A Convincing Case for Farquhar

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Book review: William Farquhar and Singapore: Stepping out of Raffles’ Shadow by Nadia H. Wright. Entrepot Publishing, 2017.

The immediate success of Singapore led to a grim court battle to decide who her actual founder was. That clash continues in this new and superbly researched book.

The present always becomes the past. And the past in turn is something that slowly settles, obscuring as often as it educates; and in time it becomes hardened truth, just like a sun-cured cement pavement.

Like a recalcitrant and naughty child, then, a good historian tries to put his – in this case, her – imprint on the pavement before it is fully hardened, reminding us that any at and neat pavement is in fact a lie. The battle between William Farquhar and Stamford Raffles for the honour of being the founder of Singapore is indeed a subject that brilliantly brings this truth to the fore.


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