Tuesday, March 24, 2009

About TV

I still remember when almost everyday I went to atuk's (grandfather) house which is about a stone's throw away from my house to watch tv. I think that was around late 60s till early 70s. TV set is considered a luxury item at that time and not many people could afford to buy one.

All tv programs are in black-white during those days. They were broadcasted by RTM (Radio TV Malaysia) and only two channels were available. The transmission time commenced at about 5-6:00 pm and ended midnight during the weekdays. During weekends, it commenced at about 3:00 pm and ended around midnight.

Some of my favorite tv programs that I can still remembered were "The Three Stooges", "The Pink Panther Show", "The Beatles", "Ultraman", "George of the Jungle" and so forth. Besides that, I also loved to watch "Mannix" (a detective series - he has a wireless telephone in his car in early 70s!), "The Rifleman" (cowboy), "The Twilight Zone", "Star Trek" and many others. And of course I love to watch Malay films that normally shown every Friday night.

Speaking of "Star Trek", my late cousin called me Mr Spock because my upper left ear is almost similar to Mr Spock's semi-pointed ears!. I also found out that both of my sons' upper left ears are same as mine!

One night after watching tv, I went out from atuk's house and was about to wear my sandal when suddenly I felt pain on my leg. I was bitten by some ants and I cried out loudly. My mom heard me crying ran to atuk's house to look for me. She was surprised when no one at the house heard me crying. Even my uncle who was chatting with his friends just a few meters away did not bother about me. (Note: My mother still remembered this incident till today when I asked her a few days ago.)

Later, my father decided to buy a new tv set to prevent me from going to spend the whole day at atuk's house. The tv set looks like a big wooden box with twin sliding doors. When the tv set is not in use, the tv screen will be closed with the sliding doors and locked. Sometimes I loved playing with sliding doors and closed the tv screen even when the tv was switched on...and of course, I will be scolded by my parents.

With new tv set at home, I seldom spend the whole day outside of my house or visiting atuk.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our Old House in Changkat

Most of the government offices located in Changkat, about three kilometers from the town. These include the hospital, police station, prison building, court building and quarters for the government staff.

We used to live in one of the government quarters at Jalan Dobi (formerly known as Henham Road). This double storey terrace house has two bedrooms on the upper floor and two bathrooms. We stayed there until 1975 when my father, a school teacher, was transferred from Sekolah Menengah Rendah (now known as SM Tok Indra Wangsa) at Jalan Tanjung Tualang to Sekolah Menengah Dato Abdul Rahman Yaakob in Bota Kanan.

Since none of us were willing to go there, my father decided to buy a house in Taman Kam Seng, which is just beside my primary school, SK Sultan Yussuf. One of the reasons that we do not want to go to Bota Kanan was we know that it is difficult to make friends in new surroundings. We also do not want to stay far from our grandparents house in Kampung Bendera (on my mother's side) and Kampung Pasir (on my father's side). Furthermore, we were told that life in Bota Kanan is worse compare to Batu Gajah..is it true?

Picture above - my little brother and I in front of our old house in Changkat - No. 79 Jalan Henham. I think the picture was taken in 1972. There is a Raleigh bicycle behind us - the one and only vehicle that we had.

The following pictures were taken on my last visit during the last Chinese New Year holidays.

Our house is the one shown in this picture - the first unit (corner lot).
Far left (with Malaysian flag) where my late grandfather used to live before he moved to Kampung Pasir in Sungai Terap upon retirement. My late grandfather, known as Cikgu Ahmad, was a headmaster of a primary school in Changkat Tin.

The field was used by Indian families who ran laundry business using traditional method. Patients clothes, bed and pillow sheets from the nearby hospital were washed in the tub with hot water. Once clean, the clothes were wrung out — twisted to remove most of the water. Then they were hung up on clotheslines, or sometimes just spread out on clean grass.

I am not sure whether they are still running the business in traditional way. Most probably they are still running the laundry business but in a small scale as nowadays we're using automatic washing machine.

On the background (on the left side of the house) is the quarters for the prison personnel and families. I took a Quran lesson from one of the prison personnel at the quarters.

Hey, that big tamarind tree (pokok asam jawa) is still there. We used to play hide-and-see under the tree. It seems that the tree never grow after we left Changkat. I wonder how old is the tree now?

From the picture above, there is a car parked under the car porch of our old house. So currently someone is staying there. We don't have a car porch at that time.

Based on my observation on that day, not many people live in this quarters. Some of the houses were not maintained properly. Doors and windows were left opened.

The above picture is on the left side of the house. In the middle is actually a big wall structure which is partly hidden by the trees. Opposite of the wall used to be a small hill. According to my father, this area used to be a target practice area for the security forces. The wall was built to prevent bullets from hitting passersby.

