Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Syed Abdul Malik of Batavia

Who was Syed Abdul Malik of Batavia? Why Batavia? What is Batavia? The old name for Java? What happened in history? Are there Muslim graves in South Africa? What is the oldest Muslim graves in South Africa?


Dutch East India Company (VOC)


I have rewritten this post to include all posts on the Dutch VOC. I am from Malacca. As a descendant of the Dutch Burghers of Ceylon, I collect interesting stories and details about the Dutch VOC.

Students are still doing research on the Dutch VOC even today, 342 years after the capture of Malacca in 1641.

The original Dutch VOC Archives is in Den Haag (The Hague), The Netherlands. This archive is good for everyone who has interest in Malacca's history.

PART 1: Dutch Conquest of Malacca 1641

What do we know about the Dutch conquest of Malacca? What did the Dutch do to the Indonesians? We know from history that there were Malays who opposed the Dutch rule in Indonesia. What happened to those politicians who refused to cooperate with the Dutch authorities in Indonesia? In Malacca? Were there many political refugees? Yes, the Dutch exiled Malay politicians to as far away as South Africa.


PART 2: Dutch VOC Hospitals in Malacca 1641-1796

I am interested in the early hospitals in Malacca 1641-1796. From reading, I know Dutch Malacca had 3 hospitals inside the Portuguese fort - a royal hospital, a civil hospital and one for the poor. There is a map of the grounds of the fort with the 3 hospitals, in Hospital Melaka's history.

PART 3: Dutch VOC Maritime Empire in the East Indies and the Hajj Pilgrimage 1641-1796

How far did the Dutch empire retain its status as a maritime empire in the nineteenth century? How big was Dutch espionage on the Muslim World?

Adventurer's photos capture a bygone Mecca by Barry Neild for CNN, 18 November 2010, updated 1954 GMT (0354 HKT)

Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje - with his rare 1885 photographs and sound recordings of Mecca.

Mecca: A Dangerous Adventure -- Snouck Hurgronje's early photographs 1885 is showing until December 6, 2010 at Dubai's Empty Quarter Gallery.

The earliest Dutch recordings of Makkah was in 1885, by Snouck Hurgronje. He was a pioneer multimedia journalist, and was accused as a Dutch spy. He stayed in Makkah for 5 months and converted to Islam. He fled Makkah when he took something and was accused a thief. he left his camera and recordings to a Syed partner. Syed continued to write to Hurgronje in Netherlands. Hurgronje left his pregnant Ethiopian wife in Makkah but they remarried and lived in Indonesia. He married more wives. What happened to him in the end? Nobody knows.

F. Gaastra, The Dutch East India Company: Expansion and Decline (2003).

J. van Goor, eds. Prelude to colonialism: The Dutch in Asia (2004).

Nigel Worden eds. Contingent Lives: Social Identity and Material Culture in the VOC World (2007).

N. Tarling ed. The Cambridge History of South-East Asia, Vol.2 19th and 20th centuries

K. Ward, Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company (2009).

JH Bentley, R. Bridenthal and K. Wigen eds. Seascapes: Maritime histories, littoral cultures and
trans-oceanic exchanges  Chapters by Gaynor and Ward

Eric Tagliocozzo, ‘Hydrography, technology, coercion: Mapping the sea in South-east Asian imperialism, 1850-1900’ in Rigby, Lincoln, Killingray eds. Maritime empires

Eric Tagliocozzo, ‘Kettle on a slow boil: Batavia’s threat perception in the Indies’ Outer islands, 1870-1910’ in Journal of South-east Asian Studies, 2000.

P. Carey, The Power of Prophecy: Prince Dipanagara and the end of an Old order in Java

L. Blusse, Visible Cities: Canton, Nagasaki and Batavia and the Coming of the Americans

R Betts and R. Ross eds. Colonial Cities: Essays on Urbanism in a Colonial Context essay by Blusse
on Batavia and Ross on Cape Town.

N H Schulte, The Spell of Power: A history of Balinese Politics, 1650-1940 (1996)

A. Schrikker, Dutch and British Colonial Intervention in Sri Lanka, 1780-1815

A Singh, Fort Cochin in Kerala, 1750-1830: The Social Conditions of  a Dutch Community in an
Indian Mileu (2010).

