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December 30, 2009 / maidinmalaysia

the story of Labuan

The story of Labuan begins in 1775, I read aloud standing in the Labuan Museum. Our baby had drifted off peacefully to sleep. The airconditioning inside the museum was a welcome respite. And as the baby slept, I got drawn into the story of Labuan.

Apparently, the survivors of an attack on the British East India Company factory on Balambangan Island took refuge on Labuan.
Then the island was handed over to the British in 1846. Coal mining began in 1847.
In May 1879, the first Labuan’s postal stamp was issued. In 1891, a railway of about 10 milies was constructed.
In 1907 Labuan became a part of the Colony of “The Straits Settlements”.

In 1942, came one of the most darkest periods in Labuan’s history — The Japanese Army invaded Labuan. After around 3 years, the island was linerated by the Allied Forces and incorporated into the newly formed colony of north borneo.
In 1949, the construction of the Labuan’s international airport was begun.
In 1956 — Labuan was given the status as a tax-free port.
On 16 April 1984, Labuan was proclaimed as a Federal Territory,
And on October 1, 1990, Labuan was declared as an International Offshore Financial Centre.
The museum notes that the existence of a multi-racial society dates back to 1848. At this time, Chinese businessmen, coal miners, Indian traders, Sepoi army, Malays from the Straits Settlement all added variety to the composition of Labuan.

The museum has many pieces of history. There’s a samurai sword that was used during the Japanese occupation; several musical instruments that were played in the olden days are on display…there is a diorama of a water village that is very realistically done.

My favourite is up on on the firstfloor — the the lifelike wedding scenes …

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One Comment

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  1. Covert_Operations'78 / Jan 5 2010 1:48 am

    Ah, the Japanese Occupation! The mere mention of it still sends shivers down the spines of our senior citizens! Edifying post as usual, my friend!

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