12, 1943. It is very innocuous and the only reference to something going on was to thank the kitchen staff for providing late meals on Sunday (hence October 10) after the end of the sudden, day-long interrogation that was Double Tenth. As is well known, after Operation Jaywick blew up merchant ships in Singapore harbour on September 27, 1943, the Japanese suspected that the civilians were the ringleaders. Their life changed abruptly from October 10, 1943. Besides numerous others in Singapore, 58 of the civilian internees were taken by the Kempetai for interrogation of whom 14 died. Another consequence was that there were no more Changi Guardians. In May 1944, the civilians were moved to the former RAF Camp at Sime Road to make place for returning POWs from the Burma railway. They remained there till the end of the war.

Researching the Civilians and the newspapers – giving their story a fresh look

  1. The biggest source are the newspapers themselves, approximately over one thousand A4 typewritten pages. Topics like food (or the lack of it), overcrowding, sports, Changi University, plays and concerts, the lack of war and family news, Personal Recollections, the editors and/or the publishing process could fill a research article or book chapter each.
  2. For further research, Mr Peng Han Lim’s article on primary sources on Civilian internees in Singapore is a key starting point. Besides published books, it includes partial lists of unpublished diaries, oral histories in Singapore and the UK. There are additional sources in the Singapore National Archive (online) and at the IWM and other UK institutions.
  3. So far, I have come across only twenty books by the internees (ANNEXURE 1). Just three were published soon after the war, a fourth in 1969, a fifth in 1979 and 15 more thereafter, the last in 2009. Perhaps they did not want to dwell on the past and many were published after their death, edited by relatives. Each of the books fortunately tells us a different part of the story – Kitching’s diary was written while in the camp and he died of cancer, so what is published is exactly what he wrote at that time. Peet’s memoirs written while at Sime Road has an analysis of the internees situation and basically says the Japanese treated them quite fairly. Thompson’s book gives us details of the Feb 17, 1942 march from the Padang, the organisation of the camps. Another difference in the books is the point of view – Hayter and McNamara tell the story as priests, Mary Thomas as a nurse from the UK not steeped in the colonial way of life, Sheila Allan as a rare Eurasian internee, Ann Dally as a doctor, Rudy Mosbergen and Thomas Ryan as teenagers, Ethel Mulvaney as a person who suffered mental ill-health, Freddy Bloom is of interest as the publisher of POW-WOW, the women’s newspaper.
  4. Books by historians Dr Archer3, Joseph Kennedy and an article on POW-WOW, the newspaper of the women’s camp8, contain various additional references.
  5. The newspapers name over 100 people – author and historian Jonanthan Moffat has a vast archive of biographical information on most of the internees, so these named people can be profiled and studied. Besides this, there are online references (for example Straits Times) to many of these persons, including interviews, significant news, obituaries etc.
  6. Mapping a) the original camps at Joo Chiat Police Stations/ Women in two houses in Katong/ Karikal Mahal and the adjacent Roman Catholic Convent1, and b) Analysis of the three maps mentioned by Mr Peng Han Lim and the fourth map and a courtyard sketch in my collection to draw a composite picture of Changi.
  7. A few internees are still alive – if they are willing and able, an attempt could be made to meet them.

Author’s note: I am a just a collector interested in the historical context of my collection, not a professional historian or researcher. I would welcome any guidance, introductions and references to other sources to assist in doing my research better, so the civilians’ story can be told afresh and with new sources.


1 Changi Guardian No 71, June 3, 1942

2 Ibid.

    3 Why less on civilians: The Internment of Western Civilians under the Japanese 1941-1945 by Bernice Archer, p.8

    4 Gus and not Guy Wade: Archer p.105, Dateline Singapore :  150 years of The Straits Times by C.M.Turnbull, p.72, identify the co-publisher as Guy Wade. The author/ historian Jonathan Moffat provided me with a Red Cross card that not only confirmed he was Gus, but that there was a Guy Wade, but he was someone else (when Gus’s family was queried about another Guy Wade, they confirmed this Guy Wade was not their Gus) https://gallery.its.unimelb.edu.au/imu/imu.php?request=multimedia&irn=82089

    5 References to a 3-volume set of these newspapers – Straits Times 1993 article (ref. 8 below), Dateline Singapore:  150 years of The Straits Times by C.M. Turnbull, p. 121 note 6, email from Dr Bernice Archer October 2, 2022

