High Chaparral: The tale of the villagers

High Chaparral: The tale of the villagers from Indrani Kopal on Vimeo.

High Chaparral: The tale of the villagers
Produced by Indrani Kopal

For the past few months, the story of once little known Kampung Buah Pala on the island of Penang and its inhabitants have seemed to be the only talk of the island.

Also popularly known as 'Tamil High Chaparral' to Penangites due to its traditional population of cowherds, this old settlement is located at the heart of the rapidly developing eastern part of Georgetown.

The plight of the Kampung Buah Pala villagers hit the headlines recently after they received a court order to vacate their old village of which three generations have lived to make way for a modern condominium.

Local historians claim the village had existed for more than 150 years. It was part of a large coconut plantation owned by the family of a Margaret Brown.

Certainly there seems to be a document testifying that Margaret Brown had stated before leaving for Britain that the land is to be left to the people who were living and working there. This was in 1938. The current residents are believed to be descendents of the original settlers.

Because of this bit of history, there are parties who are pushing for Kampung Buah Pala to be gazetted as heritage property. It’s perhaps the only way to save this village from certain disappearance.

Malaysiakini visited the village to document for posterity a peace of history that is about to be wiped out in one fell swoop.

We were expecting to see a large settlement of 300 villagers, in 33 houses with 50 or more families living harmoniously in a highly cultured village because it was referred to as a model Tamil Hindu settlement, with a traditional population of cowherds and many other essences of Tamil heritage.

But we were disappointed. There wasn’t even an ‘old’ Hindu temple central to a Tamil settlement.

Kampung Buah Pala in reality is a stretch of road lined by less than 30 houses standing next to modern residential properties.

The hey-day of a bustling coconut plantation population has certainly left Kampung Buah Pala many, many years ago.


bumblebeez30 said…
I sympathize with the Indian community in Malaysia especially the poor...The rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer... Indians are totally discriminated in the country...if our foundation is strong,that is if our leader is indisputable, no one can bring us down...look at lim kit siang...he is voicing out for his community..."United we stand, divided we fall". not the pin pointing and blaming attitudes...come on indians...UNITE
bumblebeez30 said…
Btw...if many politicians come together and voice out...this community may stand a chance to preserve their heritage just like the Portuguese settlement in Malacca.

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