Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kulim Town :- Sejarah Pekan Kulim - Malay Version

Daerah Kulim dipercayai dibuka dan didiami sejak pertengahan abad ke 18 lagi iaitu dengan jumlah 100 orang yang berasal dari keturunan Melayu Pattani. Menjelang pertengahan abad ke 19 Kulim telah menjadi tumpuan kerana penemuan hasil bijih timah. Pada tahun 1890 terdapat 400 pelombong Cina beroperasi di Kulim. Antara kawasan terawal pembukaan Daerah Kulim ialah di Belakang Tebok.

Lombong-lombong bijih timah yang terbesar telah dibuka di kawasan Kulim ialah Taman Tunku Putra, Kg Bukit Besar, Karangan, Terap dan Kelang Lama. Menurut catatan pada tahun 1854 terdapat 8 buah syarikat cari gali bijih timah dengan jumlah pekerja seramai 1500 orang.

Pada tahun 1888 tercetus peristiwa besar di Kulim yang melibatkan pekerja-pekerja lombong bijih timah. Peristiwa ini dikenali sebagai "Perang Nyonya Cantik" atau "Perang Kulim". Kejadian ini bermula apabila taukeh-taukeh lombong bijih di sekitar Kulim bergaduh sesama sendiri kerana merebut seorang wanita Cina yang cantik atau wanita simpanan. Taukeh-taukeh ini telah menggunakan pekerja-pekerja lombong masing-masing dalam pergaduhan yang terjadi. Keamanan penduduk telah terancam dan pergaduhan ini telah berlanjutan bertahun-tahun lamanya dengan memakan korban yang banyak di antara pihak-pihak yang terlibat.


Insiden Perang Kulim 1888 ini telah menyebabkan kerajaan Kedah terpaksa melantik seorang rakyat British iaitu B.E Mitchell sebagai Ketua Polis Kulim pada tahun 1890 dan kedudukan kewangan negeri Kedah yang teruk. Melalui Perjanjian Bangkok pada tahun 1909 maka pihak British telah menganggap Kedah telah pun berada di bawah pemerintahannya. Hanya pada tahun 1923 barulah Sultan Abdul Hamid membuat perjanjian dengan British bahawa Kedah secara rasmi menjadi naungan British.

Nama Daerah Kulim dipercayai diberikan kerana terdapat banyak Pokok Kulim yang terdapat di kawasan ini terutama di kawasan Bandar Kulim oleh penduduk awal ini. Bekas pelombong yang bekerja di kawasan perlombongan yang kaya dengan hasil bijih timah di negeri Perak iaitu di kawasan Larut, Matang, Taiping dan Selama adalah yang mula-mula membuka Daerah kulim.

Bekas pekerja lombong ini melarikan diri dari kawasan bijih timah di negeri Perak kerana tidak mahu terlibat dengan pergaduhan yang sering berlaku di antara Kumpulan Kongsi antaranya kumpulan Ghee Hin dan Hai San yang sering di tubuhkan oleh pekerja-pekerja lombong negeri Perak bagi merebut kawasan yang kaya dengan bijih timah.

Dipercayai pelombong-pelombong ini melarikan diri merentas hutan belukar di kawasan Kulim menuju ke Pulau Pinang untuk mencari pendudukan baru. Pulau Pinang ketika itu sudah menjadi bandar pelabuhan yang sibuk di Utara Tanah Melayu sejak pembukaannya oleh Inggeris pada tahun 1786.

Ketika melalui kawasan Kulim bekas-bekas pelombong ini mendapati dalam sungai dan tanah ada tanda bahawa wujudnya bijih timah dan telah mengambil keputusan untuk tinggal menetap dan membuka perkampungan bagi memudahkan mereka mendulang bijih timah.