    6 Auction Seller email dated 27 January, 2023

    7 The Karikal Chronicles were published in Feb-March 1942 and the retypes in my collection were made just a few weeks/months later in 1942. My collection ends at Karikal No 13, however there are references to 14 Karikal Chronicles in Dateline Singapore. Since my collection was retyped a few weeks later in 1942 by the editors, surely they could not have left the 14th out? Also, Karikal 13 was published on March 5, 1942 and they all moved to Changi on March 6 morning, so would not have had time to issue one that day. Hence, I thought there were only 13 issues. However, the Cambridge archive showed that there was a 14th. What happened was this – Karikal 13 came out on March 5 (probably in the morning). Later that day they were told they were moving to Changi the next morning, so later that day they brought out a short half page newspaper with instructions for the move to Changi. Handwritten on top is “Special Edition” and Karikal Chronicles 14”. Why it was left out in the “We Published in Prison” remains a mystery.

    8 New perspectives on the Japanese occupation in Malaya and Singapore, 1941-1945 / edited by Akashi Yoji and Yoshimura Mako, 2008; The civilian women’s internment camp in Singapore: the world of POW WOW by Michiko Nakahara.

    ANNEXURE 1 – Books by Civilian Internees – divided into those by men/women as done by Mr Peng Han Lim, with some additions by Gautam Hazarika

    Books by men interned

    1. EP HODKIN: If this Could Be Farewell. Freemantle Arts Centre Press, 2003
    2. GEORGE PEET: Within Changis Walls. Marshall Cavendish International Asia, 2001
    3. THOMAS KITCHING: Life and Death in Changi. Bretchin Tales Shop Ltd, 1998; republished Landmark Books Pte Ltd, 2018
    4. ANTHONY McNAMARA: I was in prison. Self-published, 1994
    5. G.E.D. LEWIN: Out East in the Malay Peninsula. Penerbit Fajar Bakti, Malaysia, 1991; Oxford, 1992
    6. JOHN HAYTER: Priest in Prison. Churchman, 1989; Thornhil, 1991; Graham Brash Pte Ltd, 1991
    7. TYLER THOMPSON: Freedom in Internment Under Japanese Rule in Singapore 1942-1945. Kelford Press Pte Ltd (Singapore), 1990?
    8. T.P.M. LEWIS: Changi, the lost years : a Malayan diary, 1941-1945. Malaysian Historical Society, 1989
    9. VAN CUYLENBERG: Singapore: through sunshine and shadow. Heineman Asia, 1982
    10. EJH CORNER: The Marquis, a tale of Syonan-to. Heineman Asia, 1981
    11. TAN SRI DATO MUBIN SHEPPARD: Taman budiman:  memoirs of an unorthodox civil servant. Kuala Lumpur: Heinemann Educational Books (Asia), 1979
    12. C.C. BROWN: Mural ditties and Sime Road soliloquies; illustrated by R.W.E. Harper. Singapore: Kelly and Walsh, [1948]
    13. HOBART B. AMSTUTZ: Prison camp ministries :  the personal narrative of Hobart B. Amstutz, 17 February 1942 to 7 September, 1945. Singapore :  Wesley Manse,  1945

    Books by women/girls interned

    1. MARY THOMAS: In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Singapore Marshall Cavendish, 2009
    2. RUDY MOSBERGEN: In the Grip of a Crisis: The Experiences of a Teenager during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, 1942-45. Singapore Seng City, 2007
    3. SHEILA ALLAN: Diary of a Girl in Changi. Simon and Schuster (Australia), 1994 (a rare account of a Eurasian internee)
    4. LAVINIA WARNER and JOHN SANDILANDS: Women beyond the wire :  a story of prisoners of the Japanese, 1942-1945. Michael Joseph, 1982
    5. FREDDY BLOOM: Dear Philip. Bodley Head, 1980 (in addition to a book on her husband, a POW: Destined Meeting by Leslie Bell, published by Odhams Press ,1958)
    6. ANN DALLY: Cicely: The Story of a Doctor. Published Gollancz, 1968
    7. IRIS PARFITT: Jailbird Jottings. Kuala Lumpur, 1947

    Books on women/children by others

    1. THOMAS RYAN: A Child Prisoner of War – An account by his son Christopher. Hakawati Press (Scotland), 2021
    2. SUZANNE EVANS: Taste of Longing, The Ethel Mulvany and her Starving Prisoners of War Cookbook. Between the Lines, 2020
    3. No Longer Silent, World-Wide Memories of the Children of World War II. Pictorial Histories Publication Co., 1995

    Tjenderawasih: A 1950’s Indonesian Children’s Journal in the Library of Southeast Asian Studies in Frankfurt

