Thursday, 30 May 2013

Hajj in the Malay World 1850-1950

by Sharifah bt Ismail, MSc Thesis, IIUM, 2005

Islamic Studies, Duke University

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

TEMD Souvenirs

I have managed to make a few souvenirs to go with my books. I made 100 bags and 100 mugs. The bag is small and handy and you can use it for keeping your telekung when you travel. The mugs are collectors' items. I made only a limited number - first come first serve. You can get the bags and mugs from my office at USM in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

En Armee who made the bags and mugs in Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Black non woven bag
Mug A (Research on the Early Malay Doctors)
Mug B (Biography of the Early Malay Doctors)

Monday, 27 May 2013

Hajj Operators of Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific

Please let me know if you are a Hajj operator or agency or institution for Southeast Asia (SEA) and the Asia Pacific. I'm only listing these here for research purposes, so it is easy to find and contact you. If you also have books published for the Hajj and or some helpful books for the pilgrims, please also let me know, so we can tell the world what we have in this region. If you have been a Hajj Doctor or a Hajj Surgeon before, please also write to me so I can create another web page and put all details separately. For the time being, there is nothing much collected about the people and activities involved with the Hajj for research. I hope we can all help and collect information which will be useful for research on the Hajj.

Umrah Operators
List of Umrah travel agents in Malaysia (approved by Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)\
al-Quds Travel Sdn Bhd

Hajj Operators of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Region

Lembaga Tabung Haji Malaysia profile > Lembaga Tabung Haji > TH HQPejabat Cawangan TH
Andalusia Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd
Muhammadiyah Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
Gemilang Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd (best info and most up-to-date)
Syarikat Perlancungan Yaskin Sdn Bhd
Kifaalah Sdn Bhd

TM Fowzy TM Fowzy2





Hajj Operators of the Asia Pacific Region


New Zealand

Hajj Operators of Other Countries Not Otherwise Specified
French Polynesia
US Guam

Sunday, 26 May 2013

5 Cities for the Malays

I need names of 5 cities where I want Xlibris to launch my book (Biography of the Early Malay Doctors). Please help me name 5 cities.
  1. Kuala Lumpur
  2. Singapore
  3. Canberra/Melbourne/Sydney/Perth - which one?
  4. Leiden
  5. London
I am advised to avoid Washington DC, Los Angeles, because only political books need to be launched there.

I can't seem to find one US city that is good for this launch. New York would be out.

I haven't included Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo or Manila. 

Singapore is actually a small country and a limited market for books. But who knows?

Did you know that many people have heard about Malaysia and met Malaysians. However, nobody at Xlibris and the international publishing companies I have come to know, ever know or can pronounce the word "Malay" correctly or even heard of it. Which makes me rather sad. We are so proud to be Malays but we are not known to the world at all. Nobody seems to know us at the publishing front, except when my book arrived. They tried very very very hard to pronounce the word "Malay" but it came out as "Maleeeeee", "Maaaallllleeeee", "Maaaaallaaaayyy" and other strange sounding names. I could cry. So I told the people at the other end of the phone, "It is pronounced as Malay and not Maaalleeee or other." Sometimes it makes we wonder, "Is Malaysia really famous?" I don't think so. We still need to let the world know who we are and what we are, and where we are located. 

Singapore may just be a small red dot on the world map but it is well known. Malaysia looks like a shrunken jerkin hanging sideways on the world map and larger than Singapore, don't tell me the world doesn't know we, the Malays, live in Malaysia. Even the Filipino people are more famous than the Malays.

Some people may have other mean ideas of describing Malaysia and Singapore on the world map - like a drop of semen from .... it is only true of West Malaysia. We still have Sabah & Sarawak, just 2 little strips on the west side of Borneo. Borneo is the entire big island shaped like a dog and facing east; most of it is Kalimantan which belongs to Indonesia.

Guten Tag

I was smiling to my self when I clicked on a German website and saw "Learn German Greetings". LOL It reminds me of that one particular German class I was in, over in  California, more than 34 years ago. I can't converse in German anymore nor on the phone but I can recall bits of the language.

I was looking at Hitler's photo today and Achtung! resounded. I smiled because it was my elder sister's favourite word even when we were growing up. I can put together a few lines like these: Guten tag, Frauhlein. Wie geht es Ihnen? Wie bitte? Danke shon. Auf wiedersehen. That's all.

It takes a throaty sound to make these German greetings and words sound right. But it is fun to pratise when Germans are around. I haven't seen the Germans since Grandma Maria Tze von Caramon died, maybe 30 years ago. I miss her. But I have included her name in my books.

Herr                          (Sir/Mr)
Frauhlein                   (Miss)
Guten Tag.                (Hello/Good Day.)
Wie geht es Ihnen?   (How are you?)
Es geht mir gut.        (I'm fine)
Wie bitte?                (Pardon me?)
Sehr erfreut.             (Nice to meet you)
Danke                       (Thank you)
Mach's gut                (Take care)
Auf Wiedersehen.     (Bye)

I was reading about Germany to find out if I want Xlibris to launch my book there. Why Germany? This is what I read at Wikipedia:
The second largest religion is Islam with an estimated 3.8 to 4.3 million adherents (4.6% to 5.2%),followed by Buddhism with 250,000 and Judaism with around 200,000 adherents (0.3%); Hinduism has some 90,000 adherents (0.1%). All other religious communities in Germany have fewer than 50,000 adherents. Of the roughly 4 million Muslims, most are Sunnis and Alevites from Turkey, but there are a small number of Shi'ites and other denominations. German Muslims, a large portion of whom are of Turkish origin, lack full official state recognition of their religious community. Germany has Europe's third largest Jewish population (after France and the United Kingdom). Approximately 50% of the Buddhists in Germany are Asian immigrants. Germans with no stated religious adherence make up 34.1% of the population and are concentrated in the former East Germany and major metropolitan areas. German reunification in 1990 greatly increased the country's non-religious population, a legacy of the state atheism of the previously Soviet-controlled East. Christian church membership has decreased in recent decades, particularly among Protestants. - Wikipedia.  Permalink
Will my book survive in Germany? I won't know till I try.

Mahal Kita

I was just reading a book review by Stephanie on H-NET, all in one deep breath! I am shocked and tantalized that marriage between white US-American and Malay is outlawed! Here the "Malay" in question is Filipino, not Malaysian.
Citation: Stephanie Hinnershitz-Hutchinson. Review of Baldoz, Rick, The Third Asiatic Invasion: Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946. H-Empire, H-Net Reviews. May, 2013. URL:
A question asked was, is the Filipino a Malay, Mongol, Chinese or Japanese? LOL, I have no immediate answer. I am Malay but Filipino to any Filipino except that I don't speak Tagalog except for a few words which the Malay language shares with Tagalog.

Sometimes we all have this culturul identity crisis where we don't know how we fit into the Asiatic or even global picture of humans. In Asia today, you can stare at a beautiful lady and think she is Malay or Filipino or even Polynesian. I will bet you that she is not 100% Malay but of Malay, Indian, Chinese and European genetic admixture. That is how mixed we are today.

So coming back to the Filipino story, is the Filipino also a mix? Yes, definitely, even from its history, we all know the Filipino is not pure anymore but mix breeds. We should be able to find Filipino Chinese, Filipino Black, Filipino US White, Filipino Canadian White, Filipino Spanish White, Filipino Portuguese White, Filipino Mongol, Filipino Malay, Filipino Indian, Filipino Punjabi, Filipino Arab, Filipino Persian, Filipino Bugis, Filipino Sulu, Filipino Japanese, Filipino Korean, Filipino Thai, etc. I think the pot is bigger and the mixes just too many.

The Filipino people are ethnically grouped into 10 social classes or castes: Negrito, Indio, Moros (Filipino Muslims), Sangley, Mestizo de Sangley, Mestizo de Espanol, Tornatras, Filipino/Insulares, Americano and Peninisulares.
"The Moros are Muslims living in the Philippines.