Di antara bangunan warisan yang masih terdapat di Kulim ialah panggung Coronation,Sek Men St. Patrick (1933) yang mana telah dijadikan sebagai bangunan perniagaan. Sekolah Menengah Sultan Badlishah (1948), Balai Polis Kulim dan sebagainya. Manakala jam merdeka Kulim telah dirasmikan oleh DYMM Sultan Kedah pada 15 September 1957 yang masih kekal menjadi mercu tanda bagi bandar Kulim.


Jam Merdeka Kulim telah berdiri megah lebih 44 tahun iaitu seusia dengan Kemerdekaan Malaysia pada tahun 1957. Batu asas Jam Merdeka ini telah dibuat oleh YPM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj Ketua Menteri Persekutuan Tanah Melayu pada 14 Jun 1957.

Jam Merdeka Kulim ini telah berjaya disiapkan dalam tempoh 3 bulan dan dirasmi oleh DYMM Tuanku Sultan Badlishah Ibni Almarhum Yang Di Pertuan Paduka Seri Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah, KOM, CMG, KBE Sultan Kedah pada 15 September 1957 iaitu 2 minggu selepas Perisytiharan Kemerdekaan Malaysia pada 31 Ogos 1957.



Bagi memastikan pembinaan Jam Merdeka Kulim dapat disiapkan mengikut jadual maka sebuah Jawatankuasa Khas telah ditubuhkan iaitu :-

Tuan Syed Osman Syed Mohammad Idid - Pengerusi (Pegawai Daerah Kulim / YDP Majlis Bandaran Kulim)
En Mohammad Shakaff b Hussin - Bendahari
En. mansur Hj Ahmad - Setiausaha
Ketua Polis Kulim
En B. G. Philips, JP
En. Chew Chin Hooi, JP
En. Soon Cheng MEng, JP
En. M.Y.Samsudin, JP
En. Khor Seng Guan
En. Moey Chong Yen
En. R. Themuligan

Kos Pembiayaan Jam Merdeka Kulim Dibiayai melalui penduduk Kulim sendiri yang berdasarkan catatan sebanyak RM40,000.00 sebagai manifestasi penduduk Kulim sebagai rakyat negara ini di atas kejayaan negara mencapau kemerdekaan dari penjajahan British.

Hingga Kini Jam Merdeka Kulim masih lagi menjadi mercu tanda kebanggaan penduduk Kulim. Ianya kini telah diindahkan lagi termasuk mengadakan air pancutan di kawasan bersebelahan dengannya.



Monday, February 18, 2008

Kulim Town :- Jabatan Hutan Kulim

In the early 60's there was a forestry check point in front of the Kilang Lama Town Roundabout.
Timber lorries have to make a pit stop in front of the roundabout for checking by the foresters.

I got an article about the Kulim Forestry Office which was established in 1952:-


SOUTHERN KEDAH
DISTRICT FOREST OFFICE

The Southern Kedah Forestry Office was established in 1952. It is situated in Kulim. This Office administers the forest in the civil district of Kulim, Bandar Baharu, Baling, and a part Sik.

Southern Kedah Forestry Office administered an area of 270,495 hecters, and about 40% of it are Permanent Forest Reserve, that is 108,695 hectares. The breakdown of the area according to civil district is as follows:-

a) Bandar Baharu

b) Kulim

c) Baling

d) A part of Sik

....

....

....

....

1,449 hectares

26,706 hectares

66,539 hectares

14,001 hectares

The management of this office is lead by a District Forest Officer, and it is divided into three ranges, namely Kulim Range, Tawar Range and Weng Range.

Kulim Town :- The History of Kulim Avenue in New Zealand

Kulim in New Zealand? Why was this avenue in New Zealand named after a small town in Kedah?
Strange!! Read excerpt of the article here! Actually its on page 13 .


Kulim Park was established in 1950 when Bureta farm was subdivided for residential housing. The owners of the farm, W.I.Rushton and the brothers George and John Sickling, gifted about one hectare at the northwest corner of the farm “for children’s recreation”. The donors named the park after Kulim Avenue, which led to the park from the east. The name Kulim has its origins in Malaya. It was chosen in 1941 by Allan Benham, then Tauranga County Council engineer, when he subdivided his land along the Otumoetai harbour front between the Waikareao railway bridge and Bureta. He called the road through his subdivision after the town where his son Jack and daughter-in-law Nancy were living – Kulim, in Malaya.