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    Indonesian cultural journals have played a great role in the production of modern Indonesian literature and in the Indonesian publishing scene in general (Kratz 1994). As many authors did not have the financial means to have their works printed in book form, authors of short stories and poetry had only the choice to get published in journals and newspapers. Ulrich Kratz has demonstrated the great importance of journals for the production of modern Indonesian literature in his monumental bibliography of nearly 900 pages. It is not surprising therefore that those cultural journals of nation-wide importance like Horison, Zenith, Mimbar Indonesia, Basis, Pujangga Baru or Medan Sastera, to mention only a few, are comparatively well available in European libraries and collections. Local periodicals like Pawon (Surakarta), Puisi (Magelang), Catatan Kebudayaan (Denpasar) or Genta Budaya (Padang) which often appeared for only a few years are far less represented. Cultural journals for children and young readers are nearly totally absent in Western collections.
    The Library of Southeast Asian Studies at Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main acquired in 2011 the collection of books of Prof. Ulrich Kratz, formerly professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Ulrich Kratz was a regular visitor of the Malay world since the early 1970s and acquired many rare titles published locally. His main research interests were literature and culture, so his library consisted of more than 9,000 titles from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, mainly in Indonesian/Malay.
    Among the many periodicals in the collection of Ulrich Kratz is an incomplete set of the first two volumes of the Indonesian childrens’ journal Tjenderawasih: Madjalah Bulanan Anak-Anak (‘Bird of Paradise: Monthly Magazine for Children’), which so far is not listed in the World Cat and thus being unique.

    Illustration 1: Front cover of the first volume that was released in September 1951

    Its first volume was released in September 1951, and the last available issue is volume 2, Number 7, published in June 1953 (illustration 2). All issues were published by Ganaco, a well-known publishing house in Bandung from the 1950s to the late 1970s. It is not known when the journal ceased its publication.

    Illustration 2: Front cover of volume 2 number 1 of Tjenderawasih

    The journal describes itself on its back page as a “magazine for our children based on education” (madjalah anak² kita jang berazaskan pendidikan) managed by “experts of education” (ahli² pendidik). Therefore its contents were considered suitable for all classes in Indonesian elementary schools and were adapted to their courses of instruction. What, then, are the contents of Tjenderawasih? We find in it short stories und poetry, inspirational songs, games and riddles, cartoons and illustrations, Hari Raya wishes, reports (e.g. on a soap box derby in Jakarta in 1952) or educational texts on geography (e.g. the Great Chinese Wall, see illustration 3 below) or history (e.g. on Robert Baden Powell and the Boy Scouts movement).

    Illustration 3: Tjenderawasih volume 2, number 2, p. 9: Tembok Tiongkok (‘The Great Chinese Wall’)

    Short stories, reports, songs and cartoons reflect very well the nationalist spirit of Indonesia in the early 1950s when the country still suffered from the traumata of the Japanese occupation in the Second World War and four years of the Indonesian Revolution 1945-1949. The hilarious cartoon shown below is a good example: Indonesian national schools had to teach the new national language Bahasa Indonesia to native speakers of Javanese, Sundanese, Batak and hundreds of other languages.

    Illustration 4: Tjenderawasih volume 2, number 7, p. 23: Politik – Politur

    The new language, still being unfamiliar to many, led to funny creations when it came to the formation of new words. Several short stories were written for entertaining its young readership by presenting exotic and adventurous tales like the story of the American Indian girl Mega Putih and the red bear (illustration 5) or the Eskimo boy Ikwa (illustration 6).

    Illustration 5: Tjenderawasi volume 2, number 7: p. 5: Mega Putih dan beruang merah (‘Mega Putih and the red bear’)

    Illustration 6: Tjenderawasi volume 2, number 2: p. 13: Ikwa Anak Eskimo (‘Ikwa, the Eskimo boy’)

    Only occasionally the articles were signed with an author’s name or an indication of the author, e.g. like “Ibu Tjenderawasih”, most likely the editor S. Rukiah herself. The rest remained anonymous.
    The editorial staff of Tjenderawasih consisted of several members, by far the most well-known was S. Rukiah (1927-1996). She was one of the most prolific female authors of Indonesian prose literature of the 1950s, her most well-known novel Kedjatuhan dan hati (‘The fall and the heart’) received much acclaimed critics (Rukiah 1950). In 1951 she moved to Bandung to become editor of Tjenderawasih (Rukiah 2011), although the journal’s editiorials were listed only beginning with volume 2, number 2 in December 1952 mentioning her as editor. Later she became member of the communist influenced cultural organization LEKRA and stopped writing after the mass killings of 1965.

