Histories: Empire, Experiments and Reports of the Fisheries Department

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Fish was one of the most readily accessible food sources available to the people living in Malaya and Singapore. Yet despite their widespread consumption, very little was actually known about the fishes that lived in Malayan waters.

In 1923, the Fisheries Department of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States was founded to find out more about fishes in Malayan waters. As the central authority on fisheries in British Malaya, the Department conducted investigations into local aquatic fauna. Many curious, and unexpected connections surfaced during the course of their explorations and experiments.

Join Choo Ruizhi as he shares some of his encounters and experiences trawling through the annual reports of the Fisheries Department. He will also share his views on what these sources can tell us about colonial science in Singapore.

About the Speaker

Choo Ruizhi holds a Master of Arts (History) from the National University of Singapore (NUS). In 2020, his study of British Malaya’s colonial fisheries was awarded the NUS Wang Gungwu Prize for the best Master’s thesis in the Social Sciences/Humanities. In his free time, Ruizhi likes to wander through Singapore’s past and present landscapes on foot, by bus and in the archives.

About the Series

This series highlights research on historical and related matters in Singapore and the region, creating an appreciation of the role of humanities and social science research in contemporary society.

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The National Library Board (NLB) manages a network of 27 public libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB promotes reading, learning and information literacy by providing a trusted, accessible and globally-connected library and information service through the National Library and a comprehensive network of Public Libraries.

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