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In marking bicentennial, don't forget Farquhar

It is not surprising that the Government is to observe the bicentennial of Stamford Raffles' arrival in Singapore in 1819 (Looking back to Raffles to move ahead; Jan 8).

However, I hope Raffles' subordinate, William Farquhar, who was the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore, will not be forgotten in the bicentennial observations.

The contributions of Farquhar, including his successful four years' management of the city, have been largely ignored. This can be attributed to how Raffles manipulated events and controlled information to ensure that his would be the only name associated with the initial establishment of the city.

A useful book to read in this regard is Dr Nadia Wright's William Farquhar And Singapore: Stepping Out From Raffles' Shadow, which examines all the records and correspondence of Raffles and Farquhar within the East India Company.

As a Scotsman, I am proud of the involvement of Farquhar, a fellow Scot, in the growth of this vibrant city. I hope Farquhar's contributions will be acknowledged in the bicentennial commemoration.

Ian McGregor (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 14, 2018, with the headline 'In marking bicentennial, don't forget Farquhar'. Print Edition | Subscribe