Kg Tanjung Tokong: A closer look inside

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Rahmah Ali is not a happy woman. In fact, this feisty Tanjung Tokong villager is upset over Uda Holdings’ plans to demolish the houses in her kampung and ‘develop’ the area. “Hati geram!” she says.


Photos by Anil (Click on icon on bottom right to switch to full-screen slideshow mode)

Seated at the dining table inside her hundred-year-old wooden house, Rahmah says she has lived here since she was born.

I ask her, somewhat untactfully, how old she is.

Sama dengan Mahathir,” the widow replies, in a matter-of-fact tone. That would make her 84, but her razor-sharp mind shows no sign of slowing down.

Hers is not the usual wooden kampung house; the beams inside are solid, probably hardwood similar to cengal or merbau.

Earlier, Salleh Yahaya, the head of the Tanjung Tokong Residents Association, had proudly showed me another century-old house on stilts next door to Rahmah’s. It is still standing intact, though the beams are bending in the middle from the weight of the house over the years. But like the strong wood used in Rahmah’s house, the dark, hard kayu bukit used is different from that used in typical contemporary kampung houses – and that explains why both these houses are still standing after all these years. What is unique is that not a single metal nail was used in the construction of this house. Instead, Salleh pointed out the wooden nails that hold the support beams together.

Speaking animatedly, Rahmah recalls the time when the sea came right up to the area where her house stands along Jalan Tanjung Tokong Lama. That was before the British carried out land reclamation work, pushing the sea-front beyond the present-day Jalan Tanjung Tokong.

I ask Rahmah why she is fond of the area, one of the country’s oldest fishing villages – already in existence when Francis Light established the British settlement in Penang.

“It’s the privacy,” she responds in Malay. “My neighbours don’t know about my personal matters and I don’t know about theirs.”

It’s obvious too that this place, the ancestral village for many residents, is where her heart is. “Kalau bagi dua unit flat pun, makcik tak mau. Tak mau, tak mau.”

She offers me a bundle of goreng pisang to take back with me. “Ambil,” she says. “Jiran baru masak dan bagi sedekah kepada makcik.

I look at the bundle and hesitate, as it appears to have been given to her for tea.

Ambil,” she insists.

Touched, I accept. I wave goodbye to Rahmah as she stands by the door – and cannot resist trying the snack as soon as I am a polite distance away.

Goreng pisang never tasted so good.

But I can’t help wondering what’s going to happen to her house and the old village. Another sacrifice at the altar of misguided ‘development’?

Villagers like Rahmah and Salleh are not against progress, but they want development that blends in with their surroundings while preserving their own history.

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mat non

UDA Ayam…kalau x blh jd garam jgn jd langau yg merosakkan makanan. Kalau xda duit jgn ambil Tanah dan rumah org, jgn paksa org,guna media,parti politik utk halau penduduk..

Raman Mariyappan

Good day.
Currently I am writting an article about past, current and future land use changes on Tg. Tokong. I need maps, plans, facts such as how many vilages, houses, details about reclamation projects during clonial, present reclamation works and etc.

My needs are genuiently for academic purposes. So, anyone can help me, your contribution will be much appreciated.

Regards
Raman
UUM

lineclear

Bros True enuff.. that BN were goons for Developers $$$!!! Then came a Knight with Shinning Armour LGE who promised Penangnites to save Penang Land from Land Scams and save the environment…. Unfortunately that Knight too became ‘intoxicated’ with Developers… and conveniently put the blame on KTK!! A reasonable person will see the truth upon the facts that whichever projects initialy approved conditionaly by KTK Govt was delayed and hampered until LGE became CM !! LGE GOVT PERFORMANCE in 2008/2009 1. Conversion of Seaside Land at EO Hotel for YTL 2. Conversion of Seaside Land at Queensbay for 3. Issuance… Read more »

Gerakan K

People please don’t behave/think so selfishly. These Kg Tanjung Tokong people also penangite. If we are so concern about Penan (in Sarawak) or war (in Iraq), why acted so cruel to own local people? Anwser me SamG, Morning Dew, Penangite, SpeakUp, Yang!

Penangite

Gerakan…, are u dumb or something. Please read our comments above. we have spoken. The land belongs to UDA which is part of umNO. Go tell your boss to ‘instruct the court’ (Anil I hope you do not censore the ‘court’ word) to freeze all development on this piece of land.

Just wonder. Gerakan…, are you one of the Tg Tokong residence?? If you are, sorry you have to face the same fate as my friend.

looes74

SamG,
These people don’t care. Especially in Great Anil’s term, it’s YP to LGE. Anil & the rest can only demand.

SamG

Singam Singam! Why you so stupid! UDA belongs to Najib aka Federal Government! Why is it so difficult to make you guys understand!! Federal Government is under BN. KTK is from Penang and BN, so shout at KTK for help. LGE cannot do anything as the land belongs to UDA aka Federal Govt. So difficult to get it thru your thick skulls.

Dalbinder Singh Gill

Take a drive past Kampung Buah Pala now. This is exactly how I can foresee the end of Kampung Tanjung Tokong. But the struggle does not end here.

