1st February

1709 Alexander Selkirk is rescued from a desert island and inspires Robinson Crusoe (age 14+ but try a graphic novel)

1893 Edison finishes building the Black Maria movie studio, so make your own film studio. Give a kid a camera and help them make a play with their toys.

First day of Quebec Winter Carnival, with sledging, ice castles, ice canoeing, etc.

It’s the first day of National Bird Feeding Month – see 5th Jan for ideas.

Malaysia Federal Territory Day:

The first Malaysians were Negritos, a Southeast Asian people found to be the people most genetically different from Africans.

Trade and settlers came from India and China, bringing Hinduism and Buddhism.

In the 2nd century the north was the kingdom of Langkasuka; in the 7th-13th centuries the south was the sea-ruling Srivijara empire.

Islam came from the 14th century, and in the 16th an independent Malacca state was ruled by a former prince of the Srivijara.

In 1511 Malacca was conquered by Portugal, then the Dutch. In 1786 the British East India Co. was given Penang, then we gradually took the rest with gentlemen’s agreements where the British ‘advised’ the rulers, who had to follow the advice because of treaties.

In WWII Japan invaded, and afterwards Malaysia wanted to be independent, so the rulers were restored under British protection. Chinese rebels, supported by the Malayan Communist Party launched guerrilla attacks to oust the Brits.

In 1963 it became federal states. In 1969 Malays murdered thousands of Chinese in race riots, so the Prime Minister changed the economy so it favoured the Malays so they wouldn’t feel so resentful. Of course, now the other races feel resentful.

Malaysia means the home of orangutans – learn about them!

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