Farquhar deserves better treatment

As the author of William Farquhar And Singapore: Stepping Out From Raffles' Shadow, I viewed with dismay the recent Singapore Tourism Board advertisements depicting Stamford Raffles and Farquhar.

While accepting they are tongue-in-cheek, I am concerned that they continue to perpetuate the myth that Farquhar was an old, unkempt and indecisive man, while Raffles was a young, strong and handsome visionary.

The truth is somewhat different.

Raffles was a short, thin and unwell man while Farquhar, who was only seven years older than him, was a fit military officer.

Raffles, through his incompetence, left the settlement facing food shortages and it was Farquhar who had the initiative to overcome these.

Furthermore, Raffles was an inept and tardy decision-maker, thus continually causing problems for Farquhar.

I think that more respect is due to William Farquhar, Singapore's first and only commandant, who developed the port from scratch into one that turned over £2 million in trade in 1822.

He deserves better than being unjustly parodied.

Nadia Wright (Dr)

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