Over the past few centuries Scottish people have played an immense part in the expansion of British influence abroad. In a comment to one of my past posts on this blog, someone recently reckoned that this was mostly in the form of cannon fodder for British imperialists, but that is far from the truth. I have written posts about some instances of Scottish involvement abroad – as explorers, missionaries and administrators in Africa, as planters and plantation managers in the Caribbean, as military leaders and administrators in India, and various other cases.
Scorpion on the Ceiling, by Roddy Martine, published in 2004, goes into some detail about various Scottish people who worked in Singapore for the Borneo Company. Many of the players, Paterson, Harvey, McEwen and the author’s father, Charles Martine, were from Scotland. They were business people and traders, making their living from the developing economies of the far east.
The Martines also lived and worked in Sarawak. The author’s mother fled Kuching when the Japanese invaded the island, and his father was stuck in Singapore when the British surrendered that territory. In 1949, the new Governor of Sarawak, Duncan Stewart, a Scot, was stabbed to death sixteen days into his job, in an anti-cession protest.