Friday, February 13, 2009

Balai Raya @ Lipat Kajang.

I was very familiar with the first Balai Raya in Lipat Kajang, because we used to play marbles in it. When they demolished that old Balai Raya, to build a newer Balai Raya, new design, new material and new structure, I used to go there often, to watch our people playing ‘terup keling’. But most of all when the Sultan had his annual visit to the kampong we were there to watch the ‘joget’ girls performing their ‘joget’ with the men of the kampong or dancing with the Sultan accompanied by an old violin player.

Somehow I lost track of time, I was busy with my career and my family, and when I woke up I found that they have shifted the Balai Raya to somewhere near Tanjong Perian (one of our precints), upland and a distance of about half a kilometer from the old Balai Raya. I observed that they even has the Penghulus’ office in that newer Balai Raya. And some people also built shop houses selling provisions close to it whilst another shop buying rubber sheets and scrap (in those days they made rubber into rubber sheets though they have stopped that practice now). Fine by me.

That Balai Raya is now a kindergarten.

And as time goes by I found that they have closed that newer Balai Raya, they also have built a Penghulu’s office complex near the Kampong School (Sekolah Kebangsaan Lipat Kajang) and if I am not mistaken they have built a new Balai Raya at Kampong Baru (Londang), about another half a kilometer upland, where many of the people of the kampong have now settled into in housing lots of about half an acre each (correct me if I am wrong about that lots acreage).

What is Balai Raya really? Is it not a community meeting place, for official meetings to discuss the kampong’s affairs and development, a place where people can sit down and talk or even empty chat among themselves, a place where they can play chess or draught or even ‘terup keling’?. The British started the concept of Balai Raya (I believe) and they built many during the (Communist) Emergency; in fact I believe that they built one in each kampong. Lipat Kajang was one of those kampongs.

The sad part about Balai Raya (I observe) is that many are neglected, grass in the compound not cut (is that true for Lipat Kajang?) and doors locked. (What is the purpose of having a Balai Raya if the doors are locked?) And I believe that many of the Balai Rayas are out of bound to many people (even in the kampong ……. not sure for Lipat Kajang) because they have different political orientation. Therefore is the objective of building the Balai Rayas met? Each kampong, I believe, wants a Balai Raya because it was there during the British time, and it has become a culture (higher level than tradition) for a kampong to have a Balai Raya. Is the Balai Raya in this days and age really necessary? Does the Balai Raya serve its purpose like the time the British built it? I believe that the community needs a meeting place but not necessarily a Balai Raya. In the case of kampong Lipat Kajang, the meeting room in the Penghulu’s complex can very well serve as a meeting place for the leaders of the kampong.

My views stand to be challenged.

Lipat Kajang people (or decendents) are encouraged to participate& contribute (Orang Lipat Kajang, atau keturunan, di jemput memberi sumbangan idea)

1 comment:

  1. your slides speak a thousand words. Faces that no longer with us remind us of kindness that touched our lives,memories that were kept inside, slowly come alive.
    Maybe next, is of who's who of Lipat Kajang so that everyone can tell who's who?