Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Piecing Penang history by Winson Saw

This is the person that single handed did the things even our heritage people and the authority did not do. He is Mr Winson Saw. Here is the story of him from The Star.

Wednesday July 28, 2010
Piecing Penang history

ANTIQUE collector Winson Saw was disappointed when he first saw a book on the Yang di-Pertua Negri Pulau Pinang’s official residence Seri Mutiara when he was 17 years old in 1999.

He noticed that the book had a list of the state’s past administrators but there were no pictures of them.

Saw then began a search by writing to the national archives of United Kingdom and Singapore for some photographs and images.

“I even travelled to Singapore’s national archives to try to obtain some of the photographs,” he said in a phone interview recently.

About five years ago, Saw started a genealogy website ( featuring governors of Penang’s pre-independence era.

“I would post enquiries on the website and they will show up at any of the search engines.

“This has resulted in the descendants of the early administrators contacting me over the years with information. They also posted photographs on the website,” he said.

The images and information of some 90 governors, who served in Penang since 1786 till today, compiled by Saw are now featured in the ‘Penang’s Governors & Administrators through History’ exhibition at the Town Hall building at the Esplanade.

The exhibition, which is held in conjunction with the George Town Festival 2010 is on till July 31. It is opened from 10am to 5pm daily.

Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas opened the exhibition which is being held simultaneously with the Penang Peranakan Photo exhibition.

The photo exhibition will also end on July 31.

It is open from 9am to 5pm at the same venue.

Also present was Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Saw said most of Penang’s early administrators were from Scotland while others hailed from England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and even South Africa.

He said the state’s governors and administrators of different eras had different titles — Superintendent, Lieutenant-Governor, Governor, Resident Councillor and Military Governor but they all embodied the formal political leadership of Penang in various historical epochs.

The exhibition also highlighted that the colonial governors were mainly educated in military colleges or in the Oxbridge tradition and they rose through the ranks.

The governors lived in elegant state homes such as Suffolk House and the Residency on Western Road, which is now called Seri Mutiara.

After the country’s independence, the colonial governors were replaced by local-born Yang di-Pertua Negri, a Malay title which means ‘head of state’.

Saw said he had contributed a copy of a CD containing informa-tion and photos of the early administrators of Penang and Malacca to the National Archives in Kuala Lumpur.

“My quest is still not over yet as I’m still trying to find more pictures especially of the earlier administrators,” he said.

Saw, who started his antique collection business four years ago, said his next project was on the Straits Chinese.

“My ancestors on both sides are Straits Chinese and I’m still in the midst of collecting materials,” he said.


Bravo, Mr Saw......

No comments:

Post a Comment