Sunday, September 13, 2015



After a leisurely breakfast, we drove to the Badan Warisan for the People's Merdeka Exhibition. 

This event was organised by the Malaysian Heritage and History Club.
The Badan Warisan ie The Heritage of Malaysia Trust is a non profit organisation comitted to the conservation, preservation and promotion of Malaysia's built heritage.  The Heritage  Centre in Kuala Lumpur is a restored British colonial style bungalow itself at Jalan Stonor. And sitting on its vast grounds, is the Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman. 

The old traditional Malay timber house and the new skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur 
We participated in the free guided tour of the house.  By looking at the whole house, you can tell that the oldest part of the house is the one with the highest roof and that is the main house. The other buildings were annexed later when the son or daughter get married.  

This traditional malay house belong to the village headman (Penghulu) Abu Seman in Kedah estimated to be have built around the 1916 as evidenced by a coin found in the core pillar of the house.
When he died, his son Ibrahim Abu Seman later sold the house to the Badan Warisan and it was relocated from Kedah and reconstructed and restored at the present premises in 1996.  The traditional way of moving a whole house were carried (yes manually carry)  on shoulders with wooden poles/bamboo by all villages! But I don't think it apply to this house!  

The core pillar is the centre one. 
The olden way of purchasing a house. An interested buyer would place a pillar was used to determine where the house would be built. The next day, the interested party would come again to see if the pillar had moved or shifted position.  If not, this pillar would become the core pillar of the house to be built. In the olden days, houses were built by the riverside and hence we can see them on stilts.  Later the stilts were reinforced with cement base. Beneath the house, normally could be used to rear some domestic animals or use for cooking during kenduris (festivities/celebrations).  

The decorative carving and the roof.
You notice that unlike the usual attap roof, this house had roof tiles instead. We were told that the way the tiles were made (by the women mainly) by modeling the clay on their thighs and hence you get the inverted "v" shape piece by piece.  And they are paid 5 cents per day not per piece!  I guess the tiled roof is one of the sign of the wealth and status of the owner at that time. Normally no 3-D animals carving are not used at all and floral carvings are more popular ones.  At the left you can see the carving of a vase, a chinese feature here as the vase is prounounced "peace" in chinese. 

There is also a carving of the crescent and star at the apex of the house. 

A very natural "burglar-proof" device.  
These plants are normally found near the front of the traditional malay houses.   It has very sharp point ends. The egg shells are placed over these ends during the day when the kids are running around but at night the sharp points are exposed to deter any thiefs.  

Low entrance to the reception area so that you actually showing your respect by bending (bowing) your head as you enter.

As he was the Penghulu aka the village headman, every big and small problems were brought before him and this is the window through which the complaints were filed. Behind is his office. 

This staircase leads to his personal living spaces and the door is always kept locked. 

some knick knacks  collection of the daun  sireh
All these furnishings etc were collected and decorated by the Badan Warisan.

This is one corner of the main hall 

An Indian influence this time... the cloth at the top of the pillar, sorry cannot recall what she was saying about this... can someone find out and let me know?

again the crescent and star in the praying room

the wedding dais 

and the wedding suite in the next  hall 

this low ceiling and narrow staircase (seen from the office) leads to the back of his house where the women stayed or did their housework. 

the door is double bolt to prevent intruders..

the steep and narrow staircase.. meant only for ladies' feet! 

After this, we went inside the Badan Warisan to have a look at the posters exhibition, photographs comparing "sekarang and dahulu" (now and then)..

There were also heritage talks but we did not stayed. It was a very interesting visit.   


  1. This is an interesting historical house right in the city of Kuala Lumpur. I always passed this Jalan Stonor and Kia Peng areas but never noticed this beautiful house with traditional architecture. Thanks for sharing and I could see your interests like mine to explore old places.

  2. Yes, like you said, prefer to visit cultural/historical places than the shopping malls. Want to visit Kg. Mantin.. check out the facebook

  3. Didn't know aboutbthis place. Would be a lovely place to bringbj to visit

  4. Educational tour of the house very good.