The Español mestizos are persons born in the Philippines of mixed Malay and Spanish ancestry.

The tornatrás are persons born in the Philippines of mixed Malay, Chinese, and Spanish ancestry.

Indio was a general term applied to native Malays, but as a legal classification, it was only applied to Christianized Malays who lived in proximity to the Spanish colonies.

Persons who lived outside of Manila, Cebu, and the major Spanish posts were classified as such: 'Naturales' were Christianized Malays of the lowland and coastal towns.

The un-Christianized Aetas and Malays who lived in the towns were classified as 'salvajes' (savages) or 'infieles' (the unfaithful).

'Remontados' (Spanish for 'situated in the mountains') and 'tulisanes' (bandits) were Malays and Aetas who refused to live in towns and took to the hills, all of whom were considered to live outside the social order as Catholicism was a driving force in everyday life, as well as determining social class in the colony." - Wikipedia.
So what does the Filipino look like? I don't know but what I know is they are simply gorgeous! I still remember Imelda Marcos and Corazon Aquino. I remember Lea Salonga singing and recently Bianca King acting.

External links:

Humanities and Social Sciences Net Online

Mailing address:
141h Old Horticulture
506 East Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824  USA
tel 517.432.5134
fax 517.884-6994
Contact Us:

To post to  H-ASIA  simply send your message to: <>
For holidays or short absences send post to:  <> with message: SET H-ASIA NOMAIL
Upon return, send post with message SET H-ASIA MAIL

H-NET Book Review:

Penang and the Hajj 2013 Workshop:

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Update: Penang and the Hajj Workshop 2013

Most recent update (15 June 2013):

Previous post:
Here is the list of presenters for the "Penang and the Hajj Workshop 2013" which I received from Dr Lubis tonight.

Paper Presenters, Penang and The Hajj workshop

Prof. E. Ulrich Kratz
Centre of South East Asian Studies, SOAS, University of London
Islam on Pulau Pinang: Some early evidence

Prof. Suwardi bin Mohammad Samin
Historian and Culturalist of Riau
Perjalanan dari Sumatra – Riau ke Pulau Pinang naik haji ke Mekkah

Prof. Faridah Abdul Rashid
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
The Malayan Hajj Doctors and the Malaysia Hajj Scene 1900-2013

Dr. Aiza binti Maslan @ Baharudin
School of Humanities Universiti Sains Malaysia
Aktiviti Haji dan Perkembangan Pentadbirannya di Pulau Pinang

Dr. Mohd Isa Othman
School of Distance Learning, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Tarikh Perjalanan ke Negeri Mekah Al-Mukaramah Catatan Pengalaman Peribadi Wan Yahya Wan Mohd Taib

Dato’ Dr. Mujahid Yusof Rawa
Member of Parliament
Haji Yusof Rawa and the Hajj Business

Dr. Ramli Awang
Faculty of Islamic Civilization, University Technology Malaysia
Haji dan Lebai dari Perspektif Tuan Guru Syeikh Abdul Qadir Al-Mandili Al-Indonesia (1910-1965).

Dr. Shanti Moorthy
Monash University, Malaysian campus
The Hajj as a Cosmopolitan Practice

Dr. Christopher M. Joll
Centre for Ethnic Studies and Development (CESD), Chiang Mai University
The haj, salvation and social change in cosmopolitan Southeast Asian port city-states

Dr. Francis R. Bradley
Assistant Professor, Social Science & Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Campus
Penang, Patani Scholars, and the Hajj

Saiful Anwar Matondang1 and Febry Ichman Butsi2
1 Ph.D candidate in Anthropological Linguistics, Universitē de Fribourg, Switzerland
2 Communication Science, USM
The Strategic Position of Penang and the Revival of shared Identity of the Ummah

Muhammad Arafat Bin Mohamad
Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.
Hajj and the Migration of the Fatanis

Muhammad Ilyas Yahprung
Ph.D. candidate, International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC)
The reformist doctrine of ijtihad and its applications: A comparative study of Sheikh Ahmad
Al-Fatani's Hadiqatul Azhar and Tayyibul-ihsan fi Tibbil-Insan, and the Penang's reformist
journal, al-Ikwan and Saudara.

Michael Christopher Low
Ph.D. candidate in International and Global History, Department of History, Columbia University
From Pilgrimage to Plantation: Indentured Labor, Muslim Capital, and the Making of the
Colonial Hajj, 1860-1900

Kamaruzzaman Bustamam-Ahmad
State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN) Ar-Raniry, Banda Aceh
Jak u Arab: Kajian Tentang Naik Haji di Kalangan Masyarakat Aceh

Numan Hayimasae
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prince of Songkhla University, Pattani
Syeikh Haji Melayu, Hajj Pilgrimage Service: It’s Geneses, Roles and Changes

Abdur-Razzaq Lubis
Independent scholar and author
The Mandailing On Hajj

and a few more Thai speakers for the Rawa community in Thailand.

External links:
Penang Heritage Trust

Friday, 24 May 2013

Minangkabau houses with bagondang roofs

Bagondang is the roof style of the Minangkabau house. The roof turns upward at the ends like horns. Why are they shaped like horns? That's because the Minangkabau people engaged in bullfights as a pastime. The word Minangkabau comes from "menang kerbau" when they won bullfights. So the bull horns decorate not only the Minangkabau women's headgear but also the roofs of the Minangkabau houses. They must be proud of the bull horns. The Malacca palace in the old days had bagondang roof structure because the sultans were probably Minangkabau people from West Sumatra. The photos below were taken at USM students' hostel cafeteria. The caterers are probably of Minangkabau extract or origin or probably travelled there.

Minangkabau houses with bagondang roofs
Reduced bagondang appearance of the roof of a house in Banda Hilir, Malacca, more Chinese like. This was the Minangkabau house I lived in, in Malacca in 1958-1963. It was built by my great-grandfather in the late 1800s. It was demolished in 2007. That's my eldest brother and me at the top of the brick staircase. The eave at right is that of Masjid Banda Hilir (now Masjid an-Nur), which was built in 1820 or earlier (1734 according to Penang records and a similar mosque, built by the same man, Nakhoda Nan Intan).

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lunatic Asylum ... Rumah Orang Gila

Malay Names of Places 89
Mis. Fur.
Water-works — High Level Reservoir, Sophia Hill ... ... 1 6
* Wharf — Borneo Co.'s (far end of Tanjong Pagar) ... ... 2 2
* Do. R & O. S. N. Co.'s., Teluk Blangah ... ... 2 5
* Do. Tanjong Pagar .... ... 1 3

A few of the native syces know the English names of places, but the majority do not. A list of the names of the principal buildings and places of interest, in Malay, is therefore appended, to aid visitors in finding their way about the town and island.

Adelphi Hotel ... (English Name.)
Beach Hotel . . . Hotel Tepi Laut.
Borneo Wharf . . . (English Name.)
Botanical Gardens ... Kebun Bungah.
Bukit Timah ... Bukit Timiah.
Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd ... Greja Pranchis.
Cemetery (Christian) ... Kuboran Orang Puteh.
Central Hotel .. (English Name.)
Changhi Bungalow .. Kompani punya Bungalow, Changhi.
Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China . . . Chartered Bank.
Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China ... Mercantile Bank.
Chinese Protectorate . . . Pikring punya Ofis.
Convent ... Skola Pranchis Perampuan
Criminal Prison ... Gaol.
Esplanade ... Padanq fieeax.

