Category Archives: South East Asia

Glasgow’s first Malaysian student

To mark Malaysian Independence Day, Hari Merdeka, we’ve got a Glasgow First post.

The University of Glasgow welcomed its first Malaysia student in 1911. Lee Hoe Thye was from Penang, the Straits Settlement, present day Malaysia, son of Yewcheong Thye, a mining engineer.

Lee Hoe Thye, Engineering and Naval Architecture Class 1913–1914 (ACCN173/11/7/1a)

He enrolled at the University in 1911, aged 23, to study Engineering for two years.

Educated at the Penang Free School and at Aberdeen Grammar School, Thye undertook a five-year apprenticeship in 1906 with William McKinnon and Company Ltd, Aberdeen while also attending Robert Gordon’s Technical College.

Thye continued his studies for a further year at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1914 he was employed as a draughtsman with Messrs. Glenfield and Kennedy Ltd, Kilmarnock.

In October 1915, Thye returned to the Federated Malay States, where he was a supervising engineer to Chan Sow Lin and Co, Kuala Lumpur.

He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1910, and an Associate Member in 1916, but died in December 1920.

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Indonesia’s Independence Day

To mark Indonesia’s Independence Day (17 August), here are some Indonesia-Glasgow stories from the archives.

The History of Sumatra Map

The History of Sumatra Map

The first student with links to Indonesia was Charles Campbell, a surgeon and botanist to the East India Company at Sumatra. He studied Arts at the University in the 1760s, and went on to contribute his expertise to William Marsden’s

The History of Sumatra Title Page

The History of Sumatra Title Page

The history of Sumatra, containing an account of the government, laws, customs, and manners of the native inhabitants, with a description of the natural productions, and a relation of the ancient political state of that island (1783). It was the first comprehensive account of the island’s natural history, and Special Collections holds a copy

The University’s earliest Indonesian-born student was Charles William Young, son of a merchant born in Batavia, modern day Jakarta, around 1813, who began his studies in 1831.

For more connections with Indonesia see the Indonesia country page of the International Story.

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Baton Relay reached Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam will receive the Queen’s Baton today (28.10.2013)  The University welcomed its first students from Brunei in the 1960s, who both graduated with Medical degrees. The earliest connection identified by the International Heritage project is through this 1710 map of Borneo – Brunei, since 1984, being the only sovereign state completely on that island, which it shares with Malaysia and Indonesia:

Sp Coll Bl1-i.1

Sp Coll Bl1-i.1

The map can be found in Daniel Beeckman’s A Voyage to and from the Island of Borneo, in the East-Indies…, (London, 1718), and Brunei can be found with the map’s designation of ‘Borneo’.

As explained in the online entry, Beeckman was captain of an English merchant ship which traded with the British East India Company, and his book is a record of his observations and experiences in 1713–14. A most exciting claim is that Beeckman’s account of Borneo may have been the the first European reference to and illustration of the Orangutan (of Malaysia, not Brunei though). Intrigued? To see that illustration of the “ORAN-OOTAN” just ask for Sp Coll Bl1-i.1 on your next visit to Special Collections.

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Malaysia & the fight against Malaria

Sir Malcolm Watson (Image courtesy of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Archives)

Sir Malcolm Watson (Image courtesy of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Archives)

Today (26.10.2013) the Queen’s Baton is passed on to Malaysia – and the International Story passes its ‘baton’ to Sir Malcolm Watson. An early anti-malarial pioneer, Watson was the pioneer of malarial control in Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia), making Malaysia’s anti-malaria programme one of the world’s oldest.

Watson graduated MB CM in 1895 and joined the Malayan Medical Service in 1900, submitting his MD thesis on The effect of drainage on malaria in 1903.

He went on to publish The Prevention of Malaria in the Federated Malay States; a record of twenty years’ progress (1921), and was the Principal of the Department of Malaria Control at the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London. Watson was knighted in 1924 for his services in Malaya.

Watson formed part of a World Malaria Day exhibition by the University of Glasgow Library – see the online exhibition at their flickr site.

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Baton flies in to Singapore

The Queen’s Baton Relay flies in to Singapore today (23.10.2013) – and back in the 1930s a female Medical graduate gave herself a similar challenge: to fly solo from Glasgow to Singapore (minus the Baton).

Enid A Robertson, MBChB 1921 (DC223/2/9/8/2)

Enid A Robertson, MBChB 1921 (DC223/2/9/8/2)

Dr Enid Aimée Robertson, MB ChB 1921, was posted to the Straits Settlements where she learned to fly and was one of the first female aviators there to own a plane. Together with fellow country(wo)man, Dr Elizabeth Cook, Robertson planned to embark on the 7,000 mile flight from Renfrew, Glasgow to Singapore.

You can read the article about  Enid and her “fast machine” published in The Straits Times on 26 April 1935, Dr. Enid Robertson to fly to Malaya.

So did the female aviators complete that 7,000 mile solo flight from Renfrew, Glasgow to Singapore?

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We’re taking up the Commonwealth Baton!

The International Story will be keeping up (or at least trying to keep up) with the Glasgow 2014 Baton as it passes through the countries that form the Commonwealth of Nations (and back). We will be blogging about the University’s alumni, staff and heritage connections with each Commonwealth country as the Baton arrives.

Commonwealth of Nations page of International Story

Commonwealth of Nations page of International Story

The Queen’s Baton Relay will start at Buckingham Palace on 9 October 2013, where The Queen will place Her message to the Commonwealth into the baton. The Baton will then proceed on its 288-day journey, covering over 190,000 kilometres.

First stop – India on 11 October 2013.

If you can’t wait until then, you can check out the connections we have so far uncovered (by no means complete) at the Commonwealth of Nations page of the International Story website. In the meantime, if you have any Commonwealth-related connections to share, please get in touch.

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International Story website goes live!

A Principal’s Reception was hosted yesterday (Thursday 21st March) by Senior Vice-Principal Andrea Nolan and Vice-Principal Frank Cotton to thank all of our International Story Editors for their fantastic contribution to the University’s International Story project so far.

This reception also signaled the launch of the online resource, which will continue to be updated and added to in the coming year as we uncover new international stories and connections. The website’s features include an interactive map to browse connections by country, which opens up to present a biography of someone associated with that country.

During the reception, Club21 student volunteers, Gabrielle Migdalski and Ianto Jocks both presented their findings and experience as International Story volunteers: Gabrielle’s project researched the influx of Polish students to the University during the 1940s, a period of mass displacements caused by WWII. She highlighted one student record in particular, Maria Kolasa, to highlight what became a family and love story at the University.  Ianto’s project consisted of the transcription and construction of a database of Lord Kelvin’s handwritten student registers (to be made available via the website in the near future), which will contribute not only to the International Story project but potentially to wider academic research. In fact, Andrew Watson attended Kelvin’s class in 1875-6 and has prompted further research to be carried out, which was published recently in the Scotsman.

Here are some photos from the reception:L1020176 L1020170 L1020178 L1020187 Photos from the Principal's Reception L1020195 L1020203 Photos from the Principal's Reception

As the project progresses, we hope the University and wider community will contribute their knowledge of Glasgow’s international connections to further enhance this insightful and exciting online resource.

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