Field Trip to Ipoh (part 2)

by Zahara Shahriman

On a recent field Trip to Ipoh, Perak, 23 museum volunteers (including myself), 9 Malaysian Culture Group members and 5 Jabatan Muzium Malaysia (JMM) staff had the opportunity to visit 3 historical sights that gave us a comprehensive snap shot of life during the heyday of the tin industry.

Falim House

Falim House 3The temporary museum within Falim House was my favourite of the day. Not everyone in our group agreed with me as a property developer had recently acquired the gorgeous 1920’s mansion and its surrounding land with the view of developing it into a commercial hub. So our first sight of Falim House was of a white colonial mansion surrounded by

Falim House 1

hectares of muddy, bare land which have had all its trees chopped off ready for development. The developers plan to eventually transform Falim House, which had once been the home of mining tycoon Foo Nyit Tse, into a hotel.  In the meantime, the newly renovated structure served as sales office cum pop-up museum and this closed last month.

Falim House 2

For me, once we passed the sales office, the museum themed “A Tin Mining Family” was a real joy. I thought it showcased the lives of Ipoh’s fabulously wealthy tin mining towkays in a really fun and authentic way.  With old photographs, some dating from before 1900, and a very wide range of artifacts (around 500 pieces in all) we got close to old mining equipment, kitchen equipment, furniture, toys, vehicles, sewing kits, clothes and much more. The exhibition also showed the four evils that faced the mining coolies – Opium, Gambling, Prostitution and the Triads. I especially enjoyed the depiction of hawkers who called at Falim House many years ago. At the end section of the exhibition a vintage film featuring tin mining in the Kinta Valley, both pre and post-war, ran continuously.

Kinta Tin Mining Museum

Tin Ming Museum 2Our next stop was the Kinta Tin Mining Museum in Kampar.  Kampar (about 36km from Ipoh) was once a thriving tin mining town but when the price of tin slumped in the 1980s, its glory days ended abruptly. As this museum is dedicated to the history of tin mining, we had a wonderful opportunity to not only learn the way tin was mined many years ago but, more interestingly for me, it gave a glimpse of how people who used to work in tin mines lived. I really got a feel of how grueling, mind-numbing and dangerous the work in tin mines was.  Personally, I thought this private museum is interesting and informative and definitely worth a visit.

Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge

Tin DredgeOur last stop was the Tanjung Tualang Dredge No 5, a behemoth industrial relic from our tin mining glory days. Even from a distance the decommissioned tin dredge looked impressively large – it weighs 4,500 tons and is supported by a pontoon of 75 meters in length, 35 meters in width and 3 meters in depth – but when you step on it you get a real feel of how powerful it must have been when it was hard at work years ago.  Essentially, it worked by scooping up bucket loads of tin-bearing soil at the front end, which then passed through an oscillating drum and a system of jigs and screens to extract the tin, before spewing out the waste material at the rear end through a number of chutes. By walking around Tanjung Tualang tin dredge, which was built in England in 1938, you get to see how this floating factory used to work up close. This is one of the last tin dredges in Malaysia and is really a sight to behold.

Mesoameric Civilization

015Last June on the 25th, Dr. Ernesto Gonzalez Licon gave a talk at Muzium Negara on the architectural and cultural development in ancient Mexico. Although it was at the height of the haze with the air quality index deemed ‘very unhealthy’, there was a good turnout and the participants listened eagerly as Dr Licon discussed the various Mesoamerican civilizations starting from the Olmec to the Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Mayan and Aztec untill the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards in 1521.

We were presented with many interesting facts. Being an impossible to reform chocoholic, I was especially fascinated by the ancient Mexican love for chocolate.  The Olmecs were the first people to process cacao beans with the earliest evidence coming from residue left in a bowl that dates to 1800 BCE.  The Mayans and Aztecs considered chocolate as the food of the gods, a heavenly concept that I can identify with.  Mixtec chocolateThe Mixtec tribe which inhabited Mitla in Oaxaca, Mexico from circa 900 CE, wrote their history as phonetic pictures on deerskin.  The picture on the left (blurry, I know.  I am still working on my photographic skills), shows a royal wedding ceremony taking place on the day 13 Snake of the year 13 Reed which works out in our uninspired calendar as 1051 CE. Lots more information can be gleaned from the drawing including that the cup of chocolate held by the happy lady represents dowry.  Not surprising as cacao, which was made into a drink, was an item of luxury.

