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Thursday, September 5, 2013

A History of Kota Ngah Ibrahim, Taiping, Perak

I was born and raised in Taiping, and I shouldn’t forgive myself for not visiting this historical place earlier. Bad Taiping-ite!

When I told my sister, Kak Ngah, that hubby and I will be going to Kota Ngah Ibrahim a.k.a Muzium Matang, she was quite surprised that we haven’t been there before. She used to visit this notable house of the richest family in Larut (at that time) and have us visualized more or less what we will see in this fort later.

Hubby and I then drove towards Jalan Taiping-Kuala Sepetang (passing by my late mom’s grave) which eventually met a sharp bend at the end of the road, where the historical complex sits at this corner facing the surrounding villages. This area is called Matang.

The scene was quiet that made us wonder, whether this museum is still operated. It was Sunday afternoon, and we were contented to see the operation hours where it is open daily, and only closed on Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. 
 
We parked our car right next to the old main gate, just before the collapsed wall. This collapsed wall has its own story, where one of Japanese’s war planes crashed right in the compound area and ruined almost half portion of this thick and huge front wall. In this compound, there is also a Japanese memorial monument, in remembering the late officer who used to turn this house as one of the Japanese operation center later after World War II.
 
We decided to walk around the museum before we explored the internal building. At the end of two corners, there were zinc sheds with information board. We had no idea how to reach the area, for there was no pedestrian walk heading to these two places. We later got the information that these two sheds were sheltering two old wells found by the archeologist. We were also being told one of these platforms served as “beheading spot” by Japanese army. Ye, tempat potong kepala ok!
 
At the other side of this building, we saw one gated old and high-raised grave, with super clean pergola and tiles. I believed it is a place for praying, for there is also a place for ablution. We stopped for a while to recite Al-Fatihah, to the late Ngah Ibrahim, the man behind this noted fort. He passed away on 4 February 1895 and was buried for 110 years at Singapore, before being brought back to Malaysia by his heir, on 9 September 2006.
 
Entering the huge-white-solid-building, we were welcomed by an uncle, who works as the museum guide. He told us a bit of history of Kota Ngah Ibrahim and explained how this mansion turned from a private resident into a British residential, a Japanese command center, a prison, a court, a school, and so on. 
This fort was built during 1870s by Ngah Ibrahim’s father, Long Jaafar, who happened to be the richest guy in Larut, who owned paddy fields, coffee plantations, and tin mining. 
How he’d become so rich? Ok, let me tell you. Long Jaafar had an elephant as a pet. AN ELEPHANT! See how rich he was? He called this elephant, Larut. One day, Larut went missing for two/three days. He kept on looking for Larut and finally found it few kilometers away from his house. He was happy when he saw Larut, but he was puzzled with sparkling mud that covered Larut’s front legs. He later knew that it was actually Cassiterite or also known as tin. Apa lagi, sukatilah baginda! Kaya! Kaya! Kaya! And so he named the area as Larut (in remembering his elephant), which stays as Larut Tin, nowadays.
Knowing the limitation of Malay people in tin mining, Long Jaafar went to Penang and imported two Chinese groups, known as Gee Hin and Hai San. Gee Hin was led by Chin Ah Yam, while Hai San was led by Chung Keng Kwee. They worked professionally but unfortunately, they envied each other. With this mentality, these gangs had caused not one, not two, but three Perang Larut, with each war came with specific reason. Mostly, one killed another and one in loved with another. Pfft!
We then explored one back room where a Gurkha mannequin stood still in front of the vertical-barred-door and windows. Inside, there were another two Malay guy mannequins.

“Prison.” I read the sign.

“Ayang, you go inside, I take picture of you and the Gurkha guard.” I forced hubby.
The door wasn’t locked. Obviously, visitor can go in right? Hahaha! Anyway, hubby went inside and quickly posed for me.

We then walked up the wooden stairs and saw row of well-painted paintings, each with its description. Pandak Indut, Dato Maharajalela, and Dato Sagor, three Malay heroes who were behind the great astonishing history of the death of J.W.W Birch, a British resident in Perak. Pandak Indut was the mastermind, while Dato Maharajalela and Dato Sagor were partners in crime, who killed Birch by the river. 
“When these guys are praised and noted as our national heroes, where were the rulers at that time, hmm? Sipping English tea with British?” I wondered.

