Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles is one of the key persons who are responsible to the founding of modern Singapore. He played an important role in forming a British Settlement, Singapore, in the Melaka straits despite facing rejections, such as Dutch or even resistance in London itself. He is a controversial person even in his time. Hence there is no doubt that there are lots of information about him and founding of Singapore in the internet. However, how do we assess these websites for its appropriateness towards scholarly research is the main objective of this essay.
According to The Sheridan Libraries an appropriate source for scholarly research would have information such as “authorship, publishing body, point of view, referral to other sources, verifiability and currency” . In the case of internets sources, at least we could have an idea who is the author and a way to contact, such as telephone or email, to clarify the information provided in the internet or even arranged an interview.
The first source regarding Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and the founding of Singapore which I’m going to examine is taken from Wikipedia. Let just put aside for a moment the authorship and verifiability of the passage, and for a moment assume it is what it is. Wikipedia provides a very detailed explanation of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. The information in Wikipedia is like a series of events that arranged chronologically. This is by far a more interesting and captivating way for the readers. Nonetheless, the events and points that provided by Wikipedia are also very broad. The general impression that I gained, from Wikipedia, that summarize who Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles was, was a hardworking, wise, fair, rational and both lucky and unfortunate person. When I read the passage, I generally felt that all he had done were good things. He was a very hardworking child, despite the early death of his father. He was lucky enough to be hired by East India Company and had the opportunity to expose himself to South East Asia, and based on his talent, picked up the native language, Malay, and good enough to impress the Governor to promote him as a Resident of Java at the age of 30. He abolished slave system, led an expedition to restore Borobudur, replaced Dutch forced agriculture system with land tenure, founded a more administrative Singapore and throughout the end, I felt sorry with his early death and his lost of family members. All the events are centralizing in the goodness of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. However, aren’t these very subjective opinions from a historical point of view? In the passage, it mentioned “considered Farquhar unfit for the position of Resident, so Raffles took direct control with a heavy hand.” The Wikipedia source didn’t really stated why William Farquhar was unfit for the position. Did he done something wrong that suffer the indigenous people? Did he make a lost in financial during his tenure? We may get some answer for these questions from how well the author think Singapore did as soon as the take over from British until the return of Raffles at year 1822 base on the paragraph “…as Singapore grew at an exponential rate, the Dutch gave up their claim on the island…” This in certain account created ambivalence from the author, and let just assume what both lines are true. Maybe the author is trying to tone down the confrontation between Farquhar and Raffles. By providing a reason for the discord, which reasonably present with a glim, it seems what Raffles did is reasonable. Besides that, under the “Founding of Singapore” session in the Wikipedia source, Farquhar was only credited for securing of British possession in the Riao’s area. This is by far had neglected his role in the founding of Singapore.
The second source that I am going to examine is a website from USP, NUS. Once again, put aside verifiability and authorship. Let examine the passage’s point of view towards...
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