PacalAs an impressionable teenager hooked on the writings of Erich von Daniken, I read in the ‘Chariots of the Gods’ that the picture on the right, drawn by ancient Mayans, represents an astronaut sitting in his rocket with the markings at the bottom depicting flames and gases from the propulsion unit.  Dr Licon had the more logical explanation.  The drawing is actually the sarcophagus lid of Pakal, one of the kings of Palenque which is a city in Southern Mexico and it depicts Pakal descending into the Mayan underworld.  Dr Licon pointed out the main imagery on the drawing to us.  This includes a snake located under Pakal having its mouth open and it represents the entrance to the underworld.  The ceiba tree represents the connection between the great sky, the upper-world and the underworld.

Pakal was buried wearing a jade mask and beads.  The jade was mined from Guatemala which is one of the few worldwide sources of jadeite.  Jadeite was a luxury item and played an important role in the lives of the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs.

Chichen-Itza (taken from Wikipedia)

Chichen-Itza (taken from Wikipedia)

A description of ancient Mexico is not complete without a mention of its pyramids. Unlike the Egyptian pyramids which were burial tombs, the Mayan pyramids were mostly built in honour of their gods and had temples at the top of the pyramids.  Pyramids, such as the famous Chichen-Itza pyramid located at Yucatan, Mexico, also served as astronomical observatories. Complicated through it may be, the Mayan calendar is extremely accurate with precise calculation of astronomical events including eclipses.

039The floor had lots of questions.  A number of these questions centered around some of the similarities between the ancient Mexican civilisations and the Southeast Asian civilisations.  Dr Licon explained that the perceived similarities was because all agricultural societies had to know the planting seasons and hence had to develop some level of astronomical knowledge.  All cultures faced the same elements including the moon, sun and wind resulting in similar traditions. Karen wanted to know more on blood sacrifice among the ancient Mexicans.  Human sacrifice and blood letting was mostly practiced by the Aztecs.  According to their cosmology, the first four cycles of human creation were destroyed by the gods.  In the fifth cycle, i.e the Aztecs, the gods sacrificed one of themselves to create the humans.  So blood giving was a way of saying thank-you.

046Dr Licon being presented with books on Malaysian history and archaeology at the end of the talk.

MV Road Show at Taiping

Last Saturday (6 July 2013) the Museum Volunteers were invited by Jabatan Muzium Malaysia to participate in their ‘Museums and Community’ roadshow at the Perak museum.  So five of us packed our bags and made our way to Taiping for a day of culture, history and the opportunity to blow the MV horn.

206As the MV logo is the tepak sirih, we had decided to showcase this at our booth and give the museum goers of Taiping a chance to try out the ancient fare of the Nusantara.  With it being the dry season, sireh leaves were scarce and Sudha frantically scoured the markets of Ipoh and Taiping for the elusive leaves.  Thanks to her and Harith, we managed to procure all the ingredients needed to wrap up a sireh quid - sireh leaves, areca nuts, lime paste, gambier, tobacco and cloves which we proudly displayed on a mat placed at the side of our table.

Dato' Nazri rolling up a sireh quid with Dato' Ibrahim looking on

Dato’ Nazri rolling up a sireh quid with Dato’ Ibrahim looking on

A pantun (poem) on sireh composed by Riduwan made our display complete and all we needed now was for someone to try our offering.

Our first ‘victim’ was none other than Dato’ Seri Nazri, Minister of Tourism and Culture who gamely sat down on the mat and followed Harith’s instructions on rolling up a sireh quid which he then proceeded to chew.

Sireh tasting was only the start of the fun.  The enthusiastic crowd took up our challenge on answering a 15 question quiz and we very quickly reached the conclusion that Taiping folks know their museum and history well.  The kids were especially engaged and wanted to try out all the games we had in store.  This is where the sling bags we use at Muzium Negara came in handy and the jigsaw puzzles on Hang Tuah and Han Li Po were a crowd puller.  The enthusiasm of the crowd and especially the kids made it a memorable day for us.

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On the left: Our first quiz participant belting out the answers.

Below: the jigsaw puzzles were a crowd puller.

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493

We gave away Mariana’s postcards as prizes.  She has done an artistic rendition of four local buildings and has created postcards of her paintings.  The kids were enthused to collect all four postcards and eagerly participated in the various activities in an attempt to get all four cards.

We played the Gallery C picture puzzle ala Happy Family style with 4 participants in each group.

