Historical photos, maps, newspaper articles, books and documents are on display. The exhibition has been organised jointly by the Malaysian Embassy in Budapest, the Hungarian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and the National Széchényi Library, with the support of Hungary's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The exhibits are from the Special, General and Periodical Collections of the National Széchényi Library with additional contributions of photos from the National Archive of Malaysia and the Hungarian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Visitors will have a glimpse of the history of the diplomatic and cultural relations between the two countries, including mutual visits of rulers, presidents and prime ministers.

The first traveller from Hungary who spent considerable time in South-East Asia was János Xántus (1825-1894), and his 1879 book titled "Uti emlékeim Singapoore és vidékéről" (Memories of my travels in Singapore and its surroundings") is on display.

A naturalist, he had the chance to join an expedition to the region organised by Austrians. Although he later left the expedition, he continued his enterprise, the main goal being the enrichment of the zoological and ethnographic collections of the Hungarian National Museum.

Also to be seen by him is his journal article on his travels in Borneo from "Földrajzi közlemények 8 (1880)" and a selection of the letters he sent between 1869 and 1871 to Ferenc Pulszky, director of the Hungarian National Museum. These letters are preserved in the Manuscript Collection of the National Széchényi Library.

His adventurous life served as a model for novelist Karl May's famous Old Shatterhand character, visitors will learn. The reports of Xántus'travels between 1868 and 1870 and his scientific work made Borneo popular among the Hungarian audience.

A poster reminds Hungarians of "Sandokan", an Italian television series about a fictional late 19th-century pirate known throughout the South China Sea as the "Tiger of Malaysia".

The series was extremely popular in Hungary and is well remembered.

Another exhibit concerns Malaysia's Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who was born in 1925, became prime minister in 1981, retired in 2003 and returned to the office in 2018, making him the oldest PM in the world, at the age of 94 years.

The exhibition was opened by the Ambassador of Malaysia to Hungary, Cheong Loon Lai, and the Director General of the National Széchényi Library, Judit Hammerstein.


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