In the late 1920s British colonial power in Malaya appeared at its zenith. Run by a small political and commercial elite on behalf of metropolitan interests, Malaya was the most profitable of all Britain’s possessions and seemed likely to remain that way. Into this scene came a young journalist, George Bilainkin – witty, confident, acerbic and iconoclastic – appointed by chance as editor of Penang’s lively English-language newspaper The Straits Echo in 1929. Through a series of engaging sketches and reflections he discloses a wonderfully compelling portrait of Penang, its personalities and its environs. Looking beyond the complacent colonial façade Bilainkin grapples directly and indirectly with a wide range of topics that have strikingly modern echoes: the absurdities of social snobbery; the position of women in society; and, above all, the fraught nature of race relations.
This revised edition of Hail, Penang! offers an original, engaging and provocative glimpse of colonial society that is sure to engage a new generation of readers.
Published by Areca Books