We played the Gallery C picture puzzle ala Happy Family style with 4 participants in each group.

The five of us at the MV booth

The five of us at the MV booth

Kids learn to tie the tengkolok

Kids learn to tie the tengkolok

Identifying landmarks in Malaysia was easy peasy

Identifying landmarks in Malaysia was easy peasy

Architecture and Cultural Development in Ancient Mexico

Dr. Ernesto Licon will be giving the above talk at Muzium Negara on Tuesday 25 June at 10am. This talk is open to the public and is a free programme.  Please register at focus_mv@yahoo.com.my if you will be attending.  You can also register via our facebook page.  Seats are limited and will be on a first come first serve basis.

Details on the talk can be found below.  Please note that the venue has been changed to the Auditorium Room at Muzium Negara.

Ancient Mexico Archi 1

Ancient Mexico Archi 2

Ancient Mexico Archi 3

Field Trip to Ipoh (part 1)

by Zahara Shahriman

Although I was born in Batu Gajah, about a half hour’s drive from Ipoh, the capital city of modern Perak, my knowledge of the State has mainly been gleaned from The Malayan Trilogy, written by the renowned English novelist Anthony Burgess (who once taught at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar, a boarding school in Perak for the Malay elites – dubbed the Eton of the East) and more recently through Tash Aw’s award winning book Harmony Silk Factory, a novel set in Perak during the tin rush. So I was very excited to join the Museum Volunteer Field trip to Ipoh on May 30th Thursday to discover if its way of life is still intact.

Coming along on my balik kampong trip, were 22 other museum volunteers, 9 Malaysian Culture Group members and 5 Jabatan Muzium Malaysia (JMM) staff.  We left the museum car park at around 6am in JMM’s spanking new bus which made the four hour trip passing through the beautiful limestone hills in the Kinta Valley extremely comfortable.

According to history, Ipoh came into existence in the 1820s as a small Malay village of Palau along the banks of Kinta River. The tin rush of the 1880’s resulted in a boom and increased Ipoh’s population to about 4,000 people. A devastating fire in 1892 damaged the town but gave the British, who ruled Perak, the opportunity to rebuild the streets in a more orderly way.  Broad, straight roads were built in the town, flanked by rows of shops and majestic buildings.

Ipoh_train stationThis was certainly evident in the first building we visited – the glorious white neoclassical Ipoh Railway Station, often referred to as the ‘Taj Mahal’ of Ipoh because of its beautiful domes and high arches. Built between 1914 and 19187 by the famed British architect A.B. Hubback who also designed the Kuala Lumpur Railway station, it replaced the original railway station which was an attap roofed shack.

Our next stop was the newly renovated Station Square in front of the Railway Station where our guide, Mr Raja, explained to us the significance of the War memorial which rather touchingly commemorates Perak’s war dead and bears the words: “Sacred to the memory of the men from the state of Perak who fell in the Great War 1914 -1918 and to those who died in 1939-1945 War.”

Across the road we found ourselves at the regal Town Hall and old Post Office. Completed in 1916, these buildings served as a post and telegraph office as well as the police headquarters. In 1945 the Malay Nationalist Party, the first political party formed in Malaya, held its inaugural congress here. It is still in use for weddings and other events.

Ipoh_monumentA few streets behind the Town Hall and Post office we viewed the four-sided Birch Memorial clock tower which was built in 1909 to honour J.W.W. Birch, the first resident of Perak in 1875. For a small structure it has many details: the tower bells that used to strike the chimes of Big Ben in London, four terracotta figures perched at the top of the tower which represented the four virtues of British administration namely loyalty, justice, patience and fortitude and a panel portraying 44 famous figures from world history across the tower. Interestingly the form of Prophet Mohammad was painted out of the panel in the 1990s in keeping with the Muslims objection to the depiction of the prophet. The bust of Birch was also missing. Stolen perhaps?

Ipoh_windowsOn the way to lunch at a delicious mamak restaurant, we passed many other striking buildings in old Ipoh, particularly the beautifully maintained Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building which look as impressive now as it did in the 1930s.  In contrast, many of the buildings in Ipoh are near decay although their classical architectural design still imbue them with a sense of quiet elegance and dignity.  Ipoh_birdcageThankfully, we could see evidence of an initiative to revive old Ipoh especially along Panglima Lane (Concubine Lane) which dates back to the turn of the century. At that time, this area was known for opium, gambling and brothels. Now, new boutique hotels such as the Sekeping Kong Heng as well as eclectic restaurants such as Burps and Giggles are giving visitors a slice of history within an old town which is still alive and working.

