This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007

It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.

While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".

My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.

Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.

My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Exploring the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in Perak... Opening the 'act' at Tanjung Malim

Peace be upon you all. Just over a week ago I made my latest trip to Perak. Unlike in my previous trips where I just travelled along a certain direction visiting certain places especially old tombs along the way, this time I had a mission to record what happened along the trip on video with the particular focus of relating everything to what happened in Perak around the time of the signing of the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 and how it affected the state and in turn the whole outlook of the nation now known as Malaysia.

Hmm... This needs a long explanation and a lot of background knowledge actually. So let me just copy and paste these bits from the Wikipedia...


The Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was a treaty signed between the British and the Sultan of Perak. Signed on January 20, 1874 on the island of Pangkor off Perak, the treaty is significant in history of the Malay states as it signalled official British involvement in the policies of the Malays.


Sultan Abdullah of Perak
Sultan Abdullah of Perak

Perak was a major tin producer throughout the nineteenth century, leading the UK, which had already obtained Penang, Malacca and Singapore, to consider Perak of significant importance. However, local strife collectively known as the Larut War between the local Malay elites and frequent clashes between secret Chinese societies disrupted the flow of tin from the mines of Perak.

In 1871, Sultan Ali, the ruler of Perak died. Raja Abdullah, as Raja Muda or the next in line ruler, should have been appointed as the next Sultan of Perak but Raja Bendahara Raja Ismail was elected instead. The reason being, Raja Abdullah was not present during the burial of the late Sultan Ali. At around the same time, two secret Chinese societies known as Ghee Hin led by Chin Ah Yam and Hai San led by Chung Keng Quee constantly waged battle against each other for control of the tin mines.


Raja Abdullah later asked for the British help to solve these two problems. In her book "The Golden Chersonese and The Way Thither" (Published 1892 G.P. Putnam's Sons) Victorian traveller and adventuress Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) describes how Raja Muda Abdullah as he then was turned to his friend in Singapore, Tan Kim Ching. Tan, together with an English merchant in Singapore drafted a letter to Governor Sir Andrew Clarke which Abdullah signed. The letter expressed Abdullah's desire to place Perak under British protection, and "to have a man of sufficient abilities to show (him) a good system of government." On the 26th of September, 1872 Chung Keng Quee had already presented a petition, signed by himself and 44 other Chinese leaders, seeking British interference following the attack of 12,000 men of Chung Shan by 2,000 men of Sen Ning. (The Petition.) The British immediately saw this as a great opportunity to expand its influence in Southeast Asia and strengthened its monopoly on tin. As a result, the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 was signed.

Terms and conditions

The agreement dictated:

  • Raja Abdullah was acknowledged as the legitimate Sultan to replace Sultan Ismail who would be given a title and a pension of 1000 Mexican pesos a month.
  • The Sultan would receive a British Resident whose advice had to be sought and adhered to in all matters except those pertaining to the religion and customs of the Malays.
  • All collections and control of taxes as well as the administration of the state had to be done under the name of the Sultan but arranged according to the Resident's advice.
  • The Minister of Larut would continue to be in control, but would no longer be recognized as a liberated leader. Instead, a British Officer, who would have a vast authority in administrating the district, would be appointed in Larut.
  • The Sultan and not the British government would pay the Resident's salary
  • Perak ceded Dinding and Pangkor Island to the British.

Raja Ismail did not attend the meeting arranged between Sir Andrew Clarke and Raja Abdullah. Raja Ismail obviously did not recognize the agreement but he had no choice against the alliance between Raja Abdullah and the British. As a result, Raja Abdullah was made Sultan and Sir James W.W. Birch was appointed as Perak's first British Resident after the treaty came to force.

Following this agreement, the British actively became involved in three other Malay states; Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Pahang. These states along with Perak later became the Federated Malay States.


OK. That was just about the treaty, furthermore explained through a Western egocentric outlook which tends to neglect how the locals felt. There were actually many underlying circumstances leading to its signing and later many resulting undercurrents. But the most noted consequence was direct interference by the colonialist British in Perak's state affairs. The way the first British Resident to the state, J.W.W. Birch handled matters especially his lack of respect on local customs lead to his murder by the Malays in 1875 and that's when the damn burst...

This eventually lead to war and then the capture of many Malay warriors. Suffice to say in 1877 some main Malay figures were hanged to death while Perak ruler Sultan Abdullah along with some of his officials were banished to the Seychelles Islands in Africa.

Ah... This is indeed a long story. So please refer to my old articlesThe main players of the Perak-British war as depicted at the fort of Ngah Ibrahim... and In Perak's royal mausoleum to give justice to Laksamana Raja Mahkota Muhammad Amin for further supporting information.

Back to the story at hand... So I want to explore the happenings around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty in my latest trip to Perak while making a video on it. But the approach I took was based more on chance and gut feelings... Following a skeletal travel plan, I decided to just follow my heart where to stop or visit and just shoot the video, spontaneously making comments based on what I know (or rather what I remembered on the spot) about a place and how it relates to the main theme... How what happened around the Pangkor Treaty affected the future of Perak, the nation of Malaysia in turn and the Malays in particular.

Oh... Whatever, video clips of this trip is reserved for my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU . The still pictures are to be shown in this blogspot along with suitable narratives. So shoot...

My good friend Zaidi @ PerpatihTulus who acted as the video cameraman fetched me in Kajang about 9am or so. Then we fetched a regular visitor to CATATAN SI MERAH SILU who goes by the name Dong.

By the way, this is the first time I opened a travel to anybody who wishes to join, at any point of the trip. As it turned out later, this particular trip actually got a total of 14 participants including 2 small kids but that is another story! Anyway, Zaidi and I fetched Dong at Jalan Pekeliling in Kuala Lumpur. We then took the North-South Highway and stopped for breakfast at the Sungai Buloh rest area, hence the picture above...

Soon enough we're back on the road. We got off the highway at the Tanjung Malim exit and stopped at a certain unique mosque...

Look... The mosque got a staircase right in the middle of the main hall leading to a certain part...

Staircases like this almost always prompt me to venture up...

A look at Zaidi conducting his extra prayers...

There, a view from the certain part... The mosque tower for calling out to prayers actually...

And finally a look at the mosque itself, from the outside. For more information please read the article Masjid Sheikh Ismail di Ulu Bernam (The mosque of Sheikh Ismail in Ulu Bernam) written in the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) more than a year ago.

OK. While outsiders might refer to the whole surrounding area containing this mosque as being in Tanjung Malim, the fact is the mosque is actually situated in Ulu Bernam. Officially, one have to go another 200 meter up north to get to Tanjung Malim because that's where the borders are defined. You see, Ulu Bernam lies in the state of Selangor while Tanjung Malim is in Perak!

A look to my left or rather to the west shows this part of the Bernam river which form the natural state border...

A look to my right or to the east. With that, I have officially entered Perak and thus opened the 'act'.... That is the act of making a trip with a view of making a video and a story of what happened (or how I see it happened) around the 1874 Pangkor Treaty...

With Tanjung Malim done, my next destination is Teluk Intan, the town and district where my father was born at... The place where the main fort of Sultan Abdullah, the Perak Sultan who got exiled, used the stand... The place where my ancestors used to also hold fort in their fight against the British.

On the way we stopped at Sungkai and visit its old mosque above. A short story on it will be posted in the blogspot SENI LAMA MELAYU (MALAY OLDEN ART) afterwards. Cheers! :]

No comments: