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Hail, Penang!

Hail, Penang!George Bilainkin (2010) [1932] Hail, Penang!, Penang: Areca Books.

In the late 1920s British colonial power in Malaya appeared at its zenith. Run by a small political and commercial elite on behalf of metropolitan interests, Malaya was the most profitable of all Britain's possessions and seemed likely to remain that way. Into this scene came a young journalist, George Bilainkin –witty, confident, acerbic and iconoclastic – appointed by chance as editor of Penang's Straits Echo in 1929. Through a series of engaging sketches and reflections he discloses a wonderfully compelling portrait of Penang, its personalities and its environs. Looking beyond the complacent colonial facade Bilainkin grapples directly with a wide range of topics that have strikingly modern echoes: the absurdities of social snobbery; the position of women in society; and, above all, the fraught nature of race relations. This revised edition of Hail, Penang! offers an original, engaging and provocative glimpse of colonial society that is sure to engage a new generation of readers.

'As a practitioner of the written word, Bilainkin was skilled, and exceptionally lively' – Ilsa Sharp


George Bilainkin was a distinguished foreign correspondent and author. He was the editor of Penang's The Straits Echo from 1929 to 1930. Among his most notable books are Front Page News – Once; Diary of a Diplomatic Correspondent; Four Weeks in Yugoslavia; Tito; Cairo to Riyadh Diary and Destination Tokyo. He died in 1981.


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