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Selections from the Selangor Journal

Edited and introduced by J.M. GULLICK

MBRAS Reprints No. 26

MBRAS (First published, 2007)
646 pages including Index


Out of stock

ISBN: 9789679948370 Product ID: 3241 Subjects: , , , Sub-subjects: , ,

The purpose of Selections from the Selangor Journal publication is to offer to the modern reader convenient access to a publication copies of which are extremely scarce, and to provide a means of tracing material on specific topics that is scattered throughout the original 2000-odd pages of the Selangor Journal. In editing the Selangor Journal, John Russell, the government printer, obtained contributions from many sources, and published it in fortnightly instalments over five years from 1892 to 1897. It served as a local newsletter until replaced in 1896 by the Malay Mail daily newspaper. The Journal was both a chronicle of the times and a means of publishing reports of events and people, past and present, that endures as material of much historical value.

The selected passages have been grouped, so far as possible, by subject and are fully indexed, and references supplied to the page in the Journal where they may be read in their original context if so desired. This fascinating volume stands as a tribute to the remarkable industry and exemplary editing that was characteristic of any work undertaken by John Gullick (1916-2012) who also supplied an Introduction to this selection. Gullick’s useful introduction, however, glosses over the fact that Russell’s son, John Archibald, was responsible for establishing in 1929 the Boh Tea Plantations, Malaysia’s largest tea estate.

Readers who have been enthralled by Gullick’s absorbing account in A History of Kuala Lumpur 1856-1939—previously out of print but newly reissued in 2017—would find in this selection an inexhaustible fund of charming anecdotes illustrative of everyday life in Kuala Lumpur at the close of the 19th century, a settlement that even then was on the spur of change and expanding rapidly. For instance, the Selangor Journal tells us that in about 1893, it was very common for goats to be kept in the verandahs of houses along Batu Road (present-day Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) and for the unfortunate animals to stray all around the area creating mayhem. On the subject of public nuisance, lepers appear to fall within this category and the Selangor Journal reported how in 1894, lepers were growing vegetables which they would then sell to the public, prompting the authorities to take immediate steps to put a stop to such practices. Before the leper colony was established in Sungai Buloh on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in 1930, there was little effort to isolate lepers from the public and leprous beggars who sought refuge in doorways were among the more knotty health issues faced by the Kuala Lumpur Sanitary Board, apart from having to legislate on the use of rickshaws, some of which were so poorly maintained so as to be considered a health hazard.

Particularly enchanting is the section on People, devoted to a series of delectable vignettes on personalities of that era including Sultan Abdul Samad, his influential Vizier from Kedah Tunku Kudin, Yap Ah Loy and a sprinkling of lesser-known members of the Selangor royalty and aristocracy such as Raja Berkat, Raja Daud and Syed Mashor. A charming account is rendered of old Raja Daud of Ulu Langat, a rakish character notoriously remembered for his daring elopement with the wife of ex-Sultan Abdullah of Perak, who after the death of this lady, committed a similar outrage in Perak and spirited away the wife of another Perak Malay. This and many more delightful surprises await the curious reader who invests his time to plough through this generation selection of unusual but memorable news items that cloaks British Malaya in a beguiling, gossamer-like sheen.


1. Kuala Lumpur: Improvements – Open spaces – Lake Gardens – Racecourse – Cemetery and funerals – Bridges – Roads and pavements – Vehicles – Refuse disposal – Stray animals – Public nuisance – Cost of living – Surrounding villages

2. The Countryside: Klang – Kuala Selangor – Kuala Langat – Ulu Langat – Ulu Selangor – Timber – Meteorological

3. Infrastructure: Railway – Ports – Communications – Buildings and structures – Waterworks

4. Coffee: Estates – Cultivation methods Lands – Planters’ Associations

5. Commerce and Industry: Commerce – Currency – Savings Bank – Mining – Fisheries

6. Public Services – Administration: Education -Electricity – Lands – Legal – Medical – Military – Museum – Newspapers and magazines – Posts and telegraphs – Police – Public works – Sanitary board – State finances – Welfare

7. People: The Malay community – Malay personalities – The Chinese – Old hands – The Aborigines – Recreation Clubs and sport

8. Problems – Fires: Wild animals (as predators) – Crime


Weight0.845 kg
Dimensions21.7 × 14 × 2.1 cm





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