90 Handbook to Singapore.

Fort Canning ... Bukit Bandera or Bukit Tuan Bonham,
Gas Works ... Rumah Api Tempat Minyak Gas.
General Hospital ... Hospital or Rumah Orang Sakit, Sepoy Lines.
German Club ... Kongsee Orang Jerman.
Government House . . . Gebenor punya Rumah*
Government Offices ... Second Gebenor punya Ofis.
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation . . . Hongkong Bank.
Hotel de la Paix ... (English Name.)
Hotel de Europe ... Punchana Besar.
Impounding Reservoir ... Kolam Ayer Besar.
Kranji ... Kranji.
Ladies Lawn Tennis Club ... Padang Kechil.
Livery Stables ... Tuan* punya Tempat Kuda.
Lunatic Asylum ... Rumah Orang Gila.
Magistrates' and Police Courts ... Polis.
Market ... Pasar.
Master Attendant's Office ... Shahbander punya Ofis or Ofis Khlasi.
Masonic Hall . . . Rumah Hantu. .....(I can laugh at this one! LOL)
Maternity Hospital ... Kompani punya Tempat Lahir
Methodist Episcopal Church . . . Greja dekat Rumah Hantu. ....(LOL)
Mount Faber ... Bukit Bandera, Teluk Blangah.
Municipal Offices ... Ofis Chukei Pintu or Town Hall.
* Here insert the name of the proprietor.

Malay Names of Places, 91

New Harbour Dock ... (English Name) or Pulau Hantu.
New Oriental Banking Corporation ... Oriental Bank or Bank Lamah.
Orchard Road . . . Jalan Besar.
Pauper Hospital ... Rumah Miskin.
Pearl's Hill (Head Quarters' Office) ... Bukit Komshariat.
P. & O. Wharf ... (English Name) or Teluk Blangah.
Police Station ... Rumah Pasong.
Police Station (Central) Rumah Pasong Besar, Polis Lama.
Post Office ... (English Name.)
Presbyterian Church ... Greja Kechil.
Race Course ... Tempat Lomba Kuda.
Raffles Girls' School ... Skola Missy.
Raffles Hotel ... Punchaus Bahru.
Raffles Institution (Boys' School) ... Skola Besar.
Raffles Library and Museum . . . Tempat (or Rumah) Kitab (or Buk) or Tengoh Oamher.
Reservoirs (High Level) ... Kolam Ayer.
Rifle Range (Balestier) ... Tembak Baser.
St. Andrew's Cathedral ... Greja Besar
St. Andrew's Mission Chapel . . . Greja Besar punya Mission
St. Gregory's Church (Armenian) ... Orang Armenis punya Greja
St. Joseph's Institution ("Brothers' School")... Skola Franchis Jautaw


Handbook to Singapore (Internet Digital Archives)

External link:

Piggy ka roomah pasong ... Tuan/Mem punya suka

Rates of Hire for Private and Hackney Carriages, WITH Tables of Distances.

PRIVATE Carriages may be hired from the following Livery Stables: —

F. Clarke & Co., Hill Street.
A. Holley (Lambert Brothers), Orchard Road.
The Straits Horse Repository and Livery Stables — (H. Abrams), comer of North Bridge and Brass Bassa Roads.

The charge for a carriage and pair is $5 per day; for a carriage with one horse $3 per day; there being an extra charge, in both cases, if the carriage is used after 7 p.m.

For more than one day the charges are as follows: —

Carriage and Carriage and pair. one horse.
One month or more, per day 33.00 . . . $2.50
Half month, per day ... 3.50 ... 2.00
One week (7 days), per day 4.00 ... 3.00
Saddle horses can be hired at $2 per day.
[N.B. — These charges are approximate.]

Hackney Carriages may be hired at the following rates (2nd class carriages): —
$ c.
For any distance not exceeding half-a-mile 15*
For any distance, exceeding half-a-mile but not exceeding a mile ... ... 20
For every additional mile or part of a mile 10
* For 3rd class carriages, the rate is 5 cents less. Every gharry baa its charge is clearly marked on the doors.

Rates of Hire for Carriages. 83

Additional Fares: — $ c.

If the carriage is discharged at a distance from the Central Police Station exceeding 2 miles, but not exceeding 3, there must be paid an additional fare of ... 10

If it is discharged at a distance exceeding 3 miles, but not exceeding 4, the additional fare is ... ... ... 20

If the carriage is used between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., half the above fares are charged in addition.

Time Rates: —

Any hirer shall be at liberty to engage a carriage for a whole day, and to require the driver to drive any distance not exceeding 10 miles to any place or places within a radius of 4 miles from the Central Police Station, paying for the same ... ... ... ... 1 25*

No driver shall be required to drive a greater distance than 10 miles in any one day, or to remain engaged for more than 8 hours at a time; and no driver shall be entitled to claim as payment for any distance driven or any time during which he may be detained in one day more than ... ... ... ... 1 50*

For every hour or part of an hour during which any carriage may be detained beyond the first half hour of detention, an additional charge is made of ... 10

* For 3rd class carriages, 25 cents less.
Handbook to Singapore, 84

The fare for jinrickshas is 3 cents per half-mile for one passenger for a distance not exceeding 5 miles. At night (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) an extra cent per half-mile may be charged . A jinricksha may be hired for one day (i.e. , not more than 8 hours, and covering a distance of not more than 10 miles) for the maximum charge of 80 cents, including charges for detention. An extra charge of half the fare is made when there are two passengers.

Visitors to Singapore are warned against the extortionate charges made by the gharry-syces. The above
tables give the legal fares. When a dispute arises, the order to drive to the Police Station (Pergi ka rumah pasong*) will bring the syce to reason, if his charges are exorbitant.

Another trick of gharry-syces is to drive to their destination by a circuitous route, so as to be able to
demand legally more than their proper fare.

The following tables of distances are appended to enable strangers in Singapore to estimate the legal fare payable. t

Tables of Distances

N.B. — The distances in these tables are reckoned from the General Post Office, in the heart of the town, near which are Johnston's Pier, the Exchange, the Singapore Club, the Volunteer Drill Hall and the Master Attendant's Office. The mile-stones on the roads mark the distance from St. Andrew's Cathedral.
I. — Not exceeding half a mile.
* Pronounce Piggy ka roomah pasong.
t When asked the amount of their fare Syces generally answer (Tuan or Mem) punya suka, i.e., "what Master (or Madam) pleases."
^"^a wore than the legal fare should be given.

Tables of Distances.


Banks: —

Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, Raffles Place.
Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, Raffles Place.
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Collyer Quay.
New Oriental Banking Corporation, Raffles Place.

Consulates: —

Austro-Hungarian, Battery Road.
Belgian - 1, Boat Quay.
Brazilian, Raffles Place.
Chinese, Hill Street.
Danish - 4, Cecil Street.
Dutch, Battery Road.
German, Battery Road.
Russian - D* Almeida Street.
Siamese - ??
Swedish and Norwegian . . . Collyer Quay.
United States of America, Battery Road.

Hotels: —

Adelphi Hotel, Coleman Street.
Hotel de la Paix, Coleman Street.
Hotel de Europe, Esplanade.

Esplanade and Cricket Pavilion.
Government Offices.

Magistrates' Courts, South Bridge Road.
Police Station (Central), South Bridge Road.
Sailors' Home, North Bridge Road.

"Singapore Free Press" Office 20a, Collyer Quay.
Singapore and Straits Printing Office ... ... Robinson Street.
Singapore and Straits Aerated Water Co. ... ... Robinson Street.
St. Andrew's Cathedral . . . Esplanade.
*"Straits Times " Office . . . Change Alley, Raffles Place.
Supreme Court ... ... Corner of High Street and ...

86 Handbook to Singapore.

Distances. — Not exceeding Half-a-mile. — Continued.

Telegraph Office ... ... Prince Street.
Town Hall ... ... South end of Esplanade.
Town Market ... ... Collyer Quay.

n. — Exceeding half-a-mile, but not exceeding ONE MILE.

Chinese Protectorate ... South Bridge Road.

Churches: —

Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd (B.C.) ... ... Brass Bassa Road.
Methodist-Episcopal Church ... ... Coleman Street.
Presbyterian Church . . . Orchard Boad.
St. Andrew's Mission Chapel ... ... Stamford Road.
St. Gregory's Church (Armenian) ... ... Hill Street.
Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus ... ... ... North Bridge Road.
Ellenborough Market ... Near New Bridge Road.

