Only fools wanted to erase their past

Our ex-headquarter cum Gothic-style dungeon near Jalan Jelatek, Kuala Lumpur (that was the first impression of our previous CEO on the serene and ethereal atmosphere that clouded the remaining few laboratories and offices there – but what do you expect, a laboratory is not a fish market) is going to be gazetted as a National heritage with its old charm and beautiful iconic art deco of french architecture design from the colonial era. The most outstanding feature that really impressed me is the murals that lined the external wall of the old library (depicting the story of rubber) by an Italian artist Rudolfo Noli (will update the pics later). He is also well known for his artistic work on Singapore’s supreme court. That was a good move by the higher authority and I fully support that noble effort to add another collection into our national heritage coffer.

Being captivated in an open museum type-of-style and spending my entire adulthood in an almost prehistoric place like that, which dated as early as 1920s giving me ample opportunities to stumble upon many ancient relics from the past. While I am not stationed at Jalan Jelatek, but its main experimental station (set up earlier than the one in Jalan Jelatek) which is situated 35 km away near Sg. Buloh, the chance to step onto hidden treasures is of equal likelihood.

From time to time, during my leisure time in between mixing volatile chemicals in the test tubes and peeking into the intimate world of plant cells, I will scour the abandoned storerooms, old cupboards and cabinets scavenging for the past secrets. Depending entirely on luck and my gut feeling, I may find some interesting items that day. Some have been left unnoticed, collecting dust for many years. And some have been write-offed but left in its original place to be disposed away.

The above photo was a good example of such items in my ever growing archive. The brown and cubical shape box is not my lunch box. No…no…no… but actually a tape recorder. The item is still in a considerably good working condition (if I can find the manual and know how to operate it) but time has rendered the item not so fashionable anymore (and not practical either because it is quite heavy to move it around) and becoming an obsolete electronic marvel. The silver colored and smaller item at the bottom of that big box is its not-so-up-to date successor. Notice the size difference. Everything has become smaller these days (except men‘s greed). Some of the artifacts are still not being ‘cataloged’ yet especially the written documents, old manuals etc. (though most has been sent to our National Archive).

So it is quite natural for me to almost puke and empty my stomach in a nearby dustbin when I read not in disbelief, but in sheer disgust by some nickampoo out there (alamak… some could be my distant relatives) with their destructive and inconsiderable behavior. As many might already known, a nickampoo may behave like a monkey, and monkeys never appreciate anything even ‘bunga tahi ayam‘ (as in jangan memberi bunga kepada monyet).

I don’t want to write in lengthy on the subject matter as others (Abang Awang Goneng, Adik Ahmad Ali Karim, Adik Aiman Amani, here and probably many others.) have really done one good job in conveying the important message to the whole world and pleading everybody to help not only the keropok lekor-eating nation but our country as a whole in preserving the remaining heritage from their premature extinction. Insyaallah, I will do my small part (sending appeal letters – already compiling the list of recipients, campaigning, soft-talk to some old-buddy-now-ADUN friends and of course the doa).

It is very easy to build new buildings and big monuments, but almost impossible to create our past. The best is to preserve it!

The much talked about row of heritage shop lots that is now close to extinction (photo was taken from the opposite Kedai Payang’s car park in 2007). I have many fond memories here. Kedai buku Alam Akademik (previously and famously known as Kedai Pok Loh Yunang) is where I could spend many hours browsing the books whenever I go to ‘Kuale‘. I got my first Enid Blyton’s from this bookstore and straight away fell in love)

Another view of the same row. At the far side of the photo is Masjid Putih (not very clear in this photo as it is so putih and blended well with the sky/background).


32 Responses to “Only fools wanted to erase their past”

  1. ….SIGH…
    cam marah/frust jer Doc!

  2. Not that I want to brag about our neighbor-country goodness, it just I like what Singapore did to their old building. Amazing!

  3. susah…kalau tak setuju kata anti pembangunan…entah la..para pembuat keputusan kena tengok semua aspek….

    seni budaya dan sejarah adalah inti dalaman kepada sesebuah masyarakat……… rugi kalau hilang

  4. aliff muhammad Says:


    Yeah, some people deserve to be call monkey. They just didn't care that what they are destroying is really their treasure. Stupid!

    I second to Pak Awang Goneng, it is sad to see what happen to this kerepok lekor nation. Like Pak Awang motto 'doh nok wat guane' if I'm not mistaken.

    My doa for your effort Dr.Sam.

  5. encik ariff Says:

    itu lah.
    kalau lebih2 pun ada efek xbaik jugak.

