©Lin Yangchen

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Digital elevation model from the Panchromatic Remote-Sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping, Advanced Land Observing Satellite, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; hydrography reconstructed by WWF from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission; polygons from IGIS Map and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Cartographed by Lin Yangchen in the R Language for Statistical Computing.

Sultan Sir Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Al-marhum Sultan Haji Zainal Abidin III Mu'azzam Shah (1907–1979), wearing the Trengganu sultan's tengkolok with a characteristically narrow downward fold on the front rising towards the top. The sultan was an avid photographer.

Eyeglasses with roundish frames seemed popular among the Malay sultans; besides the sultan of Trengganu, those of Johore and Perak are seen wearing them on the coconut definitive.


In 1969, Sultan Ismail left a bit of his legacy on the moon as Malaysia’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong, one of numerous heads of state invited to contribute messages to be microscopically etched on a 1.5-inch temperature-resistant 99%-pure silicon disc that was subsequently carried to the moon by the Apollo 11 mission on the Saturn V rocket (National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1969). The sultan’s message reads:

The people of Malaysia join the rest of the world today in congratulating the Government and people of the United States of America on the success of the Apollo 11 mission to land man for the first time on the moon. May the knowledge gained in the efforts to fulfill this historic mission add to the wisdom of mankind in our search for greater peace and prosperity.

Trengganu stamps postmarked in faraway states: Singapore, Perak and Johore. It was in Trengganu that the earliest evidence of Jawi writing in the Malay archipelago, dating back to c. 1300, was uncovered (unesco 2008).


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