Singam

Enough damage done to KBP, you LGE…don’t ask for more trouble in allowing another demolition of a Malay kampung….watch my word, you are facing defeat…you can have all the cyber troopers in all floors…

Gerakan K

Can we united against UDA? Or perhaps to fight for the poor villagers? LGE is the CM and he cannot run away for penangites problem.

Morning Dew

UDA is a federal government owned agency and the land belongs to them. Tell us G-K what could LGE do ? Give us some suggestions and then ask yourself again what could the federal government/uda do ?

Having both answers side by side then decide if your demand is reasonable or you have to fulfill some posting quota to please your political master.

Penangite

Gerakan K,No way. Get your umNO leaders to ‘instruct’ (a) freeze (on) all development on this piece of land and gazette it as a heritage zone. Maybe Rais Yatim can help in this case afterall he need to show what he can really do, after all we all know he can really talk a lot.

SamG

Gerakan K! KTK is the KPI Minister/Full Cabinet Minister and from Penang (even though he entered fom the back). If anything KTK should have more powers then any state minister to resolve these issues.
you think, he would? Obviously not, ‘cos KTK is a Full (Political) Eunuch!
Just waiting for the 1st move LGE makes so you can bash the living daylights out of them.

MyBlog

Sad very sad…..I can see a devastating end

Korban

The fruits have been marked for sacrifice.

Now its time to bring Buah Pala to the Tok Kong!

Anak Tanjong Tokong

I was born and raised in Tanjong Tokong and left the place after getting married. My other and a few of my siblings still remain. I made my yearly trip to Tanjong Tokong and have witnessed how the village is being compressed by the aggressive development surrounding it. Although I believe that we cannot escape from development however UDA is not creative enough – they only see development in the form of high rise living and commercial areas. Developers are the greedy lot – they forgot the contribution of the people of Tanjong Tokong over the years. If I remember… Read more »

Bigjoe

One suggestion to Tanjung Tokong resident is to compare their situation to Singapore’s Kampung Glam. Kampung Glam faced a Singapore govt imminent domain laws that was draconian and their claims was not as strong as Tanjung Tokong.

Yet, Kampung Glam and their inheritors managed to get their claims from the supposedly merciless-land-grabbing Singapore Govt and the area restored and given an even stronger heritage..

Bigjoe

Many of Tun Razak’s promise was broken. He himself broke several. The NEP was not suppose to have quotas but just have handicaps like the US system. It was suppose to end long time ago.

So what is so surprising about this broken promise of Tun Razak?

SpeakUp

Anil … you still want to stir emotions and you call this journalism? What is the status of the people there? Can you please find that out for us first before you start playing with nice words such as sacrifices for the Altar of Development. Last time you tried to play about some KBP residents, you say they have no place to stay. You KNOW their kids were rich! How can you play such games? Like what you say … let justice flow like a mighty river. Let’s see some fair play here. So if these people are really mere… Read more »

Gerakan K

Hello Anil, as a reader, I’m so sad to repeatedly see these villages demolition. But what is the perfect solution currently we have? Can LGE administration do something?

Penangite

Gerakan K, go ask your umNO leaders. UDA dont care about the poor folks of Tanjong Tokong….

The first phase of Tanjong Tokong demolition happens long ago and my friend was chase out of his ‘Rumah Melayu’ built on stilts. The compensation is a ‘pigeon hole’ unit near the Tg Tokong famous ‘Tua Pek Kong Temple’.

So dont pretend to be sad and bring LGE into the picture. Go get your umNO friends and challenge (in) court.

Yang

Penangite, You are right. This Gerakan K head does not have brain… Najib as PM and head of Khazanah which head UDA, could not even fulfill his father wishes for the people of Tg Tokong and this idiot Gerakan K come here trying to accuse LGE who has done so much especially for the people of KBP. Even if you give them a 1400 sq ft double storey terrace to the villagers,he would want a 6500 sq ft bungalow. PKR Anwar & LGE would soon find a solution to make sure that part of the village would be intact provided… Read more »

Richard Loh

Is UDA part of umno’s arm? If UDA owns the piece of land, then the residents must be squatters. Will it be another KBP where all the politicians will come in to blame the present Government?

What I understand is that this piece of land were already planned for development in the late eighties but does not know the reasons for the delay.

This piece of land is a real goldmine.

Please Take This Poll:

What Do You Think Of MACC Latest Blitz

Penangite

I have voted. The irony of MACC actions is it seems like Selangor is the only states that is corrupted in the eyes of the MACC. However, I am of the opinion that other states like Johor,Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah and for sure Sarawak are potentially corrupted to the hilt. Why no action on these states and why now only Selangor when PR governs and not during the Toyol administration.

Conclusion: MACC practice selective persecution to topple the PR govt with BN instructions?

Morning Dew

It is a fore-runner to things to come. The (alleged)plot is basically to create the impression that MACC is impartial and no one can blame them (if) they moved in to destabilise the PR government.

There may be up to 10 by-elections in a few months time.