R Ross, Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, A Tragedy of Manners (1999)

U Bosma and R. Raben, Being Dutch in the Indies: A history of creolisation and empire (2008).

J G Taylor, The Social World of Batavia

L. Blusse and W. Remmelink, I Smits, eds. Bridging the Divide: 400 years of Netherlands-Japan

N Tarling, Anglo-Dutch rivalry in the Malay World 1780-1824  (1962)

J van Lohuizen, The Dutch East India Company and Mysore 1762-1790 (1961)

C. Skott, ‘The VOC and Swedish natural history: The transmission of scientific knowledge in the
eighteenth century’ in The Dutch trading companies as knowledge networks, (2010)

PART 4: Dutch VOC and Slavery in the East Indies 1641-1796

Details of VOC treatment of natives and slaves have not been brought to the fore. The world does not know about slavery as practised by the Dutch VOC. Since slavery has been banned in most civilised and democratic nations, the topic of slavery itself becomes a good historical topic to learn and research. Some of the cases uncovered were frightening and totally unexpected. We have to wait till the VOC researchers today write fully about the Dutch VOC slavery for us to read and see the extent of it.

PART 5: Dutch Burghers of Ceylon 1640-2015

The Dutch Burghers of Ceylon 1640-2015 will be hosting the world exhibition "VOC Heritage in Sri Lanka" in Amsterdam in 2015. The same exhibition is due in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. Please get in touch with the Secretariat. You can contact them in Facebook and also write to Nina van Dort.

PART 6: Dutch Submarines in WWII 1941-1945 

There are many naval details of WWII which we do not know about. Here are a few links for ships and Dutch submarines which were in Malayan waters. There is mention of Singapore, Borneo, and local cities and towns of Malaya and Siam - Kota Bharu, Patani, etc. There is mention of Pantai Timour in Bali, Indonesia. There is mention of Station Soerabaja (Surabaya). The Dutch submarines blog webmaster also seeks help from readers re people ID, event, location and date.

Dec 23 1939: Arrived in the Dutch East Indies. Transferred to the K X after a month of exercise patrols on O 20. The O 20 was sunk later in The Gulf of Siam (19 Dec 1941). Exercised on K X, then K XI, K VIII, K XVIII, and K XII in August 1940.Was off West coast of Borneo when war with Japan started (7 Dec 1941). Sailed on board K XII to Singapore, loaded torpedoes from Submarine tender (probably tender Janssens) and went on patrol off the coast of Malaya.                   http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/men/crew/men_g_tigchelaar.htm 
Dec 12 1941: Under the command of Ltz. I  H.C.J. Coumou we torpedoed a transport ship of about 8000 tons off Kota Bharu (Battle of Patani). http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/men/crew/men_g_tigchelaar.htm
O 20's deck phone, June 2002 off Kota Bharu (Malaysia). The official name of this phone is electro megaphone and it is manufactured by Brown. (Photo: © Roy Leenderts). http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/pictures/pictures_diving_o20.htm
The dive team at the bow of the Mata IkanJune 2002 off Kota Bharu. (Photo: © Collection Roy Leenderts). From left to right: Top row: DaniĆ«l Zuidema, Klaas Brouwer, Guido Granacher, Dick Cohen and Roy Leenderts. Bottom row: Michael Lim, Simon Bok, the captain (name unknown) and Marcel Conradi. http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/pictures/pictures_diving_o20.htm
K XV arriving in Tandjong Priok (Dutch East Indies), 1945. The submarine on the right is probably the Dutch Tijgerhaai (1). (Photo: © Collection Aart Hopman). http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/pictures/pictures_kxv_wwii.htm

PART 7: Dutch VOC vs Malay Courts in Tanah Melayu 

This is an article written by Nazli Aziz on the diplomatic corpus at the time of Dutch occupation in Tanah Melayu.


External links:

Dr Ralph George Hendrickse


Dr Ralph George Hendrickse married Begum Abdurahman, whose father Dr Abdullah Abdurahman was a third generation African-Malay. His grandparents were brought to South Africa as slaves from the Dutch East Indies.

