New book unpacks early years of '18th-century trailblazer' Francis Light

Rose Gan's book 'Dragon' about a young Captain Francis Light adds to the conversation surrounding the country's colonial past. Last year, vandals splashed red paint on the statue of the Penang founder at Fort Cornwallis in George Town. Around the world, statues and monuments of long revered colonial figures were also spray-painted or beheaded. Photo: The Star/Chan Boon Kai

Swashbuckler or swindler, trader or statesman, the mere mention of the name Captain Francis Light in the state of Penang is bound to draw an array of clashing reactions.

Known for establishing the isle as a British settlement back in 1786 under the name Prince of Wales Island, Light has been quietly acknowledged with opening the door to the eventual colonisation of what would later be Malaya.

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