All three of them were judged in this building, where British turned the first floor of this mansion as a court. Though they had plenty of time to get escaped, they remained in the prison till the judging day, AND THAT SHOWED how brave they were. Dato Maharajalela and Dato Sagor were sentenced to death while Pandak Indut was outcast from Perak. Meanwhile, Ngah Ibrahim and other 40 Malays were also outcast to Seychelles Island, for conspired with the killing.
Long Jaafar died early and left Ngah Ibrahim with all his fortunes. The fifth generation of Ngah Ibrahim, Datuk Dr. Wan Mohd. Isa Wan Ahmad, gave permission to Ministry of Tourism, to declare this fort as National Treasure in 2005. From my observation, this building is very well kept and equipped with wall lightings and CCTV. All exhibits are still in good condition and information boards are very informative and nicely framed. It is FAR BETTER than Mahsuri Museum at Langkawi that we visited few months ago, with RM8 entrance fee! But this Kota Ngah Ibrahim’s admission fee? GUYS, IT’S FREE! Honestly, this place is worth to visit. Please, PLEASE COME TO TAIPING AND PLEASE DO YOUR HISTORICAL WALK IN THIS PLACE.
We ended the visit by purchasing fridge magnets as souvenirs. They also sell books, bookmarks, key chains and such. We thanked Uncle Mat (the guide) and siapa sangka, dia kenal la pulak Pak Ein! Huih glamer pak aku tu! Hahaha! Well, Taiping is small and definitely someone will know someone.

We left the building with mix feeling…wondering on what the uncle said to us…

“I am 50 years old…and I’m glad that young people like you have huge interest in history. Very seldom to see your generation spend more time visiting museum…and treasure the information. Sadly, we are getting lesser visitors now…so I hope that you guys will help to attract more people to come…when it is still standing..." kata pakcik tu dalam bahasa mesia.

And I replied, “I’ll do my best to blog about Kota Ngah Ibrahim. I’m pretty sure that I can get you more visitors IF AND ONLY IF, I BROUGHT MY FELLOW FRIENDS (BLOGGERS) TODAY, wahai pakcik. Hehehe!"

Note : Pics taken by hubby and I using Canon 550D and AEE Magicam SD21 (ActionCam).

14 holler:

Supermeng Malaya said...

kenapa tingkap bangunan tak di buka? mcm scary...

terima kasih, tak pernah aku tau nama larut tu actually from the gajah.

nanti aku nak pi la bagi memeriahkan tempat ni..

tapi aku x de payung kaler2 tu.. ( mcm lapar tengok payung tu ! ) nampak mcm kuih kek

Jea Mohamad said...

From Taiping with Love!

Tersentap ngan ayat pakcik guide tu sebab selalu lalu kat situ tapi seumur hidup tak pernah singgah..hehe

mohon follow blog..

Chawanna Na said...

hehehe kesian pakcik tu, terpaksa la buat event travelholicawesome yg diwar2kan tu kat sini..hahaha

Biqque said...

meng, aku pun tak tau nape museum lama KEBANYAKANNYA tak bukak tingkap! TAPI rumah ni ada aircond, so aku rasa pasal tu la. rumah ni dari luar je nampak scary, tapi kat dalam tak se-scary Instana Menanti.

ha tu la, cam kelakar plak nama gajah tu larut hahaha! ko pegi la meng, mesti pakcik tu sonok...

yg ko nak makan payung tu nape? hahaha! payung ni kalo buat prop mmg cun weh, naik warnanya.

jea, tu la...slama ni berkurun rumah tu kat situ, tak penah lak nak masuk sbb tak sangka elok diorang buat dalam tu...

na, i bgtau kat pakcik tu, if kawan2 saya ada ni, mmg zas zas zas la semua amik gambar pakcik oiiiii! the good this is tempat ni free n dijaga baik tau...sayang sgt if tak ketengahkan...

Janggel / Rain said...

Wah tatau pulak ada museum macam tu kat Tepen.

Biqque said...

janggel, nyesal tak bawak korg aritu...terpaksa la korg dtg tepen lagi! hehehe!

shaza said...

bagus la info ni.. xtau ada muzium tu...

mana gambo pakcik guide tu? tepek le kat sini... hahahaha...

Hulubalang said...

boleh la singgah nnt kalau bercuti ke penang nnt...

Biqque said...

shaza, ingat nak amik gambar ngan pakcik tu, tapi cam terus balik sbb ujan lebat...tak sempat...hehe!

HB, ha singgah2...otw tu melencong skit ke Matang...jap je...

AziniMZ said...

Masa korng gi.. mmg tkde visitors lain ek.. sume nama2 yg disebut mcm familiar masa belajar sejarah form2 kot.. hehe

Dede Ruslan said...

cantik-cantik gambarnya :)

Hulubalang said...

2 3 kali tgk lawo plak payung ko bibik...mana ko beli?? Hehe..

Biqque said...

azinimz, masa kitorang pegi, takde org...then hujan lebat, ada satu family dari ipoh dtg...patu diorang blk, kitorang still tak balik2 sampai pakcik muzium tu heran hahaha...aah, nama2 tu sume mmg ada dlm buku sejarah :)

dede, tx! :)

hb, payung rm10 bersepah kat downtown/kedai serbaneka...aku suka sbb BESAR blh guna utk dua org, patu kaler cun mcm es-krem! hehe!

Twilight Man said...

Yes these names Ngah Ibrahim and Long Jaafar are etched inside my head after learning their history in Primary 6. Interesting place to visit.

You gave me goose bumps about the Potong Kepala spot. Eeeeeeee!

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