Hotels: —

Beach Hotel ... ... Beach Road.
Central ... ... Stamford Road.
Raffles M ... ... Beach Road.
Straits „ ... ... Stamford Road.
Ladies Lawn Tennis Club ... Orchard Road.

Livery Stables: —

H. Abram's Stables ... Brass Bassa Road.
F. Clarke & Co. ... Hill Street.
Maternity Hospital . . . Victoria Street.
Raffles Library and Museum... Orchard Road.
Raffles Institution ... Beach Road.
Raffles Girls' School ... Brass Bassa Road.
St. Joseph's Institution ("Brothers* School") ... Brass Bassa Road.

Table of Distances, 87

in.— ABOVE One Mile.
N.B. — To find the distance between any of the wharves and any of the following places, add to the
figures opposite the name of the place the distance between the Post Office and the particular wharf; except where the name is marked with an asterisk (*), which signifies that the place lies either between the wharves and the town, or in a different direction.

Barracks, Fort Canning (Artillery) ...
Do. Tanglin (Infantry)
•Borneo Wharf (French and German Mail Steamers)
Botanical Gardens
Bukit Timah (Police Station)
Do. (Summit and Bungalow)
Cemetery (Christian), Bukit Timah
ixoacL ... ... ... , , .
Changhi Bungalow
Clyde Terrace Market
♦Criminal Prison ...
Filter Beds, Bukit Timah Road
Fort Canning — Barracks ...
French Consulate, River Valley Road
Gardens (Botanical)
Do. (Whampoa's)
Gas Works, Rochore
General Hospital, Sepoy Lines
German (Teutonia) Club, Scott's Road
Golf Links (Race Course) ...
Government House
Impounding Reservoir, Thomson Road
Italian Consulate, River Valley Road

88 Handbook to Singapore.
Table of Distances — Over One Mile— Cowhnwerf.
Mis. Fur.

Japanese Consulate, 21, Sophia Road 1 5
Kranji Police Station and Pier (for Johor)

Livery Stables — Lambert Brothers' ...
*Lunatic Asylum ...
*Mount Faber
*New Harbour Dock
Orchard Road Market
Do. Police Station
Pauper Hospital (Tan Tock Seng's)
Serangoon Road
*P. & O. Wharf or Teluk Blangah ...
*Pearl's Hill (Army Head Quarters Office)
*Portuguese Consulate, 93, Neil Road
*Prison (Criminal) Sepoy Lines
Race Course, Kampong Java Road . . .
Rifle Range, Balestier, Serangoon Road
Rochore Market ... Selitar,
Police Station and Bungalow
Sepoy Lines
Spanish Consulate, 93, Neil Road . . .
Tanglin Barracks (Infantry)
Do. Club, Steven's Road
Tanjong Katong — Hotel and Bungalow
*Tanjong Pagar Docks and Wharves...
Tan Tock Seng (Pauper) Hospital . . .
Teutonia (German) Club, Scott's Road
Tyersall (H.H. Sultan of Johor), Napier Road
Water-works — Impounding Reservoir, Thomson Road

Handbook to Singapore (Internet Digital Archives)

I need help here because I am uncertain where some of these places were located.


Handbook to Singapore.

Hotels: —

Adelphi Hotel...
Albion Hotel ...
Beach Hotel ...
Central Hotel...
Hotel de Europe
Hotel de la Paix
Raffles Hotel ...
Straits Hotel ...
Tanjong Katong Hotel ...
Union Hotel ...
Victoria Hotel

Livery Stables: — See p. 82.

Post Office —See p. 55.

Teleoraph Office, Prince Street, between Raffles Place and Collyer Quay.

Tiffin and Billiard Rooms: —

Emmerson's Tiffin and Billiard Rooms ... Near Cavenagh Bridge.
Raffles Tiffin and Billiard Rooms ... ... Raffles Place.

1, Coleman Street.
59, Hill Street.
4, Beach Road.
1, Stamford Road.
Coleman Street.
2, Beach Road.
2, Stamford Road.
Tanjong Katong.
North Bridge Road.
135, Victoria Street.

General Stores: —

Ann Lock & Co.* Joseph Bastiani
Geok Teat & Co.
Katz Brothers
John Little & Co.

... 13, Battery Road.
... 5, High Street.
. . 11, Battery Road.
... Kling Street.
... Raffles Place.

* In directing the syce, it is generally enough to say — Pergi ka (here insert name of the firm) punya godown.

Booksellers and Stationers, 81

Booksellers and Stationers: —
Singapore and Straits Printing Office ... Robinson Street.
Kellj and Walsh. ... 5, Battery Road.
John Little and Co. ... Raffles Place.

Printers and Book-binders: —
Singapore and Straits Printing Office . . . Robinson Street.

Newspaper Offices: —

"Singapore Free Press'* . . 20a, Collyer Quay.
"Straits Times" ... Chaui^e Alley. Raffles Place.

Tailors AND Outfitters:—

Chong Fee, Gee Chong &Co. ... 65-67, High Street.
John Little & Co. . . . Raffles Place.
Robinson & Co. ... 23, Collyer Quay.

Dispensaries: —

The Dispensary ... 43, Raffles Place.
Singapore Dispensary . . . 40, Raffles Place.
Maynard & Co. ... 14-17, Battery Road.

Mineral and Aerated Water Manufacturers: —
Singapore and Straits Aerated Water Co. ... Robinson Street.
•* The Dispensary
** Aerated Water Works . . . Brass Bassa Road.
Singapore Aerated Water
% Factory ... High Street

Furniture Warehouses: —

Katz Brothers. ... Kling Street.
Knight & Co. . . Battery Road and Hill St.
John Little & Co. . Raffles Place.
Powell & Co. ... 16-18, d'Almeida Street and Tank Road.

Handbook to Singapore (Internet Digital Archives)

Clubs, Societies, Banks, Consulates

Clubs, Societies, Banks, Consulates, Hotels, Shops, &c.

Clubs: —

Marine Club ... ... Battery Road.
Masonic Club ... ... Coleman Street.
Tanglin Club ... ... Steven's Road — [containing a Ball-room, Theatre, Billiard-room and Bowling Alleys].
Teutonia Club (or German Club) ... ... Scott's Road.
Singapore Club (see under Exchange, p. 48.)

Literary and Scientific Societies: —

Anglo-Chinese Literary Association ... ... Coleman Street (M. E. Chapel).
German Reading Club.
Royal Asiatic Society (Straits Branch) .
Singapore Debating Society.
Straits Medical Association.

Political : —

Imperial Federation League.
Straits Association (Singapore Branch).

Clubs, Societies, &c. 77

Musical: —

Philharmonic Society of St. Cecilia.
Singapore Philharmonic Society.

Religious: —

British and Foreign Bible Society ... ... 46, Raffles Place.
Chinese Christian Association ... ... Prinsep Street Cha]^)ol.
Confraternity of the Blessed Lady of Rosary and St. Francis Xavier ... St. Joseph's Church, Victoria Street.
Society of St. Anthony of Padua.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Sporting AND Athletic: —
Cycling Club.
Ladies* Lawn Tennis Club,* Orchard Road (see p. 52)
St. Andrew's Cycling Club,t
Singapore Cricket Club,J Esplanade (see p. 47)
Do. Golf Club ... Race Course, Kampong Java Road (see p. 56)
Do. Recreation Club ... Esplanade (see p. 47)
Do. Rifle Association ... Balestier Plain (seep. 58)
Do. Rowing Club,§
Do. Sporting Club, Race Course, Kampong Java Road (see p. 66)
Swiss Rifle Shooting Club, Balestier Plain (see p. 58)
* Colours, light blue and chocolate.
t Coloivrs, St. Andrew's Cross on white ground.
X Colours, black and yellow.
§ Colours, light and dark blue.

