or replaced by newer buildings, there is hope still.....
the exterior wall of the Multi-purpose hall of the Sungai Buloh Settlement.
Question which the guide asked us: why do you think these holes are for?
The meeting place.
Today, we joined the heritage walk around the Sungai Buloh Settlement organised by Lokalocal.
Surely you know where is Sungai Buloh, you know the place where you go every time you want to buy that lime tree for Chinese New Year or get more plants to test your own gardening skills. But do you know there are some inspiring stories waiting for your to unravel behind the busy hub that most weekenders frequent.
Beautiful old trees..
The road taken..
Imagine this ... a young boy aged 7 years walking alone along this long winding road, thinking where would it lead me?, how am I to fend for myself without my parents around? will I get better soon to leave this place and join my family again?
Sungai Buloh Settlement was the largest leprosarium in Malaysia during the 1930s. It was officially open on 16/8/1930. You can read about its history at www.thewayhome.my
The general store and post-office.
Leprosy in the 1920's was an incurable disease. The affected ones were often disowned and shunned by their own families for the fear of contamination and the stigma of a leper in the family has always been shamed upon. They were grouped into this settlement where they became colony of their own, having their own food, school, medical clinics and even their own currency....talking about "dirty money" again the fear of contaminating the general public.
the open field "cinema" for the patients
Answer to question 1: the Dewan later became the cinema and hence the holes are for ventilation.
note the high ceiling
There was no air-conditioning back then and these high ceiling and large wooden walls that opened out so that cool wind flow in and pushed the hot air upwards to ventilate the wards
These were found in abundance in the center and the oil were extracted from the seeds and used to treat leprosy before the drug Dapsone was found. The consumption of the oil can cause severe nausea that can last for weeks and these were given to the patients weekly.!
We really have to say a BIG thank you to these early patients for being the human guinea pigs!. Imagine the pain and suffering they gone through as this center was not only a hospital for them but also a research and experimental center to discover the drugs to combat leprosy.
The School where the teachers themselves were also patients.
According to the guide, the patients can marry and have children but they could not care and nurture the children themselves. These babies were taken out of the settlement for adoption and the parents could never get to see them again as there are only 150 patients left in the settlement now.
the school bell has been silenced
the dilapidated clinics
Another question by the guide: can you guess what is that corner of cement on the ground for?
the Dental clinic
The colonial design- corridors from one clinic to another.
Answer to question 2: there are no gutters to collect the rain water,hence notice the drains around the buildings. That cement corner could stop the rain from flooding the grass.
The settlement was established by the British Government and imported tiles (France) were used.
See the cement jungle creeping up and encroaching onto the land
The Laundry Hall
this shed is now used to store the tiles and wood which have been dismantled when some of the cottages were destroyed to make way for those highrise apartments which you can see above.
the outpost with the chimney where the laundries were being boiled.
Boiling laundries was a method to disinfect the clothings as well as to make the whites whiter. I remembered my mother also used to boil our school uniforms once a year during the school holidays.
nearby the laundry hall, we can see this water storage tank..
The hall for recreation... no more laughter can be heard now....
unless something is being done, the abandoned cottages are fighting a losing battle with the creepers....
Recreational hall standing forlorn and isolated.
The remaining patients even though advanced in age are self-sustaining. They cultivate and plant and sells pineapples, rambutans, bananas etc.
The Gospel Hall.
According to the guide, there are Buddhist temple and mosque over the other side. This Gospel Hall is now under the Kuala Lumpur Gospel Hall.
a desolated community
The cemetery over the other side the valley.
Some of the lands are used for commercial purpose...like cultivating these grass patches
We have finished the walkaround and now going into the commercial side of the settlement.
the new business/commercial side of the settlement..
You will be more familiar with this stretch of road...
the Valley of Hope together with the students of UCSI have put together a pop-up story-board
Paintings of the patients done by the students, proceeds of sale goes towards the funding of the Valley of Hope.
Ms Tan Ean Nee, a former NTV7 broadcaster. Her testimony:- that through one of her programme " Edisi Siasatan" where she helped a member of public to locate the grave of her father in the leprosy settlement kindled in her the desire and passion to help promote and do something for these unsung heroes of the settlement. They also have successfully re-united a pair of siblings, one residing in New Zealand and one in Malaysia.
the book which she co-authored with Mr. Joshua Wong.
The Sungai Buloh Settlement is celebrating its 85th Anniversary and there are programmes on their website through which you can help too.
How symbolic! rays of light peeping through the wall
The bright yellow wall inside the office.
Let's support the Valley of Hope..
The heritage walk also included a lunch and we drove to Jeff's Lee Kitchen @ Kampong Baru Sg. Buloh
This smooth and thick porridge fits the bill for a light lunch after walking in the hot sun ("lower body heat" as Chinese says")
Cold appetizer of paku (type of edible wild fern) and cherry tomatoes with sweet sour dressing ....delish!
yummy Claypot loh shui fun (noddles)
this condiment of fried crispy ikan bilis and onions, slightly salty and sweet, served with a squeeze with lime juice was just the perfect to go with plain porridge. There were also other condiments for the porridge: fried yellow tofu curd with chives and minced meat; fried brinjals(eggplants) with crispy salty preserved radish (choy poh) and succulent Peking duck as well.
This is so, so delicious.. Fried rice vermicelli with bittergourd.. no bitterness at all but a faintly "kam" taste of the bittergourd. We also had a big plate of the Hakka Mee, wantan mee with minced pork and plenty of lard bits.
Finally thank you Mr. Shaun of Lokalocal for organising this heritage walk and thank to our Guide who walked together with us and spoke with such clarity and compassion. If you are interested in the heritage walk, you can contact Lokalocal on their facebook.