Lumut to Teluk Intan

A short day of 59 km of riding today, however, some strong head winds which certainly tested our energy levels and overall strength to the max. There have been so many variables on the long ride home since the onset and today was certainly one of those. Head winds with a lot of rough road edges, pitted and cracked which interfered with keeping the bike straight and narrow slowed down the pace overall.

Not too much built up area now to do a report on local cultures as in this part of the world it is a bit quiet and not much activity other than a lot of factories scattered along the route. Closer to Kuala Lumpur and down the coast towards Melacca things should be a bit more promising to report on.

A longer day tomorrow 90 km heading to Tanjong Karang from Teluk Intan, our rest stop.

This is the month (end of August) Malaysia will celebrates independence from Britain so a chance for me to do a special report on that before crossing to Singapore.

Teluk Intan is a town in Hilir Perak District, Perak, Malaysia. It is the district capital and largest town in Hilir Perak district and third largest town in the state of Perak with an estimated population of around 120,000, about half of Hilir Perak district's total population (232,900).

In the early days, the town was known as Teluk Mak Intan, after a female Mandailing trader. It was here that the Perak rulers held court from 1528 until Kuala Kangsar became the royal town in 1877.

During the British protectorate era, the named was changed to Teluk Anson (Anson Bay), in honour of a British Officer and last Lieutenant-Governor of Penang, Major-General Sir Archibald Edward Harbord Anson who drew the plan of the modern township in 1882.

Anson's military experience began from 1844 to 1847. He served in England, Ireland and Scotland from 1847–1855, Crimea 1855, Mauritius 1857–1862, and Madagascar 1862-1865. He returned to England and, after serving with the army in India, was appointed as the last Lieutenant Governor of Penang from 1867 to 1882. In his memoirs "About Others and Myself", he describes the feeling of depression upon his appointment as Penang's Resident Councillor. It was during his appointment that the Penang Riots occurred. When the riots ended he negotiated a peace agreement between the contending parties; Red Flag and Tua Pek Kong members against the White Flag and the Ghee Hin. At that time he was the Acting Governor of Straits Settlements from (4 March 1871 – 22 March 1872, 3 November 1873 - 4 November 1873, 3 April 1877 - 29 October 1877 and 10 February 1879 – 6 May 1880). Upon retirement from the Royal Army, he served as Sussex Inspector-General of Police and was a justice of the peace.

In 1982 during the centenary of the town's establishment, the name was changed again to Teluk Intan (Diamond Bay) by the Sultan of Perak. Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan is one of the town attractions. The town has a number of colonial buildings and Chinese shophouses together with modern buildings, few shopping complexes and a modern cinema.

The area around Teluk Intan was originally populated by refugees from the Malacca Sultanate who were part of the entourage of the Raja Muzaffar Shah, the eldest son of the last Sultan of Melaka, Sultan Mahmud Shah. Upon fleeing the Portuguese conquest of Melaka in 1511, a new kingdom was established on the banks of the Perak River near what is now Teluk Intan, and the court remained there until its relocation to Kuala Kangsar in the northern part of the state later in the 19th century.

This legacy can be seen in the choice of Teluk Intan as the location where the official residences of the Raja Muda (Crown Prince) and Raja di Hilir (4th in line of succession to the Perak throne) of Perak under the reign of Sultan Idris Shah. The town is one of four towns that play a role in Perak's complex ruler succession system. According to the system, a crown prince stayed at Teluk Intan Palace before entering the next stage of becoming Raja Bendahara (Prime Prince). Only after becoming Raja Bendahara will he proceed to be Raja Muda (Crown Prince) and then Sultan of Perak.

This succession system was changed by the present Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah just before he was appointed the Yang Dipertuan Agong. His son is now Raja Muda and does not live in Teluk Intan. The former palace is located just outside the town, and has fallen into disrepair.

The town of Teluk Intan developed around a few small villages in the location, such as Durian Sebatang, Pasir Bedamar, and Batak Rabit. A plan to build a township linking the few villages was drawn up by Sir Archibald Anson during the late 19th century, and the township was named after him in 1882. Teluk Intan developed into a port, and many agricultural products and tin were exported from it. The fourth railway track in Malaya was built connecting Tapah and Teluk Intan, showing the port town's importance during the British protectorate age.