Read Article Here!!



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kulim Town :- Buy and Frame Up Kulim Map For Only RM10.00

If you're interested to have a blown up map of Kulim framed in your living room. Then get it from Jabatan Ukur Malaysia. It only costs Rm10.00.

Link here :- Buy Kulim Map

Kulim Town :- Jalan Sekolah - Kulim Town

Jalan Sekolah is located near the Old UMNO building in Kulim Town. Way back in the 60's , there were 2 blocks of Tamil school and a small padang in front of the Old UMNO building. At the confluence of Jalan Merdeka and Jalan Tunku Asaad is an old Tamil School painted in dark green paint. And in front of the Tamil School is a big majestic Rain Tree (Samanea saman).


It's a pity I cant get hold of a photo of the old Tamil School which was located in the heart of Kulim Town. Maybe Pak Bill who now resides in Australia will be able to give a better account of the scenario back in the old days? So thats how Jalan Sekolah got its name!

Kulim Town :- Download Kulim Map

Snapshot of the Kulim Town Map
Click on Map For Bigger View


You can download the map of Kulim Town in the DWF format. In order to view the map you need to have the Autodesk DWF Viewer. The map is very versatile and can be blown up many times by the viewer.

Download :-

Kulim Map

Autodesk DWF Viewer



View Larger Map

Google Map - Kulim

Kulim Town :- Bloggers and Blogs About Kulim Town

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kulim Town :- The Kulim River

The Kulim River originates from the the Western slopes of Gunung Bongsu Range and it flows in a North-Westerly direction and then joins with the Keladi River. At the headwaters, the Kulim catchment is hilly and densely forested. The river slopes are steep and the channel elevation drops from 500m to 20m average mean sea level over a distance of 9 kilometer.

Rivers that flows in the Kulim district are :-

1 Kulim River
2 Ular River
3 Kilang Lama River
4 Tebuan River
5 Keladi River
6 Ayer Merah Tengah River
7 Badak River
8 Lembu River
9 Wang Pinang River

For more information read this article :- Effect of a 100-year Flood on River Stability: Case study of Kulim River

Happy Reading!


Friday, February 08, 2008

Kulim Town :- Good Books About Kulim's History

If you have time to spare , get this book. This book is about the history of the Chinese Merchants in the state of Penang and Kedah in the late 1800's and before the onset of the Japanese Occupation of Malaya. The history of the chinese merchants of Kulim is being discussed in detail.

Chinese Business in the Making of a Malay State, 1882-1941: Kedah and Penang.
By :-Wu Xiao An


The second reading material is a thesis by : Cheng, Lim Keak

Title of Thesis:- The Chinese Community in Kulim Town - A Case Study of Chinese social, economic, cultural and political activities in West Malaysia.

A Masters Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington

Third Reading material


Kedah Selepas Perang Kulim:
Faktor British Dan Siam Dalam Kajian Perkembangan Sosio-Politik Kedah, 1888-1909


By Eng Kee Thow


Fourth Reading material


Tradition and change in a Malay state : a study of the economic and political development of Kedah, 1878-1923 / by Sharom Ahmat


I will be looking for more academic writings about the history of the Malays and Indians of Kulim Town if time permits.

Till then happy reading!


Kulim Town :- Kulim During the Emergency - 1950-1953


Topo Map of Kulim 1950's

This account was written by the Worcester Regiment about the counter terrorist activity in Kulim during post war Malaya by the British Colonial government . Take note that in the early 50's Kulim already had two rows of shophouses . I believe they are Jalan Raya and Jalan Tenku Asa'ad.