We also visited two museums and the tin dredge at Tanjung Tualang.  Stay tuned to part 2 for a description of our memorable visit to these places.

Ipoh_laneIpoh_wall

Nowruz

The 3,000 year old Zoroastrian festival of Nowruz is the Iranian New Year and though it is celebrated worldwide, it is relatively unknown in Malaysia.  Hence, we learned a lot when museum volunteer Jaleh Chegini gave a presentation on this festival on March 26; just a few days after this year’s Nowruz.

Nowruz, which is steeped in tradition, is celebrated at the time of the vernal equinox or the first day of spring which falls around 21 March.  This is the time when sunlight is evenly divided between the northern and southern hemispheres.  The start of the New Year is very precisely timed and Iranians celebrate Nowruz at the precise time of the arrival of spring, regardless if this is at midnight, 10am or 4am!

Jaleh in traditional Iranian costume

Jaleh in traditional Iranian costume

Preparations start a few weeks before the festival.  Iranians start by ‘shaking the house’ during which they literally clean every spot in their homes.  The phrase ‘spring cleaning’ is believed to have originated in this Iranian tradition.  During this time, Iranians would also buy new clothes and furniture as well as make donations to charity.

Fire Jumping, is celebrated on the night of the last Wednesday of the old year.  Small bonfires are lit in the streets and people jump over the flames while shouting “May my sickly pallor be yours and your red glow be mine.”   The flames symbolically take away all the unpleasantness of the previous year.

Haji Firuz

Haji Firuz

Before the arrival of Nowruz, a man dressed in red with face covered in soot takes to the streets dancing and singing and proclaiming that Nowruz is approaching.  This is Haji Firuz, the herald of Nowruz.  Haji Firuz has a side-kick, Uncle Nowruz, who is the Iranian version of Santa Claus.  Similar to Santa, Uncle Nowruz is also an old man with a white beard who brings gifts and good luck to people.

Another interesting tradition carried out before the arrival of Nowruz is similar to Halloween.  Kids in the neighbourhood would drop by in disguise and announce their presence by hitting a metal pot with a metal spoon.  This is called ‘pot hitting‘ and would earn them a treat from the house owner.

20130326_101222Preparing the Haft-Seen table is, perhaps, the most important tradition of Nowruz.  Iranians will sit around the table with friends and family while waiting for Nowruz to arrive.  Jaleh prepared a table for us which is shown on the right.  Nowruz has its traditions in Zoroastrianism, a religion that was prevalent in present day Iran around 3,000 years ago.  The table was called Haft-Chin and it had seven items on it symbolising seven elements in the universe.  Since the advent of Islam, the table is now known as Haft-Seen, or the seven ‘S’s and there are seven key items on it each starting with the letter ‘S’.  One of the items, sabzeh (wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish), is perhaps the only item that is common to both tables.

Nowruz is celebrated for 12 days during which time, schools and many offices are closed.  Visiting friends and family is the main activity.  The 13th day of Nowruz is considered to be bad luck as it is associated with the number 13.  To avoid the bad luck, people go outdoors on picnics and this day is called Sizdah Bedar meaning ‘getting rid of the 13‘.  On this day, some girls would tie the leaves of their sabzeh dish before throwing it away.  While doing so, they express their wish to get married before the next Sizdah Bedar.

Jaleh had also arranged for us to try out some Iranian food which she had ordered from an Iranian restaurant.

20130326_112819From far, this dish looks familiar and Malaysians may be forgiven for dismissing it as ice-kacang.  But this dessert, called faloodeh, is not made from shaved ice but from frozen vermicelli topped with rose syrup.  A tinge of lime juice is added giving it a zesty taste.  Apart from faloodeh, we also tried out an aubergine dish which was served with flat bread.  Only one word, ‘yummy’.  Wish all focus events would end with a treat!

Pre-Historic Skeletons in Lenggong Valley

Earlier this month, on Saturday 2 March 2013, museum volunteers were held spell-bound by Shaiful Idzwan who gave a talk to the volunteers on archaeology in Malaysia with focus on pre-historic skeletons in Lenggong Valley.

