Monday, 1 July 2013

Captain Dato' Hj Mohd Noor bin Mohamed

Captain Mohd Noor bin Mohamed is important in our history.

He is the brother of Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohamed, an early Malay doctor from Bayan Lepas, Penang.

He was also the person who handed a WWII Japanese sword to the Penang Museum - the sword is still there.

He also wrote the Foreword for the book, Penang, Past and Present 1786-1963. Published by The City Council of George Town, Penang. 1966. Copyright (C) City Council of Georgetown, 1966.

Captain Mohd Noor was the person who was present when the statue of Francis Light was unveiled at Fort Cornwallis, Georgetown in Penang. His photo collection of unveiling the statue of Captain Francis Light is used in many publications about Penang and Francis Light.

Unveiling the statue of Francis Light in 1939
Fort Cornwallis where the statue of Francis Light was unveiled
Statue of Francis Light

Teachers Day Award 1980

He was honoured with the Tokoh Guru award during the national Teachers Day celebrations. The award was handed to him by the Minister of Education, Datuk Musa Hitam, at the Dewan Tunku Chancellor at Universiti Malaya. He was a teacher at Penang Free School for 42 years (1919-1961). He was the Chairman of the PFS Administrative Council and was a member of the PFS Trust Council.

Penganugerahan Pingat
Pada tahun ini, Capt. Dato' Haji Mohd. Noor b. Mohamed, D.S.P.N., J.S.M., D.J.N., P.J.K., E.D., J.P., telah diberi penghormatan menyandang gelaran Tokoh Guru sempena Perayaan Hari Guru. Pingat itu disampaikan oleh Yang Berhormat Menteri Pelajaran Datuk Musa Hitam di Dewan Tunku Chancellor Universiti Malaya. Kami berasa bangga atas penghormatan ini. Capt. Dato' Haji Mohd. Noor telah menuntut di sekolah ini dari tahun 1912 hingga tahun 1918 dan menjadi guru dari tahun 1919 hingga ke tahun 1961. Beliau kini menyandang Jawatan Pengerusi Jemaah Pentadbir Sekolah dan juga Ahli Jemaah Amanah Sekolah. Besar harapan kami agar Capt. Dato' Haji Mohd. Noor akan terus memberi sumbangannya kepada kemajuan pelajaran sekolah ini.
Source: R. Visvanathan (Headmaster). Lapuran Guru Besar, Speech Day, 22 October 1980. Penang Free School. The Magazine of the Penang Free School 1980 Vol. 7 No. 2 Page 63. 

Penang Free School. The Magazine of the Penang Free School 1980 Vol. 7 No. 2

He was the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Penang Free School. A photo of him and the members of the School Board can be seen in the Penang Free School magazine, 1982 issue (vol. 7, no. 4, on pages 18 and 19), and in the 1983 issue (vol. 7, no. 5, on pages 16 and 17).

Penang Free School. The Magazine of the Penang Free School 1982 Vol. 7 No. 4
Penang Free School. The Magazine of the Penang Free School 1983 Vol. 7 No. 5

Captain Dato' Hj Mohd Noor bin Mohamed

Board of Governors, PFS 1982
There are various photographs of him in the Penang Free School magazines.

Penang Free School 1980 Vol. 7 No. 2, page 60.
Penang Free School 1980 Vol. 7 No. 2, page 62.
Penang Free School 1982 Vol. 7 No. 4, page 66.
Penang Free School 1983 Vol. 7 No. 5, front inside cover.
Penang Free School 1983 Vol. 7 No. 5, page 8.
Penang Free School 1983 Vol. 7 No. 5, page 72.

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Memorial Clock Tower

Khoo Salma's book:
Khoo Salma Nasution & Malcolm Wade.
Penang Postcard Collection 1899-1930s.
RM120/- bought at Chowrasta Market, Penang (upstairs)
First published by Janus Print & Resources, Penang in 2003
Second impression by Areca Books 2006
page 62 - ppc 62a, 62b
page 63 - ppc 63a, 63b, 63c
page 64 - ppc 64a, 64b, 64c
page 65 - ppc 65a, 65b, 65c

All clock towers look alike and are no different. However, the clock tower in Penang is a bit strange. It is strange in that it was donated by a Chinese, to the state of Penang. It is strange because it looks like a wedding cake! It is strange because it was only ready after a year Queen Victoria died. It is strange because it is actually a memorial clock tower and not a present as it was meant to be.

