Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sitiawan Settlement ... My Roots ... My Heritage ...

This trip back to Sitiawan, we also took the opportunity visit the Sitiawan Settlement Museum .... I love walking thru the little house .... memories of my childhood ... I thank God for my childhood and my roots and the people who took all the trouble to preserve them for us and our next generation.

I super kia su la ... I pluck the following info from the following blog in internet ... cos i so scare the info goes missing and the webpage cannot be found ... afterall I do want to make sure the info is there .....

In the year 1999,the shepherd of the church , Rev. Liew Kek Ming urged the member of the church to place emphasis in history. He hopes that Sitiawan Community will be grateful ( Think of the source while drinking water ) and to remember the spirit and contributions of the pioneer, especially in remembering the sowing of the gospel seeds in Sitiawan .Therefore, the church and Sitiawan Settlement Museum Committee mooted the idea of establishing an historical artifacts museum at the birthplace of Sitiawan, using the 70 years old parsonage. Sitiawan Settlement Museum was officially launched on 7 Sept 2003, on the eve of the centennial celebration. Its establishment was for the collection and preservation of historical facts about the Foochow pioneer. It happened in 1903,when Rev. Lin Chen Mei , Dr.H.L.Emil Leuring and Rev.Dr. Huang Pau Seng led a group of Christian clansman to Sitiawan, Malaya.
Sitiawan Settlement Musuem

As you enter the museum nostalgic feelings are brought to life. You will feel respectful and yet amazed by the solemnity created by the atmosphere, visitors will be able to see historical relic and artifacts from days of pioneering, in the aspects of economy, education and the early church. The pioneer has not only left historical relics, but a legacy and heritage. Tools used by the pioneers, a yester-year kitchen furniture, antique dressing-table , costumes, colonial era bicycle, old clocks, old photographs, coal irons are among the thing displayed here.

According to popular local folklore, the name "SITIAWAN" is derived from a well-known story of "two elephant"- a common wild animal in the malaysian jungle.Apparently, one of the elephants, while crossing a tributary of the Dindings River at low tide, was caught in the mud.The other elephant made some desperate attempts to rescue the mate, but all efforts failed.Instead of abandoning the mate to save its own life, the "faithful" elephant stood by its mate to the last, and both elephants perished in the high tide.To the amusement at frist, and later horror of the village folks who had gathered on the banks to witness the tragedy, the river was aptly named "Sungai Gajah Mati" and the adjoining village "Kampong Gajah Mati". These names would have been perpetuated had it not been for a tragic event which occured at this village soon after. In 1886, an un known disease (later identified as smallpox) struck this settlement and a considerable number of people perished. The superstitious villagers believed that the name "Gajah Mati" had not been a good omen for them and therefore, under penghulu Haji Mohd.Ali , they petitioned to the British Resident of Perak, Sir Hugh Low, to remove "Gajah Mati" , hoping to prevent another deadly outbreak. In its place, the name " Sungai Setia Kawan " was suggested and hence the village was called "Kampong Setia Kawan" meaning "faithful friend". It was then shortened to "Kampong Setia-wan" and the river "Sungai Sitiawan" and the settlement- "kampong sitiawan".


End of 1904 church obtained ten acres of land for construction, with another three acres adjacent land for cemetery ground.

Mid of 1905 - construction work b
egan - cost $900
1906 - the building was burnt down owing to a wild fire
1907 - church rebuilding - cost $1600

1910 - church renovation - cost $650
1927 - new church building built in the shape of the cross,
in use until today.


This orginal well in Kampong Koh dug by Dr.Shellabear who assisted Rev.H.L.Luering in setting up the settlement. At that time Kampong Koh lacked clean drinking water as the topography of this area was low. However, the two wells in the church compound were the never ending source of water supply in those days. Every morning, many women (mainly Foo Chow) would come to draw the water to sell to the residents for a living. These unusual ever flowing wells provided clean water to about 2000 residents in Kampong Koh for 60 years. Rev.W.E.Horley, the then D.S described it as ‘living water’ having fed and quenched hungry and thirsty souls. This conforms the Methodist mission in this place. Jesus Christ is the source of the living water and whoever drinks it will never thirst again. When the population increased, the government dug another well in front of the parsonage area. In the early seventies when pipe water was supplied to Kampong Koh, the residents stopped using the well water. Presently, the three wells in Lin Chen Mei garden are not original. The original well which was situated in the ACS bus bay had been filled up. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is another info I gather from the net ... its from NST paper :

IT was an eye-opener for 12 members of the Perak Heritage Society who joined the recent Sitiawan Heritage Trail for the first time. The trip traces the legacy of pioneer immigrants of the Christian Foochow Chinese who arrived in 1903 and for some of the members, it was a good opportunity to discover their own “roots”.

The members, led by PHS vice president Law Siak Hong, were briefed on the history of the Foochows in Sitiawan. They also went on a one-day tour of Kampung Sitiawan, Simpang Dua Tionghua Cemetery Manjung, Sitiawan Settlement Museum (Kampung Koh), Pekan Gurney, Simpang Lima and Ayer Tawar.

The name Sitiawan comes from two words, setia and kawan. But the story behind it is by far more fascinating. It’s about the extraordinary friendship between two elephants used to transport tin ore along the Dindings River near the area in the late 1800s.

The story has it that one of the elephants got stuck in the soft sand of the riverbed. Efforts by men to save it proved futile. But the second elephant refused to let go; it clung to its friend and both eventually drowned.

In memory of this friendship between the two elephants, the town was named Setia Kawan or loyal friend. Over the years, the term evolved into Sitiawan. On the flip side, the place is also fashionably called City A1 (Sitiawan) by the locals.

In 1903, 363 Christian Foochows (Fuzhou) led by Reverend Ling Ching Mi arrived here from China. It was the Chinese Colonial Government’s second population transplant experiment in the Malay peninsula, following the success of a similar scheme in Sibu, Sarawak in 1901.

The group that arrived in Sitiawan consisted mainly of Kutian, Hockchew, Hockcheng and Henghua. Each was allocated its own agricultural settlement on a 1,000 ha of land in Kampung Cina.

One of the settlements was called Kampung Sitiawan on a tributary of Dindings River. It is a historical spot as this was where the Foochows first landed in Sitiawan.

The settlers grew padi to meet the growing demand for rice due to increased economic activities in the area during the period.

The long-term objective was to establish a population growth centre for future labour supply to exploit the rich resources of the land.

Unfortunately, the padi programme failed but quick action to switch to rubber saved the day. Over the years, the Foochows became a formidable group that spurred commercial activities in the area.

In 1999, the Sitiawan Settlement Museum was set up in Kampung Koh in 1999 by the area’s Pioneer Methodish Church (PMC).

Interestingly, and unknown to the public, the museum building was once an old wooden house which was home for the church reverend. It now showcases many old pictures, utensils, bicycles, tools, clothings and antiques once used by the Foochows.

Outside the museum is a well which supplied water for the Foochows for 30 years as there was no piped water then. Next to the museum stands the Pioneer Methodist Church, a majestic building in the shape of a “cross” originally built in 1904. It was burnt down in 1906 and rebuilt in 1907. Near the church is the grave of Reverend Ling.

The Sitiawan Settlement Museum is located at K-6, Jalan Chen Mei, Kampung Koh. Call 05-6920612 (opening hours from 9am to 5.30 pm, and entry is by appointment only).

I am sure that there are many more untold stories .... or stories that was handed to us verbally .... well, hopefully some day I will write my own ..... penning down our rich heritage and roots for our next generation ....

I am proud of my heritage and roots and proud to be born a Foo Chow in Sitiawan ... :0-

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