My email to Ian:
"im still struggling with my event, which is Birch. I've found more infos about him such as his thoughts before he was killed (from his personal journal), how the malay viewed him, how important his death was, the impact on the people of Perak, etc etc.
He also mentioned about managing taiping in his journal but those were pretty common. I have yet to finished his journal (which is in national library private collection, means no borrowing, no photostating/digital copy)
At this point, what would u suggest?"
"Wow! I am impressed by your depth of research! Anytime you wanna help me with my Master of Arts research, now ongoing but not moving, just let me know! Haha....serious.
You have stumbled onto a wonderful angle for ur visitor centre. It could well be a center to commemorate Birch as Birch saw himself---an autobiographical visitor centre for Birch in Malaya, which happens to be located in Taiping: Why not? It would be so unique, and as far as I know, it would probably be the first in the world: Phew, take a load of that! You'll be famous!
I think it's do-able, and it's what you've wanted from the start--to show the "good" side of Birch, bucking all (local) trends, you sneaky little Anglophile!
I'm quite excited with your proposal!
What do I suggest?
Finish your research quickly, and don't let it wear you down. You still have your building to design. The salient points of research on him would do. You may want to focus on his most important period which would actually take you to the Perak/Taiping period. Look for those facts that can give you impressionistic spaces, the stuff that would endear him to visitors.
And you will have to post this conversation of ours on blog, cos, as always....we have to share. And I think you owe me a teh tarik."
[ i'll add on roti telur if i can tie all the loose strings together (=
...a nasi pattaya if i become famous ((= ]