Past Events

A Story of George Town Pulau Pinang Malaysia c.1780s to c. 2000s

Penang Institute and History Section, School of Humanities of USM, in collaboration with Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka, are proud to host the book launch of “A Story of George Town Pulau Pinang Malaysia c.1780s to c. 2000s” which is scheduled as follows:

Date: 24 September 2019 (Tuesday)
Time: 8:00pm – 10:00pm (Doors open at 7:30pm)
Venue: Conference Hall, Penang Institute
Guest of Honour: Dato’ Anwar Fazal

Since its opening in 1786 as a port-of-call of the English East India Company (EEIC), George Town has had a place in the local, regional and international field of trade and commerce. Trading and commercial enterprise had been its forte, from its beginnings to the late 1960s. After having its free port status lifted in the late 1960s, Penang turned to the then up-and-coming electronics industry. In two decades, Penang earned the flattering moniker of ‘Silicon Valley of the East’. Penang too came to be adulated as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ for having beautiful beaches, salubrious hill environs, and rich and diverse sociocultural traditions that drew visitors from near and far. From 2008, following attainment of ‘Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca’ listing into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS), tourism entered its heyday.

A Story of George Town demonstrates that George Town, in the past and in contemporary times, had and continues to celebrate multiculturalism. Peaceful and harmonious ties between the various ethnic communities have long been the hallmark of George Town and Penang. Hopefully, it will act as a catalyst that will stimulate more historicyal writing about the city and Penang, and about Penang’s significance in the regional and international context.

About the Author:
Ooi Keat Gin FRHist, PhD, is an award-winning author with specialization in the socioeconomic and sociocultural history of Southeast Asia. Currently, he is professor of history and coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Research Unit (APRU-USM) in the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia and founding-editor-in-chief, International Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies (IJAPS) (

His major works are, as editor: Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, From Angkor Wat to East Timor, 3 vols. (ABC-CLIO, 2004); and The Works of Nicholas Tarling on Southeast Asia. Critical Concepts in Asian Studies, 7 vols. (Routledge, 2012). Recently completed is the final volume of a trilogy on the history of Borneo, viz. Borneo in the Cold War, 1950-1990 (Routledge, in press) to accompany previous volumes, The Japanese Occupation of Borneo, 1941-1945 (Routledge, 2011), and Post-war Borneo, 1945-1950: Nationalism, Empire, and State-building (Routledge, 2013. Another recent book-length (commissioned) work is Historical Dictionary of Malaysia, 2nd ed. (Historical Dictionary Series) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).