Wednesday, November 13, 2013

#TSBreakAway - Gedung Raja Abdullah

It began as a storage unit and a home to Raja Abdullah and his family. Tin mining was booming and Raja Abdullah, appointed "Orang Besar Klang", was in need of a warehouse for tin ores. Gedung Raja Abdullah, mixtures of Anglo-Indian and local elements, was a sight to behold.

Gedung Raja Abdullah

When the Civil War broke out between Raja Abdullah and his rival, Raja Mahadi, he turned the building into a fortress to protect his control over Klang. However, neither came out as a true victor from the war and the British took this opportunity to infiltrate Selangor. Driven by the words of the colonial power, the warehouse was took over by the state, transforming into a centre of administration in 1874.

In 1880, another transformation bestowed upon Gedung Raja Abdullah, this time as the police headquarter for the Klang district. Some renovations were implemented to better suit its new purpose such as installing iron gates for lock-ups. This was its identity for a good 100 years until it was deemed no longer suitable. A new headquarter was built right beside Gedung Raja Abdullah, now itself a listed national monument and a tin mining museum.

Iron steel gates installed for lock-ups

The current state of Gedung Raja Abdullah is depressing. During my visit, there was barely a soul except for Mr Azizan bin Omar, the museum's officer-in-charge, a security guard and a cleaning lady, and understandably so. The exhibitions on display were to the minimal, all neatly fitted in just one room. The upper floor was closed to public. Just a quick 5 minute tour is all you need to spend for this so-called "museum".

Like an old man past his prime and unattended by his heirs, Gedung Raja Abdullah too has fallen out of grace into this current predicament. How can a national treasure with such a vibrant, colourful past, not be fully utilize to showcase our history?

Mr Azizan explained that most of the exhibitions were transferred to Shah Alam for renovation works. There are damages sustained over the years and it takes time to fully restore the building to its former glory. In fact, I was told that there might be another round of restoration work to take place this coming year end if things go accordingly.

Once the meeting centre, the upper floor is off limit due to damages

I understood the need for these renovations and repair works. Water seepage over the years left unwanted marks on the walls. Signs of termite activities were dominant on its wood structures. To prevent its roof from collapsing, wooden pillars were temporarily installed to provide extra strength. There are still much to be done. When all these repairs are over, what will be the fate of Gedung Raja Abdullah? According to Mr Azizan, the Sultan is keen on maintaining it as a tin mining museum.

I would definitely drop by when this grand dame is running in her best form.

Map Your Trail is the first half of the 3rd day of #TSBreakAway, a pilot program initiated by Tourism Selangor. Each Xplorers were required to plan their own explorations around Selangor. I chose to visit the royal town, Klang. This is also my entry for the CANON Photo-Storytelling Challenge. 

2 comments:

  1. You know, you're probably the only person I know who got the access inside of this Gudang! Even the TS crew didn't get to go despite request to check it out. So hey, I'm glad you wrote about it..a bit sad that it's not in the best condition but hopefully they'll restore it cuz it's been closed for a while already.

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  2. is it? when was the last time you went and checked it out cause it was open that day I visited...anyhow, I'm hoping when all the renovations are over, it will be restored into a informative museum...

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