Indian Subcategories

1891 - 3 categories:

  1. Bengali
  2. Burmese
  3. Parsee
1911 - 3 categories in the Straits Settlements (SS):
  1. India-born
  2. Straits-born
  3. Born elsewhere
1911 - 10 categories in the Federated Malay States (FMS):
  1. Tamil
  2. Telugu
  3. Punjabi
  4. Bengali
  5. Malayali
  6. Hindustani
  7. Afghan
  8. Gujarati
  9. Maharatta
  10. Burmese
1931 - 10 categories
  1. Tamil
  2. Telegu
  3. Malayali
  4. Punjabi
  5. Indians from United Provinces
  6. Burmese
  7. Bengali
  8. Indians from Bombay
  9. Bihari 
  10. Nepali

The Great Amazon Basin

1. Who do you think live in the Great Amazon Basin?

Amazing people!

2. Why is the Amazon Basin important to Malaysia?

We got rubber from the Amazon Basin. Without rubber, we would be poor.

Malaysia is the leading producer of natural rubber in the world. About 46% of the total world's rubber is produced in Malaysia. The rubber plantation was started in Malaysia in 1877. First, the seedlings were brought from the Amazon Basin, and were planted here on a experimental basis. Later, when the rubber seedlings were successfully planted, attempts were made to produce it on a commercial scale. The British people, who colonised the region and introduced rubber tree, provided the capital for clearing the forest and planting rubber trees. They also provided the market for rubber. The skilled labour that was needed was managed from India, particularly from South India. Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Rubber_plantation_in_Malaysia 
3. Who wrote about the Amazon Basin and linked it to the Malay Archipelago?

Alfred Russel Wallace:

Prof Sedick Isaacs 1939-2012


He was born in 1939 and grew up in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town in Western Province (now Western Cape) in South Africa.

He was the second of 4 siblings. His father was a businessman in fishing and died when he was 6 years old. His mother worked in embroidery and raised the kids.


He was a schoolteacher and taught Mathematics and Physics.

He was arrested in 1964 and sentenced to 12 years on Robben Island (prisoner #883/64). While in prison, he read and memorized the Quran.

How I met Prof Sedick Isaacs

I met Prof Sedick Isaacs once only when he visited Universiti Sains Malaysia Health Campus in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan. I was placed in charge of his visit and his wife.

Prof Sedick spoke German, so I said Welkomen and Dankeshon to him. We talked about his life when I interviewed him at Perdana Resort in Pantai Cahaya Bulan, Kelantan, long long ago, back in 1997/98. I have not emailed him for a long long time!

He had a very good story about humanity and imprisonment. We talked about life imprisonment, apartheid, sharks at the Cape, Robben Island and great hope for a free life. What hope is there when one is imprisoned for whatever it was?

Prof. Seddick Isaacs was a hafiz, and a good one too. Imagine if you have nothing else to read in your prison cell and all you have is the Quran. What would you do? The best thing is to recite and commit to memory, and come out a hafiz.

That was what he did for 13 years! He memorised the Quran for 13 boring years at Robben island prison.

A free man again

An active young man, 38-year old Sedick Isaacs was released from Robben Island towards the end of September 1977.

Following his release, he was banned for 7 years and could not find employed. In the meantime, he married a nurse Maraldea in 1979 and they had children.

Re-entering academia

The ban was uplifted in 1986 and he re-entered academia, completing his PhD in Germany in 1990.

He was Honorary Fellow, International Medical Informatics Association in 2010.

He was nominated as a Sports Icon in 2010, for bringing sports to Robben Island.

His memoirs of Robben Island were published in 2010.

He was Companion of Demontford University, UK in 2011.


He passed away on 18 October 2012 in Cape Town (3 months after this post was first written).

Update 16 October 2017

Today, I found out online that Prof Sedick Isaacs had passed away five years ago on 18 October 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

He wrote a book entitled Surviving in the Apartheid Prison, which was published by Xlibris in 2010.

External links:



This is him on the issue of Islamic banking where charges are high: