We, Melaka in Fact

Datin Saidah Rastam
Project Director

Saidah Rastam is a lawyer-turned-musician who has composed music for martial artists, choral groups, Chinese opera singers, western orchestras and electronica. She has been music director for major productions at Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre, Tokyo’s Setagaya Theatre and Malaysia’s Istana Budaya. She has lectured in music at Malaysia’s National Arts Academy (now ASWARA), UiTM, CENFAD and the Multimedia University.

Her book on the beauty of Malayan music, Rosalie and Other Love Songs, was published in 2014 and republished in 2016.  Malam Terang Bulan, a show she created on the origins of Malaysia’s national anthem, was staged in 2014 and 2015 at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas to critical acclaim. Saidah trained as a barrister (Gray’s Inn) and was in practice for seven years.  Saidah’s grandfather from Bertam, Abdul Hadi Hasan, wrote the first 3 volumes of Sejarah Alam Melayu, which were the first history books in the style of modern historiography written by a Malay writer.

Bert Tan
Head, Cultural Mapping

Bert Tan loves Melaka.  The “Malaysian Heritage and History Club” (MHHC) which he started as a Facebook group in 2012, now has more than 20,000 members, and has become one of the most vibrant and lively clubs debating history, heritage, and culture.  Notable speakers include the renowned zoologist Dr. Lim Boo Liat, diplomat Ahmad Mokhtar Selat, cultural activist Sara Frederica Sta Maria and eminent conservationist Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, the 5th Earl of Cranbrook.

Bert’s work has been featured in local and international newspapers and websites. He was one of the signatories to the “Songkhla Declaration” at the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMG-GT) International Symposium on Livable Old Town Tourism in May 2015.

Razak Bahrom
Head, Digital Platform

Razak Bahrom graduated with double degrees in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.  He spent 10 years in an R&D US-Japanese collaboration in the fields of artificial intelligence and advanced computing structures.  The following 20 years, he developed applied computing design for national-scale data systems in Malaysia dealing with disasters, and extensive online mapping to help communication between government agencies.

Razak’s interests are in the evolution of the genealogies of Malay families – why they migrated, how they migrated, what they did, and why they do it?  Events in history change family destinies and thus have a ripple effect on history itself, perpetuating a cycle that is never-ending.  As a trained researcher, he applies the same rigorous approach to multidimensional genealogy.  Razak has made the connections between family genealogies his lifelong research project, along the way compiling individual stories and adventures as narrated by his subject of interest.

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Dr. Peter Borschberg
Conference Convener

Peter Borschberg has published widely on global history and globalization, maritime history, Europe-Asian interaction, as well as the conceptual history of sovereignty and the just war for the period 1300-1900. Peter’s Asian focus is on insular and peninsular Southeast Asia, but he also has an interest in trans-regional linkages, particularly the region’s historic commercial relations with Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, the Gulf, China and Japan. Peter’s long-term research project is to explore concepts related to power, authority and sovereignty over maritime spaces from an inter-cultural perspective and with a special focus on long-distance trade in the early modern period (15th to 18th centuries).

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Intan Syaheeda Abu Bakar

Between 2003-2015, Intan worked in research, planning, educational initiatives and cultural tourism within Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM). She coordinated its Chen Voon Fee Resource Centre which specialises in Malaysian heritage and conservation, was involved with the management of No 8 Heeren Street in Melaka’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was part of BWM’s team to set up the office in Suffolk House, George Town. Her extensive work in cultural mapping included sites in Johor, Klang, Bukit Melawati and Kuala Selangor, Brickfields, Lunas, Balik Pulau, George Town and Rembau.

Intan holds a Masters of Science degree in Heritage and Conservation Management from Universiti Teknologi Mara. She is a member of ICOMOS Malaysia (International Council of Monuments and Sites, Malaysia chapter) and the Heritage of Malaysia Trust (BWM).

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Wan Nor Azriq

Wan Nor Azriq is a writer and translator.  He has published six novels: D. U. B. L. I. N., Boneka Rusia Guido, 86, Soneta Roda Basikal, Dompet Kulit Buaya, Di Kala Bulan Bermain Biola.  His first novel, D. U. B. L. I. N, won first prize in the prestigious ITBM-PENA-BH writing competition in 2003.  His short stories and essays have won numerous awards such as the Hadiah Sastera Kumpulan Utusan (HSKU) and Hadiah Sastera Perdana Malaysia (HSPM).  He has translated from English into Malay Dave Eggers’ novel A Hologram for the King and was published by Fixi.  He has been a featured writer at the Makassar International Writers Festival and Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival.  For many years he was driving UBER and Grab in Kuala Lumpur, now is he currently part of the Melaka in Fact project as a writer and social media coordinator.

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