Thursday, 27 December 2012

Drinking Water

In our history, many Malay households used well water for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing, watering, etc. Others used the river for the same purposes if their homes were close to rivers. Rivers were clean and there was no problem of contaminated rivers then.

A few British government homes had piped water where lead (plumbum, Pb) was used to make the metal pipes. 55 years after independence, these lead pipes are rusty and give us rusty water that stain our white school blouses a rusty colour.

There is one source of clean drinking water that the Malays used to obtain hygienic clean drinking water and that is the hollowed granite potable water. I had seen one at the Cheng Ho Expo in November 2010. I saw one outside Muzium Kelantan today.


A traditional Malay water-filtration system outside Muzium Kelantan, 27 December 2012

It makes me wonder, did the Ming Chinese introduce clean drinking water to the Malays well before the British introduced lead pipes which rusted easily? Did the Malays use hygienically doubly filtered sand-filtered granite-filtered drinking water? If they did, then the Malays had a good water filtration system well before the British colonials arrived in Malaya. Another question is, did the British colonials learn about water filtration from the Malays in Malaya during British Malaya? Did they then bring the idea back home to England and then tried making a similar system that worked?


A Chinese water filtration system, similar to that of the Malays, Cheng Ho Expo, 23 November 2010
A display board at Cheng Ho Expo, 23 Novermber 2010


Back in the mid-1970s, I was in my grandfather's kitchen while he wanted to show me his new British water filtration system. It was a dull clay colored earthen cylindrical column with a few removable parts. There was a column, a lid and some inside parts I am unable to recall. The water filter system should still be in his house in Penang. I have not seen it since he died. A similar water filter can be seen at this website: