Here we have planted the British flag among the ruins of the ancient capital of Singapura, the City of the Lion! Here we will advance the interests of the East India Company and raise the Malay people to their former glory.


Sir Stamford Raffles is the man most often associated with Singapore’s colonization, and John D Greenwood attributes these words to him in this new novel.

A specialist book, Writing the South Seas is, steeped with lexicon which could take getting used to unless you work in the field. The title, however, is vivid: the term “South Seas” or (Nanyang in Mandarin) is familiar to everyone of Chinese ancestry from Southeast Asia. It refers to the lands south of China which are connected by an expanse of water aptly known as the South China Sea. Between the 1850s and the 1940s, the waves of this sea carried twenty million people from southern China to the varied countries of the Nanyang. Some of my ancestors were among them.