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Lan Fang Republic
Lan Fang Republic
(summary from the book Hakka people - Jews of the Orient
by Kao Chung Xi. Summary digest compiled by Jonathan Teoh)
Towards the end of the 18th century, Kwangtung Hakkas
established a republic in Western Kalimantan which lasted
107 years and had 10 presidents.
The first president is Low Lan Pak. He was born in
Kwangtung, Mei Hsien, Shih Pik Pao on the third year of
Ching dynasty Chien Long emperor. He married a girl and
had a son. But Hakka's custom usually do not take wife
along for overseas trip. He left for Western Kalimantan
alone to join the gold rush at that time.
He travelled along Han Jiang to Shantao, along Vietnam
coastline, and finally landed in Western Kalimantan.
The sultan at that time, Ponanbahan(?) believing that
Chinese workers are hard working, brought in 20 Chinese
from Brunei. The sultan Omar in Singkawang(?), also
heard about Chinese diligence and use the lease land
system to encourage Chinese to explore in his territory.
When Low Fan Pak reached Western Kalimantan, the
Holland has not yet aggressively moved to Kalimantan.
Along the coastal area, a lot of Java people and oceania's
Pukik(?) people settled down. Also, the Sultan's power
were confined to the coastal area, the inland power
belongs to the Dayak(?). The territories among Sultans
were not well defined as well.
In the beginning of 1740, the Chinese numbered only a few
tens. By 1770, the Chinese has grown to 20,000 strong.
By blood clan or by the area they are from, the Chinese
established Kongsi(company) to protect themselves.
In 1776, 14 kongsi banded together to form a He Soon 14
Kongsi in order to break the bottleneck of being grouped by
area or by blood.
At that time Low Lan Pak established his own Lang Fan
kongsi. He then united all the Hakkas in the San-Sin lake
area and build a Mem-Tau-Er township and made it the
headquarter of his united company.
At that time, Kun Tian(Pontianak) which located in the
lower stream of Kapuya(?) river was an important
commerce area and was controlled by Sultan Abdul Laman.
The upper stream of the river is controlled by the Dayaks.
Kun Tian neighboring state Mempawah's Sultan tried to
build a palace in the upper stream which led to the
fighting between the 2 Sultans.
The Kun Tian Sultan asked Low Lan Pak for help. Since the
palace is being built near the Lan Fang company territory,
Low Lan Pak decided to help Kun Tian Sultan and defeated
the Mempawah's Sultan.
The defeated Mempawah's Sultan then joined forces with
the Dayaks and launched a counter-attack. Low Lan Pak
again defeated Mempawah Sultan and this time marched
North all the way to Singkawang. Singkawang Sultan and
Mempawah Sultan signed a peace treaty with Low Lan Pak
and Low Lan Pak's popularity increased dramatically. He
was 57 then.
After that, Chinese and locals, turned to Low Lan
Pak to seek protection, and when Kun Tian Sultan realized
that he can not challenged Low Lan Pak, The sultan himself
seek protection from Low Lan Pak.
Thus, Low Lan Pak established a government, using his
company name, changing kongsi(company) to republic, and
formed Lan Fang Republic in 1777, 10 years earlier than
USA(1787). At that time people wanted Low Lan Pak to be
Sultan, but he declined and take the post of governorship,
similar to the president post.
>From Ching dynasty's sea nation annals, it recorded that it
is a place where Ka Yin people (Mei Hsien area) do mining,
build road, establish its own nation, every year has ships
reached ng Zhou and Chew Zhou area, doing commerce.
>From its own Lan Fang Company annals, it indicated that
every year it pays tribute to Ching dynasty like Annan
The capital was in Ceh Wan Li. The Ta Tang Chon
Chang(president) is elected by election. Both the
president position and the vice president position has to
be of Hakka from Ka Yin or Ta Pu area. The flag is a
rectangle yellow flag with the word Lan Fang Ta Tong Chi.
The president flag is a triangular yellow flag with the
word Chuao (General). The high ranking officials dress in
Chinese style while lower ranking officials dress western
Low Lan Pak passed away on the second year of the
republic. He has been in Borneo for 20 years. he 47th
year of the republic during the reign of the fifth president
Liew Tai Er, Dutch began its active expansion in Indonesia
and occupied the South East region of Borneo. Lan Fang
lose its autonomy and became a protected state of Dutch.
Then Dutch opened a colonial office in Kun Tian and
intervened republic's affair. In 1884, Singkawang refused
to be ruled by Dutch, and was attacked by the Dutch. The
Dutch occupied Lan Fang Kongsi. Lan Fang Kongsi fought
for 4 years but eventually was defeated, and its people
fled to Sumatra. Fearful of strong reaction from Ching
government, Dutch never declared that it occupied Lan
Fang and let one of the descendent be a figure head. It was
not until the formation of Republic of China in 1912 that
Dutch formally declared its formal control of the area.
Those that fled to Sumatra regrouped in Medan. From
there, some moved to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. One of
the descendent from these people is Lee Kuan Yew. While
Hakkas are the minority in Singapore, it is the Hakkas that
played an important part to establish the second Lan Fang
company - Singapore.
>From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Oct 22 22:32:08 1996
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Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1996 22:33:42 -0400 (EDT)
From: sllee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Jonathan Teoh <email@example.com>
Subject: Lan Fang Republic - spellings (fwd)
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
Here's something for you.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996 12:34:33 +1100
From: Josef Widjaja <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Lan Fang Republic - spellings
I visited your Hakka Homepage and read the section on LanFang Republic.
Looks like this has been translated from Chinese by Jonathan, some
names are incorrectly spelled. Please forward this mail to Jonathan
if he still maintains this section.
Below is a list of corrections that I can come up with. Some are quite
obvious, there are some words that I am not sure about
- I can only provide a best guess of what they should be.
> The sultan at that time, Ponanbahan(?) believing...Just guessing: Panembahan sounds more correct
> sultan Omar in Singkawang(?), also...Confirmation: Singkawang is indeed the correct spelling
> a lot of Java people and oceania's Pukik(?) people settled downJust guessing: I think it should be Bugis people (they were the
seafarers of South East Asia)
> the inland power belongs to the Dayak(?)...Confirmation: Dayak is the correct spelling
>At that time, Kun Tian(Pontianak) which located in the lower stream of
>Kapuya(?) river Correction: it should be Kapuas river
Josef Widjaja MacDonald Dettwiler Pty. Ltd,
email@example.com PO Box 1692, North Sydney, NSW 2060, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9956 7966
Fax: +61 2 9956 7846