006Shaiful started the talk by discussing some of the famous pre-historic sites in Malaysia including Guar Kepar in Penang, Gua Cha in Kelantan, Lenggong in Perak and Niah in Sarawak.  He also talked about the log coffin burials in Kinabatangan, Sabah; a 2,000 year old practice by the Orang Sungai which is still on-going today.  Log burials are unique to Kinabatangan and in this type of burial, the coffin itself is not buried but placed in the cave – on the floor for ordinary people and on a specially erected wooded platform for people of higher status.  Shaiful has hands-on experience at Kinabatangan as he is researching this for his PhD.

Saiful related an interesting anecdote on the former Deputy Director of Museums in Malaya, Gale Sieveking.  Sieveking took up the post in 1953 and was responsible for the first systematic excavation of Gua Cha in which over 30 human remains were uncovered from both the Hoabinhian and Neolithic levels.  He returned to England in 1956 and after his demise in 2007, his family discovered skeletons from Gua Cha under his bed.  Jabatan Muzium was notified which repatriated the skeletons to Malaysia.  Although an amusing anecdote, it also testifies to the passion archaeologists have for their subjects.

Saiful then turned his focus to Lenggong Valley which obtained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012.  He talked about Gua Kajang, a natural limestone tunnel which is large enough to ride a horse through.  The site is dated to around 7,000 to 11,000 year ago and some charred bones were found here indicating the presence of fire; although it is uncertain if this was a natural fire or man-made.

Perak Man and Gua Gunung Runtuh, in which this skeleton was found, were given due attention as was Gua Kelawar in which the Perak Woman was found.  Another interesting site at Lenggong Valley is Gua Harimau in which 12 prehistoric skeletons were uncovered making it the largest burial site in Lenggong.  Perhaps the most exciting site at Lenggong Valley at the moment is Bukit Bunuh, the site of a meteorite impact 1.83 million years ago.  The high temperatures and pressure of the meteorite impact transformed rocks at the impact site into suevite and a handaxe made of chert was found buried in the suevite rocks, making this handaxe more than 1.83 million years old and the oldest stone tool to be found outside Africa.

Karen presenting Saiful with a token of appreciation with Mariana looking on.

Karen presenting Saiful with a token of appreciation with Mariana looking on.

Shaiful Idzwan Shahidan holds a Masters in Field Archaeology and Masters in Applied Ethics (Archaeological Ethics).  He is currently a Research Officer and ASTS Fellow at the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, USM.  He has over 7 years of experience in archaeology and has conducted archaeological research at a number of locations in Malaysia including at Lenggong Valley (Perak), BujangValley (Kedah) and Kinabatangan Valley (Sabah).  He was a member of the expert committee for the preparation of Nomination Dossier for the Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. He was also part of the Joint Malaysian and Australian Archaeological Site Survey team for possible World War II burial sites in Parit Sulong, Johor and worked with the Penang Islamic Department on the relocation of ancient graves.

We were indeed honoured to have Shaiful with us.

Culinary Heritage of Malaysia

As Malaysians we think we know a lot about food.  Whether they are Malay, Indian or Chinese dishes, we know them all and love them all.  We are even a little arrogant as a lot of concoctions are truly Malaysian; a fusion of food from different cultures.

Harith Jamaludin giving a talk to museum volunteers

Harith Jamaludin giving a talk to museum volunteers

On 26th Jan 2013, Harith Jamaludin gave a talk to the museum volunteers on Malaysian food and it was a humbling experience to learn that there is a lot about Malaysian cuisine we don’t know.  For example, nasi pattaya does not come from Pattaya, Thailand.  Possibly a local invention?

Harith Jamaludin is the Program Manager for the School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts, Kolej PTPL Sungai Petani. He obtained a Diploma in Food Service Management and Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). Currently based in Sungai Petani, Harith is undergoing his Masters Degree in Gastronomy at the same University.

Harith started the talk by explaining how history influenced Malaysian cuisine.  It was interesting to know that the Malay words ‘ubi’ (potato), ‘keladi’ (yam) and ‘babi’ (pig) are the only food related words not linguistically influenced from elsewhere.  With 143 mouth watering pictures of heritage food and drinks, Harith went through the cooking of the Malays, Indian, Chinese, Orang Asli, natives of Sabah & Sarawak as well as Peranakan and Eurasian cooking.  He also talked about European influenced cooking.  Laksa Johor, for example, uses spaghetti.

Some dishes

Sample herbs, plants and food brought by Harith

Sample herbs, plants and food brought by Harith

Harith also brought along herbs, spices as well as cooked and uncooked food in a show-and-tell.

