Penang Story Lectures

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Penang Story Lectures

Published on May 11, 2013 | by pht.org.my


Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong and Shared History of Malaysia-Thailand Relations: From the Past to Future Cooperation Keynote speaker: H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Thailand


About Penang Story Lectures

The Penang Story Lecture Series aims to create awareness about Penang’s history and heritage. The theme this year is “Penang in Global History” focusing on the role the people of Penang played in local, regional and global histories. Equally fascinating is Penang as a place, a refuge and centre for knowledge development and intellectual movements. The lecture series also aims to explore Penang’s unique “place-identity” and strengthen the enabling factors that continue to make Penang attractive to talent. These public lectures examine a particular theme from a multi-disciplinary perspective.



The Penang Story Initiative: Local, Regional and Global Histories With UNESCO World Heritage Site Inscription in 2008 and the growing awareness about cultural heritage issues, this new chapter of the Penang Story not only continues to celebrate cultural diversity but expands to include a re-discovery of Penang’s place in local, regional and global history. There will be a special emphasis on Penang as a place of “conjunctures, confluences and contestations”; highlighting the cosmopolitan society that contributed to the making of Penang’s “spirit of place”; and all this by concentrating on Penang’s multi-ethnic community and their contribution to local, regional and global histories. The Penang Story is an open platform for all those with an interest in Penang from different parts of the world to contribute towards “deepening” the story. The project’s focus is not only on events and people but also on other intangible heritage involving foodways, economic activities, values and beliefs, education and all other aspects related to George Town’s “Outstanding Universal Values”. The Penang Story will build a greater sense of solidarity amongst locals particularly stakeholders in George Town. It will also deepen the public’s understanding of Penang’s role as a place attractive to talent and a home where ideas germinate and return to influence world affairs. This will boost the sense of possibility so important to Penang’s civil society movement. Lastly, we hope that Penang Story will encourage communities to become proud of their own heritage whilst engendering great respect for the traditions and history of other communities. Ultimately, all communities will become aware of having contributed to Penang’s development and progress.

Dato’ Anwar Fazal Chairman Penang Story


About the Speaker

H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong

H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, also the current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Thailand, is one good example of the continual influence of the Khaw family in Thailand. Born in 1958, H.E. Mr. Kittiratt is an outstanding economist and politician. He attended the Assumption College and the Triam Udom Suksa School in Bangkok and graduated in economics at the Chulalongkorn University in 1980. He later studied for an MBA at the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration. H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong has held the position of managing director of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) for five years and became director of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He was a vice director of the Sasin Graduate Institute and president of the private Shinawatra University, founded by the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He was named Financier of the Year by “Money & Banking Magazine” in 2005 and last year, he was awarded “Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand”

Abstract of H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Minister of Finance visits Penang on 11 May 2013

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi or Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong, former Governor of Trang and Monthon Phuket, one of the most remarkable personalities in the history of Penang as well as Malaysia and Thailand relations, H.E. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Thailand, descendent of Khaw Sim Bee, has kindly accept the invitation to be the Keynote Speaker at the symposium entitled “Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong and Shared History of Malaysia-Thailand Relations” co-organised by Penang Heritage Trust (PHT), Royal Thai Embassy, Kuala Lumpur, and the Royal Thai ConsulateGeneral, Penang, on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang. The symposium will cover the shared history of Thailand and Malaysia and the Siamese Heritage Trails from the time of King Chulalongkorn who made his first Royal Visit abroad to Malaysia and Penang, the history of Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi (Khaw Sim Bee), who substantially contributed to the development of political and economic relations between Thailand and Malaysia. Based on the historical ties and business legacy of Khaw Sim Bee in Penang and Thailand and his distinctive contribution to the economic and development cooperation with Phuket, Trang, Ranong and other southern provinces of Thailand, for instance in the areas of trade, investment, tourism, mining and rubber industries, as well as banking, financial, logistics and transportation infrastructure, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt will also offer his remarks on “Thailand’s Current Economic Policy and Direction” in the Thailand-Malaysia Business Networking Forum, which will also be co-organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institution, on the same day at 2.00pm where the Thai and Malaysian business leaders will discuss ways and means to enhance Thailand and Malaysia economic and development cooperation.