7 8 Handbook to Singapore*
Sporting and Athletic — contd.
Straits Chinese Recreation Club ... ... Hong Lim Green, New Bridge Road (see p. 55 Note)
Tanjong Pagar Football Association (Chinese)

Masonic: —

District Grand Lodge of the Eastern Archipelago.
Lodge Zetland in the East, No. 508.
Lodge St. George, No. 1152.
Dalhousie Royal Arch Chapter, No. 508.
Rose Croix Chapter, 188 (Mount Calvary in the East, No. 47).
Dunlop Masonic Benevolent Society.
Adullam Conclave, No. 17 (Order of the Secret Monitor).
Singapore Emulation Lodge of Instruction, No. 608 (E.C.).
Star of the East Preceptory and Priory, No. 85.
Eduljee Jamsetjee Mark Master's Lodge.

Between 1875 and 1879, Masonic Meetings were held in a house in Beach Road. In the latter year, the
Masonic Hall (Coleman Street, at the Foot of Fort Canning) was erected. It was then a building of one
storey; but in 1887, another storey was added, which contains a fine hall.

Miscellaneous: —

Association of Engineers.
Masters* and Mates' Association, S.S*
Pilot Club, Tanjong Pagar.
St. John's Ambulance Association.
Singapore Amateur Photographic Society, 53, Hill St.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
* *


Banks and Consulates. 79

The following is a list of the principal shops and offices which visitors to Singapore may find it necessary to visit.

Banks: —

Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China,* Raffles Place.
Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, 27, Raffles Place.
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, f Collyer Quay.
New Oriental Bank Corporation, Raffles Place.

Consulates: —

Austro-Hungary ... Battery Road.
Belgium ... ... 1, Boat Quay.
Brazil ... ... 28, Malacca Street.
China ... ... Hill Street.
Denmark ... ... 4, Cecil Street.
France ... ... 124, River Valley Road.
Germany ... ... Battery Road.
Japan ... ... 21, Sophia Road.
Italy ... ... River Valley Road.
Netherlands ... ... Battery Road.
Portugal ... ... River Valley Road.
Russia ... ... 1, Cecil Street.
Spain ... ... 93, Neil Road.
Sweden and Norway ... Collyer Quay.
United States ... ... Battery Road.
[N.B. — The Consulates have the flags of the nations they represent flying above their Offices].
* •* Chartered Bank," " Mercantile Bank," " Hongkong Bank," and '* Oriental Bank" (or Bank Lamah) are the names to be used in directing native syces.
f The H. and S. B. Corporation are building new offices at the corner of Battery Hoad and Collyer Quay, opposite the Exchi3.\i<^<^,

Handbook to Singapore (Internet Digital Archives)

Population of Singapore

The Population of Singapore, 72
Handbook to Singapore.

In 1819, when Sir Stamford Raffles landed, the population of the island was estimated as under 200. The foundation of a British trading settlement attracted many immigrants both from China and the Archipelago, so that by 1822, the number of inhabitants was reckoned at 10,000. From that time the population has steadily risen till, according to the last census (1891), the grand total of 184,554 has been reached.* The population is very mixed; few nations and languages are unrepresented. The details of the last census are as follows: — European and American residents 5,254; Eurasians, 3,589; Chinese, 121,908; Malays and other natives of the Archipelago, 35,992; Natives of India and Burmah, 16,035; other nationalities (Arabs, Armenians, Persians, Egyptians, Singhalese, Siamese, Anamese, Japanese, Jews and Negroes), 1,776. It will thus be seen that the Chinese number 66 per cent, of the whole population; but of the 122,000 over 12,000 are Straits born (Babas). About a third of the Chinese are Hok-kiens (45,000). The lingua franca of the Straits Settlements is Malay (see Chap. XV.); which is the language generally used in commerce, and between Asiatics of different races. 

• In 1826, the population was estimated at 13,732 ; in 1831, at 20,000; and 1840, at 39,681; and in 1881 at 139,208.
t These include Achinese, Boyanese, Bugis, Dyaks, Javanese, JawiPekkans, and Manilamen. (See p. 74.)

It is not uncommon to hear two Chinamen, who speak different dialects of Chinese, conversing in Malay. The Malays, though not the aborigines of the Peninsula, were the dominant race when the Europeans first came on the scene.

The Malays

Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace thus describes the physical, mental and moral characteristics of this interesting people. "The colour is a light reddish brown, with more or less of an olive tinge, not varying in any important degree over an extent of country as large as all Southern Europe. The hair is equally constant, being invariably black and straight, and of a rather coarse texture, so that any lighter tint, or any wave or curl in it, is almost certain proof of the admixture of some foreign blood. The face is nearly destitute of beard, and the breast and limbs are free from hair. The stature is tolerably equal, and is always considerably below that of the average European ; the body is robust, the breast well-developed, the feet small, thick and short, the hands small and rather delicate, the face is a little broad, and inclined to be flat ; the forehead is rather rounded, the brows low, the eyes black and very slightly oblique ; the nose is rather small, not prominent, but straight and well-shaped, the apex a little rounded, the nostrils broad and slightly exposed ; the cheek-bones are rather prominent, the mouth large, the lips broad and well-cut, but not protruding, the chin round and well-formed.

"In this description there seems little to object to on the score of beauty, and yet, on the whole, the Malays are certainly not handsome. In youth, however, they are often very good-looking, and many of the boys and girls up to twelve or fifteen years of age are very pleasing, and some have countenances which are in their way almost perfect.''  

The Population of Singapore. 73

"In character the Malay is impassive. He exhibits a reserve, diffidence and even bashf illness, which is in some degree attractive, and leads the observer to think that the ferocious and blood-thirsty character imputed to the race must be grossly exaggerated. He is not demonstrative. His feelings of surprise, admiration, or fear are never openly manifested, and are probably not strongly felt. He is slow and deliberate in speech, and circuitous in 'introducing the subject he has come expressly to discuss.* These are the main features of his moral nature, and exhibit themselves in every action of his life.

"The higher classes of the Malays are exceedingly polite, and have all the quiet ease and dignity of the best-bred Europeans. Yet this is compatible with a reckless cruelty and contempt of human life, which is the dark side of their character.t It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that different persons give totally opposite accounts of them — one praising them for their soberness, civility, and good nature ; another abusing them for their deceit, treachery and cruelty."

"The intellect of the Malay race seems rather deficient. They are incapable of anything beyond the simplest combinations of ideas, and have little taste or energy for the acquirement of knowledge.X Their civilization, such as it is, does not seem to be indigenous, as it is entirely confined to those nations who have been converted to the Mahommedan or Brahminical religions."

Nothing need be added to this description by Mr. Wallace, except that of all the Asiatics in the Straits the Malays are the laziest.

* This last is a characteristic of most Asiatics.
t It need hardly be said that where British influence is supreme these qualities are repressed, and will probably die out from want of exercise.
X This is probably one reason why the Malay literature is imitative rather than original. (See Ch.- X)

Handbook to Singapore, 74

The religion of the Malays in the Straits Settlements and in the Peninsula is Mahommedan. The Brahminical Malays, referred to above, are found in the islands of Bali and Lombok to the south-east of Java, and also in the hill-country of Java. In Singapore there are representatives of at least seven Malay tribes — Achinese, from the north-weat of Sumatra, Boyanese, from Bawean, a small island north of Java ; Bugis from the Celebes ; Dyaks, the savage tribe of Borneo; Javanese, Jawi Pekkans, or Jawi Peranakkans, a mixed native race, belonging to the Settlement,* and Manilamen from the Philippines.

The Malays in Singapore are largely employed in fishing : many take service as coachmen, grooms, gardeners and police. The fishing population live in attap houses built on piles on the sea shore between the high and low water mark; and those for whom dwellings are not provided in connection with their work, live in similar houses built inland.

