Monday, April 9, 2012

Lost and Found (sort of)

When you thought you've lost something forever, somehow it comes back or resurfaces, sometimes.... errr... has Angelina turned into a philosopher now? Not quite.

You see, Mama and Dad went back to Dad's home town a couple of weeks ago. It was a day trip, for work, not pleasure. And so the cats stayed home with no babysitter either.

While there, Mama and Dad visited a friend and made a startling discovery. You see, many many years ago, there was an old palace by the name of Istana Kolam (istana = palace, kolam = pond) in Kuala Trengganu. It was said to be the birthplace of gamelan music in the state of Trengganu, it was the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah then. Read all about the gamelan here.

Anyway, back to the old palace. It was demolished many many many moons ago to make way for some modern flats.  Uncle Awang Goneng mentioned it in his book Growing Up in Trengganu (read here). You can see an old picture of the palace here as well.

OK...back to Mama and Dad's visit. I'm really beating around the bush here, eh? Tucked behind some shops along Jalan Kelantan, is a house that is being built the traditional way. Traditional means no nails and using materials that are of norm in olden days' architecture.

The house even has large urns at the front. In olden days, such urns, called tempayan, would contain water to wash your feet before you enter the house. Humans (nor did cats) those days didn't wear shoes...hence the requirement.
What is most interesting, there are bits and pieces of Istana Kolam being used in the construction as well. Apparently, the owner of this house, that he's named Teratak Warisan (teratak = cottage, warisan = heritage), managed to acquire the materials at an auction. We didn't ask him which are the Istana Kolam materials but upon closer inspection, there's quite a lot of antique looking carvings, window panes, door leaves, and pillars. You be the judge.

The main entrance has a double tier staircase.
Take a close look at those carvings on the wall. Aren't they old?
More of the front walls.
Another "salvaged" looking wall.
An example of the no nail technique.
Another no nail part. This is the staircase, I think.
The structure holding the facade.
Pillars are supported by carved concrete.
Madam Pawpawrazzi inspecting the property....maybe imagining herself as the Queen of the palace.
Angelina's note: In our opinion, the house is about sixty percent ready. The original plan was to open it for tourists, to stay, like a boutique hotel of sorts. Asked if he's willing to sell, the owner's reply was: if the price is right. So, next time you find yourself in Kuala Trengganu, ride along Jalan Kelantan and look for signage that says IlhamCipta Advertising. This fine looking house is behind the shop. Oh, be sure to ask for permission before visiting. Trespassers will be shot clawed and scratched. purrr...meow!

35 comments:

Carolyn said...

I love it when history reasserts itself. Good to know about it as it gives us a sense of continuence :)

Sandy of erwinandsandy.com said...

I love this ! Wooden houses are awesome, especially this one, love the vintage antique carvings ! But hmm... what about termites ?

somuffins said...

Cat
Kita seramlah nak duduk rumah cam tu. Whatmore kalau ada kucing rona hitam, errrk..

Oskar said...

It's wonderful that they are using the old materials and traditions to build this beautiful house.

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar

Tamago said...

It is such a beautiful house! It's interesting the house had urns. If it will be open as a hotel, I would love to stay there.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Caro,
Call it fate or coincidence.....in the last century, people just tear down old buildings to make way for new but now they are chanting reuse, reduce, recycle. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Tante Sandy,
In the olden days, buildings like a palace would use the best available hardy wood such chengal or belian. These wood can withstand the elements and termite infection without the use of wood preservatives as we know it. Mama used to work in forest research and was involved in some restoration work. Thus the excitement to see it done by a privateer. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Ish..ish...tak adventurous ler Aunty CS ni. Nanti kita suruh Sebastian temankan ye? purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Oskar darl,
There is actually an exclusive resort in the same state that bought old houses, transport them lock stock and barrel, restore and now offered at high prices to tourists. Check out Aryani Resort. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Tamago san,
I don't know when the project will be finished. Will surely update on its progress. purrr....meow!

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

the craftsmanship and detail in this building is simply exquisite! What a delight!

ninotaziz said...

It's gorgeous and worthy of its name. Perhaps, a Mahligai Warisan in the future.

