Through the Eyes of the King by P. Lim Pui Huen
The Travels of King Chulalongkorn to Malaya
This book takes the reader to old Malaya as seen through the eyes of King Chulalongkorn of Siam. The King was probably the most travelled monarch of his time. He went to Java three times, India and Burma once, and Europe twice. In all these journeys, he had to pass through Singapore, and when he went westwards, he had to pass through Penang.
The King travelled to Malaya more than ten times—mainly to Singapore but also to Johor, Penang, Malacca, Taiping and Kulim. The narrative is told through historical photos and notes on the places he visited and pen sketches of the people he met.
Since King Chulalongkorn's travels cover nearly the whole period of his reign, they reflect the different stages of his life and reign. We see him first as a young man eager to see the world and preparing himself to rule. Then we see him in middle age, in poor health and taking a respite from the cares of state. Lastly, we see him as a statesman withstanding severe pressures from aggressive British officials.
The context of each journey is discussed in the light of Siam's relations with Britain and the northern Malay states that were still under Siamese suzerainty. Malaya was both holiday destination and confrontational space.
About the Author
P. Lim Pui Huen was founding Librarian of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies but transferred to the research side of ISEAS in 1988. Now an independent scholar, she has written about secret societies, clan associations, Chinese genealogies, World War II, and local history. Her writings—including a biography of her great-grandfather Wong Ah Fook, an illustrated history of Johor (mid-2009), together with this volume—reflect her abiding interest in the theme of continuity and connectedness—between past and present, tradition and modernity, and between peoples and communities.
Chiang Mai 2010
Large size 240 x 260 mm.
207 pages, illustrated