Friday, July 10, 2009
Taiping is one of the Malaysia’s oldest towns. Taiping was formerly known as Larut and the scene of bloody feuds between rival Chinese miners. The British renamed the town after putting an end to the feuding. Located 95km north of Ipoh, Taiping is the first city in the country to have its own lake gardens, zoo and museum.
Taiping is a place more like going back in time to the good old days of a much oldies Malaysian. It is a place with lots of greenery and historical buildings. Taiping, which means 'eternal peace’, 'everlasting peace’ or ‘rainy town’, lives up to its name. Comprising a town and a lake area, trees, Taiping has a gentle, peaceful charm, prioritizing harmony above the trappings of modernization. The earliest history of Perak as well of modern Malaysia goes back to Malaysia’s first undertakings and as its role in the formation of Taiping. With over 40 buildings there, Taiping radiates a romantic appeal to locals and foreigners alike.
The Taiping Lake Gardens was the first cultivated gardens in the country and is still one of the best. It is well landscaped and has a great variety of flora and fauna. The country’s first zoo, Taiping Zoo, is also located here. Besides that, The Perak Museum located along Jalan Museum, the Perak Museum was built in 1883. The country’s oldest museum has displays on zoology, prehistory, economy and ethnotology. It contains an impressive collection of archaeological treasures like ancient weapons, aboriginal implements and ornaments which reflect Perak’s rich historical heritage Malaysia’s oldest hill resort, is 1,035m high. A former tea plantation, at the summit there is a spectacular view of the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. At Jalan Air Terjun which leads to Bukit Larut is the Burmese Pool, the country’s first swimming pool.
As the timeline moves, Taiping is located in the Larut district, which is an early tin mining settlement in Perak. The history of tin mining in Taiping began in 1848, when a young Malay adventurer by the name of Long Jaafar stumbled upon tin deposits while bathing in a stream. The fort, built by Larut chieftain Ngah Ibrahim in 1856 on 0.8 hectare of land some 8km from Taiping, was considered the strongest in Perak in the 19th century. The first Sikhs arrived in Malaysia in the 1870s during the Third Larut War. This resulted in the inception of the Sikh Police Force in Taiping, Perak, in 1873. Other than the police force, the Sikhs also played a large role in the transportation industry in the tin-mine states of Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.
In year 1874, Taiping played a significant role in the history of the Silver State and is thus the most famous and oldest town in Perak. Formerly known as Klian Pauh, it was renamed Taiping to commemorate the end of the Larut War in 1874. With the signing of the Pangkor Treaty on the 20th of January 1974, Taiping emerged as a major town in Perak. At the same year, the first telegraph line connecting from the British Resident at Perak house in Kuala Kangsar to the house of Deputy British Resident Perak at Taiping by the Department of Posts and Telegraph. In year 1875. The British sent troops to punish the chiefs. Many were killed or imprisoned. Soon, Perak's administration was moved from lower Perak to Kuala Kangsar, just 30 km away from Taiping. The result was that several institutions were established in Taiping, including a gaol, hospital, police force and survey office. Taiping was mainly a Chinese town.
Year 1881,The Perak Club was the premier social institution of Taiping and was the senior club in the Malay States. For its formation in 1881, and its subsequent progress, Colonel Robert Sandilands Frowd Walker was in a large measure responsible.The Perak Club was the premier social institution of Taiping and was the senior club in the Malay States. For its formation in 1881, and its subsequent progress, Colonel Robert Sandilands Frowd Walker was in large measure responsible. Among the early patrons were Sir Hugh Low, formerly British Resident of Perak, Mr. William Edward Maxwell, Assistant Resident, and Major Paul Swinburne.Year 1883. History enthusiasts, on the other hand, will be able to appreciate the history of Taiping and the state of Perak by visiting the Perak Museum, the oldest museum in the country founded by British Resident Sir Hugh Low in 1883. The museum, constructed based on Moor architecture, provides an awesome sight for visitors even before they step in to view the various artifacts and collection on display.
Malaysia's oldest hill station and founded in 1884 known as Bukit Larut. It located just ten kilometres from Taiping. Formerly it was called Maxwell Hill. Bukit Larut is approximately 1250m above sea level. Beacuse it is located in the wettest part of the country, this hill station experiences the highest rainfall in the country. The Perak Club in Taiping was already in operation in 1885, making it the first golf club to be built in the country. Not only that but it is also probably the second oldest in South East Asia, after Indonesia’s Jakarta Golf Club. Located in the Taiping Lake Gardens, the Perak Club was at the time, the town’s centre of colonial social life as the British Residents decided to limit membership to high-ranking officers and miners, but not planters. The first railway line, which was opened on 1 June 1885, was about 13km long and ran between Port Weld and Taiping, the heart of the tin-rich Larut Valley in Perak state. Railways in Malaysia began because of the need to transport tin from mines in the hinterland of the West Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia to coastal ports. The first railway line, which was opened on 1 June 1885, was about 13km long and ran between Port Weld and Taiping, the heart of the tin-rich Larut Valley in Perak state.
In 1906, the Medical Department reported that 318, 000 straits dollars were funded in Perak for development in every sector. By a year later, the population in Taiping as well as in Perak had increased greatly as a result of good health care. Taiping was the pioneer town which had a health institution and this was later adopted by other towns in Malaya. When the Federations of Malay State was being established, Taiping Jail was made the prisoner detention centre of Perak state, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor. In year 1923, the Magistrate Visitor System was introduced. On 4 March 1914, Brother James Byrne visited the town Taiping. He suggested to the British Resident of Perak, Sir Reginald George Watson, for the establishment of a Catholic boys' school. His request was approved by the Perak State Government, and a piece of land nearby the hospital was granted to him. The land was donated by the Kwa Family, one of the wealthy Chinese families of the town. In 1914, the foundation stone was laid by the Acting Resident of Perak, Mr Oliver Marks, and the opening ceremony was attended by prominent European families and Malay rulers most of which was comprised from the State Council Members.
The school was completed in 1915, with 7 teachers, 49 students and 6 classes, housed together in the original three-storey building. The St. George's main building was designed by a colonial architect from Penang, in the mixture of Neo-Grec and Neo-Romanesque architecture, with two wings and a main porch in front (facing the Station Road). The charming building is still standing today and serves as the school's front facade. When the school was established in 1915, it consists of the school hall, the school offices, and six classrooms. The school was extended in the 1920s by adding a library, with books donated by the Penang missionaries and their Brothers. Four classrooms were annexed and the Brothers' quarters were extended to include more living space. A small wooden building was erected behind the school compound, and was known as The Matchbox. The Matchbox housed two science laboratories and four classrooms. Besides the wooden building, there was a small garden, in which the Brothers grew vegetables and fruits.
Some buildings in Taiping has been renovated and refurbished now. A new railway is currently being built from Taiping to Padang Besar. Taiping has now bulit some modern buildings, for example, Tesco and Taiping Sentral. Besides that, there is also the cable car at the Maxwell Hill that’s currently under construction. Taiping is now moving forward towards modernization and yet preserving its heritage at the same time.