The Saturday edition of The Star featured a book I am now eating my heart out for. Malay Peninsula: Old Photographs of Malaya and Singapore draws on the turn of the 20th century photographs in the private collection of Selangor Sultan, Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
He bought a boxed set of of photogravure prints by German photographer Charles Kleingrothe from a dealer in London, some decades back :
When I saw the old-fashioned photographs of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States, I was very impressed and realised instantly that these were of great historical importance. By buying the original prints, I was not just adding to my collection, but also helping to preserve the nation’s photographic history. The photos are beautifully and expertly taken, and the subjects ranged from people in traditional wear, natural landscapes, buildings, tin mines and fishing villages, to large towns, government offices, plantations, ports and everything that made up the Malay peninsula over a hundred years ago.This is the kind of book I could pour over for hours, the nearest thing to a time machine. Just that the RM400 price tag is a bit too steep for me. (Have I ever paid that for a book?)