The Merican Clan - A Story of Courage and Destiny which chronicles the achievements of seven generations of Mericans, the progeney of Kader Mydin Merican who first set foot in Penang from India in 1770, does one appreciate his stubborn insistence. Thanks to the pride attached in carrying the Merican family name with each succeeding generations, the task of tracing lineage can be undertaken with a great measure of certainty and accuracy.
Mericans, the exploits of various clan members should by now confer on them the right to patent the formula for superachieving families - if the bunch of medical men and learned women as well as earnest entrepreneurs from their ranks have not already done so. Patriarch Kader Mydin Merican was a trader who became one of the richest men in the Penang of the 1830s. That he eminence grise in the Indian Muslim community was acknowledged by the British who appointed him Kapitan Keling.
The fourth generation Merican produced the clan's first doctor, Ali Osman Merican. `Oss', as he was called, was in fact Penang's first Malay doctor. A sibling, Sheikh Basha, was an educator who was instrumental in establishing and heading Rida College, the forerunner of what is now the Institute Teknologi Mara (ITM). Thespian Faridah Merican is his daughter. The recipe for eminence cannot wholly be explained by way of geneology. Marina Yusoff, the country's second Malay woman lawyer who at one time landed an Umno Supreme Council seat, is a clan member. Her mother Mona was Dr Ali Merican's adopted daughter.
The exploits of past and present Mericans have secured the clan an indelible page in the annals of Malaysian history. The author hints of more new pages to be written in her observation that there are 16 great- grandchildren of Dr Ali Merican making up the seventh generation Merican. That they are not yet making waves is no reason why one of their number should not start chronicling every mewling and chuckling emanating from every crib in all the Merican households. Failing which, there is always that famous family name one can latch on to in future undertakings of this nature.