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A SKETCH MAP SHOWING THE STRATEGIC GEOGRAPHIC POSITION OF SINGAPORE The tenth port of the world owes its prosperity primarily to its key position at the crossroads of the East. In the upper right corner is a more detailed map of the Malay Peninsula.

colony, like Hongkong; it was simply bought as New York was, and settled, when Sir Stamford Raffles selected it as an outpost for British traders on the China route and purchased it for the East India Company from the Sultan of Johore. It was a jungle-covered island then, peopled by a few score savage Malay fisherfolk hovering along its mangrove-swamp shallows, dreading the tigers and pythons and cut off from all the outside world.


Now it is a wonder city, with marble bank buildings of singular beauty and great stone law courts and government edifices and Christian churches-all in striking contrast to the ornamental Malay mosques, the carved temples of the Hindus, and the fantastic joss houses of the Chinese.

Through the thick jungle, where once led only the elephant paths, wide, level roads have now been built, and the hoarse squawk of the motor horn has drowned the fierce growls of the lurking tiger.

Across to the Johore mainland a great granite causeway has been thrown, and on up through the Malay Peninsula the railways have been driven, till now Bangkok, a thousand miles away in Siam, is tied up by rail with Singapore,* and on to the northwest the rails are stretching out to Rangoon, to India, to the Persian frontier, soon to Bagdad, perhaps, and then on to Paris-the path of flying men from London to Sydney.†

Where once the choking jungle crowded men back-a jungle so thick that a man swimming in a stream could hardly land because vines and plants hugged so close to the water's edge-broad fields have now been cleared, and Malaya plantations are among the richest in the world.

Forty-five years ago a few Pará rubber plants smuggled out of Brazil fruited here. To-day, three-fourths of the world's

*See "Hunting the Chaulmoogra Tree," by Joseph F. Rock, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for March, 1922.

† See "From London to Australia by Aeroplane," by Sir Ross Smith, K. B. E., in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for March, 1921.

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Young Malays in dugout canoes paddle out to meet the Singapore steamers, and shriek and wave for the passengers to toss money into the water. They bail the canoes with a sweep of the foot, keeping regular time to the paddle's dip (see, also, text, page 248).

rubber comes from this region. And in this magic development Americans have played a leading rôle.

This Malay Peninsula, stretching hundreds of miles from the Siamese frontier down toward the Equator, forms a vast humid region of dense forests of jungle, wild elephants, snakes, and naked people, rice fields, rubber plantations, and tin mines. Few American tourists see it; those visiting the Orient usually turn back at Hongkong or Manila, and the average traveler from Europe goes no farther than Egypt or the Holy Land. Only the round-the-world tripper sees Malaya, and he usually gets a glimpse only of Singa

pore or Penang during his few hours
ashore while his ship is coaling.


Singapore, built on a tiny green isle of
the same name, which lies just off the
end of the peninsula and nearly on the
Equator, is the capital of the British
crown colony commonly called the Straits
Settlements. This colony embraces the
Province Wellesley, the Dindings and
Malacca on the mainland, and the islands
of Penang and Singapore.

The Federated Malay States, on the peninsula, comprise the States of Perak,

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The harbor of "The Crossroads of the East" is a land-locked sea, which shelters a countless variety of vessels. They typify the romance of commerce, for the port is primarily a transshipping point for both imports and exports. To it, in all their unique picturesqueness, come native junks and sampans with tin, rubber, and other Malayan products; larger ships from the China Seas, with silk, fruit, pottery, rice, and manufactured goods from Japan; and ships from Australia with meat and wool. Quays and anchorages also serve the familiar freighters of the West and the "ladylike" liners of Kipling. The residents of this colony near the "Line" often speak and write it as "S'pore."

Selangor, Pahang, and Negri Sembilan.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital.

Just opposite Singapore, on the mainland, is the independent native State of Johore, which has its own sultan and government, but which is under British protection. The British Governor of Singapore is also High Commissioner for the

Federated Malay States and Brunei and British Agent for North Borneo and Sarawak, thus linking up British possessions and spheres of influence in all Malaya and establishing close contact, through one man, with the Colonial Office in London.

More than fifty steamship lines and its

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The rubber boom of 1910 made fortunes for the planters in the Far East and caused a rubber rush of astonishing proportions. Estates were established all over British Malaya and many coconut plantations gave way to provide space for the new product, while coffee trees were hastily interplanted with rubber. More than 2,000,000 acres are now planted in rubber in this region.

cable net and radio stations tie Singapore up with adjacent regions, and British Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and Siam constitute a unit in commercial geography which centers at the great port.

"The Melting Pot of Asia," they call this prolific, potent peninsula, because of the babel of races, colors, and castes which its wealth of rubber and tin has drawn to it. But in all this industrial army of Europeans, Chinese, Japanese, Tamils, Hindus, and assorted South Sea Islanders, the Chinese are the most numerous and powerful.


The Malay himself is too lazy even to be a good fisherman. He grows a little rice, a few coconuts, and nets the fish he needs, but Nature is so kind that it is said one hour's effort a day will support him and his family.

It is the Chinaman who is the tin miner, the farmer, shopkeeper, artisan, contractor, and financier. The Tamil and the

Hindu add to the stock of local labor and own small farms and herds, but the many millionaires made in Malaya have mostly been Chinese. The palatial homes of the rich Chinese bosses in Singapore and Penang, in contrast with the miserable shacks of the natives, afford proof enough of the singular commercial superiority of the Yellow Race.


Here, indeed, Chinese immigration has worked a modern miracle in the magic reclamation of this once reeking, fevercursed, jungle-grown wilderness. Chinese it was who first braved the poisonous darts of the lurking savage, the perils of tigers and reptiles, the flames of fever, and the danger of dysentery, to conquer these jungles and dig the tin that put Malaya on the map of the trading world. Chinese say that tin "grows," and they use the divining rod to locate it.

For sheer courage and determination, the tale of Chinese colonization in Malaya is probably without parallel in the history of great racial migrations. To-day many


Burton Holmes from Galloway

The 22 rubber trees which fruited in Singapore in 1881 started the Malay Peninsula on the road to the proud position which it now occupies as the world's largest producer of rubber. It has three-fifths of the world's total acreage of plantation rubber and supplies the greater part of that which comes to the United States to meet the ever-increasing demands of the automobile industry.

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