    As “pedagocial adviser” (penasehat paedagogi) served Sikun Pribadi, who wrote his PhD at Ohio State University in the United States in 1960 and later became professor of educational science at the Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia in Bandung. A permanent member of the editorial staff was Daeng Sutigna (1908-1984), a well-known performer and teacher of Indonesian Angklung music. Sutigna ran courses on Angklung for the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture from 1950 onwards. Further permament members were: 1. A. H. Harahap, author of several reading books for elementary schools together with Oejeng Soewargana, the publisher of Ganaco. Furthermore Harahap wrote a few general introductions on Indonesian geography, e.g. on the island of Madura (Safiudin & Harahap 1956). Haharap was active as author until well into the 1970s, nearly all his works were published by Ganaco; 2. Karnedi, an artist who founded in 1948 the art studio Jiwa Mukti with the well-known painter Barli Sasmitawinata (1921-2007) and Sartono (Mulyadi 2008: 279); 3. E. S. Muljokusumo, a civil servant in the Indonesian Ministry of the Seas and Fishing, who wrote several articles on natural phenomena like the sun, stars, the Indonesian seas and the like; 4. Sudigdo, maybe identical with Muljokusumo; 5. Ibu Suparti, and finally 6. Nn. Rukmini Sudirdjo. On these last three persons no further information was available.

    Cartoons were included in the journal on an unregular basis. The magazine was printed partly in colour, but photos and many of the cartoons appeared in black and white. The cartoons were signed with acronyms like “Tosa” for the Si Amin-series (see e.g illustration 7) or “Dana” (Illustration 4). No further information on these cartoonists could be obtained so far. All their cartoons – as well as many other contents in the magazine – show a certain moral or ethics, in particular to strengthen the national spirit among its young readers.

    Illustration 7: Tjenderawasi volume 1, number 8, p. 17: Si Amin beladjar merokok (‘Amin learns to smoke’)

    A few lines from the anonymous poem Madju dja….lan (‘Way of progress’, volume 1, number 10, 1952, p.3) will illustrate this:

    Drap, drap, drap !
    Terdengar kaki menderap.
    Itulah barisan Sekolah Rakjat
    Harapan bangsa, penuh semangat

    Beladjar disekolah sungguh-sungguh.
    Bekerdja dirumah sungguh-sungguh.
    Berbaris dilapangan madju dja…lan !
    Itulah anak kemerdekaan …

    Drap, drap, drap !
    Rhythmic steps can be heard
    These are the lines of the People’s School
    Hope of the nation, full of spirit.

    [They] learn hard in the school.
    [They] work hard at home.
    [They] line on the square for the way of progress!
    These are the children of independence…

    Further examples are e.g. a photo series on the celebrations of the national Kartini Day on 21 April 1952 or a report on General Abdul Haris Nasution, the hero of the revolution and one out of only three of Indonesia’s five star generals.

    The magazine was published by the Bandung-based publishing house Ganaco, which was active from 1950 onwards until the death of the publisher in 1979. In the 1950s they also had branches in Jakarta and Amsterdam. Its publisher was Oejeng Soewargana (1917-1979; other spellings of his name are Uyeng Suwargana, Oejeng S. Gana, Ujeng S. Wargana or Ujeng Suwargana), a quite well-known figure in the field of education and prolific author of school books and reading books, often co-authored with A. H. Harahap or Amin Singgih (Ensiklopedia 2004, Jilid 15: 170). It is quite interesting to note that Soewargana kept close relations to several high-ranking members of the Indonesian armed forces such as Abdul Haris Nasution and wrote several books on the incidents of 1965, rather from the Orde Baru perspective (Harry Poeze, personal communication), while S. Rukiah as editor of Tjenderawasih was standing on the leftist side.

    Ganaco also published in other languages than Indonesian. In the 1950s they produced an English-language magazine Window on the World (see the advertisement in Safiudin & Harahap 1955). In the same period many titles of modern Sundanese literature and on Sundanese language learning came out, but introductory books on member states of the non-aligned movement (e.g. Burma or Saudi-Arabia) were also published.
    Tjenderawasih contains no commercial advertisements except those from the publishing house Ganaco itself, although they announced prices for them. Prices ran from 500,- Rupiah (c. 43,- US$) per page, 275,- Rupiah (c. 24 US$) for a half page to 150,- Rupiah (c. 13,- US $) for a quarter page. A yearly subscription of the journal costed 22,50 Rupiah (5,90 US$ in 1951, 1,97 US$ in 1953). Due to its contents and the relatively high subscription rates for Indonesia in the early 1950s the circulation of the magazine was probably limited to young middle and upper class readers of the major urban centres of Java like Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya or Yogyakarta.