  6. ashley, bulan puasa ni kena banyak bersabor. CAHAYA,No harm in learning and adopting good examples. But some are just don't want to.besi,Patah tumbuh hilang dah tak berganti lagi.aliff muhammad,Sad because they probably don't have the slightest idea of what the consequences would be from the action and pity them because they probably just do what they are asked/instructed to do (by another idiot)encik ariff,Sudah sekian lama merasa rungsing memikirkan apa akan jadi dengan bandar KT apabila mula melihat pembangunan meratah lapar pusaka peninggalan warisan.

  7. Dr Sam, it quite timely that you post this entry for yesterday, I visited the Cabinet War Rooms in Westminster. Yesterday marked the 70th year the war bunker that was used by Churchill to hold cabinet meetings. I was /am amazed that every little thing, papper clips, old telephones, books – were all kept as it was. The old chair that Churchill sat in while chairing the meetings, still has the scratch mark on the armrests – showing how tense some of the meetings were. I was/am amazed at the habits of the British to preserve all these. Walking inside the rooms, under the streets of London, one could almost imagine the hive of activities, as important life changing decisions were made while the area above were bombarded. There were still some veterans who worked there, who came and tell their stories. It is just so amazing – and yet, if this place is in our country, it'd be gone by now replaced by some tall buildings.

  8. patungcendana Says:

    mentaliti bawah tempurung belum lagi berubah menjadi pandangan mata burung…huhuhu

  9. bangunan yg ada unsur sejarah perlu dan memang patut di pelihara.. dalam malaysia ni masih banyak bangunan yg tidak di masukkan lagi dalam ketogori tu.. apabila di wartakan bangunan tersebut di lindungi di bawah undang2 dan tidak boleh di robohkan tanpa kelulusan pihak berkaitan..

  10. hazeleyed Says:

    Salam DrSam @ Einsteinbak petikan kata kata dari sahabat blogger…Membina…mengambil masaMeruntuh…sekelip mata

  11. Salam dr,Membina mendatangkan mudarat ada baiknya diruntuhkan agar mudarat itu tidak melarat…

  12. Kak Teh. Good opportunity you have there to visit that historical site. Yes, British has this passion and love to preserve their past. We were ruled by the British once, but that was one thing we'd never learned from them. Good and strong nation learns from their past mistake and built on their past strength.We are still long way in that sense. Not to have any passion in any of those heritages is one thing, but to add insult to injury is to erase the history from our book of life. That really saddened me.patungcendana,tu le dia…nafsu besar nakkan 'infrastructrue' bertaraf dunia, minda dan cara kerja masih dizaman Awang tahi mate banyok.Zino,Kita ada banyak pihak yang telah diberi amanah untuk tujuan pemeliharaan harta warisan bangsa (Kementerian, badan-badan NGO, persatuan dsb). Tindakan mungkin ada, cuma tindakan serius belum betul-betul nampak bagi tujuan itu. Tak tahu lah bila. hazeleyed,Salam. Amat setuju sekali.Razak,Salam. Bertepatan sekali. Cuma sekarang ni kuasa wang mengatasi segalanya.

  13. I like the old RRI building too, Doc with the huge trees in the compound. Glad they are going to turn it into a national heritage. Dengar cerita ada penghuni2 lain dimensi bermastautin di situ hehe

  14. MariaFaizal Says:

    Let's just preserve the beautiful heritage only, shall we? : DLet's bury the bad ones that simply oculd cause commotion or discomfort (view-wise etc..)Good or bad, we could always learn something from our past.Do take care & Happy 7th Ramadhan.Regards to Sis Zayda.

  15. Jam besar kat pasor payang tu.. sepatutnya kekal gah disitu….aku tak fahamlah erti pembangunan bila satu demi satu tinggalan sejarah, perkampungan melayu lama,hutan ,bukit bukau yg indah satu demi satu menyembah bumi…kalau kita keIndia ada Old Delhi dan New Delhi…banyak yg dapat dilihat.

  16. Zendra,Some of the original trees are still in the compound until these days. Penghuni lain tu mungkin si Wickham atau Ridley kot :)MariaFaizal,the problem with 'these' people is they don't discriminate – good or bad is the same. For them anything that is old is a good one to be put away forever.Have a blissful Ramadhan to you and your family too.abu muaz,Saya pong sampai tak ingat jam besar kat pasar tu, sehingga melihat foto didalam blog-blog baru mengembalikan ingatan saya. Generasi yang langsung tidak berpeluang melihat dengan mata sendiri – lagilah.