Read article here :-

KULIM AND SERDANG

“C” Company found Kulim to be a very pleasant place. It is larger than most Malayan towns and has two main streets instead of the customary one. Before the Emergency it had been the social centre for Europeans for many miles around, and had a club, tennis courts and a golf course. The Company base was on the Southern edge of the town on slightly rising ground. To the West was a road leading South from the town, and their South and East was bounded by a rubber estate and the golf course.

After a few days settling in and putting the camp in order, training was started in earnest Jungle training had, of course, been commenced in Singapore, but the Company had yet to gain practical experience of patrolling and living in the jungle. After several day patrols in the area the Company soon graduated to more ambitious operations of several days living in the jungle. During their time at Kulim the Company covered the likely terrorist areas very thoroughly, but unfortunately without seeing the enemy. The rubber and jungle between Terap and Junjong was patrolled extensively, as was the Gunong Bongsu Forest Reserve. One patrol went past Mahang, up the River Krian and into the mountainous jungle of Perak, while another patrol, after a lightning march to Kampong Bagan Kerbau, missed catching a number of terrorists by a few minutes.

Whilst the Company was at Kulim the terrorists staged two major incidents; in the first they killed a planter and a Special Constable, and in the second they ambushed a number of police. News of the first incident came one morning whilst the Company was on muster parade. The police headquarters in Kulim reported that they had received a telephone call from the police station at Terap saying that they were under heavy fire from a large number of terrorists. Very quickly the Company boarded its transport and drove off down the road to Terap, a notorious centre of Communism. The Company debussed on the outskirts and advanced cautiously into the village. Everything was ominously quiet, the people were all inside their wooden shops and huts, They moved on through the village and on the South side they found an ugly sight. In the middle of the road was a partially armoured jeep, its bonnet and canvas hood full of shot holes, and in the ditch lay a European and two Malay constables in a pool of blood. Apparently the planter (an Englishman named Dickens) had been driving up from the South in his jeep, escorted by two special constables. Just outside Terap they had come under heavy fire from an ambush position on the right-hand side of the road; they managed to drive on but a burst of automatic fire shattered their carburettor and the jeep stopped opposite a second ambush position a little further up on the left-hand side of the road. Dickens and the constables returned the fire from their partly armoured jeep, but the roof was unprotected and the terrorists were able to fire down on them from a high bank. After about forty minutes his ammunition had run out and Dickens decided to surrender in order to try and save the lives of the constables; all three had already been wounded. The terrorists stood Dickens and the two constables in a line, sprayed them with a machine gun and left them for dead. Only a few minutes later” C “Company arrived. The police station was only a few hundred yards away, and when the firing started the police thought they were being attacked and ‘phoned through to Kulim. The wounded were evacuated to Penang, where Dickens and one of the Malays died after regaining consciousness for a short time. The other Malay recovered. The area was searched thoroughly, the ambush positions were found and in one of them there were blood marks where one of the Malays had thrown a hand grenade. There was no trace or clue of where the terrorists might have gone, and after a day spent searching the area the Company returned to Kulim.

The second incident took place on the Junjong road, where a police vehicle was ambushed one night and eight police were killed. The terrorist casualties were unknown. Reports of the ambush did not reach the Company until the following morning and heavy rain had obliterated any tracks the terrorists might have left. Once again the search proved fruitless.

On August 26th, “C” Company moved from Kulim to Serdang, some eighteen miles to the South. Their place at Kulim was taken by “D” Company (Major W. L. Newcombe), who had just completed their training at Sungei Patani. “C” Company found Serdang very different to Kulim. It was a small hostile village, and the camp was dirty and neglected.

