Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Pulau Jerejak (1)

We have 2 stories about Pulau Jerejak so far. One is from Rukiah Hanoum Omar Farok and the other is from me.

- she will obtain her story pieces from Yasmin Hanoum Ariff, daughter of Sir KM Ariff
  1. Rukiah's father, Omar Farok Ariff was the son of Sir Kamil Ariff
  2. Omar Farok worked as a Hospital Assistant (HA) at the hospital on Pulau Jerejak
  3. He left the island in time to see the funeral of Sir KM Ariff
  4. Rukiah was still small to recall; she will ask aunty Yasmin Hanoum

  1. Dr Che Lah Md Joonos had a bungalow at 355 Lengkok Pemancar, Gelugor in Penang
  2. There were 2 big bedrooms upstairs in the double-storey bungalow
  3. My family and I occupied the bedroom facing the sea and Pulau Jerejak
  4. Dr Che Lah's 2 younger children and amah occupied the other bedroom facing the hills
  5. Pulau Jerejak could be clearly seen from our bedroom window
  6. It is a very big island and appeared very dark at night
  7. There were many ships in the bay near New Year, waiting to blow their horns to mark the New Year
  8. My mother told a lot of stories but I can't remember much
  9. I have written something about Pulau Jerejak in my diaries; I have to browse the pages and see what I wrote about the island

Description of Pulau Jerejak (Jerejak Island)
  1. Pulau Jerejak appears in many old maps of Penang. 
  2. Pulau Jerejak appears in an 1884 painted map of Penang
  3. Pulau Jerejak appears in an 1817 painting when viewed from Penang Hill
  4. On maps, Pulau Jerejak is an island that looks like a shrunken mango or human footprint (minus toes), waiting to be re-attached to Penang island. 
  5. In the maps below, it is the small island 'beneath the 2D Penang bridge', lying off the southeast tip of Penang.
  6. In real life, Pulau Jerejak is a big single island with 2 conical apices
  7. Pulau Jerejak is not a volcanic island.
  8. In fact, Pulau Jerejak is big, approx. 362 hectares of rocky terrain and dense jungle.

What was there before my time (BMT)
  1. Pulau Jerejak is a historical island with many stories, and some are scary
  2. Francis Light arrived in Pulau Jerejak in early 1786 before he proceeded to Penang. Fort Cornwallis could not be constructed on Pulau Jerejak as previously intended, as it was infested with mosquitoes and people would contract malaria. Francis Light himself died of malaria in Penang. Fort Cornwallis was build on Penang island
  3. Pulau Jerejak was formerly the main leper asylum for the Straits Settlements in 1868
  4. Pulau Jerejak was a Quarantine Station for many Chinese immigrants in 1875
  5. Pulau Jerejak was a prison and had a penal colony in 1969
  6. These centres were set up at different parts of the island, for many reasons

LEPER ASYLUM - built 1868, used 1871-1960s
  1. Pulau Jerejak was used to send leprosy victims (lepers).
  2. In 1868, a leper asylum was completed on Pulau Jerejak
  3. However, the asylum was only used in 1871
  4. The fund for constructing the leprosarium was obtained from the local community
  5. In 1880, its facilities were expanded
  6. It became a leprosy collection centre (leprosarium) for the Straits Settlements till 1930s when Sungai Buloh Leper Settlement/Leprosarium opened
  7. The leprosarium was subsequently closed in 1960s
  8. The centre was disused and abandoned and became dilapidated for a long time
  9. Only a few parts of the walls of its buildings were seen when they made a documentary of the centre
  10. The island is a resort island today

  1. After WWI, there was an increase in the incidence of TB in Penang and Malaya
  2. Many Penang residents suffered from TB and died
  3. A sanatorium / hospital was set up on the eastern part of the island for TB victims
  4. The hospital would cater for 150 TB patients at a time
  5. Many TB patients died and were buried on the island
  6. Many TB patients in Penang also died and were buried in Penang

  1. The British encouraged Chinese and Indian immigrants to come to Penang, mainly to work or farm
  2. Ships from China brought many immigrants to Penang
  3. Immigrants were allowed to claim whatever land they could clear for farming and living
  4. Penang became overcrowded with immigrants
  5. The British sent the new Chinese arrivals to Pulau Jerejak for health inspection as a precautionary step 
  6. It was possible that ships from China could carry the plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis
  7. Part of the island was made a health quarantine centre for immigrants in 1875
  8. The centre was at the eastern and northern parts of the island
  9. Immigrants who came to Malaya were quarantined here and their bodies and health checked for smallpox, cholera, plague, dysentery, tuberculosis (TB), leprosy, etc.
  10. The immigrants at Pulau Jerejak attended the health inspection centre as instructed
  11. The island became populated, and the health checks were slow and lengthy, and queues were long
  12. The immigrants cleared the jungle and started farming while waiting to go to Penang
  13. Some lived here and farmed on the island, growing tapioca and banana for subsistence. 
  14. There are large underground water tanks which are filled by rainwater. 
  15. Only when the immigrants were free from diseases, were they allowed to proceed to Penang

