The Merlion on Marina Bay with Singapore’s central business district as its backdrop. Chinese merchant and traveller Wang Dayuan’s brief description of Singapore is one of the very few reliable records of the city state’s pre-British history. Photo: Getty Images
The Merlion on Marina Bay with Singapore’s central business district as its backdrop. Chinese merchant and traveller Wang Dayuan’s brief description of Singapore is one of the very few reliable records of the city state’s pre-British history. Photo: Getty Images
Wee Kek Koon
Opinion

Opinion

Reflections by Wee Kek Koon

Singapore’s early history captured in Chinese merchant’s ‘A Brief Account of the Barbarians of the Islands’ is closest we have to a reliable historical record

  • Fourteenth-century traveller Wang Dayuan wrote of pirates and people wearing headdresses and red cloths in his account of Singapore, part of a wider work
  • Singapore has had several Chinese names in the past, including Shi Le, Xi La and Xi Li

The Merlion on Marina Bay with Singapore’s central business district as its backdrop. Chinese merchant and traveller Wang Dayuan’s brief description of Singapore is one of the very few reliable records of the city state’s pre-British history. Photo: Getty Images
The Merlion on Marina Bay with Singapore’s central business district as its backdrop. Chinese merchant and traveller Wang Dayuan’s brief description of Singapore is one of the very few reliable records of the city state’s pre-British history. Photo: Getty Images

Corrected [3:55pm, 7 Jan, 2022]

  • [3:55pm, 7 Jan, 2022]

    A caption referring to a 1762 postcard has been amended.

  • We are part of the Trust Project What is it?
READ FULL ARTICLE