Yesterday, I met with Mr. Saran Singh and his son Dalwinder Singh at Amcorp Mall Flea Market, to interview him about his book, The Encyclopedia of the coins of Malaysia Singapore and Brunei 1400-1967. He shared with me many interesting behind the scene stories about the book publishing process. All of which I have shared in a youtube video for my reader reference.
Before we talk more about the interview, here is a little bit biography of Mr. Saran Singh. Saran Singh was born on 10th March 1945 in Kuala Lumpur. He received his early education at St. Gabriel's School in Kuala Lumpur. Saran started to enter the field of numismatics in 1969. His specialities includes Penang, Straits Settlements, Sarawak, British North Borneo, the tin/lead coins of early Brunei, Singapore Merchants Tokens, Sikh coin of Punjab and Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei coins and Banknote. On 3rd December 1989 he received the honour P.N.M (Pakar Numismatic Malaysia) by Malaysia Numismatic Society.
Mr. Saran Singh has been my idols since I read his book, The Encyclopaedia of the Coins of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, 1400-1986 in 2002, a book borrowed from a close friend when I worked in Penang. I only managed to buy his book in 2010 with information given by a blogger friend who found out that I am searching for Saran Singh Book and he had seen it for sale in Trigonometric Shop at Amcorp Mall. In my opinion, he doesn't just wrote a "numismatic book" but he also share information, history and pictures that can help us understand more about the coin itself.
Do you know that Mr. Saran Singh have a blog too? His son, Dalwinder Singh has open a blog coinsofmalaysia.blogspot.com under his name and shared some of his father article in the blog. I have visited his blog in 2013 but I thought someone is just copy paste Mr. Saran Singh articles in his new blog. Hopefully Mr. Saran Singh and his son can wrote regularly and sharing with us their knowledge about Malaysia numismatics.
The purpose of my interview is to ask him about his book, The Encyclopaedia of the Coins of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, 1400-1986. The 2nd edition of his encyclopedia book has been a hot numismatic item recently with a copy of the book sold for RM1500 in Malaysia Numismatic Society (MNS) Auction. It is almost impossible to find the book selling at a very cheap price nowadays. It has became a must have reference book for any Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei coins collectors.
Title: The Encyclopaedia of the Coins of Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, 1400-1986
Author: Saran Singh
Editor: Malaysia Numismatic Society
Publisher: Malaysia Numismatic Society, 1986
Length: 674 pages
He shared how he has been doing hard work in 1974 to publish his 1st book and it took him 10 years to finish writing the book. He also share the writing process for his book during the old days. That time, computer don't exist and new technology ain't cheap. He hired a girl to help him type his book using an electronic type writer and the photos are taken by him. That helped him to reduce costs for printing.
Do you know what is the "black bird thing" on the front cover?
He also told me that he is planning to publish a 2nd series of his Malaya and sarawak rubber export coupons 1922-1942, printed in full colour. He also shared some new information about coupons in the new book, you can found what he said in the interview.
His advice to new numismatic writer, make sure you're very patient and very humble since you need to make friends to all big collectors. If you're writing your book, make sure it will be a best book. You need to ask around for information.
He also thanks all of the people who have help him to write the book. He hope someday, someone will improve his book since many new discoveries are not recorded yet in any new book.
Thank you to Master Sifu Saran Singh and Dalwinder Singh for the chance of a knowledgeable interview. 2 hours is not enough to get all the knowledge that you have but this 22 minutes interview is already a blessing for Malaysia Numismatic community. I wish I have a chance to interview both of you in the future.