    Ensiklopedi (2004): Ensiklopedi nasional Indonesia. Jakarta: PT. Delta Pamungkas.
    Kratz, Ulrich (1988): A bibliography of Indonesian literature in journals – Bibliografi karya sastra Indonesia dalam majalah. Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press.
    Kratz, Ulrich (1994): La place des revues dans la production littéraire. In: Henri Chambert-Loir (ed.), La littérature indonésienne: une introduction [Cahier d’Archipel 22], pp. 151-158. Paris: Association Archipel.
    Mulyadi, Efix [ed.] (2008): The journey of Indonesian painting: the Bentara Budaya Collection. Jakarta: KPG.
    Rukiah, S. (1950): Kedjatuhan dan hati. Djakarta: Pudjangga Baru, Special Issue Nov.-Dec. 1950.
    Rukiah, S. (2011): The fall and the heart. Jakarta: Lontar Foundation.
    Safiudin & Harahap, A. H. (1955): Madura: pulau kerapan [Seri kenallah tanah airmu]. Bandung: Ganaco.
    https://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daeng_Soetigna [accessed 30 September 2017].

    Article by Holger Warnk (Library of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

    EFEO Workshop on Academic Materials Pertaining to Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai July 2017

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    More and more publications are being published worldwide. The last surveys show that within the 50 countries that publish the most, 5 are from Southeast Asia: #17 – Vietnam (24000+), #18 – Indonesia (24000+), #23 – Malaysia (18000+), #30 – Thailand (13000+), #35 – Singapore (12000+). Materials are being published, but are not necessarily easily accessible, for various reasons: small publishing company, small research center publishing its bulletin in a very small number of issues, geographical complexity, absence of bookstores that can cover an entire country/region, etc.

    Furthermore, the process of building trust and cooperation with local partners can take a very long time. We all have our own connections and networks, but they might not cover all of Southeast Asia.

    The aim of this workshop is to bring together all the actors concerned with Academic materials pertaining to Southeast Asia – publishers, librarians, scholars – to discuss how we could enhance access to these materials.

    This workshop is planned to take place on 19 July 2017, just after the International Conference on Thai Studies (16-18 July) and before ICAS 10 (20-23 July) at the EFEO centre in Chiang Mai (École française d’Extrême-Orient, 131 Charoen Prathet Road, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand). A library tour could be organized for those interested.

    Tentative Agenda:

    9:30: introduction

    10:00 – 12:00: roundtable

    12:15 – 13:30: lunch break

    14:00 – 17:00: small group discussions on area subjects and e-resources

    17:30: wrap up

    For details and registration please contact Antony Boussemart at antony.boussemartATefeo.net.


    Thai music inventory online

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    Thailand has an incredible variety of popular and traditional musics. The website Thaimusicinventory attempts to make Thai popular music available to people who are not Thai and also aims to facilitate the exchange of information and views between Thais and non-Thais. The Thai popular music industry is the most developed in the region and has an unbroken history that extends over 100 years (even through WWII). However, Thai popular music is generally not easily available outside Thailand and has not made any impression on Western sensibilities. The study of Thai music (both popular and traditional) is still in its infancy in comparison to that of China, Japan, Indonesia and India. Even in Thailand, the study of Thai popular music is often not considered to be a worthwhile activity.

    This website hosts articles on various aspects of Thai popular music, some scholarly and some more popular in approach, as well as lesson plans for high school teachers.  There are also links to the Isan music performances filmed by John Draper’s Khon Kaen University Isan Culture Maintenance and Revitalization Program. Of particular interest is a newly added page illustrating the breadth of the Thai 78 rpm Discographical Framework.

    The two main authors are Dr James Mitchell and Peter Garrity. James has studied and published widely on Thai music and Peter is a very well known figure in the Bangkok lukthung concert scene. Comments in Thai or English are encouraged and every effort to facilitate communication through these comments will be made.

    This website is only for educational purposes and is intended to foster a love of Thai music and Thailand. It is not for commercial purposes.

    The website has been developed with the generous support of the Australian Thai Institute, an Australian government body that seeks to build links between the two countries.