We got the feel of texture and smells of herbs and plants which we usually only taste in the finished product.

The volunteers also had hands-on experience in making sambal belacan and many tried this with relish.

Lawrence having a go at making sambal belacan with the other volunteers waiting their turn.

Lawrence having a go at making sambal belacan with the other volunteers waiting their turn.

The talk was a good prelude to the New Year potluck.  Appetites whetted by sights and smells of Harith’s presentation, the sumptuous lunch that followed was a good end to the morning.

An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

by Stuart Wakefield

Lecture by Paul Spencer Sochaczewski on his book “An Inordinate Fondness for
Beetles: Campfire Conversations with Alfred Russell Wallace”

The joint meeting attended by more than 50 MVM / MCG members and their guests was held at the Meritz condominium on 17-Oct-12.  The author provided a fascinating overview of Wallace’s formative years and his self funded travels, both in Brazil and in the Malay Archipelago, during the 19th Century.  It was evident that Wallace was more than an explorer cum naturalist, as he wrote many papers on subjects including ‘arrogance and the roles of ego and greed’, ‘women’s rights’, ‘why nature must be controlled which leads to its destruction’ and ‘our relationship with other species’.  He also identified what became known as ‘the Wallace Line’, which separates Asia’s fauna and flora from that of Australia and has withstood the test of time.

Paul at the joint MCG/MVM event

Paul at the joint MCG/MVM event

Notwithstanding his many significant achievements, Wallace is often best remembered for independently developing his theory of natural selection.  Wallace sent a copy of his paper to Charles Darwin who had arrived at virtually identical conclusions over a number of years, but had yet to circulate his writings beyond his close associates.  Darwin was advised to publish without further delay and thereby gained considerable fame and a not insignificant fortune, whilst Wallace graciously sat on the sidelines.  However, Darwin’s theory was by no means universally accepted by traditional Victorian thinkers, and he was subject to a degree of ridicule and contempt, which Wallace avoided.

Heritage Walking Tour of KL December 11, 2010

 

MV Batch 12’s Heritage Walk on Saturday 11 December 2010

By Kon Cze Yan

It was an end of term treat for Batch 12.  An outing instead of another classroom lecture. The day began quite badly with the closure of Dataran Merdeka to traffic because of a 1Malaysia Run and traffic diversions because of demonstrations regarding Selangor’s water problems. The organiser (me!) was late from trying all possible routes to enter the Royal Selangor Club. Luckily all the other 13 participants turned up fairly punctually around 8.30am. They cleverly came by public transport or parked away from Dataran Merdeka.

Our guide for the 1.5 hour walk was the most knowledgeable Lee Choo Sim. Choo Sim took us from Dataran Merdeka to “Kuala Lumpur” to Medan Pasar. At the Dataran, he regaled us with numerous stories about the buildings around Dataran Merdeka & how life was during colonial times. He gave us little snippets of some interesting characters – who had an affair with whom & who was in love with whom! When we moved on to the river area where the Gombak & Klang Rivers meet, Choo Sim pointed out a few obscure facts like the meaning of Kuala Lumpur, which was the Klang & which was the Gombak River(!) & that the river had a little family of otters. Things started getting steamy in Medan Pasar with stories of drugs/opium dens and sex/brothels. Luckily by then it was time to cool off at the historic Royal Selangor Club.

The Royal Selangor Club (RSC) was established in 1884 – 126 years ago. It was founded by J.P. Rodger, Resident of Selangor, A.R. Venning, Selangor Treasurer, Captain Charles Syers, Commissioner of the Selangor Police,  H.F. Bellamy, Superintendent of the Selangor Public Works Department & K. Thamboosamy Pillai, businessman. It was the social hub of KL during colonial times and almost every big event would be held there.

The MV members had tea, coffee and sandwiches next to the famous Long Bar, the bar which is still off limits to women. Chrissy Lioe, husband & son joined us for refreshments. They had just returned from India. Ismail of the RSC then took us for a short tour of the Club’s premises which was rather like a pub crawl – nearly every room in the Club has a bar!

MV members who attended:

Kon Cze Yan

Karen Loh

Chrissy Lioe

Bahyah Mohd Noor

Chris Clifton

Dany Picot

Jaleh Chegini

Joseph Arputhaswamy

Justin Lai Lye Kim

Low Mei May

Magan Karapal

Stuart Wakefield

Sudha Nair

Lee Ah Chai