Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad (Badawi) is truly Asian. One can trace his roots to China and Brunei and by marriage to Japan.
Abdullah or Pak Lah's maternal grandfather migrated from Kwantung, China to Penang in the middle of the 19th century. Hassan Salleh or Hah Su Chiang settled down in Bayan Lepas upon arrival from China. He was welcomed by the local Brunei Malays of Bayan Lepas, particularly residents of kampung Perlis and kampung masjid.
The Brunei Malays are descendants of Pengiran Muhammad Salleh and Kalthom Raden Yahya (Tok Jaya). A village in Seberang Perai, Permatang Tok Jaya was named after Raden Yahya.
Hassan or Su Chiang planted rubber trees, padi and traded in jewellery and emerged as a wealthy man in Bayan Lepas. He had three wives and 13 children - two with his first wife, Salbiah Abbas, five with his second wife Siti Rahmah Abdul Rahman and six, including Pak Lah's late mother Datuk Kailan, with his third wife Kamariah Abdul Razak.
Kamariah's father, Abdul Razak bin Sulaiman, came from the same kampung as my late grandmother Mahzom Muhammad Salleh, they were the great-grandchildren of Pengiran Muhammad Salleh and Kalthom Raden Yahya, thus the Brunei connection.
The late Datin Seri Endon's mother is from Japan, and Pak Lah's second marriage to Jeanne (Danker) Abdullah added another flavour to his life. Jeanne is Eurasian. I wonder whether she is related to my Old Xaverian friend Tony Danker of Penang.
Hearty Congratulations and Best Wishes to YAB Datuk Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad and Jeanne Abdullah.
It's an open secret to those in Penang that Pak Lah is a descendant of Hassan Kwantung and Brunei Malays. Most of their relatives are based in Pulau Pangkor besides Bayan Lepas and Balik Pulau.
FYI, a group of people is working very hard to be recognised by the Government of Brunei as descendant of Pengiran Shahbandar Haji Muhammad Salleh that ran to Penang in 1873 due to struggle of succession in Brunei.
"Historical reality is often too bitter to swallow or too hot to stand. History is a large mirror that reflects the facts of the past,and all that has been etched into the glass of historythat can never be erased.
If you don't like a particular historical fact, you may try to cover it up or forget it but you can never remove it.
An historical fact can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but regardless of the interpretation, the fact will never change." (The Jakarta Post, July 2005)
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