    (information from the Thaimusicinventory website)


    92nd Conference of the South Asia Archive and Library Group

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    We are pleased to announce that the next South Asia Archive and Library Group conference will take place on Friday 30th January, 2015 at the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre in South London.

    The conference will include the following talks plus a chance to view items from the Salvation Army’s archive collection and museum displays, as well as the SAALG Business Meeting.

    ‘Cataloguing the Michael Stokes Indian postcard collection’ Rosie Llewellyn-Jones (Archivist, Royal Society for Asian Affairs)

    ‘Searching for Mahabharatas: An inquiry into the modern adaptations of an Indian ‘national epic’ in Hindi and English cultural spheres’ Chimnay Sharma (PhD Candidate, SOAS University of London)

    ‘Three books about South India in the days of the Raj. Discovering the life and work of the photographer A. T. W. Penn’ – Christopher Penn (Independent Researcher, Author)

    ‘Digitising with volunteers: the experience of the Centre of South Asian Studies’ – Dr. Kevin Greenbank (Archivist, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge).

    The conference fee is £20 including lunch and refreshments and is payable on the day. If you would like to attend please fill in the online booking form . For more information, you may contact Helen Porter (contact details included on the online booking form).

    (forwarded from the SAALG Committee)

    Thai manuscripts at the Royal Asiatic Society, London

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    The Royal Asiatic Society London is pleased to announce that its small collection of Thai manuscripts is now searchable on its online catalogue.

    The subject of the texts is very varied, ranging from Thai law, history and literature, to Buddhism, herbal medicine, proverbs and fortune telling. All but one of the manuscripts is in the form of a folding book and most date from the 19th century. Some are unfortunately only single volumes from multi-volume texts. Several of the manuscripts were given to the Society in the 1940’s by H. G. Quaritch Wales, and the rest came from various donors.

    RAS MS 10A f6 (Courtesy of Royal Asiatic Society)

    RAS MS 10A f6 (Courtesy of Royal Asiatic Society)

    To see catalogue records for the manuscripts, go to http://ras.libertyasp.co.uk/library/Home.do and search for ‘Thai manuscripts’. Visitors are very welcome to view the manuscripts in the library. The Library page of the RAS web site at www.royalasiaticsociety.org has details of access arrangements.

    More details about the Thai manuscripts collection at the Royal Asiatic Society and many other interesting collection items and events can be found on the RAS Blog.


    National Museum of Cambodia catalogue online

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    The National Museum of Cambodia that was founded in 1920 houses one of the world’s greatest collections of Khmer cultural material including sculpture, ceramics and ethnographic objects from the prehistoric, pre-Angkorian, Angkorian and post-Angkorian periods.

    The Museum promotes awareness, understanding and appreciation of Cambodia’s heritage through the presentation, conservation, safekeeping, interpretation and acquisition of Cambodian cultural material. It aims to educate and inspire its visitors.

    The turmoil of recent decades has devastated all aspects of Cambodian life including the cultural realm. During the years of Khmer Rouge control the Museum, along with the rest of Phnom Penh, was evacuated and abandoned. The Museum suffered from neglect during this time and after the liberation of Phnom Penh on 7 January 1979 it was found in disrepair, its roof rotten, collection in disarray and garden overgrown. The Museum was quickly tidied up and reopened to the public on 13 April 1979. Tragically, however, many of the Museum’s employees had lost their lives during the Khmer Rouge regime. The resulting loss of expertise, combined with the deterioration of the Museum building and its collection, have made rehabilitation of the Museum a daunting task.

    Despite such obstacles the last decade has seen considerable progress, with generous assistance from individuals, foreign governments and numerous philanthropic organizations.

    The CKS National Museum Collection Inventory Project (2004-2010) has brought a revitalized sense of order to the Museum’s collection andpersonal confidence to trained Museum staff, who now oversee this important ongoing project. It has greatly assisted the Museum’s international exhibition and publications programs, identification and repatriation of missing works of art, links with re-established provincial collections and the fostering of both established and newly formed conservation workshops in stone, metal and ceramics. It has won international acclaim.

    Most importantly, the location and condition of thousands of works of art in storage have been digitally catalogued, with works arranged in a logical and systematic way. Ongoing agendas include digital photography of every work, scanning of extant French inventory cards and cross-referencing the past and present catalogue systems.

    Members from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and staff of the National Museum of Cambodia, together with the Center for Khmer Studies and the Leon Levy Foundation have joined in celebrating the public launch of the ‘National Museum of Cambodia: On-line’ on 3rd January 2014.

