Talma, Edwy Lyonet
Talma, Edwy Lyonet, commonly known as E.L. Talma, (b. 1 March 1874, Barbados - d. 6 July 1930, Singapore) first came to Malaya in November 1896 and held various appointments in the Malayan Civil Service.
Talma was born in Barbados and was educated at Harrison College, Barbados, and Christ College, Cambridge. He obtained his B.A. degree at Cambridge and was admitted to the Inner Temple, London, as member of the English Bar. He was a Barbados Scholar in 1891 and fourteenth Wrangler in 1894, and he obtained the Certificate of Honour (Council of Legal Education) in 1912.
In his younger days he was an esteemed cricketeer and represented matches for Malaya, the Colony, Singapore and Penang. He was also a good lawn tennis player and a golfer. He was the first captain of the Racecourse Golf Club, a position he held for a number of years.
Talma held various appointments in the Malayan Civil Service and was recognised as a brilliant civil servant who has given 30 years of devoted and loyal service to the state. He also sat on the Legislative and Executive Councils. Mr Talma retired from the Malayan Civil Service on 1 April 1924 while holding the post of Deputy Colonial Treasurer. Subsequently, he went into partnership with a Mr Battenberg, forming the legal firm of Messrs Battenberg and Talma. He started his practice as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court from the firm of Battenberg and Talma on 1 January 1924.
Nov 1896 : Appointed a Cadet, Straits Settlement.
Jan 1901 : Officer, Class V, Malayan Civil Service.
July 1904 : Officer, Class IV.
Aug 1907 : Secretary, Mohammedan and Hindu Endowment Board.
Aug 1911 : Officer, Class III, Civil Service.
Between 1911 and February 1916 : Held various appointments in Civil and Criminal Courts in Singapore.
Mar 1916 : Officer Class II.
May 1917 : On Special duty at Somerset House, Strand.
Nov 1917 : Collector of War Tax, Singapore.
Feb 1918 : Collector-General of War Tax, Straits Settlements.
Jan 1919 : Officer, Class 1B of Malayan Civil Service, and continued to officiate as Collector-General of War Tax, Straits Settlement.
Jan 1920 : Appointed Collector General of Income Tax, Straits Settlement.
May 1920 : Acting Treasurer, Straits Settlement and Member of Legislative and Executive Councils.
Jan 1922 : Appointed Deputy Treasurer, (A), Straits Settlement.
1 Apr 1924 : Retired from Malayan Civil Service.
1 Jan 1924 : Commenced practice as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court in the firm of Battenberg and Talma.
He was a distinguished member of the Cambridge University where he was fourteenth wrangler in 1894. Professionally, he was a distinguished and brilliant civil servant who held the high office of Treasurer as well as a very competent lawyer who maintained the high traditions of the two different professions. He was highly respected and well loved by his fellow colleagues for he received many tributes from notable civil service officers of the Supreme Court on his death. He was also one of the leaders of the Eurasian Community. A stretch of road in Lorong 8-12 in Geylang was named Talma Road in 1932, after Talma.
Talma died suddenly on 6 July 1930 at 11:00 am while playing golf at the Race Course Club. He had not been in good health for sometime but his death came as a shock and greatly saddened his friends and colleagues. He was buried at the Bidadari Cemetery in Singapore, officiated by the Reverend J.V. Westlake.
Durai Raja Singam S. (1939). Malayan street names: What they mean and whom they commemorate (pp. 143-144). Ipoh: Mercantile Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 RAJ)
Who's who in Malaya, 1925: A biographical record of prominent members of Malaya's community in official, professional and commercial circles (p. 171). (1939). Singapore: Fishers.
(Call no.: RCLOS 920.9595 WHO)
Sudden Death of E.L. Talma [Microfilm: NL 637]. (1930, July 7). The Straits Times, p. 12.
The information in this article is valid as at 2004 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.