Monday, November 14, 2011

A Getaway To The Wettest Town in Malaysia (Part 3: Matang Museum)

Continued from The Wettest Town Part 2

(Note: This trip happened waaaaay back in July 2010 - no kidding, but I had forgotten to continue with the write-up for so long for so may different reasons. A friend's recent trip to Taiping reminded me of the place and here is the continuation - scheduled post)

By the time we got back down to sea level after another stomach churning ride down the hill by land rover (and going down is scarier by far, I think), it was almost time for lunch. We headed out to Taiping town to our hotel to chuck our stuff, and freshen up just to head out again for lunch. This time, we picked a Thai restaurant recommended by the GPS. The food was OK, but extremely hot - good for the taste buds (mine), not too good for the digestive system (my sister's)

We drove out of Taiping after that heading towards a town called Kuala Sepetang because it was recommended by the caretaker of the bungalow up at Maxwell Hill. Kuala Sepetang was once also known as Port Weld. On the way, we stopped at the Kota Ngah Ibrahim Matang Museum

The Kota Ngah Ibrahim Matang Museum

The Matang Museum
A cannon right outside the museum
Perak is a state with lots of history. If anyone was dilligent enough to browse through the history books I read back in school, a lot of the stories originated in Perak, from the finding of tin ore there, some local skirmishes between Chinese groups to the Pangkor Treaty which eventually led to the colonisation of the state. There also has been some interesting pre-historic findings in Perak, such as the Perak Man (although that was in a different district from where we were)

Entry into the museum is free, and there is ample parking outside as well. Also free! (I'm not used to free parking, so I found this fascinating) There weren't many people there at that time, but a few of the museum's personnel were doing some work outside. The museum basically consists of the history during the tin mining era of Perak, as well as the many things the building was used for. Outside, on the other hand, they were working on a (then) recent archeological find.

The building was once Ngah Ibrahim's home, until he was exiled to Seychelles, and buried in Singapore when he died. A few years ago, his remains were brought back to Perak and he was reburied near his home.


How tin was discovered! Apparently, a pet elephant named Larut got stuck in some mud, and when he got unstuck, they found some tin ore stuck on his leg amongst the muddy mess.
Inside the museum. You've got to take your shoes off here before proceeding upstairs
A scene from the trial of the murder of J.W.W Birch, held in this very building which served as a court in it's day after being Ngah Ibrahim's house and before it was turned into a teacher's training college
Among other things the house was used for before being turned into a museum:
  • Matang College (A teacher's training college)
  • A primary school
  • Headquarters of the Japanese Army
  • Primary school (until taken over by the museum)
 To be continued in Kuala Sepetang....

5 comments:

  1. I could think of many worse places to be exiled to than the Seychelles.

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  2. I agree... but I think the worst part is being exiled in the first place.

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  3. That house has been through a slew of makeovers! I think the scariest is being a Japanese Army HQ.

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  4. Despite their interest in beheading people (at that time), they also happen to be unbelievably organised. They're bloody neat people ;)

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