Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Searching for the grave of Captain Francis Light in Panang Malaysia

I know the name of Captain Francis Light is not one well know to most of this world, but he was the British Captain that was the founder of a new British colony,Malaysia.  He and his crew landed on the Island of Panang. He leased the island of Panang from the Sultan of Kadeh on his arrival to the Island in 1786. He was master of several languages including Malay which helped in his development of the island and it's capital George Town (named for King George). There is a story about when he arrived the native Malay people brought him a meal. He asked what it was? The reply was "Curry Kapitan".. It was simple chicken dish that to this day is a great favorite in Panang area.  When I was in Malaysia with my friends Herman and Jeffery and his wife. We made a trip to Panang and traveled to Ft. Cornwallis. The fort was originally founded by Light and named after the general who had so recently surrendered to George Washington. I guess it was good to name something for him as his spirits were not too high after loosing and surrendering to Washington and the French and therefore basically loosing the North American colonies. After bounding around in the fort and spending a bit of time hiding from very severe thunder and lighting storm, we went to find the grave of Captain Light. It was not very easy to do but through our hard work and marching through an area that the jungle was trying hard to recapture we found the grave of the founder of Panang. He died of malaria on Oct 25, 1794 and was buried with high honors in the Protestant cemetery on Northham Rd.  However it is now called  Jalan Amhad Shah in Georgetown. So I thought I would write about a rather forgotten part of Malaysian history. Panang as you may know is called the "Pearl of the Orient" and when you go there you will see why.  Of course if you do go there....have some Curry Kapitan in honor of Capt. Light