9.30-10.05 AM

Morning session: Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong and Shared History of Malaysia-Thailand Relations : From the Past to Future Cooperation Welcome remarks by Ms. Khoo Salma Nasution, President of Penang Heritage Trust

Introductory remarks by H.E. Mr. Krit Kraichitti, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Malaysia

Keynote speech by H.E. Mr.Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

10.05- 10.50 AM

WORKSHOP: The Shared History of Malaysia & Thailand Moderator: Clement Liang


1. Mr. Isorn Pocmontri, Ambassador attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand

2. Ms. Khoo Salma Nasution, President of Penang Heritage Trust

3. Mr. Khaw Teik Gim, decendance of Khaw Soo Cheang

4. Ms. Pranee Sakulpipatana, Vice-President Thai Peranakan Association

5. Tunku Dato’ Dr. Hajjah Sofiah Jewa, author of “The Return-Biography of His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong XIV”

6. Mr. Sanchai Tandavanitj, descendant of Khaw Sim Kong

7. Datin Patricia Lim Pui Huen, author of “Through the Eyes of the King: The Travels of King Chulalongkorn in Malaya”.

8. Ms. Lim Kwee Phaik, great grand-daughter of Khaw Sim Bee

9. Prof. Tengku Sepora Tengku Mahadi, Dean, School of Languages, Literacies andTranslation, Universiti Sains Malaysia

10. Dr. Wong Yee Tuan, Head of Penang Studies Programme, Penang Institute

11. Mr. Colin Robert Mackay, historian and author of “A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region”

14.30- 17.30

PM Thailand-Malaysia Business Dialogue & Networking Forum Introductory remarks by H.E. Mr. Krit Kraichitti, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Malaysia

Welcome remarks by Mr. Megat Mizan Nicholas, Co-Chairman, Malaysia-Thailand Business Council (MTBC) Keynote Speech on “Thailand Economic Policy and its Future Direction” by H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Thailand


Khaw Sim Bee and Na Ranong Family, a shared History of Malaysia and Thailand by Clement Liang

Jalan Khaw Sim Bee

Most people in Penang would recall catching a glimpse of a road sign bearing the name “Jalan Khaw Sim Bee” while passing by Perak Road. Perhaps this is the only landmark in Penang to remind us of an iconic figure and the Khaw family once commanded a business empire of tin-mining, rubber and shipping that straddled Penang and southern Siam. The Khaw family history began with the emergence of one patriarch Khaw Soo Cheang who migrated to Penang from Zhangzhou, Fujian in 1822. Khaw started a vegetable farm in Sungai Tiram, near to the Bayan Lepas but after several years of unfruitful endeavours on the island, he decided to venture into southern Siam and explored other opportunities including tin mining, shipping and supplying workers along the west coast of Siam down to Penang.

Khaw Soo Cheang’s statue

His business began to flourish and soon he was appointed Royal Collector of tin royalties in the Ranong area. For his honesty and loyalty to the King, he was awarded the title “Luang Ratanasethi” and promoted to Governor of Ranong, the first non-Thai to be granted governorship in the Kingdom’s history. Khaw Soo Cheang had six sons – the eldest, Khaw Sim Cheng, died long before his father passed away in 1882. The second son, Khaw Sim Kong, succeeded him to become the next governor. In 1896 Khaw Sim Kong became Commissioner of the Monthon of Chumphon. The third son, Khaw Sim Chuah, was appointed Assistant Governor of Ranong and buried Khaw Soo Cheang’s statue 9 in Penang.

Phraya Ratsada Nupradit Mahisorn Phakdi

His fourth son, Khaw Sim Khim, became the Governor of Kraburi, and the fifth son, Khaw Sim Teik was appointed Governor of Langsuan. Khaw Sim Bee (1857 – 1913), the youngest son and the most well-known among the siblings, was knighted as “Phraya Ratsada Nupradit Mahisorn Phakdi” (The Grand Cross of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant), became Governor of Trang. In 1900, he was appointed Commissioner of Monthon Phuket or “greater Phuket circle” which included provinces along the Andaman Sea – Phuket, Thalang, Ranong, Phang-Nga, Takuapa, and Krabi. Khaw Sim Bee almost single-handedly saved the economy of southern Siam by introducing rubber cultivation at a time when tin industry was hit by dwindling supplies and falling prices in early 20th century. He started rubber tree planting in Trang and persuaded the local officials to distribute rubber seeds to more farmers. Chinese immigrants who arrived in Phuket to work in the tin mines switched to rubber tapping and in turn helped to expand the local rubber industry. The rubber was exported through Penang port to meet the industrial demands of Britain.

