Selections from the Selangor Journal
Edited and Introduced by John Gullick
660pp. Size: 140x216mm. Softcover
In editing the Selangor Journal, government printer John Russell (1855-1930) obtained contributions from many sources,
and published it in fortnightly instalments over five years between 1892 and 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 purpose of this reprint of selected passages 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 Journal.
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 entertained by Gullick's highly readable account in the History of Kuala Lumpur 1856-1939 - a work much missed and lamentably out of print - would find in this selection an inexhaustible fund of charming anecdotes
illustsrative 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, the influential Vizier 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 notorious once 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 walked off with 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.
- 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
- The Countryside - Klang - Kuala Selangor - Kuala Langat - Ulu Langat - Ulu Selangor - Timber - Meteorological
- Infrastructure - Railway - Ports - Communications - Buildings and structures - Waterworks
- Coffee - Estates - Cultivation methods Lands - Planters' Associations
- Commerce and Industry - Commerce - Currency - Savings Bank - Mining - Fisheries
- Public Services - Administration - Education -Electricity - Lands - Legal - Medical - Military - Museum - Newspapers and magazines - Posts and telegraphs - Police - Public works - Sanitary board - State finances - Welfare
- People - The Malay community - Malay personalities - The Chinese - Old hands - The Aborigines - Recreation Clubs and sport
- Problems - Fires - Wild animals (as predators) - Crime