    A three-year grant from the Leon Levy Foundation has enabled all the primary text and image files produced over a six-year period to be incorporated into a database that is used to fully catalogue the museum collection in addition to providing access to search the present collection on-line in both Khmer and English.

    This purpose-built database based on international museum software is the work of Khmer Dev INC, Phnom Penh working in tandem with the museum’s IT programmer – proudly a Cambodian enterprise. It is a necessarily complex system that incorporates demands for three language texts English, French, Khmer, digital colour images and scanned catalogue cards. It performs a host of secondary functions other than ‘search the collection’. The database can be used to off-print museum labels to specified formats, produce loan documentation, has entries for reportage, conservation records with varying formats for search lists as required. One special feature is the capability of this system to be exported to the Cambodian provinces and a version of the cataloguing system made available to staff outside the capital enabling them to catalogue their own collections. Khmer-English glossaries, terminology and geographic location indexes & etc. can be directly sourced from the National Museum system.

    Current cataloguing of the collection as at end of December 2013 within eleven categories stands at:
    01-Stone 3,307; 02-Ceramics 4,316; 03-Metal 7,367; 04-Textiles 229; 05-Paintings 49; 06-Wood 494; 07-Manuscripts 481; 08-Plastic 30; 09-Glass 32; 10-Skin 21 & 11-Horn 112.

    The Museum collection now stands at a total of 16,438 works of art. In 2004, at the commencement of the programs, an estimate of the Museum’s collection numbered around 14,000 objects.

    An integral part of cataloguing works of art is documentation and identification – researching art styles, periods in addition to provenance, or history of ownership. Using the new Database Project resources, the Museum is now in a position to digitally present its internationally-famed collection.

    The databse, which is being updated regularly, is accessible through the Museum’s homepage.

    Cham manuscripts online

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    The British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme aims to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration world-wide. This is achieved principally through the award of grants in an annual competition. Last year, an award was granted to the Northern Illinois University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, for a pilot project dedicated to the preservation of Cham manuscripts.
    The Cham are an important ethnic minority in Vietnam. Descendants of the Champa kingdom that lasted from the 2nd to the 17th century AD, the Cham are the largest group of Hindu and Muslim people living in Vietnam.
    The Cham’s writing system is mainly based on Sanskrit, with the majority of Cham manuscripts still in existence written in the akhar thrar script. Writings were previously inscribed on palm-leaves, but in more recent times they are recorded on paper. Cham manuscripts contain rich information about Cham customs, religious practice, literature and daily activities of Cham people. Many are records of officials and families in the communities. Manuscripts still in existence are mainly from 50 to 150 years old.
    Cham manuscripts unfortunately have not been well preserved. Some have been collected by local governmental institutions and many more still exist in Cham communities. Cham manuscripts privately held by families in the communities are also disappearing. Many manuscripts are simply ruined over time by the hot and humid climate. Most young Cham people today are not able to read Cham scripts and thus pay little attention to the preservation of manuscripts in their families. Furthermore, some Cham people believe that it is bad luck to keep ‘deserted books’ (Akhar bhaw) in the home and hence, books not cared for or read frequently will eventually be discarded in rivers.
    Three digitised Cham manuscripts from this project are now available online on the library’s Endangered Archives homepage.

    (Information provided by Hao Phan / Endangered Archives homepage)

    Burmese court scenes in a 19th century parabaik


    San San May, British Library

    During the reign of King Mindon (1853-1878), Burmese artists were officially appointed at the royal court. One of the duties of the royal painters was to record important events at the court and scenes from royal life in folding books (parabaik). Those paintings from the Konbaung period were forerunners of Burmese fine arts. Sixteen scenes of court ceremonies and entertainments are in the 19th century court parabaik, Or.16761. Scenes in the folding book are painted in water colours and enclosed in yellow panels, with a single line of explanatory text in Burmese script. Subjects include elephant herding, royal processions on land and by river, ceremonial ploughing, elephant taming, javelin throwing, coronation ceremony, elephant fighting, blessing ceremony, traditional cane ball game, dramatical performance, boxing, cock-fighting and royal barge procession. In ancient times these ceremonies were not only royal occasions but also the people’s occasions as they were competitions.

