Revamped history book gives voice to orang laut

New edition of text covering 700-year period also has fresh insights, reader-friendly features

The revamped Seven Hundred Years: A History Of Singapore captures the documentation of the orang laut by gem trader Jacques De Coutre in the late 1500s.
The revamped Seven Hundred Years: A History Of Singapore captures the documentation of the orang laut by gem trader Jacques De Coutre in the late 1500s. PHOTO: SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS: A HISTORY OF SINGAPORE

The orang laut people played a special role as vendors of the sea more than 400 years ago.

They pulled up alongside passing vessels in small boats and offered fish, poultry and fruit picked in the hills of Singapore. They also offered handcrafted palm-leaf parasols that they bartered in exchange for blankets, rice and nails.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'Revamped history book gives voice to orang laut'. Subscribe