I saw a clock tower as a child and never thought much of it even though my late father pointed out that it was a famous clock tower. I saw pictures of the clock tower and its story in Penang Museum. Affandi and I went to Penang to see the clock tower. I have never been able to take good photos of this particular clock tower from a moving car. Affandi decided to walk me near the tower and wanted me to take many photos of the tower. So I did as suggested. 

However, when I read Khoo Salma's book this morning (in Penang after solat Subuh), I noticed that I took photos at all angles except with the Fort Cornwallis set properly in the background. The most important angle is to have the Fort as the background.

The clock tower was presented to George Town in 1897 by Cheah Chen Eok, JP. He was one of the many Chinese millionaires in Penang. The contract to built the tower was signed in 1900. Queen Victoria died in 1901. The clock tower was only ready in 1902, a year after the Queen died.

The Victoria Memorial Clock Tower. In 1897, Cheah Chen Eok, a wealthy citizen of Penang, decided to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria's reign by building a sixty-foot high clock tower. However, the Victoria Memorial Clock Tower was only completed in 1902, after the queen had passed away. During the Second World War, the bombs dropped on King Edward Place caused the clock tower to tilt slightly. Text source: Penang Museum

A strange thing happened during WWII. The area adjacent to the clock tower, Kind Edward Place was reclaimed land and was bombed during the war. This resulted in the clock tower leaning a bit (kelihatan condong sedikit). It is not so noticeable as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Queen Victoria of England
Queen Victoria memorial clock tower of 1902, sponsored by a wealthy Penang Chinese (inset). Bombing of nearby buildings during WWII impacted on the grounds of the tower, which now leans slightly.
Queen Victoria clock tower after 1902

Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Pulau Pinang (left) and clock tower 2013

The Badjenid Clan

I was reading Khoo Salma Nasution's book this morning in Penang, after solat Subuh, and came across a familiar name - Badjenid. Why? Because the Badjenids were related to my late father.

I met a Badjenid man when I was in Perth (1986-1989). Affandi and I went visiting some people and a Badjenid woman invited us to her son's home. So we went to see her. When we arrived, we met the son and his White Australian wife. They have a son, brown like the Badjenid father.

I asked the Badjenid woman whom she was. I told her my dad said we were related to the Badjenid people. She knew us too. And I prayed solat maghrib with this Badjenid woman (mother). She asked that I become imam and we prayed together. That was the first and the last time I was imam. She liked me very much and I liked her too. She was very motherly.

Today, I read Khoo Salma's book on Badjenid. On page 60, in the picture postcard (ppc) 60c, it mentions: junction of Chulia St and Beach St, 3-storey building of Badjenid & Sons, established by Sheikh Mohamed Badjenid from Hadhramaut, South Yemen, in 1917, to sell spices from India, cloth from Indonesia, and velvet (kain baldu) from Persia. Today, it is well-known for supplying perfumes and canvas.

Prof Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid
Deputy Vice Chancellor at INTI-Laureate International University
MalaysiaEducation Management

First Penang Flat

The first flat in Penang was built in the 1970s but has no name till today. This is the story from my sister's taxi driver, Lim Hean Seng @ Ah Hai. Ah Hai grew up in Penang and his family lived in the first flat built in Penang. He lived with his parents and another sibling when he was a small boy. The flat had only one room - for the parents. The children slept elsewhere.

Before the flat was built, the area was a gangster area and had many shabby shelters. The government then bulldozed all the shelters and made the flat, the first of its kind in Penang.

The peculiar thing about this flat is it has absolutely no name! It has no name at all but the Chinese called it "17" because it has 17 floors or storeys. What is 17 in Chinese?

The first flat in Penang has no name and has only a room in each unit.
It is called "17" in Chinese because it has 17 floors.