The Chinese

Chinese characteristics are too well-known to need description here. In Singapore they form by far the largest part of the industrial population, they supply the labour on the plantations, at the docks and wharves; they are bricklayers, carpenters, boatmen, ricksha coolies, market-gardeners, tailors, shoe-makers, bakers, <fec., &c. There are thousands of Chinese shops throughout the town, large and small, stored with goods from all parts of the world. Almost all the domestic servants are Chinese; so are many of the clerks employed in the banks, offices, and stores: and there is a considerable number of prosperous and wealthy Chinese merchants who can hold their own with the European firms. 

* Born in Singapore, not necessarily Malays. Mothers frequently Malay.
The Population of Singapore. 75

Of the different Chinese races there are representatives of at least five in Singapore — Hok-kiens (the most numerous); Hykims, Cantonese or Macaos (these two, especially the former, are mostly domestic servants); Teo Chews and Kehs.* The peculiarities of Chinese architecture and house decoration may be seen in all parts of the town.

The Indians

The various Indian races are very variously employed from the Chitty, or money-lender, to the hack-gharry syce, the dhobi (or washerman) and the coolie. Many Indians are employed as messengers in the offices and shops; some enter domestic service; while others pursue various industries.


The Armenians, Parsees, Arabs and Jews are mainly traders.

The diversity of races, pursuits, languages, customs and dress in Singapore is a source of never failing interest to the observer. The variety of the world is compressed into a few streets before his eyes.

* The Hok-kiens come from Amoy, the Teo Chews from the Swatow district, and the Kehs from the Hakka country ; while the Hylams come from the island of Hainan*

Handbook to Singapore (Internet Digital Archives)

Singapore Hospitals

Malay Name — Rumah Orang Sakit
Places of Worship and Hospitals, 69

1. The General Hospital is a large and airy building at Sepoy Lines, two miles from the centre of the town. Here originally stood the Sepoy Barracks, where troops were stationed in the days of the East India Company. Till about ten years ago, the General Hospital was in the Bukit Timah Road — the building now called the Lock Hospital — but owing to an epidemic scare, the patients were transferred to the Sepoy Barracks, and these soon being found inadequate for local requirements, the present roomy building was erected in 1882.

Two large barrack- wards, 169 ft, by 51 ft., containing 40 beds each, with other smaller wards, occupy the upper storey. A cool verandah runs round the building, and by this and other means the Hospital is kept well ventilated. There are two small female wards in an attap-roofed bungalow, detached from the main building.

The diseases treated in the Hospital are general. The number of patients treated during 1890 was 2,455; of these 2103 were discharged and 73 died.

The nurses at the General Hospital are Sisters from the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus; and there is but one opinion in Singapore about the way in which they discharge their duties.

2. The Lunatic Asylum is also at Sepoy Lines, on a hill near the Criminal Prison. After the transference of the General Hospital from Bukit Timah Road to Sepoy Lines, the old building was used for some years as a Lunatic Asylum, until the present asylum was ready for occupation. The number of patients received during 1890 was 254.

3. The Lock Hospital in Bukit Timah Road, was originally the General Hospital and afterwards the Lunatic Asylum. It is now used as a Hospital for contagious diseases. It is a low one-storey building, containing two wards, each containing about twelve beds.

Malay Name — Rumah Orang Gila, 70
Handbook to Singapore

4. The Tan Tock Seng or Pauper Hospital, the largest Hospital in the Colony, is situated in Serangoon Road, three miles from town. Founded by the late Mr. Tan Tock Seng, a wealthy Chinese gentleman, in 1844, it was added to in 1854, by his son Mr. Tan Kim Ching, the late Siamese Consul in Singapore, who died in the present year, and in 1887 by subscriptions from the Chinese community. The Hospital has room for more than 600 patients at one time. There are 17 wards in all; twelve of a large and five of moderate size. The building, which has a very pleasing appearance externally, stands in grounds of about 18 acres in extent. 5,891 patients were treated in 1890, of whom 4,319 were discharged, cured or relieved, and 948 died.

5. The Prison Hospital. See p. 49.

6. The Leper Hospital is on Balestier Plain, behind the Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

7. The Maternity Hospital and Out Door Dispensary is in Victoria Street, near Stamford Road, about a quarter of a mile from the Cathedral.

8. The Quarantine Hospital is in St. John's Island in the Singapore Strait, at the Quarantine Station. The Government Grants to hospitals in Singapore, amounted in 1890 to $51,959.10, exclusive of Medical Officers' salaries.

Handbook to Singapore (Internet Digital Archive)

External links:

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Toilet in Conversation

I remember trying to learn English words by listening to my aunt who spoke English to my grandfather. There was one instance we were comfortbaly seated in the TV room which was air-conditioned. Then the conversation started about how schoolchildren asked their teacher's permission to go to toilet.

Internet pic

There was "Teacher, please may I go out?" and "Teacher, please can I go to the toilet?" However, the conversation took a twist when either urinating and "berak" was specified. So the question became "Teacher, please can I go out to urinate?" and "Teacher, please can I go out to pass motion?" At that point, I started laughing because it didn't make sense to me, why a student needs to inform the teacher whether urine or stool was going to exit the body. I laughed so much that this memory still lingers on even today.

Today, at my PBL class, a Chinese boy from Kubang Kerian asked for permission to go to toilet. It made me smile and I let him go to ease himself. I told the class that they don't have to ask for permission to leave class to go to toilet because they are now adults (aged 19-20).

Back in our class discussion, another student asked me, "When is old, old?" I responded with "Depends where you are. If you are in Australia, old is 70+ as that's when they retire from work. If in Malaysia, old was 55 because that was when people retired from work but now the retirement age is 60. So I guess 60 is regarded as old in Malaysia today." I then talked about labels such as warga emas or warga tua.

Today at PBL, we discussed about acromegaly due to a functional pituitary tumour in a 50-year old Malay man but the picture given for discussion was a Caucasian male. The skin colour was a giveaway. The hands and facies are tell-tale signs. I asked the students to place their hands on the chest crossed and see if they can cover their entire chest with just 2 hands as in the picture. So there alone they can see what acromegaly can do to body parts. Otherwise acromegaly is just a word with no meaning and students easily forget and confused acromegaly with Cushing's. The professional exam is either acromegaly or Cushing's.

A smart question was put to the floor: What hormones are secreted by pituitary tumour? Since the student was facing me, I answered.

Another student asked about polydipsia. He said he keeps drinking water by the bottle. I said to the class, a benchmark would be to check stool consistency (should be soft or spongy and not be stiff like tahi kambing). Of course they all laughed but that was a lesson learnt. I reminded them that in hot weather, they must take enough fluids and not regret 3 years on when they graduate only to have failing kidneys.

There was one question about numbness of digits and limbs. One Indian student asked how was it possible to even get numbness. I explained if they wore tight sandals (like I did) then they would suffer from numbness. The same if they had POP cast on the leg or hand, after the cast is removed, there is often numbness of that particular limb. I also mentioned to them that long ago mothers wore tight corsets and also get numbness of the lower abdomen - I mentioned zaman Saloma, and they all laughed.

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Every time I hear of 'Universiti Sains Malaysia' (USM), I smile ... Why? I smile because many things happened in the past and these fond memories linger on long after some loved ones have passed on.

You see, I had been visiting my grandfather in Penang ever since I was born, or he came to see me, with the hope of adopting me. He never could because my mother never let go of me. My grandfather was frustrated and therefore came to see me instead or have me sent to Penang so he could check on my growth and living. I lived on.

My grandfather retired 6 months before I was born. He purposedly retired so he could be free to receive me when I was born and therefore possess me - he never did. He must have been so heartbroken. I found out so much later when I was studying and then working ...

I had a doting grandfather, who left me nothing but a gold pendant that had a letter F, studded with lapis lazuli. He gave me the pendant when I was already talking and running, I was probably 5, before I went to school. At 54, I still have the pendant and remember that moment he placed the pendant in my hand and asked "Faridah suka tak?" Of course I said "Suka" and possessed that beautiful pendant till today.

That was how I got drawn to my grandfather. I visited him every weekend, almost without fail. My parents would drive me there from our Alor Star home, and head back at night, enjoying freshly boiled jagung in our Renault. The Renault was great except that it was too small to fit 6 kids in the back seat.

