Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'Untold History' My Ass! (Part III)

Welcome to the third installment of the said title. What do our esteemed historian bring us today? Well another story about Malay pirates of course! He alleged that there were instances of Malay female pirates a la Anne Bonny and Mary Read or as he put it , 'Siti' Elizabeth Swann! His 'evidence'? A newspaper cutting from 1838 which I re-type here as the original is blurry and barely legible.

"The Morning Chronicle (London, England)
Friday, June 22, 1838

Another tragedy is supposed to have taken place on board a French ship, Alexander, which arrived a few days since at Newport under very suspicious circumstances. The Alexander is from Samarang, in Asia, and was originally bound home to France but the Captain (Marland) states that he changed her course for Boston, which not being able to find, he made Newport. He farther reported that the regular captain and seven of the crew had been washed overboard in the Indian Ocean. Two handsome MALAY WOMEN (emphasis added - Alpha) were on board, one of them being pro tempore the wife of Marland; and there was also a large amount in gold, diamond, [illegible]. Marland wished to sell the ship and cargo at Newport, but as he could give no satisfactory reason for changing his course from France to Boston nor show any authority...."

With this one newspaper article he claimed that there were Malay woman pirates early in the 19th century. He also arrogantly stated that these Malay pirates have been to America long before the ancestors of the rest of the forumners know the word 'America' . I presume that the Boston mentioned above is Boston, Massachusetts and the Newport is Newport, Rhode Island. Anyway, it cannot be inferred that the crew were pirates; in any case Marland was the acting Captain. My conclusion is that there may be a mutiny on board the Alexander with the conspirators throwing the captain and the seven crewmen overboard and the conspirators changed course to the United States where they would dispose of of the ship and cargo.

What about the two Malay women then? Well, one swallow doesn't make summer. Besides, one of them was actually a pro tempore (temporary) wife of Marland (whatever it means!) and the two of them might probably be passengers on the Alexander, rather than the conspirators. Our esteemed historian gave a coclusion, based on this truncated newspaper cutting, that Malay women were also involved in piracy a la Elizabeth Swann! Is mutiny piracy?

Again certain forumners said that this is the proof that the Malays have travelled far, even to the United States in early 19th century! Oi! there were better proof than this one to show that the Malays have travelled beyond The Cape.....Furthermore, although it was not explicitly mentioned, I fear that the two women were not mere passengers but slaves. Is that something to be proud of?

1 comment:

mumuchi said...

the story sounds familiar, though the ladies was not malay or in this case semarang indons.