As a result of the incidents in the area South of Kulim it was presumed that there was a concentration of terrorists there. It was therefore decided to mount a Battalion operation. It was called Operation Rose and employed “C” Company, “D” Company and a Troop of 45 Commando, Royal Marines. “D” Company was given the area just South of Kulim, “C” Company went into the Relau Forest Reserve, and the Commandos were given the South of the area, The operation lasted twelve days and the area was systematically searched for signs of terrorists; unfortunately no contacts were made and the only results were a few arrests of terrorist food suppliers. It is interesting to note that mules were used on this operation for the first time in Malaya. They were not a success, and were not easy to move through the thick jungle. Immediately after Operation Rose a further operation was carried out in the same area with the object of plotting the squatter areas in the district, after which all the Chinese males were brought into Kulim for screening, and a number of arrests were made. The only contact with terrorists, which the Battalion had whilst in Kedah, was made by a section of 10 Platoon, “D” Company, who chanced on about six terrorists in the Bongsu Forest Reserve. Fire was exchanged, the terrorists fled and there were no casualties on either side.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kulim Town :- A Brief History of Kulim Town

Kulim- Then

This is the town where I was born and bred. A sleepy hollow which blossomed into a gigantic industrial hub. Streets which where once deserted by 6.30 pm has emerged into a township burtsling with activity right into the depths of night. Kulim somehow still manages to retain its rustic , small town image with quaint kampongs stringed like pearls along its fringes.

The Old Town Quarters started as a line of shophouses along the Jalan Raya before WW2. So the initial begining of the Old Kulim Town was just a row of shop houses along the main road. The town gradually grew in size as more shop houses were erected sometime before the out break of WW2. By the way , the first Prime Minister of Malaysia , Tunku Abdul Rahman Al Haj was Kulim's District Officer in 1939 . In the late 50's and early 60's more buildings and shop houses were build as the town blossomed into sort of a mini metropolis in South Kedah.

The iconic Kulim Clock Tower was built to commemorate the Merdeka Celebration . I still remember the Sepuluh Tahun Merdeka Celebrations in 1967 where we have motorized floats and procession along the main road to celebrate Merdeka!

The Old Town is surrounded by rubber plantations ,notebly the Merah Estate near Jalan Pegawai ( old name :- Jalan Merah ) and Tin Mines which is located near the present Bus Station. The hums of the Tin dredge can be heard into the distance during the old days.

A Tin Dredge- aerial photo

The old wet market was built in 1959 , so the inhabitants of Kulim did their daily shopping of vegetables,meat,fish etc at the 'new' market from there on. Back in the 50's and early 60's we have chinese fishmongers going from house to house on bicycles selling their produce to housewifes who patiently wait for the them to make a pit stop at their door steps. The fish,prawns and squids are carried in huge bakuls packed with ice while the greens are nearly arranged around and on top of the bakuls. Balancing the bicycle was indeed an art only posessed by the fishmongers at that particular time in Kulim's history.

Till the late 60's and early 70's the unit measure we were using was the Kati and Tahils to buy foodstuff , fish and greens . Rice was sold in Chupak and Gantangs. The metric system was still unheard of. Paperbags and not plastic bags was the order of the day!!

In the mid 60's the Kulim Bus Station was on the portside of the Kulim Wet Market. As you board the busses you will be able to see the commerce going around the market, the slaughtering and manual prosessing of chickens and many more unimaginable sights to behold.

Kulim Town had three theaters at that time. The Cathay Cinema, the Capitol and the Coronation. Special mention about the Coronation Theater, rubber tappers ,budget minded inhabitants flocked to this particular theater to view re runs of old films. The seats are way down cheaper compared to the Cathay and Capitol which usually broadcast first run but late flicks!

The Rumah Murah located at the terminal end of Jalan Tengku Bendahara was completed in 1965 and was sold mostly to government servants working as clerks ,peons etc.

The population of Kulim is mainly divided into 3 groups. The Malays in Kampongs such as Kampong Bukit Awi, Kampong Pondok Labu and Kampung Ayer Merah to mention a few. Government quaters at Jalan Pegawai and along Jalan Tengu Asaad ( in front of Yawata) , Police Quaters and the Hospital Quarters.

The Chinese merchants living in Kulim Town and Indians in rubber plantations.

To be continued - and edited -