Khaw Sim Bee’s statue

Khaw Sim Bee is always being remembered as the Father of the Rubber Industry in Thailand. The Khaw family has contributed tremendously to developing the economy and modernising the administration of southern Siam by introducing talent, technology and institutional innovations from Penang, whilst resisting the British political and economic encroachments into the southern hinterland, an effort much appreciated by the Bangkok authorities. The family clan was given the noble title “Na Ranong” by the King of Siam after the death of Khaw Sim Bee. Khaw Sim Bee’s statue Rubber plantation 10 In Penang, the Koe Guan Co. founded by Khaw Soo Cheang earlier had grown to be one of the big shipping companies during British Malaya plying between Penang and southern Siam. The family also pioneered the insurance industry in Malaya by founding the Khean Guan Insurance Company while holding an interest in Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Co Ltd and Eastern Shipping Co Ltd.

A legacy of beautiful mansions and landmarks in Penang including two grand mansions which used to stand along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, i.e. Asdang House (site of current Mayfair condominium) and the sea-fronting Chakrabongse House

Asdang House Site of current Mayfair Condominium

The Khaw family left a legacy of beautiful mansions and landmarks in Penang including two grand mansions which used to stand along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, i.e. Asdang House (site of current Mayfair condominium) and the sea-fronting Chakrabongse House. Both were named after sons of King Chulalongkorn and became favorite venues for Siamese dignitaries and socialite activities. In the eyes of the Thais, Penang at the turn of the 20th century was an advanced state, well administered by the British authorities. To enhance the reputation of Siam, the Khaws donated a piece of prime real estate on the Esplanade to the people of Penang for public recreational purposes. Named Ranong Ground, it was located at the site of Dewan Sri Pinang.

H.E. Mr. Kittirat Na-Ranong

Asdang House 11 To commemorate the centenary of the death of Khaw Sim Bee who passed away in Penang on 10th April, 1913, Penang Heritage Trust, the Royal Thai Embassy, the Royal Thai Consulate-General Penang in collaboration with Think City will organise the Penang Story Symposium on 11th May, 2013 with special focus on the Khaw/Na Ranong family and the shared history of Malaysia and Thailand. A number of prominent speakers will be invited from both countries and the main speaker is none other than H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Thailand, a direct descendant of Khaw Sim Kong. To continue the legacy of the Khaw/Na Ranong family in promoting trade between Malaysia and Thailand, the Royal Thai Embassy will organise a Thailand-Malaysia Business Networking Forum on the same day and it will be officiated by H.E. Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, with a panel of business associates and high ranking officials to promote and explore trade opportunities between both nations. H.E. Mr. Kittirat Na-Ranong 12


Joint Organisers

THINK CITY SDN BHD (TCSB) is a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the investment arm of the Malaysian government, and an urban regeneration agency operating in the historic city of George Town. It manages the George Town Grants Programme (GTGP), which is a public grants programme designed to protect and preserve George Town’s Outstanding Universal Values. These include the city’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural living heritage, architectural legacy and intangible heritage as a historic port city in the Straits of Malacca. Think City’s involvement in this project provides focus on the cultural mapping process (documentation and outreach activities involving local histories and heritage) and the intangible heritage of the city. THE PENANG HERITAGE TRUST (PHT) is one of Malaysia’s most successful nongovernmental organizations championing the heritage conservation with special emphasis on Penang and George Town. The PHT played a pivotal role in the nomination of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also a key partner in the 2001/02 Penang Story Project bringing together local communities through a celebration of cultural diversity.

Knowledge Partners

GEORGE TOWN WORLD HERITAGE INCORPORATED (GTWHI) is the area manager of the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. It provides consultation and public awareness regarding the World Heritage Site. GTWHI also provides advice to the State and Local governments regarding heritage conservation issues and assists private property owners about best practices in conservation. UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA (USM) is Malaysia’s Apex University with wideranging research programmes. USM initiated several projects directly related to heritage conservation work in Penang and elsewhere.


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