Teluk Intan was also home to the meeting between Raja Abdullah, Dato' Maharajalela and other Malay chieftains who plotted to kill J. W. W. Birch, the first British Resident of Perak. The meeting was held in Durian Sebatang. Birch was later killed in Pasir Salak while bathing in the river.

The last major engagement during the Malayan Emergency was fought in the marshes near Teluk Intan in 1958, and ended with the surrender of the local Malayan Races Liberation Army forces to government forces.

By the early 1980s the town was the third largest town in Perak. Teluk Intan served as the major administrative and business settlement for smaller neighbouring towns such as Tapah, Bidor, Bagan Datoh and Hutan Melintang. Until the mid-1990s Sabak Bernam, a town in the neighbouring state of Selangor, also dependeded on Teluk Intan for most of their basic services. Even their telephone area code was registered using Perak's area code of +605 instead of +603 that is used in Selangor. Acute medical cases would be transferred to Teluk Intan Hospital as their hospital did not have the equipment or expertise.

As the Perak River became shallower each year due to upstream erosion and silt deposition near Teluk Intan, the town lost its two most important roles in Perak's economy which was being an export harbour for tin and rubber and as a petroleum distribution centre for Shell Malaysia. This is because big oil tankers and cargo ships were no longer able to sail into the town's port. By the end of the 1980s, Shell Malaysia transferred their petroleum storing facilities to the coastal town of Lumut in Manjung, located 60 km from Teluk Intan. As the economic activity declined, it also lost its railway facilities which connected the town with Tapah and the national railway network.

During the 1990s, economic activities in Teluk Intan continued to decline. This situation forced the younger generation to migrate to bigger cities such as Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Klang and Shah Alam in search of better jobs. Ironically this caused the town to suffer a shortage in labour supply especially in the agriculture sector, resulting in an increase of migrant workers from Indonesia and Bangladesh.

With the development of a new town centre along with the completion of new coastal highway from Klang to Sabak Bernam in late 1999, Teluk Intan began to enjoy a resurgence in its economic activity. In April 2004, the town was made the fourth municipality (having upgraded to Municipal Council status, or Majlis Perbandaran) in Perak after Ipoh, Taiping and Manjung.

An attraction in Teluk Intan is the old clock tower that resembles the leaning tower of Pisa. So if you've got time to see time when you visit this region the clock is worth seeing. Built in 1885 by Leong Choon Chong, it looks like a Chinese eight-tiered pagoda. The tower is still a functioning clock tower, with the clock facing Jalan Bandar.

The clock's mechanism is akin to that of a Swiss Cuckoo clock, operated with cables and weights. Along the upper perimeter platforms of the tower, rectangular holes allow the cables and weights to pass through unhindered.The clock's cables act as vertical plumb-lines which shows the leaning tilt of a door frame behind them.

Other than the clock, its main function was that of a water tank tower, storing water for the town's use. Right at the top can be seen the underside of a spherical galvanized steel tank. It is the weight of the water in the tank coupled with the soft marine clay ground on which the structure stands that has led to its leaning. The tank is now not in use and pipes leading out from it disconnected. On the external wall, pipe works has been uncoupled to prevent damage to the pipe and the structure.

Entrance into the tower is free and is up these bright red steps and through an arch door. Although looking like a eight-storey building from the outside, the tower is only three storeys high. It has a inner core constructed from concrete/bricks with an outer timber structure perimeter which holds up the tiered roofs and edge windows.

At the centre of the ground level, railing barricade an opening that shows an underground well. The water from this well feeds the water-tank above.
These days it seems to be a wishing well as visitors throw coins; I wonder what they wish for - perhaps having a good time or even just to be on time.

A spiral staircase runs around the inner perimeter of the structure leading up to the top-most floor.A internal view of the ground floor from the first floor. Photos, sketches can be seen hanging on the wall.

Time to say Selamat Jalan

From Truck and Matt
On the long ride home, Central Coast, West Malaysia