Pulau Jerejak’s hidden heritage featured on History Channel

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Few people realise that Pulau Jerejak has a hidden heritage so haunting that it was once featured in the History Channel.

Most of the migrants arriving in Penang from China and India and other Asian nations – the ancestors of many Penangites – had to spend a stint in quarantine in Pulau Jerejak. That alone should strike a chord among Penangites today.

But there is a darker past only experienced first-hand by the island’s ostracised inhabitants of years gone by. The Alcatraz of Malaysia once housed leprosy and tuberculosis patients isolated from the rest of society as well as suspected drug traffickers, other criminals, and political dissidents, many of them detained without a fair trial.

Tormented souls, treated outcasts, many forgotten – forcibly and cruelly separated from loved ones and the rest of society. It was a place where hopes and dreams were shatttered, where no one could see the tears of its inhabitants nor hear their cries of anguish over their rejection.

Reminders of this painful past can be found in the remnants of eerie jail cells and dormitories in the jungle, in the many desolate tombstones with barely readable inscriptions scattered around the island, in the ruins of places of worship where residents beseeched the Almighty, searching desperately for solace.

A memorial to a couple of Russian soldiers killed during the sinking of their ship at the Penang harbour by a German cruiser in 1914 lies on the eastern side of the island. One theory is that local fisherfolk found their bodies drifting in the waters near Pulau Jerejak and buried them on the island.

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Against this backdrop, is it any wonder that the now-shuttered Tropical Island Resort never returned a profit?

The panoramic views amidst the lush jungle-clad hills may make it a compelling place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life – but the tranquility is deceptive. Beneath the surface, the disturbing memories of the island’s tortured past hardly make the place the most idyllic setting to live in.

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29 Comments on "Pulau Jerejak’s hidden heritage featured on History Channel"

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Greg
Greg

Here’s wishing all Chinese readers a Happy Rooster Year.

Enso
Enso

The message is “Catch That Chicken”!

Selva
Selva

We get the message from the subtitle.
Good video.

tunglang
Popular herbal drinks shop closes after a chequered 64-year history http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/26/bittersweet-end-to-tea-tale-popular-herbal-drinks-shop-closes-after-a-chequered-64year-history/ Small scale family businesses with ‘history’ & social connectedness are most often left to die-off. With no one to assist in their continuity, these ‘invaluable assets’ of George Town are left to extinct at the last breathe. If only there is an organisation with marketing + business acumen & financial resources to guide / assist such small family businesses, we may have preserved quite a number of such intrinsic old trades of Penang, which still breathe some souls of the old world charm. Shong Hor Hin Medicated Tea Stall… Read more »
Greg
Greg

Honestly ask yourself how many millennial smartphone generation youngsters can relate to those old trades? Just check with your children or grandchildren during your reunion dinner tonight.

muisze
muisze

No emotional ties to these old trade once they could live in virtual world with their smartphones.

zoro
zoro

dedaks have no emotions to old trades but have emotion against new buildings

tunglang

Why not learn from that clever CEO of Teochew Chendol, a roadside Lebuh Keng Kwee family beverage business turns successful national franchiser. Go to All Seasons to see young men & women running his franchised Chendol business.
All the self-defeating claims of younger generations shunning street food business is out of touch with reality.
Go to Public Bank (Farlim) at night & you can see fashionable food trucks run by younger generation of entrepreneurs…

Pinhorn Rovers
Pinhorn Rovers

Have you tried the Ti Wang Rice at Farlim?

zoro
zoro

another traffic dedak. anil you can see majority wants wider and better roads. food truck is their cari makan. if stuck in traffic their income drop and public like dedak here depends on foof truck to carry on in your blog. if late will be like bruce fist of fury. why no comment to support green carts like push carts or tricycles instead we have dedak supporting trucks and vans for food.

Damien
Damien

Roadside food or drinks peddlers are unfortunately a dying trade. Why? Simply because nobody wants to be knocked down by on the rise reckless vehicles bullying those customers by the narrow lanes of Pulo Pinang! Narrow lanes are for pedestrians and non-motorised cyclists so should ban big vehicles eg 4WD!!!!

zoro
zoro

damien, every now drink kopi o kau and get more heaty and no more cool man

tunglang

Are you talking with Absolut Vodka in your nostrils?
No sans of argument but gurgling of Komtar Dedak!

Damien
Damien

Closure because next of kin unwilling to carry on the heritage trade? Or they see no future as youngsters prefer more hip Cosmo-coffee?

tunglang
Some rare & interesting places on earth require to be preserved as these rightly serve some intangible + tangible purposes of value for us & the future generations. One example is Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania, US. It was a horrific bloody killing field full of American history, remnants of war & even relics of human casualties. The place was preserved & not turned into another concrete commercial development which the US citizens & tourists are glad for the thoughtful conservation decision & foresight. Now, Gettysburg has a museum, a beautiful green & tranquil ex-battlefield, battlefield tours & events designed for… Read more »
zoro
zoro

copy, paste and pollute with non related items

Joon Ping
Joon Ping

State election for Sabah in April according to The Star’s breaking news today. Miss vs Salleh in tussle for CM post?

Enso
Enso

Interestingly the current MARA corruption saga is set for battle between camp Annuar Musa and camp Sabri Ismail, to consolidate their power as Umno deputy president. TOM’s thumbdrive could possibly bring down Annuar Musa?

Sundaresh
Sundaresh

Why The Star never condemn such early state election when it opposed to the earlier suggestion for early Penang state election?

Selva
Selva

Why you waste your time on The Star?

Loke
Loke

Why keep the island for the dead spirits when it can be developed for use by the living people? Get the Taoist priest to conduct ceremony to lead the restless souls to the other world where the should belong.

tunglang
This Pulau Jerejak is one of the most haunted places in Penang as creepy as that Relau gothic bungalow with a swimming pool (next to Taman Awam Metropolitan Relau). Just ask any seasoned angler who has gone fishing at that island & I am sure you will get a bookful of stories! Disembodied voices, chatters, shrieks of Cik Cantik, touchings & shadows lurk after dark among the rocks & trees & run down buildings, some swallowed by the unforgiving jungle. Just count the many trees & you may get close to the numbers of entities which call this island their… Read more »
zoro
zoro

Time for ghost busters. Remember the rape of nanking and city of hiroshima and nagasaki people are vapourised. BUT why today the above cities are flourishing? Injun medicine man is fully working like a dog.

tunglang

What are you talking about?
See: http://visithiroshima.net/world_heritage/20th/a_bomb_dome/
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Atomic Bomb Dome. Is this just an ugly icon in urban landscape?

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