The old streets of Chuah

On the main road which connects Bukit Pelanduk to Tanah Merah Site C, cars and motorcycles go to and fro, the road which is about 15 kilometres in length joined several surrounding Chinese villages, and linking many Malay villages as well as an Indian village, being the traffic lifeline of residents in the vicinity, and the main transportation route for stockbreeding, farms and plantations nearby, especially this area used to be the largest swine farm in the country: Chuah.

Chuah belongs to Jimah town of Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, consisting of several Chinese villages which used to be major swine farms: Bukit Pelanduk, Sungai Nipah, Chuah, Tanah Merah Site A and Site C. At the peak of swine farming, there were up to millions of pigs, as well as numerous big and small swine huts and feed mills. When swine farming was flourishing, there was good market demand and great prices, the villagers led a comfortable life. However, a merciless disaster 20 years ago rewrote everything. What remained of the town which used to be busy are two rows of 70-year-old wooden shophouses, no more crowds, only a handful of shops and few customers. The brilliant past of the Chuah region may have faded, however it is unable to shield the vitality of forefathers who worked hard to make a living.

Among them is former school principal Mr See Chung Hee (transliteration), who is 91 years old. In 1949, Mr See (transliteration) sailed southwards to Malaysia from Fú Zhōu, landing in Sungai Pelek, and settled with his family in Bukit Pelanduk. The admirable Mr See (transliteration) has served as vice principal at both SJK (C) Yik Chiao (15 years) and SJK (C) Port Dickson (5 years), working as an educator for over 26 years. In the earlier days, the poor soil condition of Chuah region was unsuitable for farming, only drought tolerant cassava and sweet potatoes could be planted. The diligent FúZhōunese and locals utilise all the resources they could find, using mangrove tree branches and attap leaves to build simple swine huts, and feeding the pigs with cassava leaves leftover from the harvest, raising pigs as an additional source of income.

Stockbreeding has a high industrial output value, as well as extending to other industry chains, therefore swine farming in Chuah region grows rapidly, swine huts and feed mills spring up all over the place, each household raises pigs, from a minimum of dozens up to thousands. Back then, breeders lacked hygiene awareness and proper sewage systems, causing the air in the region to be polluted with livestock excrement and feed, as well as the environmental problem of severe river pollution. At the same time, swine farming promoted economic activity in the region of Chuah, the shops and tea rooms are crowded, the town is full of bustle. Swine farmers would settle their affairs in the morning, gathering for chit-chat in the tea rooms at noon, with luxurious cars parked outside the shops, people have ample life essentials, living comfortably.

Circumstances change as times pass, the remaining wooden buildings on the old streets of Chuah overseen three generations, bearing witness to dramatic changes.

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 : Michael Lerk
Production Assistant : Michael Lerk
Music : The Leaves Fall from Felt Music


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