When my grandfather started working on the plans to develop Minden Heights from its native jungle conditions, I went to visit him at the site of his present house. He lived there since before he developed the housing area. I was there studying the blueprint with him in the dining space in front of his bedroom. Just him and me. Nobody bothered us. We had tea and delicacies and laughed and discussed and talked .... till it was time to roll the papers and have lunch or dinner.

While spending my holiday at my grandfather's house, I would always hear of a special name "Datuk Jenaton". Who was he? He owned the very land that USM and my grandfather's house occupied. The entire hillock was his land, gifted by the Sultan of Kedah for fighting the Siamese invaders who attacked Kedah. Why did the Siamese attack Kedah? I don't know - you can try and read Kedah history.

USM was built in 1969. Minden Heights was built in 1971. I remember my father tried to apply to USM for work but he never got accepted. I saw him when he got very frustrated when USM refused to accept him. I remember he was so unhappy. I felt sad because he was such an intelligent man (or I wouldn't be a professor today). Then he went to UK to study. It was really strange because my father could understand Chinese script (or he wouldn't have attended Chinese classes in Bayan Lepas). He knew English but I feel he was not as good at English as my mother who grew up speaking English and taught English all her life. He could have just opted to study in China or Hong Kong but he chose to go to UK. Of course he never completed his studies in the UK, which also makes me smile ... (or he would be a professor just like me).

So every time USM is mentioned, I would smile because it brings back memories of that time I had spent with my lovely grandfather and my father.

My father who taught me languages (Dutch and Malay), how to write my name and how to kow-tow when passing in front of old people, and never say "I can't" when I haven't even tried. Even though he had no university degrees, he could do mathematics, physics and electronics anytime - no problem. He lived an honest life as a Muslim - no rasuah, no bodek, no black magic, nothing! Just him and Allah SWT. A hermit, he taught me never to ask for anything but to try and work hard for something.
My doting grandfather who taught me life is a many splendid things. To enjoy while life is still within me. Never to overspend and be thrifty when I can. He taught me how to be a millionaire when all he meant was every penny is worth keeping. He's standing in his garden at his residence in Minden Heights, Jalan 7. His swing still stands today. He must be in his early 80s in this pic. I wrote about his life in my book, Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. You can Google that title and buy it online.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Chinese I Know

Everywhere I turn to look, I see a Chinese. But what I do not know is that Chinese I see is a child of a Malay couple! What is happening? Yes, Malays have always adopted Chinese children from before Merdeka. There are so many of these adopted Chinese children that sometimes I wonder what has happened to the Chinese family system.

The Chinese families that I know, have many children. But know the Chinese family is only with 2 kids. So the Chinese nuclear family is only 4 people - father, mother, son and daughter. What happened? Why has the Chinese family size contracted?

Malay families who adopt Chinese children do so out of pity. Malays are known to be soft people - they cannot bear to see others suffer. So Malay families adopt and look after Chinese children as if they were their own. They go to the extent of changing the child's name to a Malay name and use their name for surname (which is forbidden in Islam). That's why we see Chinese children with Malay names and with Malay foster parents. It is a common phenomenon even today.

Why are Chinese children preferred over other races? Chinese are fair, Indians are dark. Between the two, the Malays prefer the Chinese child. Only in Kelantan today do we hear about and see childless Malay families adopting Rohingya newborns. This is a new phenomenon.

Back to the Chinese issue, is it worth adopting Chinese children? What happens to these children in the long run? Some have made it fine, some are left alone. If these adopted Chinese children grow up and live within a good Malay community, she will survive and be happy. She will still suffer being outcast at times but it is still livable. There are instances of adopted Chinese children who grow up to be happy and fine but they are lonely in old age. They are outcast by their Chinese features even though they are fluent Malay speakers. What's wrong? It is not easy integrating into a Malay community in old age.

Sitting on my Chinese maid's lap when I was still a baby in cloth nappies in Petaling Jaya, 1958.

Che-cheh when she was young ... she was my grandfather's maid after WWII and for her entire life, until she left to go to the kongsi in her old age and she died there. 1958 photo.

My grandfather's second wife, a Chinese lady.

Early Education

The earliest education for the Malay people is Quran classes. Many little Malay children learn the Quran from young, This is the first time they attend 'school' and obtain education. In the old days, the Quran teachers were middle-aged ladies, often unmarried, some were their own mothers. After they learn the basic Quran reading, they then read the entire small book (Muqadam) and then progress to the big book (Quran besar). Malay children complete Quran reading before puberty, before they complete primary school at standard/primary 6.

Most boys continue to read the quran at the mosque, guided by the imam or some guru Quran. Girls don't go for any Quran classes once they have their menses. Some do continue to read the Quran on days when they don't have their menses. Often an ustazah or an ustaz comes to the house to teach but girls are uncomfortable about this arrangement.

This early form of home education is mentioned in almost all the early Malay doctors' biographies.

Today, boys and girls go to private Quran classes organised for them by school teachers or private teachers. There are many to choose from. These Islamic institutions mushroomed in the early 1990s. Now we see so many of these schools. Most have uniforms and require the kids to wear them. Some leave the clothes alone and focus on Quran reading skills.

Beside Quran reading, the modern Islamic institutions also teach Fardhu Ain, basic self responsibilities in Islam. Though Fardhu Ain is taught in Malaysia's national schools, Quran reading is not. Arabic and Jawi writing are not intensive subjects taught in schools, so children are not so skilled with these (which is a setback).

Without a good foundation in Quran reading and understanding, without skills in the Arabic language and its usage, the Malay child today is a bit handicapped to perform in a challenging world. A Malay child may excel in all 9 subjects in the SPM exams but it means nothing in the Islamic context.

Islamic banking is a challenging field today. Without proficiency of Arabic language and skills in mathematics, the Malay child is left out from an interesting field. He stands no chance of becoming a player or worker in Islamic banking.

The same with the Hajj operations. Without a sound knowledge of the Hajj and skills in the Arabic language, the Malay child is left out from an interesting field.

Without adequate skills, Malay boys fall out of practically everything the world has to offer from A to Z. It is indeed a pity.

It seems that early home education (Quran reading) is not well-supported in Malaysia's national school system. There is no path where a Malay child can follow through and be sufficiently equipped to compete in the  Islamic world when he completes school. The same with medicine. The Malay doctors may perform well in Malaysia but maybe unable to collaborate with an Arab-speaking team of doctors, be it in Saudi Arabia, Gaza or other places where Arabic is spoken. So the Malay child has limited roaming space that is limited by his language skills, of which Arabic is now the most important (Chinese is the other). Without Arabic, the Malay child is weak. With a working knowledge of Arabic, the Malay child is able to find wider space to roam and make a living.

My father's class at Jasin English Primary School, 1961-62, Malacca.
He is standing in back row extreme left.

Dressed for mengaji session in Alor Star, Kedah. 1964-65.
I'm standing with my sibs. I'm second from left.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

In memory of Jalil Ibrahim (2)

Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (BBMB) in Kuala Lumpur
Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF), subsidiary of BBMB in Hong Kong
Petronas (Petroliam Nasional) in Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia has 3 dark spots in its history:
1. The May 13 incidences
2. The BMF scandal
3. Altantuya scandal


Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd was incorporated in 1965. Bank Bumiputra was established in 1965, in line with government initiatives to increase Bumiputra participation in the Malaysian economy. By the 1980s, it had become the largest bank in the country in terms of assets. Its infrastructure provided access to banking facilities where there was none before, contributing to the growth of small-scale enterprises and assisting the flow of investment into rural areas. It was the first Malaysian bank to have operations in New York, London, Tokyo, Bahrain and Hong Kong. In 1982, it was listed as the largest bank in Southeast Asia by Asian Finance magazine - CIMB (
Jalil was found murdered. He had been silenced before he could blow the whistle to financial irregularities and dangerous liaisons which if revealed could destroy his bank and compromise his country. The banker knew too much. But what did he know?

