The Extinction of Prowess: New insights to the role of local intermediaries of power in 19th-20th century Singapore

21 Oct 2022 03.30 PM - 05.00 PM Hybrid Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
SoH Southeast Asian Studies

This is a hybrid seminar.

For in-person seminar at Meeting Room 3, please register here:

For Zoom seminar, please register here:

In 1906, a curious report appeared in the Straits Budget (a defunct newspaper) published during colonial Singapore. It reported about an ongoing land dispute between an “old Bugis warrior” named Wah Kaya and the British colonial government. Wah Kaya claimed that lands around Telok Blangah was part of his holdings and they were given to him for his services fighting for the Temenggong of Singapore during the Pahang Civil War (1857-1863). The report and others like it highlight the importance of the “Orang-orang rajah” or royal followers of the Temenggong and even Sultan Hussein of Singapore but not much is known about their roles for both these rulers. However, work done recently on Malay and Bugis martial arts groups in Singapore and Sulawesi, Indonesia, discovered new insights to these royal followers and this talk will examine to what extent are such materials useful in reconstructing the history of local intermediaries of power in Singapore and Southeast Asia and how they have adapted to rapid changes in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Dr. Effendy is a lecturer at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. Trained as a historian, he has wide interests that include Pre-colonial Southeast Asian history, Colonial Southeast Asian history and Martial Arts studies.