Yes, Gamelan made its mark in Terengganu when the pahang princess Tengku Mariam became Sultanah Terengganu. She drew and recorded all 70 odd Gamelan Melayu dances. Now only about half remain with 12 being regularly performed while groups like Rhythm In Bronze and Gamelan Club create new compositions. The hypnotic Timang Burung, Ayak Ayak and Perang Manggung are some recognizable tunes.

ninotaziz said...

The entrance looks exactly like Istana Satu (now preserved in Museum Negara). Terengganu and Kelantan houses were sturdier than those in the West Coast to fortify itself against the strong winds and did not have too many windows, more openings in the gable ends to allow wind to pass through.

So this could be some portions of Istana Kolam. But the color is a bit light. The wooden pasak looks very old though.

How lucky you got to find this treasure.

aby said...

at least its one of a living evidence that malays handscraft is worth seeing ..
just becareful with the water in tempayan ..
malay caught summon by the local authority for breeding aedes ..
he.he..

Cheqna said...

Wow..interesting reading on your entry and Ninot's comments..don't know much about my own state and culture..my sister has bought the book by Awang Goneng by I have to read it.

Visited the Istana Satu at Museum Negara a couple of months back..I haven't yet posted the pictures in my blog :-)

Naz said...

Salam Cats!
I love this post. We have every reason to be proud of our heritage.

Take care. Eat fish. It's healthy! ;D

meowwmania said...

rumah kayu mmg cantik tp kalau ada bebudak jebon ni nnti dorang buat tempat asah kuku jek huhuu...

Al-Manar said...

I am familiar with the old Istana Kolam during its haydays. When I returned home from my studies in the early 60's it was all gone.I grew up in that housed. It had carved chengai wall panels like the ones in yiour pictures. Everything had been torn down because the state govt acquired the side, sited adjacent to Masjid Puteh. I was told six generations had lived in that house before me.

Awang Goneng said...

Interesting to verify the provenance of the old parts of this building. So where was the old Istana Kolam hiding before now? Hmm.

Old style houses are always interesting. Always more interesting than the high rise towers and the bricks that Trengganu dreamers are now building. A coastal town should be low rise, not high, so that, if anything, cats will be able to hop from one rooftop to another. Have you seen the faces of those cats in, say, Dubrovnik? Do drop in, they meow, but not literally.

LP said...

What a beautiful building! LP saw a heritage house in Ontario, Canada that had been preserved and had been built without nails. It is wonderful to see that kind of craftmanship preserved in other parts of the world!

the critters in The Cottage xo

Clooney said...

How special, beautiful pictures.

The Furries of Whisppy said...

Very very nice! Mommy doesn't like to travel so she has no idea about this. But the carvings are beautiful!

Wan Sharif said...

Nice to see that the Cat is also into warisan bangsa...

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Caren,
Cody and I can have heaps of claw sharpening sessions on those wooden slats, eh? purrrrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Ninot,
The lighter coloured woods could be the later additions rather than the original pieces. The pandai ukir and pandai kayu must have painstakingly tried to stay true to the style. Next time, our trips to KT must coincide so that we can take you there. Just bring along some suitcases of cash too. purrrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Uncle Aby,
The house is still being built so the tempayan is still empty. No worries about the mossies. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Cheqna,
You have been living away from Terengganu for far too long. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Hey Aunty Naz...long time no see.... Come back and we can take you there. purrr....meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Meoww,
Dah memang naluri kekucingannya begitu....nak buat macam mana... purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Dear Pakcik,
You would pass this area if you were to use the old road to go to town from Kkalang Maras. I love it that someone is at least not building another brick bungalow.... purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Uncle AG,
I have discovered another episode to the Istana Kolam saga... the owner of this present house has acquired the pieces many many moons ago when the old palace was torn down. He then incorporated them into a house that he built then. Many decades later, the authorities acquired the land where the first house was and so he decided to "pecat" the structure panel by panel and rebuild on this present location. Thus, the istana has reappeared after all these years. purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Cottage Felines,
Hmmm.....who invented nails? Building without nails was the practice in Malay architecture since time immemorial. There are many fine examples of this in the country, even palaces much much larger than this one. purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Hey Cloon,
We can shoot another edition of Ocean here... purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Furries,
Your mom needs to get out more...at least go out for coffee with my Mama... purrr...meow!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Ayoh Wang,
There are so many facets of me that you have not discovered.....yet. purrr.....meow!