  1. On 12 June 1969, the Jerejak Rehabilitation Centre was set up as a maximum security prison
  2. The island was closed to public and the public had no access to the island
  3. Warders patrolled the shores
  4. Intruders were severely dealt with
  5. Prisoners could escape but they died from shark attacks as the water was infested with sharks. So, nobody managed to escape from the island. And horror stories were many
  6. The island resembled Alcatraz in the Bay of San Francisco in California
  7. With public outcry for inhumane treatment accorded, the prison was closed in August 1993
  8. After its closure, the island was deserted for quite some time and became a haunted island. More horror stories were heard. It became a place where evil spirits were released, so nobody dared to go to the island. 
  9. Brave fishermen went to the island.
  10. Guru silat (Mahaguru Omar bin Din) and silat students dared to go to the island, and were filmed for a TV documentary (Majalah 3) for TV3

JEREJAK RESORT & SPA - built 2000-2004; opened 2004-present
  1. This facility was opened for business in January 2004
  2. It was built over the area once occupied by the leprosarium
  3. There was some controversy when it was being built and when it first opened. The fear was the ghosts of the deceased lepers and the possibility of the leper bacteria in the soil. All those fears were cleared and business went on as usual
  4. The resort has chalets and many facilities for workout and vacation, making full use of the island

  1. Ferry tickets for going to Pulau Jerejak can be purchased from the ticket counter at the jetty
  2. It cost RM25 per adult and RM16 per child (2-way transfer)

WORLD WAR I (WWI) 1914-1918: BATTLE OF PENANG 28 October 1914
  1. In WWI, the Russians and Germans were at war against each other
  2. A Russian cruiser, the Zhemchug was in Penang harbour one quiet morning
  3. A German cruiser, the SMS Emden sailed quietly into Penang harbour, undetected
  4. When the Russians were off guard, the German cruiser torpedoed the Russian cruiser, which killed several Russian soldiers. 81 Russians died and many were treated for serious injuries at the centres on Pulau Jerejak and in Penang. The dead Russian soldiers were buried on the island and in Penang.
  5. That was the only open-fire that occurred in Penang harbour during WWI
  6. A memorial located on the island, is dedicated to 2 Russian crewmen of the Imperial Russian Navy who died when their cruiser Zhemchug was sunk by the cruiser SMS Emden of the Kaiserliche Marine in the Battle of Penang on 28 October 1914.
  7. Other Russian graves are continuously being recovered on the island. The Russian graves are being identified where possible. The Russian Embassy and Russians have visited to see the Russian graves on Pulau Jerejak and in Penang.

External links:

Viewed from Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah
Viewed from USM main campus in Minden

Jerejak Rainforest Resort
No. 1, Mk. 13, Daerah Timur Laut, Pulau Jerejak,
11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang

Ferry schedules to and from Pulau Jerejak:

  1. Pulau Jerejak viewed from Bayan Lepas 1817 (by Dr HT Goon, May 2011)
  2. Pulau Jerejak viewed from Halliburton's Hill, Prince of Wales's Island (Penang State Museum and Art Gallery)
  3. Penang Harbour HMS Magpie 1884 Penang map (Foley Charles Pendergast Vereker, Cambridge University Library Map Department). Extract showing Penang Island and part of Province Wellesley, of the map labelled. MALACCA STRAIT PULO PENANG PENANG HARBOUR. Surveyed by Commander the Hon. Foley C. P. Vereker, R. N., assisted by Lieut. C. G. Frederick, A. Balfour, H. Belam, H. Douglas, and H. Evans, R. N., H. M. S. Magpie, 1884.

  1. Google Maps
  2. SP Setia Bhd Group (property development map of Penang island) www.sp.setia.com


Wong said...

Thanks for your article on Pulau Jerejak in the days of yore. Incidentally,I visited Pulalu Jerejak Leper Camps way back in mid 1960s in my early teens. Apart from the houseman mentioned, there were Jesuit Priests visiting the TB and leper providing weekly religious and moral support.
Visited Camp No. 5 and found the place very serene. Occasionally, there would be a deceased body to be brought to Penang Island or to Mainland for burial. Noted that if the deceased was TB patient, it was Standard Practiced by staff to cover the mouth with thinly fried egg in the believe Tubercle Germs would not be spread. That the olden days believe as Medical Science was not advanced back then.
As to Dr Che Lah's sprawling Bungalow which I used to pass by occasionally after school- remember fondly the house was surrounded by Rambutan Estate opposite Telecoms Malaysia.
Once thing that scare me though I admire from a safe distance was Dr. Che Lah's breed of German Shepherds easily numbering about than 50 dogs.
As time goes by, as early as last year, passed by Dr. Che Lah's Bungalow, it was still standing magnificiently. Only this time, the Bungalow compound been used to build another 4 or so bungalows ! This is to imply how huge Dr. Che Lah's Bungalow compound was in the good old days.
Back to Pulau Jerejak, my dad worked in Marine Department based in Calthrop Road (Jalan Calthrop). That was where I got the privilege to take a boat ride from Marine Department to visit Pulau Jerejak Leper Camp. Where most people shun , we actually went there for a picnic with schoolmates!

Faridah said...

Dear Wong,

TQ for writing about Pulau Jerejak and my grandfather's bungalow. Where can I contact you?

Unknown said...

I want ticket 7 person pleastoday