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History that isn’t in the Books- part1

History that isn’t in the Books- part1

The other day, some buddies and I took a drive down to Carey Island for some sumptuous seafood –it’s said to be one of the best in the state. In order to get to Carey Island, we had to pass an area called Teluk Panglima Garang. Curious, I asked a friend, why is this place named Teluk Panglima Garang, which in English means (Bay of the Fierce Ruler) and he had no clue, so I decided to do a check and found some interesting stories about this bay and many other areas in Malaysia.

Let me take you on a trip back through history…

Teluk Panglima Garang (Bay of the Fierce Ruler)

As recounted by the late Haji b. Round, former Telok Panglima Garang village head who held the position for 25 years (1968 ~ 1994), on 15th May, 1996, stated that, the original name of Kampung Telok Panglima Garang was Nibong Dengkil and was located at a bay which was inhabited by ‘orang asli’ (aborigines).

Because of its strategic location, many Acehnese merchants came and began to make settlements downstream and called the area Beting Pak Aceh. When the merchants found out that there is a group of ‘orang asli’ living in the area, they moved up invading the ‘orang asli’ to take over the bay. This led to a war between them and the ‘orang asli’ fled to Bukit Tampoi in Dengkil.

Along the way, through the river to the Bukit Tampoi, The ‘orang asli’ cautioned residents met with the words: “BE CAREFUL, THERE IS A FIERCE RULER AT THE BAY ” translated “JAGA BAIK BAIK, DI TELOK ADA PANGLIMA GARANG” They explained that they were chased away from the bay by an fierce Acheh tradesman. Such was the origin of the name Kampung Telok Panglima Garang and the tiger emblem depicts the courage and character of Aceh merchants.

Parit Buntar (Buntar Drain)

Parit Buntar town is situated in the north of the Kerian district and is bordered by the towns, Bandar Baharu in the state of Kedah and Nibong Tebal in the state of Penang, sitting at the tip of Perak. Its old town is situated near the Engineering Campus of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

The landmark of Parit Buntar is the Clock Tower, which is situated in the old town of Parit Buntar. The tower was built in early 1961 and was officiated by the First Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj on 24 August 1961

The name Parit Buntar originated from a well-known leader, Tok Buntar, who was famous at the time when he and his followers built the drainage system, which used water from the Kerian River to irrigate the surrounding paddy fields. The main drain was named “Parit Tok Buntar” meaning the drain of Tok Buntar. Later on, the town where the main drain is located was named Parit Buntar.

Kuala Lumpur (Muddy Confluence)

Near the center of Kuala Lumpur, where the Klang and Gombak rivers flow quietly together forming a broad delta, their confluence barely noticed amid the dwarfing skyline of gleaming new hotels and office buildings… this is where it all began in 1857 for a group of 87 Chinese miners who were in search of tin.

Those pioneers were a rough, hardy lot, and the city retains some of that early boomtown character. At that time, tin was in huge demand, especially by America and the British Empire, which needed the durable, lightweight metal to help fuel their industrial revolutions.

Strategically commanding both river valleys, the community flourished as a tin-collecting center despite its malarial jungle location. The tin prospectors flowed into this place they named the “muddy confluence” (Kuala Lumpur in Malay) and settled in Ampang (now a suburb), forming factions within themselves which wrestled for this precious material.

Chaos ensued and in 1868, the headmen of the local clans elected a man named Yap ah Loy as “Kapitan China,” or leader of the Chinese community. And he became known as the founding father of Kuala Lumpur or KL.

Kelawi Road Penang (sometimes spelled Kelawei Road)

According to blogger Wong Chun Wai, this is one of the busiest roads in Penang. But it will probably have little historical significance to most Penangites, especially the current generation who never saw the quaint street of British-styled bungalows and village houses it was before it got transformed into a modern thoroughfare.

It will probably be referred to by most Penangites as the road leading to the more famous Gurney Drive or the popular neighbourhood of Pulau Tikus.

The name Kelawei is actually the British transliteration of ‘Kuala Awal’, the local name for the first northern estuary from George Town. This name comes from the original Malay settlement located along Kelawei Road, a remnant of which, known as Kampung Syed, is still found adjacent to Masjid Jamek Al-Munauwar Kelawei, between Edgecumbe Road and Jones Road.

Brickfields Kuala Lumpur

Brickfields Kuala Lumpur was initially developed by Yap Kwan Seng, the 5th – the last Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur. He took advantage of the rapidly growing Kuala Lumpur and the new Kuala Lumpur by-law requiring all new buildings to be built of bricks, to establish a kiln here.

Brickfields soon became the centre for brick-making.

The whole area was a clay pit and good quality bricks are made from clay. As a result the area was named Brickfields.

Brickfields Kuala Lumpur used to be the main depot for the Malayan Railway (Keretapi Tanah Melayu or KTM) during the colonial era. The British brought Indians from southern India to work the railway. Many of them lived in quarters around Brickfields. Today this depot has transformed into KL Sentral.

Happy Garden

BACK in 1963, in newly independent Malaysia, a couple of enterprising friends set about developing a small piece of land in Kuala Lumpur. They had an initial capital of RM3 million from their prior business ventures. That was enough money to buy a bank at that time. However, they chose to buy a landbank instead and build single-storey terrace houses.

Through the years, their company grew, and their small plot of land expanded into a housing estate. As they contemplated on names, they settled for a name simple enough to remember, yet deep enough to encompass their hopes and dreams for the future. And so, they named it `Happy Garden’.

Four decades on, Happy Garden is one of the most established and mature neighbourhoods, located off Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. A big portion of the area, some 162 hectares, was developed by Sim Nam Housing Development Co Sdn Bhd.

Most of the company’s pioneers have passed on, including the late Tay Chwee Lye and the late Datuk Abu Mansor Hassan, who joined the company in 1975. One of them, Low Kiok Boon, 83, continues to sit on the current board. However, today, the reins of the company are in the hands of the second generation of the three principal families.

Alor Gajah (Elephant Channel)

Alor Gajah was initially inhabited by the Minangkabau people in the 12th century. Alor has an area of 660 square kilometers (66.5 00 hectares) consisting of three major cities namely Alor Gajah, Masjid Tanah and Pulau Sebang.

The name Alor stems from a group of wild elephants led by a white elephant  that had a rather peculiar habit – walking in a group along the channel of a river in the city. Hence, the locals named this city Alor Gajah.

Alor Gajah is also famous for its Naning warrior, Dato ‘Dol Said, who fought the British in the Naning War of 1932, from the forest area that is believed to be filled with wild elephants.

Alor Gajah has now become an emerging area with a population of 131,870 people.

Interesting? I sure think so…



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