The Story of Pengkalan Kempas, Sungai Linggi

Pengkalan Kempas is like a sleeping town, without any urban development for decades. A temple, a church, a primary school, a wet market, a police station, a historical site which is one of Malaysia’s oldest muslim burial sites, a central harbour, and two rows of double-storey pre-war shophouses, these are all the buildings that made up the small town of Pengkalan Kempas, and all of them are located on the same road, which is the only main road.

Unknown to most, the harbour in this century-old quiet town is an important cultural stronghold in the history of Negeri Sembilan, bearing witness to the bravery of predecessors who overcame hardships in making a living. Due to the harbour being situated at the downstream shores of Sungai Linggi, a strategic geographical location, it has became the essential landing point of the early Chinese south migrants to Negeri Sembilan, and is also the gathering point for overseas Chinese to make a living in Negeri Sembilan. Ever since, the harbour developed from a simple riverside into a busy commercial port. During the British colonisation, it became an important port for the transportation of raw materials (rubber, tin etc.) and groceries (daily necessities, rice etc.), leading the economy lifeline of Negeri Sembilan back then.

With the passage of time, road construction development brought upon convenience in transportation, gradually replacing water transport, hence the busy harbour fell back into peace and quiet. Pengkalan Kempas is no longer use for loading and unloading goods, losing its former bustle, the pace of the small town’s development slowed down, the lack of diversified economical projects causing younger people leaving to seek employment outstation, only the elders remain in town gathering for chit-chat. Moreover with the construction of the North-South Expressway and Kuala Linggi Bridge, shortening the travel distance between Negeri Sembilan and Melaka, causing Pengkalan Kempas to be a hidden gem, no longer a place that must be passed while travelling between these two states, dealing a heavier blow to the economical activity of Pengkalan Kempas.

At present, what remains of the two rows of old shophouses on the street are a tea shop, two grocers, a family-run shop selling freshwater prawns and fishing equipment, a motorcycle mechanic, the rest are converted into dwellings, some are left empty. The only micro-school in town —— SJK (C) Yik Hwa Pengkalan Kempas, used to be housed upstairs one of the shophouses in the street, as the number of students increased, a few deceased Chinese school forebearers initiated the building of a school, moving into the current site, to date the school has around 50 teachers and students.

The old town with a century’s history keeping records of forefathers who worked hard in cultivating unexploited land; the ever-flowing Sungai Linggi bearing blood and sweat of numerous forefathers who survived uncertainty and dangers. This sentiment should be preserved for future generations.

Text: Daniel Lim & Pua Hui Wen

有你 UNI Production
Producer : Mok Yii Chek
Coordinator : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Evon Pang
Drone : Daniel Lim
Video Editor : Amelia Lim
Production Assistant : Michael Lerk
Music : By The River from Felt Music


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