​Where Eighty-four Languages Were Once Spoken: An Account of Melaka 1400-1824

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Where Eighty-four Languages Were Once Spoken: An Account of Melaka 1400-1824

Author: Devinder Raj

Publisher: Devinder Raj

ISBN: 9789671510711


Year: 2020

Page: 154pp

Price : RM25

“Cycling to Malacca High School for my secondary education, I had to pass by the last remnant of the A Famosa fortress and St Paul’s Hill. Quite often in the afternoons, my classmate and I would go up St Paul’s Hill, to sit under the shade of the trees that were around the ruined church and do some quiet reading and studying … Some weekends, we would go to Pulau Besar, an island off Melaka, steeped in myth and legend, visited by preachers and pilgrims for centuries.”

In this short account of the history of Melaka, Devinder Raj weaves in letters, myths and oft-forgotten historical facts to craft an image of his home state during the Melakan sultanate and under the rule of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Filling in the gaps in history textbooks, and piecing together accounts such as letters from Melaka’s Tamil merchants to the King of Portugal and the proposed British effort to demolish Melaka entirely, Where Eighty-four Languages Were Once Spoken revisits the storied history of a historic city.


Devinder Raj grew up in Melaka at Bukit Asahan Estate, near the foothills of Gunung Ledang. Later, when he lived in Tranquerah, he attended Malacca High School and on the way to school he used to pass by St Paul’s Hill and A Famosa.

He is a graduate of Universiti Malaya and has worked as teacher, an English Language officer at the Ministry of Education, at the British Council in Kuala Lumpur, the Beijing INTI Management College and also volunteered at the National University of Laos.

His interest in history was sparked after visiting ancient sites in Southeast Asia and observing the links many of these places had with Melaka.

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