Thursday, 18 July 2013

Munshi Abdullah

Munshi Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir (1797-deceased 1800s)
An Indian Muslim translator and chronicler who was born in Kg Pali, Malacca. 
Worked in British Malacca. Worked with Stamford Raffles in Singapore.

Full name: Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir
Call name: Munshi Abdullah, Abdullah Munshi
Born: 1797 Kg Pali, Melaka
Deceased: 1800s
Father: Abdul Kadir
Mother: Unknown
Sibs: All siblings before him died. Only he survived.
Education: Quran, Arabic, Malay and English
Occupation: Translator for the British colonial Government in Malacca and Singapore
Family: Unknown
Wife: Unknown
Children: Unknown

Munshi Abdullah is Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir. He was born in 1797 in Kampung Pali, Malacca. Kg Pali has been renamed Kg Masjid, and now Kg Ketek. His house is not far from Masjid Kampung Kling - about 5 minutes walk from the masjid. Masjid Kampung Kling is an ancient mosque in Malacca. People at the masjid can give the directions to Munshi Abdullah's house. 

Old version of Hikayat Abdullah printed in early 1960s
Two pages of his diary
A decorated page of Hikayat Abdullah
A decorated page of Hikayat Abdullah
Book cover of the modern version of Munshi Abdullah's book/diary/travelogue, as used in Malaysian schools for Malay literature class
Munshi Abdullah's house in Kg Pali, Malacca

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Frank Athelstone Swettenham (British Malaya), a British officer;
his profile resembles that of Munshi Abdullah

There are at least three books on British Malaya and Singapore that discuss Munsyi Abdullah.

  1. One book was written by Frank Swettenham and published in 1907. 
  2. Another book was published in 1948. The contents include accounts of Munsyi Abdullah meeting with Lord Minto. Another account states Munsyi Abdullah with Stamford Raffles and wife Olivia. 
  3. Kesah pĕlayaran Abdullah (Voyages of Munshi Abdullah), 1907 was written by Sir Richard James Wilkinson (1867-5 December 1941). He was a colonial administrator, a Malay scholar and historian.

There exists an ancient seaside Chinatown in Terengganu, which was visited by Admiral Cheng Ho, and was mentioned by Munshi Abdullah in his book.

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