Saturday, May 15, 2010

Penang German Community

More Than Merchants ( A History of the German-speaking Community in Penang 1800s-1940s ) by Khoo Salma Nasution (Areca Books, RM60.00)

One hundred years ago, the port of Penang attracted German and Swiss traders to make their fortunes here. This mercantile community had their own German club, beautiful suburban residences and prominent trading offices along the harbour front.

They made immense contributions to public life, engineering, architecture, photography and postcard publishing in this part of British Malaya, and unduly influenced Anglo-Siamese politics in Southern Thailand.

The S.M.S. Emden’s daring raid on the Penang harbour during the First World War is often recounted, but less well known is the fact that Penang served as a secret U-boat base during the Second World War.

More Than Merchants relates the social history of the German-speaking community in Penang through the stories of individuals, families and companies. Also featured are famous visitors to Penang such as Karl May, Count Friedrich M. von Hochberg, Hans Sturzenegger and Herman Hesse.

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