  17. Rindu dengan kenangan-kenangan lama…tak kira kenangan yang menyeronokkan ataupun yang sebaliknya. Setiap kenangan tu ada cerita tersendiri untuk dikongsi dengan generasi akan datang 🙂

  18. We human love new things and tend to throw away the old ones, don't we? I have just thrown away some stuff that were no longer relevant to my life. It is normal to do that. Hanging on to history is good sometimes but we have to learn to let go.

  19. VersedAnggerik Says:

    ahhhh… I remember kedai Pok Loh Yunang, tempat beli stationeries masa zaman2 MRSM dulu. Naik bot dari Seberang Takir, turun kat blakang Pasar Payang, then walk to kedai Pok Loh Yunang to buy our pens and notebooks. Sebelum balik, mesti gi makan kat restoran Istqlal, or better known as IQ then….

  20. Mana agmbor kedai payang itself? Rindu ahh….

  21. Titil,mengimbau kenangan lalu boleh membuat kita tersenyum sendiriTeacher,It is normal and quite logical for some to trying very hard not to remember the bitter past. But anything that is consider a 'dirty past' should be put in the bin.VersedAnggerik,Aha…naik bot dari Seberang Takir ke bandor surely a very adventurous weekend outing for the student of those days. Saya kalau ke Restoran IQ, mesti pekena nasi ayam.

  22. hidup KOKA,Gambor kedai payang ada banyak dalam simpanan. Nanti kita…hang rupanya satu batch dengan VA lah ye 🙂

  23. ReActivateZul Says:

    ::: askm bro dr.sam, salam kemerdekaan ke-52 buat jiwa yg merdeka [huhu]. saya byk kali lalu depan bangunan felda jalan jelatek tuh [felda ke? huhu kalo salah tolong betulkan] tapi skrg dah hampir tak nampak sbb maybe byk pokok kat pagar menghadap jalan ampang tuh.. [huhu] rumah setinggan di sebelah sekolah antarabangsa fairview pon dah takder dah skrg.. pokok getah dikatakan tertua di KL tuh masih ada di situ ke bro? tak sangka jugak ye tempat recorder sebesar begitu [huhu].. cepat tul masa berubah.. inilah hasil kemerdekaan.. [huhu]..

  24. Wan 0806012 Says:

    Nampak nostalgic je…

  25. PerantauSepi1306 Says:

    Entahlah… kat sini macam tak value je historical stuff… it was just not in KT, but in many other places as well.. little did we do to cherished it.. if it does not have any commercial value.. then it'll be bygone and forgotten…

  26. ReActivateZul,WSM. Memang selalu orangramai ter'confused' RRIM tu Felda. Kalau kat belah sini lagi le orang ingat RRIM tu FRIM :)Seting-garden belakang tu memang dah lama pupus ditelan zaman. dulu kalau makan kat kantin,boleh nampak bermacam aktiviti yang menarik lagi 🙂 Fairview tu pun adalah sebahagian dari RRIM (disewakan untuk dijadikan sekolah). Pokok getah tertua bukan disini, tapi di Kuala Kangsar (masih ada)Wan 0806012,Pakai wifi dari PSP lah ni ye?PerantauSepi1306,Mungkin kesedaran tidak/kurang diterapkan tentang nilai sejarah dari awal. Yes, we are so blessed to have many such historical places, but need to be preserved for our future generation to cherish.

  27. kedai pokloh yunang tuuu… kalu dog gi macam tak sah je kalu turun bando.akan jadi kenangan belake doh weh…IQ restoran oh…ya tempat joli sakang bila dapat biasiswa….se lagi kedai kasut fung keong…tempat budok-budok asrama ss lepak.

  28. abu muaz,banyak betul kenangan yang dikongsi ramai ditempat-tempat yang disebut itu. Stesen bas, panggung wayang, deretan kedai lama tepi stesen bas dsb.

  29. Rasa macam pernah buat practical kat HQ tu dulu

  30. Zue,Tak salah lagi. kalau bebudak mikro UKM memang melepak buat praktikal kat lab rhizobium dengan dr yang berambut macam einstein tu. Wife I pun praktikal dia kat situ juga 🙂

  31. Hahaha…Kelakarlah masa zaman tu. Staff kat sana semua friendly.

  32. Karim Omar Says:

    Thank you for your posting "Only fools wanted to erase their past"Thanks too for spreading the words.Keep going and help support us.WassalamKarimKoordinatorBadan Bertindak Peniaga Jalan Bandar dan Jalan Banggol

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