The above picture is a surau on the upper floor and a sundry shop below. Almost daily, day or night, I went to this sundry shop to buy sweets and biscuits. One of my favorite biscuits was Marie Biscuit (still available in market).
The drain in the middle - I used to hide inside the drain when we played hide-and-seek. I even made a small paper boat and set it afloat in the drain.
Well, I missed those memories in Changkat where we make a lot of friends. But, are they still remember me?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SK Sultan Yussuf

I attended SK Sultan Yussuf (primary school) from 1972 until 1977. The above picture shows the main entrance of the school at Jalan Pusing. This school was shifted from Jalan Ilmu during the 90s. This school is located next to the Convent schools.
Most of the students who completed at this primary school will continue their studies at SMK Sultan Yussuf.

This is the original school building at Jalan Ilmu. It has been renovated and converted into Pusat Kegiatan Guru Batu Gajah. I am not sure whether this building is still in use or not.
During my school days, this building housed the class rooms, library, staff room and a store room to keep the sports equipment. I still remembered my classes at this building were Darjah 1A4, Darjah 2A3 and Darjah 3 Putih.

This tennis court is located at the left side of the building. Originally, this was the location of the administration and headmaster’s offices building. Located beside the office was the dental clinic - probably the only dental clinic in Malaysia located at school premise. Behind the clinic was the school canteen. Students of the afternoon session will assemble at the canteen before enter their class rooms.

This block located is at the right side of the main building - just across the school field. This block housed my class rooms of Darjah 4 Putih, Darjah 5 Putih and Darjah 6 Putih. This block also can be converted into a school hall. I took the Ujian Penilaian Darjah 5 (Standard 5 Assessment Examination - now known as Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah for Standard 6) at this block in 1976.

Another part of the main building - this picture was taken from my home. There was a staircase leading to the first floor of the building on the right side.
I was at Standard 4 when we moved here at Taman Kam Seng in 1975. I have to use a wooden plank to cross the monsoon drain to this school.
Now the compound is not maintained. The ground floor of the building was almost completely hidden by bushes.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Origins and History

Batu Gajah (4° 28' 0" North, 101° 3' 0" East) with population of about 34,000, is a small town located in the state of Perak. It is about 24 km south of Ipoh, the state capital of Perak. It is also the birthplace of the current Sultan of Perak, His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Muhibuddin Shah.

The name Batu Gajah, which literally means "elephant stone" in the Malay language, is presumably derived from two large boulders that resembled elephants found along the Kinta River. Folklore claims that huge elephant figures were made of stones to scare away the elephants that destroyed the villager's sugar cane crops.

Famous for its tin mining long before the Independence Day of Malaya, Batu Gajah had been an ideal place for Chinese immigrants to stay and work during those years. This contributes to a significant percentage of Chinese in the population of Batu Gajah today. The Indian Settlement village at Changkat has a large population of Indians and Punjabis who built one of the oldest Sikh temples in Perak.

Batu Gajah had an established pre-war [British] English [school], which was renamed Sultan Yussuf School (SYS) (officially known as SMK Sultan Yussuf) after the war. The current Sultan of Perak is a former student of this school. Formerly known as the Government English School (GES), it was founded by Mr. Malai Perumal Pillay in 1907. The school was built from the rubble of an old jail. Over the years, the school has produced many successful students.
Note: There are some errors on the above Google Map. For example, the Stesen KTM Batu Gajah has been relocated in Kampung Pisang. The Majlis Daerah Kinta Barat office has been relocated at Jalan Haji Abdul Wahab. That is not Jalan Garuda as labelled in the map.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Assalamualaikum and greetings to all visitors.
Welcome to my second blog - my hometown, Batu Gajah. Click here for my other blog.
My name is Amir Mohd Amin. I was born in a small town of Batu Gajah more than 40 years ago. From 1965 to 1975, we lived at government quarters in Changkat and then we moved to Taman Kam Seng which is not far from the main town.
I attended SRK Sultan Yussuf (1972-1977) and then SMK Sultan Yussuf (1978-1982) which is also known as SYS. I was appointed as a school prefect and scout troop leader.
Now I am residing in Bandar Tasik Puteri near Rawang, Selangor with my beloved wife and four kids. My eldest son is currently pursuing his studies in MBBS at UniKL RCMP in Ipoh. My second child has just completed her SPM Examination recently. My third child is now in her sixth year at SK Sri Kundang while my youngest son will enrol in a kindergarten next Monday.
During my spare time, I loved travelling, took photos, reading books/magazines and of course surfing the internet.
Articles in this blog are mainly about my childhood memories and anything related to Batu Gajah. Comments are most welcomed.
Note: About the picture...well, that's not me. He is my eldest son at the former Batu Gajah railway station in mid 90s.