Francis Light letters in the limelight


Bygone era: Haryany showing an old photo of the Penang State Museum building in Farquhar Street, George Town. It was bombed during the Second World War.

A HUGE collection of Malay manuscripts including the Francis Light letters will be among the exhibits on display during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Penang State Museum & Art Gallery at the end of this month.

State museum director Haryany Mohamad said the collection, known as as The Light Letters, was kept at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London.

It comprised of 1,200 letters from 1786 to 1794 in 11 volumes.

“The letters comprised those Light sent out and those he received as well as other documents such as bills, receipts, petitions and business contracts,” she said at the state museum in Farquhar Street on Monday.

“We received exclusive rights from the University of London to exhibit the 11 volumes.”

Haryany said the letters would explain the history of the Malay sultanate and how the Malays interacted with Light, who was a representative of a British company.

She said 13 agencies and museums from Penang, Kedah, Terengganu, Ngeri Sembilan, Selangor and Malacca would be collaborating together for the first time in history during the week-long celebration from April 27 to May 3.

Besides that, there will also be a ‘Supermokh’ exhibition on the late Mokhtar Dahari by the Selangor Malay Custom and Heritage Corporation.

Another exhibition by the Police Museum will cover the Bukit Kepong tragedy while the Sarawak Museum Department will hold an exhibition titled ‘Sakit Tapi Cantik’ (Painful But Beautiful).

There will also be an exhibition called ‘Wayang Kulit Seri Ason’ by the Kedah State Museum Board and a simulation and flight exhibition by the Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum.

“There will also be four educational programmes comprising a ceramics workshop, symposium on the Letters of Francis Light & History of Penang, traditional archery and a colouring competition.

“On top of that, we have also prepared about 20 activities,” she said.

The state museum was opened by the Governor of Penang, Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj Bin Mohamad, on April 14, 1965.

The week-long celebration will be held from 9am to 6pm daily at 57, Macalister Road. Admission is free.

For more details, call 04-2261461 or email to enquiries @penangmuseum.gov.my.

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