    In this scene, elephant trainers are herding a young white elephant. Every Burmese king longed to possess a white elephant (Sinpyudaw) as they believed white elephants were signs and symbols of power and sovereignty. These auspicious white elephants were kept as an ornament or royal regalia when they were found. According to the story of the life of Buddha, Queen Mahamaya dreamt of a young white elephant after conceiving of Lord Buddha. They are regarded as a blessing for peace and prosperity in other Buddhist stories as well. (Or.16761, fols. 1-3)

    In this scene, elephant trainers are herding a young white elephant. (Or.16761, fols. 1-3)

    Every Burmese king longed to possess a white elephant (Sinpyudaw) as they believed white elephants were signs and symbols of power and sovereignty. These auspicious white elephants were kept as an ornament or royal regalia when they were found. According to the story of the life of Buddha, Queen Mahamaya dreamt of a young white elephant after conceiving of Lord Buddha. They are regarded as a blessing for peace and prosperity in other Buddhist stories as well.

    In the time of the Burmese Monarchy, the royal ploughing ceremony (Lehtun Mingala) was held in the month of Warso (June to July) to ensure a good harvest to the whole country.  In the scene the king and his ministers are ploughing the field outside the royal palace with the sacred oxen which are hitched to wooden ploughs. (Or.16761, fols. 7-9)

    In this scene the king and his ministers are ploughing the field outside the royal palace with the sacred oxen which are hitched to wooden ploughs. (Or.16761, fols. 7-9)

    In the time of the Burmese Monarchy, the royal ploughing ceremony (Lehtun Mingala) was held in the month of Warso (June to July) to ensure a good harvest to the whole country.

    In this scene a Burmese musical troupe is entertaining the royals. To the left, royals are under a canopy watching Burmese classical dance (Zat pwe). To the right are dancers and musicians accompanied by an orchestra (Saing waing). Zat taw gyi or zat pwe is usually based on Jataka stories which are the most popular literary materials in all periods of Burmese history. (Or.16761, fols. 28-30)

    In this scene a Burmese musical troupe is entertaining the royals. To the left, royals are under a canopy watching Burmese classical dance (Zat pwe). To the right are dancers and musicians accompanied by an orchestra (Saing waing). Zat taw gyi or zat pwe is usually based on Jataka stories which are the most popular literary materials in all periods of Burmese history. (Or.16761, fols. 28-30)

    Mr & Mrs Macfarlane of London donated this manuscript, which had been in Mrs Macfarlane’s family since her grandfather acquired it in 1898, to the British Library in October 2010. The manuscript has been digitised and is available on the library’s Digitised Manuscripts Viewer.

    A Treatise on Siamese Cats


    Jana Igunma, British Library

    A Thai Treatise on Cats (Or.16797) has recently been digitised and made available online by the British Library. The original manuscript containing fine paintings of cats was brought to the library in February 2011 by the wife of an elderly manuscripts collector in the UK. The manuscript could easily be identified as a Treatise on Cats, similar to one manuscript already in the library’s Thai collections (Or.16008). However, the significant difference between the two manuscripts is that the illustrations in the newly acquired item are watercolour paintings on cream coloured paper whereas the other manuscript contains drawings in white chalk on blackened paper.

    The newly acquired Treatise on Cats has the format of a Thai folding book (samut khoi) with 12 folios, which open from top to bottom. It was produced in the 19th century in Central Thailand. Folding books were usually made from the bark of mulberry trees, whereas minerals, plant liquids and occasionally materials imported from China and Europe were used as paints. Sometimes the paper was blackened with lamp black or lacquer to make the paper stronger and more resistant against damage by bugs or humidity.

    Or.16797, folio 2

    Or.16797, folio 2

    The text that accompanies the 23 paintings is in Thai script which, at that time, was mainly used for the production of non-religious manuscripts in Central Thailand. The rather short captions give descriptions of the features of different types of cats that were known in Siam. For each type of cat there is also a note what effect keeping this cat could possibly have on its owner. Unfortunately, as it is often the case with Thai manuscripts, neither an author or illustrator, nor a date is given in the manuscript.

    There was a tradition in 19th century Siam to produce treatises on animals which played an important role at the royal court and monasteries. Among such were first of all elephants, particularly albinos, but also horses and cats.
    The breeding of the most famous Siamese cats, for example the Wichienmat, was reserved for the royal family alone. Certain cats also were believed to be the “keepers” of Buddhist temples resulting in this cat being closely guarded and highly revered. There was a strong belief that certain types of cats could bring good luck, prosperity, rank or health to the owner, whereas other types of cats were regarded as unlucky animals to be avoided.

    For example, a white cat with nine black spots, auspicious green eyes, and a strong and beautiful voice was regarded as a lucky cat. It is said that whoever keeps this cat, he or she will become a respected person and gain a high social status.

    Further reading:

    Clutterbuck, Martin R.: The legend of Siamese cats. Bangkok, 1998

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