Sempena Kemahkotaan DYMM Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Johor

17 Januari 2012

Danish trader’s kin rekindle their royal link (New Straits Times 14 January 2011)

Tengku Puan of Pahang Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah (seated, centre) with other descendants of Mads Johansen Lange at a reunion on Thursday.

SINCE she was young, Tengku Puan of Pahang Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah had always wondered why a Danish man, whom she knew  as Dr Anderson, would always attend the birthday celebrations of her grandfather, the late Sultan Ismail of Johor.

She later realised that her grandfather was related to the Dane as they were the descendants of Mads Johansen Lange, the Danish trader known as the "King of Bali" for developing the island and negotiating peace between local rulers and the Dutch in the 1840s.

Mads travelled to the Indonesian archipelago at an early age and settled on the island of Bali, where he built a  commercial enterprise and maintained good relations with the local raja.

He had three children with two women -- William Peter, who was born in 1843, Andreas Emil (1850) and Cecilia Catharina (1848).

Unfortunately, William died in Singapore when he was 12. Andreas married a Malay woman and had several children while Cecilia was adopted by an English family after her father's death in 1856.

Tunku Azizah said Cecilia later met her great great-grandfather, Sultan Abu Bakar, and became his wife.

When Sultan Abu Bakar became the ruler of Johor  in 1885, Cecilia was given the title "Encik Besar Zabedah".

It was said  the sultan fell in love with her and "was so smitten until he ignored all the customs in those days that stood in the way of   marriage between a full-blooded Malay man and a Eurasian woman".

Tunku Azizah admitted that before this, she only met some of her Lange relatives by accident. But  efforts to locate her "greater" family were made easier when one of them contacted her through Facebook last year.

"From him, I managed to get acquainted with many  relatives, including Jens Olesen, who resides in Brazil," she said at a reunion  in her  Istana Abdulaziz residence here on Thursday night.

It was attended by some 100 Lange descendants.

Olesen, 68, who is Norway's consul-general in Brazil, said he  set up the Mads Lange Family Association in 2007 and it now has more than 200 members from 14 countries.

 Andreas' granddaughter, 101-year-old Sybil Lange, was also present. She lives with her son in Kuala Lumpur .

Olesen  said many Lange descendants lived  in Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand. It was reported that former New Zealand prime minister David Lange also came from his line.

Sybil's grandson, Shamsul Risman Mohd Rais, 33, from Kuching, said the reunion was a memorable event  as  he only knew about the Lange clan from his grandmother.

"We used to laugh at her when she said  we are related to the Johor royalty. But now, I realise  she is telling the truth," said Shamsul.

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