18 years after it was established in 1965, Malaysia's largest bank, the Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (BBMB) through its subsidiary, the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) was involved in the world's and this region's worst case scenario of fraud! The BMF scandal was the biggest case of fraud ever recorded in Malaysia's history, in East Asia history, and probably in the world to date.

Why would a Malaysian bank be involved in a fraud of this gigantic nature? Malaysia had just discovered oil and gas via its national petroleum company, the Petronas (Petroliam Nasional). Malaysia became rich from the oil money and had to find areas to invest its new wealth. So it invested in properties overseas. Where exactly? Of course, offshore and beyond - in Hong Kong in the case of the BMF scandal.

How come Hong Kong and not nearby, Singapore or Australia? We probably used the Chinese business men in Singapore to help invest our oil money in Hong Kong. Why Hong Kong? Our trade was mainly with Hong Kong since China was still closed to world trade. We were trading with Hong Kong ever since I was born. We had plastic toy soldiers, zoo animals, toy guns and plastic dolls, all made in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was a British colony and it was safe to buy property here rather than in London which was dearer (but which Malaysia did much later).

Whom did we get to buy property for us in Hong Kong? The Carrian Group (chief was George Tan, a Singapore/Sarawak Chinese) was among the top 10 property developers in Hong Kong. But Carrian become super rich and was fast developing; BBMB stepped in to assist it with loans, not the ordinary loans but huge loans, never done before in financial history.

How did BBMB Malaysia issue loans to Carrian? We couldn't so we created a subsidiary in Hong Kong, called the BMF. BMF in Hong Kong was headed by Mr Lorraine Esme (son of an early Malay doctor). Things were fine at first and loans were issued as per SOP. But, when greed overcomes the rational mind, loans became dubious. Carrian was doing fine initially till it outdo its available funds and financial means. Without additional money, Carrian would collapse. Carrian wanted US$4mil in loan ASAP from BMF! Which bank in this world would ever give that much money freely to its lender with no collaterals and nothing promised or signed? Nobody! So why did Carrian press on and wanted this much money from BMF Hong Kong ASAP? It had to or it would go under (and it went under because Jalil refused to approve the last huge loan requested before he was found dead).

Jalil Ibrahim was a banker with BBMB in Kuala Lumpur and was based with BMF Hong Kong. As BMF auditor, Jalil Ibrahim was assigned to investigate dubious loans to the Carrian Group in Hong Kong. Jalil carried on with his work but he was troubled with the dubious loans to Carrian. Carrian was angered that Jalil did not approve their much needed loan. Jalil had to go.

Earlier on the day Jalil died, Mak Soon Than invited Jalil to a dubious meeting set up at his hotel room, the infamous room 609 in Regent Hotel, now renamed to Intercontinental Hotel. Jalil was with Mak for some 2 hours, discussing. A waiter brought in water as part of room sevice and saw the two men (only two men, not three). A note was made by the room cleaning personnel that a bath robe was missing its belt (the same belt used to strangle Jalil to death in room 609). Apparently, Mak had strangled Jalil to death in his Hong Kong hotel room in 1983, while Jalil was talking to his colleague Henry at BMF.

What did Mak do then? Mak left the hotel room to go and buy a huge bag to place Jalil's body. He stuffed Jalil in the bag and zipped it. Then dragged the bag down to the lobby with the help of a porter (a witness) and into a taxi (a witness). The boot couldn't close and the taxi drove Mak to a car rental. Mak left his ID with the car rental and hired a van. He placed the bag in the van and drove away to dispose of Jalil's body. Then Mak went into hiding (but MacKillop's investigating team found him). Mak jumped out of his 3rd floor window in a bid to escape, and fell onto the floor below, suffered a bit and was hospitalised. MacKillop's team investigated and interrogated Mak in hospital for 5.5 hours and obtained a 27-page write-up of Mak's confession and also taped whatever he confessed. But this evidence is missing today. Mak was photographed with a crutch.

Jalil's body was dumped in a village. He was found in the undergrowth at the edge of a banana plantation close by the main road, by an old lady who went on her daily routine on her banana farm. She alerted the police but they arrived late at night and managed to locate Jalil's body. Jalil had been dead at least 24 hours. There was no ID on him (no wallet, no passport) and the police didn't know where to start their search. Jalil had Chinese features and was fair. I have seen him when he was alive - he looked like a fair Chinese, very fair, and handsome too. The police found a Malaysian 10 sen coin in his trousers seam (first clue) and therefore all attention were focused on Malaysia.

Over at the BMF in Hong Kong on the day Jalil died, Henry was visited by two of Carrian's men, pressing hard for him to approve the US$4mil loan (which Jalil refused to approve). Henry was reluctant to approve a huge loan without Jalil being present and without approval from BBMB in Kuala Lumpur. Carrian produced a forged approval by BBMB for the loan (Henry disbelieved it was real). Henry called Jalil and that was the last of their conversion before Jalil was strangled. Henry put down the phone to attend to the to Carrian men (not knowing that Jalil was strangled). Jalil did not put down the phone - he was strangled!

BBMB had earlier reported a missing person from among its staff. Hong Kong police were aware and that helped identify the dead body as Jalil's. Henry went to identify Jalil's body in Hong Kong. Poor Henry!

Opposition politician, Lim Kit Siang (father of Lim Guan Eng) requested investigations into the BMF scandal. Dato Seri Mushir Ariff (eldest son of Sir Dr Kamil Ariff, an early Malay doctor in Penang) was appointed to chair the panel. Dato Seri Mushir Ariff later died of old age in Penang.

That BMF trial unearthed the worst of Malaysia and Malaysian business. Hong Kong investigated the case for 17 years (1983-2000).  Things stopped short of exposing Malaysia's big time bosses. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stepped down 3 years after the trial ended, in 2003, and (Tun) Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi succeeded him as Malaysia's 5th PM.

All the big bosses involved in the BMF scandal were jailed for various terms. Mr Lorraine Esme recently died of cancer in London. Nothing is known about what became of Mak Soon Than, George Tan, Hashim Shamsuddin and Henry. It is up to them to tell us what actually happened. The various investigators can only tell us so much and help clear the air by explaining to us what happened but their story is fragmented too. There was a murder but the murderer is unnamed. There was a mastermind but he is unknown. How money flies here and elsewhere.

Back in Seremban, Jalil's wife Rusnawi was informed of the unfortunate death of her husband in Hong Kong. Rusnawi was my Geography teacher and class teacher in Form 4T and 5T at Tunku Kurshiah College in Seremban in 1974 -75. She had just got married to Jalil and brought him to see us at our college. I remember the day he came and we all sat in a circle with him and our teacher. We never saw him again. News of his murder came on TV when I was already one month working at USM Penang. The news was shocking enough but at the time I didn't know the scale of the fraud and the devastating effects it had on the lives of others. I feel sorry that the whole scandal even occurred and of all things, affected my own teacher. I feel sad because my teacher lost her husband when she was very young. I still see that she suffers, her face tells all her grief. I have seen my teacher during happier times. I can also remember Jalil. It is indeed very unfortunate for something of this nature to happen.

Malaysia has not been able to curb its money losses to outside investments. Money drains like blackwater and nothing gets back to the rakyat. The average Malaysian today is quite poor compared to their counterparts in this region (vs Singapore). Without change in its political system and without Hudud implemented, nothing will change and money will still flow outward. What's special about Hudud? Hudud deals with industrial crime. The BMF scandal fits exactly in Hudud. There is nothing better than Hudud. Hudud will put even the biggest mastermind of the BMF scandal behind bars. Hudud was made by Allah SWT and not by any human. Allah SWT knows best. So we should be studying Hudud and taking it seriously so we don't repeat clandestine money losses as the BMF scandal.

Pics below are frame stills from the video in YouTube.

YouTube video of Jalil's murder in Hong Kong: