Thursday, May 27, 2010

Craig A. Herron on the history of Christianity in West Malaysia & Singapore

The resources on the history of Christianity in Malaysia and Singapore are scarce. When I was attempting at my essay on the theological scene in Singapore in the early twentieth century, I came across the work by Craig Alan Herron through Bobby Sng's In His Good Times.

He was missionary from New Zealand who was appointed as a lecturer at Trinity Theological College in 1962. He went back to New Zealand in December 1974 for his wife's health's sake. It was a few years later, in 1977, Herron submitted his Ph.D thesis to the University of Otago, where Tony Siew, a current New Testament lecturer at Trinity Theological College, got his Ph.D from as well. The title of Herron's thesis is 'A history of the Protestant Christian churches in West Malaysia and Singapore'. It is an important work describing the development of Christianity in these two countries.

However, Herron's thesis never got published. So far I located only two places that possess his thesis. A photocopy of the thesis can be found at Trinity Theological College's library. Another one at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia's library. So I applied from the librarian to have a look at the thesis. It is an old copy. The fonts were those of 'typewritter'. (In a generation's time, no one else would know what is a typewriter!) While reading it I was wondering how does one type footnotes with a typewriter. Nowadays our software makes it so easy to write.

I also wondered why Herron's thesis never got published? Perhaps no publisher wanted to invest in the history of Christianity in Malaysia and Singapore at that time. Since then, the printing and transcription cost has become more affordable. Hope that someone or a church or a denomination, perhaps the Presbyterian--since Herron was a Presbyterian--would sponsor to print this out and give it a proper ISBN so that the important Christian history of these two countries can be preserved for the next generation.

I have tried searching for Herron's contact but couldn't find it. The only information that I got is from the New Zealand Presbyterian Archives Research Centre's website:
HERRON, Rev Alan Craig, B.A., M.A., B.D., S.T.M. (Union NY)
b. Auckland 28.8.1929;
w. Shona Mary McArthur b. Christchurch 12.3.1928 m. 19.5.1955. Shona holds a
Karitane Nursing Certificate.
Alan educated at Otago Boys High School and Otago University.
Theological Hall 1952-54
Granted the Begg Travelling Scholarship and studied at New College, Edinburgh
for one year and at the Union Seminary, New York, USA.
Ordained Invercargill Outdistricts 29.8.1957 - resigned 5.10.1961
To All Saints College (Mission Course), Sydney for preparation prior to overseas
mision work 19.1.1962
Trinity College Singapore, appointed as Lecturer 1962.
London for special study 24.8.1966; back to Singapore 28.12.1967.
Trinity Coll & University of Singapore, Lecturer 12.1967; returned to NZ with wife
and family Dec 1974, as Shona's health could not survive the tropics.
Off Mission staff 4.8.1976.
St Marks Collegiate Chch 17.2.1977
St Andrews Blenheim 20.3.1984
Minister Emeritus 31.10.1994.
Son of Very Rev. D.C. Herron
But the details did not include his doctoral title. Could it be that he didn't got his Ph.D for submitting a history about Malaysia and Singapore?


Tony Siew said...

Hi Joshua. Interesting find! I would love to read this as well. I was just reading our TTC's anniversary volume/history book today (there are bits of history of Christianity in Malaya and Singapore in it).

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Tony,

I learned a lot from TTC's anniversary book too. It is fascinating to know how this institution came about.

PitWR said...

This is his contact details in New Zealand

Herron A C & S M
19 Settlers Hill Akaroa 7520
Ph. 03-304 7725

Sze Zeng said...

Hi PitWR,

Many thanks for that!

John Roxborogh said...

Hi, Alan has since died, the address you have is where he was living in retirement. The thesis was failed as a PhD but has valuable factual content. John Roxborogh

Sze Zeng said...

Hi John, thank you for the valuable information!