WINSTEDT, Richard Olaf. Oxford 2.8.1878 — 2.6.1966. Sir. British South-East Asian (Malay) Scholar. Educated at Magdalen College School and New College, Oxford. In 1902 joined Malayan Civil Service, served first in Perak and Negri Sembilan. From 1913 District Officer at Kuala Pilah, from 1923 Acting Secretary to High Commissioner. In 1924-31 Director of Education, Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States, also Member of Legislative Council, Straits S., and in 1927-31 of Federal Council, FMS. In 1921-31 first President of Raffles College (of future Singapore University). In 1931-35 General Adviser to Johore State. Retired from Malayan service in 1935. In 1936-39 Member of Colonial Office Advisory Committee on Education. In 1937-46 Reader in Malay, University of London. In 1938-59 Member of Governing Body, S.O.A.S. Married in 1921 with Sarah O’Flynn. D.Litt. 1920 Oxford. C.M.G. 1921, K.B.E. 1835/45 (?). Hon. Fellow 1946 S.O.A.S. Since 1940 often Director and President of R.A.S. F.B.A. 1951. Hon. LL.D. 1951 Malaya.
RW was one of the best scholars of the Malay language in his times. Unlike other British, he also studied the dialects spoken in Indonesia. From Indological point of view, important are his many studies on Indian influence in Malaya. He travelled much, visiting China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, India, Iran, and the Near East, also in Europe and North America. His brother was Eric Otto Winstedt (1880–1955), classical philologist and the editor of Cosmas Indicopleustes (1909).
Publications: Shaman, Saiva and Sufi. A study of the evolution of Malay Magic. 7+191 p. L. 1923; The Malay Magician. 1951.
– History of Malaya. Singapore 1935; History of Malay Literature. 1940.
– numerous further books, articles and reviews.
Sources: JRAS 1963, 125-129; *Bibliography in Malayan and Indonesian Studies … presented to Sr. R.W. on his 85th Birthday. 196?; *E. C. G. Barrett, BSOAS 30, 1967, 272-275; *J. Bastin in C. E. Bosworth (ed.), A Century of British Orientalists 1902–2002. Oxford 2001, 248-256; H. L. Shorto, JRAS 1967, 58f.; photo in BSOAS 27, 1963.