Naraina Pillai was a social entrepreneur and businessman, who spent most of his life in Singapore during the colonial period. Of Tamil origins, he greatly contributed to the Tamil community in Singapore.
Prior to 1819, Pillai (also spelled Narayana Pillay) worked in Penang, which was ruled by the British. There, he came into contact with Stamford Raffles, a senior official of the British East India Company, who was keen to establish a new trading post at the southern end of the Straits of Malacca. This resulted in the founding of modern Singapore in 1819. In Penang, Raffles persuaded Pillai to join him and to work at his new settlement.
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